August 13, 2008

A kids tea party - "Ceai"

Clara has had a birthday party each year until now, or better said, two birthday parties - one here and one in Romania, since she was getting there the week of or after her birthday. She has been going back home each summer to see our families and my mom had a party for her birthday every time, inviting her friends from kindergarden. And which kid could say "no, thanks" to a second party, cake, gifts and play time with your friends that you haven't seen in a year?
My mom cannot help herself not to spoil Clara, the same way my grandma did with us. My mom is now so playful, understanding, relaxed, funny, and forgiving with Clara, hundreds of times more than she has ever been with me and my sister when we were kids. She was strict (not exagerated) and seemed "unreasonable and pushy", this is how we thought of her sometimes, and i couldn't have been more wrong. We had our grandparents to spoil us, dad was the good guy, so she needed to be always on our backs. Now it's time for Clara to have a strict mother, a wonderful grandma and an amazing great-grandma. You see, no matter how many times I vowed not to be like my mom when i'll have my own kids, when i thought she wasn't just, I turned into my mom and my mom turned into my grandma. And there is no better or greater compliment i could receive than that i am just like my mother. I truly wish to be at least half as good a mother as she is to us.
You see, mom told me how grateful she is for having the chance to do with Clara all that she wasn't able to do with us, since she was working full time, and how happy she is to have the time to do all these things with and for her. And nothing seems to be too much these days, not when it is about Clara, and the rest of us, I have to admit.
This year, Clara had only one birthday celebration (only - since when one is not enough?!?!?!), and she had to pick between having a party in the park or Disneyland. I know she would have liked both, but..., so she picked Disneyland. And since she could not go to Romania this summer, i think she wasn't very happy.
I know this summer vacation is nowhere as fun and exciting as the last ones have been, and she misses her grandparents and friends from back home, so i tried to help her feel better and asked if she would like to have a tea party with some of her friends from here. She was thrilled and started immediately planning and telling me what she wants and what we should do for this party.
Clara wanted to make her own invites (but the project was never finished), then she told me we need to have small sandwiches, tea, a real china tea set, an elegant table, and of course, party favors for the girls. She was so excited that i don't think i have ever seen her clean up her room so willingly, and the room never so sparkly (i mean it was before the party, afterwards you'd say a small cyclone just passed and it took us about 3 hours to clean the mess).
This being said, i planned to do so many things, then Friday morning i had to go out for an appointment and made it back home only at 1 o'clock, when i started cleaning and prepping. There was no cooking involved, except for baking the desserts. I served them raspberry green tea and the finger sandwiches were the classics - cream cheese & cucumber, peanut butter & grape jelly, and instead of egg salad, just a slice of egg with a dab of mustard and mayo on buttered bread rounds. The meringues were supposed to be a darker shade of pink and green, but since i don’t like too much food coloring, they are kind of washed out. I used apricot jam to glue the meringues together and Clara helped me with that.

The first picture was taken before I was done with the sandwiches and with the lemon almond butter cake, so the plates looked a little different when everything was done. That’s why the last two pictures look different, I tried to recreate the setting.

The watermelon basket filled with the fruit salad came up as a replacement for what was supposed to be inspired by Aran’s wonderful dessert. I had no time to make the gelee, it would have been made with sparkling grape juice instead of Gewurtzeminer, so i carved the watermelon and put the fruit salad in it, to save some space on the table as well.
The tea set... well, i've got that as a present about two-three years ago, and it was never used, so I was planning to take it to Goodwill, just didn’t have time to do it yet. And it was just perfect for the girls, Clara was sooo happy that they will have a real china tea set, "because your coffee mugs would not have been as pretty, mom".

And for the party favors we found these little gift boxes, green and turquoise, with sequins on (you have to understand it is the perfect age for more sparkling stuff), and we had for each girls a chapstick, a lip gloss, and a couple of hair accessories. And off course tiaras, the party wouldn’t have been such a success without them.
The girls had a great time, and they put together a fashion show for us, so all of Clara’s clothes came out from her closet. They also played Twister, American Idol karaoke and painted their faces, and nobody wanted to leave four hours later.
I am happy that I loosened up a little bit and did this for her without a special reason. I realize since the grandparents are not with her, I have to spoil her a little on their behalf. And nothing is wrong with that, she is a wonderful kid, so nice and good, always listening and doing her best, she definitely deserves it at least from time to time, always in good measure.
It is funny how much I could write/talk about anything, even when no recipe is in sight, but you’ve probably got used to this .... this attribute of mine (definitely not a quality) ... fondness of talking.
A cup of tea anybody? A sandwich or a cookie? Please, help yourself.
Clara a avut parte de o petrecere de ziua ei in fiecare an, sau mai bine zis, de doua petreceri de fiecare data, una aici si una in Romania, pentru ca a ajuns acolo in preajma zilei ei de nastere. A fost acasa in fiecare vara sa fie cu ai nostri, iar maica-mea i-a sarbatorit ziua de ficare data, invitandu-i fostii colegi de gradinita. Si ce copil ar spune "nu, multumesc, nu trebuia" cand ar putea sa aiba inca o petrecere, inca un tort, cadouri si ocazia sa se joace cu prietenii pe care nu i-a vazut de un an?
Mama mea nu se poate abtine sa nu o rasfete pe Clara, la fel cum bunica mea ne-a rasfatat pe mine si pe sora-mea. Mama e atat de intelegatoare, gata de joaca si plimbari, relaxata, distractiva si iertatoare cu Clara, de nu stiu cate ori mai mult decat a fost cu noi cand eram copii. Era stricta (dar nu exagerata), ni se parea prea putin rezonabila si intotdeauna ne impingea de la spate, cel putin asa credeam atunci, si nu puteam avea mai putina dreptate. Ii aveam pe bunici sa ne rasfete, tata a fost intotdeauna cel de treaba, asa ca cineva trebuia sa-si asume rolul celui aspru. Acum a venit timpul pentru Clara sa aiba mama mai aspra, pentru ca bunica si strabunica sa fie cele mai minunate. Se pare ca in ciuda promisiunilor mele ca eu nu o sa ma port ca mama cand o sa am copiii mei, asta de fiecare data cand credeam ca mama e nedreapta, am devenit mama (daca mi-ati auzi replicile, pana si intonatia, e ceva de groaza, zici ca sunt clona ei), iar ea s-a transformat in bunica mea. Si nu stiu un compliment mai minunat sau mai bun pe care l-as putea primi, decat ca sunt exact ca mama. Imi doresc si sper din tot sufletul sa fiu pentru copiii mei macar pe jumatate din cum ne e ea noua.
Cand am intrebat-o daca nu crede ca exagereaza acum, mama mi-a spus cat de fericita si multumitoare e ca are acum sansa sa fie cu Clara cum nu a putut fi cu noi, cand lucra tot timpul, si ca are acum timp sa faca atatea cu si pentru Clara. Si nimic nu i se pare prea mult, nu cand e vorba de nepoata ei, si de fapt de noi toti, fetele si baietii ei, pentru toti la fel, trebuie sa recunosc.
Anul acesta Clara a avut o singura ocazie de a-si serba ziua (de cand o sarbatorire e prea putin?!?!?!), si a avut de ales intre o petrecere in parc, asa cum a avut in ultimii 3 ani, sau Disneyland. Stiu ca i-ar fi placut amandoua, nu una sau alta, dar.... asa ca a ales Disneyland. Si pentru ca nu a mai ajuns sa plece in Romania vara asta, cred ca nu a fost prea incantata.
Stiu ca vacanta asta nu a fost prea minunata, si nu se compara cu cele petrecute in Romania, iar Clara le duce dorul bunicilor, verisorilor si prietenilor de acasa, asa ca am incercat sa o fac sa se simta mai bine si am intrebat-o daca i-ar placea sa aiba un "ceai" cu prietenele ei de aici. A fost atat de incantata de idee si a inceput sa faca planuri imediat, spunandu-mi ce si cum vrea.
Clara a vrut sa-si faca singura invitatiile, dar nu a apucat sa le termine, apoi mi s-a comunicat ca trebuie sa avem sandwich-uri micute, ceai bineinteles, un set de ceai adevarat, o masa eleganta, si bineinteles ceva caouri micute pentru fete. A fost atat de bucuroasa si nerabdatoare, incat nu-mi amintesc sa o fi vazut inainte curatandu-si camera cu atata bunavoita, iar camera sa fie atat de stralucitoare ( asta inainte de petrecere, ca dupa arata de parca un mic ciclon a trecut prin ea si ne-a luat vreo 3 ore sa facem ordine la loc).
Toate astea fiind spuse, mi-am facut atatea planuri, apoi Vineri dimineata a trebuit sa merg la o consultatie, si am ajuns acasa numai la ora unu, cand m-am apucat de pregatit si curatenie. Noroc ca nu am avut ceva de gatit, numai putin copt pentru deserturi. Le-am facut un ceai verde cu aroma de zmeura, iar sandwichurile au fost clasice - crema de branza & castraveti, unt de arahide cu jeleu de struguri (tipic american, sa nu va uitati stramb la mine), iar in loc de salata de ou (altceva tipic), am pus o felie de ou cu putin mustar si maioneza pe niste feliute rotunde de paine cu unt. Nimic deosebit, fara carne pentru ca unele fete mancau Kosher si am realizat rea tarziu ca mezelurile mele nu sunt Kosher, fara ierburi prea multe pentru ca nu le plac si tot asa... Bezelele ar fi tebuit sa fie mai roz si mai verzi, dar nu-mi vine sa pun atat de mult colorant, asa ca arata foarte decolorate. Clara m-a ajutat, lipindu-le cu gem de caise.
Prima poza am facut-o inainte sa termin toate sandwichurile si prajitura cu lamaie si migdale (un chec simplu, la care am inlocuit o parte din faina cu niste migdale macinate si am adaugat coaja de lamaie si esenta), asa ca farfuriile au aratat altfel cand totul a fost gata. Si de aceea am facut niste poze mai tarziu, incercand sa reconstitui totul, dar care arata diferit.
Cosul facut din pepene umplut cu salata de fructe l-am facut in locul acestui desert minunat al lui Aran. Nu am avut timp sa mai fac jeleul, (in locul vinului Gewurtzeminer as fi folosit suc acidulat de struguri), asa ca am taiat si scobit pepenele si am pus salata de fructe inauntru.
Serviciu de ceai (ahem-ahem).... l-am primit cadou in urma cu vreo 2-3 ani, si nu l-am folosit niciodata, asa ca era planificat sa-l duc la Goodwill (un magazin al unei fundatii care primeste lucruri de care nu mai ai nevoie, haine, mobila, orice), numai ca nu am avut timp de asta inca. Asa ca a fost salvarea mea, iar Clara fost bucuroasa ca nu le dau canile mele mari si mai putin elegante de cafea.
Pentru cadouri am gasit niste cutiute mici verzi si turquaz, ca paiete pe ele (stiti si voi ca la varsta asta cat mai mult sclipici e perfect), si pentru fiecare fetita nist strugurel, gloss si cateva agrafe. Aah, si bineinteles coronite, petrecere nu ar fi fost la fel de reusita fara ele.
Fetele s-au distrat de minune, ne-au delectat cu o parada a modei, asa ca toate hainele Clarei au fost scoase din dulap. S-au jucat Twister, Karaoke si s-au pictat pe fata, ca sa fie apoi atat de triste cand a venit vremea plecarii.
Ma bucur ca am facut asta, fara sa avem ziua Clarei motiv de petrecut, pentru ca daca bunicii ei nu sunt in preajma sa o rasfete, trebuie sa fac eu asta in numele lor. Si nu mi se pare gresit, Clara e atat de cuminte, ascultatoare si buna, intotdeauna incercand sa faca totul cat se poate de bine, si merita asa ceva macara din cand in cand, bineinteles intotdeauna in limite rezonabile.
Ciudat cat de mult pot vorbi/ scrie, si nici macar nu am postat vreo reteta, dar probabil v-ati familiarizat cu ... atributul ( nu poate fi numit asa ceva calitate) asta al meu... placerea de a vorbi.
O ceasca de ceai? Un sandwich sau o prajiturica? Va rog, serviti!


Cristina said...

In primul rind un pupic Clarei iar tie felicitari !! super idee si excelenta realizare . Dupa mintea mea "feminista" nu cred ca exista distractie mai frumoasa decit un party intre fete/prietene.

pupici !!

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