Regular evening meals a family tradition

It's 6:05 p.m. on any given night and the entire family is seated around the dinner table sharing food, conversation and enjoying each other's company. Sound like a fantasy? Not to the Dick and Phyllis Hoopes family of the Edison Ward, Salt Lake Pioneer Stake.

Nightly sit-down dinners are a tradition that have always been a part of the Hoopes' life. "We've eaten together like this since we were married. As the children came along, it just didn't change," Sister Hoopes explained. "We came by it naturally because both Dick and I came from families that always ate dinner together."One would think figuring out daily meals would take a lot of planning - but not so according to Sister Hoopes who works as a secretary at Edison Elementary. When asked if she makes a weekly menu plan, she laughed and said she starts planning dinner about three or four hours in advance. "I start thinking about what to fix while I'm at work, trying to remember what's on the shelf. We have our favorite meals, so when I go grocery shopping, I pretty much know which foods and staples to get."

Meals are a relaxed time where the events of the day are discussed and the next day's activities are coordinated, according to Brother Hoopes. "Our weekly schedule is made during family home evening, and mealtimes are for reminders and adding activities that come up during the week."

Sometimes the regular dinnertime of 6 p.m. has to be changed to accommodate the family's busy schedule and activities. "Like on Tuesdays," Sister Hoopes said. "That's Mutual and most of us are involved, so we make sure dinner is finished in time for the activities or we eat later." Mutual activity nights are especially busy because Sister Hoopes is Young Women's secretary; 13-year-old Michelle is Beehive president; Mark, 15, is first counselor in his teacher's quorum; and John, 18, is first assistant in his priest's quorum.

Brother Hoopes, an electrical engineer, is also kept busy with his calling as stake clerk, and 11-year-old Brian is assistant senior patrol leader in his Scout troop. The children are also involved in sports.

The Hoopes children said they don't think their family dinners are anything out of the ordinary. "It's always been expected that we're home for dinner," John said. "If you're at a friend's house and it's time for dinner, you go home. If you want to go back to your friend's house or somewhere else, you go later - after dinner."

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