Destination: Kansas City, Missouri

The first thing that comes to mind for me when I think of Kansas City is family. I’ve visited KC annually for the past 20 years and although it’s not home, I also don’t feel like a tourist. I know where to find all the best BBQ and I wear my Chiefs gear with pride. I am still, however always learning new things about this amazing city that loves its commitment to traditions and history.

Kansas City BBQ

When you visit KC for the first time or the hundredth time, a trip to Jack Stack for burnt ends and cheesy corn, Arthur Bryant’s for their sliced brisket, or Gates for their baked beans, ribs, and (in my opinion), the world’s best sauce, Gates Extra Hot.

We buy the rubs and the sauces and bring them home to Tucson, but we were never able to come close to replicating the masters from our backyard. Until we bought a smoker.

The electric smoker is to the outdoor grill, what the crockpot is to the kitchen stove. Like the crockpot, you simply turn it on, insert raw, seasoned meat, and when you return many hours later, you have tender, smokey, and dare I say it … KC worthy BBQ. Meat literally falls off the rib bones. Pork shoulder so tender you can shred it with your fingers. And the smoked salmon? OMG!

At our February 23 How to Smoke ‘fall off the bone, mouth drooling, finger licking’ Meat class, we will review seasoning and cooking recipes for pork, beef and fish, sampling smoked versions of all the above with a nice assortment of side dishes. If you’re gearing up for a Rodeo weekend BBQ and want to try something different, this is a class you won’t want to miss!

Go Chiefs!

I know there are a lot of cities that claim to be the most loyal of NFL football fans, but I have personally never witnessed more devoted fans than those in Kansas City. I grew up in Seattle and the fandom and the 11 bandwagon didn’t happen until Russell Wilson led the team to a Super Bowl win in 2014. Here in AZ, the Cardinals were undefeated for their first 7 games this season and I rarely saw Cardinals gear. In KC, Mahomes jerseys are everywhere, and you can see at least one Chiefs flag on every street.

Five years ago, my family had the unique opportunity to join a group of highly devoted Chiefs fans to tailgate before a morning game. We were lined up for the entrance before six am, with hundreds of other Chiefs fans, for an eleven am kickoff. When the gates opened, it was like a shotgun start for the remake of Cannonball Run. I’m fairly certain our ride (a bus renovated into the ultimate Chief mobile) took more than one corner on only two wheels.

After four hours of tailgating, we made our way to our seats, which were so close to the field we could feel the heat from the tunnel flames. The roar of the crowd during the Tomahawk Chop is really something.

My sister is a Director at Children’s Mercy Hospital and said Mahomes is a frequent visitor. A truly nice guy, committed to the community, and based upon his performance against the Buffalo Bills last week, might just be worth that insanely huge salary.

Last week, Antsy Nancy hosted a team building event for a group of colleagues with a Super Bowl theme. The group learned how to make Soft Pretzels with Cheese & Sausage Dip and whipped up more than one batch of The BEST Margaritas. They had a blast! If you have a team that want to get together for a fun activity, we’d love to plan a private event perfect for your group.

Tucson, AZ – December 30, 2021 – Heritage Highlands residents will be able to learn a new skill every month during the 2022 year. The Highlands, Dove Mountain Activity Director, Kelsey Christiansen has locked in monthly dates with Antsy Nancy Founder & CEO, Heidi Yribar to teach classes to The Highland members throughout the 2022 year, as part of their on-going Corks and Crafts program.

Antsy Nancy, located within a mile of TMC at 5655 E River Rd. in the prominent River Center, provides how-to skills classes for home, health, and happiness. Master skills classes are designed for beginners with new DIY projects offered every month. Categories include Arts & Crafts, Cooking & Entertaining, Gardening & Landscaping, Holiday Projects, Home Decorating, and Health, Wellness & Beauty. Expert instruction, tools and materials are all provided and each class results in a new skill learned and a successfully executed project for students to share with family and friends.

These skills classes and the uniqueness and high quality of the projects created are exactly what appealed to Christiansen, who is responsible for organizing activities that will appeal to the residents in the Heritage Highlands active retirement community.

Heidi Yribar, Founder and CEO of Antsy Nancy said she is honored to align with The Highlands. “I’m thrilled to have connected with Kelsey. The opportunity to lock-in a long-term, recurring program for Antsy Nancy is a huge win,” said Yribar. “Although I have had several customers from Marana and Oro Valley, the majority of Antsy Nancy’s in-person customers are Foothills’ residents. It’s wonderful to introduce Antsy Nancy to a new market.”

Antsy Nancy will provide instruction and materials for two classes each month in the 2022 calendar year, with exception of the summer months, when only one class per month will be offered. The benefit to The Highlands members is an opportunity to take an Antsy Nancy class without the standard class registration fee. “Kelsey has put together a very special package for The Highlands members so the only fee they are responsible for is the cost of materials,” said Yribar.

Antsy Nancy kicked off the program with an introductory class in December that sold out within the first hour! “The class, ‘how to create a holiday ornament wreath,’ was such a hit, Kelsey booked a second class that also sold out,” said Yribar. “It’s the most rewarding experience in the world to get validation that Antsy Nancy, which was just an idea twelve months ago, is not only viable, but desirable. The feedback from customers has been absolutely amazing.”

Antsy Nancy Takes Tucson’s Taste Buds Around the World

Beginning January 2022, Antsy Nancy will offer monthly cooking and baking classes highlighting a unique culinary region.

The second Thursday of each month, from 6-8 PM, Becca Keables, at-home chef and caterer and owner of Willow Tree Spices will bring her love of spices and local farm bought products to Antsy Nancy.

“Becca cooked an Italian dish for a private party in November and I was blown away. The dish was incredible, but her ease in the kitchen and ability to both demonstrate what she was doing while including the class is exactly what I look for in an instructor,” said Antsy Nancy Founder and CEO, Heidi Yribar. “Each student had opportunity for hands on learning, which is the best way to learn any skill.”

The cooking class Keables taught was, Meatball Wellington, which is an Italian meatball, surrounded by ooey gooey cheeses, baked in a flaky puff pastry, and served with a homemade marinara sauce, using fresh herbs and spices and farmers market cheeses.

Becca Keables
Becca Keables Instructs Antsy Nancy Class
Meatball Wellington
Meatball Wellington

The only thing better than a fabulous dinner is to pair it with an equally fabulous dessert. Antsy Nancy will serve dessert at each Cooking around the World Class and then provide a how-to skills class in the corresponding Baking Around the World Classes, scheduled the second Saturday of each month at 10 AM.

2022 Cooking and Baking Around the World Classes

JanuaryChinaKung Pao Chicken & PotstickerCustom Fortune Cookies
FebruaryFranceClassic French CassouletMacarons
MarchNew OrleansJambalaya & HushpuppiesKing Cake
AprilThailandShrimp Pad ThaiThai Crème Caramel
MayMexicoGreen Chili Tamales & Tableside GuacamoleChurros
JuneItalyChicken Alfredo with Homemade noodlesCannoli
JulyGreeceLamb Kabobs with Tzatziki SauceBaklava
AugustIndiaTandoori Chicken BowlsGulab Jamun
SeptemberSpainPaellaBurnt Basque Cheesecake
OctoberGermanyPork Schnitzel & SpaetzleApple Strudel
NovemberEnglandSheppard Pie & Yorkie PuddingsTraditional English Trifle
DecemberBest in the World!Holiday AppetizersCroquembouche

But wait … there’s more!

2022 VEGAN Cooking Around the World Classes

We know there’s a lot of people moving towards a more plant based diet. Statistically speaking, more than 25,000 Tucsonan’s identify as Vegetarian or Vegan, yet there are only a handful of restaurants dedicated to a plant based diet.

We are thrilled to announce that our team will teach a cooking class the last Tuesday of each month at 6 PM, providing a Vegan version of each of the entrees listed above – losing zero of the flavors and spices made famous by each culinary region.

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Experience

Antsy Nancy’s Cooking Around the World, Desserts Around the World, and Cooking VEGAN Around the World classes make an ideal gift for anyone who love to cook, bake, and eat flavorful food. It’s also ideal for couples and families stuck in a rut. Whether that rut is date night, family night, or the limited variety of what’s being served at dinner, a monthly cooking and baking class creates an opportunity to spend time together building on your skills and creating lasting memories.

A lot of kiddos are headed to college next Fall. What a great opportunity to spend quality time with your son or daughter while teaching them how to follow a recipe. Because if they don’t know how to measure, whisk, dice, saute, filet, grate, blend, puree, juice, chop, season, julienne, caramelize, fold, proof, sift, knead … (OK, I’ve already gone on longer than I needed, but you get the point), then they won’t be able to follow even basic recipes.

Each class can be registered for individually via the class calendar and 3 Month, 6 Month, and 12 Month classes can also be purchased as bundled packages, at a significant savings.

If you love the idea of gifting cooking or baking classes for your family and don’t live near the 5655 E River Rd., Tucson, AZ location, the online option might be perfect for you. At only $25 per class, we will email you the shopping list and recipe a week before class and you (and ??? … your family/friend group/co-workers) can get cooking live with Antsy Nancy. And don’t worry if you miss the date, we’ll email you the recorded session and you can take the class at your leisure.

If you think we’re missing a culinary region that should be included, please let us know! We are all HUGE foodies and had such a hard time narrowing down our list to those selected. Our goal is to give a broad variety of dishes, flavors, cooking methods and styles to teach students all year and we can’t wait to get started.

Antsy Nancy does it all … and so can you!

Antsy Nancy LLC Signs One Year Contract with Tucson Medical Center

Tucson, AZ – December 3, 2021 – Tucson Medical Center (TMC), recently named the best hospital in Tucson by U.S. News and World Report, signed a one-year contractor agreement last week with Tucson start-up, Antsy Nancy LLC.

Antsy Nancy, located within a mile of TMC at 5655 E River Rd. in the prominent River Center, provides how-to skills classes for home, health, and happiness. Master skills classes are designed for beginners with new DIY projects offered every month. Categories include Arts & Crafts, Cooking & Entertaining, Gardening & Landscaping, Holiday Projects, Home Decorating, and Health, Wellness & Beauty. Expert instruction, tools and materials are all provided and each class results in a new skill learned and a successfully executed project for students to share with family and friends.

These ‘skills classes’, provided both in-person and online are exactly what appealed to TMC’s Senior Cares Team.

Heidi Yribar, Founder and CEO of Antsy Nancy said she is honored to align with TMC. “I’m extremely fortunate to have earned this opportunity to partner with such a prominent Tucson institution. To have earned this opportunity only a month after opening my doors is surreal and I am extremely grateful to Maya Luria, Director, Senior Services and her team for supporting small business in Tucson.”

Antsy Nancy will provide instruction and materials for one class each month in the 2022 calendar year. The benefit to TMC Seniors is an opportunity to take an Antsy Nancy class once a month, without the standard in-person or online class registration fee. “TMC has put together a very special package for its members so the only fee they are responsible for is the cost of materials,” said Yribar.

Initially, materials will be provided via kits that registrants will pick-up at TMC Senior Cares prior to the live online class. “We’re hopeful that in-person classes at TMC will resume in March,” said Yribar. In the meantime, regularly scheduled classes found at and private events are offered in-person, online, or as a hybrid option.

Yribar and Antsy Nancy staff will be on-hand at the TMC Senior Cares Holiday Open House on December 14th, providing a mini-workshop, compliments of TMC. “We’ll be teaching how-to etch glassware and each guest can customize a candle holder or vase with their monogram, or a holiday scene,” said Yribar.

Heidi Yribar, Founder & CEO

Leverage the Adoption of Zoom to Improve Customer Retention and Referrals

Isn’t it ironic that we were lectured by educators and medical experts about the damages of excessive screen time for children?  And then these same educators and medical experts told our kids they had to sit in front of their screen 8 hours a day. But we adapted to our environment and played the hand we were dealt. Everyone, at every age, became well acquainted with FaceTime and Zoom. We are all much more comfortable seeing ourselves on-screen and inviting strangers inside our home or office via webcam. We’re also more willing to engage socially and feel sociable in a virtual environment.

Although we all felt digital burnout, because almost every meeting was online, we have a better balance. Most of us have an option to be back in school or office – some or all of the week. A lot of us are traveling again. Most of us are eating out, going to the gym, the hair salon, and getting out the house on a regular basis.

But our universal familiarity with online meetings has changed the way the world will work, connect, and engage forever. Businesses have an opportunity to leverage the adoption of Zoom to improve customer retention and increase referrals.

When you think about customer appreciation gifts this holiday season, consider gifting a virtual experience with Antsy Nancy.

One way to thank customers for their business is to send a digital Thanksgiving card along with invitation to a live skills class, “How to bake Picture Perfect Pies.” As the host, you can be live at the Antsy Nancy kitchen, working as sous chef, and interacting with your customers. For those that can’t login at the set time – you can email them the recorded version. As an extra fun idea: send a spatula or oven mitt with your logo in the mail.

A fun holiday gifting idea is to mail an invitation to all your employees and their families, inviting them to the class, “How to decorate Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing.” Let them know you will be awarding prizes for the best cookies, the ugliest on-screen Christmas Sweater, best family participation, and the best holiday decorated kitchen. A fun add-on would be to mail cookie cutters and sprinkles along with the invitation.

Reach out at to share what makes you and your business special, so we can create a special event your customers or employees will truly appreciate.

Re-Engage Employees and Stop the Great Resignation in Your Organization

Have you heard the phrase “The Great Resignation”, also known as the “The Big Quit”? It’s a human resources nightmare and for me, it just doesn’t make any sense. After losing my job in February 2020, just one week after earning my MBA, I spent months trying to find a new job.

I would spend hours customizing my resume and crafting a perfect cover letter for each job application. I’d troll LinkedIn to find 2nd level connections I could leverage to make an introduction and potentially give me a leg up. I even contacted the John Jay and Rich radio show, “shoot your shot” segment to try to help me land an interview. Sounds desperate, I know. I was. I applied for more than a hundred positions that never even received an automated email response. It was an incredibly depressing and confidence crushing time.

Now that I’ve started my own business (one of the best decisions I’ve ever made), I’m getting unsolicited job offers. What the heck happened?! In just under 10 months (when I stopped obsessing about finding a job and started obsessing on my start-up business), the job market came full circle.

Most employers are aware that it costs a lot more to hire an employee than to retain an employee, (according to PeopleKeep, that cost is about $1,500 for an hourly employee, 100-150% for a technical position and 213% for C-suite), so it’s mind-boggling when a company says they can’t afford to give even a cost-of-living raise. They rationalize, “we can hire someone cheaper.” No, I’m sorry, but you can’t. After the onboarding, recruiting, and training costs, not to mention the lost productivity, there is no way that new, lower salary, was a good ROI. And if that employee that walked out the door was well liked and well respected? Well – you just opened the door for the big quit.

According to a study by Office Vibe, 70% of employees report that having a friend at work is the most crucial element to a happy work life. 50% of employees with a best friend at work reported feeling a stronger connection to their organization. There’s no “I” in team, but one employee departure can have a significant impact on the camaraderie of an entire organization.

According to a recent Gallup article, one big reason for the mass exodus is current workplace division. Employees, employers, and their colleagues can’t agree on how to handle vaccinations, remote vs. in-person vs. hybrid workforces, and of course the political drivers are, well … driving everyone crazy. And that’s just it, right? You’re the boss, but you aren’t driving anymore. So how do you set a new course and give directions that everyone will not only be willing to follow, but want to follow? How do you get back into the driver seat?

Gallup suggests there are opportunities to turn the tide by uniting employees around a common goal. Reminding them of shared core values and rallying around a shared mission, “The turmoil of the pandemic has created a perfect opportunity to undergo a “team reset” — a time for your team to step back and reimagine what they want to be known for and how they will best work together going forward.”

A reset, or a kickstart, is exactly the type of experience Antsy Nancy can bring to your team. Is your team coming back to the office full time? Would it help for them to get future-focused and create a team vision board? Something they will see every day in office with a common goal they are all equally motivated to achieve.

Do you have a hybrid team – some in office, some still remote, that could use a bit of a reminder that they still like each other? Do you think it would be a bit of fun to host a simulcast in-person/zoom gingerbread design contest this holiday season? You can present/ship everyone a box of supplies that nobody opens until the live event. Everybody has 2 hours to design the new company headquarters using only the gingerbread cookies and royal icing.

Maybe your group is completely focused on everything that is wrong and bad and negative within the walls of your company. Perhaps one of their favorite colleagues recently resigned. Would an opportunity to spend a day focused on helping individuals that are truly in a negative way (making food packages for homeless, creating care packages for military, wrapping presents for under-privileged kids) provide an opportunity to reflect on some of the positives? Like the fact they have an employer that will donate a day off from work to give back to the community.

Antsy Nancy isn’t a fix-all for disgruntled employee woes, but we’d like to help. Reach out to and share your biggest personnel challenges. Let’s come up with a strategy to kickstart re-engagement and camaraderie on your team. An opportunity to recommit to your company’s core values, get future focused, and secure the culture within your team may be just what you need to get back in the driver’s seat.

Antsy Nancy Grand Opening is October 1st, 2021

Have you ever been equally excited and terrified at the same moment? I think adrenaline junkies might describe it as that moment right before jumping from a plane, or the feeling you have when a roller coaster is moving super slow as it climbs the highest point of the track because you know any second its going to plunge over the other side. That’s the way I’ve been feeling for the last three weeks.

I have a countdown on my website until the Grand Opening – Open House on Friday, October 1st and as I’m writing this blog, the countdown reads 9 days, 3 hours, 12 minutes, and 10 seconds, 8 seconds, 6 seconds …

Antsy Nancy Grand Opening-Open House is Friday, October 1, from 3pm-7pm. The event will be in the River Center courtyard with tours through the new Antsy Nancy store. 


  • 3pm-4pm: After School Treats and Crafts
  • 3:30pm-5:30pm: Mini “How to” Demonstrations: Sneak Peek at Upcoming Classes
    • 3:30pm: Cupcake Decorating – Learn 4 different decorating techniques
    • 4:15pm: Flower Arranging – learn to turn a store bouquet into a stunning arrangement
    • 4:45pm: Wreath Decorating – learn to work with live greenery and floral wire to create a natural olive branch wreath
  • 5pm-6pm: Happy Hour! Complimentary Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails
  • 6pm-7pm: Raffle Prize Drawing & Live Music

The kids’ activities will be supervised in our outdoor courtyard.

To save your seat for one of the mini “how to” demonstrations, make sure you RSVP for the Open House first and then select the activity. If you are not taking a class, you do not have to RSVP drop by the event, but please do! Remember the roller coaster feeling? Every registration that comes in makes my excitement level go up, up, up!!

American Girl Couture Collection
American Girl Couture Collection
Holiday Tea Towel & Cookie Cutter Set
Holiday Tea Towel & Cookie Cutter Set
Gardeners Toolbelt
Gardeners Toolbelt
Ladybugs and Louis
Ladybugs and Louis
Unicorn & Rainbows
Unicorns & Rainbows
Burlap Pumpkin Set
Burlap Pumpkin Set
Elf on a Shelf Storytime Set
Elf on a Shelf Storytime Set
Elf on a Shelf Adventure Set
Elf on a Shelf Adventure Set
Elf on a Shelf Bedroom Set
Elf on a Shelf Bedroom Set

Raffle prizes include:

  • Gardening Apron with Tools and Registration for October Class: How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden.
  • Hair Bow Collection and Registration for October Class: How to Make Hair Bows.
  • Elf on a Shelf Adventure Set and Registration for November Class: How to Plan 25 Days of (naughty & nice) Elf on a Shelf.
  • Autumn Pumpkin Decor Set and Registration for October Class: How to Design Pumpkins with Stencils.
  • Holiday Table Runner Set and Registration for November Class: How to Set a Stunning Holiday Table.
  • Couture Fashion Collection for 18? doll (fits American Girl) and Registration for December Class: How to Host an American Girl Holiday Tea.
  • Couture Fashion Collection for 14? doll (fits WellieWisher) and Registration for December Class: How to Host an American Girl Holiday Tea.
  • Embroidered Holiday Tea Towel Set and Registration for December Class: How to Decorate Cookies with Royal Icing.
  • and more!!

Every registration will automatically be entered into our raffle drawing. The November and December classes will be listed and available for registration on before the October 1 Grand Opening. Use Coupon Code: “GO20!” for 20% OFF all class registrations made between now and our raffle drawing, taking place at 6pm on October 1, 2021., shared on Facebook LIVE.

Antsy Nancy Offers “How-To” Skills Classes for Home, Health, and Happiness

A new business is opening in October in the prominent River Center Shopping Center at 5655 E River Rd., Ste. 101, just across from Whole Foods Market. Antsy Nancy will teach in-person and online classes in Arts & Crafts, Cooking & Entertaining, Gardening & Landscaping, Health, Wellness, & Beauty, Holiday Projects, and Home Decorating.

Founder and CEO Heidi Yribar said her master classes are designed for beginners. Antsy Nancy will provide all the expert instruction, tools and materials needed to enable successful project execution. “I want every student to leave class with a new skillset and a finished product they’re excited to share with family and friends.”

Upcoming classes listed at include How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden, How to Make a Fall Wreath, and How to Bake Madeleines. Antsy Nancy also has classes dedicated to the parent and child experience, like How to Make Hair Bows, and How to Host a Hogwarts Halloween. Yribar believes the adult only classes, like How to Make Charcuterie Boards and Sangria and How to Host an Oktoberfest Party, will inspire a more creative date night and girls’ night out.

“As a working mom, the most significant experiences with my kids, my husband, my friends, my mom – were when we made something together.  What we also made were really special memories. My vision for Antsy Nancy is to combine the experience of engaging with the people we love – even if those people are strangers, because we’ve been so starved of human interaction – with the opportunity to take a super fun class.”

“How many times have you pinned a craft, or recipe, or a floral arrangement, and never found the time to execute?” asked Yribar. “Either you didn’t want to go shopping for all the materials you’d need, or the project required tools and gadgets you’d never heard of? I liken our classes to the best of Pinterest. We’ll constantly cull exceptional and trending projects, and we’ll do all the heavy lifting. Our students just need to register, show up, and have a great time learning something new.”

Yribar, a life-long learner, earned her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree in late January 2020. One day after earning her MBA, Yribar attended a global sales meeting and questioned a senior corporate executive about the percentage of female leaders. Yribar was terminated within the week.

Within weeks of her termination, Covid-19 changed everything. Unemployment hit unprecedented highs and finding a comparable position, proved impossible for Yribar. “I went from working 50+ hours a week and going to school full time, to doing neither.” I will be forever grateful to my Aunt Nancy.

Aunt Nancy, aka Nancy Rutherford, is Yribar’s maternal Aunt and an inspiration in many ways. “When I was a kid, Aunt Nancy was the fun, cool, and young Aunt. She looked just like Barbie with an equally enviable shoe and clothes collection. Also, like Barbie, she could do anything. She’d lived all over the world, had multiple college degrees, took karate, jumped out of airplanes, and drove an Alfa Romeo convertible. She’s exceptionally artistic and creative too. Since she and my uncle retired and moved to Tucson, she’s developed her quilting to an art form. I think she made the cakes for at least a dozen weddings, and she completed the Master Gardener Program with the University of Arizona. Is there a Renaissance Barbie? If not, they could model her after my Aunt Nancy.”

“After I lost my job and the world went into lockdown, I decided to do some work around my house and asked Aunt Nancy for gardening pointers,” said Yribar. Those pointers turned into months of work together, landscaping over an acre of property in the Catalina Foothills during one of the hottest, driest summers on record. “We easily planted over 200 plants, trees, and shrubs. On top of that, we built a koi pond with a waterfall, a concrete stairway to a meditation garden, a three-tier vegetable garden, planted a small fruit orchard, built two concrete patios, a raised herb garden, a cutting garden, and renovated my kid’s playhouse. In the fall, we moved indoors, and Aunt Nancy taught me how to sew and recover furniture. During the holidays, she hosted a wreath decorating party and taught my daughter and I to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing.”

“Every project with Aunt Nancy, she had all the tools and materials laid out and ready to go. I just showed up and she walked me through the process, step by step, to make sure I could do it on my own. At a time in my life when I felt defeated and powerless, every day I worked with Aunt Nancy I felt empowered. Successful. Proud. These experiences inspired my business and of course Aunt Nancy is the inspiration behind the company name – ‘Antsy’ Nancy because she’s always busy; crafting, sewing, baking, gardening.

My slogan is ‘Antsy Nancy does it all … and so can you!’ That’s how Aunt Nancy always made me feel and what I hope to replicate for our students in every Antsy Nancy class,” said Yribar.

Heidi Yribar, Founder & CEO

American Classic Tea

Charleston is a city I’ve always wanted to visit – for its’ rich American history, Gone with the Wind estates and architecture, its’ military past and influence, the magnificent gardens, and the southern food. I’m not kidding. The she-crab soup alone was worth the trip.

After the successful Netflix hit, Outer Banks, which filmed a lot of its scenes in Charleston, it was easy to get my kids onboard with the idea too.

What I didn’t know before researching my trip was that although hundreds of tea plantations exist throughout the world, (most in Asia, Africa and South America) there is only one located in all of North America and you guessed it, it’s in Charleston, South Carolina.

Tea bushes were imported to America from China as early as the 1700s, but according to the Charleston Tea Garden‘s website, it wasn’t until 1888, when Dr. Charles Shepard founded the Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville, South Carolina did American grown tea become a reality.  In Summerville, Dr. Shepard created award winning teas until his death in 1915.  After his passing, the Pinehurst Tea Plantation closed and Dr. Shepard’s tea plants grew wild for the next forty five years.

Had Dr. Shepard experienced earlier success, American history, as it was impacted by the events of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, may have taken a different trajectory.

The history of the Charleston Tea Garden involved the vision, commitment, and investment (as well as the transplanting of a lot of tea bushes) of William Barclay Hall and the Bigelow Tea Company to produce “American Classic” tea, the first tea ever to be made with 100% tea grown in America. Tea lovers in the Carolinas have been enjoying the brew for nearly 30 years and Antsy Nancy will be pouring tea from the Charleston Tea Garden at our upcoming, How to host an American Girl Holiday Tea Party.

My sisters and I take a holiday shopping trip every December and during our New York trip five years ago, we spied a group of moms and their daughters – all holding American Girl Dolls – exiting the hotel lobby dressed in holiday attire. They had just come from an American Girl Christmas tea party and clearly had a wonderful time. That memory inspired our December parent and child class, where we will share the skills needed to host your own holiday tea party. We will provide invitation suggestions, learn how to properly brew and serve tea, test a tea party menu (recipes from a fabulous book I bought in the Charleston Tea Garden gift shop, Teatime Parties), proper table setting, and napkin folding demonstrations. We will also focus on etiquette and table manners for a tea party.

Cocoa will be served for non tea drinkers and before you ask … of course, boys are welcome! If your child doesn’t have an American Girl doll, a favorite Teddy or other doll will serve nicely. As a special treat, we will frost and decorate holiday sugar cookies and each child will bring home a platter of their treats.

Register fast, because these classes are going to fill up quickly!