Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reach for the Stars Tea Party Theme


A New Year lies before us, and with it the opportunity for a fresh start. Many resolutions have been made, many goals set, and there’s a new determination in our hearts to achieve our dreams.

What a great opportunity for a “Reach for the Stars” theme tea party! Perfect for a January tea party, this theme could be used any time throughout the year.

Decorate your table with glitzy star decorations. They might even be available at half price, in after Christmas sales. Christmas ornaments with silver or gold stars painted on them nestled in a pretty bowl or basket will make an elegant centerpiece.

Large cardboard stars, covered with colorful foil wrapping paper, could be used as placemats.

Place cards, with guest names, could be made to match and placed at each table setting.

The invitations should encourage guests to come ready to share their dreams for the New Year.

Prepare an encouraging affirmation for each guest, written on pretty paper and rolled into a scroll. Seal it with a gold or silver star and place one by each place setting. As your tea party progresses, ask guests to open and read their scroll. Then have them share their dream for the New Year and at least one thing they will do to achieve it. For instance, if their dream is to visit a foreign country, they may take the first step and obtain a passport.
Sample affirmations for the scrolls are:

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. Napoleon Hill.

Decide upon your major definite purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it. Brian Tracy

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want. Ben Stein

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise. Robert Fritz

The number one problem that keeps people from winning in the United States today is lack of belief in themselves. Arthur L. Williams

You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the Earth by the Master Craftsman. Max Lucado

You have to believe in yourself when no one else does. That’s what makes you a winner. Venus Williams

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. Andrew Carnegie

At the conclusion of the tea party, you could give each guest a scroll that you have prepared containing all the affirmations that have been read.


To keep with the theme, you might serve Celestial Seasons tea, choosing a blend of spices, representing the blend of opportunities in the new year.

Dreamy Scones

3 cups flour
3 tspns baking powder
½ tspn salt
1 cup cold butter
1 egg
1 cup vanilla yogurt
½ tspn vanilla
2 tspns milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in egg, yogurt and vanilla just until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead 6-8 times. Do not over handle.

Roll into a 9 inch circle, cut into 8 wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Black Eyed Peas Salad

Black eyed peas are traditionally eaten at the beginning of the year as they are supposed to bring good luck and prosperity. They are also a reminder of our proud but humble beginnings.
• 2 cans Black eyed peas, drained
• 1 Bell Pepper
• 1 Chopped Cucumber
• 1 Can Olives, chopped
• Equal mixture of Olive Oil and Herb vinegar (garlic or basil)
• 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
• Thyme, rosemary, oregano, or Italian seasoning
• Garlic
• Mix it all up and let chill for an hour before serving.

Lucky New Year's Sandwiches with Grapes
On Nochevieja in Spain, New Year's Eve revelers eat 12 grapes at midnight — one for every chime of the clock — to bring good luck in the 12 months to come. To add good luck to your tea party, serve these beautiful open-faced sandwiches, featuring chicken and 12 grapes.
4 slices of Honey Wheat bread
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked white chicken meat
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup blanched and sliced almonds, plus 4 tablespoons for sprinkling
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
48 red grapes, each cut in half
Mix the chicken, celery, almonds, mayonnaise, lemon juice and tarragon together. Spread generously onto the slices of bread. Top each slice with 24 grape halves. Then cut each slice in half, so there are 12 grape halves on each one. Sprinkle with more almonds if desired. Serve open faced.


These carrot sandwiches remind us to eat our vegetables. We need to enjoy good health as we reach for our dreams.
2 cups grated carrots
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp salad dressing
Mix together and spread on assorted crackers or breads. Cut in party shapes.


Eggs symbolize new life, new beginnings. A perfect choice for a New Year.

• 8 hard-cooked eggs, diced
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon mustard powder
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon dill weed
• 8 slices white bread
In a bowl, gently mix the eggs, mayonnaise, onion flakes, salt, mustard powder, garlic powder, pepper, and dill. Cover, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight. To serve, spread equal amounts on 4 slices bread; top with remaining bread slices to make sandwiches.

Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

This macaroni and cheese dish is served to represent comfort and love in our lives.
2 1/4 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 (14 ounce) package KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix water and mustard in 1-1/2-quart casserole. Whisk in Cheese Sauce from Pouch. Stir in dry Macaroni; cover with tight-fitting lid.
2. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; stir in sour cream. Bake, uncovered, an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Confetti Cake

Confetti Cake is the perfect way to celebrate our dreams as we reach for the Stars.

Confetti Cake (Serve with real confetti, if you don’t mind the clean up)

1 1-pound box angel food cake mix
1/4 cup colored candy sprinkles

1. Follow the directions on the cake mix box, but just before pouring the batter into the tube pan, add the sprinkles.
2. Mix them quickly and gently with as few strokes as possible and pour the batter into the pan immediately. If you mix and pour too slowly, the colors may bleed and color the surrounding batter.
3. Frost cake with whipped topping or your favorite frosting. Add confetti (colored sprinkles) and a sparkly star decoration. (Tip Apply the sprinkles to the sides of the cake by lightly tossing them against the frosting. Store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Star shaped cookies and candies may also be served.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas High Tea

I was invited to a late afternoon Christmas High Tea that was a delightful time with friends from two tea groups. The hostess had her two teen age nieces help her serve. She served hot tomato bisque soup, then scones, then tea sandwiches followed by a polenta lasagna hot dish. There was hardly room left in tummies for desert, which was a beautiful red velvet cake served with ice cream.
We exchanged gifts, playing the take away game, which led to lots of laughter.
Two of the ladies are on a gluten free diet. I was pleased to discover gluten free bread, and many gluten free mixes. There's even a gluten free scone mix. I've made this, as well as a gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix, and brownie mix, and they are all very good. So, even if you can not have wheat, it's still possible to attend or host a tea and serve sandwiches, scones and desserts all gluten free.
I'm looking forward to hosting two teas next January. Watch this blog for a Jan. tea theme I will post right after Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Maxine at www.mysteryteaparties.com

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Teas

The December calendar is filling up fast! I am invited to several Christmas teas. A Christmas tea is a wonderful way to share the season with good friends. A time to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax with friends. A fun way to do that is to host the mystery Christmas tea, "Who Stole the Joy From Christmas?" This plan is also a great way to share your faith, as the last script explains the real "Meaning of the Season." It's not too late, you can download the party plan instantly for only $24.95 at www.mysteryteaparties.com.
I will be hosting two teas in January. One will be a trial party for my new mystery tea party plan for a wedding shower, and the other will be a plan (not a mystery) that I will post on this blog later this month.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mystery Birthday Party for Kids

"The Case of the Missing Art Work" is an affordable, fun, different way to celebrate birthdays for kids 8-18. One parent told me she was so happy to learn about the mystery tea party plans because it provided their family with an affordable way to celebrate their "tweens" birthday. As many families today, they were strapped for cash and couldn't afford the price of many of today's birthday parties. The mystery tea party plan was everything they were looking for, at a very affordable price.
"The Sinister Sleepover" is great for birthday/slumber parties, too. See all the plans at www.mysteryteaparties.com.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I finished a major accomplishment this morning. My collection of recipes has been a mish mash of cards, pages, magazine clippings, etc. all jammed into a small notebook. After viewing a friend's neatly organized note book, I decided it was time to do something about mine. I bought a box of plastic sheet protectors, and a spiral notebook, for the paper. Then I set about cutting and pasting recipes on the notebook paper, then inserting them into the plastic protectors. It took a few evenings to do of all that, then this morning I put them all into a binder. Interesting that I have more scone recipes than anything else!
My favorite scone recipe was given to me by an English friend. The main ingredient is Bisquick!
What's your favorite scone recipe? Why not share it in the comment section!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tea Party Tips

Well, I did it again. True, it wasn't at a tea party, but it did remind me to remind you...I'm getting ahead of myself!
We had friends over for a cook-out the other night. The weather is finally cool enough to enjoy being outdoors again. Anyway, everyone is being helpful, carrying all the plates and food outside. There was plenty of food, and we all enjoyed a nice dinner. Then we played cards, so it wasn't till after everyone had left that I discovered the special salad I had made for the dinner - untouched, in the refrigerator. I forgot to serve it! It was an unusual dish, cucumers and red grapes were the main ingredients, and I was anxious for my gourmet cook/friend to try it. Sigh.
When will I learn to make a list of the food I'm going to serve and check off the items as they are taken to the table.
I usually do that when I'm hosting a tea party, and that's my reminder to you. Make a list!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Childrens Mystery Tea Party

I have had many requests for a mystery tea party plan deisgned for children, and I can now say it is finished! "The Case of the Missing Art Work" is designed for ages 8 to teens. I just turned it over to my webmaster this morning, so it should be up on the website soon.

This will provide a theme party for parents wishing to honor their child's birthday in a unique and fun way. Kids love mysteries and the "test" party that was done was a big hit.

Look for it soon, along with all the other mystery tea party plans at www.mysteryteaparties.com.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tea Parties

I have attended 3 tea parties in one week! Dates had to be changed to accomodate every one's busy schedules, and so it just so happened that they all fell in one week.
One tea was at Barbara's Victorian Tea House in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. The home is on the historical society's list, and was a wonderful old fashioned home. The food and tea service was excellent, and my Victorian Tea Society group had a lovely time. I highly recommend it, if you are in the area.
A few days later, another tea group that I belong to held thier monthly tea in a member's home.
Her theme was tea and roses. A lovely centerpiece of fresh roses adorned the table. We enjoyed tea, salad and tea sandwiches and too many desserts.
Then, on the week-end, I attended a monthly tea that a friend does every month for 16 to 24 friends. This remarkable friend is in a wheelchair, but that doesn't stop her from hosting her teas. Her theme was a red, white and blue picnic. She sets up tables in her kitchen, dining room, den and enclosed garden room to accomodate her guests.
I hope you take advantage of the summer months to host a tea party yourself. There are so many delightful teas to serve iced, and they are so refreshing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tea Bags vs Loose tea

Tea bags are so convenient, why would anyone want to switch to loose tea? The answer is simple: Quality!
Tea bags first came into popularity in 1904. Before that, tea was sent in tins. A merchant in New York, trying to cut costs, began sending sample teas to his customers in small silk sacks. The client, not knowing this was new packaging, put the tea in hot water-bag and all. And a new way of preparing tea was born. Tea bags became popular. Then, in order for the tea to fully infuse, smaller tea leaves were used. Soon, merchants began using cheaper grades of tea, known as "fannings" or "dust". The thought was that as long as they were hidden inside the tea bag anyway, no one would know. As time went by, companies began to wrap the "leaves" in paper filters, a cheaper alternative to the silk bag. This alternative doesn't allow the water to flow through to the cup as easily, eliminating even more quality.
Unfortuantely, the tea found in most grocery stores is this lower grade of tea.
That is why I have begun to work with Heavenly Special Teas. They offer high quality premium full-leaf tea blends from around the world. Visit thier web site at www.heavenlyspecialteas.com to see a great variety of herbal/fruit, and flavored teas. Be sure to tell them Maxine sent you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Taking the Mystery out of brewing Tea

I've been learning alot about tea lately, thanks to Heavenly Special Teas.Find them at www.Heavenlyspecialteas.com. The temperature of the water and the amount of time the tea steeps is very important. Black tea should steep in boiling hot water for 3 to 5 minutes. Green tea should steep for 3 minutes in 180 degree water. This temperature is reached just when the tea kettle starts to sizzle, just before it reaches boiling. Herbal tea, which is naturally decaffeinated, likes the boiling hot water and should steep for 5 to 7 minutes. Water that is left to boil too long gets depleted of the oxygen in the water and the result is a flat, tasteless cuppa.
For the best cup of tea, use loose tea leaves rather than a tea bag. I'll tell you why in another blog post. Ta ta for now.

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Mystery Tea Party Plan, The Sinister Sleepover

Whoever heard of attending a tea party in your pajamas? Well, that's how the guests arrive when they attend the new pajama party mystery tea party!
It seems that the hostess has awakened them all with the dreadful news that a robbery and murder has taken place while they were all snoozing. Or were they? Several of them were seen roaming the halls in the middle of the night!
This new mystery party plan is already becoming popular. One lady ordered it and wrote that she is going to do it as an actual slumber party. Another said she is ordering it for her church's ladies night out.
I always do a trial run of any new party plan, and when I hosted "The Sinister Sleepover" my guests really had fun! They arrived in pajamas and bathrobes,one had slippers with floppy dog ears, another brought her teddy bear for company.
One lady had curlers in her hair, another wore a night cap. The party was a great success. You can purchase yours by clicking on www.mysteryteaparties.com.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tea in Texas

Hey, all you Texans! There is a great tea magazine called Tea in Texas. It comes out every two months and filled with great tea information, recipes, and news of many, many tearooms in Texas. Apparently, tearooms are very popular in Texas.
Look them up on the internet for more information and to be able to subscribe. It's really a great magazine.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mystery of Tea

My education in tea continues to grow. I am working with Heavenly Special Teas, a home party company. I do not plan on doing home parties myself, but will offer these wonderful high quality teas through my mystery tea party business. I am also looking for consultants anywhere in the nation.
There are so many benefits to drinking tea. It's one beverage that contains no calories, no carbohydrates, no salt and no fat.
Green tea contains more antioxidant working for you than Vitamins C and E. Some studies suggest it may prevent rheumatoid arthritis and/or lessen pain from those already afflicted.
Black tea even contains fluoride which fights bacteria that causes gum disease and decay. Who knew?
Oolong tea has so many benefits I don't know where to begin! It aids in digestion, works as a diuretic and has cleansing actions in the system. It fights dark spots on the skin and wrinkles. It also has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease. This tea also helps prevent tooth decay. Many claim it also aids in weight reduction.
If you'd like to learn more about these amazing teas visit www.heavenlyspecialteas.com. Please be sure to tell them Maxine sent you, or just give me a call at 951-301-7218. I'm on Pacific time, so if you're on the East Coast, please don't call before 9:00 a.m. your time!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mystery of tea

Iam learning so much about tea! I starting reading some tea forums on various websites. I soon discovered that many true tea lovers are not content with the teabags purchased at the local grocery store. They were ordering special teas and blends from different tea sources. They wrote with great passion about senchas and oolongs. They shared how long to steep various teas and worried about the temperature of the water. How long should the water boil? Should green tea steep longer than black?
Should you steep tea in a teapot with the cozy on or off? This last question led to a lengthy discussion, and several people performing tests.
The answers? Usually, water should just reach a boil. Green tea steeps for 3 minutes, black 5. Never cover a teapot while steeping tea. It "cooks" the tea and spoils the taste.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Box Luncheon tea party

This afternoon my Red Hat group enjoyed a Box Lunch. We each packed a lunch suitable for a tea party in a decorated box or basket. Each box had a number put on it, and then we all drew numbers. We then received the box that had our number on it. The boxes and baskets were all different, and very creative. Some were done in store bought hat boxes, some in big gift baskets, and one in a picnic basket with a Valentine Teddy Bear attached to it. (This was held on Feb. 12th)
My decorated box contained a wrap sandwich, candy, carrot cake, and a side dish of fruit and berries. The hostess provided drinks and a Watergate salad.
A fun and easy way to entertain!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tea Party

Last Sunday I attended a tea party hosted by a lady in a wheelchair. My friend has MS, but she doesn't let that stop her from hosting a monthly tea party for about 20 women! She has a small house, and sets up tables in her dining room, den, kitchen and sun room. She does most of the cooking herself, occasionally asking someone to bring something to add to the menu. She appoints a hostess for each table, and they do the actual serving.
We all pitch in for the clean up, and don't leave until all the dishes are done and everything is put away.
She is an inspiration to me. I, too, have a small house, and it's easy to use that as an excuse not to entertain. When I think of all the work involved in putting on a tea party, I can easily talk myself out of hosting one. Then I think of my friend, and she inspires me to get out my cookbooks, and put up an extra table.
I hope this will inspire you, too, to bless your friends or family by hosting a tea party.
You can find recipes and ideas at www.mysteryteaparties.com.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tea Sites you will enjoy

I've been doing alot of research lately for a new project, and have come upon some websites I'm sure you'd like to know about, too.
I found a source for free tea party invitations at www.hooverwebdesign.com. It takes abit of looking around in thier website, but they are there and worth searching for.
Looking for cute favors for your next tea party? Try www.beau-coup.com. They have many to choose from, some priced as low as .80.
Do you like to knit? You'll find kit's for knitting a tea cozy and a washcloth with a teapot design at www.teanroses.com.
Free tea party games and lots of tea party ideas are at www.teahousetimes.com.

Tea, WII and Me!

I've found another excuse to have a tea party! Today three friends are joing me for an informal time of tea and scones, then we are going to play WII bowling. I'm serving two kinds of scones, lemon curd, jam and devonshire cream. Since it's just the four of us, I'm going to use a loose tea, a blend of seven green teas from Let's Do Tea.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Woman's Club Mystery Party

I was so pleased to hear from the Country Woman's Club of Campbell, Ca. They are celebrating their 105th Birthday with a dinner and presentation of "Gone With the Breeze." It will be held on Feb. 22 at a Country Club.
This group has done several of my mystery tea party plans, and have been kind enough to invite me. Alas, it has not worked out for me to attend, but maybe one of these days! I love being invited to events, and when they are not too far away, I try my best to be there.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mystery tea party for a wedding!

I'm always surprised and delighted to learn of the many different ways the mystery tea party plans are being used. They've been done in homes, tea rooms, restaurants, an herb farm, poolside, country club, churches, banquet halls. They've been used as entertainment for all types of womens events; ladies golf luncheon, PEO's, women's clubs, library clubs, doll clubs, girls night out, office parties, gosh, the list goes on and on. They've been used as fund-raisers for all sorts of events,too.
But today was a first. A wedding party wants to entertain thier guests at the reception with a mystery tea party! What fun!
Next time your club is looking for entertainment, take a look at the many mystery party plans at www.mysteryteaparties.com. (The plans work well without a tea party.)