Saturday, July 24, 2010

Teatime Tuesday

One aspect of our homeschool life is our regular ritual of tea-time once a week. This was an idea I got from Brave Writer - a wonderful writing programme (read a full review
 here). It is something that we all look forward to. During this time, we read poetry and stories to one another while we enjoy a lovely old fashioned sit down tea.

We make an effort each tea-time to dress up our table with tablecloth, use our good crockery, decorate the table with flowers or candles and serve up some yummy treats. Each of my children have their own job - like preparing the table, laying it, making the hot chocolate or tea and choosing the music and poems. 

I love this time as it creates a family ritual of time spent together that is precious and memorable. During this time, we put aside the busy-ness and stress of the day and make time for one another.

Sometimes we'll bake Butter cake, Madeleines, banana muffins and cookies and other times we'll make perfect little English-style cucumber sandwiches and jam sandwiches. If the day has been hectic, we'll just pull out our everyday biscuits or some cheese and crackers but I'll make sure we serve it up nicely on our best crockery. The point is not to create work for ourselves but to sit and slow down and enjoy time together as a family. We like to make a pot of tea and hot chocolate and sometimes on rainy days, we'll make spiced Indian tea.

Below are some recipes we use:

Spiced Indian Tea (serves 2-3)

2 cups water
1 cup milk
1-2 tblspn brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 cinnamon stick
4-5 Cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 inch piece ginger
bring to boil, add 2 teabags ( I use English Breakfast Tea but any dark tea will work) or 3 teaspoons loose tea.

Let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain and serve.

Butter Cake
(lovely recipe from my aunty!)

Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.

Line and grease a baking tin 9 by 9 inches

3/4 lb butter

3 cups self raising flour
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
6 eggs
2 tblspn milk
2 tblspn brandy (optional - I don't usually put this)
1 teaspn vanilla essence

Cream the butter with the sugar and beat until creamy and smooth. Then add the eggs, one at a time and continue beating until the mixture is smooth. Pour milk, brandy and vanilla essence into the bowl and add sifted flour. Fold gently until ingredients are mixed. Pour into pan and bake for 50-60 mins.

Cucumber Sandwiches 

(we love this and I always have visions of Lady Bracknell in "The Importance of Being Earnest" when we eat this.)

First, slice cucumber very thin. Then, 
cut the crusts off your bread and then butter it. White bread works best but wholemeal for a healthier option is fine. You can also spread salad cream or cream cheese in your sandwich but that is entirely optional. Lay the cucumbers on the slices of bread and then cut the sandwiches into small triangles or fingers.


What books do we read?

As I have a toddler and two older girls, I have to cater to all age groups. So usually, we'll start off with some nursery rhymes and then move on to a poem or two from any of the books we have on our shelves. They range from Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses", Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends",  a lovely anthology "Poetry Speaks to Children" to name a few.

Our most recent fiction book reads include

Eva Ibbotson's "Star of Kazan" and "Journey to The River Sea". 

We love her stories - she just draws the reader in instantly with her vivid descriptions that put you right in the midst of the story. The books are peopled with absorbing, intelligent and engaging characters and with it all, you get a glorious old fashioned adventure story that is hard to resist.  

When the last crumbs are picked off the plates, the hot chocolate drained from our delicate china teacups and our tummies are full, we leave the table very happy and satisfied. Small pleasures, lasting memories.



rachaelnz said...

Ooh that's lovely! I have some girls who would just love to have teatime. It makes me want to go and visit secondhand shops for old teacups and saucers :-)
Rachael in NZ

See Jamie blog said...

For a while, we did this weekly, but I got off track. Last year had a lot of big changes that were good, but still got us sidetracked. Anyway, I hope to get back into this wonderful habit.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

We occasionally have teatime with our high school age boys....hopefully someday a woman will be grateful that we introduced our boys to the finer things in life. :)

I enjoyed your post.

homeschoolmom4 said...

Did you do the illuminated letters? What website did you use to get the instructions?

MamaChi said...

Hi Homeschoolmom4,something bizarre happened and my post on our Byzantine Empire projects went missing. I have re-posted it and the links for all the projects we did are there (including the links for the illuminated letters). Check it out on the link below or search under the Hands-On label. Hope this helps!


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