Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Tea Time: A Delightful Tea Party Fit For Any Princess

Tea parties are always so much fun, and pretty easy to pull off with flair.  A friend is planning a tea party for her daughter's 4th birthday and I have had a blast helping her come up with ideas.

She found an adorable assortment of hats for the girls to adorn themselves with upon arrival.  Feather boas would be a fun addition too. Girls of this age love to dress up, and anything fancy will work for a tea party!

Decor is easy- anything pink or pastel will create a magical tea time.  A borrowed pink cloth table cloth and napkins help to add a grown-up feel to this playful party, which makes the party all the more fun for the little ones.  They love dressing up and "being grown-up."

An assortment of tea cups and saucers will also add whimsy.  A quick google search found the above assortment on  Several mixed sugar and creamer sets, placed strategically on the table will allow the girls to practice serving themselves without having to reach too far around the table.  You could search thrift stores and garage sales, but for something like this I would probably borrow from friends.  Don't we all have a set that came with our wedding china?

You could also borrow the tea cups, but I think it would be fun to send each child home with their teacup as a party favor.

Tea food is so much fun.  Strawberries and cream are easy to do ahead (whip the cream within 30 minutes of the party and keep in a chilled bowl in the fridge) and are so elegant but also kid-friendly. Strawberries are on The DIRTY DOZEN list, so I really think it's worth buying organic ones.

Cucumber and cream cheese (or toffuti for those who are dairy-free) sandwiches are a must-have.  Cut off the crusts and cut into shapes and a regular old sandwich becomes extra fancy!  Fluffernutter sandwiches would also be a fun treat.

Scones and lemon curd are a tea time staple and are easy to make ahead.

The only other thing needed for a traditional tea is petit fours.  These dainty little cakes are absolutely delectable and gorgeous, but IMHO are labor intensive and time-consuming.  I would definitely purchase these from your favorite bakery.

For a craft, I love the idea of making a tea tray to carry their tea cups and saucers home on!  IHeartorganizing has a quick and easy tutorial for this.

I would pre-paint the "found" frames, but an assortment of scrapbook paper to size, and let the girls choose their paper to complete their tray.  You could even let them decorate the paper with stickers or crayons before putting it inside the frame.  If you have access to a photo printer, a tea-time print of each child would make this a keepsake of the event.

You could also use the tea cups or the tray for the invitation, but I like the idea of a little tea tin filled with an assortment of teas.  You could personalize each one and put the invitation details right on the tin. I love the idea of giving guests something that will create PARTY BUZZ.  Being able to sample different teas and seeing the invitation on the tin is sure to get the kiddos excited each time they brew a bag.

And as for the TEA, for little ones, I like to use Celestial Seasonings Fruit Teas.  They are easy to find, cost effective and the fruit teas are caffeine free.  If you buy the sampler on amazon, you can use a few to stuff each tea tin and still have plenty left for the party at the tea.  Gather a few different tea pots and brew an assortment of teas for the kids to enjoy.  For children, I like to put an ice cube in each cup and pour the hot tea over it.  This quickly cools the tea, but without a splash.

I think it's always a good idea to have a play area set up.  For this party, it might be fun to borrow 2-3 kid sized tables and stage a bear tea party at them in an open play area.  You could borrow some plastic tea sets and "set" the table for the party.  The children can play tea party while you set up for each activity.

I cannot wait to attend this party!  Now I'm off to brew some tea...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wrap your teacher's door!

Maybe it's because I miss toilet-papering houses, or maybe it's because I miss decorating bulletin boards (no, that can't be it!)...but I LOVE the idea of wrapping a door.

Skip to my Lou has some great ideas for wrapping your teacher's door for Teacher Appreciation week.

I definitely plan to do this for Monkey's teacher.  I will visit the class the week before and have each student write a note to the teacher on a post-it.  Then early Monday morning, I will "wrap" the teacher's door.  I chose the "We're Stuck on You" one because 1) It's quick and easy and 2) If the teachers wants a keepsake from the door, she can keep the individual post-it notes.

If you want to do this too, go ahead and add the dates to your calendar now so it doesn't sneak up on you (I also like to have an email reminder sent from the calendar the week of, as a reminder):

  • Buy chart paper (you might be able to get some from the PTA) and post-its **before or on April 29th
  • Die cut any letters (you can probably use the teacher workroom)  **before or on April 29th
  • Visit your child's class and let children write notes on post-its  **April 29th  
  • Arrive at school early to "wrap" the door **May 2nd

If you don't have a teacher to "wrap," this would also be a super fun birthday tradition.  For my husband's 21st birthday (we were dating then), I wrapped the inside of the front door.  It was lots of fun to make, and it was a great conversation starter for the party that night.

Forget the toilet paper, grab some chart paper and start WRAPPING!

Monday, April 11, 2011

FREE Personalized Mother's Day Gifts...ACT FAST!

Until April 13th, Snapfish has a BUY 1, GET 2 FREE photo mug offer.  That's one for you, and two for each of the grandmothers for Mother's Day.  Act fast- it's only good for 2 more days.  Use Code: 11MUGS.

Spring Has Sprung!

Keep on track with this adorable carrot kitchen timer available at World Market!  Only 2.99!

Cute basket stuffer or spring party favor that won't break the bank.  And useful:  "Mommy, has it been 5 minutes yet??"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Time to think about TEACHER APPRECIATION!

This year, teacher appreciation week is May 2-6th.  When I taught, I LOVED this week.  My favorite part was the luncheon each year- put on by the PTA.  So yummy!  Not sure I can pull a luncheon together this year, since it's right around the corner.

But that doesn't mean I can't pull off something spectacular.

The big challenge with something like this is that I want to accomplish 2 goals:

1) I want to spoil Monkey's teacher to show her how much we love her

2) I want to enable ALL the students in Monkey's class to spoil the teacher.  I always felt sorry for those kiddos that showed up empty handed when other kids brought gifts.  Not because I cared about the gifts, but because they wanted a way to show their appreciation too and weren't able for whatever reason.

So...I'm thinking a week's worth of little surprises for the teacher, to be brought in by whichever students can participate.  I want most of these surprises to be things that can be easily acquired, so parents don't have to scramble.

Something like this...

Dear Parents,

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6 this year.  I know we all want to show Mrs. _____ how much we love her!  Let's shower her with gifts each day next week:

Monday:  Please send a handwritten note from you or your child letting Mrs. ____ how much we appreciate her.

Tuesday:  Please send a pencil or other writing utensil to school with your child to show Mrs. ____ we think she has the WRITE stuff.

Wednesday:  Please send 1 piece of candy or small treat to school with your child to show Mrs. ____ how SWEET we think she is.

Thursday:  Please send a small snack (nuts, trail mix, etc.) to school with your child to show Mrs. ____ we are NUTS about her.

Friday:  Please send 1 dollar to school.  The students will present an Itunes gift card to Mrs. _____ to show her we think she ROCKS.

I will also be decorating her door early Monday morning of that week (so she can enjoy it all week)...more on that to come.

If you want to do this along with me, here's the to do list:

  • Write the letter (or just cut and paste the one above)
  • Have it translated
  • Make copies and seal; send to school for teacher to send home
  • Decorate a basket for the kids to put the gifts in
  • Make small signs for each day (Mrs.  ____, you have the WRITE stuff!)
  • Buy the Itunes gift card
  • Visit the class the Friday before to remind students about the plan and to answer any questions
Easy-peasy, but with a BIG IMPACT, and a way for every student to participate. 

Stay tuned for door-wrapping ideas for your teacher too!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Integrate Word Play into your Egg Hunt!

Last night, my sister and I headed to Target to gather egg stuffing supplies.  If you haven't gotten yours, it's time to start thinking about it.

Technically, we are apparently boycotting Target.  I don't know if I can handle another boycott.  I mean, a girl's gotta shop!  We knew we weren't going to Wal-Mart.  I mentioned the Dollar Store, but Sara quickly shot that down.  Apparently, there is lead in their candy??  Geez...who knew.  To be fair, this morning, I couldn't find a thing on lead in candy from the Dollar Store...but I did find this interesting article about what not to buy at the Dollar Store.

We finally decided Target was the lesser of all the evils of cheap shopping.  But, in order to maintain our dignity, we decided to pretend to be lesbians in solidarity to our gay friends.  Of course, once we got there, we forgot all about that.  Sorry, friends...

Anyway...........while we were there, we (ok, it was Sara!) had a stroke of genius.  We were in the toy dept searching for a puzzle to use for stuffing our family hunt eggs and Sara picked up Bananagrams.  The idea is to put some letters in the eggs and have the kiddos use the letters to form words, which they will turn in for a treat or prize.  BRILLIANT!  We decided to save that idea for next year when Squeaker can participate.  But if you have older kiddos...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time to get those EGG supplies!

Believe it or not, Easter is around the corner.  As are all those know, for school, for your MOMS club, for your own egg hunt....the list goes on.

I don't like getting caught at the last minute, and I like to stuff them all at once, so first I make a list of all the eggs I need to stuff:

  1. 12 for Squeaker's school
  2. 19 for Monkey's classmates
  3. 24 for Spring Fling
  4. 24 for Easter morning hunt at home
So...basically, I need to have 79 eggs, ~7 dozen.  I keep eggs from year to year, so I need to check my stash and see how many I have and how many I will need to buy.  I want to give myself plenty of time to buy and stuff, so I'm not up late the night it's time to look at my calendar.  

Especially when planning ahead and putting dates on my calendar, I like to give myself a week to complete a task.  I don't know right now what I will be doing 3 weeks from now, but I can usually carve out the time to complete a task in any given week.

Our first hunt is on the 20th, so I will want to have everything ready by that Monday (the 18th).  Which means I will want to have my supplies by the 11th, which means I need to check my stash within the next few days so I can get to the store and buy whatever supplies I need.  All these dates go on my google calendar, with reminders set.  This only takes a few minutes and frees up mental clutter for me since I won't have to worry about when and what I need to do to prepare.  If you're like me, it's not the actual task that bogs me down- rather the incessant feeling that I am behind or that I have forgotten something.

Ok, so now that I have my reminders set, I am free to get to the fun stuff- brainstorming non-candy egg fillers.  Here's what I've come up with so far:

  • stickers
  • stampers
  • bath confetti
  • jacks
  • Legos
  • temporary tattoos
  • quarters
  • character bandaids
  • small erasers
  • rings, necklaces
Do you have any ideas for non-candy egg fillers?