A Day in the Life of The Tanner Family at Missionary Acres – Part 3: Evenings

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Back in September, we shared a peek into our life here at Missionary Acres. But, that post started running long, so we decided to cut it into three parts. You can read all about our mornings (which are full of all things homeschooling) in this post. You can see how we spend our afternoons in this post. And if you keep reading, you’ll see how our evenings typically go. 

Evenings in our family start off with dinner. That event separates the afternoons from the evenings. In our afternoon post, we ended with dinner prep. So we’ll pick up from there for this one…

While we use our annual meal plan to make dinners simple, this meal is a bit different than breakfast or lunch. Instead of being a straight rotation, where we eat the exact same meal on a 7-day rotation, dinner offers a bit more choice. Each evening has a theme, and each month we’ll enjoy a few different meals in that theme.

Dinner Themes

Hot Dogs (this meal has to be quick so we can get to evening church on time. We typically rotate corn dogs, chili dogs, and plain ol’ hot dogs in a bun.)


American (we eat hamburgers, chicken nuggets, meatloaf, tater tot casserole, and roast.)


Taco Tuesday (this meal is tacos, taco salad, nachos, enchiladas, or burritos.)


Breakfast for Dinner (with church tonight, breakfast makes a quick meal. We rotate waffles, pancakes, hash browns and sausage, breakfast casserole, and French toast casserole.)


Around the World (on this night, we enjoy orange chicken and rice, stir fry, Swedish meatballs, Asian rice bowls, and teriyaki chicken.)


Pizza (a standing tradition in our family is Friday night pizza. It’s quick and simple and everyone loves it!) Sometimes we make homemade. Other weeks we keep it easy and use frozen pizzas. Either way, it’s delicious.


Thai Day (since it’s our son Tyler’s first year having a day of his own, we picked Thai food because he’s Ty. :D) We haven’t been home too many Saturdays during this meal plan cycle, so we eat this the least. Our meal rotations are coconut chicken, pineapple stir fry, chicken satay, and a chicken pad Thai casserole.

Often, one or two of the kids help cook dinner. It’s a fun way to help them learn new skills in the kitchen, and to spend time together.

Table Chores

After dinner, everyone helps clean up. We use the same table chores as lunch, and work together to get things done quickly so we can enjoy some family time.

Family Play Time

After chores are done, there’s time for some family fun before the bedtime routine starts. This could be:

  • Taking a family walk
  • Playing miniature golf together down at the park at Missionary Acres
  • Playing a board game
  • Watching a movie together
  • Reading a book aloud
  • Having a Nerf gun fight
  • Doing an art project
  • Going to a park

Or any number of other activities. It’s a time to spend with Daddy, having fun as a family.

The Bedtime Routine

Most nights, we start the process of putting the kids to bed about 7:00. This is too early in some people’s opinion, but it works really well for our family so we go with it.

Each night, a couple of the kids take a bath or a shower. By rotating them all, everyone gets clean several times per week and no one has to take a cold shower.

When everyone is in their pajamas, we gather in the living room for some family Bible time.

Bible Time

In the evening, we have a shortened version of our morning Bible time. We’ll typically sing a verse or two of the song we’re memorizing, practice saying the books of the Bible in order, and share a couple of verses together.

Then, we always count our blessings. We usually sing the chorus of that familiar song, and everyone shares one thing from the day they’re thankful for. It’s a good way to focus on the things God has provided – He is so faithful!

After everyone has shared a blessing, we pray together. Often several of the kids pray before Bryan prays for our family.

Then, it’s time to brush teeth and get to bed. By this point, Owen’s sleeping meds are starting to kick in so we usually carry him to his enclosed bed for the night.

Bed Time

Once the kids are tucked into bed, they usually read or visit for about fifteen minutes. Then it’s lights out and time for them to get some sleep.

Ellie and Jeff are often allowed to stay up 1/2 an hour later, working on their own hobbies or playing a game together. Staying up late is a definite perk of being one of the “bigger” kids.

Special Time

Remember how we explained that most of our kids have a day of the week where they get special privileges and responsibilities? Well, one of those privileges comes at bedtime.

The child of the day gets to stay up 1/2 an hour later and spend special time with Lisa. The child gets to pick (within reason) what activity is done. Here are a few favorites:

  • Cooking something special for the family to enjoy the next day
  • Coloring
  • An art project
  • Playing a game
  • Taking a walk
  • Working on a puzzle
  • Having a tea party
  • Drinking hot cocoa and reading together

It’s a special time that the kids all look forward to. Then when the time is up, they go to bed as well.

Work Time

After special time, it’s time for Lisa to focus on her business. She has a freelance writing and virtual assistance business, and runs a blog to help busy moms make time for a home business. The Lord has blessed her business, and it accounts for just over half of the support our family needs.

While some of the work is done in small pockets of time during the day, the evenings are when she can do the focus work that isn’t as easy to do with interruptions.

As Lisa works on client assignments and other tasks, Bryan takes care of paperwork for our deputation ministry, prepares sermons to use on the road, and tackles other projects.

Then when the work is done, there are a few things that we always do in the evenings to help the next day go more smoothly. Those tasks include:

  • Washing and putting away any dishes that got used after dinner (popcorn is a family favorite in the evenings)
  • Getting the morning basket prepped and on the table for the kids to use in the morning
  • Reviewing the calendar to see what the next day holds
  • Starting a load of laundry to be switched in the morning
  • Taking any meat out of the freezer that’s needed for the next day

After these are finished, it’s time for us to go to bed.

Our days (and nights) are full, but we’re so thankful for each moment that we get to enjoy together as a family.

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