Hi, Cindy! I so appreciate your ministry . . . thanks for all you invest into us!
Here’s my question — at least one of them 😉
While on vacation, we stayed at a hotel that had an afternoon tea, and my kids LOVED it! 🙂 So, I really want to start having “tea time” with my two littles (they are 7 and 4). Did you have a tea time when Matthew and Elisabeth were little? If so, what did tea time at your home look like when your kids were younger? How do I get started? What is most important to keep in mind? How can I make it a special time that we look forward to without stressing me out? Do we have to do it every day? (I’d love it, but I know that life sometimes gets in the way!) Last, but certainly not least, what are some yummy special treats that we could make for that special time?
I really want to be purposeful about making memories with my children, and I know they would love this special time, but I don’t know where to get started! Please help!
Hey Sweet Friend!
What a fantastic question! If all of your questions are this good, ASK AWAY! 🙂
This is one of my favorite things to talk about. In fact, it is a topic for one of our workshops included in our Let’s Make a Memory Seminar Series (we begin Preview Chats THIS WEEK!). I am happy to answer these questions. They are on my mind too! 🙂
Yes! Tea time can begin when your children are still in your womb and continue beyond your life. It is a tradition. It is a time out from all that goes on in our every day lives. It is a legacy.
When I look back over my life, I see it as all of that. It is just “what you do” here in the south. Maybe not the same picture of tea time as you had on vacation. That is what is neat about tea time.
I have had fancy tea times at very, very nice and exclusive hotels/tea rooms. I have had afternoon tea with a friend to just slow down and chat. I have also had picnic tea times–all by myself at the park with the kids scampering around. Tea time has found me on the front porch sipping iced-tea with Mamaw on a pretty spring day. Tea time has also taken me to speak to thousands of ladies for their ladies’ retreats. I have actually had “tea-time” without tea–like meeting a friend for a latte OR riding the Harley with my husband to grab a Coca-Cola or milkshake and pow-wow. Of course, some of my most favorite tea times happen to be very, very simple with my children gathered around snacking and digging into books, fine art, and great conversation.
What does it look like? Oh! Let me take you HOME with me…
First, we made tea REAL!
Don’t get bound up in the way it is “supposed to be” and miss the fun. Yes, you could study about tea and find a tradition that goes far back in time and across many, many cultures. I love that! Tea is a personal hobby and interest of mine. But, it can be sooo much more! It can build and instill strong, strong relationships in our families, friendships, churches, and communities. There is something about slowing down to sit and have a cup of tea with others that just bonds people closer together. It has to go beyond stuffy little rules or it doesn’t breathe life into those dry places. It must move beyond the rules or it cannot truly refresh, renew, revive! We don’t make up rules for what to drink, how to drink it, what to eat with it, or even what to drink it in. 🙂
When we first began tea at home, I was the only “hot-tea” drinker. The kids didn’t want it. They wanted to drink from the pretty cups. But, they preferred juice or hot-cocoa. Actually, my son preferred the big mugs filled with hot chocolate at the beginning. I thought that was great. My goal at the beginning was more to settle them down with a yummy snack while I read books to them. I loved hot tea, so I enjoyed sipping it when they took turns reading. That is where it all began for my family.
What happened was amazing! I remember finding some AMAZING Blueberry Tea while we were on the road. It was sooo nice. It filled the home with yummy smells. Matthew was such a fan of anything “blueberry” that the smell lured him to try his first cup of hot tea. He was sold! We made brewed it, then added half-and-half and sugar. He loved it! He was raving so much that Elisabeth HAD to have some too. That began our FAMILY addiction to hot tea. Now, my children both love trying different teas, served in different ways.
Your family might not ever want “hot tea” but don’t let that be a hindrance. If they don’t like it, why not try a nice fruit tea or hot chocolate or frappes or even fruit juice. If you are a bit nervous about using your tea cups, why not try a mug or even styrofoam cups (I said make it real!). It is not about what is served or how it is served. It is about setting aside the time to make a memory with your family. Make it real and you will find it easier to make memories.
Secondly, we made it work for our family!
Things have changed a bit for my crew over the years. At the beginning, you could not get my guys to walk in a silly, girlie tea room. Now, my crew does not mind traveling with me and being my partners in a “girlie” tea room, in spite of how much our guys LOVE guns, dirt, cars, motorcycles, and GUY THINGS. Want to know why?
THEY HAVE FOOD!!! Food always woes a guy’s heart!
While Elisabeth and I LOVE the frills and fru-fru, our guys have to be focused on the smell of food and hopes that they will get their tummies full. They have learned that if they can endure the shock of a room that is set up “for the girls” that they will be rewarded with the best food available. 🙂
Same thing for our regular tea time with my family. The guys got past the point that I wanted my tea served up properly–with my beautiful tea-pots that each have a story and with my matching tea-cups, also each with a story. They hear the stories and memories as we prepare tea time. That might would frustrate the guys if they didn’t know that goodies were on the way for their tummies. I found that they way to “help” them was to prepare goodies FOR THEM too. It might be a nice dessert or a fun snack, but I try to plan something yummy to munch on and allow them the freedom to choose what they want to drink with their goodies. I don’t mind what they choose or even what they drink it from, but I love that everyone is a part. They know it is a treat for me. So, it is nice to see my family want to pull together to make that part of my day special. It is a nice way to end some of those tough days.
What made it work was letting everyone have the freedom to choose their tea goodies–THEIR STYLE–and getting everyone busy preparing for our family time. Matthew used to help me make the tea, while Elisabeth would gather up our quilts/Bible/books/goodies for read alouds, and I would finish up preparations on our snacks. Everyone pitched in. Then, everyone was required to join in.
Here is how it went:
–> Get ready–put on the tea, get goodies ready, get everything together in the family room.
–> Serve everyone their goodies.
–> Dig into the Bible first, then our family read aloud. After both of the kids were reading, each of us took turns reading so no one missed their tea or goodies.
–> At the end, curl up for movies or say prayers and get the little ones to bed.
Easy? We made it work for our family. Don’t feel that you have to do it a certain way. Make it work for you and your family.
Finally, we made the commitment of TIME FOR FAMILY.
That was more important than even our TIME FOR TEA. Family is eternal. We don’t want to lose these moments with one another. They are the moments that really matter. They are the ones that will go with you forever. We do not get to come this way again.
Tea is wonderful for sealing those moments. Do you ever have smells that “take you back” to years and years ago? You smell that smell and it begins a flood of memories? There is a certain smell to the crisp fall air that brings back tons of memories from childhood, same as certain smells that remind me of times in the kitchen with my mom.
What about tastes? I can eat one bite of Chicken and Dumplings and remember many, many moments with Mamaw. Along the same lines, I can sit down with Blueberry Tea and have FLOODS of memories with the children.
This is why tea is so precious to me. Not only was it a nice treat at the end of many days when the kids were little. Not only was it a refreshment on those hot days sitting on the porch with Mamaw. Not only does it remind me of moments with friends digging into the Bible. But, it binds all of those memories together and quickly brings them back to my remembrance in these sweet moments of quiet at the beginning of my day–yes, I have a nice cup of fruit tea with me right now! 🙂
So, sweet friend, bring tea into your home. Make a commitment for a time for tea and you will find that you are really making a commitment for a time for FAMILY. Just make it YOUR TIME. YOUR WAY.
Make it easy.
Make it sweet.
Make it special.
Make it regular!
Make it a tradition!
Want this Fruit Tea Recipe? Here it is (along with a couple of our other favorites):
Yummy Fruit Tea…
2 quarts cranberry juice
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade
3 pieces whole nutmeg
1 (46 ounce) can pineapple juice
2 cups apple juice
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
Pour all juices in a crockpot or a big pan on the stove top. Add spices in a cheesecloth. Simmer until you are ready to serve. Great hot or cold.
¼ cup instant tea
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 quart water
1 quart ginger ale
½ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 quart cranberry juice
Combine sugar, tea, cinnamon, cloves, water, and juices. Heat thoroughly, but do not boil…stirring occasionally. Add ginger ale before serving.
Mulled Apple Cider…
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
dash or two of grown nutmeg
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 quarts apple cider
Combine all ingredients in a large crock pot or saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain off spices. Drop orange slices on top. Serve.
PS! Lisa, I want to thank you for this question. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your email address and I will give you a COMPLIMENTARY PASS to our upcoming virtual seminar, Let’s Make a Memory. You will LOVE that seminar! It is my gift for you today!