Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Twas the night before school started...

One of the reasons my kiddos really look forward to going back to school is the night before.
We celebrate in style with a Back-to-School Night.
I've posted about this event before- we have a special alphabet dinner, Daddy Blessings and give each of the kids our family's version of a German school cone.
As the years go by the kids are more and more involved in the prep and the planning. This year was wonderful. While I was out running errands including some last minute grocery shopping for that evening, Ms. Books made the homemade rolls and was the cleaning commander- making sure everyone completed their assigned cleaning tasks before they could watch a video or play on the computer.
Ms. Books continued with kitchen prep while I began creating the fun tablescape.
I'm a sucker for a beautiful [theme oriented] set table. And I'm teaching my kiddos to be the same.

Ms. Books made my table runner for me... designed and measured and whipped it up in one afternoon late last week.
In hindsight, I wish I'd purchased more material and had her make matching napkins.

I shopped the house, mostly the schoolroom, for items for the table... a stack of old books, blue mason jar full of pretty yellow pencils, a globe, some rocks (a play on the name of our homeschool), a wooden bird, some ohsoadorable retro word cards (Goodwill), couple of candles, a birds nest on a homemade stand, two fake (Ikea) plants and a mason jar full of zinnias and snapdragons.
Our placemats were a serendipitous find... I was going through the school books in our little family library, happened to glance down at a box of books I was planning to give away and found this wonderful old book full of heavy cardstocked alphabet pages for a preschooler that my Mama had picked up for me at Goodwill ages and ages ago...
I immediately ripped out five pages, trimmed the rough edge and chalked each individual's name and nickname on their "placemat".

Aren't they just the cutest things, ever?!
Here's one side of the table....
And the other side...

We set the table with mismatched plates, in greens and white- keeping with our color scheme, my Great Gram's silver, thrifted glass tumblers (actually the jars dried beef comes in!) and cloth napkins in blues and greens. 
One more extra special touch- the napkin rings. Each place is set with that individual's unique sterling silver napkin ring. I got the idea here quite a long time ago and have had my eye out for five rings ever since. What a delightful God smile was mine earlier this summer when we popped into a historical society's rummage sale while at an old car show.... and there just waiting for me was a baggie with these five napkin rings... all for $10. I smile every time we use them just because I know that was God's way of winking at me and telling me He loved me that day. Some may scoff  but to me- these napkin rings are a reminder of how much my God loves me- right down to the frivolous, silly pieces of me.

Our dinner was a slight variation of years past-- Greek yogurt cheese for G, Onion & Herb crackers for O. Raspberry sherbet (added to our punch) for R. Wisconsin extra sharp cheddar cheese for W.
While we were eating, we all started brainstorming some great ideas for next year's meal- so much so that I had to grab a paper and pen to write it all down. We've had our amazing BBQ chicken for quite a few years now and feel the need to change it up. We decided that next year we'll have kabobs with beef and chicken and tons of veggies-- what a great way to use a lot of the alphabet... beef, chicken, green beans, mushrooms, onions, peppers, squash, tomatoes, zucchini...

I think this year was one of our most favoritest back-to-school celebrations yet!


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