31 Days of Resolutions – Day 17
Keep Socializing Safely
“You are invited to an ‘Outdoor Tea Party’ in celebration of your life on this Earth …”
Opening this text message from one of my friends brightened my day.
A February birthday party during a pandemic is quite a challenge. I wanted to celebrate with friends, but after being so sick last year, I wasn’t comfortable with indoor get-togethers.
This tea party was a creative way to circumvent my germaphobia.
Party On – A Birthday Tea Party Outdoors
I eagerly responded yes to the tea party. Except for a couple of hikes, I hadn’t socialized beyond my family bubble all winter.
This picnic tea was planned for a week after my actual birthday because the weather was predicted to be warmer. A “rain date” was also set, just in case.
We were meeting at a nearby county park that had a nice picnic shelter. Though the shelter was roped off, enough of the surrounding patio and a stone wall made a perfect place to set up our lawn chairs (6 feet apart) and a tea buffet.
The timing was important, too. I was to arrive at 12:30. Everything was set up by then, so my friends must have got there at noon.
We enjoyed the full warmth of the sun as we settled in for savory and sweet treats, plus some fantastic teas.
Tea Sandwiches and Cookies
Beth made flavorful smoked turkey, cream cheese, and fresh basil finger sandwiches. (You can find the recipe here.)
Jan’s finger sandwiches were classic cucumber but with the added zing of fresh dill leaves and lemon zest. She also used a hearty wheat bread (Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Grains and Seeds) and light cream cheese.
Judy made scrumptious cream cheese and strawberry finger sandwiches on cranberry walnut bread. Her recipe is easy: spread bread with whipped cream cheese, layer on sliced strawberries, and cut into desired size/shape.
Denise made traditional Italian ricotta cookies. These are the best ricotta cookies I’ve ever had! She generously agreed to share her special family recipe, and you’ll find it here.
Judy added yummy lemon squares to the dessert tray.
Everything was perfect.
Not sure how they organized it because it seemed serendipitous, but the tea flavors complimented our savory and sweet courses so well.
And the tea was hot because it was served from vacuum-sealed steel thermoses.
I started with Jan’s lemon ginger tea to go along with the turkey and cucumber sandwiches. The tea was so flavorful, not like the usual herb tea that smells so good but doesn’t quite make the flavor mark.
Jan revealed her secret. She added lemon zest to the thermos. Wow, it made the tea taste great.
Then, Judy’s orange spice tea paired well with her strawberry cream cheese sandwiches (and a couple more of the savories!).
Denise’s mint tea offered a smooth finish with her sweet Italian ricotta cookies and Judy’s lemon squares.
Birthday Tea Party Attire and Decor
Leave it to these creative women to keep going. Not only did they create a great menu, but they also brought out the family silver and pressed glass!
Then to top it all off (literally), they made party hats worthy of a gentle ladies tea party.
Add some Mylar balloons, pink flowers, and pretty paper napkins, and you’ve got yourself a tea party to remember.
You can see some “how tos” for making tea party hats on my Pinterest board.
We had a wonderful time catching up on family events, good books, even politics! The temperature reached almost 60 degrees, which was part planning and part luck.
I didn’t want to leave, but all good things must come to an end, right? This Covid Birthday Tea Party will be a fond memory and a reminder that socializing with friends is so important, even during a pandemic.
So, if you are feeling anxious and isolated, take a page from this creative group’s playbook and plan a picnic tea party.
As the weather warms, you’ll find a lot more “perfect” days to connect with friends and celebrate being together.
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