TRADITIONS & TEA, Travel Journey Steeped in Faith

Travel Journey Steeped with Faith – Fifth Annual Mother’s Tea

On the first Sunday of May I gathered with friends for our Fifth Annual Mother’s Tea celebrating one of our heavenly Mom’s. This year’s honored mother, Cintra Pemberton, was a colorful and vibrant woman with many interests, but is was her faith that lead her to her calling in her later years and she became an Episcopalian Nun who devoted her life to serving and practicing the Celtic faith. As part of her service she traveled the world on faith based pilgrimages, with her favorite location being among the British Isles, especially Wales, a place well known for the afternoon tea. To honor this special Mom I called the theme for this year’s tea “Travel Journeys Steeped with Faith”.

Each year we dress my little jewelry mannequin in something that represents our honored Mom. With the help of my friend Lydia, she created a traditional habit including the black sash and tassel as per photos of the nuns of The Order of St. Helena, where Cintra started her devotion faith journey. A black corded cross similar to the one in the photo of Cintra completed the look, however Pemmie told us that her mother usually dressed in civilian clothing most of the time.

My friend Pemmie describes her Mom (Cintra) as a highly educated woman who tended to master anything she attempted. From hobbies to work, she excelled and was a true high achiever that Pemmie shows great pride in.

Among her talents, she had a green thumb, kept journals and authored a book about Celtic Spirituality, loved music and played as well as taught the piano to both children and adults for a period of time. She later applied her piano skills to daily office chants as part of her faith journey and Pemmie remembers her regularly singing the harmonies to many Episcopal hymns.

She also had a appreciation for the arts and Pemmie has a pen and ink drawing and another family member has a water lily watercolor as the only pieces of art created by her Mom who only considered this talent a hobby.

Cintra also loved the mountains and camping. Her favorite color was yellow and daffodils are the flower Pemmie best associates with her mother’s memory.

My task was to take these special memories of Cintra’s life and attempt to translate them with little props for my table decor.

A small dollhouse piano on music sheet wrapping paper was used in the table decor to represent Cintra’s love for music and the piano.

This little rustic tent with a campfire is a nod to her love for the mountains and camping.

This Angel mother holding a child is the symbol of our annual tea.

While daffodils are the flower Pemmie most associated with her mother, they are not available this time of year. She said her mother loved all flowers, so the best I could do was use yellow spray roses and white tulips with purple stripes to create the floral arrangements around the house. Trader Joe’s also had one of my favorites – lilacs that provide a lovely fragrance, are simply beautiful, and give an added pop of purple-lavender to the decor.

Earl Grey was this Mom’s favorite tea and was highlighted in a Victorian London Fog as our tea for the day, made with Earl Grey Lavender with a splash of warmed half and half (slightly sweetened with agave) garnished with culinary lavender buds. The welcoming cocktail, an Earl Grey French 75 (Earl Grey Lavender tea steeped in Gin, combined with lemon juice, a honey simple syrup topped with champagne).

The Welcome Cocktail

Earl Grey French 75 Cocktail

The Tea: Victorian London Fog with Lavender

Victorian London Fog: Twinings Earl Grey Lavender Tea (Amazon), one teaspoon agave and a splash of warm half and half and garnished with culinary lavender buds.

The Menu:

The Soup:

Roasted Yellow Pepper Coconut with Sauteed Crawfish

Note: Recipe will be shared in a Simply Elevated Edition soon-crawfish was a Louisiana favorite of Cintra’s and the yellow pepper celebrates her favorite sunny color.

The Tea Sandwich Course

Pemmie remembered her mother loved afternoon tea time and among her favorite tea sandwiches was the cucumber watercress and curried chicken salad. I used fresh mint that was added to the cream cheese spread on the cucumber sandwich and Trader Joe’s curried chicken salad as a shortcut to the many items that required preparation.

Irish Egg Salad

Mushroom Bolognese Pies

Cucumber Mint Watercress

Curry Chicken Salad

Roasted Garlic Chipotle Turkey

Irish Egg Salad
Cucumber Mint Watercress
Curry Chicken Salad

The Scone Course

Current Welsh Cake

The traditional Welsh cake was chosen to represent Cintra’s beloved Wales.

Strawberry Rose Scones

This recipe was in a 2018 issue of Teatime Magazine and I’ve not been able to find a printed version online to share. The recipe was simple and used freeze dried strawberries rather than fresh. I added a fresh slice of strawberry in the last five minutes of the bake. The strawberry was listed as one of Cintra’s favorite fruits.

Welsh Cakes originated in Wales in the late 1800’s and are also known as bakestones or griddle scones because they are made on a griddle. Think of a mini pancake or flat circular scone with sultanas/raisins, and dusted with caster sugar. (These can be made ahead and froze without the sugar dusting. On the day of the tea, I warmed them in the oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes (after thawing) and then rolled each in sugar while still warm).

The Sweet Course

Cintra’s love for Heath bars, lace cookies, Belgian chocolate and strawberries inspired the sweet course.

Heath Bar Cookie

Almond Lemon Ginger Florentines

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

White Chocolate Lemon Victoria Sponge

Heath bar sheet cookies were made as a nod to Mom’s favorite candy bar. A cookie dough base, with melted dark chocolate on top, sprinkled with crumbled heath bar and Mauldon flake salt.

Lace cookies (or Florentine cookies) were also noted as a favorite. This Almond Lemon Ginger version has a bright chewy bite.

Bittersweet chocolate dipped strawberries.

Lemon Flavored Victoria Sponge with White Chocolate filling

I make a half batch of this recipe, sprayed a mini muffin pan with baking spray to make mini cakes. I would recommend filling each cup with only 3/4th to avoid cake spilling over like mine did. I had to trim all of the tops because I filled the tin with a two tablespoon scoop. The flower on top is a lilac blossom.

Scenes From the Table

A matching floral arrangement in the Guest Bathroom

Each year as we get older and take time to sit and remember or recall things we may have forgotten about our mothers, we grow more grateful and appreciative of the guidance and love received from them. We also reflect on our own motherhood and the relationships we have with our daughters. As we observe their generation of mothering and the new and very different challenges that none of us could have prepared them for, it is clear that from generation to generation, we’ve all done the best job we could to manage the circumstance, stress, frustrations, fears, joys and pleasures of being a Mom. The common intention from mother to daughter to daughter and beyond is love.

MOTHERS TEA, TRADITIONS & TEA, Travel Journey Steeped in Faith

Remembering Our Mothers -Fifth Annual Tea (Planning)

It’s time to begin the planning for my Fifth Annual Mothers’ Tea, a tradition formed when after losing my mother to the Lord (now 9 years ago), created an intense void especially around Mother’s Day when I would normally plan a special way to spend the day with her, but no longer can. Each year I invite friends who have also lost their mothers, for an afternoon tea of “remembering our Moms”. (See the blog’s category Tradition and Tea for previous posts).

The first tea was an introduction to this annual tea with no specific theme. At the 2nd year’s meeting, I decided to add another tradition to the tea that I hoped would generate new topics of conversation and continue to draw new memories to the surface of our mothers from year to year. Each of my guests names were written on a piece of paper, folded and placed in a teapot. At the end of the tea we pulled a name and that friend’s mother would be honored at the next tea with a theme that represented one of their passions.

In the years that followed our honored mothers had the the following themes:

Stitching Together-Seamstress” Memories of Mom – A seamstress theme.

“Mother’s Life of Service-Nurse” A nurse theme and

“A Little Racey, Beachy-Peacock” A colorful Mom who loved Nascar, beaches and whose last name was Peacock.

To prepare for each year’s celebration, I provide a questionnaire in order to collect information that will inspire the table and menu. It also questions the mother’s favorite flowers, food, interests and passions all meant to help inspire my tea and it’s theme.

This year’s honored mother, Cintra Pemberton, after her divorce, became an Episcopalian Nun who devoted her life to serving and practicing the Celtic faith. As part of her service she traveled the world on faith based pilgrimages, her favorite location being in the British Isles, especially Wales, a place well known for the afternoon tea. Based on this information, my theme for this year’s tea will be “Travel Journeys Steeped with Faith”.

When I asked about flowers, my friend (Pemmie) said she was unsure of her mother’s favorite, but that she loved to garden and had a green thumb. Wherever they went her mother could name all of the flowers. She said that for some reason she associated her Mom with Spring flowers, such as narcissus (that I currently have growing in my garden, hoping to have multiple blooms ready by the first week of May), rhododendron, wild flowers and daffodils; but if she had to pick one, she would have to say yellow daffodils as well as the color yellow.

Pemmie also shared a memory of tying green ribbons around daffodils as a gift to trip attendees. When her mother passed away, St. David’s Cathedral in Wales, planted a plot of daffodils in her honor at the entrance of the Cathedral. What a beautiful gesture in memory of her mother! St. David is the patron saint of Wales, and died in 589 AD. The Welsh celebrate this saint by wearing emblems such as the daffodil pins, or the Welsh dragon and hold an annual celebration in his honor on March 1st.

St. David’s Cathedral

While the beginning of Spring is plentiful with daffodils and tulips, by the first of May, fresh daffodils are nearly impossible to find. I won’t be able to count on finding them for the actual day of the tea, but wanted pictures for the blog using the symbolic flower while they were in season.

A simple invitation which includes a photo of our honored mother was mailed out the first week of April (a month out from the scheduled date) using this decided theme.

While the table plan is not yet complete, I made place cards using some clip art in the yellow that represents both the color that Pemmie most associated with her mother Cintra, her Celtic Faith and green ribbon as used in those lovely daffodils bouquets.

In the coming weeks, I will begin to put my table together and form the tea menu that best represents not only our honored Mom, but a little of each mother that we are remembering on this special day.

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