Tony A. Smith

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Family Time


Have you ever heard people say that the family who sits down to eat a meal together around the table sticks together through thick and thin?  Too often we are so busy being busy with work, running to soccer practice, or dance, or baseball, or football, or another meeting, or shopping, or playing on the computer, or talking on the phone, or texting,  or combing our hair, putting on makeup, or whatever, that we don’t take the time to sit down at the dinner table and reconnect with each other.  There are many who never sit down together and break bread due to overwhelming schedules of life.  It’s a pretty sad shame too, since there are many benefits to eating together as a family if you can fit it in your schedule.  Now I’m not talking about sitting around the television in the living room with a television tray full of food.  I am talking about honest to goodness “Pass me the potatoes please, and how was your day”? conversation.

There are so many benefits that result from being able to eat together and look one another in the eye and actually hear each other breathe.  There was a study done by John Sandberg and Sandra Hofferth entitled “How American Children Spend Their Time,” which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family which found that having family time meals on a regular basis results in fewer behavioral problems.  According to an article published in 2006 in “New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development”, family time dinners are even more important from a vocabulary standpoint than being read to.  It was found that young children learn 1000 rare words at the dinner table in comparison to only about 145 words from parents who read books out loud to them.  It only makes sense that there is more focus at the dinner table and obviously more comprehension.  No television, no phones, no computers, no noisy noise for a few minutes…. Sounds too good to be true……..but something you might get used to… right?

Being able to sit down and eat together as a family gives you a sense of belonging, and reminds you that you don’t have to face this old world on your own. It’s important especially for young children to give them that sense of security as often as we can.  So if you want to do something good for your family that will last and last, encourage everyone to try to sit down at the table at least for a few minutes, at least once or twice a week if you don’t already. It will make all the difference in the world. Children will remember those times for years to come, as they try to instill the same values, and quiet times in their own families that they were taught and can recall made a difference in their own lives and upbringing. Bind the family together and wrap them with the minutes of together moments forever. “So that’s what breathing sounds like?” Honest to goodness!



Papa’s Family Recipes

Papa Family Recipes Cover Chair March 9 2015

I just finished my new book called “Papa’s Family Recipes” which was written in honor of my late father-in law Alberto Petrucci.  Alberto was the son of emigrant parents from the city of Detroit and went on to become one of the largest contractors in the Midwest.  He was a very kind, caring, and humble man who loved his family deeply.

Papa also had a passion for cooking and was quite good at it.  He left behind a treasure trove of his favorite family recipes for everyone to try.  His spaghetti sauce is unbelievable!  This was a somewhat emotional book to write as I reflected upon the years we spent together before his illness and eventual death. Have you ever met someone you liked the very first time you met them? That was the man called “Papa”.

Papa will soon be available at Barnes and Noble and is now available as an e-book on Amazon for pre-order at the link below.  Papa will be published on Friday, March 27th.  I hope you enjoy reading Papa’s Family Recipes!

Papa’s Family Recipes – Amazon 


I just got back from a doctor visit and he informed me that my blood pressure was a little on the high side and he wants me to lose some weight.  He said I had gained about 22 pounds from the first time I saw him and that taking the weight off would help to lower the pressure.  I am about six feet tall and I weighed in today at 208 pounds.  The doc said he wants me down to 180 pounds when I go back in two months.  Twenty-eight pounds!  Come on doc!  How in the world am I going to do that?

He recommended that I do some stationary bike riding and get my heart rate up to about 130 beats per minute for at least 10 minutes a day. He also instructed me to watch my diet and that I need to practice an exercise called “the push away.”  Push away from the table!  I guess I will have to cut back on the pasta as difficult as that is going to be.  That is going to be a little hard to do since my wife is half Italian and we eat a bunch of pasta around this house.  Her food just tastes way too good!

I had no idea I had gained that much weight since I don’t own a scale to weigh on.  I did notice that my pants have been a lot harder to get on these days.  I can hide a lot of weight with my height but the pants seem to always be a tattletale on how much good food I have been packing in.

Does anyone have any good ideas for diets or ways to lose some weight before I have to go weigh in on that doctor scale in a few months?  I don’t want to have to look him in the eye and say I failed miserably and ate too much pasta again.  I am not exactly sure what I am going to do about my Italian wife.  I am looking for any advice you can pass my way.