A Reformation Tea

Today we had a tea party for Reformation Day. The children suggested that I could decorate sugar cookies with Luther’s Seal, but that sounded a little too complicated, so instead our theme was pumpkins, apples, and cranberries; leaves, orange, red, and yellow.

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We had a nice variety of items on the table. If you click on the individual pictures, you can find out what everything was. We even got to try pumpkin Hershey’s kisses!

This was our first fall tea party, and it was a lot of fun to plan, especially since this is my favorite time of year!

A Tea Party for a Prince

I had promised the children that we’d have a tea party to celebrate the birth of Baby Cambridge (the future King George), but since Ryan was out-of-town last week, we decided to wait until he could join us for our celebration!

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I didn’t have as cohesive of a theme as usual…I threw in a little blue (for the baby boy), with the table runner, some Ghirardelli chocolates from Ryan’s trip, and the variety of tea (Bigelow English Teatime, in a lovely blue box), but I didn’t do anything with blue foods.

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For the most part, we just enjoyed some of our favorite tea party foods, with a new item thrown in (that was so popular, it will definitely become part of the permanent collection!)…an orange poppy-seed cake!

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We had our standard scones:

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And cucumber sandwiches:

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We had coronation chicken for dinner last night, so we enjoyed finger sandwiches made from the leftovers:

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Dried apricots and Cotswold cheese from England:

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Thumbprint cookies and shortbread:

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And, of course, finger jello:

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It was a fun way to celebrate the birth of the future King of England!

A Birthday Tea

Yesterday, we had a birthday tea party. Whose birthday was the cause for the celebration? Why, the Queen’s, of course! Her official birthday, marked by Trooping the Colour, was on Saturday, and we decided to make a long weekend of it, and keep the party going for tea!

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The them for the event was purple (the color of royalty), and crowns (obvious). I also threw in a little bit of green for an accent color, because it just looked so nice. For decorations on the table, we had purple Hershey’s kisses, candles, and purple carnations in a pretty English gin bottle that I’ve been saving for a few years to use as a vase. The tea of choice was Darjeeling, partly because it’s one of my favorite teas, and partly because it comes in a purple box!

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In addition to the tea, we had chocolate chip scones, sugar cookies, open-faced grape jelly sandwiches, and grape jello, all in the shape of crowns.

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We also had coronation chicken finger sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches and some nice reddish/purplish grapes.

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It all made for a very fun birthday celebration!

A Pentecost Tea

I know it’s a week late, but…we had our Pentecost tea party, that I had originally planned to actually have on Pentecost Sunday, a few days ago, but at least it was in the same week! I worked with a theme of red, and, since it’s spring, strawberries (which are conveniently also red!).

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We had lots of fresh strawberries we picked ourselves at Eckert’s:

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And strawberry muffins, made with more of the fruits of our labor (literally!):

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We also had red jello, not strawberry, but cherry, to mix things up:

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Since lemons go so well with strawberries, we had my favorite lemon shortbread:

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We also had chocolate chip scones, just because:

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Some English muffins:

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And a variety of toppings, including a special strawberry-peach jam:

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The tea of choice was Constant Comment, partly because it’s one of my favorites, and partly because it comes in red packets!

P1270165Next month, I’m hoping to have another tea party to coincide with the Queen’s “official” birthday!

A Tea Party for Easter Monday

To extend our Easter celebration, today we had an Easter Monday tea party. The table decorations were fairly simple: the runner we used on St. Patrick’s Day, the Paschal Candle we made on Holy Saturday, and some pretty Hershey’s kisses in pastel foils.

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We had some new items at our party, like deviled eggs:

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And old favorites like cucumber sandwiches:

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Sugar cookies in the shape of chicks and butterflies:

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Faux-linzer cookies, with spring-themed cutouts:

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Jell-O jigglers–both regular, and the creamy variation:

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And bunny-shaped jelly sandwiches:

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I chose a lemon tea for today’s party. Originally, I planned on getting Darjeeling, since it comes in such a pretty purple box (plus, it’s really good!), but I couldn’t get any at the store. I figured lemon fit the theme pretty well, though, so it worked out OK!

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I’m not sure when our next tea party will be. I’m thinking may a red-themed tea for Pentecost, but I’m still recovering from the month of March, so I’ll have to plan that out later!

St. Patrick’s Day Tea Party

Lots of “gold” coins, green, and shamrocks on our table for this tea party!

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Jelly sandwiches:

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Jell-O:

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Cucumber sandwiches (of course!):

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Irish tea cake:

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Sugar cookies:

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Our tea of choice for our St. Patrick’s Day party was Twinings Irish Breakfast. I was afraid that the children wouldn’t like it, because it wasn’t a flavored tea, but they all finished their cups, and some even had seconds!

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A Valentine’s Day Tea Party

I realize that I’m getting farther and farther away from what afternoon tea actually looks like, but I was going for thematic, not authentic. I think I did pretty well! I personally liked the Hershey’s Kisses scattered across the table…festive and delicious!

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Heart-shaped chocolate-strawberry jam sandwiches (the jam was a special treat since I couldn’t find any decent looking strawberries, and we had to settle for grapes instead):

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Cucumber sandwiches (of course!):

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White chocolate cranberry cookies:

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Sugar cookies:

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Cherry jello:

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Salted chocolate-covered caramels:

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Valentine’s Day cakes:

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The tea for the day was Raspberry Royale. I really wanted to get one of the Bigelow Valentine varieties, but I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I settled for something pink!

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Christmas Tea

As long as we’ve spent so much of the year “being British,” we had to have a Christmas tea party. It was especially fun to enjoy our lunch by the light of the Advent wreath.

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The tea of choice was Bigelow’s “Ginger Snappish”–very festive!

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We had old favorites, like cucumber sandwiches:

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And something new and Christmasy–layered finger jello:

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Egg salad sandwiches, turned into Christmas trees:

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English muffins with an extra special treat…Stonewall Kitchen Holiday Jam (yum!):

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Plus, some oranges (it wouldn’t be Christmastime without oranges!), and samples of all of the cookies and various treats we’ve been making for the last week! It was quite a feast, and a nice end to our “Christmas in England” themed Christmas School!

An Olympic Tea Party

Today we had our grandest afternoon tea to date, which is befitting an occasion like the London 2012 Olympics. In addition to trying a new flavor of tea (Vanilla Chai), we had a mixture of old favorites and new treats.

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The old stand-by, cucumber sandwiches:

And a new savory finger sandwich–crab salad. Surprisingly popular with everyone!

Crumpets with red currant jelly (OK, they were actually English muffins, but they looked rather like crumpets!):

Chocolate chips scones and Devonshire cream:

Lemon meltaways (this recipe is definitely going in my permanent collection!):

Viennese chocolate sables, in letter shapes…”O” for the Olympics, and “E” for England (and Queen Elizabeth!):

And some of the most beautiful fresh strawberries I’ve ever seen!

I’m not sure how I can top this tea party. I do think I’ll try, though…I’m thinking a Christmas tea party might be nice in December!

The Cream Tea

Our Diamond Jubilee cream tea was quite a success! I don’t know how authentically British it was (probably not) but it was fun, and the children had a blast.

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Here’s what I served, (in addition to a last-minute addition of dried apricots):

Shortbread cookies

Chocolate chip scones with Devonshire cream (by far the most popular menu item!)

Cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on cocktail rye bread

Red currant jelly sandwiches…diamond shaped, no less!

And, of course, tea, (cinnamon flavored), with cream and sugar!

And we get to do the whole thing again in just over a month during the Olympics!