I discovered last week that my children, especially the oldest, maintain a strong sense of tradition. When I dared to make any changes to the parashat bereishit menu that we had served in previous years, they balked and complained. So, for this week, maybe I'm taking the easy way out, or maybe I'm bowing to the sanctity of tradition :-): We will do towers and rainbows just as we did last year. See the October 2008 archives for a detailed description.
For next year, though, I am already thinking (and polling friends) about foods with animal names. For right now, I think it would be difficult--and somewhat unhealthy--to create a shabbat meal around hot dogs, hush puppies, pigs in a blanket, bear claws, and elephant ears. I'm open to any suggestions, by the way.
One last note:. At school last week, the b'not sherut (two Israeli young women who come to the U.S. to do a year of their national service in an educational institution) sponsored a contest in which students were instructed to make replicas of Noah's ark using recycled materials. Our oldest fashioned her ark out of cardboard boxes, magazine pages, cotton balls, etc. Only later did I discover this great project online at one of my new favorite blogs Creative Jewish Mom that would have made for a wonderfully competitive piece will also serve as an equally adorable centerpiece for shabbat.
Have a colorful and dry shabbat!