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Getting Ready For Easter


Three Easters ago we found out we were expecting number five (a year or two earlier than “planned”). If I am being totally honest, it took me a few weeks to get used to the idea. So, when our kids spilled the beans to our parish priest on Easter Sunday and he shouted out: 

“Alleluia! The tomb is empty 
but the womb is full!!!”


 I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. 


That has nothing to do with this post other than saying that, obviously, God knows best. Our Easter Surprise was one of the best things that ever happened to this family, and now it’s time for Easter, AGAIN!

I am going to share some of the fun things we do around here as the excitement builds during Holy Week. However, you are only allowed to read further if you first read this disclaimer: 



Do you want to know something really awesome? Easter is even longer than Lent! This means you have a lot of time to celebrate Easter in fun ways. Nothing has to be done by Easter Sunday! So take a deep breath, and have some fun celebrating Easter with your kids. Everything we do with them is a chance to teach them about the great love of Jesus Christ, through our love for them, and through the conversations that happen whenever we spend intentional time together

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s proceed! 

I love Holy Week. I like to keep the meals simple, do stations with the kids, and make sure that we keep the solemness of the week while preparing for Easter. Those eggs are not going to decorate themselves, but we don’t want to make egg decorating into a premature Easter party. (No. Smiling. Allowed. No, I’m just joking. But, wonderful conversations about our faith naturally flow from many of these activities).  

Speaking of Easter eggs, here is my number one, all time favorite, Easter craft: 

Silk Dyed Easter Eggs 
Photo from Our Best Bites

There is a fantastic, A-1, the best ever, tutorial over at Our Best Bites. We make these every single year and they turn out fantastic every time! I don’t know why I can’t find pictures of my eggs but I promise you they turn out just like the one pictured above (and the others shown in the tutorial). You just have to hop on over there and find out for yourself.

Conversation points: 

What I love about this craft (other than the final product) is that you don’t know what your egg is going to look like until you unwrap it after it has boiled in water and vinegar. We usually end up talking about how our good works and our lives are like this. God is working in our heart, just like the vinegar is working on the wrapped up eggs. We can’t always see what God is doing in our life, but in the end we get to open up the great surprise of Heaven, just like we unwrap the eggs. Kids get it. It’s not like a religion lesson, it’s just part of the overall conversation during a fun craft.

If you want an even simpler way of decorating eggs (am I the only one who hates those little cheap kits?) try using Sharpie Markers:

 


I LOVE using Sharpies on eggs. You can use blown eggs or boiled eggs. You just doodle away and have a great time. I am not artsy. If I can do it, you can do it. Even if you just do lines and dots they turn out pretty cool.

Maybe my least favorite way of decorating eggs (other than the dye kits) was the one I made the coolest graphic for:

 

Why the cool infographic? Because I can. And because I wanted to show you the cute little carrots I made out of the orange napkins and green forks (on the left). Really, making eggs this way is fine. It is just not as exciting as the silk ones or as simple as the Sharpie ones.


Surprise Them With Beauty
I love to decorate the house (for any occasion) while the kids are sleeping. It’s so much fun to surprise them. On Holy Saturday I try to run to the farmer’s market and get a few bouquets of flowers and put them in the fridge with water. After the kids go to bed I make as many little vases of flowers as I can. I have flowers anywhere I can fit them. Maybe there is one flower in a shot glass in front of a Marian statue, and larger bouquet on the table, and a few on the mantle. I just put flowers wherever I can. I have even stolen flowers from an abandoned neighboring house. I just love to have fresh flowers on Easter Morning and it really symbolizes the difference between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is usually when I take out all the pretty eggs we have made and place them all over the house and around the flowers.

If you can’t get flowers, then set the table as beautifully as you can after the kids go to bed. And remember, kids do have a wonderfully simple eye for beauty. Even if you cut out some confetti from white computer paper and set the table as nicely as you can ahead of time, they will notice. The point is to make the house as beautiful as we can. (Am I stressing you out? If so please refer to the above disclaimer and move on.)
Traditions 
Traditions are deeply rooted in our hearts, and sometimes they are the only thread connecting us back to God after a long absence. They can pull your heart back toward the right direction when everything else seems lost.  And they are fun! 
 
Growing up, my sister, Aimee, was the little queen of creating traditions in our house. She intentionally looked for traditions and, by the time she left for college, she left my mother with quite the list of things to do for the holidays!

I think out of all of her inventions, this one is my favorite:
The Easter Tree

Pictures are from my mom’s blog


I have yet to do this with my kids!!! Maybe this is the year. I used to love decorating this tree for my younger siblings, but I just haven’t done it yet for my own children. Now that my kids are older and can really appreciate it more than just “Oh look! Candy!” I think I will try and make the effort.

Step 1. On Good Friday plant a stick or something that kind of looks like a tree. It can be in a pot or in the ground . . . whatever works for you! I find that a pot helps to hold it up.

Step 2. As you do this you can talk about Jesus dying for us. (Kendra over at Catholic All Year has a very helpful post about this right HERE).

Step 3. Wait.

Step 4. Wake up on Easter morning and the tree has magically turned into an Easter tree covered in vegetation, ribbons, and candy!

Okay. That’s not true. If it were I probably would have done this for my own kids by now. In reality, you just grab whatever vegetation (my favorite are azaleas, if you have some in bloom) you have growing around and either just stick it into the branches or wire it onto the dead stick. Then you tape foil wrapped chocolate eggs to ribbon and tie the ribbon onto the branches. I have very fond memories of my sister and I, when we were teenagers, doing this for our younger siblings. They never suspected it was us all along.

A tradition we did start here a few years back is a Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt. I don’t have pictures because they are all, well, pitch black. Not great for pictures, but it makes finding the eggs a whole lot more fun. We don’t do it until it is dark because, by then, the Easter Vigil has begun and all of that jazz.

I love this for two reasons:
1. It is more fun and
2. Easter morning is not all about the candy. It’s about the food. No. Joking. But really, it is beautiful to get up to a nicely set table, pre-made food (this might be yummy cinnamon rolls and homemade food you made the day before, or this might just be cereal. Again, go back and read the disclaimer.) and have a fun breakfast together. It is relaxing and great. Even though we have done the hunt I still put out something on their plates, like a chocolate bunny, etc. etc. etc.
I just love a good family breakfast.

If you don’t want to do a flashlight Easter egg hunt, well just try and be creative when you hide the eggs:

Making a tomb
 
This one is easy to do, and really, my kids do it on their own now. You can do it inside or outside. Make it however you like and then move the rock away from the tomb on Easter Sunday. 
 
Well, I think that about covers it. Stay tuned, if you are lucky I might get to post about cinnamon rolls before Easter, but if not . . . read the disclaimer above. I have all Easter Season to make, enjoy, and then post about our, so yummy, cinnamon rolls! Now . . . if I can just get to the store before all of the Easter candy is sold out!
 

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