Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Party Day

We have our egg hunts and other Easter parties on Saturday so that we can keep Sunday focused on the Christ part of Easter.

So today we had 'easter.'

While the kids were waking up, I drew bunny shapes on wax paper and filled them with melted chocolate chips--viola! chocolate bunnies for pennies instead of dollars. I stuck on a marshmallow for a tail and an unmelted chocolate chip for the eye while they were still hot, and they were pretty cute. Those went into the fridge to cool while we did our egg hunt.

The kids were so anxious to find the eggs that they voted we color boiled eggs AFTER the egg hunt. So I separated the plastic eggs (9 for each kid; each kid assigned a certain color so they don't have to fight or have one person find all of them or any of that other aggressive stuff that is part of easter that I don't think is at all appropriate--especially considering the holiday is supposed to be about Christ). Rather unexpectedly, Dan picked the green ones (the hardest to find), Anda picked the blue ones, and Caleb picked the pink ones. Go figure.

Then I poured what was left of the 4 lb bag of mixed candy I bought (some of it was used for potty training treats--every time Daniel used the potty, every kid in the family decided they were entitled to a treat, so we ate about half the candy before we got to easter) into a bowl and set it on the floor and told the kids to fill their eggs. Then I actually had to get down on the floor with them and teach them how to put as much candy into each egg as possible. My sweet and anxious-to-be-good kids were putting one little candy in each egg! I wanted none of that. I was ready for the candy to be done and gone, so we stuffed those eggs. The kids had to fill Benj's eggs for him because he was more interested in--no, not eating the candy--playing nintendo. (He recently made the hand-screen connection and now is adept at playing nintendo and using the mouse on the computer--and he's not even 2 yet!).

The kids hid each other's eggs in the yard. We don't do the Easter Bunny thing, opting instead to let the kids have one of the few experiences where they truly have someone else's abilities and interests in mind--far more than when they, say, try to buy presents for each other. They really enjoy it, too--some more than finding eggs. Anyway, once the eggs were hidden, they went out to search.

Benji had no idea there was candy in the eggs, even after we showed him. But he got the concept of find the egg and put it in the basket okay, and mostly had a delightful time dancing around the yard with his toothbrush (which I included as part of the easter prizes). The kids had "planted" lollipop gardens for each other, which was really cute. Daniel filled 9 eggs, found 4, and was satisfied and started eating his candy, so we all had to help him find the other 5. Each person had one or two eggs they just couldn't find without help, so it was just challenging enough.

And then they came in and ate candy.

And played nintendo.

And round about 7:00 they got around to the boiled eggs. We only did 3 cups of dye, a handful of crayons, and 2 dozen eggs. I gave each kid 6 eggs. Anda and Dan happpily dyed their eggs. Benji tossed his back into the pot of water they'd cooled in, half-peeled one, and then ran off. Caleb carefully colored one egg, took a picture of it, and then handed it to me and said, "Please make all of mine into deviled eggs." I guess he wanted that more than egg dye. So I did.

I suppose it was a successful Easter. The kids were happy. It followed my motto of celebrations with as little work as possible. It rained last night, tamping down the dust, but it was nice and sunny today, so it was fun to play in the yard together. There were treats and eggs. Not any fights to speak of. I guess we win.

Things we skipped that don't seem to have made a stitch of difference to the children (parents, take note--are you working too hard and spending too much money?):

the Easter Bunny
Easter-themed candy (okay, I bought one single bag of foil-wrapped egg-shaped chocolate candies for $1, and the kids thought it was really fancy)
storebought easter grass (I taught the kids how to accordion-fold paper, and we cut our own)
store bought chocolate bunnies (we made 5 for about $.60--next year I'll have the kids make and decorate their own)
easter baskets (the kids broke all ours months ago; I said "find something to put your eggs in" and they did--we had an empty ice cream bucket, a yarn baby supplies holder, and two non-easter type baskets)
fancy egg dye kits (I always get one the week after easter for about $.05 and save it til next year, and this time we only used half of the tablets)
fancy plastic eggs (we got the cheapest ones at WalMart last year and saved most of them)
easter dresses/bonnets and suits
easter cookies/cakes
live bunnies/chicks
community egg hunts
pre-filled, cello wrapped baskets

It seems to me that the kids are more concerned with following general traditions (the simpler for me, the better) and doing something together to mark the holiday than exactly what that thing is. The kids want the fun of an egg hunt, and the fun of decorating eggs. You don't have to do all that fancy, expensive stuff for them to get what they want, and they are well-served by not having their expectations about life set artificially high. After all, they won't remember THIS easter or what they got or didn't get, only that we did easter, and we were together and all happy, and that it was fun. And THAT is what matters.

1 comment:

medieval.woman said...

We dyed 11 eggs this year--5 before we rushed out the door to ride an Easter train, and 6 as we were rushing around getting the kids ready for a late bedtime after the Easter train. But we did it.