The Saturday before school started,
we had our annual back-to-school feast!
I had seen this idea from several different sources before Talmage started Kindergarten,
but I think the idea was started mainly by popular blogger and plane crash survivor, Stephanie Nielson.
In any case, it has become a highly anticipated event in our household and the kids say it's one of their favorite traditions! So thank you to others for sharing their traditions and inspiring our own!
We typically keep our feast fairly simple.
I let the kids each choose a favorite food for me to make,
and then I put out simple decorations and gift them each with a new book.
This year the kids asked for:
-Baked Potatoes (Talmage)
-Scrambled Eggs (Wesley--that one shocked me, as I didn't think he even liked them!)
-"Bunny Pasta" (Lincoln)
-Supplemented with our favorite honeycrisp apples and Caprese Paninis for Sam and I
The kids have such simple tastes that the food preparation didn't require much effort from me.
I decided on a primary colors/school theme and picked up some decorations from the Dollar Store and scattered ABC cookies around the table. I covered the table with brown paper again and set out jars filled with new markers for them to doodle while we ate (that has been one of their favorite parts of the feast!). With their wrapped books on their plates, IZZE sparkling fruit juice and mugs, and a couple of school lunch-type snacks at each spot, the kids were blown away when they came down from their bedroom, where I had banished them to play Legos while I got set up.
I was getting comments like, "You are the BEST MOM in the world!!!" and "Oh, WOW, this is so AMAZING!!" They were just giddy with excitement! It made me so happy to see how much they loved my small efforts to make things festive.
Looking at the doodles all over the table afterward is so fun!
Sam drew this funny octopus representation of a mom...
I responded with a goofy love-potion scientist.
Lincoln took off with our silly drawings for each other and made a version of his own that I just adore! Super hero mom and dad with capes and love potions of our own! I love the idea of creating a climate of love together in which our children can thrive. I thought his drawing was the most adorable representation of that goal.
Benson was a ham, as usual:
After dinner, the kids opened their books and then we introduced our new family theme for the year!
Last year I felt strongly impressed that we should emphasize AGENCY as we teach our children. While they can't always control their circumstances, they can control their actions and they NEVER have to play the part of a victim. They can choose to be kind, to remember their divine nature regardless of what others do or say, and to make their spirits triumph over their bodies.
I was pleased as punch when, a month or two ago, one of the boys commented that "Mommy loves talking about agency."
Meanwhile, Sam's pet topic over the past year has been proactive behavior. He is frequently complimenting proactive behavior from the boys and teaching them to do what they should do, without being asked.
So between these two passions, we thought an appropriate theme would be,
"Be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness."
The kids have been especially aware of their proactive behavior over the course of the last few weeks and we enjoy discussing what they did each week in Family Home Evening after we say our theme.
We ended our evening with chocolate chip salted caramel smart cookies (cookie ice cream sandwiches). It was one of those nights that counters the many, many frustrations that exist in family life.
I think that's one reason I love our little traditions so much.
They allow us to step back from the squabbles, the messes, the constant broken things, the crying, the stress, the lack of sleep
and see the beauty of our life together as a family.