I’m really excited about tomorrow night. With some of my sweet church sisters as my guests, I’m trying the dinner party/recipe exchange idea that I read about at BooMama’s. If it goes well, I’d like to try it later with the ladies in my neighborhood and in my homeschool group, too. It’s a more formal style than we usually entertain, but like The Little Engine that Could, I keep saying, “I think I can, I think I can!” Unfortunately, my kids don’t seem to share my optimism.

After the etiquette classes my 9- and 6-year-old daughters and 11-year-old son took in our homeschool co-op before their recent cotillion, I think they are capable of setting the table for dinner at the White House. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way they began to examine yours truly and decided I was lacking in this department. It all began the week when their homework was to set the table before dinner each night. They were obviously quite disappointed when they realized that not only would we not need a very formal place setting or a basic formal place setting, but often we didn’t even use all of the utensils for a simple place setting. I’m just a practical person; we generate enough dirty laundry and dishes around here already without having to clean items we won’t actually use, and four of the nine people at our table are age six and under.

This week, my oldest daughter has been leaving her etiquette notebook on my desk, “In case I need to study.” She has also told me that she plans to set the table for Friday night. It’s actually very sweet, except for the (unintentional) condescension of it. . .{sigh}. I know my limitations, one of which is that by not drinking coffee I don’t know how to make it. Hopefully I have solved this problem by asking a friend who is an amazing cook (she catered her own wedding and has a recipe in last year’s Southern Living cookbook!) to bring coffee (last time she even brought her own grinder and pot). Fortunately, I plan to serve my fudge truffle cheesecake, which should cover a multitude of sins.

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