Starter Mom: Tea Time

by Nicole Loughan

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We cordially invite you to put your pinkies up and to join us for afternoon tea. My daughter and I have been swooning over Kate Middleton’s style and drooling over baby George’s nursery pictures and have now decided to have our own little tribute to the royal family ala tea time. Read on to see how to have a fancy, free, in-home tea party.

Dress it up – My daughter and I pressed our best floral dresses, and donned hats with ribbons and my son got to wear his “Christmas” three-piece suit, which had only been worn once before. Home tea time is the perfect opportunity to break-out the dress-up clothes and give them one more day in the sun.

Make it special – We took the price tag off of a porcelain tea set we had been holding onto since my daughter’s birth. If you don’t have a special tea set just use nice, real dishes. You know the ones you usually save for Thanksgiving that collect dust the rest of the year. Use those. We did not have a special tea tray so we used a cake stand that I got for my wedding, and had never opened and a small crystal dish I had been using to store spare change. If you want a real tea set ours is a Delton Fine Collectibles Ballerina set with a basket and service for two, the price starts at $30.

Etiquette 101– It can be a great etiquette lesson. Tea time is a fun opportunity to introduce proper table manners such as the use of please and thank you. Also we made sure to keep our elbows off the table and placed our napkins in our laps.

Learn a little – We read two books for our tea time for my four-year-old we read Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan and Nancy Carpenter. It’s a short tale about how the Queens husband built her a bathing room so she could go to the beach and swim, at a time when a woman was not supposed to show more than her wrists. The last page tells the true story of the bathing machine and a few facts about Queen Victoria. For my younger child we read Pride and Prejudice Counting Book in the Little Miss Austen series, it is a counting book which uses characters and situations from Pride and Prejudice to count, it’s appropriate for children two and under.

New dishes – We learned from an interview with the Queen’s chef posted online that her favorite tea snack is jam sandwiches, with crust less-bread. We made little sandwiches with local marmalade purchased at a farmer’s market and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter.

If you would like to let somebody else butter your muffins for tea visit one of these locations in the Conejo Valley.

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