Placesettings: Grandkids set the table for a party

We took the grandkids downtown on the train to see Christmas light shows yesterday afternoon. When we got back to the house the three-year-old was squealing, “I love Christmas! We’re having a party!” So we did.

There was no time to iron a tablecloth. The wrinkles didn’t really matter. I love the winged Santa graphics on this Francis Dearden design. It seemed perfect for a party with my favorite little people.


My helpers put out red striped Hazel Atlas plates, big paper napkins and forks for everyone.


Then we made a silly centerpiece with vintage goodies I’d found the day before in the thrift store: a caroling troll, a red and white candle, and a mismatched assortment of satin ornaments piled in a heavy glass tray.

They were so excited to do it all by themselves. I didn’t spoil the fun by making everything “proper”. I loved it just like this.


While they were setting the table I was in the kitchen making a huge batch of homemade macaroni and cheese. It’s so much better than that stuff in a box. All you need is a pound of noodles and a simple white sauce:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Whisk in the milk gradually. Return to burner and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Whisk in the shredded cheese and dry mustard until the sauce is smooth. Pour over 1 pound of hot, cooked and drained macaroni.

I don’t even bother to bake it, just coat the noodles and serve. Yum!

2 Comments on “Placesettings: Grandkids set the table for a party”

  1. luray says:

    Love that centerpiece, it’s all sparkle and unstudied frivolity. How wonderful that you let the littles set the table without any fuss or “perfecting” after they were done. It must have been a wonderful party!

    • janeray says:

      I think they had a good time! There certainly wasn’t any macaroni and cheese left over, but I couldn’t persuade them to eat the green Christmas balls (peas). 🙂