Thursday, February 27, 2014

How a Geeky Hippie Throws a Royal Tea Party

Happy Birthday, A Jie!
Today is my beloved sisterfriend Ling's birthday. Ling and I have been friends since 1996. She is the big sister I have always wanted, the calm in the eye of many of my storms. We started off as student and advisor during ECASU96, became roommates when we both moved to San Francisco in the early 2000s, got married within two weeks of each other in 2003, sadly moved away from each other for a few years, then reconnected in the Seattle area in 2010. Now our children are growing up together. 

Our individual Venn diagrams awesomely intersect in arts/crafts, geekiness, hippie activism, and food, glorious food. Our mutual favorite is Indian food; Ling bought me my first cup of masala chai in the Inner Richmond neighborhood of SF almost 15 years ago. (If you have enjoyed my Mahinakama Masala Chai concoction, then you should thank Ling for getting me hooked on the stuff.) We are both sad, oh so sad, that our children do not share our fondness for this yummalicious cuisine. So every once in a while, we sneak off together for Indian food and leave the daddies to eat macaroni and cheese with the wee ones.

Luckily, there is one meal that all the ladies can agree on: TEA PARTY! We all love little sandwiches and treats and tea. Well, the girls like "light tea", which is milk with a couple tablespoons of tea mixed in. Ling and I had talked about having a real tea party with our girls for so long--since Ling's 2013 birthday, in fact--and finally, five months later, I got it together.

This is how a geeky hippie throws a royal tea party, y'all.

A couple of weeks before the party, I sent this postcard to Lady Ling and her daughters, Duchess Nadiya and Countess Kalani, inviting them to tea. 
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Astute Lord of The Rings fans will note that I named our tea party after a favorite hobbit meal. Ling and I love us some LoTR! Back in The Time Before Kids, we sat in line for every midnight premiere of the trilogy with our hubbies. I still remember sitting on blankets out in the chilly Bay Area winter air, knitting to pass the time until we could gaze upon our beloved Legolas. Good geeky times.

Anyway, on the Elevensies Tea menu, we had:
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- Mahinakama Masala Chai for Lady and Baroness
- rooibos chai for the wee royals
cucumber sandwiches
- baked animal-shaped quesadillas
- baked brie w/ strawberry jam on top
- crackers w/ goat cheese & ikura
- mini-vanilla cupcakes with vanilla, chocolate, and mango (OH YES) icing 
- Trader Joe's scones (ran out of time to make them from scratch)
- strawberries & fresh whipped cream

On the morning of the party, I made the food and teas, then set the table, placing a few sprigs of fresh-cut lavender in a glass bottle. I used my "bitter divorcee" teacup and saucer set and fancy glass tea plates, all from thrift shops because I'm a big ol' hippie.

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Hippie Hula Mama Tip: Always use thrift shop dishes for kiddie royal tea parties. They look and feel fancy, so the girls feel like they are having tea like real grownups, but if the dishes happened to go crashing to the floor, Baroness Cookie would not be put out. 

Finally, the Lady, Duchess, and Countess arrived. All the wee royals were dressed in their finest princess dress-ups; tiaras optional. We all sat around the table and feasted. We drank our tea with our pinkies raised, of course, and used our very best manners.

Cutest royal highnesses ever
After the wee royals were done with their tea, they retreated to the basement playroom where they unleashed the energy they had been holding back during the tea party. Ling and I poured each other another cuppa, put up our feet, and filled up our plates again. We ate and chatted and ate and laughed. For such a tiny person, Ling has an enormous laugh. I am able to hear her laugh from across seven aisles at Target. 

It was a lovely royal tea party. Bust out your calendar, A Jie! Let's make this an annual event!

"And we'll never be roooyals (roooyals!)" We'll just have royal tea parties.

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