The way we practice tea time in our family, though, doesn't always follow the script of a typical tea party. I love when it does, of course, but it's really not the point. Especially because - hey, mom of 3 boys, here. They're not exactly lifting their pinkies as they sip from fine china.
Instead, what we do, is take some time on a Sunday afternoon to just be together.
It's a way to share something homemade, and get my cooking-loving kids involved in the process. It's a way to eat dessert first and have a great reason to. It's a way to know there's something special to look forward to every weekend - whether we're bored and plan-less, or overwhelmed with things to do. On Sundays around 3, we gather at the table with fancier than normal plates and something fresh from the oven, and we chat as we enjoy.
I stole this idea from The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. Despite my conflicting feelings about the book in general, I loved their emphasis in carving out rituals and traditions to make family and home life more special and fulfilling, and this was such a perfect one to adapt. I'm pretty sure they had tea time every day (an impossible idea for us) and used the time for reading as a family. I love the thought of having a family book to go through together, but there's no way that with my kids (young as they are) can multitask listening while eating a treat so maybe we can make that work with some other ritual.
At any rate, this little weekend tradition of ours has been such a blessing.
We've had chilly cold days and we shared scones and tea. A bright springy day when we cut into a from-scratch cake and paired it with cold glasses of milk. Burning hot days when we set up a make-your-own sundae bar, or whipped up homemade biscuits to share strawberry shortcake and cucumber water. In the fall, we will make every apple creation known to man, and winter will be full of hot cocoa.
Tea time can be anything we decide it is. We can show up in our pj's or get dressed up because we want to. Sometimes we play classical music while we eat. Sometimes we listen to rap. Sometimes we sing songs the boys learned at school. Other times we sit quietly while we slowly bite into something decadent.
The only rule is that we are all there, together, at the same time, and our treats are served with love.
Give it a shot - I bet you'll fall in love with it on the very first Sunday!