It’s been a long time since the boys started kindergarten, headed back to school or even college. Wherever has the time gone?! Labor Day weekend always evokes happy memories of those days. So, I decided to set a back to school table to mark the occasion.

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We are fortunate to live in a suburb of Pittsburgh, with a nationally recognized and award-winning public school district. In fact, the schools are one of the primary reasons Mr. Buzz and I decided to build our home here. We were just newlyweds at the time, planning for our future family.

It feels more like a town here than a suburb, with a historic commercial district we call, “Uptown.” Adding to the old-fashioned charm and ambiance is that we are both a Tree City USA and Main Street America community.

Children walk to school; along mostly tree-lined streets with sidewalks. There are no buses. Seven neighborhood elementary schools, two middle and one high school draw students from vibrant neighborhoods.

Seeing the kids heading out, hand-in-hand with their parents, wearing new backpacks and sometimes carrying little bouquets of flowers for their teachers, warms my heart. Come have a seat at the back to school table and reminisce with me.

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Cockadoodledoo: Rise & Shine for School

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During the month of September, my kitchen area goes to it’s “normal” state; without seasonal or holiday decorations. Rooster Kitchen Decor and Tableware compliment the core interior design elements and color scheme.


 

 

 

That’s one of the reasons the back to school table starts with a rooster-decorated tablecloth.

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Besides, getting kids up and going to school might be helped with a little cockadoodledo, right?

I won’t name names, but one of my sons had a particularly difficult time getting up and going in the morning…

Did you, or do you have one of those at your house?

For a little more “rise and shine,” I also incorporated my favorite rooster luncheon plates into the dish stack. They work well with the color scheme of the back to school table and cloth.

Many people loved the plates when I first shared them in the Fall on the Farm Rooster Table.

A+ Centerpiece

What inspired the back to school table and centerpiece, were a few inexpensive items picked up while shopping (Target).

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Finding the red miniature chalkboard and a set of ten blackboard blocks, also established the basic color scheme — black, white and red. Primary blue, yellow and green provide accents.

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Muffy Vanderbear, dressed as a cheerleader, takes a turn at the blackboard. I love all the little details, including the plaid bloomers and adorable saddle shoes. Back in the day, this ‘ol rah rah wore black and white saddle shoes too!

I’ve had the bear and her bunny friend, Hoppy, for many years. Surprisingly, Amazon has a similar Muffy cheerleader available all these years later, as well as the outfit.

A number of different outfits in my collection allows dressing the bear and rabbit according to the season or holiday. You might remember them from Patriots Table With Betsy Ross and Paul Revere, or as pilgrims in Thanksgiving Figures Decorate Home.

Elementary Napkin-Folding Rules

Also found at Target, were several packages of cute tags for just $1 a package.

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Aren’t they cute? They’d also make nice place cards. But, since the back to school table is only set for four, place cards aren’t necessary.


 

 

 

Instead, I used the tags as “rings” for the new buffalo check napkins.

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Do you like the napkin fold? It’s supposed to resemble fleur-de-lis. Can you see it?

The ancient fleur-de-lis symbol is said to represent a bee. Did you know that? I choose the fold bee-cause, kids are supposed to bee “busy little bees” while at school.

It was yet another easy, peasy napkin fold I found online — just like the bird of paradise seen in the Palms, Parrots & Paradise Tropical Tablescape.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve really gotten into napkin folding when putting together tablescapes. For the recent Greek Tablescape, I even tried my hand at designing my own — an olympic torch napkin fold.

Many times, the clever folds can take the place of using napkin rings. See 12 Napkin Folds for All Seasons, Holidays & Occasions for more ideas.

Wait until you see the apple-shaped napkin fold I used for the Fall Harvest Table.

Have you ever tried napkin folding? What’s your go-to?

Take Your Seats Students

Underlying each setting is a black and white check placemat.

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The oval shape works well on a round table. Other black and white check placemats and napkins made by mom were used on the Fall on the Farm Rooster Table.

I made my own pattern for the unique shape to accommodate the round edge of the kitchen table. And, they’re reversible, with a black fruit pattern that matches the kitchen valances seen in Remodeled Kitchen Design & Layout Tour (Part 1).


 

 

 

But, the ones on the back to school table are wipeable. They get heavy use too; nearly everyday for one meal or another.

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Included in the plate stack are red, bead-edge dinner plates and large bowls (Pier 1 on recent clearance). I think they will mix and match well with Christmas season dishes too.

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Flanking the dish stack is red flatware. These get a lot of use throughout the year; in Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Fourth of July table settings. Red flatware get near daily use during the summer, as they go great with my nautical and coastal tableware.

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For beverages, I pulled out my smoked black goblets and football glasses. Both are from Dollar Tree. I purchased the black stemware recently for the more formal Greek Tablescape.

Seeing them late last season, this is the first time I’ve used the football-shape glasses.

Hoping they carry them again this year, so I can buy more. I’d love to gift my now grown sons with sets to use while entertaining during Steeler and college alma mater football games.

Elementary Memories

Our elementary school is an easy walk from the house; nested within residential streets — many paved with brick. It serves as the heart and soul of our neighborhood.

In the early years, walking the boys to and from school meant sidewalks filled with students, moms and dads, grandparents, siblings, babies in strollers, and dogs on leases.

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Until recently, there were no full-service cafeterias in the older elementary buildings, and most kids came home for lunch. Now that most moms work, more children stay for lunch than in the past.

And before 9-11, in a more innocent time, the schools and classrooms were open. Parents would drop off their children, check in with teachers, and chat with the principal and staff. As a PTA officer, homeroom mom, and volunteer, I spent a lot of time in the school.

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Now, there are locked doors, camera’s, and much more security. However, my heart warms when I see a new generation of children walking past the house and through the neighborhood to school.

Have your kids or grandchildren started back to school yet?

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