Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Napkins and Place Mats. It has started

I've been talking a lot about getting cloth napkins lately. (And thinking about it even more) I think it's a great way to cut down on our paper trash. And I figured with enough napkins, I can just wait and wash them with a load of towels so I wouldn't be creating an extra load.

Well, then I got to thinking about place mats. And if we had cloth napkins and place mats, I could give Daughter a 'fun' new job. She could set the table for dinner. I also thought that giving her a job she could be excited about that involved sitting at the table to eat would encourage more family meals. win, win, win.

SamsClub.com has 24 napkins (various colors) for $17.43. That's .72 a napkin. I thought that was a pretty good price, especially since the product reviews were good. but I wasn't sure we needed 24. Actually, I had no idea how many we would need/should get. AND more importantly what color I wanted.

WHITE. yes, that's what I really wanted. But after talking to a couple of friends (and Husband) I was talked out of white. So if not white, what? something else equally neutral. French Vanilla? Sandalwood? both available. Eh, I decided to think about it. I still really wanted white, I just had stain doubts now.

Well, now to the place mat question. Tina sent me the link for making no-sew place mats. Perfect, now if I just had a fabric store within 40 minutes. I don't. That puts the 'make my own place mats' idea on hold until I can get some time away from the kids to visit a fabric store. Hopefully soon.

After a week of thinking about all this, I decided to get enough napkins and place mats to at least start the setting the table routine with Daughter.

First, I cleaned out a low drawer in the buffet that would be "her" drawer for napkins and place mats.

Second, since we were going to Sam's Club ANYWAY on Sunday, we stopped to look at napkins. The store we looked at (wasn't our normal Sam's) didn't have the 24 pack, but they did have an 8 pack. The price came out to .90 a napkin. I thought this was respectable and would give us a good start and idea on how many we would need. Now, guess what color we got. not white. not beige, not tan, not cream ... black. I'm still not sure why, other than that's what Husband suggested and I didn't want him to feel excluded from the process. black? seriously.

Home from Sam's, we decided we were going to have a salad for dinner. (this is relevant, I promise) but we only had spinach, onion, feta, bacon and croutons (and Husband's homemade dressing). Daughter and I loaded up in the car to pick up a cucumber and a few avocados. Seriously, these are the standard for our salads ... add pine nuts and it would be perfect.

Anyway, at Wal-mart I think, 'well, I'm here. I might as well price place mats' Home department - there are about 5 choices. The cheapest was the vinyl place mats for $1. The most expensive was a few dollars. I didn't really see any of the more expensive ones I liked and was glad about that because I didn't want to spend $3 on one place mat. Then I get the idea to check out the Seasonal department. SCORE. Those place mats were only a dollar. I picked green. Well, I asked Daughter and she picked green.

Back at home, I show Daughter her buffet drawer, put the napkins and place mats in it and then take out one of each to show her how to do it.

This is the table after She finished setting it. (notice the price sticker from the place mat stuck to the table and a green hot wheels van in the center of the table ... All Daughter's idea)
She got really excited by the whole process and of course the praise hyped her up. We kept telling her how this was her job and how she was already very good at it. yada yada yada. She loved it. "I did ALL BY SELF, Mommy"

This is what my place looked like with all the colors melded together. Notice how I seriously have a love for croutons. AND the Alabama souvenir cup. I like it ONLY because I can sit down to eat a meal and not have to get up to refill my ice water with extra lemon. it's a nice size for the girl who likes to drink a lot.
Now, I am under no delusion that my black, green, blue table is beautiful and elegant and a decorating masterpiece. It doesn't clash and my Daughter got to set the table and we didn't waste any paper napkins. and right now, that's good enough for me.


Tina said...

I have white because I can bleach the crap out of them and not really care because, um, they're white!

I love it and it looks pretty. Daughter did a great job setting the table.

Jennifer said...

Good for her! Lily likes to set the table too. I have a huge collection of left-over partyware. She picks a different napkin for all of us. It also encourages us all to eat dinner together as a family at the table.
If you don't find any fabric you like, you should look for placemats at world market. They alway have them on clearance.

Nicki said...

We have some cloth placemats that Jim picked up one night at CostCo, love them! They're gold, which wouldn't have been the color I'd picked, but I love being able to just toss them in the washer when they're too dirty to just brush off on the deck. :)

I hadn't looked at cloth napkins, but considering how quickly we go through the paper ones, that'd probably be a good idea.

Personally, I think the black and green in your picture look just fine, but that's just me. :)

On teaching Daughter to set the table, good for you for getting her started early! I had a time in the beginning getting mine to do it because it was never reinforced by her mother (and Jim never really had a dining table). :P

Nicki said...

PS ... stadium cups are a MUST for me as well! ;)

bossyboots2823 said...

i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the black and green!! Sooo colors I would've chosen--and the colors I want in my future wedding! LoL. I adore the fact she set the table--and the car in the middle is the best centerpiece! :) ~Brittney

deweyftw said...

love it! love the colors, love the new tradition for ROS...all of it! also, i love your "cast of characters" sidebar. TOO CUTE!