Balcony Girls, Mini Cherry Tarts and Hospitality!

Today I took the Balcony Girls to my friend’s home – a friend whom I have known for over 30 years.

Faye, a fun-loving, retired kindergarten teacher who is a great friend of mine, was there to greet us at the front door. She gave each girl a hug as we shuffled through the front door. I was so impressed by how each girl made eye contact with Faye, and introduced herself (some hugged, some shook hands).

The table was set and we quickly sat down for our BG lesson, peanut butter and jelly (my homemade raspberry/strawberry jam!) sandwiches – and our talk on hospitality.

Hospitality is a gift you give
I passed a small gift around the table, and as each girl passed it to the person on her right, I explained that hospitality is a gift you have (something tangible in their hands!) and a gift that you GIVE, as they passed it to the next girl. It’s a gift that is given in your home, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in your home!

We then brainstormed different ideas for sharing hospitality, and discussed how you make your friends welcome as the host.

If you are the host
• Go out of your way to make friends feel comfortable.
• Look for new people to reach out to.
Greet your guests at the front door.
Clue your guest in on any house rules – like the mean dog, the parent’s room is off-limits, a certain bathroom that is for guests, etc.
• My Balcony Girls are great at this: they are flexible when choosing what to do. They most always agree on a game, especially toward the end of the group. They’ve learned to not wonder off but to stay a part of the group.
Help your friends maneuver through the kitchen, offering snacks or a meal
See your friend to the door when it’s time to leave .
• Mostly, make your friend feel welcome – like she is part of the family.

After three years of hanging out with the same group of girls, I can say that these girls are all awesome guests in my home! And I pointed that out to them, but we then took it a step further and talked about hospitality when you are the guest!

If you are the guest
• When you walk in, find out if there is a “no shoes” house rule, take your shoes and coat off and look around to where you should lay them. At my house, these girls know exactly where things go.
• Stick with your friend, not wandering around the house.
• Don’t go into the parent’s bedroom, unless you are with your friend and you are invited to go in.
• Don’t help yourself to snacks and food unless you’ve been given the invitation that the “kitchen is free-reign” (some homes work this way!)
• If you’ve made a mess, make sure and help clean it up before it’s time to go.
• Respect the belongings of others in the house. For instance, my girls know that my boys’ bedrooms are “off limits.” And of course, no snooping!
• Always a big hearty thank you is appreciated when leaving – and even a hug!

The girls each made their own dozen cherry tarts! What a fun idea for an upcoming Valentine’s Day celebration. You can put cream in first, and then a cherry on top, or just cherries. Faye made it easy for us – she had the balls of pie crust dough made and ready to go!

Mini Cherry Tarts
2 cans pie cherry filling
Mini muffin pans (or tart pan) – enough for 24
Pie crust :
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup Crisco
2 T. butter

Blend all ingredients. Add ¼ - ½ cup cold water, blending small amount at a time. Set oven to 425.

Dough rolled into balls

Setting up different work stations

Faye explained how to use the rolling pin

And how to roll the dough, adding flour so it doesn’t stick

Then using a biscuit cutter, the tarts were cut

And placed in the pan

Cherries were spooned into each tart (1-2 depending on how much sauce), and baked 8-10 minutes (1 pan), or 12-15 minutes (all the pans at once)

While I helped Faye clean the kitchen, the girls played Apples to Apples in the living room. I got to talk with Faye about some very important issues going on in my life, and the girls had a blast in the other room. It was perfect. I've noticed as the girls are getting older, they are wanting more free time to connect with each other.

And then the tarts came out of the oven – and we packaged them up like this

And each girl got to take her dozen home with her!

Don’t forget to say, Thank You
Oh, and a very important comment that Faye made at the end of our lesson on hospitality was how important it is to say Thank You. She used the experience which she had with a scholarship program for students that she volunteers with, where she is part of the interview process. Students who are polite and express their appreciation just naturally seem more appealing and deserving. Now a girl most likely would not be denied a scholarship if she exhibited poor manners, but life is just so much nicer if we are all hospitable!

That was a great ending example for the girls! And I couldn’t be more grateful for Faye, and the hospitable time that she created for my Balcony Girls and me today!

By the way, I asked Faye if I could have the leftover pie dough, with this in mind for dinner last night!

And this comfort-food-goodness was devoured rather quickly by my family – Chicken potpie!


Betts said...

Those are great lessons. I'll be sharing them with my daughter later.

Sonya said...

I wait so eagerly for each Balcony Girl 'episode'...I just think you are doing amazing things for/with these very Blessed girls!

Sandy Toes said...

Great lessons...I am always telling my kids those things..tomorrow I talk about how having people over for dinner is great training ground for them!
Those cherry tarts look so good and "sweet"!
-sandy toe

Lora said...

Mmmm...we had chicken pot pie last night, too! It was perfect for a cold winter's night.

lisa said...

I've been following your blog for a couple months now, but I'm still relatively new to the blogging world. I so look forward to your posts and I link my friends to you all the time.

You are amazingly talented and your spirit comes across in every post. Blessings to you and your family in the New Year.

Abigail Hutchinson said...

I don't have kids yet, but I totally learned from you lesson! They are all such great points! I love having people over, but I hate when they don't treat my stuff the way I treat it! Thanks for spreading these lessons around! I love it!

LuLu said...

Love this new lesson to share with my 12 year old daughter... I'm learning from you so much! thanks for sharing,

ShabbyInTheCity said...

I blogged about cherries today too :)
I would have loved to be in a group like this when I was little.

RosyRose said...

Hey Sandy...I love the idea of a girls club. I am tempted to start my own! I love your ideas with the girls. Such valuable instruction! Thank you for the ways you share your life with us!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thank you for what you are doing. When my children were growing up I tried to teach them how to act, etc., out in the world. I always tried to impress upon them the importance of "common courtesy and respect for other's property and feelings". Apparently it sunk in, because they are passing this on to my Grands. Glenda

A Stone Gatherer said...

They all look so yummy! The girls most have loved doing that!

RefreshMom said...

Those tarts are so cute! Might be a good idea for DH's staff for Valentines day.

And that reminds me that I've been craving chicken pot pie--might have to go on the menu this week!

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love former kindergarten teachers! Something about the sparkle in their eye, and no-nonsense approach to young people.

great post Sandy,

deb meyers

Grace said...

what fun, what fun! i love tartlets, but i hate the time it takes to put them together, so i think a team effort is the way to go. :)

duchess said...

I just love your little group of Balcony Girls.
Such important lessons for these girls to learn.

MyriamM said...

What an enjoyable post! I know some adults that would greatly benefit from reading your lessons. Great advice for everyone! Thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

I love these BC lessons. My sweet girl and I often talk about them together. What a gift you have for making the world around you a better, sweeter, place! ♥

Betsy said...

I love it when you share these Balcony Girls meetings. Such a wonderful idea. And I learn things, too!

Bev said...

I love coming here, every single time. Today - inspired to make cherry tarts just for DH and I to enjoy after dinner. Yummy and easy peasy as you say.

Vintage Mommy said...

Those cherry tarts look wonderful!

Come on over and see what I did! :)

gracy said...

What a wonderful idea! I luv to see how all the girls interact with each other... and everything looks SO YUMMY!!! :D

Kristi said...

Thank you for all of the great ideas and recipes :). I really enjoy reading your blog!

Becky said...

Thanks for stopping by my place today!

I read all through your lovely blog. Very fun visit! The Balcony Girls are ADORABLE, and learning so many important lessons from the mentors in their lives. That is such a wonderful gift you are giving them.

I've been married 28 yrs and I clearly remember so many of those first years of fearful entertaining with doubts about myself and all the questions on how to do things right.

I'm so glad that today, after lots of trial and error, I am so many years into enjoying my home and my family and friends who are welcomed here.

Have a great week. And thanks for sharing so much of your life.

Melissa said...

That sounds like fun and the little tarts are adorable!

sandy said...

Great lessons and those cherry tarts look perfect for Valentines Day!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

I'll say it again, just like I do every time I read one of your Balcony Girls posts, I just love it! I wish for this type of influence on my daughter as she gets older. Maybe I just need to take the bull by the horns and start one! (OK, she's only two, so I have a few years!) :) Thanks Sandy!

Jen said...

those would be so cute for valentines day...great idea friend...looking forward to your new look

Homekeeping Heart said...

I made the cherry tarts today for a tea party celebrating my daughter's 21st birthday. Oh, my goodness, they were so good that we lost all politeness and manners to eat several each without any guilt or embarrassment whatsoever. My husband even snitched a few before the party and then had more after the party.

And how easy, pie dough and a can of cherry pie filling.

There is a certain majesty in simplicity. ~Alexander Pope

They were simply majestic!

GiBee said...

I adore chicken pot pie! What a great lesson with the girls!