September is in full swing and so is National Family Meals Month. We love what you’ve been sharing with us on social media for our #BackToTheTable challenge! This week, we’re sharing our ideas for a Kitchen Table Alternatives: getting creative and ditching your usual dining table in favor of a fun, memorable meal somewhere else in your home. It could look like eating in the dining room, moving your meal to the coffee table, or having a picnic on the floor. The point is to get creative, have fun, and get #BackToTheTable.
What’s the Back to the Table Challenge?
To encourage The Busy Bee community to get creative with their family meals this month, we’ve created our #BackToTheTable Challenge! The winner will receive a $50 APIARY gift card. Entering the contest is easy: simply tag The Busy Bee on a social media post of you participating in the challenge and use the hashtag #BackToTheTable. Each challenge entry is a bonus entry. Shannon and Jenna will randomly select a winner on Instagram Stories on October 1st. To be sure your entry counts, have a public profile and/or send us a DM with a photo of your entry (if private).
To the Floor!
This was so much fun! After our first #BackToTheTable challenge, the kids (and I!) were really looking forward to our next challenge. I’m finding that these mini-challenges are a nice way for us to mix up our routine and re-focus on spending time together. We’re talking and planning these meals as a family and enjoying the entire process. This week, the only rule for the #BackToTheTable challenge was that we couldn’t plan a meal at our usual table.
Upon hearing about our new challenge, Charley immediately suggested we have a picnic. A large part of me thinks Charley’s idea had a lot to do with her favorite Peppa Pig episode, but none of us could deny that a picnic was a great idea for the challenge. Now that we had our location chosen, it was time to pick the details.
Knowing our Kitchen Table Alternative wasn’t going to involve a table of any sort, I knew we would need to plan a menu that would be easy to eat with our hands. We decided on cheeseburgers and green beans–a family favorite and a meal that’s easy enough to eat with or without utensils.
Just because I don’t have a table to dress up, doesn’t mean I’m going to not think of tablescapes! After all, every picnic needs a great blanket (and a touch of rattan or wicker). The kids had several lengthy discussions on which blanket would be best for the job (too funny!). Was the blanket big enough for the five of us? Soft enough? Favorite colors need to be considered, of course.
After much deliberation, the perfect blanket was found. Shortly after, Nick and I started to cook while I had the kids “set” our table alternative. It was wonderful to have us all working together with the same anticipation for our dinner. I realized this was truly the essence of slowing down and enjoying the moment.
When it came time to sit down and enjoy our picnic, I used one of our favorite Hostful Hacks: using a serving tray to transport and contain! I grabbed our Handwoven Basket Tray to help move the food into our living room where our picnic was taking place. Once the food was moved to our picnic, I placed the basket down and styled it with the centerpiece I had nearby and lit a candle. I have to say, the simple act of lighting a candle for our picnic really set the tone for our special meal!
Hostful Hack No. 88: Transport with a tray. Invest in a large decorative tray or two to help carry plates of food, drinkware, and whatever else you may need for entertaining outdoors. It will save you many trips going back and forth from the indoors out.Simplify hosting with our Hostful Hack Handbook
Moving our dinner to the floor did more than take us out of our dining chairs; I noticed some small, sweet changes in the overall mood of our family. Cohban was immediately more relaxed–as you can tell by his body language in these pictures! I loved seeing him feeling free enough to make himself comfortable. Charley took this as an opportunity to be even more silly than usual and had the whole family laughing. Moving us out of our routine caused me to be more intentional about everything and I savored the small moments.
I know we talk about embracing imperfections and making memories at The Busy Bee. This is how my family did it in the middle of our fireplace remodel and what it looks like in real life. No one is focused on the background, we’re focused on each other! I’m glad we’re creating these memories in our home and not waiting for things to be “perfect”.
Make it Your Own
We can’t wait to see what The Busy Bee community comes up with this week! Don’t forget to tag us and use #BackToTheTable challenge to share your experience with us.