A couple of years ago, a friend gave me a couple of colored butcher paper rolls to use for crafts with my kids, the problem was that I didn't know what to do with them. Last year, as Summer began, I rolled one onto the dining table and I decided to leave it there, as a table cloth. At dinner time, the kids looked at me wondering if there was something they had to do with it, or perhaps I forgot to pick the butcher paper up. Then I explained that we would not have to clean the table, only dust off the crumbs at the end of our meals. That's it? Really? OK, ok, so I had to think of something else to do with it other than just let it lay there. So I brought our marker/crayon box and set it in the middle of the table. The rules were, draw or write whatever you felt like, anywhere on the butcher paper, even add on to someone else's drawing. It was a hit!
This year, I went for blue butcher paper (left picture below, with my daughter, Summer) and hope to have as much fun as we did last year. In addition, I also hung up some red paper on our built in hutch (which, as you can see, is a project in itself) so that we may have some fun with finger painting. I also thought of hanging some paper on our wall for Summer notes, or more finger painting, but I am not sure I will get to that this year.
These small, inexpensive activities are conversation starters, they add art to the dinner table, and the kids are allowed to write and doodle as we eat. It comes with summertime and it goes when school begins. And once it gets very dirty, I just throw it out and lay down some more paper. Oh, I almost forgot. I like to mark the beginning of Spring by removing the extension to our dinning table. We have a smaller, table for four until the fall. During the colder seasons, I add the extension as I change the decor to reflect the time of year.
And to go with the no fuss butcher-paper table cloth, here is a no fuss, fun, summertime recipe that the children can help make, or if they are old enough to work with the stove, they can cook it themselves:
1. Heat a comal, a flat griddle, to a medium heat.
2. Spread pizza sauce on half of flour tortillas.
3. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese (or your favorite cheese) over the pizza sauce.
4. Top the cheese with favorite toppings, like pepperoni, green chile, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.
5. Place the open tortilla on the hot comal for about a minute or so, then fold the half that does not have any ingredients over to the other side of the tortilla, to cover the other half.
6. After a couple of minutes, flip the tortilla over to the other side and leave for a couple of minutes.
7. Once the cheese is melted, remove from the comal, and serve.
Eat as a dinner, or cut it up in slices as a snack. Serve with a side salad, or by itself. The family will love this easy, fun, kid friendly recipe.