Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mother's Day Tea

I think part of being a good mother is instilling in your children a desire to serve others, no matter what the situation is. It can be difficult to show the importance of this to them at times, especially since our very nature from birth is rather selfish. Especially as a Christian it is imperative that we learn to look to make others happy, as that is one of the most important attributes of Christ, and the one He most emphasized in his teaching to "Love God and love your neighbors".

I thought a fun way to start helping my girls learn this, along with my lovely sister in law and her girls, was to host a Mother's Day Low Tea for our mothers, sisters, and grandmothers. For these early years Auntie S and I will be doing a lot of helping, but the eventual goal is to have the girls take over as they get older.

 Now, you may be asking "Low tea?", as most folks think a high tea is a fancy gathering of English ladies in big hats. Since we are homeschoolers, we had to make sure we were going about things correctly, and found that, in fact, high tea is more of a commoners' tea. It is called such since it was served later in the evening after folks got off of work for the day, at high tables in pubs with a menu consisting of traditional British fare like bubble and squeak, sausages, meat pies, and ale. Low tea or afternoon tea, on the other hand, was started by the Duchess of Bedford when she found herself peckish around 4 in the afternoon. Her desire for a dainty meal and tea started a trend in high society, and thus you have your fancy ladies in pretty dresses and hats drinking tea with their pinkies in the air and snacking on strawberries with clotted cream and scones. 

This was so, so much fun! It took some work and coordination, and as the years progress will get a little fancier and better organized, but we managed to host one lovely tea party Mother's Day. The girls learned about entertaining, house keeping, cooking, and propriety all while working towards developing a servant's heart and sense of respect for those who have spent so much time raising us to who we have become.

 We aimed to try to make our tea authentic, yet manageable. I brought a selection of my most friendly teas (those even non-tea drinkers would enjoy, and they did!) as well as my linens, and we let the girls set up most of the scene. We used heirloom china and dishes, which made it all the more special, talking about whose piece was whose. There were fresh flowers Pony Gal had picked from our flower beds, cloth napkins, classical music playing-it was very pleasant.
 The gals learned a lot in the kitchen, as well, as they went about making 10 different varieties of tea sandwiches, two different kinds of scones, and whipping up fresh whipped cream to accompany the strawberries and peaches.

We had a great turnout and are excited to see what next year brings. The plan is to alternate houses so no one is left doing too much cleaning each year, as well as just a nice change of scenery. It was beautiful this year, and we can only hope for as nice weather next year, as we may have to host on the patio next time. So, so glad that Auntie S and I were able to start such a fun, new tradition!

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