Here's how we planned and carried out a fun event:
One week ahead: Printed and colored invitations, made envelopes, and delivered. One week is usually not enough time, but all the guests live within walking distance, it is still summer, and this was to be a casual event. The invitations included the two-course menu and suggested casual attire (pajamas or play clothes for 9:30 a.m.). Unlike for soup night, we requested RSVP's (and got them!).
Two days ahead: Cooked, mashed, and strained the raspberries for punch. We found this recipe and a few others in Tea and Cake with the Saints.One day ahead:
Baked the spice cake (and glazed it), boiled eggs, made (but didn't cut) ham and cheese roll-ups.
After dinner: Tidied the main level and set the table. This was a big time saver! Since it was to be a casual event (some girls did wear pj's), we used daily dishes and flatware instead of fancy china (unlike for Marianna's 8th birthday tea party).It looked a bit blah at this stage, but with flowers, punch, and food (yes, and daylight!), everything brightened right up:In case you're wondering, yes, punch was spilled on the cloth. I washed it in very warm water (proper for all red fruit stains), and no traces are left.
Morning of the event:
Cleaned powder room sink and mirror.
Cut the roll-ups, devilled the eggs, made the cucumber sandwiches. We set the plates and put second helpings on platters on the table.We poured and garnished the punch.The second course was set ready on the island.After a short blessing, the girls shyly began. They relaxed quickly. I puttered around the kitchen (where the table is), washing up, making tea, serving water, etc. I didn't interact much with the girls until it was time to clear away the plates and serve the tea and cake.
All told, we were done by 10:40 a.m., and sent the young ladies home. I wanted Marianna to see that you can host a lovely event and then have it be OVER, not morph into an all day playdate. Several of the girls did continue playing outside and at various homes, but the tea party itself was finished, and beautifully.
A final note, regarding cooking mishaps: We had some trouble with the cake sticking to the baking pan. I scraped the bottom out in sections, put the pieces back in their rightful places,and flipped it over again to finish cooling. A transfer to the cake plate, a generous glazing, some flowers, and voila! What mess?Even after cutting, it looked just fine.Okay, my second final note: Len saw my post and thinks a typical reader would react with either, "This woman has too much time on her hands," or "Wow, she's so together! How does she do it?" Neither is true! This is my kind of fun, that's all. I haven't sewn on a button in years, my shower looks gross, and I'm not really ready for school to start on Tuesday. But our family eats good dinners, has a mostly tidy house, and throws the occasional tea party. It's all about where one's talents and interests lie...
And third: Joe and Marianna started reading over my shoulder and said, "That was YESTERDAY??" I'm not the only one who thinks it was forever ago!