Back-to-school is one of my favorite times of the year. It seems like such a fresh start with wonderful possibilities to me. I remember as a child always being excited when it was time to return to school each fall, and I want my children to feel the same way. So each year, we celebrate going back-to-school with a fun dinner.
One of the things I like to do at this dinner is to introduce a family theme for the school year. We decided this year that we would continue with the same theme that we had last year: WE CAN DO HARD THINGS. I believe that we should always challenge ourselves, and that doing things which are difficult is one of the best ways we can grow. So, even though we used this theme last year, I thought it would be good to continue this theme through this year since it is the first year that *all* of my kiddos will be in school.
For this year's decorations, I wanted to be simple and definitely school inspired....so I used a roll of paper as a runner down the center of the table, and placed a bunch of crayons in a bread bowl as the centerpiece (they served double duty as you'll see in a minute.) I wrote this year's theme in crayon down each side of the runner, so the kids could see it while we were talking about it.
Then for placecards - these were one of my favorite ideas - I simply folded long strips of cardboard in half. And rather than writing the kids' names on them, I wrote the number of the grade they are entering (or in Boy 3's case the letter "k" for "kindergarten".) I made the numbers (and the letter) look like they were written on elementary school lined paper - you know, the kind that has the dotted lines through the center so that kids know how big to make the small letters. I thought it was a fun school-ish touch.
Since this celebration is all about the kiddos, I always let them choose the menu. This year they asked for Chinese take-out. That's my kind of dinner!
After we were done eating, I asked the family to choose one "hard thing" they could work on as a goal this year. Then we wrote them down on the table runner with the crayons we had used as our centerpiece. The kids were very enthusiastic with the idea of writing down goals, and all of them chose more than one to work on. It was a great motivational start to the school year!
If you'd like to see how we celebrated some of our previous back-to-school dinners, you can read more about them here and here.
I just love my kiddos and I'm really excited for them to start their 2012 school year adventure!