Happy New Year to all of our Tea Friends!

Happy New Year to all of our Tea Friends!!
from The Hardins
Don, Donna, Spenser, Chase, Zachary, & Grayson

We hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas! Here on the farm we had a White Christmas!! Enjoy some of the pictures that our photographer Zach took!

Our little Puppy 'Brew'-ster enjoying the snow!!

May this New Year be filled with Joy, Love, and Many Blessings!  Looking forward to seeing you in this coming year!

Teacup Thursday: "Friendly Village"

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Doesn’t this little town look friendly??? Well, it should it’s known as Friendly Village by the Johnson Brothers. This set my mom has been collecting for years!

The Teapot and Teacups have a winter scene on them, but the dinner plates are all different seasons! We usually use these dishes on special occasions and they table always looks so pretty with all the various scenes!

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Teacup Thursday: "A Cup of Christmas Tea"

"We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"

Mom was the first to get this set of “Cup of Christmas Tea” teacup and teapot. She received them many years ago by a friend in California, Dayna Esquivel.

When we moved out here to the country, Mom and I began enjoying tea together in the afternoons. That Christmas Mom found another set of “Christmas Tea” teacups and teapot and purchased them for me! We always get these teacups out at Christmas and sip tea out of them on a regular basis. They hold many found memories of teatime with my mom!

May you have a blessed Christmas!!

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Take Joy

"Joy is increased by spreading it to others"
~Robert Murray McCheyne

"Joy Delights in Joy"
~William Shakespeare

"Joy is not in Things; it's in Us"
~Richard Wagner

Joy is not a precious concept reserved only for holidays and special occasions... Rejoice in simple things.
Make joy at home in your heart today.

Recipe ~ Figgy Cake

Figgy (or Date) Cake

1 C Oil
1 1/2 C Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp. soda, dissolve in a little hot water
2 C Flour
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 C Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 C dried figs, chopped (or Dates)
1 C Chopped Nut

Beat 3 eggs; add sugar and oil. After sifting dry ingredients, add to egg mixture alternatively with buttermilk. Add vanilla and fold in figs (or dates) and nuts. Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, 20 minutes, or until done. (may take a little longer - I always start checking my bundt cakes every 5 minutes after the first hour as you don't want it over baked.)


1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/2 Stick Butter
2 TBSP Corn Syrup
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 C Buttermilk
1/4 tsp. Soda

Mix ingredients and boil for 3 minutes. When cake is done, remove from oven and pour hot sauce over it.

"A Child's Christmas in Wales" Movie Review

This past week, our family has been enjoying Christmas movies! Every December, we go through our movie "closet" and locate all of the holiday movies. It seems with every year too, that we find one or two more to add to our collection. One of the movies we added this year was A Child's Christmas in Wales. I was familiar with the title as I knew there was a poem/short story written by Thomas Dylan, in fact, we even owned the book, however, I must confess, I had never taken the time to read it. Typically the rule around here is: "read the book first" and then watch the movie...but hey, it's Christmas, who has time, right?!

The movie was simply delightful, and I am only sorry that I have missed out on so many Christmases without it!! Not wanting you to feel that way too, we have highlighted this story for you in hopes you will have a chance to read the book or watch the DVD too.

Here's a brief synopsis: The movie will take you on a lyrical journey into the heart of an old man. A journey back to the magic and marvel of his boyhood years where no two moments were ever alike. On this special Christmas Eve, Old Geraint (Grandad) shares these heartwarming memories with his grandson, Thomas. In one evening Grandad does more than recall his cherished youth...he relieves it...and you will too as you listen and watch this delighful tale!!

Gingerbread Advent House

Look what I found while I was out shopping the other day! Not that we need another thing to help us remember how many days there are until Christmas...Little Grayson (9), generally does a great job at that, but who could resist this sweet little advent Gingerbread House?!

Well, I couldn't...and so, yes, we have yet another little countdown method in our home! This sweet little house has all kinds of drawers and doors, one to open up every day until Christmas. Inside, you can tuck a little gift or piece of candy...Grayson informs me that as each day goes on, the boxes get a little bigger, so they can hold bigger treats!

We hope you enjoy this "little bit" of Christmas today!!! Let's see, only 8 days until Christmas!!

Teacup Thursday: "Poinsettias"

Poinsettias are known as the Christmas Flower. Many of us decorate with them in our home. As I was taking pictures of our pretty Poinsettia teacup, I got curious about the History of the Poinsettia, and here’s what I found!
The Legend of the Poinsettia, originated in Mexico in the 16th century. A poor brother and sister had nothing to offer baby Jesus. They searched and searched for something special to bring him, but had no luck. In attempt to not arrive at church empty handed the children picked a bouquet of leafy green weeds. When they arrived at the church they knelt by baby Jesus and gave them their gift of weeds, all that they had. When Jesus looked at them, the weeds burst into sparkling red flowers that overshadowed the other gifts laid at baby Jesus’ feet and the little children rejoiced!

The five points on a Poinsettia’s blooms also signify the Star of Bethlehem and the bright red color is a symbol of Jesus’ blood and crucifixion. Which is really the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus came to die, to die for our sins and then in three days he rose again! So that all who believe in Him may have eternal life! And that’s a reason to rejoice!

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Peppermint Pig

An American Holiday Tradition Since Victorian Times! After the holiday dinner the solid peppermint pig was placed in a red pouch and passed amongst the dinner guests. Each person took a turn at giving the velvet pouch a firm tap with the small silver hammer while sharing a tale of the past year's good fortune. The Peppermint Pig went on to represent so much more as it was a symbol of good health, happiness and prosperity, enjoyed by all in hopes of prosperity for the coming year.

Make this Victorian Holiday Tradition one of your "new" family traditions! The combination pack includes a peppermint pig, nickel plated hammer, red velvet pouch, “Legend” storycard and instructions on how to break your Peppermint Pig. It is of course, gift boxed. The combination pack is truly the ideal gift for others; or the perfect way to open your family’s heart to this wonderful tradition of fun and sharing.

This 5" long and 8 oz. Peppermint Pig
is great for family gatherings. $20 plus tax.

Last Tea Party before the Holiday Season

This past Saturday was our last tea party for this year...we typically close down from mid-December until February 1st. At Saturday's teatime, we had the opportunity to meet a special group of ladies...Grandma, Mom, and two daughters, Angela and Jennifer.
They have been having "Ladies Christmas Holiday Day Out" since 1986. In fact, Angela was only 1 month old on their first outing. 

Guests enjoyed a delicious four-course tea offering which included our special Cranberry Christmas Salad, Turkey/Cheese Croissant with Pear/ Cranberry Relish; Pimento Cheese on Rye; Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Sandwiches; Miss Spenser's Special Cucumber Sandwiches along with a tasty Artichoke Tart Savory. Traditional cream scones were served with lemon curd, strawberry jam and Clotted Cream imported from England. For desserts, Sherry Tea Cakes, Peppermint Brownie Bites and Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies. Delicious fragrant teas were served, Cinnamon Plum and Gingerbread.

The day turned out to be a bit cold and icy...but nothing was going to stop this four-some from having their Traditional Ladies Christmas Holiday Celebration!

Teacup Thursday: "Red Teacup" from Royal Albert

His Eyes how they twinkled!
His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses,
His nose like a cherry.
His droll little mouth
Was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin
Was as white as the snow!
~Twas a Night Before Christmas
(Secretly, this part in the story always reminded me of my Grandpa Cherryholmes!)

Isn’t the Santa Teapot cute! I don’t remember where we got him, but I think he’s darling!
Last year for Christmas I bought Mom this pretty little teacup. Red is her favorite color! This teacup is made by Royal Albert. I’ve seen other colors in this pattern, like black, blue, yellow… wouldn’t it be fun to collect a them all!!?

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Teatime wtih Mrs. Cratchit Photo Highlights

"Best off, Scrooge has learned to keep Christmas well, and if there was any man alive that possessed that knowledge, I'd have to say it was him, and may that truely be said of all of us!"

Well, this past weekend we hosted our Teatime with Mrs. Crachit Program. Here are picture highlights!!!

The trays are all ready to be served!  The Frozen Cranberry Salad (not pictured) was a big hit! Click here to view the recipe!

Guests Enjoying themselves!

Hope you enjoyed the photos!!
Here at Miss Spenser's Special-Teas we wish you 
a Very Merry Christmas!!
And of course, as Tiny Tim would say, "God Bless Us, Everyone!"

Teacup Thursday: Christmas Polka Dots

Can you believe it’s December! Christmas is only 24 days away! When you have a 9 year old in the house, start the countdown for Christmas starts in July! We’ve put the tree up, gotten our Christmas CD’s out, and are beginning to enjoy the yummy Christmas treats! This festive teacup here is a lot of fun to drink our Candy Cane Chai out of! This Chai tea is one of our favorite Holiday Drinks!

We have a few of these teacups for sale in our tearoom, they are $10/each and would make for a perfect Christmas gift for a friend, or for yourself!

Candy Cane Chai is also available while supplies last. Get your package today! $7.00 per 2 oz. Call 641-342-1547

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Baker In Training!!

One of the things that has happened since the tea room started is the fact that we don't have much time to bake for the family, in fact, the big joke is, all the guys get to eat are the corners  and over baked goodies!! So, we've beening doing some thinking... since Grayson is the one with the most 'free' time around here, we decided to get him involved in goodie baking for the family. We have found in the past what works really well with beginning bakers is to start them out with a good cookie mix. This allows the trainee a chance to get used to practice baking without worrying so much about all the measuring.
Naturally, when we were selecting a cookie mix, we thought of Miss Spenser's Crunchy Munchy Mix. This is a delicious oatmeal based cookie mix that takes butter, an egg and vanilla...mix together and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Grayson did a fantastic job, see for yourself! Now, the boys should be happy around here...well, for at least a day as cookies around here don't last that long!!

These yummy Crunchy Munchy Mix are quick and easy and are only $7.00! Perfect for the Holidays. If you'd like to order some call: 641-342-1547

Teacup Thursday: "Happy Thanksgiving"

Happy Thanksgiving!! Hope everyone is enjoying this time of gratefulness with family and friends! These dishes are called "His Majesty" ~ Perfect for thanks giving don't you think!

Thanksgiving Delights

On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.

For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.

We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.

The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!

By Joanna Fuchs


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Recipe ~ Frozen Cranberry Salad

8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 C Mayonnaise
1 C Sugar
2 (12 ounce) Cans Cranberry Sauce
2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
1 C Powered Sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise and sugar using the whip attachment on mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine heavy cream and powered sugar and whip to medium stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream mixture into cream cheese mixture, add cranberry sauce and gently combine. Scoop cranberry salad into individual cups and place in freezer for 1 hour until forzen. Serve chilled with dollop of whipped cream.

Life on the Farm: Sunrises, Sunsets, and Teapot Clouds

This Fall we have been experiencing
some incredible sunrises and sunsets...

This is what happens when you're doing the dishes and "tea" on the brain at all times!
I thought this cloud looked like a teapot...no one else saw it...what do you think???

Have a great Day!!

Teacup Thursday: Royal Patrician

For those of you who don't know already, Autumn is my favorite time of year! I've often said that I think it would be wonderful if we could just have two season of Autumn and skip Winter all together!
I love everything about fall, the crispness of the weather, the beautiful sunsets, wearing jackets and scarves, harvest moons, bonfires, and of course the colors of fall, as brown is my favorite color!  

This teacup today has beautiful golden roses with dark purple violets. It's made by Royal Patrician. Once again this is a teacup and teapot that I received for one of my many birthdays. (smile) I think the teapot has such a cute shape! 

Speaking of Autumn and Harvest time... I'm off to brew myself a pot of "Frost on the Pumpkin" tea. This is one of our new seasonal teas and has fast become my new favorite!  If you'd like to order some of this fantastic tea yourself, give us a call: 641-342-1547.

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Highlights from our Autumn Harvest Tea with Live Piano Music.

Well, I think everyone enjoyed themselves this past Saturday... It was a relaxing atmosphere, with cozy warm colors of Fall and tasty comfort foods. Zach's Piano music was amazing... hope to have a CD available soon! 
Here are some pictures of our guests... and as usual we forgot to take pictures of the food, but here's the menu! 
Sweet Potato and Pear Soup

Waldorf Chicken Salad in Croissant
Cranberry Egg Salad on Rye
Pear & Brie Tarts
Country Cucumber

Traditional Scones with Apple Butter & Fresh Cream

Fall Apple Cake with Carmel Glaze
Molasses Cookies dipped in White Chocolate
Brownie Bites with Peanut Butter Frosting

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