Monday, October 31, 2011

We're Off to See the Wizard ...

I had strangest dream about our congregation's Trunk or Treat last week ...

Dorothy: It really was no miracle. What happened was just this...

Dorothy: [singing] The wind began to switch / The house, to pitch / And suddenly the hinges started to unhitch / Just then the Witch / To satisfy an itch / Went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch!

Munchkin: And, oh, what happened then was rich!

Munchkins: [singing] The house began to pitch / The kitchen took a slich / It landed on the Wicked Witch in the middle of a ditch / Which was not a happy situation for the Wicked Witch!


Glinda, the Good Witch of the North: Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?

Dorothy: I'm not a witch at all. I'm Dorothy Gale from Kansas.

Glinda, the Good Witch of the North: Oh. Well, is that the witch?

Dorothy: Who, Toto? Toto's my dog!


Dorothy: Now which way do we go?

Scarecrow: Pardon me, this way is a very nice way.

Dorothy: Who said that?

[Toto barks at scarecrow]

Dorothy: Don't be silly, Toto. Scarecrows don't talk.

Scarecrow: [points other way] It's pleasant down that way, too.

Dorothy: That's funny. Wasn't he pointing the other way?

Scarecrow: [points both ways] Of course, some people do go both ways.


Dorothy: Did you say something?

Tin Woodsman: [indiscernible sounds from the Tin Man, who is rusted]

Dorothy: He said oil can!

Scarecrow: Oil can what?

Dorothy: Oil can.

Scarecrow: I'm not afraid of her! I'll see you get safely to the Wizard now, whether I get a brain or not. Stuff a mattress with me. Ha!

Tin Woodsman: I'll see you reach the Wizard, whether I get a heart or not. Beehive, bah! Let her try and make a beehive out of me!


Dorothy: Oh, you're the best friends anybody ever had. And it's funny, but I feel as if I'd known you all the time, but I couldn't have, could I?

Scarecrow: I don't see how. You weren't around when I was stuffed and sewn together, were you?

Tin Woodsman: And I was standing over there, rusting for the longest time.

Dorothy: Still, I wish I could remember, but I guess it doesn't matter anyway. We know each other now, don't we?

Scarecrow: That's right.

Tin Woodsman: We do.

Scarecrow: To Oz?

Tin Woodsman: To Oz.

Cowardly Lion: Put 'em up, put 'em up! Which one of you first? I'll fight you both together if you want. I'll fight you with one paw tied behind my back. I'll fight you standing on one foot. I'll fight you with my eyes closed... ohh, pullin' an axe on me, eh? Sneaking up on me, eh? Why, I'll... Ruff!

Cowardly Lion: [singing] I'd be brave as a blizzard...

Tin Woodsman: [singing] I'd be gentle as a lizard...

Scarecrow: [singing] I'd be clever as a gizzard...

Dorothy: [singing] If the Wizard is a wizard who will serve.

Scarecrow: [singing] Then I'm sure to get a brain...

Tin Woodsman: [singing] A heart...

Dorothy: [singing] A home...

Cowardly Lion: [singing] The nerve!

Cowardly Lion: [singing] I'm afraid there's no denyin' / I'm just a dandy-lion / A fate I don't deserve / I'm sure I could show my prowess / Be a lion, not a mouse / If I only had the nerve.


Dorothy: Your Majesty, if you were king, you wouldn't be afraid of anything?

Cowardly Lion: Not nobody! Not nohow!

Tin Woodsman: Not even a rhinoceros?

Cowardly Lion: Imposerous!

Dorothy: How about a hippopotamus?

Cowardly Lion: Why, I'd thrash him from top to bottomus!

Dorothy: Supposing you met an elephant?

Cowardly Lion: I'd wrap him up in cellophane!

Scarecrow: What if it were a brontosaurus?

Cowardly Lion: I'd show him who was king of the forest!


Tin Woodsman: What have you learned, Dorothy?

Dorothy: Well, I -- I think that it -- it wasn't enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em -- and it's that -- if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?

Dorothy: Oh, but anyway, Toto, we're home. Home! And this is my room, and you're all here. And I'm not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all, and - oh, Auntie Em - there's no place like home!

"A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others." -- The Wizard of Oz

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Simple Joy of Cream Tea

"Cream tea, a simpler version of afternoon tea, calls only for scones, jam, clotted or Devonshire cream, and tea. This is a much less elaborate tea to plan for guests." -- Scones & Tea

Wednesdays afternoons are always hectic at our house. With a short window of time for completing homework, accomplishing household chores and eating supper before leaving the house for our mid-week Bible study, the schedule does not allow for much down time. And this week our itinerary was even more full because we needed to pick up shoes for Carson on our way to church. Most Wednesdays we scurry through our to-do list, but this week everything was in place for a mid-week pick-me-up.

Over the weekend, the girls and I travelled to Bowling Green, Ky., for a ladies day at the Greenwood Park Church of Christ. We had such a wonderful visit, and our sisters at Greenwood Park sent us home with the beautiful teapot pictured above.

While we were in Kentucky and Carson was away on a youth retreat, Joe and Christian enjoyed a rare father-son weekend. They were kind enough to include a special errand for me in their boys weekend: a stop at Smith-Byrd House in Prattville Saturday to meet TeaTime Editor Lorna Reeves and pick up signed copies of her new book, Scones & Tea. Joe also picked up a delicious surprise: frozen scones from Smith-Byrd's tea room. Baked straight from the freezer at 425 degrees, within minutes we had piping hot, delicious scones. This was such an effortless way to enjoy cream tea on a busy afternoon, I plan to purchase frozen scones each time I visit the tea room. Above, see the flavors we sampled: cinnamon, pumpkin and ginger pear.

The children enjoyed vanilla cream with their scones (beat heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form, then add vanilla and confectioners sugar to taste and beat until stiff). I still had homemade apple butter in my refrigerator, leftover from our latest book club meeting, so I served it alongside our scones as well. My children don't care for apple butter, but I thought the spicy sweetness was a wonderful complement to our scone selection.

A bouquet of white carnations -- on clearance at the grocery store for less than $3 -- added softness to our tea table.

And hot tea served in our wedding china, Noritake Chandon, was perfect with our scones. Surprisingly, my boys love hot tea and my girls often request another beverage instead of tea. But Wednesday, everyone wanted hot tea. I guess we all needed our teacups filled during that busy day.

Wednesday's cream tea literally took minutes to prepare and about 15 minutes to share. But it was amazing how refreshing it was to pause in the midst of the busyness of the afternoon to spend a few quiet moments in simple pleasure. I will bear this in mind in weeks to come, remembering that within a few sips, a mid-week cream tea can take us from "Hump Day" to "Peak of the Week."

Be sure to visit yesterdays post to get your name in the teacup for a signed copy of Scones & Tea!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scones & Tea: Autographed Book Giveaway

New from TeaTime Magazine comes a delightful new book that is certain to become a tea table classic: Scones & Tea. The book features 101 scone recipes -- presented with full-color photography and beautiful vignettes -- and suggested tea pairings. The introduction explains, "We hope that as you sip our recommendations, you'll discover a new favorite tea and that as you sample the many flavorful scone options herein, you'll discover a treasure trove of delightful additions to your tea table." With such enticing scone flavors as Salted Caramel, Ambrosia and White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Drop, tea lovers are certain to prize this collection of recipes.

Scones & Tea features contributions from a dozen tea rooms around the United States, along with information about each establishment. TeaTime Editor Lorna Reeves visited featured tea room Smith-Byrd House in Prattville, Ala., last weekend to sign copies of the book. I was out of town, but Joe and Christian graciously went in my stead to pick up copies. And, of course, we picked up a copy for one of you!

You have several opportunities to enter this giveaway for an autographed copy of Scones & Tea. Please leave a separate entry for each option you choose:

(1) Leave a comment, telling me your favorite tea room to visit.
(2) Follow A Little Loveliness (find link on my sidebar).
(3) Like A Little Loveliness on facebook.
(4) Follow A Little Loveliness on Networked Blogs (find link on my sidebar).
(5) Add my badge to your blog (HTML code found on my sidebar).

I will announce the winner next week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Afternoon Tea at Smith-Byrd House

Last week I had the privilege of sharing teatime with dear friends Cathy and Stacey at Smith-Byrd House in Prattville, Ala. All three of us are busy with the responsibilities of home, work and church, so it has taken us awhile to coordinate our schedules. But as women who pour ourselves out daily for our families, it was such a blessing to pause for a moment to refill the vessel over a pot of tea. Our afternoon was such a blessing, we have determined to meet regularly.

Located in historic downtown Prattville, the Smith-Byrd House Bed and Breakfast sits on the corner of North Washington and East Fifth Streets. Owners David and Beth Melling bought the house in 2007 with dreams of opening a B&B inn and tea room. The two are lovingly restoring the Queen Anne Style Victorian home to its former glory. Built in the 1880s, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We enjoyed the Queen's Tea, which includes quiche and salad, followed by a three-tier tray laden with scones, tea sandwiches and desserts. We savored every bite of our delicious meal! Our tea menu follows. I look forward to experiencing afternoon tea at Smith-Byrd as seasons change.

Smith-Byrd House Afternoon Tea Menu

Three-Cheese Quiche with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Mixed Green Salad with Dried Cranberries, Freshly-Shaved Parmesan, Homemade Croutons and House-Made Meyer Lemon, Olive Oil and Golden Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Cinnamon and Ginger Pear Scones with Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream

Cucumber Sandwiches with Herb Butter on Oatmeal Bread

Ham Spread on Pumpernickel

Turkey with Cranberry Cream Cheese on Whole Grain

Cinnamon Marscapone Cheese Spread with Sliced Apples on Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Chocolate-Orange Brownie

Pumpkin Trifle

Lavender Cookie

Cheese Teapot

Above you see a close-up picture of our dessert course. We couldn't wait to try the pumpkin trifle, a delicious treat with pumpkin bread, pumpkin mousse, cream and a raspberry. The cheese teapot, much like our southern cheese straws, balances out the sweets with a bite of savory.

Teatime guests enjoy a bottomless pot of tea, and Beth graciously encourages visitors to sample a variety of blends. I enjoyed a pot of lilac bouquet, then tried Spiced Caramel Apple. 

The gift shop at Smith-Byrd sells loose tea, as well as a variety of teatime books and treasures. Browsing the lovely selection of tea wares reminded me of Joe's law school days in Kentucky. One of my favorite places to visit was famed Elmwood Inn in Perryville, Ky. A couple of times, Joe took me to tea during the holiday season and did all of my Christmas and birthday shopping in the gift shop while I waited in the car and tried not to sneak a peak!

Pausing for tea at Smith-Byrd House with Stacey and Cathy reminded me of these words from Kim Waller in The Pleasures of Tea: "Tea is like a hug and a handshake; something about it warms friendships and inspires confidences. Though we don't always stand on ceremony with good friends -- mugs will do for that marathon chat at the kitchen table -- it's also fun to honor them with the flourish of a tea nicely presented."

For tea nicely presented in Central Alabama, be sure to visit Smith-Byrd House in Prattville. Tea is served Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 5. Reservations are strongly recommended. The tea room is also available for birthday parties and showers. After our visit last week, one of my friends has already scheduled her daughter's birthday party at Smith-Byrd, so I look forward to returning with Mary Ashley and Emma in December. Visit the Smith-Byrd House web site for more information about the tea room and B&B.

Here is a final look at the flowers that border the lawn of the Smith-Byrd House. This beautiful rose reminds me of the beauty that fills our days if we will just slow down enough to drink it in.

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for a special book review and giveaway!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Celebrating Tea

All it takes is one bouquet of soflty-colored pink roses, and at once an ordinary weekday holds the promise of unexpected beauty.

A few stolen moments to peruse a favorite tea lover's book, like The Pleasures of Tea: Recipes and Rituals by Kim Waller, and now the day holds endless possibilities.

I told myself I was not going to buy fresh flowers when I stopped in for a few groceries. It was such a busy week, and I was going out of town for the weekend.  But with their ruffled edges and soft shades of pink and green, these lovely roses weakened my resolve. And so I decided that even the most hectic week needs a touch of softness.

Clustered in a tea pitcher and surrounded by tea accoutrement atop a pretty tray, these roses beckon passersby to pause from the day's tasks to savor an unhurried cup of tea. 

Pretty china like this sugar bowl in my favorite Homer Laughlin pattern, Arcadia, reminds me of teatimes past. I collected pieces from this pattern years ago at a favorite antique store in Kentucky. Arcadia's soft pink border, delicate gold edging and cluster of pretty flowers make it a perfect choice for teatime.

I hope you will pause from your busy schedule to join me each day this week to celebrate tea. Along the way, we will visit a nearby tea room; discover a new book about tea that is sure to become a favorite among tea drinkers; and even share a special giveaway.

As the busyness of fall threatens to engulf us, I hope a week devoted to the pleasures of tea will infuse our days with serenity and loveliness.

"Each of us has the privilege of our own tea ritual. I know tea lovers are keen to have the proper setting, the right time of day, the carefully selected book at the ready. And let us not forget our tea friends. What better excuse to get together in informal ways? Tea also inspires us to create tasty treats for our own quiet moments or special gatherings. I am amazed at how varied the fare can be. So please come to the pleasures of tea with the great expectation of delight." ~ Nancy Lindemeyer in The Pleasures of Tea

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Barrel of Monkey Gift Ideas

With my nephew and niece in mind, I have searched the jungle for the cutest monkey merchandise. You will find a few of my favorites in this post, like the Little Monkey plates pictured above from Lipstick Shades.

I go bananas over smocking, and these hand smocked garments would be such cute party attire. (Hula Monkey tee and pink twirl skirt from Shrimp and Grits Kids; bishop, capri set and shortalls from Avanini.)

Seriously, could this Mars Sock Monkey from Maribel Made be any cuter?

Visit the Maribel Made Etsy shop here, and check out her adorable blog for more fun photos and details. Find out about custom creations here.

I have been a fan of Kelly Rightsell for a long time and incorporated several of her products into my children's nurseries. Above, several of her adorable art pieces, sure to look great hanging in a little monkey's room. Visit the Kelly Rightsell site here.

I thought this Mac the Monkey three-piece ceramic gift set in matching case was the perfect choice for Jonathan's birthday. I purchased mine in a childrens boutique, but find it on the Kelly Rightsell site here.

I love the attention to detail on these pieces. The rim of the plate says, "My little man filled with joy is our happy sweet little boy."

For monkey adventures, you just can't beat Curious George books. Find a variety of favorite titles here.

We gave our niece Kadence a collection of classic Curious George books, along with this striped sock monkey I found at Wal-Mart.

Due to sewing machine problems, I did not complete this outfit in time for nephew Jonathan's party, but I am hoping he will be able to wear it when he's monkeying around with his family. (Pattern, Butterick B5625; fabric, Beth's Heirloom Fabrics, Wetumpka, Ala.; baby monkey applique, Planet Applique. My machine needs to return to the shop, so special thanks to my friend Kim Isbell for finishing the shortall with applique and button holes.)
This weekend I will be monkeying around in Bowling Green, Ky. If you live nearby, I hope you will join us tomorrow for a ladies day at the Greenwood Park Church of Christ.


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