This past week we’ve had the extreme pleasure of quadrupling the number of children who normally live under our roof. Cassie’s brother drove up Florida with his three girls who are 11, 9 and 3 to join Moo for a spring break adventure. It’s been a creative week – energetic, chaotic, full of laughter and a few meltdowns – and it has taken each of the adults for a trip down memory lane. When was the last time you spent days and days running around a house playing games with your dear cousins?
Cassie is a (flexible) planner, so the week’s agenda was full to the brim with both practicalities (meal plans) and whimsies (ideas for trips out and days in). We managed to hit the Westfield Heritage Village Maple Syrup Festival, made another trip to the Personal Computer Museum – Cassie’s brother is one of the big reasons Cass got into technology in the first place – and had countless large meals, games of hide and seek, and musical serenades from our piano, guitar, ukulele, xylophone and tamborines. It’s been nice to have found activities that accommodate all ages.
One of the best themes so far for a full day of activities has been “Easter”. Our guests will be traveling back to Florida shortly before Easter Day, so we wanted to have some Easter experiences together before they left. We didn’t get around to doing any of these activities last year, but we love the idea of making them annual traditions. Maybe our ideas will inspire you. We’d also love to hear your usuals for this time of year!
A couple weeks ago we went to the local Liquidation King and got 60 plastic eggs and 3 egg dying kits for something in the ballpark of $5. We picked up some dark chocolates and Jelly Bellies from Costco’s to fill the eggs with. All well worth it.
While the girls ate breakfast, we closed our blinds so they couldn’t steal peeks out the windows then ventured outside to hide all the eggs. In a particularly strategic moment we split the eggs into two groups for our hunt: the pinks for the two- and three-year-olds, and all the other colours for the older girls. We filled the pink ones with slightly fewer candies and hid them low and easy.
We hid the other coloured eggs in harder-to-find places, but even so the little girls found several of the other colours. They all ran around the yard in a big hurry, counting their eggs and adding up each others’ stashes to figure out how many were left to find. We put them in drain pipes, in trees, in window boxes, under dried grass, behind rocks. It took a good half hour to account for them all, and afterward no one complained about putting most of their candy into little baggies for rationing.
It’s been years since any of us dyed Easter eggs, so we studied the instructions on the egg dying kits to mix up the dyes with vinegar and water. We covered our countertops with plastic and table cloths, helped the little ones with the wax crayons, and enjoyed watching the eggs change colours. We deliberately veered toward simple, staying away from the fancy kits – who needs glitter? – but we did manage to get the hairdryer out to shrink wrap plastic patterns around some of the eggs.
Earlier in the morning, we had hardboiled a dozen eggs: 3 for each kid, with each egg receiving a slightly different dying strategy. Our 9-year-old made fantasy dragon eggs, the toddlers drew shapes and lines, and the oldest concentrated on perfecting her colour technique, preferring to drop the entire egg into the cup and letting it sit for several minutes.
The best part about the whole fiasco from an adult perspective was the eagerness for everyone to be involved in every aspect. The egg hunt expelled some energy, the dying eggs forced everyone to focus and be attentive, and by the time we were hungry all the kids were more than ready to donate their egg creations for egg salad. It was a memorable moment when Cass, her brother, the oldest and the youngest were gathered around the chopping board peeling eggs.
Easter is a simple occasion, really. You can miss it if you blink. But it also has the potential to be full of crafts, outdoor activities, and family bonding, and truly requires minimal planning. But if you can’t pull it together for a series of home activities there are several other events in Brant county to attend – one we hope to try is the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless egg hunt, which sounds absolutely epic.
Enjoy your Easter weekend, let us know how it goes!