Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to School Dinner

Hey! If you're reading this post you're either a family member (Hey Oma and Auntie Sandy!!!) OR you saw the pic below on Mix and Match Mama's IG last night and wanted details on the "Back to School Dinner" I planned :)

Let me just start by saying that I love summer.... for about 10 days. Then I'm over it and I pretty much complain to Shay about the heat and text her pictures of me at Hobby Lobby drooling over Fall decor the rest of the time.  I'm a teacher and I LOVE spending the summers with my kids, BUT there's only so much pool I can take and when you live on the surface of the sun (aka North Dallas) there's not much that you can do outside other than the pool that's super enjoyable. SOOOOOOOOO I get CRAZY excited when it's time to get back to school because it means FALL is coming which means HALLOWEEN is coming which means THANKSGIVING is coming... you get the idea.  

For about 7 years (I think) my husband and I have been in a small group with several couples from our Church. We started off doing a book study but quickly realized that there wasn't much time for book talk when we were discussing important topics like Shark Week :)  Over the years we've gone from 1 child to 7 (and that's after a couple with two kids moved!) and our evenings have gone from leisurely conversations to scarfing down food while we make sure no one drowns, dies or sticks a lego up their nose (true story... a kid DID stick a Lego up his nose and Andrew knew how to get it out... one of my very favorite Small Group memories).  

We rotate houses and in the summer typically do dinners at the Country Club pool but this month was my turn to host and (as I stated earlier) I was pooled out so I decided to host something special and do a "Back To School Dinner".  I sent out this little invitation via text...
 on Friday night and started making plans for Sunday evening. 

I knew I didn't want to cook or clean my house (I'm a teacher and I started inservice this past week) so we decided to host at the Country Club where my husband works.  He's the service director and since nothing was going on upstairs that night we thought it would be fun!  All the grown ups ordered off the menu and I made the kids dinners.

This was the "grown up table":

Believe it or not, I pulled this together with stuff I already had at home.  The globe I bought at a Thrift store years ago for $7 because I thought it was unique.  I literally had no plan for it and bought it on a whim.  I'm weird like that.  I put it out every year in July when I decorate my kitchen for "Back to School" and every time I do I'm so glad I bought it.  The Dr. Seuss books were mine when I was little (and now they're on the shelves in my boys room) and I picked up the apples and daisies at Kroger.  The placemats are 12x12 pieces of scrapbook paper that I had leftover from various projects and then I made little silverware pockets out of paper from a legal pad.

I felt like I needed some "filler" so I wadded up some notebook paper :)

One of the couples' kids were staying with their grandparents this weekend, so we only had 5 kids there (and Griffin didn't need a chair) so here's the kids table...

 The kids had the paper placemats too and then I bought them each a spiral ($0.17/each at WalMart!) and a package of crayons so they could color. I packed them each a "school lunch" that included a PB&J sandwich, goldfish crackers, gogurt, a banana and fruit snacks (I'm now officially Smith's BFF!) :)

Table decorations for the kiddos included more Dr. Seuss, some pencils, an apple, and a school bus and IKEA plant from my boys room.

I put a little chalkboard, apple strudel candle and more pencils in one of the windows...

Ignore my HORRENDOUS handwriting. hahaha.  The piece of chalk I brought with me was about 0.25" long :)

The entire set up took me less than 30 minutes and so I went home to get my dessert ready.  I made Mini Apple Spice cupcakes with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting.  YUM!!!!  I made the little apple toppers out of those jelly fruit slice candies and tootsie rolls.  They were a TOTAL pain in the hiney, but they turned out cute.

Pretty sure this is what heaven looks like :)

In case you're curious... here's the recipe for the cupcakes...

Gather your supplies...
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/2 cup butter (I used margarine)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups apple sauce (I used cinnamon because that's what I had on hand)

1) Preheat oven to 350 and line mini muffin tin with cupcake liners
2) Whisk together the dry ingredients
3) In a seperate bowl, cream together the sugars and butter
4) Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition
5) Add applesauce
6) Add dry ingredients
(mix just until combined)
7) Place 1 tbsp of batter into each liner
8) Bake for about 10 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean

For the Icing:
I kind of made this up as I went along and it turned out REALLY yummy. 
I beat together 2 sticks of butter with 1 (8 oz) pkg of cream cheese.  After they were creamed I added in about 1/4 cup of brown sugar, about 2 tsp of vanilla extract and about 4 cups of powdered sugar.  I beat it until they were all combined then added in milk about 1 tbsp at a time until I got it the consistency that I like.  I use the super fancy frosting method of filling a gallon ziploc bag with my icing, cutting off the corner and piping it onto the cupcakes.  #classy

Another important part of any party??? Wardrobe! :) 
Griffin Joy sported a super cute and "back to school-ish" ensemble...

EEEK! Me and my girl!

When we got to the party Griffin and Kensington posed for pics.  They need to be besties since they're going to be sister-in-laws one day :)
(Kensington "picked" Luke to be her husband - can you tell someone's uncle was the Bachelor?!?!?! - and Luke (smartly!) has agreed.  They're going to have a chihuahua named Bubbles and live happily ever after). 

The kids dug right into their goodies...

... and my Mason made a BEE LINE for the cupcakes :)

Rachel and Griffin were rockin' the denim (Griffin was also rockin' a SUPER SLEEPY FACE after a 20 minute not-so-power nap). :)

Kensington drawing a picture of Shay :)

Luke and Smith mid-conversation.

The kiddos...

These boys :)  And seriously... that dimple?!?!?! He's going to be trouble. hehehe

We set up a movie for the kids to watch...

... and while Dave and I were gathering things up at the end of the night my boys were playing "robot" where Luke controlled Mason with the DVD remote.  hahaha

Griffin had so much fun!!!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the post and be sure to comment if you have any questions about hosting your own "Back to School Dinner".  My plan is to continue this tradition with my kids (and hopefully my small group!) and I hope that it becomes a fond memory for all of them. :)


  1. We had the VERY BEST TIME!! I really think in 7 years, it was my all-time favorite small group! I'm so happy that it's time for fall!! As much as I love going to the pool with you and your kiddos, I'd much rather be hanging out with you during the fall. Love you!

  2. Your little girl is wearing the cutest outfit I've seen in a long time. Oh, I miss having a little one in the house!

  3. Here from Shay's blog! Thank you for sharing your ultra-cute party!

  4. I am blog illiterate apparently and have no idea how to reply directly to people's comments. OOOPS :)

    Shay - this was definitely up there for me in favorite small groups, too. :)

    Kathy - THANKS! I am having WAY too much fun dressing a little girl. hahaha

    Carmen - Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Very cute and easy decor! How/what app did you use to make the text invite? Love it!


  7. Very cute decor! How or what app did you use for your text invite! So cute! Thanks.


  8. Very cute decor! How/what app did you use to make your text invite? So cute! Thanks for sharing!


  9. what a great party, Andrea!
    I love the invites, the table decor, and the apple cupcakes! I'm glad you mentioned how you frost your cupcakes because they always look so perfect!

  10. Cute ideas. Cupcakes sound delish! Thanks fir sharing.

  11. What app was used for the invites?

  12. What an adorable party! So sad my kiddos couldn't make it! Love all of our small group memories! xoxo

  13. That is such a fun idea! Cute decorations!

  14. I absolutely love this! Such a fun idea!

  15. Loved all your creative ideas for this back to school party. Way to go!

  16. Here from Shay's blog! LOVE this idea, so super cute! And I love, love, love Griffin's outfit, she is a doll! Where are those cute pants from?
    (Also, I must me a robot becaue I had to try 3 times to put characters in before I could post a comment caue I apparently can't read! Does anyone else have a problem with these or is it just me??!!!)


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