The Expectation: Easter Edition

 Many years ago, before blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, and other visual reminders of holiday offerings, I fell into the trap. Every year, I’d vow this would be the last. And approximately eleven months later, I’d find myself in a wave of other harried mothers (and some fathers*), under some unflattering light, fighting over 99 cent plastic eggs and purple basket grass.

easter-cartoon

Yes, that trap is what I like to call, The Holiday Expectation.

Easter has been my least favorite holiday since having kids:

  • Coloring eggs that can’t be put on display. Or if we do put them on display, we can’t eat them. Either way, WASTE. 
  • Filling a cheap basket with grass, all for the sole purpose of giving the illusion of MORE. Plus it takes nearly a year to find every last lost strand. 
  • Finding that balance of just enough stuff, but not so much to overshadow other holidays or heaven-help-us, raise The Expectation. 
  • Locating the perfect chocolate bunny that is the right kind of chocolate and not broken. (Hint: they are all broken.)

Further, we no more get a break from Christmas when things start happening. It begins in early February with Son One’s birthday. March is our wedding anniversary as well as my husband’s birthday. Daughter and Son Two’s birthdays are in April.

Somewhere in there, usually on someone’s birthday, is Easter.

I fully admit to allowing The Expectation to happen. I swore I’d find a way to reel it in and tone it down, but it never seemed to be the right time.

Then, all of a sudden, it came to a screeching halt.

- -

While the official words hadn’t been spoken, it was clear: No one expected an over-sized rodent wearing a jaunty bow-tie and fabulous vest to hop in and drop off a basket of springtime goodness.

Last year, with a little bit of sadness, we transitioned over. I went to Target, bought a fantastic basket to be filled with goodies for the whole family to enjoy together. I felt pangs of jealousy as the other moms (and a dad!) decided which goodies to purchase for their little chicks.

This past weekend, my husband casually mentions we should probably get stuff together for The Basket. As we are walking into a certain big box store, there was a rather large display of candies touting everyday low prices. In 4.3 seconds, I had a little bit to please everyone’s palate. Brushing my hands dramatically, I declared, “Done. Ready for Easter.”

“Oh. Wow. Really? You’re not even going to get them a chocolate bunny? They’ll be crushed.” My husband said, as we walked away.

“Wait. What? Why? Didn’t we realize we were done with this last year?” I’m blushing as a couple of women tsk-tsk me.

 “Well, yeah, but you were so sad, remember? ‘They’re growing up to fast.'”

 And there, in the main aisle, between the checkout stands and poorly made-clothes in a variety of neon colors, I realized it would never be over.

Just when I found my out, the end of the trap, of trying to fulfill The Holiday Expectation, I’d turned my husband into one of them. Sure, he didn’t care much about coloring eggs or bunny-themed sidewalk chalks, but he wanted his yearly allotment of jelly beans, Cadbury’s Robin Eggs, and most of all, a chocolate bunny. 

It’s too late for me, but hurry; save yourself. Cut them off while there’s time. 

*photo courtesy of The Cagle Post

 *Special shout-out to the dads. I’ve got mad respect for the men out in the aisles, willing to risk life, limb, or <ahem> to fill an Easter basket. Because moms on a mission? We can throw down.

Tips for hosting a fantastic Easter Brunch, the Easy Way

Hosting Easter brunch this year? The secret to a throwing  fantastic brunch all while saving time and your sanity is to keep it simple. I’ve scoured Pinterest to bring you  only list you’ll need to brunch with the best of them! 

Keep it simple! Menu and decor tips for a fantastic Easter brunch

First and foremost pick a simple menu. As a general guide try serve at least four or five dishes. Only serve one or two dishes that require cooking immediately before serving. Everything else should be easily thrown together before guests arrive or made the day before. If you want to make it even easier make it a potluck and delegate specific dishes or types of dishes for guests to bring.

Egg – Eggs are a brunch must. A quiche or fritatta are the best and easiest ways to serve eggs for a crowd. Denver mini fritattas and Greek fritattas are quick and easy to make and are sure to disappear before your eyes.

 

Fruit – A fresh fruit salad is easy and delicious. Plus it adds a beautiful spring pop of color to any buffet table. 

 

Vegetable – Of course there are always vegetable trays, which are easy to put together or buy, but a simple green salad or even asparagus topped with feta and almonds will fancy up your menu without much effort. 

 

Meat – Smoked salmon is an excellent way to serve an amazing meat without having to cook a thing. Ham is obviously an Easter favorite too, so if you and your crew are set on ham a simple glaze can dress up a plain old ham.

 

Bread – An easy quick bread such as hearty whole wheat banana bread, or mixed berry flax muffins can be made in advance and will be enjoyed by everyone. 

 

Cocktail – Celebrate the day with a simple and elegant cocktail. A Kir Royale is a step up from your average mimosa. Serve a selection of fresh fruit juices and coffee as non alcoholic options.

Source: allparenting.com viaCatherine on Pinterest

Sweet treat – Be sure to include at least one dessert like treat in your brunch line-up. Something fun such as Crispy Treats Easter Nests or a more traditional Wicked Easy Carrot Cake will add a perfectly sweet ending to your Easter festivities.

Source: sophistimom.com viaCatherine on Pinterest

Secondly, set a lovely and simple table. A lovely table can set the mood for a gathering. The key is to keep it simple. By staying simple you’ll pull off a fun look all while saving time.

Add a table runner. A table runner adds a little oomph to a holiday table and instantly dresses everything up. Don’t have a table runner? Lay a length of 10-12 inch wide burlap or colored tulle down the center of the table letting it generously hang over the edge. If you want to take it a step further gather and tie a ribbon or piece of twine around the burlap or tulle 6-8 inches below the edge of the table. 

 

Flowers keep things fresh. Use a bright springy bouquet of tulips of daffodils as a main centerpiece. 

 

Add a bit of whimsy. These peep and jelly bean filled mason jars make for a fun touch. And best of all then the festivities are over you can send them home with guests!

 

With a little thought simple can be quite fantastic. And lovely. And very tasty!

What are your favorite brunch dishes to serve? Do you have any tips for hosting a fantastic brunch?

Adorable Homemade Valentines – Target Dollar Spot Diaries

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but walking through stores you can easily find boxes and boxes of cheap valentines. I don’t mean cheap in the good sense of the word either – more like lame Batman or Barbie Valentine’s Day cards with perforated edges. By the time you’ve spent an hour in the Valentine’s day section of the store watching you child debate the merits of each type of cards and then argued over the $15 bag of treats they simply must get to hand out with their cards you’ve completely lost your mind. Not to mention you are now out $20 for some silly Bieber Fever cards and little bags of junk filled treats.

Cute, easy, and inexpensive homemade valentine's day cards

Target Dollar Spot to the rescue! For about $5 you and your child can join forces to make cute valentines complete with fun treat in less time than it would take them to decide on a lame pre-printed box of valentines.

What to grab from the Dollar Spot bins:

supplies need to make valentines

  • Valentine’s Day Pencils (they come in packs of 8)
  • 1 package of Acid Free Cardstock (comes in a pack of 12 sheets with 4 different Valentine’s day colors)
  • 1 package of Valentine’s Day Foam Stickers (These are optional but fun!)

The tools you’ll need:

supplies to make valentine's day cards

  • Black marker
  • Scissors or a paper-cutter
  • Hole punch
  • Pencil sharpener

Homemade Valentine Directions:

Easy creative homemade  valentines

Step 1: Cut the paper into roughly 1 1/2  to 2 inch wide strips. You’ll need one strip per valentine.
Step 2: Punch a hole in the top and bottom of the strips of paper, about an inch in from the ends.
Step 3: Write “I think you’re sharp!” and “From_______” using your child’s name on the paper strips, long ways. Add foam stickers if you like.

You're sharp valentines

Step 4: Sharpen the pencils.
Step 5: Feed the pencils through the holes of the paper strips so the message faces out.

Viola! Cute, inexpensive, easy and practical valentines thanks to the Dollar Spot at Target and about 20 minutes of your time.

The best part? If your kid can wield a pair of scissors and a pen on their own your home free to take a little break while they craft their cards!

Time, money and sanity saved.

Dollar Spot, will you be my Valentine?

Cute and easy homemade Valentine's Day cards

Have you figured out Valentine’s Day cards for your kids yet?

De-Stressing with Jessica from @FoundtheMarbles

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Or, you can hop on over to FoundtheMarbles.com and read 12 Ways to Recharge, Energize & Feel Better this Holiday Season. Jessica is MUCH better at this relaxing gig than I am. ;)

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