Celebrate Back to School!

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Who says "back to school" time is only for kids? It's a big deal for parents, too. And parents often mark the occasion with something special.

Maybe it's getting together for coffee with friends or maybe it's a full-blown party. Columbus Parent got a jump on the season this year by test-driving some ideas for a party that you could throw - plus, thanks to Matt the Miller's Tavern, we have a lunch party to give away to one lucky reader (and up to seven of his or her lucky friends).


You could go nuts with the school theme and use a brown-bag lunch as the basis for your menu: PB&J finger sandwiches (with the crusts cut off, of course), a punch bowl with apple slices cut into number and letter shapes (with a cookie cutter), oven-baked chicken nuggets on skewers, and maybe some of those candy sushi we've got in our Cooking with Kids story.

Or you could feed your guests like the big kids they are and use your decorations to set the back-to-school mood. That's what we did with a table at our colleague Katie's house. She served a cornucopia of her late-summer favorites: chunk chicken and flank steak on skewers with tasty dipping sauces, the "Barefoot Contessa" corn salad, bruschetta, veggies to dip in a green goddess sauce, and canaps made from watermelon and goat cheese with fresh mint. Add an assortment of beverages, and she had a setting suitable for grownups.

And the decorations are where we had the most fun. Here's what we did:

• menu cards: we found dry-erase boards for $1 (per four-pack) at Target. They're the kind kids use to practice their handwriting, so we used our very best cursive to write out what was being served.

• red delicious apples: add a festive decorating touch plus they propped up the menu cards.

• magic-marker swizzle sticks: don't worry, we tested these to see if the ink stayed inside the pen and it did. Pop a cherry tomato or strawberry on top, and you've got a school-themed drink stirrer.

• goodie bags: we had way too much fun putting these together for our parents. Check out our "Anatomy of a Pencil Pouch" feature to see what we put in ours!


Or you could just enter our "Back to School Party for Parents" contest this month. We are giving away a luncheon party for up to 8 people that will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 11 a.m. at Matt the Miller's Tavern in Dublin (6725 Avery-Muirfield Dr.). We checked: All the area schools should be back in session by then.

The prize package is good for lunch, up $15 per person for a total of $120. Tips and alcoholic beverages are not included.

You can check out their menu at mtmtavern.com, but just to give you a tempting teaser, you might try their Angus-beef sliders, signature Matt's salad, Wild Mushroom Flatbread, Tavern Cod Fish platter, or any number of other tasty items.

Visit ColumbusParent.com and click on the Contests page to enter. We'll accept entries from Aug. 1 through Aug. 15, and will randomly draw one winner from the eligible entries. You must be at least 18 years old to enter and you must be able to use the prize offering on Aug. 30.