A Fun Party Idea – Tea Party with Dolls!

I had a reader write in to ask what “just because” party she could do for her daughter. Her daughter is in the 2nd grade. They’re newer to their area, but they have already made several friends. I couldn’t think of a better party than a doll tea party!

While it’s still spring, you could take advantage of the warmer (but not hot) days by having the party outside. Have all of the girls bring a doll or stuffed animal with them. You could even lay out a blanket like a picnic for the dolls. If you have plastic play plates, set those out. If not, paper is perfect! It definitely doesn’t have to cost a lot.

For food, think easy-to-eat foods.

If your daughter loves PB&Js, go with that! Make the food your own. An easy-to-make craft is to have each of the girls make their own paper plate party hat!

You can find lots of tea-centered games and craft on Pinterest, too! If a little girl in your life loves tea and the classic 18″ dolls, this American Girl – Beforever Rebecca – Rebecca’s Teatime Traditions is amazing!

American Girl tea set

American Girl-brand items are always more expensive than their counterparts (Our Generation, My Life, etc.), and *surprise, surprise,* I don’t always like the American Girl items better. However, I do love the above tea set. My daughter has the 18 Inch Doll Tea Party & Dessert Food Set, Two Complete Doll Sets for Your Favorite 18 Inch Doll | Includes 64 Pieces of Pretend Doll Food & Accessories, which has plenty of items to share. It’s definitely a bigger bang for your buck, and, as often as we have friends over, it was the better choice for us!

18″ Doll Tea Party Set

Hospitality is very important to me, so I’m thankful that she is so willing and eager to entertain! If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, I highly suggest the book Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation. I first heard about this book from Money Saving Mom.

I feel like Garrett and I became overly busy at one point in our lives, and we’re getting back on track for making time for what’s important to us. Afterall, when we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else.

I hope you feel inspired to have a party or get-together of your own! I’d love to hear about it if you do. 🙂

 

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Graduation Registries and What the Experts Think

Each year it seems like people find more and more ways to register for events and milestones. Way back in 2015 we covered why baby showers are intended to be for the parents and, thus, thrown on the occasion of the birth of parents’ first child.

Just because the option to register is there doesn’t mean you must accept.

Retail stores exist by making money. Registries allow the customer to select for himself or herself items they would like to receive. Once the items are marked and the registry distributed, purchases of those items is all too easy, resulting in profits for the retail store.

Aside from the common baby shower and wedding registries, I’ve now seen graduation, divorce and first home registries. It seems like the expectation has been set that people believe themselves of not only deserving of a gift for any and every occasion, but they also seem to believe they have the right to dictate what people give.

We are not entitled to have other people support our lifestyle.

Registries have not always been common. For two occasions, I believe it to be perfectly acceptable to have a registry: your wedding/wedding shower and your baby shower.

Never, though, should the registry be on the actual inviation. Additionally, even with a registry, people are welcome to give anything they wish, and all gifts are deserving of a thank you note.

When you have a registry, it’s important to not only have a wide range of costs for the items, which allows people to pick their price point, but it’s important to keep in mind the tone of the registry.

I’ve seen registries that have a preface of something like, “Thanks for viewing our online registry! We aren’t into ‘stuff,’ so check out what you can get us!” This is usually followed by “Buy a portion of the newlyweds’ couple massage” that offers a way to purchase said gift in $50 increments. There is no personalization to this, and the message is cold.

I know there will be plenty of opinions on this, but I believe it’s important to pay attention to not only what we’re saying but how we’re saying it.

Here’s a quick link to further explain why graduation registries are a no-no.

“When I hear people are creating registries for high school graduation, I hear ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme,’ as opposed to congratulations,” said Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of  Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition (Emily Post’s Etiquette). “They are absolutely not appropriate.”

Ms. Post, I agree. Thank you for reading!

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The Differences In Etiquette Books

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I’m often asked which etiquette book is my favorite. To be 100% honest, most from the 1920s-1950s hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. I love The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette, 50th Anniversay Edition. This is not the exact one that I have. Mine is much older, but from what I’ve reasearched, a lot of the “older” etiquette remains in this 50th anniversary addition. I feel like Ms. Vandernbilt went into great depth explaining various rules of etiquette. She not only explained the basics – she covered it all.

Another favorite is Emily Post’s Etiquette, 19th Edition: Manners for Today (Emily’s Post’s Etiquette). Now, this is one I’ve really noticed changes in over time. The writers of Emily Post Etiquette have relaxed a lot of the rules, which, being fairly traditional, I don’t love. Overall, though, the bones hold true, and it’s an easily understood etiquette book, which I feel is important. Should etiquette change? Absolutely. I just feel that some of the guidance is a little too casual for certain circumstances and enjoy a sense of formality many seem to miss in the world?

I really enjoy studying how etiquette books have changed and evolved over time. I always teach that etiquette is the culmination of cultural and societal norms. I’ve never seen a more accurate example than that of etiquette books and how they evolve over time. I hope this post helps you find the etiquette book that is best for you! Thank you for reading!

Reading Is Good For the Soul

One of my favorite things to do in my small town is to visit the local library on Thursdays with my kids. Most days the library closes at 6:00pm. On Thursdays, though, they delay opening for two hours in order to stay open until 8:00pm. The fact that the library is just two blocks from our home doesn’t hurt either.

My absolute favorite time to visit is at dusk. Oftentimes, particulary in spring and fall, the weather will be a bit misty, blurring the lines of the hectic world and washing everything clean. The lightposts glow pink as the light halos around the bulb. Walking towards the building becomes more and more peaceful with each step. It’s my sanctuary.

“Reading allows us to experience different cultures and places…”

It’s always been important to me that our kids grow up loving to read. It isn’t easy, though. It’s a time commitment when time is a rare commodity. It is, however, so incredibly worth it. The first time my daughter read a book on her own, I experienced a pride and happiness I had never known. My son, age 4, is getting close, too, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the day.

With reading, we get to experience different cultures and different places for a low, low price. I am a big promoter on etiquette not costing a lot. Knowledge shouldn’t either. There are many books I re-read because I get homesick for the different places. I’m currently reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story again, and I love it just as much, if not more, than the first time through. If you’re local to Sulphur Springs, the library had another copy available yesterday!

I hope this post encourages you to find a little time each week to devote to reading. I promise it’s time you’ll find well spent.

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Kindness Always Wins

I am often asked the most important part of etiquette. Without a doubt it is kindness.

I recently had an opportunity to read Lilac Girls: A Novel, and I could not recommend this book enough. It was simultaneously easy and hard to read, knowing what these souls had to endure. It is not a stretch to say that kindness was very limited during the Nazi regime, and kindness being limited was lauded. The Nazis knew that the only way people would follow them is if they promoted the dehumanization of others – kindness, in my opinion, is a vital aspect of humanity.

Thankfully, kindness always wins.

My encouragement for you today is to reach out to someone who may be lacking in receiving kindness. We are all humans, and we are all deserving of kindness, regardless of what the world tries to tell us. Kindness breaks down barriers. Kindness makes us better.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank