Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tea Party

Margaret found an old book of mine recently all about Anne of Green Gables.  It's a sweet book full of "behind the scenes" information about what daily life would have been like on Prince Edward Island in the late 19th century.  Included is an extensive chapter on Tea and, especially, more formal tea parties such as Anne would have delighted in.

Margaret became rather obsessed with the idea of planning a tea party of her own to celebrate her birthday.  We had a great time putting it together.  Margaret came up with the guest list on her own including all the women she knew within a two-hour drive between the ages of four and sixty.  There were twelve of us in all and with some careful furniture rearrangement and some fabric repurposing we were able to set up a few lovely little sitting places.

I, of course, failed to take a single picture but Robyn came to the rescue once again with a few lovely shots.

The menu included tea, of course.  We also served chicken salad sandwiches cut into triangles and cream cheese sandwiches in the shape of hearts.  Margaret seriously impressed me by using a cookie cutter to cut a dozen heart shapes out of whole sandwiches (the boys ate the leftover edges, don't worry).  Then we had strawberries and cream and plain scones with jam, marmalade, and lemon curd on the side.  I won't claim to be an expert on authentic British tea customs but it was a delicious menu.  And a big shout-out to Trader Joe's flowers.  We got three five-dollar bouquets of chrysanthemums (because that's the flower Anne spelled to beat Gilbert Blythe in the spelling bee, of course) and filled nine vases with them for the party.  Ten days later, more than half the flowers still look beautiful.

Robyn asked what she could bring and, while I can hold my own in the scone department, I knew that Robyn would come up with a dessert far better than anything I could muster.  And she did not fail to deliver.

Margaret (and Joseph) helped Robyn set up pink frosted vanilla cupcakes with handmade chocolate butterflies and fun butterfly cupcake wrappers.  We distributed them around the room and they were such a nice decoration until I ordered everyone to eat them and I was glad they tasted as good as they looked.  Margaret has crowned Robyn the Cupcake Queen.  And every day she is careful to wear the cupcake charm necklace Robyn gave her for a gift.

And, happily for the little girls, the cupcake wrappers make fantastic crowns.

It was a lovely afternoon with a lovely young lady and it left me wishing for more excuses to put together lovely little parties for friends.

Monday, October 10, 2011

She's Five!

And she's not even my oldest. I remember being five quite well and the memories are mostly pretty happy. Such a fun age and Margaret is already milking it for all it's worth.

The day was slightly less than it might have been because we were all in various stages of a cold that week. That day in particular my cold was exacerbated by Gregory's having been up hourly the night before. I did manage to drag myself out of bed to make Margaret's requested birthday breakfast: coffee cake. It's pretty much everyone's favorite breakfast so it wasn't too much of a sacrifice. Though after she insisted on a traditional birthday cake for dessert that night I've decided that we are having a One Cake Per Birthday rule going forward.

Then we were supposed to have lunch with "G.I. Grandpa" (my dad) and family on their return trip to Colorado but since we'd had a long visit with them the week before, my dad opted to just swing by and drop off presents rather than subject everyone to plague while on a road trip.

The highlight of Margaret's actual birthday was, I think, her violin lesson. She's been asking to start learning for awhile and Eric promised that she could start when she turned five. She was ecstatic and has been very enthusiastic about practice. In this picture she is also wearing one of her favorite birthday presents. Grandma Marga (Eric's mom) had this chicken apron made just for Margaret. It's practical and whimsical and cute and very well-made. And the thoughtful woman who created it basted the finished hem up four inches to leave plenty of room for growth.

The day ended with Margaret's favorite dinner which is "rice and beans." Fancy, huh? What she means, specifically, is the rice and beans that come from a particular Peruvian chicken place in the neighborhood. So, Margaret gets her rice and beans, the rest of us get awesome chicken, and I get out of cooking on a day when I'm sick and already making two cakes. Everybody wins. The cake was chocolate with chocolate frosting with vanilla ice cream on the side. Margaret is all about the basics.

And shortly after this picture was taken (imagine me shouting "don't set your hair on fire!") Margaret sat down on the couch and promptly fell asleep. It's exhausting being five.

Administrative details

UPDATE:  Never mind.  Fun as it was to tinker with different layouts, I like having the categories and archive easily accessible in the sidebar.

Blogger is finally starting to do slightly interesting things in the visual department so I tweaked the organization of the blog a bit, mostly just for fun.

I do want to point out that a neat feature of the new layout are all the options underneath the blog title: Classic, Flipcard, Magazine, etc. You can choose your favorite way to view current and past material and (I think) your computer will always revert back to the last option you chose. But you can change it at anytime. This is a nice option for you grandparents out there who might want to skim pictures or find a particular one. Each view is slightly different but in each one clicking on either a picture or a post title will take you the entire original blog post.