Friday, May 1, 2015

Mother's Day Tea and Traditions

When I think about celebrating Mother's Day, the first ideas that come to mind are tea parties and flowers.  Every Mother's Day since becoming a mother myself, we have invited my parents and my in-laws to our house for a special dinner.  In 2009, my mother-in-law asked if we could have a special Garden Fairy Party before the annual dinner.  We immediately starting planning the day, knowing that we spend the majority of our time together planting annuals in the flower beds in front of our house.

a craft for the Brownie Bugs badge
In preparation for the "Butterfly Bash," my daughters helped make pipe cleaner butterflies to be used as decorations.  This is a relatively easy and inexpensive craft that can be modified for kids of all ages.  I believe I may have loosely followed the directions posted hereMy girls were only 2 and 3 years old at the time, so they needed some help with this craft.  They enjoyed experimenting with different color combinations of pipe cleaners the most.  To make the butterfly your own, you can use beads and pom poms, brightly colored pipe cleaners, sparkly pipe cleaners...Many different variations of these butterflies can be found on Pinterest.  The girls also made invitations for their grandparents by drawing butterflies on construction paper and decorating them with markers and glitter glue.

We wanted to serve a light lunch before getting our hands dirty, so my girls helped make finger sandwiches.  Using a butterfly cookie cutter, my older daughter cut the bread.  We spread some with peanut butter and jelly, and others we filled with bacon, cucumber slices, and ranch-flavored cream cheese.  I also made Ina Garten's Cheddar-Dill Scones; however, I used minced rosemary and diced thyme instead of dill.  Again, we used the butterfly cookie cutter when cutting the dough.  The scones were spread with a prepackaged herbed cream cheese.  We also served a fruit salad and pink lemonade--two favorites at our house!
consider for Brownie Bugs and Snacks badges

For dessert, we made butterfly cupcakes using my mother-in-law's favorite Jello Poke Cake recipe.  To make the butterfly, I combined several different ideas I found online.  A quick Pinterest search provides plenty of inspiration.  To make the wings, cut a large marshmallow in half and dip in sanding sugar.  Use pastel-colored M&Ms for the body and a gumdrop for the head. 
Daisies can practice being friendly and helpful.


Even when my daughters were much younger, they were able to help properly set the table.  For the "Butterfly Bash," I made simple place cards to set at each seat.  We cut flowers from our yard for the table centerpiece.  

When planning a tea party with Junior Girl Scouts, they can complete the five steps to earn the Social Butterfly badge.  Daisy Girl Scouts can earn the orange petal for being responsible for what I say and do.  They can also earn the yellow petal for being friendly and helpful.

After looking back through pictures in our family scrapbook, I now recall that I helped our girls make special booklets to give to their grandmas during this tea party.  I asked questions such as "What is your favorite thing to do with Grandma?" and "What is your favorite memory with Grandma?"...  I recorded the girls' answers, ending the message with "I love you."  We helped the girls "sign" their names.  Note:  If school-aged children are making this gift, they could fill in the blanks with their answers.  For example, "My favorite thing to do with Grandma is _____________."  These kids may be able to write the questions and responses on their own.  It would be cool to have kids write on a pretty piece of paper from the craft store and put it in a frame for Mom or Grandma.  They could update their responses for future Mother's Day gifts. 

In addition to the booklets, we made butterfly suncatchers for the grandmas.  There are several different varieties available.  In my experience, painting suncatchers is easier for younger kids than decorating suncatchers with baking crystals.  Our family has used both, and we've been pleased with the results.  I would recommend painting suncatchers when when working with Daisy and Brownie troops.  Junior Girl Scout troops may have success filling the spaces of the suncatcher with the baking crystals, but I suggest having additional volunteers available to help.  Depending on the size of your troop, you may consider purchasing additional glass stain paint so the girls aren't all trying to share the same eight pots of paint.  Keeping with the butterfly theme, a mosaic butterfly stepping stone is another great Mother's Day gift idea.  We have helped our daughters make a few stepping stones over the years, but this is not a project I would tackle with our Girl Scout troop regardless of their ages.

When the girls in our troop were in kindergarten, we held a Thinking Day Tea.  When the older girls were Brownies, we had a Mother's Day Tea.  For this occasion, the girls in our troop invited their mothers to a tea party that we scheduled for late afternoon on a weekday in early May.  Badge steps and service projects are usually tied into our events, but this time we planned to give the guests an opportunity to socialize with each other.  Each family was asked to bring something to share whether it be a sweet treat, a savory snack, beverages, or paper products.  An email was sent and the ladies were asked to "Reply All" when they signed up to bring something.  As I mentioned earlier, this is great way for Junior Girl Scouts to earn their Social Butterfly badge.  Brownies can satisfy steps toward the Snacks badge, and Daisies can earn some petals.  It was a super easy event for the leaders and a lot of fun for everyone! 

Just a couple months after that Garden Fairy Party, my mother-in-law Nancy was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.  She fought to the end but lost her heartbreaking battle on April 1, 2011.  Since her passing, Mother's Day has become even more special for our family.  Every May, a few days before the holiday, my husband and I take our girls to a local nursery to buy brightly colored blooms.  We spend Mother's Day planting flowers and mulching the beds, celebrating Nancy's life by taking plenty of time share our favorite memories of her.  Happy Mother's Day!  Thank you for reading.

    "The grass withers, the flower fades,
        but the word of our God will stand forever."

                                                     Isaiah 40:8

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