Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Mad Hatter Tea Party

Okay - if you think raising nothing but girls means I live in a house filled with taffeta, glitter, and pink then you'd be wrong. Most of my girls hate glitter/sparkles, frufru stuff, and especially pink. I can't blame them. After the fourth girl was born I forbade everyone from buying us anything else pink. Especially anymore pink baby dresses. Yes, I know they are cute. But there's only so much pink one family can take. And since pink was never my favorite color anyway, I'm actually suprised it took me until our fourth to totally nix the pink stuff. It stands to reason then that the only one of my girls to actually like pink is T.Lynn - our fifth. She is also the one that has always liked the glittery and frufru things as well. Go figure.

So, when my girls came up with the idea to host a tea party, it couldn't possibly be the fancy pants, hats and gloves, mind-your-manners, type of tea party. No. They wanted a Mad Hatter tea party. Well, that was fine with me. Mad Hatter certainly seemed more my style than gloves and fancy manners anyway.
But it was a Mad Hatter party, so we did have to wear hats.
Here T.Lynn is modeling mine. One of our guests came with a hat that looked like a flower vase, complete with silk flowers popping out of the top. The hats were great.
We played several games. One of which was pin the hat on the hatter.
Bree is our artist.
We also played paint the roses red; divide up into two teams and then race to color paper roses and tack them on bushes that were drawn and posted on a large cork board. Another game was to find the doormice we had hidden around the living, dining, and sun rooms. We also had everyone think up names for themselves, along the lines of 'Mad Hatter', and then had everyone vote on their favorite. And in honor of the riddle the Mad Hatter says at his tea party, we encouraged each of our guests to bring a riddle to share. We also passed around a basket at the table that had slips of paper on which we had written examples of behavior you should not display at a tea party. Once everyone had choosen a slip of paper, we had them demonstrate the inappropriate behavior that was described. I started it off with slurping my tea, and T.Lynn was tickled that she pulled the slip that allowed her to swipe something off her neighbor's plate.
The menu consisted of pigs in a blanket (not pictured), ants on a log, mock turtle sandwiches, escargot roll-ups, pizza pinwheels, mousey crackers, pumkin dip, and a veggie tray with dip served in a cabbage bowl.
Pumpkin dip is so easy, and so good.
Mix together 8 oz softened cream cheese, 2c. powdered sugar, 15 oz pumpkin, 3Tbls pumpkin pie spice, and 1tsp. vannilla until creamy. Serve in a small, hollowed out pumkin, with apple chips, graham crackers, or ginger snaps. Yummm!
The pizza pinwheels were a big hit. So much so that some of my guests suggested I bring them at the next pot luck dinner for our church. I did, though I didn't bother putting them on the sticks for that, and they were a hit there as well.
These were also simple. I just used my standard bread recipe, rolled it out as if for cinnamon rolls, spread on pizza sauce, sprinkled with motzerella cheese, and laid on some pepperoni. Then I rolled it up and sliced it with a serrated knife. To put them on the stick just soak some bamboo skewers in water while you're preparing the rolls and insert the skewer through the wheel, positioned to hold the end flap in place and bake at 400 for about 15 min. Without the sticks they can be placed close together to hold them closed until they are baked. If you cook them on the sticks they must cool completely before you lift them off the pan or they'll slide down the skewer.
The mousey crackers are just too darn cute.
We cut cheese into wedges, placed them on a cracker, poked in some mini pepperoni ears (you can used cut up hot dogs in place of the mini pepperoni), and chives for tails, and then completed them with eyes and noses of black sesame seeds.
The escargot roll-ups were probably the most labor intensive (next to the large cake). They are large tortillas, spread with cream cheese, layered with butter lettuce, turkey, and cheese, then rolled up and sliced. Gerkins, cut at an angle, with chive "eyes" poked in, were secured to the rolls with a toothpick. The chives had little knots tied at the end for the eyes.
There were also plenty of sweets.
Cake, cookies, petite fours, macaroons, mini lemon bundt cakes, and meringue mushrooms.
Bree has been fascinated with macaroons lately, so that's why they were served.
They were yummy.
Some of the cookies had to say "Eat Me". You know they did.
We did have one minor catastrophe.
When moving the large, 1/2 teacup cake to the table, it fell forward. I caught it without damage to the cake, but the cupcakes and meringue cookies that were supposed to look like they were holding up the cake got a little mushed on the side it tipped toward. I repaired it the best I could, and since the meringue cookies took the biggest hit, I had to put some of the meringue mushrooms around them to fill in a bit. But it certainly wasn't as bad as it could have been.
You can just make out one of the 'hidden' mice sitting on the base underneath the cake.
The doormouse sleeping in his hole on the side of the cake was the one that tripped most people up.
I don't like fondant, so I used modeling chocolate to make the pink tablecloth under the cup at the top, the tea showing in the 1/2 teacup, and the doormouse's hole. Modeling chocolate tastes much better, and with a silicon mat made for pressing a design into fondant, you can press the design in the chocolate, which is what I did for the tablecloth. 
We didn't get a chance to get a picture of the completed table before the guests arrived, but here it is in progress. We used mismatched tea cups, saucers, sugar bowls and creamers, many of which we picked up at Goodwill for next to nothing. We also found the teacup planter we used for one of the flower arrangements at Goodwill for only $2. I was just going to have the one arrangement, but my sweet hubby had them make up a second arrangement in a very pretty teapot since we had such a long table.
We've had this pink, tea party print cloth stashed away for a long time - one of the girls (I think it was T.)had begged us to buy it when we were shopping a going-out-of-business sale at a cloth store years ago. Since we had 3 tables pushed together, I cut it in squares and used it as an accent over inexpensive vinal table covers.
We had paper lanterns and spirals hanging down, and one of the girls came up with the idea of using the bright paper we'd cut the hats from for the pin the hat on the hatter game as decorations as well. They looked so cute placed at odd angles along the wall behind the table.

We ended up making this into a sort of week-long house party. Ri's best friend came to stay with us early in the week, and another friend came the day before the tea. These two helped quiet a lot with the preparations, and then another friend stayed the night of the party as well. Getting ready for church the next morning with three extra girls wasn't as much chaos as you'd think, but we did have to take two vehicles. Thankfully, one of the girls had come in her own car so she was able to drive that to church.

It was a great time, and we all had a lot of fun.
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  1. Sweet pictures! Oh, and the hat... just gotta love that! :) That is so cool, the mixed match teacups. Soooo Alice in Wonderland! (uhumm Mad Hatter... :)) Love the cake! The pumpkin dip sounds awesome!

  2. Thanks!
    And the pumpkin dip is terrific.

  3. That looks like it was a beautiful party.

  4. It was. We all had a great time.