Children, Creative Ideas, Family, Uncategorized

You’re invited to a tea party!

tea party invitationEarlier this year, Girl Child had a birthday party. And it nearly got away from me. She had asked for a tea party…a fancy one. With pretty things. And real tea. And tea cups.

My imagination started running wild with possibilities and ideas. Can you even imagine how adorable a little girl’s tea party would be?? Of course I started with the invitation- you can buy this template from Etsy here.

Tea Party decorations

With some brain-storming and lots of lists, here’s what I came up with. And mind you, saving money was the name of the game here.

So, how do you organize a little girl’s tea party without breaking the bank? Dollar Store, my friend. I was able to get a bunch of things that translated into fancy for very little money here. Things like “silver” plates, paper doilies, pink artificial flowers, pink crinkle paper, glass vases, toy pink bead jewelry, pink feathery boas, pink polka dot paper party plates, party favors…I picked up everything that looked delicate, fancy and formal. And I walked out spending $23. Thank you very much!

Once I had a lot of pink things for the tea party, I had a basic idea of what I wanted to spread to look like. The center-piece of the party, if you will. From there, I started rummaging throughout my house to find anything that looked like it belonged in a tea party. I found my grandmother’s old linens, small tea cups and tea pots, little teddy bears with lacy dresses and high tea hats, jewelry boxes, several unique tea pots, ceramic floral serving plates…all sorts of things.

Tea party spread

The idea here was to make a long table that would have all the food and tea spread out and have it nestled among all the pretty things so it would be a treat for the eyes to find the little treasures that gently say “yes this is a fancy tea party!”

Next up is the goodie bags. I didn’t want to use plastic bags because plastic bags do not say “fancy”! Instead, I used brown paper lunch bags and I folded a small doily evenly over the top. I then punched two holes in the top and tied the bag with brown twine. A simple and sweet way to deliver magical bubbles, a glow-in-the-dark wand, some bracelets and candies to attendees of the party.

tea party table decorationsEventually, I had to make a trip to Hobby Lobby to get some other items but I really tried to keep my purchase small because Hobby Lobby has the ability to make me see and buy things I didn’t know I needed!

So I bought a pink cupcake holder with sweet pink toile accents, tissue poofs for the wall decorations, floral paper napkins, and little bows to tie around the napkins with pink, plastic forks and spoons. My mother-in-law had small tea cups that were perfect for the girls and each one was beautiful and unique!

tea party spreadThe food: A friend graciously baked the cupcakes for us and they were amazing, of course! We went with ham and cheese tea sandwiches and used princess cookie cutters to cut the sandwiches into little castles, high heel shoes and crowns. My mother-in-law and I made an assembly line to cut up 48 sandwiches! We had strawberries that I dipped in melted white chocolate and then dipped in sprinkles. I served carrots, cookies, apples and grapes along with our main event of hot tea.

I had different flavors of tea available for the attendees to choose from. And we had little sugar cubes, which the girls just loved!

tea party activitiesWe had some crafts, coloring and a game of balance the sugar cube on the spoon relay race, which the girls all loved. And thanks to my sweet mother-in-law, each girl got to take home her tea cup as a special keepsake!

All in all, the tea party was a success and I managed to keep the cost down to just under $125 for everything!

 

 

Adventure Club, Children

Teacups and Tenderness

We had our weekly Adventure Club meeting (read here about our Adventure Club!) and this week we are working on our Manners badge. I figured a great way to practice manners would be with a tea party!

IMG_8688From what we see in the world today, manners are hard to find. The fabric of our society has been bleached and torn to the point where people serve only themselves and not their fellow man. There is no love for others at large.

This is a hard concept to swallow when I look at my beautiful daughter all of seven years old, filled with hope and anticipation of the world she sees…one where people go to church, there is love in the home, laughter is scattered throughout the day and the evening brings sweet dreams in a warm bed. How do I prepare her for the gray, dull world without popping the bubble of her lovely picture of life?

As we pick out the tea cups, we talk about why we use manners. We don’t do it because it’s the rule. We do it because we want the best for others. We want to give them a hand to help, to support them, to encourage them, to honor them and to recognize them.

So we wait for the hostess of the tea party to pull out her chair before we sit as a way to show her we honor the hard work that went into putting the tea party together. We hold open a door for someone with hands full to recognize that person and to demonstrate that we value the importance of what that person is doing…even if what that person is doing is buying groceries for their own family. That’s important to them and therefore we honor that importance with helping by holding open the door for them.

The desire to use good manners must come from a genuine interest inside of us to want to help other people. We show them love by doing so. Saying ‘thank you’ isn’t just words. It shows the other person that we value what they did. Picking up something that someone else dropped is a way to reenforce the care we have towards others- though we may not know each other, we do look out for each other. We care for each other.

IMG_8684We talked a bit about this over the course of our tea party and I reminded girl child of scripture that says “…‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40). We talked about who the “brothers” are in this passage. Brothers are everyone around you. Everyone you come in contact with.

So every time you smile at someone you’ve done it unto the Lord.
Every time you let someone have your chair on the bus, you’ve done it unto the Lord.
Every time you share your toy with a friend or sister, you’ve done it unto the Lord.
Every time you give your lunchtime apple to the hungry, homeless man on the street, you’ve done it unto the Lord.

Always do things for others knowing that you’ve done it unto the Lord. This will keep your heart and mind in the right place as you navigate through the gray, dull world. What you will see is light and hope in those small moments when a smile is exchanged.