Tag Archives: job

Birthday Tea Party


Today was the first birthday party we are hosting this week.  Here’s how we made it simple, affordable, yet very nice.


I started by giving Patsy a handful of invitations I had saved when we moved.  She wanted a small, special party so I have plenty from another occasion in my card bin.   We chose a day after school when I knew I would have plenty of time to get ready during that day.  She handed them out about a week and a half ago.  Although we asked for RSVP’s, we only got one firm one, and a couple of “iffy” ones.  So, we were not quite sure how many to expect.  Then, I dug around in the cupboards and pulled out fancy dishes.  These little luncheon tea plates are from garage sales and a junk store and I have had them for about 20-30 years.  There are a couple that match, but mostly they are different floral patterns.  I have 8 or 9, and got 4 chosen and washed and the others set aside in case we had any surprise guests that forgot to tell Patsy they were coming.

We are still quite new here, and had to also face the possibility that we would have only 1 girl, or even none if something prevented her from coming.  There was a lot of anxiety going around here this morning.  I was very proud of Patsy.  It’s hard to keep trying and trying in life when there are lots of changes, and so much history of disappointment in the past.  But, she was brave, and my prayers were answered.  In the end, 3 girls ended up being able to come.  They were delightful young ladies, and I enjoyed them very much.  Patsy was so happy.


Alissa and Ja’Ana helped get ready this morning.  They also worked a bit on school.  They are almost done, and have very little to complete.  Alissa brought decorating supplies and worked on the cupcakes.


She had frosted cupcakes I had baked and frozen last week.  She added the candies on top, and we picked and added violas to make it special.  We put Baby’s Breath on the fancy dish and…..gorgeous and special for pennies.


I bought 1–$5 bunch of Baby’s Breath.  I used teapots I own, and roses and violas from the yard.  I put one bouquet on top of the piano and one on the table.


I used a tea cup and put one in the bathroom to take the elegance even further.  No extra money involved.IMG_4637


We bought some fancy mints and candy from the bulk bins at Winco.  We used sugar cubes in the sugar bowl.  The girls were excited about the cubes.  They emptied half the bowl.


Ja’Ana and Alissa worked on the chocolate and white chocolate-dipped strawberries.  I bought one carton of berries and a few melting chocolate disks from the bulk bins at Winco.  Alissa brought some red sugar to use as well to make them even prettier.

I worked on pickle rolls.  They are very simple.  You spread cream cheese onto lunchmeat and put a pickle on it, then roll up and cut into circles.  It is a family favorite at holiday times and Patsy wanted the treat for her birthday party.


I worked on little sandwiches, too.  I cut white bread I got on sale for 69c for the loaf into circles with a biscuit cutter.  I threw away the edges.  If I was not gluten-free, I would have made crumbs from them, but we have no use for regular bread crumbs around here.  I just make and use gluten-free ones.

I used some of the circles for cream cheese/olive open faced sandwiches.  Then, I added 1/4 piece of turkey pepperoni on top.  I spread cream cheese, then placed 1 cucumber slice and a piece of dill on the rest.  I also made some egg salad sandwiches from whole pieces of bread.  I cut the crusts off  and cut into quarters.  I used fancy toothpicks for those.  I also made a veggie tray in a fancy dish.  Snow peas, the remaining slices of cucumbers, celery, carrots, and cherry tomatoes filled it nicely.

The last thing I served was zucchini chocolate chip bread, baked and frozen last week.  I also made 2 pots of tea.  I let them choose and they chose Chai and Peppermint.  That was easy enough, using my insta-hot on my sink.  We used 4 tea bags, total.

The girls visited for a bit.  They then proceeded to polish off almost ALL of the food on the table.  How gratifying!  I was very pleased that they were so verbally appreciative,  polite, and apparently very hungry!  Afterwards, they went outside and played croquet on the lawn until it was time to go home.

The items I made this food from were all inexpensive, common ingredients.  It was the fancy dishes, the flowers, and making all the food tiny, decorated and fancy that made the tea party seem special. I did as much of it ahead of time as I could, even freezing a couple of items last week. I shopped yesterday for the things I needed.   I washed dishes as I went, and then put all the fancy dishes away directly after the guests went home.  I cleaned the house first thing this morning and some more after lunch.  That is something that would just have to be re-done if I did it too far ahead:)

I made a list of food I wanted to serve on the whiteboard as I thought of it, and then used the list to shop and cook.  I bought dill and used it more than once to get the best use of my purchase.  I did the same with the Baby’s Breath.  I figure if I’m going to buy it, I want to use it a lot.

So, I’m very tired, but satisfied and happy.  Patsy had a great party, I did not break the bank, we DID have some girls come to the party and they had a great time, my house is clean, and I have bouquets of flowers to look at.  I should sleep well tonight.




Good News!


Time for Rob to hang up his barbecue tools and paint brushes, at least until the weekends! He was called late yesterday and he got a job!  He started today.  It was pretty crazy, as there was no orientation, no training yet, he just plunged right in.  He was thrilled to get started, but nervous.  This is a complete change from his previous job.  Complete.  He spent quite a bit of time wondering exactly what he was supposed to be doing.

So, 80 job applications, 10 interviews and………..that’s what it took!  On Friday, after the latest interview, the vice principal called and said they had a strong interest in him, but that the HR department had a problem with him having worked in one place so long previously.  So, we just didn’t know what to expect all weekend.  Rob responded by hurrying up and finishing the canning cupboards “just in case.”  Good thing he did:)

He will be working as an assistant in a special needs classroom.  He will be working primarily with one certain child, assisting him so he get through his day.  He has 6.25 hours of work per day.  When the child is sick, he will have to go home, too.  He will not work during the summers.  So, those things mean we will have to continue to be very creative with our money.  Still, we think we can make it, when combined with the other job.

On the other hand, he will have insurance for all of us.  He will have a retirement plan for the first time, ever.  His other job had none.  At our age, any retirement piling up will certainly be better than none.   He will have the school holidays off to spend with the family.  He will have the summers off so we can volunteer at camp again if we want to or go on mission trips, or maybe both.  We can go camping and he can assist me in watching our niece and nephew while they are off for the summer as well.  If we need for him to, he can pick up another summer job of some sort.  Also, they put him into the sub pool so that if the child is sick, he can possible sub that day in a different area and not lose wages that day.  And, his foot is in the door.  Later, there are positions with longer hours and he could try for one of those if we need more hours.  The way these jobs work is that he has to re-apply each year, because the needs change.  After 3 years, I guess he can keep the job, if it exists, without re-applying each time.  OR, they can move him around as they wish if his existing job vanishes.  Complicated, but one step at a time!  Although that part is not going to be fun, once he has his foot in the door, we’ve been told it’s much, much easier to get re-hired than it was to get hired in the first place.

Like I told him, “you only have to do the first day once.”  He made it through the first day of many good days to follow.   I am very happy for him.