Monday, April 5, 2010


Whew! Another holiday successfully celebrated and done. Now we have a bit (a very tiny bit) of a lull until Birthday Season.

We keep our Easter festivities simple, and though I have cooked Easter dinner in the past (no, not a ham--spanikopita!), every time I thought about the effort involved, my body went into spasms of anxiety, plus the weather was predicted to be very nice, so we decided to continue last year's tradition, of going for a hike and eating out.

But first, a little decorating. We refreshed the nature table for Easter.

It had gotten a bit crowded with all our hand-painted wooden eggs, so it now we have overflow onto a nature windowsill.

I knitted a few Easter eggs from Kendra's pattern in Rhythm of the Home. Super easy. They live in a bowl I knitted for a decoration last spring, but didn't get finished until this Chrismas (when a friend with a top-loading washer and lots of wood-heated hot water felted it for me. Maybe I'll have her felt the eggs before next Easter).

Saturday afternoon we dyed some eggs.

I tried using red cabbage, beets, turmeric and paprika, which I know I have done successfully in the past (including last year), but I guess the stars weren't aligned this weekend, or because I decided to wing it, and only got out directions after it wasn't working out, but all I was succeeding in dyeing was our stovetop,

so I added a few squirts of blue, yellow and green food coloring that I found in the back of the cabinet (we were already out of red, and I used the last drops of green and somehow lost the blue, so I won't have that for an out next year!).

I can't bear to let anything go to waste, so we dyed some scraps of muslin with the leftover egg dye (the beets worked much better on the cloth than the eggs!). Not sure what we'll do with these, but they were fun to make.

Like with our Christmas Traditions, M just wasn't into egg dyeing. He dropped a couple of eggs in, then headed off to do his own thing. It makes me kind of sad that he's growing up so fast! I can picture myself alone in the kitchen dying eggs like some lonely old spinster in a couple of years when all of my kids are off doing more interesting things.

I went a bit overboard with the Easter candy this year. I think I feel the need to follow a period of deprivation (e.g. Buy Nothing month, getting the plastic out, etc.) with a period of over-indulgence/consumption. It must date back to a childhood of giving up candy every lent (NOT voluntarily, I'd like to point out) and then pigging out on Easter. Anyway, after eating all of the first batch of Easter candy, I ordered some chocolate bunnies from this organic chocolate place my friend was putting in an order to (they came wrapped in bubble wrap! Grr.), bought some jelly beans at the health food store, some yogurt-covered pretzels and chocolate-covered pretzels from the bulk bins at the grocery store and re-stocked on jelly bellies, fruit slices and Dutch mints at the place I went to the first time.

We have about a million plastic eggs which are apparently offspring of the original 12 I bought when M was little, that spend the rest of the year reproducing in a box in the basement. C filled them with jelly beans and yogurt raisins and hid them around the living room and kitchen. The boys got up early to go on the hunt (E was ready to go at 2 a.m. and we both lay in bed, wide awake, for a couple of hours, waiting for morning)! Amazing how much fun such simple things can be (Z kept saying he wants every day to be Easter).

I also got each boy a book and a small notebook. I was trying to resist buying any "stuff," but they've gotten a book every Easter their whole lives, and I'd already gotten one of the Beatrix Potter books at a discounted price from a used/overstock bookstore (M got Charlie and the Chocolate Factory--that's what Easter is all about , right?)

I also made some little bird nests with peanut butter, chocolate chips and rice cereal. Mostly these are for me.

I was going to make brioche for breakfast, but decided at the last minute to make challah instead (yes I do see the irony there), because I'd made it a few weeks ago, and knew it turned out well. Unfortunately I'd forgotten that it had taken all day to rise, so that when I put the dough in the fridge Saturday night, I fully expected it to have doubled by morning, but when I took it out at 5:45 a.m. nothing had happened. So I put it in a warm oven for an hour, still noting. I kneaded it and put it in a warm oven and an hour later it had risen a bit. Finally, after another hour and a half, dough nowhere close to double, I gave up, rolled and braided and let it rise on top of a warm oven. In the meantime we at hard-boiled eggs, fruit salad and candy for breakfast. The bread came out of the oven just at almost 11, and we took it on our hike, eating torn-off hunks with pieces of cheese and apple for a snack. It was delicious and very Heidi-esque. I think a loaf of fresh bread will be a hiking staple from here on out.

We headed to Dodge Point, fully expecting the warm weather to be tempered by breezes off the water as it usually is, but the air was still and sunny and beautiful. I felt something I haven't felt in a long time--hot. It was incredible.

The boys did the whole three- or four-mile loop with little complaint (E and Z were ready to "be home by now" for about the last half mile). We took lots of breaks to explore beaches.

E and Z found a horseshoe crab shell, which I had the thrill of carrying for about a mile before they decided they didn't want to keep it. And Z found a smoothed-out deer antler to put on our nature table.

This big root mass was the highlight. I think if we weren't all already tired out by the time we got to this point, the boys could have played in this for hours.


  1. Okay, lady, if those are simple festivities, I need to see your complex ones. :)

    As always, I marvel at and applaud your commitment to the natural approach and your convictions - not to mention your honesty when things don't work out according to plan.

  2. Challah on Easter? Sounds like something I'd do from my mixed up, smorgasbord of celebrations (except my challah would turn out hard as a doorstop).

    Like the image of spinster Mama dying eggs while boys are on to something more interesting.

  3. your eggs are the sweetest, andrea! thank you so much for sharing! i love the traditional hike! i wish we could celebrate every holiday with a hike! and that root mass looks incredible!!!


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