Tea Friends go to Downton, Highclere Castle


In May, a couple of our regular tea friends traveled with Iowa Public Television to England…one of their stops was Highclere Castle, the home of Downton Abbey. 

Here is Shirley, on the left, and Judy on the right. 


Can you find them in this picture? 

At last month’s tea event, you can imagine our excitement and JOY when the two of them told us that our teas are better than “Downton” teas!! They told us they love our variety and offerings…naturally, we were very happy and asked if we could broadcast this great news…and they graciously agreed!! 

If you feel this way too…why not leave us a review on Teamap.com…this is a very helpful way to let others know who we are and what we do. Thank you in advance!!

A Special Birthday Party: A Trinky Celebration

This past month, we had the privilege of hosting a 90th Birthday Celebration for a very special lady – Mildred Thomas – better known as Trinky. When asking her how she got the nickname Trinky, she said she wasn’t sure, her grandfather gave it to her, and it has stuck now, some 90 years later!!

A little funny trivia about Trinky and her birthday: Growing up, her family celebrated her birthday on June 16. It wasn’t until she was filing for her passport, that she discovered her “real” birthday is June 17. How funny is that?!


We met Trinky at the very FIRST tea party we ever hosted as Miss Spenser’s Special-Teas. They had hired us for their Tea Guild get together and it was to be hosted in Trinky’s home. She greeted us at the door with that ever-present smile and twinkly eye…unbeknownst to her, she was our first customer; naturally, we were a bit nervous, but her graciousness and gentle spirit calmed us immediately!!

We are posting several pictures from the day, some poems and tributes that her two daughters, Karen and Pam, put together for the special day. We hope you enjoy!


Now, this lady knows how to treat her guests…they were all escorted to Miss Spenser’s by Charter Bus!!

Trinky got out her hats and all the granddaughters and great granddaughters picked one to wear for the day.

Trinky’s dear friend from High School – she shared lovely memories of how giving and devoted she was as a friend. One of the special memories was of the “shared dress.” Trinky was fortunate to have been able to purchase a new dress…she let all her friends borrow it when they would have a special function to attend.

Now, it’s Trinky’s Birthday Party – but what does she do?? She brings gifts for Spenser and I – two lovely teacups from her personal collection…so special, lasting treasuers! Thank you Trinky!!

Pam and Karen – her two, precious daughters who helped put this party together for her. Pam shared about the thing she loves about her mother – “Now”

Pam: "I love waking my mother up in the morning; she always wakes up with a smile.
My mother is a wonderful encourager – she says something encouraging to me just after she wakes up as well. My mother is a giver. She would give me anything of hers, the shirt off her back. She is a wonderful example to me of always putting others first. My mother loves the Lord Jesus. She is always eager to pray together and ready to read the Bible or devotion book with me. Some of our favorite things we enjoy: Eating caramel corn, going for a malted milk, watching the Gaithers on t.v. followed up by Guy Lombardo and Lawrence Welk. Worshipping at church and finally…going to TEA!"

Karen, her other daughter, amazed all of us by writing this wonderful poem that spans a life-time! I am sure after this post, you will agree – that Trinky is a very special woman and those who have had the privilege of knowing her have been blessed indeed!! We hope you enjoy this tribute to our very first tea friend!!! Birthday Blessings Trinky!

She isn't big, in fact she's quite dinky 
Perhaps that's why she was nicknamed Trinky 
With a twinkle in her eyes and a scrunched up nose 
She smiles and laughs with the cutest pose

A small package of good - that is my mom 
She loves being with people and helping everyone 
She loved to cook and she spent much time 
Preparing meals for others to dine

She loves Tuesday coffees with her north high friends 
Sharing lives together for years on end 
She loves her church and Bible studies too 
Quilting, sewing, so much to do

Bridge is the game she yearns to play... 
It doesn't matter what time of day 
Get out the nuts- oh so yummy 
And don't think my mom is some kind of dummy 
She knows her cards and plays them well 
Marilyn and Audrey have stories to tell

Mom loved volunteering at the Church of the Land 
And cherished her time with Joanna her friend 
They would share the church history with those who came through 
And would quilt and talk and eat donuts too

While my mom couldn't sing, she did love to dance 
And enjoyed square dancing and ballroom when given the chance 
My parents would dress up in fancy clothes 
They were completely decked out from head to toe 
Mom knew fashion-- dresses, hats, shoes 
Her closets were full with the styles she'd choose

Watching shows together was a great family time
Lawrence Welk, Ed Sullivan and What's my Line. 
Dad would pop corn with a little melted butter 
Such great memories among so many others

Mom loved cows and had lots for awhile 
But tea cups took over ------they just made her smile 
Some with flowers on them, some with clover 
My Dad insisted they were going to take over

Proper attire, manners and delectables too 
Mom learned about tea parties and what one should do 
Cucumber sandwiches, scones and such 
One can never have too much 
Lemon curd and strawberry soup 
These led us to find a tea party group 
We made several trips to the small town of Perry 
Where we were connected to Ramona and Sherrie

With these friends we travelled to England - so fine 
Kathy and Pam, was that not the best time? 
Thymes Remembered closed - now where could we eat 
When we yearned for Earl Grey and 3-tiered tea sweets 
We have found the answer to our greatest passion 
We drive south to Miss Spenser's tearoom in fashion 
Our thanks to Donna and Spenser we bring 
For filling our hearts with love and good things

The Bible talks about the fruit of the Spirit- my mom displays them well 
She's been the best example in my life ...for that I'm pleased to tell 
I thank The Lord for giving me the best most wonderful mother 
I simply can't imagine my life if I'd been given to another 
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
gentleness and self control.
Mom you are all of that to me and more 
Happy 90th birthday to the Mother I adore

Hightlights from our Black Beauty Tea

“No hour is lost that is spent in the saddle.” 
– Winston Churchill

This past weekend we hosted our Literary Tea Party – Black Beauty. What a wonderful turn out we had on both days, thank you to all for coming out! We were grateful that the weather cooperated so all of our guests were able to meet, greet and get their picture taken with our “Beauty,” a/k/a Mr. Darcy. (smiles)
Our Black Beauty and Joe
(Photo Credit: Wendi Taylor) 
Black Beauty is a timeless classic, that has nuzzled its way into the hearts of our childhood memories and its lessons of compassion and kindness are something we carry with us like sugar cubes in our pockets throughout our adult years.

Just like people, horses respond best to kindness. Horses, even though they are such big animals, are quite sensitive. They usually respond well to whispers and gentle touches. When properly trained, horses will do many different tasks at the slightest touch. 

"The horse has so docile a nature, 
that he would always rather do right than wrong, 
if he can only be taught to distinguish one from another."
~ George Melville

Black Beauty Tea Foods: 



Arabian Night Tea ~ in honor of Black Beauty's Arabian Ancestry! 


Tea treats with a Horse-licious twist: 
 Yummy Oat Bars 
Carrot Cupcakes 
 Lemon Blossom Cookies 


Your horse loves you; 
Not for your looks, but for your love! 
He knows when you’re happy, 
He knows when you’re comfortable, 
He knows when you’re confident, 
And he ALWAYS knows when you have carrots! 
~Author Unknown

Excuse our silence, but we've been busy!


Excuse our silence!! So much has happened since our wonderful Mom/Daughter/Sisters/Aunt/Nieces outing in Ohio!! We returned to several full bus visits, two large Downton Abbey Teas and other tea events sprinkled through out the month of May. Whew…on top of all this, we were thrilled to have The Des Moines Register come and do a feature on the tearoom, that was fun! However, we never anticipated the influx of phone calls and reservations from the article!! I told Miss Spenser when I (Donna) was cleaning the other day that I felt like the little old woman in the shoe…she had so many children, she didn’t know what to do?! That’s how it’s been with all the phone calls…we are grateful though…but please be patient with us as we “recalculate” and try our best to accommodate each of you!!

We've had several sweet tea days of late... we've had mom's celebrating end of school, an Ames book club, mother/daughter birthday celebrating their birthday - which happens to be on the same day (isn't that special!)! 

Here's some pictures from a few of our past teas: 





This Mother is treating these girls to tea. They completed a unit study on politeness... and these girls were impressive! "Please and Thank you" flowed from their table. Great job, Mommy! 

Thank you to every one who attended…it was indeed our pleasure to serve…thank you for allowing us to be a part of your special days/celebrations!

Teatime in Cincinnati: The Netherlands Hotel

During our time in Cincinnati, we took tea at the Netherlands Hotel! It is an old hotel from the 1930's ~ It was very pretty inside. Decorated in original art deco. 




All ready for tea! 








Our very sweet server, Natasha! 



The Sandwiches and Savories 



Sweet Breads


Some of the Desserts 



Natasha, made special take-home treats in honor of Grandma's End of Chemo-Treatment! 

It was a fun day! I hope to take tea there again! 


Ohio Roadtrip Celebrating Grandma's End-of-Chemo-Treatment

This past weekend, we went to Ohio with my grandma, my mom, some aunts, and a few girl cousins. It was an outing to celebrate Grandma's end-of-chemo-treatment. We went to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit the Princess Diana Exhibit. Some drove from Iowa, some flew from North Dakota, and some drove from Tennessee. Here are a few photos of our fun-filled trip! 

This is the Iowa group (minus my mom who is taking the picture). Aunt Karen on the right was our designated driver - we nicknamed her Navigator. 
  
 

From Des Moines it was a 12 hour drive! 


Mileage sign for Kentucky! Getting closer!! 



Arrival in Cincinnati! Yeah! We made it!! 

Ohio river! We walked over this bridge and had fun saying that we walked from Ohio to Kentucky! 


 First night, we enjoyed Tea, Cake, and Chocolates! (My mom made an English Walnut Cake ~ ooh so good!) 

Decked Grandma out with pink and crowned her "Queen Mum!" 


Next Day... Princess Diana Exhibit! 


A wonderful exhibit! We got to view her wedding dress as well as childhood toys, and many of her glamourous designer dresses. This could be one of the last time these items are available for the public to view! 

Spent the evening in "Hyde Park" (notice the name on the sign). Reminded us of our time in England! Enjoyed dinner at an English Restaurant! 




Had fun pretending we were in England for the night! :) 



Teatime at the Netherlands Hotel... very fun! 




 Stay tuned for another post soon with details of our teatime experience! 



Goodbye Ohio! We had fun! Until next time! 





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