Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Soiree: Last Minute Easter Fun

Most of the time, most of us like to think we've got things together. We've set traditions in place, so we know from year to year what we'll be doing on New Year's Eve, on Memorial Day, on Independence Day, on Labor Day. On Thanksgiving and Christmas.

On Easter.

But if you're like me, sometimes you drop the ball, and you don't plan ahead as well as you wish you had. If you're like me, for various reasons you haven't been as able to set traditions in place as you wanted to be. If you're like me ... you're looking for some last minute Easter fun, and you're hoping that it'll work out well enough to be recycled next year - thus a tradition is born.

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Now, don't get me wrong here, I haven't totally failed to set certain traditions in place. For instance, at least once on Easter Day, my kids get so overexcited that they get in trouble and I have to hit 'em with a fierce "mom look" to get them back in order. At least once, the dog gets ahold of something he shouldn't have eaten (he's allergic to gluten) and I have to give him a stern word (and a benadryl) to keep him from chewing his itchy paws off when the gluten sets in.

Mostly, though, we try to keep it low-stress and have a good day together. Here are some of the ways we accomplish that (or will be, going forward):


Invite The Easter Bunny:

Every year, my girls and I make sure to take care of Santa. We put out milk and cookies, and we even sprinkle reindeer food in the front yard. So I'm thinking it'll be lots of fun to start making sure we invite the Easter Bunny. I know Joey's getting just about too old to really believe in the various magical holiday creatures - but keeping that magic alive for Eden is still important, and activities like this are a great way to eventually pull Josephine into the fold of magicians who create holiday magic for children each year.

But we'll change it up a bit, according to a great idea I found on Pinterest - instead of leaving food, we'll create a path of bunny footprints with our favorite sidewalk chalk:



Craft Something Special:

Confession: I hate dyeing Easter eggs. I hate the whole idea of it. It's messy, it's smelly, and even though it's fun for the kids, it honestly just feels like work to me. I'd rather skip Easter entirely, to tell you the truth. So we actually don't really dye Easter eggs - but I found another pin (thank you Pinterest for always filling in the gaps) that means we can still get our craft on, making something fun to celebrate the holiday together. And we can even spend the next three weeks eating deviled eggs , cobb salads, and egg salad sandwiches like everyone else, too! Here's how it works:

  • Hardboil your eggs according to your chosen method. I'm not going to suggest one here because sometimes people get really passionate about this, and it's Easter. Not the right day for bickering over egg boiling techniques.
  • Let the eggs cool to room temperature and be sure they're dry.
  • Apply floral, spring-themed, or actual Easter-themed temporary tattoos to the eggs. You can use whatever you want, really, but if you're planning on calling them Easter eggs, shouldn't they be Easter-y? Be sure to use small ones that'll fit on or around your eggs without too much wrinkling!
  • Enjoy beautiful eggs that didn't possibly-permanently change the color of your clothing, your skin, your carpet, your cat, and the toe of your left shoe.



Speaking Of Eggs:

Again, Josephine is a little old for this, but she's still into it in some small ways, and Eden still thinks it's a ton of fun (actually, we also like doing scavenger-hunt type activities for other holidays, too). Still, the one thing about Easter that I'm really less-than-thrilled with (other than messy egg-dyeing), is the obsessive focus on candy treats.

And before y'all get all up in arms like I'm trying to deprive my children of sugary goodness, let me point out that they have a plus-sized mom. This means treats are obviously not a rarity in our household. Moving on:

Just because I don't want my ADHD kids hopped up on sugar overload all day long (every day for the next week or more) doesn't mean I don't want Easter egg hunts to be fun, rewarding, AND delicious. So I try to add other elements to the fun. Here are my favorite "rules" for the best Easter Egg hunt for all ages:

  1. Color-code your eggs. This helps to ensure that slower or less-observant egg-hunter don't end up frustrated and embarrassed by their lack of eggs. It also helps with this:
  2. Make the content of your hidden eggs age-appropriate. For girls as old as my teen, it would be fun to include small make-up samples, jewelry items or new beads for her European charm bracelet. For children in younger age groups, you could try small My Little Pony figures, hair bows, plastic jewelry, Barbie clothing or shoes, Shopkins,, etc. For kids of all ages, Lego figures would be perfect. You could also use money, Chuck E Cheese tokens (which in themselves, carry the promise of a fun outing to come), stickers, beads, small pots of acrylic paint or other craft supplies ... if it'll fit, the possibilities are endless. Another great idea is to stuff each egg with one piece of a puzzle, making the egg-hunt a two-part activity that teaches teamwork.
  3. DON'T be a spaz. DO include candy and other edible items! But be smart about it - no one wants to find an egg in which the delicious chocolate has turned to mush. So stick with other things that won't melt quickly, like jelly beans, Skittles, Starbursts, chewy Sprees, Whoppers Robin's Eggs, etc. Maybe those little mini boxes of Nerds would fit, especially if you're using big eggs. And if you're more health-conscious but still want to have food-filled eggs as part of your hunt, you can use dried fruits, nuts, pieces of cereal - even bits of jerky!
  4. Don't be afraid to bring the fun inside. If you aren't outdoorsy, or if it's already super hot where you live (or if it's raining), then don't be shy about closing your kids into one room of the house and using all the other rooms as your hiding grounds. Stash eggs in the cupboards, under the furniture, behind the pillows. Hide them in the microwave, behind your plant decor, in the toy box. Cover them with blankets, tuck them behind backpacks, drop them into shoes. Again, endless possibilities here.
  5. COUNT YOUR EGGS. Especially if you've got eggs stuffed with food items - make sure that if you hid fifty eggs, your little team of egg-hunters found fifty eggs. (If you're forgetful like me, make a little map of where you hid the eggs - then if the kids can't find them all, give them the map and have them check all your stash places for eggs that haven't been discovered. And it doesn't have to be an art project, it can be as simple as a list: "Mom's left shoe, under the center couch pillow, microwave, silverware drawer ...")



Print Your Way To An Awesome Easter:

Just because it's last minute doesn't mean you can't still create a great holiday for your family. And that doesn't mean the whole holiday has to be kid-centered, either. A quick Google search will point you in the direction of any number of Easter activities for all ages, such as printable coloring pages, word searches, mazes, and even Bingo! I'd be willing to bet it wouldn't be too hard to find some Easter-themed Mad Libs, either, which is one of the new things I'll be implementing this year with my little ones.

And lastly ...


Remember What It Means:

We're a Christian family, so just like we talk about the birth of Christ at Christmas time, we talk about His willing sacrifice at Easter. My children know about the cross, they know about crucifixion, and they know about a temple that was torn asunder. They know about a man who willingly took on the weight of the world - out of love for the world. They know about a God who shed his majesty and put on a meat suit so that He could come here and literally take a walk in our shoes. 

Remember, they're 13 and 7. So I'm not saying they totally get it just yet, or understand the implication of what it all means spiritually. But they know. For Joey, this has begun to take on a bit more meaning as conversations with her grow more deep, but for Eden, it really boils down to this: 

"We all mess up sometimes, and we break the rules. And when we break the rules, we should accept discipline appropriate to the level of our disobedience. Sometimes this means corner minutes. Other times, especially if you keep messing up over and over, it's a spanking. Sometimes, if you've done something pretty bad, it's both. And in the grown-up world, where breaking the rules sometimes means violation of someone else's safety and wellbeing, sometimes the punishment for breaking the rules is death.

Lucky for us, God loves us. He loves us enough to offer us grace and mercy. And if you can believe that I, as your mother, would step in front of a bear to protect you, or a tiger, or a lion, or a robber, even knowing that I'm going to die because I stepped in to give you time to run - then it's not that far of a stretch to believe that the God who made you exactly like this, with great thought and on purpose, would also do the same. He could have run away. He could have hidden in a cave. But he didn't. He took our punishment so we don't have to sacrifice goats and oxen anymore in order to make an appropriate apology. He took our punishment so that we could shed the Levitical law and taste the freedom of His mercy."

It boils down to this. He took our punishment. Out of love.

Regardless of your beliefs or traditions, I hope that if you're celebrating Easter, it's a spectacular one for your family!

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40 comments:

  1. OMG I hate dying eggs, too. I thought I was the only one! It's such a pain and I dread it every year.

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    1. You're definitely not the only one who hates it! I'm SO thankful to have found a better way, and I know that my kids will love trying this next year.

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  2. Ugh, I hate dyeing eggs as well. They make SUCH a mess. But my kids love it so I deal with it.

    We aren't religious though. My daughter is more religious than I am and believes, but my son and I have more scientific views. But we respect those who do want to believe.

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    1. I love that you're letting your daughter choose to have her own beliefs - a lot of mothers don't. With my kids, I try not to ever pressure them into prayer or Bible time; I let them know I think it's important, but also acknowledge that ultimately their spirituality is up to them. I of course encourage them though; they attend church with their Grandmother often, and they have their own Bibles and devotionals, etc. But I don't push them to read - their relationships with God shouldn't be something under my control.

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  3. Sounds like you actually have a lot of nice Easter traditions with your kids. I like the idea of the puzzle pieces for a hunt. That sounds like a lot of fun. My kids have always enjoyed the colour coded egg idea. We make sure to hide the older kids eggs in harder to find places. It gets more challenging as they get older!

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    1. That's definitely a good way to do it - the color coding really keeps the little ones from being left out, and I like that it allows you to tailor the hunt to their abilities.

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  4. Lots of great ideas! I wish I would have planned better for today but with the hustle and bustle I didn't even plan dinner ahead but at least we did brunch ughhh badmom feeling this evening

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  5. You have a great way of making Easter into your own for you and your family. I would agree with you that dying easter eggs can be messy. Its always a special time when you can spend a holiday with your family.

    xo

    Molly
    www.allaboutgoodvibes.com

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    1. Aww, thanks! I'm looking forward to implementing more and more of these ideas for my girls and I - I wanted them to have lots of traditions, and over the years, it just never worked out that way. Now that I can make it happen, I'm going to! Better late than never, right?

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  6. I wish my family would have fun things like coloring easter eggs, we just go to church, big lunch and each a box of easter eggs, not fun lol

    Http://Mapolo.style

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    1. Take charge! Suggest something fun - or even make it happen on your own!

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  7. That is such a good idea to invite the Easter bunny. After all if you invite Santa then why can't the bunny come too?! xx

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    1. Well, we always have the bunny come and bring stuff - but we've never made such a production out of inviting him. We didn't get a chance to do this one this year, but it's a DEFINITE for next year.

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  8. So glad I'm not the only one hating to dye the eggs! I always feel like they have a vinegary flavor afterwards too. I love the idea of the tattoos. Something I could totally get on board with. And the Easter Bunny footprints....LOVE!

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you liked the post! I'm hoping I'll remember to write another one next year to update on how these traditions worked out for us.

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  9. These are great ideas for Easter. Reminds me of fun times as a kid.

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    1. It's great that you have those memories to look back on! I'm hoping to build that for my daughters too, now that I finally can.

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  10. I like the part where you talk about the real meaning of Easter. I had this conversation yesterday about how commercialized Easter is becoming, soon it will be like Christmas! It's great to get the kids involved with activities, but even better to remind the what it is truly about.

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    1. We try to do that with all the Holidays, actually. Memorial Day, Independence Day ... President's Day. MLK Day. I want the girls to have a firm grasp of what these days mean, well beyond gifts and sales.

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  11. And do your kids love dying eggs? I know kids adore this activity! Thank you for the ideas, they sound so much fun! ;)

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    1. Yeah, the girls love any sort of craft, lol. Josephine has even learned to crochet, and both girls LOVE painting of all kinds. They're pretty crafty, as that goes, but they definitely appreciate my need for neater/cleaner activities. And I try to stretch a little sometimes too, and let them make a mess.

      You should have seen the wreck that was Gingerbread House-building!

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  12. Easter is a good holiday. But as you know my daughter believed in the Easter Bunny, at least through this Easter. I am not really sure what she believes now to be honest. It was the first year I bought all of the presents in front of her. I did try to hide them in the shopping cart but she could have seen them if she wanted to. Then again she didn't even ask so I am not sure what she is thinking. What I do know is I am sure she was not happy that she had to spend the night in the hospital. And she is also not happy that she didn't find all of the easter eggs that I had hidden throughout the house. Ah well. She loved her Birthday and that is what counts.

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    1. Yeah, from what I saw on your blog, Easter was super eventful for you two - and not entirely in the best ways either! Still, I'm glad you got to spend some time together, even if it wasn't under the most magical of circumstances.

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  13. Not everyone has time to prepare something grand. We can still have traditions even on the last minute. I think these are great ideas!

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    1. Thanks - that was my thinking too. I don't always have the time to put together something huge, and sometimes when I have the time, I find I'm still lacking the funds! But these are all ideas that pretty much use things we have on hand that are easy to pull together in a flash. It ends up looking like I did a great job planning, and I don't actually have to have done such a great job planning, lol.

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  14. I only prepare when we're having the kids over or if the family decides to visit. It's been a while, since my husband and I are always on our own. I think last minute ideas are always so much fun, the excitement and the rush is there!

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    1. That's definitely true. I think I'm learning recently that I work best under pressure - Easter plans included!

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  15. My kids are so crafty and I'm just not. This year I compromised by taking them somewhere to do Easter activities instead. Keeps my home clean.

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    1. Yes! I love that idea, too - and there are almost ALWAYS crafty activities available somewhere nearby!

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  16. A great reminder for what He has done for us. His unconditional love for the world. For He send his one and only son to be sacrificed for our sins. Hope you have a good one!

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    1. Thanks, it was a great Easter! I hope yours was beautiful as well!

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  17. Easter is when I can stay at home and watch movies or anime or just silently reading a manga/book on my bed. Well, we have our own way of making our Easter fun, and you definitely did it in your own way.

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    1. There's nothing wrong with staying home and enjoying some quiet time! I'm not in that stage in my life yet (my kids both have ADHD and I'm a single mom, so there is VERY little quiet time in my life currently), but when I get there, I intend to enjoy every single moment.

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  18. I'm glad you mentioned the real meaning being easter. It's about the resurection of Christ. Not just about candy. Well said!

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    1. Thanks - we try to remember the real reason behind ALL the holidays. We're a Christian family, but we have talks like that when it comes to other stuff too, like Thanksgiving (celebration of friendship and togetherness, and also acknowledgment of the things that went wrong. We have Native American ancestors, so we talk a bit about how things went for our people, and it leads us to great talks about respecting each other and being genuine in friendship) and Independence Day, etc.

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  19. Such a great idea to invite the Easter Bunny. We don't have any Easter tradition in the family yet and this is a good place to start.

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    1. It's never too late to start, right? Maybe you can choose a tradition to implement next Easter in your family, and you'll be able to build from there.

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  20. These are great ideas - definitely one I'll be bookmarking for Easter next year because I'm sure the little ones would love it. We don't have any particular traditions going yet so maybe next year it's time to start!

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