The sugar spoon was a gift from my Grandma Pooh...it has a tiny teapot on top.
Isn't it adorable?
This Saturday the ladies had tea time at Blessing Farm. While Hubby took the boys off the a local historic plantation for a Civil War re-enactment, meeting some friends there, and having a literal "blast" (I hear there was quite a bit of cannon fire), the ladies gathered at home for the genteel practice of having tea.
I got up early and ground some white wheat to make my family's favorite Bran Muffins (recipe below), and they turned out moist and scrumptious (it's a good recipe, you should try it). Ladybug had talked me into buying some lemon cake at the grocery store after our Antique Mall trip the night before (it was the same price to buy the pre-made lemon cake made as it was to buy a lemon cake mix and icing to top it with), so we had that to grace our table as well.
We brewed up a pot of my favorite Earl Grey tea (decaffeinated, since the children were drinking it with us), and the girls helped Nanny set the table with their little tea sets and our "grown up" one (another delightful Antique Mall find using my Christmas gift certificate from Bubba...two beautfiul tea pots, four scalloped edged serving plates, and a matching creamer and sugar dish). We each had a cup and saucer (they are from Ladybug's set, a gift from Miss S. on her birthday), a small cake plate (some of my milk glass plates), a tiny spoon for stirring (from...the Antique Mall...I LOVE that place), and a crocheted-edged napkin (a set of four...a gift to Ladybug from Lady L...thank you, Lady L.).
Thankfully, baby Boo decided he wanted a nap(really, he did), so we laid him down in his bed, turned on some sweet classical music, lit a vanilla candle, and sat down to pleasant repast. We started with a prayer to bless the food, then taught the girls how to serve tea using their tiny tea pots. It took some practice, but by the third tiny tea cup, both Ladybug and Firefly were scarcely spilling a drop.
Isn't it adorable that they wanted to use the tiny tea sets instead of regular-sized cups?
I just love Ladybug's pinky finger...soooo refined! ;-)
Nanny and I enjoyed talking with the little girls about delightful little girl things during our time with them. In between our amiable chatting:
We showed them how to take only half of what your eyes tell you they want, then to ask for more when you are done with that
We demonstrated how to put their napkins on their laps and use them to dab at their lips when needed.
Firefly swallowed her tea the wrong way a few times and got to practice the etiquette of coughing into her napkin, face away from the table.
We practiced NOT talking with our mouth full.
We explained why it is rude to reach across someone to get something you want, and helped them learn to ask, "Please pass the sugar," and "May I please have another slice of cake" with a sweet voice.
We taught them what topics are approriate for the table, and which ones are not (though I don't think it is really the girls who need help in this area...at least not at our house. Maybe we will have to include the boys next time!).
Lastly, we explained how a pleasant expression and an agreeable disposition says more about you than a hundred words can...and how kind words make your company feel welcome.
Here we all are in our dining room, just about ready to start the fun!
Our tea time was a time of learning manners, but also a time of pleasantries and fun. I will cherish the precious memories forever. I am so glad we had our tea time. I can't wait until it is time for the next one. We will have to invite friends next time, so the girls can practice their manners in company.
I hope you have a blessed day...and don't forget to take time for tea in your busy week. You will be glad you did!
I think Firefly learned the lesson about having a pleasant expression!
Bran Muffins (modified from the classic All-Bran recipe)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1 1/4 cup flour (I used 3/4 cup freshly milled white wheat flour, 1/2 cup white flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Put 1 1/4 cup milk in a different bowl Add 2 cups bran cereal...you may use All-Bran, but bran flakes of any brand work (I do soak them a bit longer)
Soak for 10 minutes
Add the following to the soaked cereal mixture:
1 large egg
1/2 cup chunky applesauce (you may use another type, but this one works very well to make a nicely textured muffin)
2 TBS oil
if available, sometimes I add one diced apple (peeled and cored, of course)
Stir gently, then add flour mixture and mix until combined.
Spray muffin sheet or line with papers, then fill each 2/3rds full. This works well with either 12 regular or 6 jumbo muffins.
Bake for 15-18 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Muffins will be firm, but the toothpick will not be entirely clean. These muffins are very moist and are delectable for breakfast topped with fresh butter. Enjoy!