January 22, 2008

Tuesday's Tea Time

This tea set is part of my first set of china. It is called Blue Peony and it's made by Nikko. I fell in love with this pattern when I worked in JCPenney's Housewares Department during college. What really drew me to this particular pattern is the polka dots on the edges and around the floral arrangements. I LOVE polka dots!

Did you notice I said "first" set of china? I love pretty dishes and my sweet hubby has indulged my penchant with TWO complete sets of china! Pretty dishes remind me of my beautiful maternal great grandmother. It seems like she had alot of them. As a young girl, I loved to go visiting to her house. It was so neat and clean and pretty! My corner hutch is another reminder of her. It was made by one of our dear Amish friends, Andy,- my own personal favorite hutch builder. It's all about the details! Isn't that what makes anything extraordinary? Whether it's polka dots on china or extra details on furniture or a ready smile to brighten anyone's day.

Speaking of details . . . Did you notice the little blue bird on the bottom right of the picture? Some dear friends gave us that sweet little "Blue Bird of Happiness" for our wedding. I cherish that little bird as it reminds me it's often the little things that bring us the most happiness.

I made some of Tammy Campbell's Famous Sugar Cookies for our tea time today; but, my blue icing didn't come out very pretty so you'll just have to imagine the prettiest shade of blue icing on a sweet little teapot shaped sugar cookie for our tea today. The tea I'm serving is French Blend from Miss Annabelle's Tea Room in Loveland, Ohio. I chose that because I personally needed a BIG caffeine boost after an un-restful night and yet still needing to get a lot done! (Smile!) Hope you enjoyed our tea time today! Please join me again next week!

Tammy's Famous Sugar Cookies
(Adapted from the old Betty Crocker Cookbook)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup margarine, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Mix powdered sugar, melted margarine, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough out to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake 7-9 minutes or until edges are LIGHTLY browned. Cool. Frost. Enjoy!
May the Blue Bird of Happiness bring some little extraordinary details your way today!

January 19, 2008

Today is My Birthday!

Today is my birthday! When we were in Pennsylvania for a family reunion this past fall, I learned the hospital I was born in was soon to be demolished. Since it was in the adjoining town, my mom, dad and Grandma took me by and we got a picture of my mom and I out in front of the building. I understand it was a very snowy winter day when I decided to make my entrance.

Being a mom myself now, I want to thank my mom for being the best mom ever. We've been through a lot together and the thing that I appreciate the most about my mom is that she decided to serve Jesus when I was about 4 years old - that decision has had a PROFOUND impact on me and will affect generations to come. She's taught me many promises from the Bible that have kept me through some pretty intense storms. She is and always will be THE BEST MOMMY IN THE WORLD! I know, when you've gone over the hill, you shouldn't call your mom, "Mommy" but - that's who she is and always will be to me! It perfectly describes her - loving comforter!

Thank you, Mommy, for always being there for me! I love you! And please give me a raincheck on the fried chicken and macaroni and cheese dinner - that's still my favorite - made just by you!

January 17, 2008

Tea at Mrs. Bobbi's

At our church's Christmas Dinner this year, we had a new activity. Different people in the church donated various areas of expertise to be auctioned off during a silent auction that benefited the building fund. It was a LOT of fun and I hope we do it again this coming Christmas. One of the things being auctioned off was a tea party for three. I LOVE tea, as you all know, and told my husband that I would LOVE that for my birthday. So we started the bidding. Well #44 kept bidding against me and it went higher and higher until it would soon be out of our budget so, in good fun, I went to find out who #44 was. It was my friend, Sharon, who had teamed with our friend Miranda to be #44. We worked out a deal with Bobbi and made it a tea part for four and Mrs. Bobbi hosted it at her beautiful house yesterday - just in time for Miranda and my birthdays! We had a wonderful afternoon and the food and tea were WONDERFUL! She served a delicious Cinnamon Tea from a tea room in Jackson and a refreshing Strawberry Iced tea that was a beautiful pink color from the tea room at the Longenberger headquarters. Of course, there were a myriad of other teas, those were just my personal favorites.

Isn't Mrs. Bobbi's house BEAUTIFUL? I asked her if she minded if I took pictures during the tour she gave us after the tea and she said, "Of course not" in her sweet West Virginia drawl.

January 15, 2008

Tuesday's Tea Time

Well, today's tea time actually took place last night at the Greater Cincinnati Women of Worth. It was a tea party complete with hats and hors d'oeuvres! We had a wonderful evening with plenty of food, fun and fellowship. Come join us next month, February 11 at Chamberlain Park in Deer Park... it's all about chocolate,mmm!

January 14, 2008

Magic Mirrors, Party Lines and Mystery Pictures

In celebration of National De-Lurking Week (last week) some creative friends found ways to get those of you who "listen in" but don't comment to come out of hiding and 'fess up! It was so fun to read Karla, Rachel and Hope's postings and the ensuing comments.

Karla said blogging is like a party line. Some people "listen in" but never comment. Hope convinced some lurkers that she had a magic mirror and knew they were lurking - she even named names and told a few personal traits that were dead giveaways. And Rachel posted a mystery picture that prompted long distance phone calls as well as comments.

I wonder what I shall have to do to get people to "come out"? Like . . . Meredith, Janie, Gayle and there's someone in Southern Cal that's always checking, hmmm - wonder who that could be? I do have a niece that lives there - that reminds me - Jill's another one that's listening in and then there's ... well, I'll stop for now and see what happens!

To make it easier, I'll post a mystery picture and you can guess what it is. Hmmm, you knew it would have to do with tea, didn't you? Have fun guessing!

January 9, 2008

Shining Silver Tea Accoutrements Science Experiment

Do you love to polish silver as much as I? It's got to be one of the most thankless jobs in my opinion. My silver tea accoutrements had badly tarnished with lack of use. Since I wanted to use them in celebration of National Hot Tea Month, something had to be done! Time for a science experiment! I had the children help me gather the necessary items: Baking pan large enough to immerse my silver items, Aluminium foil, pan of hot water and baking soda. This scientific experiment is explained at: http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu.HomeExpts/TARNISH.html The baking soda/aluminium combo pulls the sulfur off the siver by a small electrolytic currrent set up through the "salt bridge". Silver and aluminium love to accept sulfur but aluminium does it quicker and will pull the atoms off the item as long as the electrolytic current remains. Reversing the chemical reaction this way leaves ALL the silver intact - rubbing with abrasives and silver cleaner actually removes silver!

January 8, 2008

January - Hot Tea Month

Happy New Year!
I hope this finds you all well and enjoying a brand new start in a brand new year. May 2008 be the most prosperous year you've ever lived - spiritually, physically and financially! It's hard to believe we're already to 2008 - life just keeps slipping by.
January is a very favorite month of mine! New Beginnings, my birthday and best of all . . . It's HOT TEA MONTH! Cheers!
I LOVE tea and anything having to do with it. So in honor of this
this month I plan to celebrate Tuesdays with
"Tuesday's Tea Time".
Today I made scones and Lorna made some mock Devonshire Clotted Cream, we brewed up a pot of my very favorite tea - Constant Comment by Bigelow and had TEA! Dan and the boys even enjoyed the scones, cream and jam. These scones were THE BEST- tender, moist and melt in your mouth delicious and with cream and strawberry jam - mmmmm!
The tea set above is one of my most prized tea sets. It's one of the ones good South Africans use every day for tea - a very important ritual kept promptly at
2:00 p.m. My parents brought it home for me when they came back to the States for their first furlough after I was married. The pot makes excellent tea - something not every teapot does - so I used it today for my Constant Comment.
Basic English Scones
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter to form rice-size pieces. Add buttermilk all at once. Toss lightly with fork untilmixture holds together. Gather dough and knead 4-5 times. Divide dough in half and form into 6" rounds on cookie sheet. Cut each round into 6 wedges using a sharp knife, but do NOT seperate wedges. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown. Serve warm.
Mock Devonshire Cream
8 ounces softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
Beat cream cheese with confectioners sugar until blended. Fold in sour cream and blend. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Keep refrigerated.
"Stands the church clock at 10 to 3? And is there honey still for tea?"
- Rupert Brooke (British Literature)