A “Tea For Two” Birthday Party

On Saturday morning at 11:00, after working harder than I think I did for my own wedding, we welcomed guests into our completely-transformed house for a special “Tea for Two” birthday party for our little girls, one of whom was turning 4, one of whom was turning 2…

get it? Tea 4 2?…

How sad is it that I sprang out of bed late one night to write the name of this party down, and then clapped my hands with glee and dubbed myself a “genius”?…

Don’t answer that.

Anyhow, why was our house transformed? Where was our typical and expected party backdrop of the great outdoors?

Four words: Tornado watches. Rain. Oklahoma.

But after my initial disappointment over moving our par-tay indoors, I discovered that this was quite a blessed turn of events, and I was able to spend days setting everything up “just so”, rearranging our entire abode like it was a life-sized dollhouse, cleaning, scrubbing, baking, and decorating like there was no tomorrow. And, by the grace of God, I actually had fun doing it.

Little girls are some kind of magic, aren’t they? I’m still giddy over this entire party, full of sweets and treats and flowers and nostalgic sugar-and-spiceness. Take a look…

(but first, if you want a little background music while you peruse our party, just push play. We love you, Doris!)

I am sorely tempted to leave my living room set up this way…wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a beautiful dessert table every morning?…

new tea for two

I purchased the old screen at a vintage show in Tulsa a couple of weeks ago, and can’t wait to see how many ways I can use it. The wooden “Tea for Two” letters were purchased at Michael’s and spray-painted a light aqua color, and then hung with crocheted ribbon and twine.

party table

On the treats menu: strawberry cake and cupcakes (from a box) topped with Paula Deen’s delicious strawberry icing, mini Kentucky butter cakes, Paula Deen’s lemon blossoms, strawberry shortbread cookies, miniature buttermilk pies, raspberry tarts, Pepperidge Farm butterfly crackers, and fresh strawberries.

side view

To decorate, I used pink roses (of the regular and miniature variety) and baby’s breath, teapots and teacups, vintage handkerchiefs, doilies, and our typical collection of cake and treat stands. If you have any questions about where I purchased anything, please ask in the comments section and I’ll try to help you locate what you’re looking for.

treats

We came up with the raspberry tarts recipe “on the fly”, but as they seemed to receive more compliments than anything else, I thought I’d share the “recipe”: phyllo cups from the grocery store freezer section, instant vanilla pudding, canned whipped cream, and a raspberry. You are so welcome.

raspberry tarts

Since the only tea we actually served was iced with lots of sugar in it and guzzled from huge glasses, we put the cupcakes in teacups to go with our party theme. So easy. And the cupcake toppers were made with toothpicks from Cracker Barrel (they have pretty tops), and red twine tied in a little bow. Also…so easy.

cupcakes

We only have approximately 400 cupcakes left…

cupcakes 2

Inspired by this party, I made bagged lunches for each child with a brown paper bag, craft paper from Michael’s (that somehow exactly matched my girls’ dresses), a white doily and red twine. Inside was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a little pouch of raisins.

lunchbags

Simple and sweet!

lunch and lemonade

We set up a drink station on the vintage rolling cart we keep in our pantry and served raspberry lemonade, sweet tea, and water. The mason jar lids were purchased here (TOO cute!!), and the aqua-striped straws were purchased here.

drinks

Any of the paper decorations you see are from the Martha Stewart line of party supplies and were also purchased at Michael’s.

poofs

The old buffet in our dining room served as a nice gift table, and a wooden “2″ and “4″ indicated whose gifts belonged where (these numbers were also used in the girls’ birthday pictures)…

gift station

This precious birthday-card-download was purchased here. All I had to do was print it on cardstock, cut it out, back it with our extra paper from Michael’s and frame it!

print

Don’t you think gift tables look especially nice when they are full of GIFTS from loving family and friends?! Me too.

gift table with gifts

The party schedule was pretty simple. While the girls were having their pictures taken (by my amazing sister-in-law, Amy), Mr. Gore took all the party guests upstairs to teach them a fun birthday song to sing for the birthday girls. When everyone was finished, we set the girls on our barstools and brought all their friends downstairs…

stoolsThe song was hilarious, and so much fun. Thanks a million, Mr. Gore!

kids singing

And the girls loved being serenaded by their friends!

happy girls

Then, before the girls got dirty and sticky like I knew they would, we blew out candles…

Betsie blowingFirst, Betsie Fair…

Betsie candlesthen Rebekah Sunday.

Rebekah candles

Lunch was then served on the front porch…

Boogie

harper

and it was good.

good eats

After lunch, the kids were free to partake of the treat table and to play in the designated areas we set up for them, the girls in the super-girly sunroom, and the boys in the upstairs nursery…

tea party

It was a beautiful day to celebrate two of the greatest gifts God has given us…

2 and 4

Betsie

Tea for two…

Rebekah and Betsie

and two for tea.

~

Want to remember this idea? Pin it!

a birthday tea party

~

To see more of my inspiration for this party from Pinterest, click here.

A Patriotic Family Breakfast

At the Shop Sweet Lulu Memorial Day sale, My Mom and I purchased all these great decorations for a patriotic Young at Heart brunch and had them hiding in my house for a month…

but when the brunch had to be unexpectedly cancelled on Monday and we couldn’t find a reschedule date that was anywhere close to Independence Day, I decided – at the very last minute – to just host it, anyway.

The guests? Me, Mr. Gore and our 3 ungrateful and too-young-to-remember-all-the-things-I’m-doing-for-them children.

I was so determined, I didn’t even have time to be unsure about this hair-brained scheme.

But I’m so glad, for it was lovely

There was something very fulfilling about waking up and getting us all dressed (to match, of course!), and having my family walk in to a completely finished breakfast. I felt a bit like my Mom, scurrying around with real clothes and make-up on while everyone else ate, filling milk glasses here, cleaning spills there, heating up my coffee about 25 times…

I would love to start doing this more often – and maybe, with practice, we could actually sit down to eat before 10:00 a.m.

Take a look…

The berries I didn’t use up found a nice, cozy spot on the table…

I’m not usually a fan of paper products, but this banner from Shop Sweet Lulu was so cute, and sort of fun to put together. And it was on sale!

our little patriotic spread. Oh, how I wish I could go back and move that tall cake stand over to the right a bit, and then move the silverware caddy closer to it. But I had a hungry family waiting upstairs rather impatiently. They can only stand so much food styling before they starve to death…

The cupcake liners came in a patriotic assortment from Shop Sweet Lulu. The toothpicks are vintage Pottery Barn (they’ve been in my 4th of July box FOREVER just waiting to be useful). And the blueberry muffin recipe came from my new favorite baker, Cheryl Day. I’ll be reviewing her amazing cookbook in a couple of weeks, Lord willing…

Gideon especially liked the blue cupcake wrapper with the silver star topper. I like it, too…reminds me of Glenda the Good Witch meets Dorothy…

Red (ish), white, and blue (ish) milk for my little ones! Betsie’s, of course, was of the whole variety, and dye-free. (for now…)

These are my trusty Martinelli apple juice bottles again – how I love them! I just added a few drops of food coloring, shook it up, voila! Patriotic milk.

and a little yogurt parfait with blueberries and strawberries for each of us. FYI, our favorite yogurt is Great Value Vanilla – we eat about 3 huge tubs a week. Its the best.

and a little basket of blueberries for my Betsie Fair. Everytime I give her a handful of blueberries (whether they’re in a cute basket or not), she says “Ohhhhh…”

Mrs. Gore loves Independence Day almost as much as she loves birthdays! 

I think Miss Sunday is a fan, too!

And my beloved Gideon, with his…interesting…haircut, is becoming all kinds of patriotic. Oh, and about the polo shirt buttoned all the way to his neck…that’s all him. We beg him to unbutton it. He’s not budging.

Betsie dug in first…

and was a huge fan of her glass of ice cold milk!

After breakfast we took a moment to pose for some pictures while the day was still fresh. The little girls are obviously enjoying themselves…

and here is a picture of my favorite kids, each one a firecracker, for sure. Especially that one on the left there…

Baby Betsie goes for a ride!

Do our children have any idea how blessed they are to be born in this great land? I’m so happy my babies are free and have such happy lives. Who wouldn’t love to sit on an antique tricycle in patriotic clothing?!

Coming back inside, we played our “Pin the Star on the Flag” game – I’ll share more on that tomorrow – and then I gave the kids a little 4th of July gift…

containing their very first bottle of Coca-Cola (click here), a box of Cracker Jacks to enjoy at the fireworks show, a cute little spinny-top from Cracker Barrel, a flag pencil, and a United States flag (both leftover from last year’s “gift”).

I will be putting the nonperishables directly back in the attic for next year’s “gift”. Recycling holiday gifts is my favorite trick for thriftily parenting little ones.

They loved their little silver bucket (also from last year) of goodies!

and was it ever hard to save those Cracker Jacks until the end of the day!

When our “brunch” was over, we loaded up half of our belongings and spent the rest of the day at Grandmother’s house and at the local fireworks show, squeezing 4th of July fun into nearly every minute of the day.

What’s that, you say? You want to see those pictures, too?

Okay.

~

Coming up tomorrow…Pin the Star on the Flag!

Miss Sunday’s Third: a Farm Stand Birthday Party (Part 1)

Congratulations!!!

You hung in there through an entire week of posts concerning my middle child, the opinionated and unsinkable Rebekah Sunday. Welcome to the 2nd week. (I can’t stop…I love her!)

To be honest, I was afraid I would lose some of you in this process, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the feedback and the consistency of my site stats…which, 1 1/2 years into the blogging experience, I still check about a hundred times a day. Thank you, for staying with me as I relive this very special week in our lives, and for continuing to encourage me with your kind words and compliments.

I happen to adore both.

Today, I am nigh unto bursting to finally share with you this collection of already treasured photographs from the 3rd birthday party that has been in my heart for well over a year. It was a special day, through and through, and Amy did a fantastic job capturing the spirit and beauty of the event with her photography.

By the party’s end, I was positively ebullient, heart overflowing with joy and contentment…

the day had been perfect.

The weather was more than agreeable. The party was unhurried and comfortable. The food was delicious. The fellowship was heartwarming. The love and goodwill was tangible. And no one had died in transit. Yes, this is something I always worry about. I’d hate for a loved one to die on ANY day. But on a PARTY day?! Say it ain’t so.

And if you enjoy looking at the pictures from this party even a fraction of what I experienced actually being there, well…I’ll be a pretty happy girl.

Without further ado, I humbly and happily present Rebekah’s Farm Stand Birthday Party. Part One.

If you remember, Betsie Fair’s Pat-a-Cake party was soft…pink…lacy…rosy…doilyish…all things that represented (to me) the innocence and babyish beauty of my littlest one. But Miss Sunday is at an entirely different stage of life. If I close my eyes and think of her, I see sights and colors so different than those that come to mind with Betsie: gingham…health and robustness…blues and reds and pin dots …daisies…strawberries…in other words, timeless country simplicity and fun. This party matches her spirit. I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much:

Remember how I did Betsie’s Pat-a-Cake party on the cheap? Rebekah’s not so much…

Fruit is kinda ‘spensive.

but what a beautiful party table it makes! We borrowed Gideon’s Radio Flyer wheelbarrow to give us some layering with old-fashioned country charm.

My Mom is a long-time collector of blue-and-white dishes, colanders, pottery and serving pieces, so I didn’t have to look far to pull off this Farm Stand color scheme. I particularly love this little enamel strainer, holding a couple of handfuls of bright, red (delicious) cherries. On the table is my Mom’s old red ticking sheet, pulled out and ironed at the last minute.

The turquoise berry baskets came from my favorite online party supply store, Shop Sweet Lulu. To see their precious collection of party goods, click here. This store is delightful in every way, all the way down to the way they package your purchases for shipping. I especially enjoyed the complimentary piece of taffy I found in a pretty package at the bottom of my box, along with a sweet little “Thank You” note. You can also follow this shop on Facebook by clicking here.

Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, Red Delicious apples and perfect Porter peaches…

and Miss Sunday was more than happy to share it all with her friends!

including old-fashioned bottles of soda pop for the children…

“What kind of soda,” you ask? NuGrape, purchased at Cracker Barrel, and Stewart’s Black Cherry, found at Petty’s Fine Foods in Tulsa. Both were so tasty, and the children were intrigued by the bottling and delighted by the taste.

 And for Miss Sunday’s grown-up friends there were plenty of mason jars filled with yummy sweet tea.

I happened upon those canning lid covers at Wal-Mart the week before the party, and bought them without even knowing how or where we were going to use them. But 12 covers for $2 was pretty hard to pass up, and they seemed destined to take part in our Farm Stand party…

The fruit, though delicious and healthy, was not enough to sustain all those hungry tummies. Thus, for each child there was a simple sack lunch consisting of peanut-butter-and-strawberry-jam sandwiches and a small bag of potato chips.

I bought these strawberry canning labels the same day I bought the lid covers (also on a whim!), and they were perfect for dressing up our sack lunches a bit. We just folded the bag over, punched 2 holes near the top and tied a strand of heavy twine into a bow to package it up nice and tidy-like.

See? Nice and tidy.

Kate Belle helps herself to some berries…

and our friend, Isaiah, poses for a strikingly handsome picture.

Miss Sunday greets her friend, Henry…

while I bring out the last of the food table goodies (such a cheeseball!)…

Paula Deen’s Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake (for the recipe, click here), turned into cupcakes with a freshly sliced strawberry on top…

and a Martha Stewart gingham cupcake liner on bottom (available at Michael’s).

that just left one thing…close your eyes, Rebekah!

a gorgeous strawberry and cream birthday cake!

We wouldn’t normally indulge in such a cake for a 3-year old girl, but as this was the same cake Mr. Gore and I had at our wedding, and since our anniversary was only 2 days away, we thought it was only fitting. This lovely and delicious cake is always available at my favorite eatery in the state, Queenie’s Cafe and Bakery. I seriously could eat 2 meals a day there and be eternally happy. If you’ve never been…go! Right now!

And if the strawberry cake was not tempting enough, we made a special little treat for the grown-ups: strawberries, piecrust and heavy cream, a favorite recipe of our family’s. I promise to share the details of this slice of heaven in the near future. But for today…

I’ll just let you be curious. And maybe a little jealous?…

Henry enjoys his soda pop in the yard…

while Jackson tries to figure his out on the porch.

And Kate and Rebekah (Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane) guzzle theirs before even making it to their lunch.

As far as birthday parties go, this one is going down in the history of my most beloved and memorable…

and the party is only just beginning!

We still have to blow out candles, open presents, swing and slide, and go swimming!

Part Two…coming up tomorrow!