I haven't hosted a tea party in quite a while. And when I do host a tea party, it is usually for friends or a baby shower or something similar. I am great about cooking and baking for others.
When my children were little they always assumed that baked goods like cakes, cookies or pies were going somewhere else.
When my oldest daughter said she would make the hour and forty five minute drive this Saturday to deliver girl scout cookies, I called the rest of my daughters and daughter in laws and it turned out all of them and ALL of my grandchildren were able to attend.
Not that I do not love them dearly, but I decided to use up odds and ends of different paper products and disposable items instead of my good china for the party.
I tried to talk the 2 two-year olds into sitting at a smaller table, but they wanted to join the crowd. We also had two high chairs along the sides. Good thing we are a close family.
I babysit for most of them at sometime during the week, but luckily not all of them at the same time. This limited my prep time for cooking so I took advantage of a few box mixes.
I know my audience. I made mini Kraft macaroni and cheese casseroles for the younger set. About once a year Aldi offers a boxed cranberry pumpkin scone mix. I stock up. The day or two after Thanksgiving, I stop by again and load up on cranberries on clearance. They can go straight in the freezer. I add about 1/2 a bag to the mix.
I came up with a potato soup recipe years ago and it is a good fit for March. It is probably the most unhealthy version ever, loaded with butter and cream. It is delicious! And I can only make too much (2 crock pots full is the least I can do) so people have to take it home with them. Cream based soups do not freeze well.
Friday night I also made egg salad for sandwich filling and finely sliced cucumber. I layer the cucumber slices on paper towel and sprinkle each layer with salt, another paper towel, repeat, and chill over night. To make sandwiches , I butter bread slices, cut off the crusts and place 4 cucumber slices on top. I cut each slice into 4 squares. They are wonderful.!
I also layered cheese and ham on Hawaiian rolls and made a special Carrot Cake Sandwich (recipe courtesy of Tea Time Magazine) that they all love. I took a fruit tray to the last pot cluck and the kids all loved it, so I cut up tons of fresh fruit the night before, too.
I had some sparkling lemonade for the kids and made several pots of different teas for the ladies to try. I am the only real tea drinker, so I am always trying to sway them to the right path! For dessert I baked (from an Aldi mix) strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting. Most missed baby Oliver's first birthday party because they all had the flu, a cold, an ear infection or something - so we ended the tea party by singing happy birthday!