Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mother Daughter Tea Party

Second Weekend in April

For our Sister to Every Girl Scout (Violet) Petal, we wanted the girls to do something for another troop, so we came up with the idea of our girls "hosting" a Mother-Daughter Tea and inviting one of our girl's sister's brownie troop.  

Patch from Troopmoore on Ebay $1

Pre-party prep
Invite to other troop:

Email to our parents:
"We have the Tea Party coming up April 13.  We are hoping to come together as a troop to bring all the things we need to put on this party. The girls are putting on this Tea Party as part of earning the Violet petal (Sister to Every Girl Scout).  All of the craft and activity supplies have already been purchased using non-troop funds.  Hopefully, we won’t have to spend anything out of troop funds with the exception of the mother-daughter tea patches.
We will be putting up two lists, Savory and Sweet; we ask that everyone choose one item off of each list to bring to the party.  We also ask that everyone bring some tea, herbal, green, black, chai… whatever is your favorite or bring lemonade.
The food items need to be finger-food.  Sandwiches should be crust-less and cut into triangles, stripes or with small cookie cutters.  Food can be store bought, but if it is please place it on a nice platter for serving.  If you have a favorite savory or sweet item that you would like to bring please add it to the list.
We are looking to borrow a pitcher for the lemonade.  Donations of white napkins are appreciated. "

We posted two lists on our shutterfly share site.  On with lunch items, one with deserts.  Each family from our "hosting" troop brought a tray from each.

Model list (original is long since deleted.

Savory food
Everyone brought one dish, and because I'm insane and also Italian I made a few extra things, "just for fun." We got a lot of ideas and recipes from this great website: HighTeaRecipes

Final menu:
1.  Strawberry jelly sandwiches on white bread cut in triangles
2.  Grape jelly and creamy peanut butter sandwiches on wheat bread cut in small squares (crustless)
3.  Egg salad on white in squares
4. Chicken salad on wheat in squares
5.  Ham and American cheese on white cut out with flower cookie cutters
6.  Banana bread cut in strips
7. Asiago cheese and apple scones
8.  Plain scones
9.  Cucumber sandwiches on french bread
10.  Goat cheese and watercress on raisin bread
Plus: mock Devonshire Cream and mock Clotted Cream

I made the last three plus the creams.  They were all delicious, though both sandwiches were rather expensive and the kids wouldn't eat either.  Though the cucumbers were cut out with cookie cutters, the cream cheese had a bit of a bite to them, which made them my favorite, but turned off the kids.

Plain Scones: (from above website)
This is a fairly simple recipe, just make sure the scones are nice and golden before taking them out.  The kids will go for these with jelly and/or butter.

Goat Cheese and Watercress Sandwich Recipe
These were fantastic but too strange for the kids and several of the adults.  You need to decide if the fun of trying something different is worth the expense.  Don't make these if you're doing a large scale tea.

Mock Creams: to serve with breads and scones:

These were easy and fun way to make the tea more "Victorian" or "High English."  Also, when paired with the banana bread it tasted like banana pudding. Yum!

Cucumber Open-faced Sandwich:

Not my picture, but mine looked pretty close.

The recipe to this one is here: Cucumber sandwich.  They do a great job of breaking down the recipe, so I'm not going to copy it here.  I could eat these by the dozen, but if you want the kids to eat it I'd cut back on the garlic and herbs (I just used bazil).  

Sweet food
Dessert menu:
1.  Chocolate-covered strawberries
2.  Mixed fruit plate
3. Petite fours
4. Brownie bites
5. Chocolate croissants 
6. Fancy cake
7. Mini lemon bundt cakes
I made the "Luscious Lemon Daisy" mini bundt cakes.  They were very cute and pretty easy to make, plus they have "Daisy" in the name so what's not to like.  

This is out of a bundt cake book I got for my wedding shower, Bundt Classics by Nordic Ware.  I thoroughly recommend the book.  It has many recipes I like even more than these.
I wish I had a better picture.  We put flower shaped sprinkles in the middle and they were adorable.

I think bundt cake is a necessity for a tea, but then again I just love them.  I had tried a more complicated recipe that got stuck in a lovely rose pan.  This recipe was very quick and easy and the mini-bundts don't stick like the fancy ones.  The lemon was enough to give it flavor but not turn off the kids.  

Tea, Beverages and Place Settings
Luckily for us,one of my co-leader's previous obsessions was tea pots and she had dozens of them.  We put 2-3 per table (We had three tables, my fully extended dinning room table plus two long folding tables back to back.)  She filled my largest sauce pan with water and we used that as a constant supply of boiling water for tea.

Again, I wish I had known I was going to blog so I could have photographed the tables before the girls got at them.  Oh well.

On the buffet table, we set up a pitcher of water, a pitcher of lemonade, and rows of glasses.  We also had several boxes of assorted teas, herbal, black and green.  We had sugar bowls, milk filled creamers and honey on each table.

Between my old dinning set, my co-leaders everyday china, and my mothers second best china, we had enough teacups and saucers for everyone, along with plates and silverware (most things were fingerfood anyway).  We didn't use paper products for this event with the exception of napkins for two reasons; one, we were doing "Use Resources Wisely" next and two, it's fancier, and fancier is just more fun.

Party Day
                 12:00     Our girls arrive and set up
                 12:30     Guests Arrive and are brought in for gathering activity
                 12:45     Lunch
                 1:05       Mommy and Me Game
                 1:20       Tea-Pot Craft
                 1:40       Dessert
                 2:00       End

We had our girls and their mothers come a half an hour before our guests so that the girls would get the feeling of really "hosting."  They weren't going to be able to really welcome our guests if they all arrived in one big chaotic mess.  

As the moms showed up, they helped me set up the buffet table, while  another mom helped he girls hang their decorations and fill out their "Who Knows Who Best" game sheets for later.  Of course this all took maybe 15 minutes and then I had 8 extremely excited and well dressed ping-pong balls bouncing around the house in a blurr of taffeta and lace.  

In the end, I had to give up my obsessing over the table and pull the girls together for an impromptu circle where we pretended our feet were glued to the ground.  Once they were a little calmer they practiced greeting each other with the Girl Scout hand shake until the door bell rang.

Greeting/ Gathering Craft
We had each of the girls say "Welcome to our party" and shake the Brownie's hands.  It didn't take as long as it might have since we only had two Brownies.  We realized too late that it was the day many of the local second graders were getting first Communion.

After they said hello, I had a quick little Oriental Trading craft set up in the craft room for the girls.  My girls brought the new girls there while the moms greeted each other and we put the final touches on for tea.
Craft from Oriental Trading

Lunch and Tea

We had everyone take their seats before going to the buffet so we could formally greet everyone and say "Grace." We go with the fun and simple "Rub a dub dub. Thanks for the grub. Yay God!" Then we told the girls that they would all get a gold coin for their bucket (they were earning them to get a summer party) if they tried real tea. Quite a few were rather skittish about it.  

I am proud to say all of the girls gave the tea a good try. They got to pick out their flavor, steep it and prepare it with sugar and whatever else they wanted. I think they enjoyed the ritual of it, though I can't say they all liked the tea. However, one or two of them had to cut off before they got too much caffeine.  

After preparing their tea, everyone took turns going to the buffet and picking out their meal.

"Who Know's Who?" Mother-Daughter Game
I love this simple game that we came up with for the moms and daughters to do together.  Basically, it's the Newly Wed Game (if you're old enough to get the reference).   Both mother and daughter fill out a list of questions, secretly, the other is not allowed to see their answers.  So, for example, the girl is asked her favorite color.  Someone other than her mom helps her how write it down.  After lunch, we split the group in two and went around the table having each of the moms guess what color their daughter had written down.  As they said it their daughter would reveal if they were correct.

When we played we alternated mom and girl questions.  We didn't keep score or have a winner.  It was just for fun.  Everyone enjoyed it and it was a fun way to get the moms involved and break the ice.  The girls guessing what mom does while her daughter is at school was particularly entertaining.

Girl's Worksheet

Mom's Worksheet

Teapot Craft
After the game, we had the girls bring their plates to the kitchen and move into the family room for another craft I got from Oriental Trading, while the moms switched lunch out for dessert.  

I think I've said before that I was kind of in love with the Oriental Trading Pre-packaged crafts, but the further along we got in the year the further and further out of love I (and the girls) fell. They prefer things where they can put their own spin on it. I still use Oriental Trading, but I don't buy kits any more. I like the "DYI" unpainted stuff for them to decoarte and paint themselves and the big bags of supplies like stickers and pony beads.
These tea-pots were cute as can be, but were a little tricky to manage. The stickers kept sticking to themselves and they needed more adult help than I would like. I do think the girls enjoyed them. If you are interested the link is here.

Girls working on the craft

A finished tea pot

Dessert and Wrap-up.
We had another round of buffet and tea for those who liked it and the party wrapped up.   Our guests left first. I wish we had made the girls help clean up more but mostly it was the moms cleaning up and the girls ran off to  play.

Our Spread

After the guests and the girls who needed to be somewhere left the remaining girls headed outside.  We spotted them in the backyard, digging in the dirt in their fancy dresses.  I love it!  That's what I want girl Scout to be about for my girls, for them not to be afraid to be a girl or to get dirty!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Email to Parents and Troop Rules

So, I had a lot of requests for these emails and at first I kept up with them but I've gotten way behind, so I'm finally doing what my co-leader suggested I do months ago and just post them.  It's weird looking at them because we sent them out a year and half ago and things have changed.   But this is what we started with as first year daisies:

First Email to Parents:

Dear Parents,

We are happy to invite you to join our new Daisy Scout Troop!  My name is Stacy and my good friend K and I will be co-leading.  My daughter is a kindergartener at _____ Elementary, and K’s daughter is a first grader at ________ Elementary School, so this will be a mixed troop.  Our goal is to have eight girls.

If you would like to join or troop we will be meeting from 4:00-5:30 pm every 1st and 3rd Friday at my house.  We are having a Family Meeting September 21 at 6 pm to meet everyone and sign paperwork.  The meetings will start on Friday, Oct 5, and if you decide to join I will send you our tentative schedule for the year. 

We also plan to have monthly field trips on Saturdays or Sundays (Sundays will be mostly during soccer season).  Our first field trip will be Apple Picking on Sunday October 28 to Mark Miller Farm in Winchester from 1-5:30.  Most of our field trips will not be this long or far away. 

We need families who are committed to coming to the meetings since this will be a small troop and we plan to be moving at a strong pace.  We want the girls to earn a petal or a patch at almost every meeting.  The meetings will be held in or near my kitchen which is not nut free, so if your child has a dangerous nut allergy this may not be the right troop for them.  We plan to have a very active and interactive group. If you are not interested in the weekend field trips please wait for another troop.  As a small troop we want the majority of girl’s at all events.

We will also need parent involvement.  We will need a female chaperone for each field trip.  We are asking all the parents to rotate “hosting” meetings, which means bringing a snack and hanging out during the meeting to help if needed.   For meetings, moms and dads are welcome (dads are welcome on field trips as well, but because of regulations we’ll need 3 adult females if all the girls want to go).  We’re also looking for moms interested in being Cookie Mom or our Troop Money Manager.

K and I have decided to purchase everything the girl’s will need to get started and hand it out at the first meeting.  We’ll expect each girl to come with $90.  For this we will register the Daisy, one of her parents (a parent needs to be a member of girl scouts to help out), the Blue Daisy Vest (we’ll have them at the family meeting for the girls’ to try on for size), all the petals and pins they will need to get started, and all of our crafts, activities, and field trips through the end of the year.  Hopefully after that, fund raising will start to pay for everything.  We are not requiring the girls to purchase the Daisy Handbook, but you may want to.  We’ll have one available to look at the meeting and if you want we can purchase a copy of that for your daughter as well.  It’s $22.50.

Please know that if you don’t think we are the troop for you and you turn us down now you will keep your spot at the top of the waiting list, but if you join the troop and then want to switch you will be placed at the bottom.

If you decide to join our Troop we promise an exciting adventure that is both fun and character building.  Please let us know as soon as possible if we seem like the troop for you.  We’re so excited to meet you and get started!

Thank you,

Stacy & K

Troop Rules

It looks like I over wrote out initial troop rules and these were the ones I put together before our second year, so you'll see the curriculum and books I've mentioned are what we did in Fall of 2013 when we had both Daisy 2 and Brownies.

Troop 000

Daisy Troop 000 is a small mixed group Daisy Troop with Kindergarteners and First Graders from ____________Elementary School, ____________  Elementary School and ____________Elementary School. 

Meeting Place: All regular meetings, including the Family meeting with be at Stacy’s house:
            XXXXXX, VA 55555

(I do have two small dogs.  I’m going to try to keep them in the basement for meetings, but they may get out so please warn your girls not to try to pick them up.  They look like cuddly, friendly teddy bears, but they bite if they get scared or have had too much.)  We will usually be on the main floor, but some activities may be outside.

Meeting Times:  Regular Meetings will be 4-5:30pm on the First and Third Fridays of every month.  Please be on time or early as we have a lot to do. 

Uniform: The Blue Daisy Vest or Brown Brownie Vest and patches/pins, Khaki bottoms (pants, shorts, skirt) and a white shirt should be worn at every meeting, field trip or event. If you would like to buy the official Daisy or Brownie skirt, leggings or shirt be our guest, but they are rather expensive.

Badges:  This Fall the Diasies will be working on Their Animal Journey Badges (and will get other fun patches along the way).  The Brownies will be working on 6 different Badges that either work well with the journey or that our current girls have chosen.  They incluse: Painting, dancer, My Best Self, Hiking, Snacks, and the Daisy Way

Books:  The Daisies will be using The Daisy Handbook and 5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals Journey Book.  The Brownies will need the Brownie Handbook and all three badge supplement packs. 

Dues:  We earned a ton of money last year in cookies and fall sales, but we also spent almost all of it with our many field trips, activities and badges.  We are asking for $100 from daisies and $115 from Brownies for the girl’s registration, mom’s registration, badges, vest, books, craft supplies and most field trips.

Field Trips:  Outside the two meetings a week we will be planning a monthly field trip (Usually the second weekend).  Depending on the logistics it might be Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  We would like the girls to attend as many of these as possible, as they will be a very important part of the experience.  If all the girls attend we will need at least one other female chaperone.  There are extensive rules for male chaperones and while we welcome them as the fourth etc, we need three adult, registered female girl scouts on all trips. 

Snacks:  We are requiring that every family take turns “hosting” or bringing snacks, plats, cups, etc for each meeting.  Girl scouts very much emphasizes healthy snacks, so keep that in find when your turn comes.  Also, we’d like to avoid prepackaged snacks because we will use snack time to emphasize sharing and being fair and the small packages are just too easy.  There will be times when a specific snack ties in with an activity so we might ask you to get that.

Fund Raisers:   We do plan on having all the girls participate in Cookie Sales after the new year, including booth sales.  We will also participate, more casually, in a Fall Fund Raiser that sells magazines and Candy/Nuts. 

Absences:  We expect all the kids to be sick at some point this year and miss a meeting.  Since we will be earning patches at most meetings, if a girl is out we will get you a packet of things to do at home so they can still earn their badges with the rest of the girls.

We hope to have a wonderful, fun filled year!

Mommy Rules:

While I'm posting rules, I might as well post the set that we instituted these year for field trips and camp outs.  They've been invaluable and I often have parents quoting the "Mommy Rules" to the girls.  

The Mommy Rules
Troop 000

1.     Mommies do not carry a girl’s scouts stuff on field trips and events

2.     Mommies do not carry girl scouts

3.     When mommies are at meetings they do sit in the Girl Scout circle.  Girl Scouts do not sit on their laps (they may sit next to them).

4.     Mommies do not clean up the girl scouts’ mess (unless specifically asked by the leaders because we are running behind).

5.     Ms Stacy and Ms K are in charge, if they tell you to do something do not go to mommy to get an answer you like better.

6.     When mommies are at meetings they will be given jobs, girl scouts will not leave what they are supposed to be doing to go bother their mommy.

7.     Crafts at Girl Scout meetings are designed so the girls can do them mostly by themselves.  Mommy’s can help by using the stapler, opening glue bottles, and pouring paint, but they will not do a girl scout’s project for them.

8.     Ms Stacy and Ms K are in charge but all Mommies are to be respected at all times.  They are allowed and asked to tell any girl scout if they are misbehaving and all girl scouts are expected to listen.

Hope this helps.  I'll try to get out more blogs.  It's just been a crazy busy year.