How to Have a Happy Easter by Holly PrimoWhat are your favorite Easter memories from your childhood? Hunting for Easter eggs?Chomping down on marshmallow peeps? Biting the ears off your Easter bunnies?Or maybe the most magical part was the preparation: painting those eggs, andanticipating the candy youd get. The Easter basket, with green grass and chocolatebunnies…maybe a stuffed chick or even a real duckling! Im sure youd like to recreate some of those fond memories for your family and especially your kids. So here are a few tips to help you make that happen. For many families, Easter is about their faith, but that wont stop anyone from enjoying Easter egg hunts and Easter candy as a secular celebration. Easter is a day of joy, and the colorful eggs and accessories of traditional Easter serve to enhance that sense of joy in theessence of Spring and rebirth.For kids, or course, some of the appeal of Easterlies in the fact that it is yet another holidaywhere they expect to get lots of chocolates,candies, and other treats. And for the purposesof this report, well focus on the fun aspects ofEaster, along with its joyousness.You can have a happy Easter, celebratingSpringtime and its beauty and freedom, withoutfocusing entirely on sugary stuff.Easter is a Family AffairFamilies vary in how they like to celebrate Easter. So you get to pick just how youd liketo celebrate. But in spite of the individual differences, there are a lot of themes incommon as well. Here are some of the standard ingredients:a) TreatsEaster is (for many folks) about treats...and key among the treats are Easter eggs. Its notEaster unless lots of eggs are tucked into the basket, along with a variety of other candy.And about those eggs... there are so many different kinds, from chocolate eggs with andwithout filling, candy eggs, marshmallow eggs, and yes, even hard-boiled eggs that havebeen decorated brightly to add to the cheer.
Peeps, preferably in various shapes and colors, are a must as well, as are jelly beans,which really look like miniature eggs.Some families even have their own special baked goods for Easter, which can range fromspecial breads to cookies to fancy cakes with colorful Easter decorations. My motherused to bake each of us a cake in the shape of either Easter bunnies and Easter lambs!Some years, she let us pick which one we wanted.b) ParadesIf theres an Easter parade in town or even nearby, be sure to take the kids, and snapplenty of pictures. If you go, you should be sure to get (or create) some special Easterbonnets for everyone, as there are often competitions for the best Easter bonnet at theseevents.For example, Richmond, Virginia, has a special Easter parade, fittingly called "Easter onParade," that turns Monument Avenue, a gorgeous tree-lined Avenue with beautiful oldhomes and monuments into a temporary playground for Richmonds citizens, whowander up and down, showing off their bonnets -- and their decorated dogs. There arecontests for best bonnets, both for humans and for their canine friends.Meanwhile, theres music playing all along the Avenue, and lots of fancy crafts as well asyummy goodies are for sale. There are also games for kids. Parades like this one canmake for very special memories.Children always love Egg Hunts, which many towns, villages or institutions will organizeon Easter weekend, so if you have a chance to take the kids to an Egg Hunt near whereyou live, they’ll have a blast. If not, you can always hide eggs and candies tucked intocolorful plastic eggs around the house or outside in the garden, weather-permitting.
Getting ready for Easter: Painting Easter EggsOne of the most cherished Easter traditions, other than actually getting and eating thecandy, involves painting Easter eggs.You have two options: You could paint hard-boiled eggs and then eat them later, or youcould remove the eggs contents and paint the shells to use for decorations.In fact, you may want to do both. You canalways make a brunch frittata from thecontents of the hollowed-out eggs, and thenuse them to create pretty center pieces onceyouve painted them.In order to create those centerpieces, youcould simply get Easter baskets and arrangethe eggs prettily in the "grass." Or youcould get a few branches, either with orwithout leaves, and decorate them with yourcolorfully painted egg shells. Of coursethere are plenty of additional possibilities,from creating a mobile and hanging it from the ceiling, to decorating a wreath with eggsand displaying it on the front door or in the hallway.The painted hard-boiled eggs, on the other hand, will be part of the Easter baskets meantfor consumption, and they can also be hidden for the Easter egg hunt. Just make sure thekids find them all, or else youll have some mighty foul odors coming from their hidingplaces a few weeks down the road.So how can you color your eggs? Once you have your "canvas" prepared, the process iseasy.First, you need to decide whether you want to give your eggs a solid color base. If so, youcan color them in a bath of food color.Next, you get some special Easter egg decorating tools, and paint away. Its entirely up toyou whether you want to create a designer work of art, geometric shapes, or little bunnyimages. You can also incorporate stickers and special Easter egg "tattoos." If you arecoloring eggs with your kids, encourage their creativity, and above all, have fun!Getting Ready for Easter: Shopping for CandyIt seems that every year there are more options. Its hard to decide what to get anymore.
A few decades ago, the choices were pretty clear. There were chocolate Easter bunnies,chocolate eggs, candy eggs, basic yellow marshmallow peeps, jelly beans, and thoseCadbury cream eggs.Now, the selection has grown in every direction.Where there were only yellow chickpeeps, peeps now come in a range ofcolors, including pink, blue, andpurple. There are also bunnies invarious electric colors. And yes, youcan even buy sugar-free peeps forthose of us who must avoid eatingsugar.Next, you can select from a hugerange of other candy in all sorts ofshapes and sizes, from egg-shapedcandies with creamy fillings instrawberry, raspberry, and coconutflavor, just for starters.And then, you can get Easter bunnies and related critters in all sizes, from pocket size allthe way to bunnies big enough to dwarf your toddler.Some of the smaller chocolate bunnies also come with fillings, from marshmallow topeanut butter and more.How do you select the ones your kids will enjoy most? You can ask them, take themshopping with you, get one of each and take notes for the coming year, or buy a really bigEaster basket so you can fit in a huge assortment of the options.Speaking of baskets -- the choice will also depend on whether youre going to composethe baskets yourself, or whether youre going to give the kids baskets filled with fakegrass that they will fill as they hunt down their goodies all over the house -- or garden.Be sure to hold a few items back in case the outcome of the hunt is too uneven, so youcan sneak a few extra eggs into the "losers" basket to avoid tears.Its Not ALL About Food! What Else Can You Put In An Easter Basket?Some parents may shudder at the thought of the Halloween-like candy overload thatcould result from Easter baskets limited to edible treats. So what else could you include?Just about anything you like, really, as long as the kids will enjoy it.
From CDs to games to books to cute little notebooks, pens, and erasers, you could reallyinclude anything that would make a good stocking stuffer. Its just that for Easter, it willgo inside a basket.You could even include small clothing items or accessories, from socks to hairdecorations, jewelry, and more. Personalized gifts are always especially welcome, andcan become a beloved heirloom.And dont forget gifts for the parents and friends. Here, you definitely dont have torestrict yourself to bunnies and candy, though feel free to include them, along with achoice piece of jewelry, a new watch, or a neat new electronic gadget and even newearphones in Easter-egg colors.And of course, no one has decreed that all the bunnies have to be edible. Some kids willenjoy bunnies that will be their pals for months and even years to come. In fact, a fewpeople take the "pals" literally and give live bunnies and even chicks. Thats not always agood idea, especially to other people’s children. Be sure to check with the parents -- theymay not appreciate the extra work. If you’d enjoy baby bunnies, remember they grow upand become big rabbits, and even more bunnies, if you don’t watch out!Preparing an Easter FeastThere are no real rules for what to serve for an Easter feast. Unlike Thanksgiving, Easterdoesnt usually call for Turkey. Instead, many families prepare a big ham, or rack oflamb, or maybe a rib roast. But its really up to you what you and your family enjoy – avegetarian brunch might suit you better.Instead of including a recipe here, Id like to encourage you to prepare your familyfavorites. There is something very comforting in gathering around the traditional feasteach year.When it comes to desserts though, feel free to get creative and include some newelements or decorations. Unless you have a favorite dessert thats an absolute must-have.
What To Do About All Those Hard-Boiled Eggs After Easter?Its actually kind of funny that there are basically three kinds of eggs that make up theEaster repertoire: chocolate eggs, candy eggs, and hard-boiled eggs.And of course we wont have to worry about what to do about the first two categories --theyd keep for weeks, if necessary. But its not likely that they survive that long.Instead, its the hard-boiled eggs. Once the novelty of the decorations has worn off, thereare bound to be left-overs in baskets around the house.So gather them up and incorporate them into your meals.Here are a few ideas for what to do with them all those eggs:a) Deviled eggs Cut them in half, mix up the yolks with your favorite combination of mustard, mayo, relish, and your favorite spices, and fill them back into the egg white halves. Serve chilled.b) Sliced eggs as sandwich toppings Just slice your eggs and use them to top sandwiches.
c) Egg salad Chop up the eggs, mix with mayo, mustard, and onions, or anything else youd like to include, and serve as a dip or on sandwiches.d) Other saladsYou can also serve them chopped up on chef salads and in potato salads.Theres really no limit to what you can do with them. Just get creative.Theres no limit to what you can do. Take the ideas I suggested and build on them.Consider your familys preferences and be sure to get everybodys favorites, but also adda few potential new favorites to the mix.Most of all, have fun, and have a very happy Easter!________________________________________________________________________Holly Primo lives in beautiful New Mexico with her family of five, working from homeas a virtual assistant. She is a writer and photographer who especially enjoys creatingwebsites for holiday decorating, cooking and personalized gifts year round. Visithttp://easter.holidayshoppingnews.com for more great Easter fun ideas.Link: websites http://easter.holidayshoppingnews.comPersonalized gifts: http://snipurl.com/personaleastergift