Tea is for T. Rex

tea is for t rexThe cookies are served, the tea is steeping, and now it’s time to greet your guest…a very civilized T. Rex puppet that sips tea and nibbles delectables!

We read Tea Rex by Molly Idle (Viking, 2013). When Cordelia invites Mr. Rex to tea, she follows all the proper rules of etiquette. Of course, it quickly gets derailed by T. Rex’s size, loudness, and clear preference for snacking on her little brother’s teddy bear. Nevertheless, she persists, and later earns an reciprocal invitation to a dino-mite tea!

You’ll need:

dino tea table

First, set your tea table! We used a 2″ x 4″ x 4″ craft box, but you can also cut down a small tissue box. Add a crepe paper streamer skirt to make it extra fancy. The teapot template is from this Delicious Dim Sum post. Use the leftover paper from the template to create teacups, a serving tray, and cookies. Once the table is ready, it’s time for your guest to arrive…

t rex puppetOur T. Rex puppet is a 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” craft box, but a large tissue box wrapped with construction paper works too! The head, legs, arms, and tail are made from brown poster board, and his collar and necktie are extra teapot template paper.

The puppet’s arms swivel on brass fasteners. Simply tape wooden coffee stirrers to the backs of the arms to get them to rotate. Tape a cookie and a cup to T. Rex’s hands, move the sticks up and down, and watch him enjoy his refreshments!

Pop’s Top 10: Literary Baby Showers

Oh, this is going to be CUTE. Katie searched for some of the most adorable literary baby showers she could find, and these parties do not disappoint! Here are Katie’s Top 10, in no particular order…


#10 GOODNIGHT MOON
From Bump Smitten

Those are PILLOWS at the heads of the tables! And while there are no bowls of mush in sight, there ARE these adorable “Hush” cookies…


#9 THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH
From Tonya Staab

The pigeon in the cotton ball bubble bath, the rubber duckie…and the DONUT TOPPERS on the milk bottles below!


#8 CURIOUS GEORGE
From Kojo Designs

The mural of pages! The yellow hats! The spotted ties around the glass treat jars! And this adorable sock monkey balloonist…


#7 IF YOU GIVE A DOG A DONUT
From Pizzazzerie

Technically, this shower wasn’t just If You Give A Dog A Donut. It featured several children’s books, as evidenced by their charming party menu:


#6 WINNIE THE POOH
From Hostess with the Mostess

I love the non-pastel colors, the big red balloon, the charming floral centerpieces, and the quotes on the plates!


#5 WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
From Homeroad

The botanicals add such a fabulous wild feel to this table, and the little cookie packets and copy of the book for guests to sign are way cool. Plus…a cake with a crown and wooden platter!


#4 BABAR
From 100 Layer Cake-let

I think the photo of mom as a little girl reading says it all! Also love the lanterns/hot air balloons and the mini clothespin garland with prints from the books!


#3 PETER RABBIT
From Hello Brielle!

Awwww! The baby clothes Peter Rabbit scarecrow! And HUGE props for making vegetables so incredibly celebratory!


#2 GOLDEN BOOKS
From Aesthetic Nest

This bold, fabulous color palette is utterly fantastic. Definitely the winner of “Best Use of Yellow and Blue!” Also, the time and effort that went into these cupcake toppers alone. I’m impressed (and they provide the printables for them on their blog)!


#1 THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR
From Leigh Anne Wilkes

Fruit kabobs are PERFECT for hungry caterpillars! But check this out…one of the shower gifts was customized book chapter onesies for monthly baby photos!

The shower featured a number of books and treats (don’t miss the mouse sugar cookies!) but we thought we would end with something that applies to ALL literary parties. SO going to use this somewhere:

Pomp & Circumstance

It was a day of much celebration and fuss…after 11 months of renovation, the gallery of the Cotsen Children’s Library has re-opened. Cue the trumpet fanfare!

You might recall that Katie and I have been bunking in a multipurpose room for almost a year, driving each other crazy with our rock music and the way we chew our lunch salads. We did, however, host some fun off-site programs: a Tintin event, a Sherlock Holmes escape room, a Bhangra dance performance, and Pop Up story times in Rocky Hill, Pennington, and Bernardsville.

We wanted to welcome our community families back in style, so we devised a three-part celebration for our official reopening. First, we filled the front of the library with 34″ inch helium alphabet letters. Yup, we inflated 130 letters and let kids charge through them.

It was a huge hit! We ordered the balloons online from ACi Party ($4 each), and our balloon weights and ribbons from Oriental Trading Company ($8.50/dozen for the weights, $9 for a dozen, 60′ ribbon spools). The helium tank was donated by the good folks at Airgas, to whom we are very, very grateful.

It took 3 hours and 4 people to inflate, tie, and position 130 balloons. We are happy to report that, even with all the kids dodging in and out, we only had ONE balloon pop at the event.

The back of the gallery had a hands-on art extravaganza – decorating paper mache letters! This isn’t the first time we’ve trotted out this very popular project, though it is the first time we’ve done it on such a large scale. The 8″ paper mache letters were purchased from Consumer Crafts ($2 each). Some tape, glue, and a small mountain of art supplies later, the results were stupendous!

Here are my personal favorites: a fluffy butterfly E, a polka dot metallic duo, and a royal P!

Also, this L garden. My daughter insisted I tell the entire internet world that this is her personal creation. She made me pinky promise!

tree L 2The art area consisted of 3 tables piled with art supplies and a hot glue station. 6 smaller tables acted as work stations for the kids (exactly the same as this event, actually). Here’s a quick snap of the work stations at the very the beginning of the event. But mostly we included this photo because of the epic photo bomb.

The third and final part of the event were gift basket giveaways. There were 11 baskets in total (one for each month we were under renovation). Every basket had a literary theme, from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to Diagon Alley! Katie fell in love with the giant cheeseburger and squishy fries in the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs basket (we had so much fun shopping for these).

Every adult and child who came to the event earned a chance to win a basket, HOWEVER! If you came to the event in a literary costume, you earned an additional entry form. Did some literary celebrities show up? Absolutely! Here’s Little Red Riding Hood…

Mr. Harry Potter…

Some Hogwart’s students…

Pippi Longstocking…

Charlotte the Spider and Laura Ingalls Wilder…

And the cutest little Peter Rabbit, ever.

Katie and I were dressed up as well. Katie was a truly amazing Eloise…and I was the physical manifestation of the Dewey Decimal classification for Mythology (291.13 was written on my forearm in Sharpie).

At the end of the event, we encouraged families to take home the alphabet balloons. We later received reports of balloon sightings all over town. Balloons sailed past restaurant windows, bobbed down sidewalks, and filled up the windows of cars. I like the idea of a floating, traveling alphabet. We even sent a few home with Princeton University students.

And one balloon shucked its tether and ended up on the library ceiling. It’s sort of ironic that it’s the letter C that got stuck up there.

Amid the chaos, art supplies, and bopping balloons, we were delighted to see families taking time to enjoy stories together. And triple bonus points that these two are reading Betsy Bird’s Giant Dance Party.

It has been a long 11 months, but we are delighted to be back. Please come and say hi!