Saturday was the big day – the birthday tea! My two oldest daughters celebrated their 10th and 7th birthdays last week. I appreciate all of the encouragement and suggestions you gave and now I want to share the results, which I will divide into two posts: party prep and the party itself. Now for the preparation phase:

I stayed up late the two nights before the party baking. I wanted to make goody bags for the guests, but I needed to fill them with the fruits of my labors rather than my pocketbook. I baked batches of snickerdoodles, gingerbread men, and sugar cookies, as well as shortbread.We bought little white sacks (to look like tea bags) for goody bags, which my kids decorated with teapots which were printed on colored paper and then cut out and glued on the sacks. I found colored markers which were shaped like letter stamps on the ends, and the kids used them to stamp “Tea Time.” I wasn’t sure all of the girls would drink real, hot tea, so we served Russian Tea and lemonade. We printed cards with the Russian Tea recipe and included them, and an individual bag of fruit-flavored tea, too.

We turned our dining room table sideways and were able to fit two tables in the dining room, which worked out just perfectly!

Last but not least: the cake! Those of you who are experienced cake-decorators might not be impressed with my efforts, but this was my attempt at a teapot-shaped cake. I baked two cakes in my big Pampered Chef glass measuring bowl and stacked them on top of each other, iced in the middle. In the fabric and crafts section at Wal-Mart, I found a foam heart. Unfortunately there wasn’t pink, so the red had to do. I was having trouble cutting it in two, so my husband had to do it with a utility knife! One half is on the left, as the handle; the other on the right, as the spout. I stuck toothpicks in the ends to attach it to the cake. I’ll give my husband credit: he was having trouble understanding how I wanted him to carve the spout, so I said, “Just make it jaunty!” I think he did a fine job.

I couldn’t have pulled this off without the assistance of my ever-helpful retired neighbor, Miss Ann, a true Southern lady. She offered her assistance from the beginning, and arrived on our doorstep that morning with beautiful platters of cream cheese and pineapple finger sandwiches, and small wedges of banana bread. While I raced to Wal-Mart for last-minute supplies, she helped my kids bring over so many cups and saucers that I never even got out my own.

Next will be Part 2: The Party!

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