Those garishly yellow school busses are whizzing past our house, loaded with kids on their way to school. Yes, folks, a true sign that Summer is drawing to a close and that Autumn is getting nearer. Time to revisit a couple of articles from the past.
Tea Moments – The Kids Are in School
The school supplies have been bought, packed neatly into the kids’ backpacks, and await their chance to help your kids be the sterling scholars you know them to be. Your kids are outfitted in the latest “must have” fashions and equipped with the latest gadgets. These are all signs of one thing: It’s “Back to School” time!
Now that the kids are back in school, the house can seem a bit overly quiet. No “bing! bing!” from a video game. No yelling and crying as siblings “discuss” ownership of a toy or who got the bigger half of the peanut butter sandwich. Time for a perfect cozy tea moment where you can brew up a cup of your favorite Oolong or Assam, mellow it with a bit of milk and sweetener (or liven it with a slice of lemon), grab a treat, and settle in a comfy chair to enjoy them.
Kids grow up fast. They go from being helpless infants, needing our attention on a seemingly continuous basis, to toddlers wondering around the house on somewhat wobbly legs and pulling items off of tables and low shelves, to walking/talking/mini-people who go off to school to learn about the world and acquire the knowledge they need to deal with it.
They make parenthood a real balancing act. On the one hand, when they are around, there are noises, things being spilt, constant watchfulness to see if they’re alright, and making sure your own behavior is appropriate and a proper example. On the other hand, when they’re away, after the initial “Aahh!” at how quiet, clean, restful, and unrestrained your world suddenly is, the “Gee, I miss them” sets in. A cup of tea hits both nails on the head with one stroke, so to speak. It extends that “Aahh!” moment into an “Aaaahhhh!” moment. And it gets you past that “Gee” moment so you’re ready to tackle your daily tasks (especially if you work from home).
For me, there’s an added benefit: That tea moment helps soothe the feeling shooting up my spine (like hearing fingernails dragged slowly and purposefully across a blackboard) at the sound of a loudly rumbling, brake squealing, diesel fume belching, eye-popping-yellow-colored school bus pulling up beside the house to pick up two or three of the neighbors’ kids (even though we all live a 15-minute drive from their school).
But I digress…
For all you parents who remain at home during the day as your kids head off to school, you need that transitional moment spent enjoying a good cup of tea. Extend that moment by making it a real ceremony. Some steps would be:
- In your tea kettle, heat to the proper temperature the needed amount of fresh, clean water.
- Pre-warm your teapot with hot water (swirl it in the teapot, then dump it in the sink).
- Select your tea and add the required amount (usually one teaspoon per cupful plus an extra spoonful for the pot) to the teapot.
- Have your favorite cup and saucer ready as well as whatever you like to add to your tea, if anything.
- Select a special treat to enjoy with your tea. (If you are watching your intake of sweets, have some fresh fruit or some raw veggies.)
- Have a book or other reading material handy.
A few minutes with a cup of tea and you’ll forget you have kids. (Just kidding!) You will, however, be ready to tackle whatever the day has in store – from laundry to your work-from-home projects to gardening to cleaning out the attic or garage. Enjoy!
Tea Moment — A New School Year Begins
Across the nation the school break for Summer is at an end, the backpacks have been filled with the requisite supplies (paper, pencils, pens, and more), and another nine months of “reading, writing, and ’rithmetic” begins. You, the parent, get your tea moment in what is now a relatively silent house. Which can be good and bad.
The good, of course, is being able to enjoy that wonderful tea without constant interruptions and without a background of “Mom, Tommy hit me!” and “Did not!” The bad, on the other hand, is that almost ponderous silence. So ponderous that you have to turn on a radio or the TV or start streaming a movie on Netflix. Even the sound of the neighbor’s lawnmower or those eternally whirring cicadas are now something to be cherished while you sip your tea. This is assuming, of course, that your are an at-home parent.
Make the most of this “alone time” with your cup (or even a whole pot) of tea and a suitable nibble or two. Imagine actually getting to drink your tea while it’s hot, not half cooled after you get back to it after you resolve the latest sibling fracas or bandage up the latest scraped knee or elbow. Imagine being able to eat more than just a bite of that batch of cookies you just baked. Hm, that might actually go in the “bad” column here.
A good line-up for that very special tea time, the first one all to yourself after the new school year begins:
- A bold, brisk tasting tea to enliven your spirits. Options include: Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea with its strong citrus flavoring mixing with those Indian and Ceylon tea leaves, Chai Green Tea where green gunpowder style tea embraces a host of Indian spices used in their masala chai (spiced tea), or a nice bit of Cinna-Vanilla Flavored Black Tea where black orthodox-style tea mixes with cinnamon and vanilla for a hot cuppa that’s even better with milk and a bit of sugar or other sweetener.
- Some rich and decadent finger foods that will add to your enjoyment of the tea chosen, such as these: Cadbury Roses with a creamy flavor that reveals the higher milk content than in American chocolates, McVitie’s Milk Choc Hobnobs where rolled oats combine with other taste ingredients to form the perfect tea time snack, or even some toast with a tasty jam on it.
- Some music of your choice and a good book to read, or maybe that movie on Netflix lined up and ready to watch.
- Cozy seating for enjoying all of the above, maybe even in front of a window overlooking a nice part of your yard or the surrounding area, or you could enjoy the front porch, a deck, or even a setup in the backyard. The goal is comfort, at least for the duration of your tea time, so you don’t have to get up for anything.
- Be sure to have your cell phone turned off and/or the answering machine turned on.
Cheers and don’t miss the kids too much. They’ll be back home, slamming doors and dropping textbooks and kicking off their shoes soon enough!
© 2015 A.C. Cargill photos and text