Friday, July 31, 2009

7 Quick Takes--To plan a Tea Party!

Since Violin Mama asked me about it, I thought I'd write this Friday's Quick Takes about steps to planning a Tea Party for those little ladies in your life! I'm certainly no tea party pro, but we do know how to have a fun time! Here are some ideas...

Let the girls come up with ideas. Who do they want to invite? When do they want the party? What kind of attire (princess, ballerina, etc)? What kind of foods? You'll need to guide this discussion a little, especially if you have some opinions of your own. For our most recent party, they picked the day and I picked the time (2pm so I wouldn't be responsible for feeding lunch and so baby could still get a nap). They picked the attire, I picked most of the food. And we came up with the guest list together, trying to include as many young friends as possible. Next time I think we'll just open it to our whole group, because as I mentioned before I always end up leaving someone out.

Email your friends! The girls always want to send "real" invitations which would be way cute, but I am so horribly bad with snail mail it just doesn't work. This time I just sent the email 2 days before...I am totally last-minute and all my friends know that! We are a flexible crowd :) I said they could bring a snack to share, but it wasn't necessary, told them the day and time, directions to my house, and the princess/ballerina attire instruction. An e-vite would be another great way to do it; you could also have people sign up to bring certain dishes if needed. In our case, I usually prefer to just let it fall into place. Oh and I always mention in the invitation that siblings are welcome! We have a very kid-friendly house!

Seating: We were blessed to receive 2 wonderful trapezoid school tables and 4 chairs from the generous previous owners of our house! I believe that Lillian said they bought these second-hand from one of those yard-sale-every-day homes in a neighboring town. I believe she also mentioned the tables being in the back of the house and needing to negotiate the price in Spanish. I think I need to take a Spanish-speaking friend there to buy some more chairs in the not-too-distant future. I love having these!

We also have a small wooden table with 2 chairs that I bought at a church sale when Mary Clare was a toddler. It has served us well. So right now we have kid chairs for 6. I pushed the little tables up against the fireplace to create a "bench" for more girls, making enough seating for 10. My initial plan was to have some of the girls at the coffee table, and maybe some of the older girls at the kitchen table, but in the end we had enough space for all of them to sit. I know some people have regular dining or kitchen tables that work for a party like this, but we only have 4 adult chairs (and well, 5 in the garage I need to paint and recover), and I like having it at the kid tables. It works for us!

Table settings: First you'll need a tablecloth. For this party I used some white bedskirts and one white tablecloth! Then you'll need a tea set, or a few tea sets. The girls have 2 mini tea sets and on the morning of the party I emailed my friends to see if anyone else had a small tea set they could bring. They did. I like the mini-size for the small girls, but another idea is to find some secondhand china tea sets. I'd like to find some of these in the future. Having some plastic plates, cups, and forks are also important so the moms or siblings can snack. The girls needed bigger plates for some of the food anyway. As with any party, a permanent marker is usually a useful item so guests can write their names on their cups!


Flowers: You can't have a tea party without some pretty flowers! Now, lots of people would probably choose fresh flowers for ambiance. But I went a different route. I had 3 blue & white vases I had bought at the dollar store a few months back. When I went to Wal-Mart to buy the snacks, I came across some mini thumb-print glass vases (I think that's what they were called, the ones with the pink flowers) for about 70 cents each. Then I bought three $1 stems of fake flowers. So for less than $6 I was able to buy flowers to fill 6 small vases (plus I already had the taller blue & white vase pictured) and now I have little flower vases to put all around the house! I love real flowers but don't love how quickly they die.

The menu: For an afternoon tea, you really only need a few snacks. Some options we usually include are cheese/crackers, fruit, pretzels, raw veggies/ranch dip, cookies, and popcorn. We had friends bring some other items (graham crackers, cereal bars, rice crispy treats, cream puffs, etc). The favorite treats of the party were the sugar cookie princess cutouts which one family brought, along with icing and sprinkles for the girls to decorate. They loved this! Using fancy plates and platters make things look even prettier, but the young ones likely won't notice if the sugar cookies are served on a plastic plate or a silver platter!

We didn't make them for the tea party, but mini cupcakes would be a great hit! Here's Ellie icing some yesterday. We realized that putting them in the heart muffin tin will actually make them keep a heart shape. They are really cute!

For drinks: We're not really tea drinkers, so we usually serve juice or lemonade. This time I never found the time to make the apple juice from the frozen concentrate can I had in the freezer, so it was all lemonade for all our guests. This is something I can do better on next time! The girls loved serving the lemonade from the mini-teapots. So cute!

Don't stress out and have fun! The girls will follow your lead. If you're making a big deal out of it and getting stressed out about things being just-so, the kids will too. So, some juice spills on the, someone breaks a flower, you forget one of the important, someone forgets their costume. So, what!?! Just go with the flow!

As a final note, I will share that I almost canceled last week's tea party because Ellie had been feeling bad with nighttime headaches for 2 nights. Otherwise she seemed well during the day and was even dancing in the pediatrician's office that morning when we had her checked out the morning of the tea party, just in case. Well, it turns out she did have a contagious virus, which the rest of the family came down with the next day, and many of the tea party guests came down with over the weekend. I feel so bad about that! So, make sure you're all healthy at your tea party...Have fun...And share some pictures!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Biking Family!

July. 100 degrees. Humid Texas heat.
Still we bike on!
Lovin' the bike days this week :)

and a video of Ellie's continued biking improvements!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Day of Firsts for Ellie

riding her bike without training wheels!

big sis showing her how

lil bro enjoying watching it all

then off to the pool...relaxing

happy girl

Video memories of the her biking, sliding, and diving today! Way to go, Ellie!

Friday Fun Fotos

Friday Fun at Freebirds

They let you create foil art and display it all over the restaurant
This was my inaugural attempt at foil art

Jesus on the Cross (hard to see in the foto)

We'll see if they keep that one up very long...

Then we went over to a nearby park, which is apparently the big hangout to mooch off the big-name concerts in the outdoor pavilion next door. We'll definitely be doing this again! We're all for the freebies!

A sweet sibling moment at the park

Hope you're all having a super Sunday! I'm hopefully off to Zumba class in a few minutes; should be fun!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I can't write an intelligible reflective entry right now,

but I can offer you a photo of the cute little princess tea party we hosted yesterday! They had so much fun! Last week I got confused on the date of a princess thing at the library, which devastated Ellie in particular, so the girls created their own idea for a tea party at our house. It's always hard to plan things like this with so many little homeschool friends; I always end up leaving someone out. I guess next time we'll just add another table and find some more chairs (I need to get that school table/chair info from you, Lillian) and tea sets. But it's really pretty easy to plan and they really enjoy it; I'll have to do it again soon!

I have a slightly perfectionist child,

which is interesting because everyone else in the family is totally anti-perfectionist, especially her older sister!

Ellie started sobbing in the kitchen. I found her with cup #4, and she didn't like the way her "R" was turning out. I didn't see the cups #1-3 yet and quickly grabbed another cup and appeased her by writing "HPR" on cup #5 myself. Then I found the stack of the other 3 cups. I'm not sure what she was trying to write, but she apparently is very particular about how her letters look. We'll be having a fun time when I start working with her more on reading and writing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Saturday Morning Date

took the kids to shipley's, the best donuts ever!
ellie chose pink of course

mary clare the big girl (she looks so old to me now with her haircut)

jojo with his bag of donut holes and enjoying the sugar off his lip!

how can i get more of those?

then on to the children's museum
stevie was the only one slow enough for me to get pictures!
loved the magnets

balls, of course

big sis showing him around

playing with all the boys in the train area

there was a concert going on, the kids loved it

especially the bubble machine!

the big comfy couch

fun times!

Friday, July 17, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes of Steven Joseph and his cousin at Fudruckers yesterday:

here we are together

i'll help you out!

or we can just hit each other

this isn't funny anymore, let us out!

where is the food???

ah, yum

sippy cup sweetie

thanks for hosting, jen!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Recital in our Playroom!

A few days ago the girls planned out a dance recital performance in the playroom, complete with paper tickets, audience seating, a curtain, and the playhouse porch as the stage! Steven Joseph is ready for it to start!

Ellie was the dancer and Mary Clare was the instructor. Here's the performer with her sidekick, doing a curtsy, and crossing her arms in frustration about something!

The video is really hilarious with Mary Clare telling Ellie what to do and then SJ joining in on the dance. Oh, how these kids make me laugh! Just another day in the life!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Price My Space!

I'm joining another linky party today, yay! The Nester asks us to share what we spent on some items in our home! As I mentioned the other day, my creative vibes are coming back so I've been fixing up my room all purty :-) Here she is...

1. Area Total=$8
Nightstand--gift from family I lived with in college and painted white with extra wall paint=free!
Lamp--found this at Goodwill last week, $3. Already had the shade.
St. Francis icon--I think we bought this in Rome, maybe $5.
Other framed flower print--my mom=free!

2. Total=$400
King mattress & boxspring--$300 in the clearance room at Gallery Furniture
Two Tempurpedic pillows--$125 each minus $200 coupon at Gallery Furniture=$50
other pillows and pillowcases--already had, maybe $5 for the pillows
Fitted sheet, bedskirt--$10 each at Target/Walmart
Duvet--returned a gift and got this at Marshall's=free
Duvet cover--$20 at Target
Handpainted "headboard"--painted myself with wall paint=free!
"B" initial on metal barrel lid--painted myself with paint we had=free!

3. Total=negative $5!
Nightstand--from my grandma and painted white=free!
St. Clare icon--$5 in Italy
Vase with flowers and little framed print--already had or stole from my mom=free!
Twin mattress on floor for nighttime visitors--negative $10, bought a trundle bed and sold it for more than I bought it for while keeping the mattress :)
bedding on twin bed--from my parents=free!
overdue library book on nightstand=???

4. Total =$8
White curtains--from sis-in-law=free
Blue floral curtains--found at Goodwill last week=$5
Curtain rod--left by previous owners=free!
Curtain rod holders that hubby picked up today so the rod wasn't hanging in the middle=$3
Little white doves painted by me today=free

5. Total=$0
Framed prints on the right--my aunt picked up for me at an auction=free
Other frames and pictures--wedding gifts=free/minimal photo development
Vase and flowers--wedding decor
Willow tree figurines--gifts
Other vase you can't see and little bowls above the mirror--from my mom
Dresser--my grandma's that needs a paint job=free

The other wall I didn't picture holds another similar dresser from grandma and some wall shelves and framed photos that probably total about $20. (it also bears a suitcase and some bags and messes from recent trips, which is why it isn't pictured here ;) and to make it even, I'll say the blue paint from Wal-Mart was about $18.

Most of that spent on the mattress
Moral of the story-thrift shops are good, family who has furniture, bedding, and knickknacks to hand down to me=awesome!

I've mentally tried to price the furniture in my whole house and am pretty sure it's around $1500, maybe closer to $2000 including all the accessories/photos/frames. A lot of that was spent on our used leather set we bought last year for $700. We are tightwads, and blessed with hand-me-downs, that's for sure!

Do you think I should leave the dresser or paint it???
Related Posts with Thumbnails
site design by designer blogs