Making Memories: NO MANNERS MEAL

This is my children’s favorite family activity…by far! They love it so much that I included it in my book, More Than a Movie: 50 Ideas for Fun and Frugal Family Nights.

It’s a once or twice a year thing and they beg and plead and wait and beg and plead and wait some more. And then it comes…

The No Manners Meal

And they giggle and squeal and are so giddy they can’t think.

That’s right…an entire meal where the expectation is that they have


It started back in 2007. My daughter, who was then four, and I were making pancakes. I was getting silly and started making long and skinny snake-like pancakes.

And then, on a total whim (you know, this was pre-Pinterest where creativity had to come from within!), I said,

“You know what, Sweetie? This is a No Manners Meal!”

And I grabbed a pancake with my hands and shoved it in my mouth. I took a pancake off of her plate. I talked with my mouth full and she just giggled with glee.

Because it’s so much fun.

And today, more than seven years later, the kids all still love it. To be honest, it’s been a while…maybe a whole year. I think I know what we are doing for dinner tomorrow!

This activity definitely works best in a family that has set expectations for manners and the kids usually follow them. If you are still in the manners training phase, it might not work as well. Because our children are usually very good about putting their napkins on their lap, holding their fork correctly, chewing with their mouths closed, and asking to “Please pass _____________”, getting a chance to loosen up and have fun is great for us all. Because the kids know what manners are, they know how to break them.

While we let the kids talk with their mouth full, sit on the table, grab food off of other plates, etc., we do have a few rules that they must follow if they want to participate:

1. No name calling. We have a zero-tolerance policy in our home for name calling or teasing. Even in “fun”, people can get hurt. We want our home to be the safest place our children know (physically AND emotionally) and therefore, name calling is beyond the bounds of having no manners. We have not and will not allow anyone to call names (we as parents don’t do it all…even things like “slow poke” or “clumsy.”)

2. We can’t be mean. This activity is supposed to be fun and in jest. There is no being mean to people. Each family has to assess the maturity of their kids and whether they can draw the line between having fun and being mean.

3. If someone doesn’t want to participate, they may stop at any time, and the others must respect that. The uninterested individual may leave the table to avoid having a pancake thrown in his face.

4. Be careful about what you choose to serve for this meal. We usually have pancakes or French toast. I am not sure I want want to try this with fried chicken and mashed potatoes!

5 Take the opportunity now, because tomorrow it’s back to please, thank you, using silverware, and keeping your mouth closed.

And here is one of our memories scrapped. As always, a quick and easy page using one of my templates and a kit by Meg Mullens and Heather Roselli at Sweet Shoppe Designs.

If you are new to digital scrapbooking and want to learn more, check out our WATCH ME SCRAP class! In this self-paced video-based class, I will teach you EVERYTHING you need to get started in digital scrapbooking, even if you don’t have a program! I made learning about digital scrapbooking easy and fun!

So how about it? Is your family up for a No Manners Meal?