a stress-free easter

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In my mind, Spring officially kicks off when Easter comes around. I love this holiday. The pretty pastel dresses, the chocolate bunnies, the Easter Egg hunts. Easter always puts a smile on my face.

Easter also happens to be “my holiday” meaning that I host Easter each year. My sister-in-law and I decided after I got married, that she would have Thanksgiving and I would have Easter. And since I’d rather take my chances warming a cooked ham than cooking a raw turkey, I was all for our arrangement.

Any time you host a holiday there is some level of stress, I decided long ago to simply go with the flow on this holiday and make sure not to let it “get to me”.  There are bound to be things that go wrong (like the year I walked away to get dressed leaving a ham glaze on the stove and came down to the smoke alarm going off). But, with a little bit of planning and a carefree attitude Easter can be stress free.

Dressing up doesn’t have to be “dressing up”.

One of my favorite parts of Easter is the cute little Easter outfits. When my kids were babies I had them all decked out in the cutest little matching Easter outfits. That worked for awhile, until my boys decided that dress pants make them itch and they wanted to wear sweatpants over sweaters. So my idea of walking into church, people “ooh-ing and ahh-ing” as my best dressed kids walked by was not working as planned.

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Top Photo by Jennifer Jayne Photography. 

My daughter is not my problem – she would dress up everyday if she could, but my sons hate dressing up.  I soon discovered making them dress up is only going to lead to tantrums and those pictures where they just look uncomfortable.

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Photo by Jennifer Jayne Photography. 

I rest my case.

So, I’ve come up with some tricks to dress up my boys without them thinking they are dressed up. My favorite trick is to let them wear jeans (or any nice pants with elastic tops), a loose fitting button up shirt, and then throw on a loose tie (don’t tie it tight otherwise you will hear the complaints that you are choking them). Or nix the tie and just do a solid t-shirt or polo.  If you want your kids to coordinate, but you have one that just doesn’t want to dress up – choose your color scheme and just pick pieces that coordinate together for an overall look. There are many times my youngest wears a solid color t-shirt, while my daughter is dressed to the nines. As long as it is the same color scheme, you’ll get the desired “dressed up” look.

Make some new traditions

Easter for me is about traditions and my favorite tradition in my family is Lamb Cake.

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The tradition of having lamb cake (which is just a pound cake shaped like a lamb so don’t get scared) started in my Polish family several decades ago. Okay, I’ll admit it’s a strange tradition, and I still laugh every time I watch my nephews and children fight over who is going to eat the head or butt, but it’s a tradition that returns every year. So start a fun new family tradition this Easter!

You don’t have to color eggs (GASP!)

Okay, don’t kill me, but I’m anti-easter egg coloring. It’s just something that has always stressed me out. First of all, I can’t hard boil eggs to save my life (even the fool proof tips online don’t work for me). Second, I live in constant fear that the food coloring will get through the newspapers and get all over my table. And finally, they color them, and that’s it…they don’t eat them, so they usually get thrown away.

So if coloring eggs stresses you out, just leave the vinegar smell behind and do something else. My family does Easter crafts. We make bunnies, bunny noses, etc.  Simply buy some pastel pipe cleaners and craft sticks and have fun!

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Keep your menu simple

For Easter, my menu is very simple. I make a ham. It couldn’t be easier. I buy a large ham, place in my roaster, pour Sprite over it, cover it with brown sugar and put Pineapple slices on top. Then I roast it per the package instructions and baste often. Comes out perfect every time. You can also substitute the Sprite for Apple Juice for a sweet flavor twist.

I make my “famous” potatoes, which again could not be easier. Buy a bag of frozen shredded potatoes and let them thaw for awhile on your counter. Pour them in a bowl. Add a can of cream of chicken, ¾ cup of milk, 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 8 oz of Sour Cream (go regular here, not light). Mix it up and then spread in a greased baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Take the foil off, top with more cheddar cheese (about a cup more will do) and French’s onions and bake for 15 minutes. You can make this the night before and bake on Easter day.

Cornaroni is another Easter hit. Take a 1 lb box of Elbow Macaroni Noodles and pour in a large bowl (uncooked). Pour in 2 cans of Creamed Corn, 2 cans of Regular Corn (un-drained), and 2 sticks of melted butter. Cube up 24 oz of Velveeta cheese and throw the cubes in the bowl. Stir until well blended. Pour in a greased baking dish. Cover with foil and bake covered for 1 ½ hours at 350 degrees. Take it out of the oven, stir and bake another ½ hour to 45 minutes or until the noodles are soft.

For rolls, I do Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (nothing fancy but delicious), I have my family bring a vegetable to share, and for dessert we do Lamb Cake and cookies. Presto…Easter dinner all done.

Egg Hunt

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After dinner we do an egg hunt in our back yard. I fill the eggs with Jelly Beans or stickers and give each kid a color. Jocelyn is pink, Landon is green, etc. Then I hide the eggs. For the older kids I make it hard, for the little ones I just spread the eggs around the yard. The kids then find their eggs (which prevents older kids from taking all the younger kids eggs).  After they find their eggs, they search for our Golden Egg. I throw $10.00 in an egg and hide it in a really tricky spot. The kids look forward to finding out who is going to find the golden egg!

Happy Easter everyone! What are your favorite Easter traditions or recipes? Please share.


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