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A Back-to-School Party

It’s that time of year when the smell of No. 2 Pencils is in the air, and down the hall you hear the squeak of new sneakers. Back-to-school season is a great milestone to commemorate both for parents and kids. It’s also one of those transitions that can be really rough! Did you know that anxiety and excitement are elements of the same emotion? One way to turn anxiety or anticipation into a good thing is to build excitement. For me, that means a back-to-school party!

Here is a round-up of some party highlights.

  1. It all started with the planning. This was a small lunch for just a few friends, but we wanted to make it special. The girls helped me plan the decorations and activities, and then improvised, as they do, in the moment. I think I will be finding apples hidden around the house for a while! Involving the kids in the planning adds a whole new dimension to at-home parties. For me it starts with a simple sketch, and the girls added details to it before we started doing the crafting and cooking.
  1. We decorated. We decorated with some old-school items – brown-paper bag covered books, yellow No. 2 pencils in a jar, apples for the teacher, and paper airplanes. We made some decorations and found some on Etsy.
  1. We had lunch. My motto for any party, including kids’ parties, is always feed the parents! 

The menu:

  • Ham and Cheese Tailgate Sliders from Once Upon a Chef
  • No Knead Pizza Bianca from Serious Eats
  • Orzo with caramelized fall vegetables and ginger, from The Kitchn
  • Kale salad with Nectarines, Dates, Pita Chips, with a sumac/lemon vinaigrette 
  • Apple Cider and Ginger punch from
  • Supernatural brownies from The Splendid Table
  • Strawberry Summer Sheet Cake from Smitten Kitchen
  1. We did some back-to-school crafting. We decorated pencil pouches with fabric markers and stencils. The activity was the kind of thing that kids can do at their own pace and without any pressure, in small groups or on their own. 
  1. We had surprise treats. The kids picked pencils (stuffed with treats) from a tree, and gleefully destroyed an apple piñata filled with apple-related treats and school supplies.