In the Junkyard Tales: All Together Now story “Conquest of the Junkyard Pond,” the Junkyard finds itself in a very cold snap. When Mr. Flinch runs out of water for tea, he asks his Junkyard friends for help. They simply need to go to the Junkyard pond to retrieve some ice to thaw. But the whole world is frosty and frozen. Who will step forward as brave arctic explorers?
Sometimes in January and February, it really does feels like stepping out your front door is a brave trek into the arctic. I know that getting our family outside for at least a little bit each day is so important, but it's always tempting to just stay inside, changing out of our pajamas only to put on clean pajamas at bedtime.
One thing I've found that helps give shape to these cold, grey days is keeping to a bit of a routine. And to that end — in addition to bundling up and getting outside at least once a day — my kids and I will often have a special tea time at three or four in the afternoon.
It's nothing too fancy — usually just a pot of herbal tea and a few cookies or crackers — but the ritual of putting on a kettle and pouring the tea makes it feel cozy and quaint and even celebratory. We could be explorers breaking bread in an igloo or colonial Americans toasting the Boston tea party over jam and biscuits.
If that sounds like fun to you, too, then these hand-painted tea cups will also be right up your alley.
If you intend to have tea with little ones, be sure an start with the smallest cups you can find. As you can see, I've used egg cups, but glasses made for holding sake will also work well. In addition to being perfectly sized for a child's hands, smaller cups will allow the tea to cool faster. You'll have to refill them more often, of course, but half the fun of having a tea party is getting to pour tea — so refills are a bonus.
While you could decorate these with any pattern you like, I gave my daughter a paint pen and she immediately started scribbling. I liked the wabi-sabi effect so much that I erased my more sedate polka dots and followed her lead to make a matching set.
Scribbled Tea Cups
Ceramic paint pens
Small tea cups, egg cups, or sake cups
Before you begin, use a some rubbing alcohol to get the cups squeaky clean.
Then, over a covered work surface, let your kiddos color or scribble on the cups using the paint pens. Keep the rubbing alcohol on hand to wipe off any mistakes.
When you're done coloring, put the cups on a baking sheet in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and let the cups bake at that temperature for 30 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the oven and let the cups remain inside until the oven has completely cooled.
While you can occasionally get away with washing these cups in the dishwasher, they'll hold up much better if you just give them a quick wash by hand.
Have a lovely, cozy tea party!
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.