Resurrection Rocks! (Modern take on Resurrection Eggs)

Resurrection Eggs have been a tradition in most Christian families for years. What are Resurrection Eggs? They are a dozen plastic eggs with tiny symbols in each that represent an important occurrence during Holy Week. These symbols help children to remember the story leading up to Jesus’ Resurrection.  The only problem is children tend to enjoy playing with the symbols so much that they often become misplaced. So in an effort to eliminate the need to go hunting for a tiny donkey at a hobby store on Palm Sunday painting Resurrection rocks seemed like the perfect alternative. And what’s more, it’s simple & fun! Read more

8 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Easter Basket

Cadbury Eggs, chocolate bunnies, Reese’s Eggs, jelly beans, bunny shaped everything, etc. the aromas of chocolate, the sea of pastels, it’s just too hard to resist! After all, Easter only comes once a year and the kids won’t be young forever, so why not splurge? That was my logic in the past. And I learned the hard way, when you break the bank on the Easter baskets you sit at home during spring break, I was a basketcase. But that doesn’t mean you have to totally skimp on the basket. It just means you need to be a bit cleverer when assembling the baskets. This year I plan on going places and enjoying awesome experiences over Spring Break, so, our Easter basket budget this year was $12 a basket. How did I manage to pull that rabbit from the hat?

basket5

8 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Easter Basket:

  1. A Tisket A Tasket, does it really have to be a basket?! No, the answer is no. It doesn’t always have to be a basket. It could be a hat, cap, shoes, boots, an umbrella, etc. boots016aChildren can always use storage containers, for LEGO bricks, Barbie’s, toy cars, socks, etc. legocontainerSo why not get them a practical container that they need anyway to use in lieu of a basket? In our case I needed to get the children new containers for their library books. And since I didn’t want to spend too much on the container I opted for a container from the Dollar Store.
  2. Don’t Hop on the Bandwagon! Readymade baskets can be tempting but remember you are actually paying a bit more for the convenience. And often times what you see is literally what you get; there are no additional hidden items beneath ALL that packaging.
  3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! It can be tempting to purchase the ready stuffed eggs, the ones that are already filled with some treat or another. But again, remember you are paying for convenience. Purchase the eggs and candy separately and stuff the eggs yourself, it may take a bit longer, but you will save money. Here’s a great example, I could have purchased each of my children their own egg already filled with jelly beans which would have cost $3, instead I purchased a package of 3 for $1 and a bag of jelly beans for $1, thus saving a $1, and every dollar adds up!basket3_picnik
  4. Don’t Buy Dust Bunnies! Steer clear of stuffed animals, they look adorable, and there is no disputing this fact. And have you seen the ones with the long soft floppy ears, my heart just melts thinking about them, they are too cute!! But, Mr. Floppy will not only drain most of the money budgeted for the basket, but, chances are he’ll also be collecting dust soon after Easter is over.
  5. Silly Rabbit Easter is for Jesus! Let’s not forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. There are some great religious books, coloring books, card games, etc. at local Christian book stores, Hobby Lobby, & even the Dollar Tree starting at just one dollar.
  6. Save Egg-stra! Look for items sold with multiple packs and divide amongst the children’s baskets. For example, this box of sidewalk chalk was divided into 4 packs and these adorable bunny sacs were sold as 4 per package, thus for $2 I was able to put together 4 sidewalk chalk bunny sacs to place in baskets.basket4
  7. Keep it Real for Peep Sake! Do add items your children will actually enjoy after Easter. Those plastic bunny glasses will make for one adorable picture, but beyond that, how often will your little one really want to walk around with half a bunny mask for glasses? Think about what your children really like doing. I know mine are constantly asking to use my clipboard and for paper to draw on. Maybe your kiddo is currently obsessed with asking to help you clean (I miss those preschool years), get him a little broom of his own, or maybe your daughter enjoys cooking with you, add measuring cups to her basket.
  8. Remember it’s for Some-Bunny Special! Personalize each basket with an adorable note from the bunny! It doesn’t cost a dime and the children will really enjoy reading what the bunny has to say.

basket7

 

Have additional tips you would like to share? Hop to it! Just comment below with any tips, tricks, steals or deals you would like to share.

Hoppy Basket Shopping!

 

Alleluia: We survived Easter! Mommy gets Starbucks!!

Got Easter baskets? Well we do, 9!  While the kiddos are sleeping off their chocolate hang overs (yep, we had chocolate bunny heads for breakfast with a side of Reece’s pieces.  I was tired and they were so convenient.  This is not something I am proud of but I am keeping it real) and our toddler is slowly remembering other words beside, “more bunny….more bunny….” I thought I might take a moment to share the past 48 hours. 

At the culmination of Easter Sunday mass the entire congregation joined the choir in singing Jesus Christ Has risen today Alleluia.  Since we do not sing Alleluia during Lent this song is quite a celebration.  On a personal note I felt it was also a celebration of the fact that I had survived Easter.  I belted out Alleluia at the top of my lungs (yes, out of tune, bad breath, and all).

For those of you not familiar with this song here ya go…..

 

 

My poor hubby did not have the best Easter. We had my family over to celebrate on Holy Saturday and then we were going to celebrate with his family on Easter Sunday.  After my family left Saturday evening he started to get sick. It was at that moment that I thought my worst nightmare was coming true.  I thought for sure I had given my family food poisoning on the first, and what would probably be the last time, I hosted a holiday celebration.  So, I did what any good hostess would do, I made a phone call to see if anyone else was puking.  As I listen to the ring tone my thoughts wandered.  It could have been the potato salad, I made a lot, and maybe the middle wasn’t cold or something?  Or was it the kielbasa? I didn’t eat the kielbasa but my hubby went to town on it and so did my uncles and grandpa.  Oh, God, my poor grandfather, he survived colorectal cancer and just celebrated his 80th birthday, and now it will be the kielbasa he had eaten my house that kills him. 

Is that Killer Potato Salad in the corner?
Is that Killer Kielbasa behind the Lamb butter?

Finally my mom picked up the phone.  Good news, no one else that attended our Easter celebration was sick, phew!!! So, my hubby went up to bed after helping me clean up from our celebration, how sweet is he?  He was feeling miserable but helped me clean up and rearrange the furniture.

While he was sick upstairs I, I mean the “Easter bunny”, put the kiddos Easter baskets together and hid the Easter Eggs for the Hunt in the morning.

I had to make our toddler’s hunt a little more obvious than the older kiddos.

At 6:30am our preschool was ready to hunt for some Easter Eggs, I did everything I could to stall. But by 7:30 I ran out of ideas and the kiddos sprang to action looking for Easter eggs like it was their JOB.  Then they went through their Easter baskets and started playing with and eating some of the goodies in their baskets. My poor hubby missed out on all the fun but I did record Easter morning for him to watch later.  At which time he can also play referee and determine if our daughter fouled and infringed on our son’s eggs. (Each kiddo hunts for different eggs; we learned this the hard way a few years ago.  So our 19 month-old hunted little animal characters, preschooler, sports balls, and our six-year-old, cupcake shaped eggs).

By this point of the weekend I was starting to lag a bit, from the lack of sleep, activities of the week, and festivities of weekend.  This mommy needed a break but I had to momup! for mass and the remainder of the day.  My in-laws had reservations at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge for brunch after mass.  Since by know it was apparent that my hubby had the stomach flu and head cold I would be putting in some parent overtime.

 

 

I managed to get all four of us dressed, diaper bag and church bags packed, and out the door to mass a ½ hour early, which is basically like being on time on Easter Sunday.  It seems like everyone is catholic on Easter Sunday. Seriously, where are all these people the rest of the year?  It was so crowded, a little claustrophobic.  But that just might have been because our 19 month old is going through a clingy phase. Have you ever gone to the zoo and seen the orangutan family? You know the baby that is always hanging off of the mom? That is precisely how my daughter and I looked during mass. I was getting warm, sweating, a little light-headed from the lack of oxygen since she was squeezing my neck, and during the quiet reflection portions of mass she managed to yell “Mama…mama..mama” like having my eyes closed meant I was miles away. Thus, by the end of mass, while the entire congregation joined the choir in singing the beautiful and celebratory song I belted out Alleluia.  Jesus Christ had risen and this mommy made it through the weekend and mass solo.

As I walked out of church I felt the warmth of the sunshine and a soft breeze, it was at that moment that it felt like God was speaking to me, telling me I had done good and I deserved a treat. I deserved a Grande iced hazelnut latte from Starbucks! That’s right baby, lent was over and it was time to celebrate and celebrate I did.

I buckled the kiddos in and the Yukon practically drove itself there, as if it too had missed that mommy friendly drive-thru that would bring peace, joy, and caffeine to its mom on the go driver.

Hello old friend….it has been so long….

Ahhh….

And the rest is history, a very messy history.  Where’s the vacuum??

So, how was your Easter? Did you survive? What did you give up for lent and have since been reunited with?

Easter Preparation Eggstravaganza

We have been busy preparing for Easter……
The kiddos had fun dying Easter eggs. Our son selected a fun space themed Easter egg kit from Target while our daughter opted for a 3D kit.

JELLO Eggs….

Easter Eggs Beverage Identifiers….

Crayons melted in Egg Molds ….

We placed these in the Easter basket to be blessed and our son will be taking them to Sunday School for the children to enjoy.

Our Easter Basket for the Blessing of the food…

Side Note: For those of you who have never attended the blessing of the food, it is a quick, very quick, 15 minute serve.  It is such a wonderful tradition. I always look forward to seeing everyone’s beautiful baskets, their food, and the aroma of the food is amazing.  I also like the fact that everyone is under dressed, you can tell all the moms, grandmas, and a few dads and grandpa’s have been busy at home preparing for Easter. They come in jeans, sweat pants, informal skits, and tennis shoes.  There is a sense of community, joy, and love in this tradition.

Kiddos Easter clothes, sat out ready for the big day. Huge thank you to Nana who purchased the girls’ dresses and our son’s vest.  I learned everything I know about clothes shopping, looking for the best bargain for your buck, complementing patterns and colors, shoes, etc. from her.  Get this, the most difficult item of clothing to locate, the sweater! I think I purchased the one and only girl’s white sweater in town. Seriously, that was the most difficult item of clothing to locate.  I findly found one at Sear’s Lands End department. Why are they making little girls clothing so complicated these days? Most contain crazy patterns, to tight clothing, to short shorts and skirts, I could go on but I won’t, back to Easter.

We rearranged our furniture in order to be able to accommodate 12 family members. We placed the living room furniture in the dinning room and the dinning room furniture in the living room. This is a small group, my mom’s home can accommodate the entire family which is usually 25-30 people.  unfortunately our home is smaller and we would have to have Easter in shifts in order to accommodate 30 family members.  I am praying that next year we will be in a larger home and we can host and celebrate Easter with the entire family.  Then we setup the tabel for Easter. 

I made some Easter Bunny cookies and carrots for dessert…..

Then it was time for the tired Easter Bunny to prepare the baskets and hide the eggs……..

I hope you have a very Hoppy …… 

Holy Week activities for Children (Printables,Free Music, and More!)

Our daughter and son have brought home many Secular Easter related coloring sheets, art projects, and such, which I have proudly displayed. However, with this being Holy Week I feel that there is in a need in our home to refocus the meaning of Easter.  In order to do so, in addition to reading MagnifiKid!  and Lenten coloring calendar from our son’s Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program

I have collated printable coloring pages, crosswords, and booklet activities for our children to complete.  These activities will help to facilitate and illustrate the meaning of Holy week.  Also, in an effort to eliminate the outside influences that can sometimes distract hearts and minds from what is truly important we will be having limited screen time this week.  Only a few exceptions, that include;

Jesus will air Good Friday @ 8pm on GMC. To check if the channel is available where you live click here.

While Jesus will probably be more appropriate for an older audience the Three Trees is sure to interest your youngsters as it did ours.

Holy week activities……..

Palm Sunday Donkey can print off! I realize Palm Sunday has passed but for those of you who might be trying to play catch-up here is a fun activity.

A great book to read while your kiddos make this craft is, The Donkey that No One Could Ride.

Bestselling author Anthony DeStefano begins his creative telling of the beloved Bible story of Christ’s triumphant entry by introducing the young donkey who has yet to realize his important mission. The lowly creature believes he can do nothing noble, but that’s before he meets the Master…

Then Jesus said to the donkey, “It’s time that you knew about the great thing that you’re destined to do…”

He hears the sad donkey cry, “Just leave me alone and cast me aside. I’m just a poor donkey that no one can ride.”

Richard Cowdrey’s colorful illustrations pair beautifully with Anthony’s charming rhymes. Together, they bring this timeless story of the donkey who carries Jesus into Jerusalem to a joyful finish. While especially appropriate as an Easter gift, this year-round story is for all time and for young and old alike. http://www.amazon.com/The-Donkey-That-Could-Ride/dp/0736948511

Printable Coloring pages and booklets…….

Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, John 13:1-20

The Last Supper

Coloring page of the crucifixion

 Stations of the Cross Coloring Booklet for children

The Stations of the Cross is geared more toward elementary aged children and I have printed of a copy for my Kindergartener to color while we discuss the stations together. I did find a Lenten Coloring booklet for my preschooler that isn’t as graphic yet still gets the message across to younger children.  I have printed off this booklet for him to color and take with him to church on Easter Sunday as a reflection of the past week.

Lenten Coloring Booklet

He has Risen

Easter Crossword Puzzle

Crossword Answer Key

Music….

Lastly, if you are looking for Christian music to listen to while doing some of these activities, checkout K-love, each day they offer a free iTune.  Today’s free song is Alive by Natalie Grant.

There is also Live365 a good one to listen to is Common Good Radio

If you know of any additional activities that are relevant to this post please share.