Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our First Annual Tea Party with the Ladies Auxiliary

This year, we decided to invite the Ladies Auxiliary to join us for our Spring Tea.  We made a great "Save the Date" poster for them at the beginning of the school year and then went to one of their meetings back at the beginning of April to personally invite them to join us.  Not only was the evening to be a tea, but also a modesty fashion show.

This was a very big event for us.  We are down to 7 moms for our group (one just had a baby) and 22 ladies RSVP'd to say that they would be joining us.  I knew we could pull it off, but I wanted it to be really special for the girls too.  I probably drove some of the moms crazy with my little details. 

We were able to use the money from our cookie sale to provide the food and drink and then I asked all the Little Flower moms to bring a dessert.  Each mom and daughter hosted a table which was a wonderful way for the girls to meet some of the ladies from the parish.  It also allowed the ladies to learn more about our group.  The girls were able to show the ladies our display of the virtues that they had worked on.

We were so fortunate that the parish's dishes are quite pretty.  They went well with our china.  I will certainly be on the look out for more china this summer at garage sales.  We were also able to use the table clothes and napkins from the parish.  We had just enough!!!  To continue with the beauty, we had
Angels and Saints At Ephesus playing in the background for our music.  Perfect for a church tea.

At one of the meetings, the girls made cute little flower pots that we used as little favors.  I made up a prayer card with the St. Therese prayer on it to clip on each of them.  There was a little clothes pin inside each flower to hold the card.    All the ladies seemed to love them.

I also got crafty and made little place cards with my Silhouette which made seating everyone quite easy.       

We started the evening with a quick history of Little Flowers and what our group is all about and then after a prayer, we had dinner.  There was chicken salad sandwiches, ham and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly.  There was also a pasta salad and garden salad and some beautiful little cucumber bites.  We also had a fruit tray, cheese tray, and a veggie tray.  I would say we went a little overboard with the food.  We probably would have needed about half of the food, but better to have too much than not enough.

We  had a beverage station with the group's favorite punch, plenty of different teas to choose from, iced tea and water.  There were also fresh lemon wedges and mint for the ladies' tea.  I had my teenage son work as a server.  It helped the girls keep their dresses clean as he did the pouring of the punch.  He was also a great help clearing tables and bringing out desserts.  He even looked the part in his black pants, white shirt and bow tie.

After dinner, the girls put on a modesty fashion show for the ladies.  They modeled their dressy or church outfit and then got to change into a play outfit.  At the end of it, they all came out together with their Little Flower aprons and sang 'O Little Flower of Jesus' for the ladies.  It was so cute.  When the girls came out, the desserts caught their attention and they totally forgot what they were supposed to do.  They were oohing and ahhhhing at the table.  We all got a good laugh out of it.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the beautiful desserts.  All of them looked so delicious!!  Once again, we went overboard with the desserts.  We could have probably cut the amount in half with this also.

The whole tea lasted about 2 hours.  The girls stayed for a while to help us with some of the clean up and then most of the dads came and picked them up.  It only took a little over an hour to clean everything up which really didn't seem long at all.  Everyone pitched in which really helped.

It was so great visiting with the ladies and also spending time with our daughters.  I know this is going to be a tradition at our church for a long time to come.  Our girls are going to grow up feeling they are very much a part of the church.  When they attend activities, they are going to know the people around them.  What a good feeling!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Big Sleep Over

We survived the big sleep over!!!  What a great time.  This is the second year that we have done this and the girls are already planning for next year.

The evening started at 5:30 pm on Friday night.  Siblings were invited to come along if dad didn't get off of work on time.  We ate at 6:00 pm.  Dinner was easy.  We had pizza, a veggie tray, chips and pretzels.  For dessert, the girls got to make fruit pizzas which were a real hit.  They were seriously delicious.  I used the frosting recipe from here and the cookie recipe was the same one from our cookie sale.

We also had a table set up with the scrapbook pages that I had made a few weeks ago.  It was a good reminder for all of us about all the hard work that we had done this year. 

After dinner, we went into the church to pray and spend some time with Jesus.  The most precious thing happened.  Oh how I wish I had my camera with me!!!  The girls had gone up ahead of all the moms.  When we got in there, the girls were all kneeling in front of the Blessed Mother and were praying!!!  It made me realize that all the time I spend on Little Flowers is soooo worth it.  They have learned a lot this year and their love for Jesus has grown.

It was then time for games!!  Jessica was in charge of the games.  She had the girls playing some Minute To Win It Games.  They had a blast.  Lots of laughing.  It was hilarious to watch the expressions and poses that they made.  It was great.  Maybe next year, we should get the moms involved!!!  Although it was sort of nice to sit back and just visit while the girls played.

At 9 PM, we popped popcorn and watched My Catholic Family - St. Edith Stein.  It's only 30 minutes long so its the perfect amount of time yet the girls thought it was so fun to get to watch tv.  For some reason, I thought the girls would sort of calm down after the movie.  If they did, it was short lived!!!

Our plan was to get the girls washed up and ready for bed after the movie, read a bedtime story and then let them have a little quiet time after lights out.  They did wash up and get their beds all ready.  I got them to settle down and listen to a story.  I read from First Communion Days which is a great little book and then it was lights out.  I figured it would take a half hour or so for them to really calm down and sleep.

Part of the problem is that the moms were sitting next door in the kitchen doing some tea party planning.  Of course, the girls took this to mean that they could have a pillow fight and all that other good stuff.  They certainly were not ready to go to sleep.  Finally around 11:00 PM, I decided it was time to just go to bed to get them to sleep.  It took a little firmness with my daughter and then all was quiet.

Everyone was up bright and early the next morning.  A good thing to remember for next year.  Let them know what time they are allowed to get up.  This year, they were making noise at around 5:45 AM.  I told them all to go back to sleep for another 45 minutes.  I'm thinking next year, around 7:00 AM would be nice, at least in my dreams.

Breakfast was kept simple.  Everyone signed up to bring something and there was lots of fruit, bagels, and muffins.  I think the moms appreciated it after a rough night on the floor.  The mess was kept to a minimum and not too much to clean up.

After breakfast, we got dressed and went over to the church to say the rosary.  I found this wonderful idea for praying the rosary here.  I had wanted the girls to be able to decorate the felt hearts with glitter glue but after trying it at home, I realized that it was going to take longer than 12 hours to dry.  It was still a beautiful visual.  While I led it, Jessica passed out the hearts for the girls to lay down.  We sat up near the Blessed Mother's statue and when we were done, gave Mary all of our hearts.

Unfortunately, it started pouring the minute our sleep over started and never let up enough for us to spend much time outdoors.  It would have helped the girls to burn off some of their energy if they had been able to run around but they still did great.  We had two crafts planned and had been hoping that the weather would improve enough to do the one outside.  It never happened.  No big deal, we laid down a couple of disposable tablecloths and had the girls make their Mary Gardens right inside.

Before the gardens, they got to make necklaces.  I was able to get the bottle caps from Etsy, and the little medals came from Madonna Catholic Supply Company.  Jessica did the wording for the necklaces.  While this activity didn't take very long, it will make a nice keepsake for them to remember their year.

Our last activity was their Mary Gardens.  Jessica is quite the gardener so she was in charge of getting all the plants.  We got the pots at the Dollar Store and I made the grottoes.  The little Mary statues came from Autom.  Before the girls started their planting, Jessica shared the meaning of each flower that was going in the garden.  It was really interesting to us all.  All the moms helped their daughters with their gardens and so the mess wasn't too bad.  My daughter's garden is looking a little wild in this picture, but they all turned out so beautiful!

Whew!!  This was quite the post!!  It was a fantastic sleep over, and I would say the girls and moms all feel a lot closer now.  We are so fortunate that we are allowed to use our church's social hall.  I wish I could say that it's time for a break, but it's now time to get ready for a tea!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Courage - Wreath II

It is so great having different moms run the meeting.  Each one brings their own special talents.  I think it's good for the girls to get to be proud of their moms too.

This month, Shannon led the meeting.  It became evident right away that Shannon is a teacher!!  Wow, I got some great ideas from her.  After our opening prayers and handing out the badges from the month before, she had the girls sit on a big, comfy looking quilt.  She asked the girls what courage meant.  There were lots of hands going up to answer.

She then read the book, The Story of Ruby Bridges.  This was an excellent example of courage and faith.  I had never heard of Ruby Bridges before.  Just briefly, Ruby Bridges was a 6 year old, African American girl during the 1960 who attended a New Orleans school after court-ordered desegregation.  The book talks about the mobs of angry people that Ruby had to walk through each day.  Wow, talk about needing courage.  It also told of her praying for the people.  The girls all seemed to enjoy the book.

After the story, Shannon handed out little smiley faces on popsicle sticks.  On one side, the face was smiling with the word, courageous.  The other side was a frowny face with the word, foolish.  Shannon read several situations that they might encounter and the girls had to decide whether it was courageous or foolish.  One of the examples was about peer pressure.  Since I know some of our Little Flowers have been experiencing peer pressure lately, it was great having the idea of being courageous and doing the right thing reinforced.

It was then time for a craft.  Shannon shared a bracelet that she was wearing that she had made.  She said that it helped to remind her to be courageous.  The girls then got to all pick out beads and make their own courageous bracelets.  Before the girls got to work, Shannon hung a large list of ideas up of what they could do after they were done with their work.  She had brought a bunch of books that they could read on courage.  She also included some of the badge activities.  It was nice to get a couple of the activities done before we even got home from the meeting.

This is my daughter's bracelet.  She was so funny.  It took her forever as she searched for all the animal beads and one flower. The girls definitely liked making the bracelets.  Both of my daughters wore them to school this morning.

The meeting ended and the girls were able to play outside a little while.  It's great when they can get outside and just have some free time to play.  I think it really helps them to bond.  Now it's on to getting everything ready for our big sleepover on Friday!!