Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Things I Love Thursdays: Tea Party Edition!

I think I have loved tea parties all my life. I think I love them even more now than when I was a little girl, because they are so easy to do. Well, my tea parties are easy to do, anyway. And if you are lucky enough to have friends like mine who also love tea parties, then you can all pitch in and it very soon turns into something magnificent!

Tea parties are much easier to throw, in my opinion, than dinner parties. It's hard to go wrong when you have a table full of baked goods, sandwiches, and little desserts. And you don't have to be all "matchy, matchy" either! I mean, I suppose at really fancy tea rooms or restaurants or when attending a "high tea," you would expect many elegant pieces of fine china, glassware, etc. But for your home-grown tea party, the more tea cup designs the merrier. Plates and all the other trimmings don't have to match either. Of course, they're lovely if they do, but I have been to small tea rooms where even their dishes didn't match and it didn't matter one iota! 

I loved having tea parties for my girls when they were littler. One that we really enjoyed was a Dolly Tea Party where the girls and their dolls dressed up and we had tea for all of them. Part of the allure is in the preparation and the anticipation of the event to come! For the Dolly Tea Party, I made heart-shaped cookies and Maia (above, and now 17 years old and a graduating high school senior in a few short months!) and I made cookies for the dolls, cutting them out with thimbles! And there were portraits taken too, of course!

We had juice in the tea pot and fruit and that was it! The dollies got to use their own small tea set too.

I have found that children - like grown-ups - often put on their best behavior when they are presented with a lovely situation. Realistically, of course, you must consider that their dignified behavior will last only as long as their age will allow and plan accordingly. The tea cups in the photo, for example, were purchased from a thrift store. I still have them and they are still in use, but if one were to have broken, it would have been no cause of undo tension which might ruin an otherwise marvelous party.

Around the very same time these photos were taken, I was also in the habit of serving my girls breakfast on pretty plates too and I had purchased some inexpensive, cut glass, sturdy stemware that they thought was so beautiful to enjoy their juice in every morning. They felt very fancy and most often behaved that way too! They were children, of course, and allowed to be so, but tea parties and using "fancy" dishes is a delightful way to teach manners.

Presently my girls love tea and drink it nearly every day, as do I. Sometimes they will make their own, impromptu tea parties if they have a special treat and want to make it even more special.

But having tea with friends is the MOST fun. And while it is fun to be waited on from time to time, helping to set it all up is part of the fun of tea parties too - even if you, yourselves are the guests of honor!

One of my favorite tea parties we had was the "Snowflake Tea Party in the Magic Attic" we had in January 2013. It was really wonderful and, strangely enough, put me in mind of Disney World and haunted houses. Disney World and haunted houses? Whatever for, you might ask?

Well, Disney World and haunted houses are all about illusion and the illusion always works on the younger crowd the best! Our guests ranged in age from 4 years to 8 years old. I don't know how much they will all remember of the day, but we (ourselves and another homeschooling family) wanted to create a magical environment. We hung snowflakes all over the ceiling and had twinkly lights on the way up to the attic to set the mood. We all prepared treats with a "snow" theme and everyone wore blue and white. It was so much fun to do!

The big girls got to have fun too, as we decorated until 1 a.m., had a sleepover and then were up preparing the tea bright and early. My Eve, (above on the far right) even got a fancy hairdo before the guests arrived.

Do check out that post! There are many other photos that show just how beautiful it was, how hard the girls worked, and the little guests that enjoyed it! I think you'll enjoy reading about it!

Children are quite selective in what they notice, so the environment didn't have to be perfect. I hope what they will remember from that day will be the kind, teenage girls that waited on them and the pretty snowflakes that hung all around them as they enjoyed (too many!) treats with their friends high above the city in a magic attic!

And finally, I wrote about our most recent Christmas Tea Party in THIS post. This year, the same group of us decided not to host for little ones, but to treat ourselves instead and we had a wonderful, beautiful, memorable day that just may become a tradition.

And that is the beauty of tea parties. They make us feel special. Whether we have one for ourselves, or for our friends, or throw one for others, it is a little bit of pampering that elevates the day from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

I am participating this week with Mom's Small Victories linkup party. Be sure to stop by to find a bunch of fun blog writers profiling some of their old, favorite posts!

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