Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Grace's Tea Party

Grace's tea party on Saturday was absolutely lovely!  The girls that attended were so sweet and a real pleasure to spend a few hours with.  Since Grace is turning 10, I wanted to make sure that the tea was sweet but also that it felt like it was meant for older girls and not princessy or cutesy in any way.  We kept everything really simple and focused mainly on the food and drink.

I have to be honest.  I've wanted to make this teapot cake for a very long time (it's from MS Kids).  It's just so sweet and feminine.  I love how it turned out!

I was doubtful that the girls would want to drink tea, so I made sure that I also had apple juice.  However, the girls totally surprised me by drinking lots of tea!  We had to brew extra pots!  I think that the rose sugar cubes that I made helped.  And the chocolate stirrers!  My friend Cathy let me borrow her beautiful collection of teacups.

For finger sandwiches, I made cucumber, chicken salad and jelly sandwiches.  I also served scones, clotted cream and lemon curd.  Strawberries were also a hit.

Bryce and Harris were the tea attendants.  Harris took his job very seriously.

I must say that the girls took the tea with all seriousness.  They used their very best manners and were so kind to each other in their conversations and interactions with each other.  I feel very blessed that Grace has made such good friends.

When the girls first arrived they spent a little time decorating a plain paper mache purse.  We put out glitter pens, stickers and jewels for them to use in their decorating.  These were also their favor that they took home.  Inside, we tucked candy rings, sweet pencils and lollipop teapots.

I considered purchasing white gloves and bonnets for each child but I honestly couldn't justify spending the money on things that they would most likely never use again.  Instead, I bought bracelets and fun hair accessories at Target.  They picked out what they wanted and wore them throughout the tea and then they got to take them home.

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day

The other day as we were walking home from school, Harris read a book to Grace and I and was delighted with himself for doing so.  As he finished the book he said, "You know some people read books while they are plowing."  I asked him if he was speaking of Abraham Lincoln and he was thrilled to answer in the affirmative.  So of course today, President's Day, we read about our sixteenth president, our first president and even about a duck and a girl who wanted to be president.  Our newest book about Abraham Lincoln, Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman was an engaging and fun glimpse into him not just a president, but as a father, husband and a man.

Afterwards, we pulled out coins, looked at each one and talked about how our money prominently features Presidents.  We then used Shrinky Dinks to make our own coins (I got the idea here).  It was a fun, quick and easy project to do!

P.S.  I'm still loving the poster we made last year!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tea Party Invitation

On Saturday we are having small gathering to celebrate Grace turning 10.  She decided to invite a few* dear friends over for a tea party and even though we aren't going into full-on party mode, I couldn't help but make invitations!

I couldn't find any scrapbook paper that I liked for the invitation, so I ended up buying vellum and glueing it to a solid color piece of paper.  We wrote the party information on teabag shaped paper and then made a slit for it to fit into on the teapot.  For the top of the teapot we added a puff ball.  I'm so happy with how they turned out!

*This is a very last minute gathering.  Grace was worried about some of her other friends not attending and so we decided to keep this very small and do a non-birthday party in the late spring or early summer!  I've always wanted to throw an outdoor party for one of the children and it's something for us to look forward to!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine Favorites

Here are some of my favorite things from our Valentine's Day...

Heart Cereal (that is corn free!) for breakfast 

Sparkly heart shoes (they are clip-ons!)

An after school snack

A trail of kisses, leading to even more kisses.

Individual heart pizzas 

and doughnuts that my Mom brought to dinner.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Grace's Valentines

Grace's Valentines this year might be my favorite one we've ever made!  We decided to give out large gum balls (you can buy packages of different colors at Party City) with the saying, "You blow my mind, Valentine."  Of course, she had to "test" the gum ball and I used that opportunity to grab my camera and get some shots while she blew bubbles!  I don't have Photoshop so I had to do a little bit of playing around in order to tweak the picture, but I found an app, Color Splash Studio, that will allow you to put selective color back into a picture!  I also used alpha block in Pages to take out the background.  I love how they turned out and so does Grace!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Harris' Valentine

I really love the children's Valentines this year!  For Harris' Valentine we used heart shaped earth lollipops  that lent themselves easily to a "You are out of this world" theme.  I cut black rectangles out of card stock and Harris wrote and drew stars on each one with a metallic pen.  We used a scrapbooking dot to attach the lollipop (each one was individually wrapped, I took off the wrapper for the sake of the photo!).

Harris also had to make a Valentine box to take to school.  In all honesty, I was dreading this project because I envisioned wrapping it with paper (which I would be doing) and coming up with some crafty decorations.  Instead, Harris had the idea to wrap it in duct tape!  He was able to do it completely on his own, and I think it turned out just perfect!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

100 Day Cookie Number Line

Yesterday, Harris' class celebrated 100 days in school.  For their celebratory snack I had the idea that I wanted to make a number line with cookies.  I'm not sure that anyone would guess that it was a number line, but I thought it was cute nonetheless.  For the line I used a long lollipop stick and since I couldn't stomach cutting out all those little arrows, I used teeny, tiny hearts (I have a small punch).  Also, the dough was too thin to thread through the dough so I just squashed it on top of the stick.  It worked out great- they baked right on!  My favorite thing about this little cooking project was that Harris rolled out the dough and cut each of the numbers out.  He's a great helper!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Snowman Hot Cocoa Stirrers

We've been getting a gentle snowfall since this afternoon!  Naturally, this means that the children wanted to play outdoors for a while after school.  After they came in and had a warm bath they were ready for some hot cocoa.  I think a snowfall always calls for a little something special so I made snowman sticks for the cocoa.  I got the idea out of the December issue of Martha Stewart Living, but realized quickly that I would just have to make mine up as I went along.

For each snowman, I used two large marshmallows and one small, taking a little bit off of the middle one. I stuck nonpareils in for the buttons, eyes and nose.  The hat is a Junior Mint and the scarf is a Starburst*. I discovered that running the skewer through hot water (and quickly drying it), before threading the marshmallows on, makes it a much easier job.  Also, I used the skewer to poke the holes where the nonpareils went.

*Did you know that if you melt a Starburst in the microwave for a few seconds that you can shape it into all sorts of things?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Organized Toiletry Bag

I thought that I would share an organizing tip that I've recently found to be most helpful.

Several months ago, I bought a new toiletry bag since the one I had been using for 15 years finally bit the dust!  I decided that I would go ahead and set up the bag so that it had everything I needed in it and was ready to go at a moments notice.  You know, since we so often jet out at the last minute for a weekend jaunt!  Ha!

I purchased clear jars (no bigger than the 3.4 oz the airlines require) from The Containter Store and Target.  Into these jars I decanted my everyday essentials.  Those things that I couldn't decant- hair gel, deodorant, toothpaste- I just bought travel sizes of.  When we left for our weekend getaway it was so nice to not have to worry about forgetting something and it took less time to pack!  However, I did come home and label the jars because I found that I couldn't remember which was the body wash and which was the shampoo!


Monday, February 6, 2012

A Romantic Getaway

This weekend Bryce and I took a little romantic getaway to Bedford Springs Resort.  To say that it was wonderful is an understatement.  The hotel went through a major renovation five years ago and they left no detail unaccounted for, all the while keeping it's historic significance fully intact and honored.  We had such a lovely and beautiful time there!

Here are some highlights (mingled with pictures of the resort)... 

Our view of Evitts Mountain and the springs pavilion.

Our room opened to a large, shared front porch.

The hallway outside the ballroom and the stairs leading to the lobby.

There are two fireplaces in the lobby that are always burning.  The resort offers tea at 4 and everyone congregates by the fireplaces!

The resort first began purely as a medicinal haven for wealthy families.  They flocked to Bedford to partake in the health benefits of the 8 springs on property.

Bryce and I ate all our meals on property (they have several different eateries).  Our first evening we had a delicious meal at the 1796 House.  

On Saturday morning we woke up to snow falling!  It last all day and it was magical!

We walked to each of the springs and then hiked around a trail on Evitts mountain.  

 After our hike, we got coffee and sat by the fire.  My camera lens was fogged up from the temperature difference!

 The resort offers a historic tour of the hotel which we loved going on.  It was fun to learn about all the different stages of the hotel.  Afterwards, we got tea and played some Scrabble!

On Sunday morning, before we headed home, we indulged ourselves with a trip to the spa.  It was the most beautiful spa I have ever been too!  

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