September 16, 2010

A Real Princess Tea!

My Mom helped us end the summer by joining us the week of Labor Day. We decided to book the Clipper and make it a three generation girls' trip to Victoria!

The highlight of our trip was high tea at The Fairmont Empress Hotel.



Here you can see on the second page what the girls treats looked like... menu!
Afternoon Tea is served in the elegant Tea Lobby, which overlooks Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

Before the tea, fresh strawberries topped with Chantilly cream were served to our table. Shelby licked the bowl clean, and Anna Lee devoured every drop of cream she could manage without the slightest strawberry seed touching her lips.



Mom and I chose the Empress Blend:
The Empress blend is a selection of seasonal, quality teas, created exclusively for The Fairmont Empress by the Metropolitan Tea Company. With components from Assam (thick malty and full bodied), Kenya (floral-like flavor and a golden coppery infusion), South India (superb fruity and sprightly flavor), Ceylon (airy, almost piquant flavor), and China (burgundy depth with light oaky notes), it is truly one of the finest blends in the world.



My Mom caught the look on Shelby's face when the goodies arrived...thank goodness. Is this pure delight, or what?!


Anna Lee was a perfect lady, and we used fancy words just like Nancy would have while we enjoyed our tea and snacks.




So, the history behind taking afternoon tea, according to the Empress:
The relaxing and enjoyable tradition of Taking Afternoon Tea has been an unremitting love affair at The Fairmont Empress, since it’s opening in 1908.

In eighteenth century England, tea mania swept the country. Tea was sipped by all level of society, becoming the beverage of choice for breakfast and after the main meal of the day. Prior to the introduction of tea in Britain, the English had two main meals, breakfast and dinner. Breakfast consisted of ale, bread and beef, while dinner was a substantial meal at the end of the day.

Anna Maria, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, (1788-1861) experienced a “sinking feeling” in the late afternoon. Embracing the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for additional bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets and, of course tea. The summer ritual proved so popular; the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to friends to come for “tea and walking of the fields.”

The practice of inviting friends to “take tea in the afternoon,” was soon adopted by other hostesses. A customary pattern of service emerged.

The Empress Tea china was originally presented to King George V in 1914 upon the opening of the Booth factory in Stoke, England. The china was first used by The Empress in 1939 for the Royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The pattern is now produced by Royal Doulton exclusively for The Fairmont Empress, and is available for purchase in The Fairmont Store, adjacent to The Tea Lobby.


Here are the delicious goodies my Mom and I enjoyed:



Pastries:

•Battenburg-Vanilla and Chocolate Sponge Checkerboard wrapped in marzipan
•Chocolate Cake-Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Butter cream, topped with Ganache
•Lemon Tart- Lemon Curd with Berry Garnish
•Shortbread- Earl Grey Tea
•Marble Chocolate Tulip- a cherry hidden under milk and white
•Chocolate in a Chocolate Tulip Cup





Scones:

•Freshly baked raisin scones served with heavy cream and strawberry preserves


Sandwiches:

•Smoked Salmon Pinwheel
•Mango and Curried Chicken (Mom's favorite)
•Carrot and Ginger (cream cheese)
•Cucumber with light Horseradish Mayonnaise
•Multigrain Crostini topped with mixed Mushroom Pate (MY FAVORITE), drizzled with Truffle Oil (open-faced)





Although the experience costs a pretty penny, it was truly authentic and memorable. They were so wonderful to Anna Lee and Shelby, and because of that the girls were on their best Princess behavior. Afternoon Tea is an absolute “must do” for anyone who visits Victoria! I know we loved it, all three generations of us!




September 15, 2010

Rejuvenated

I'm exhausted physically right now, and am seconds away from crawling in bed but mentally and spiritually, I'm feeling so positive that I'm hoping my vibes rub off on you.
We're almost a full week into our new routine and it's working beautifully. Tomorrow, we're trying Mom's Day Out again...this is Shelby's one and only activity right now where she's not with Mama, other than nursery at church, and the gym...she made it an hour last week. :( I'll post pictures here and a little repeat of the email I sent out last week...
On our first day of Mom's Day Out, Shelby was SOOOO excited to go to school, and hold her "backpack" like Anna Lee....but, about an hour into it, I got a call from the school that she hadn't been able to calm down from crying for a while...so,
Mom and I went back to rescue her. Poor baby...on the way out to the car, she said, "Mommy, I don't wike school." You wouldn't know it by the photos!






Pray that tomorrow goes a little better for her!

So! Your cleaning assignment for today is your bathroom sinks! Shine those and your countertops. Scrub the sink and the faucets, then spray with Windex (surely, you know not to mix Windex with any bleach products, make sure you rinse very well before using the Windex).

Your daily devotional...this is so bizarre! I just discussed this VERY topic this afternoon in my women's Bible Study group! Isn't it amazing how the Holy Spirit finds such OBVIOUS ways to slap you into reality?
"The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." Psalm 45:11 (NIV)
We were just discussing that how offended God must be that we'd critique our bodies so heavily or do so many things to change His workmanship. We didn't agree on this, but I wish that we could follow in this woman's footsteps and each morning when we rise and look at ourselves say, "thank You for making me so wonderfully"!
For more on this topic, feel free to check in with my site!

Goodnight!

September 4, 2010

A Day in the Life...

Recently, my sweet MIL sent me an email and part of it was that she never heard from me....my Mom has also mentioned this lately, and I started thinking about our daily schedule and reevaluating how to make time for the people in my life that are important. It's funny how different people function to me, and I'm not sure if this qualifies me as Type A, but I definitely love structure and thrive when there is a "schedule". My DH is the same way, and so naturally it makes sense that we follow routine in our household. But, that shouldn't mean that the every day hustle and bustle interferes with connecting with the most important people in our lives, ESPECIALLY our mothers.
As a mother, I've learned to be in tune for my little angels, making sure that oh, you know, they're not pulling hair or falling down the stairs or walking out the front door. I know I'll watch over my babies long after I'm really supposed to, and have often been told I should read, Free Range Kids so that I don't go nuts. So, I know our mothers don't just turn that off...and wonder how I'll be when the nest is empty and wondering about their daily lives, and if I'll get a call or a letter on that day. It's enough to wish I were a better daughter constantly sending photos, and updating our blog and sending cute coloring pages, and hand-made art to uplift them on a regular basis. Humph...well, I could beat myself up, or I could just do all of those things or manage our daily lives and send a few reminders of how much we truly love our families, so they know how much we love and appreciate them and really are thinking about them constantly.
I've decided to do this blog makeover in an effort to do all of those things and keep my family updated on our everyday lives...some of them mundane, some of them awesome, and b/c I hope one day as a grandmother that I get photos of my sweeties often.
Today is Saturday and I've been following a certain cleaning lady online for a few years now, whose sole purpose is to help you stay on top of your household a day at a time so that you never have to do a three hour weekly clean and can focus on your family. I've decided to once in a while include this daily tip here for inspiration.
Saturdays are family days! See..no cleaning! It's all about having fun with your partner, kiddos, doggies and whoever else you consider your family. Some of the examples are watch a family movie together, play games together, picnic, or bowling..whatever suits your fancy.
The other thing we've started doing lately is praying together as a family. I try very hard to make time for a daily devotion to keep my spirit in check, and the Griffiths recommended this book for our girls, and we all love it. It's part of our morning routine.
I also think it's important to read and think about a daily verse, and so I'll do my best to include that here...today's in the girls' devotion is, "If you need wisdom-if you want to know what God wants you to do--ask Him.~James 1:5
For now, I think God wants me to be in the present and enjoy this beautiful life I've been blessed with.
Have a great day!



September 2, 2010

Tuckered

Let's see if you can guess who is tuckered in this photo quiz...

Is it Anna Lee sporting the thumbs up b/c she is finally brave enough to ride her "big girl bike" with Charlie?



Is it Charlie, trying to ask Anna Lee to practice her new soccer moves?


Is it Shelby on Hot Wheels, trying to keep up with the big kids?



Nope...if you guessed any of the above, you're wrong.
The only "Tuckered" is this adorable new pupppy in the Griffiths Family, Tucker. Or, if you're Shelby...this is "my new best friend, Tuckered".