Our little tea party was a highly anticipated event for several reasons. We spent this week working on sharing, manners, respect and consideration. We did role playing to teach the girls how to handle difficult situations and I feel like I've been their consistent daytime conscience whispering tips on what they should say or do in various scenarios as they come. Of course, the changes don't occur over night but we have developed a good basis and understanding of what the "right" thing is. Sometimes that means giving up a toy when you don't want to or even when the other may not deserve it. We are Christians and we understand we don't deserve everything we have. We try to teach Addison that same selflessness so that she, too, can learn to be giving in any case. It isn't fair every time but it is good and good things always seem to find their way back to you :) I have found a good deal of success in an aspect of sharing we have been working on. Piles. Yes, we pile books between the kids as opposed to each child with "their" books. What once was a, "She's taking my book!!!"moment is now a, "I will read this book and put it in the pile when I'm done so she can have a turn too." Heaven! Of course, everything seems to go out the window when they start short circuiting at the end of the day which is simply a reminder that consistency is key. We've read a few "manners" books this week will continue on practicing!
Now back to this tea party business. Yesterday we read a lovely little book about a little bunny and a grown up tea party she attended. The whole set up made me blurt out that we should absolutely do a tea party, and by blurt I mean that I didn't think about all of the prep and the additional baking class I offered to the girls, hehe. All in the name of education! The girls wore clothes they found very special. Juliet was very proud to have all things pink on her and some adorable and special pink shoes. Addison was adamant about her skirt, tights and sparkly shoes. Once they got out of school, we had lunch and Kinley went down for a nap - time to get down to business.
We began by making tea cookies which I've shared the recipe for below. The girls did the majority of the work and a great job at that. They were so thrilled about the whole thing that they really focused in on what we were doing. Once the cookies were in the oven and the teapot was on the stovetop, we sat down so that I could explain that this was their opportunity to show me the manners they have learned.
After a few "Please", "Thank You's", and "May I's", the cookies and tea were finished and so we began.
I can not express how delighted they were at doing this. It wasn't about this being a silly make believe situation. I acted as their server and they were very seriously using their manners and trying to remember to talk to even each other that way. I was very proud of them. They loved their cookies and enjoyed adding a bit of milk and sugar to their PINK, yes pink, tea. Other than pouring their tea, they did everything else on their own which clearly made them feel very independent. We had a little bowl of jelly and crackers out so that they could use their plastic knives. It certainly brought me back to those days of playing school and house and having control over these grown up situations. And to think we practiced manners alongside all of the fun!
Tea Cookie Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat over to 400F. THoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add applesauce, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough. Do not chill. Roll out with flour, if needed, for cookie cutters or make desired shapes. Place dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400F for 6-8 minutes, remove cookies from sheet; cool on rack.