Sunday, April 5, 2009

In Your Easter Bonnet (and your Easter basket)...

Ah, I love filling the Easter baskets. It's the Easter version of the stocking. At Christmas, I spend a good deal of time and energy coming up with neat and surprising stocking stuffers. I try to do the same for my Easter baskets.

While I'm not completely opposed to giving my children sweets and chocolate, I do try to minimize the amount they consume (of course right now Roo is the only one who gets sweets, as Rascal is still exclusively breastfed). It is definitely a treat, not an everyday indulgence. Usually, my daughter's "treat" is a slice of whatever dessert I've made for everyone at the family gathering (for Easter, Christmas, or birthdays, etc.) rather than store-bought candy to mark the occasion.

I tend to focus on finding non-edible, useful, fun gifts. Here are a few peeks at what I'm planning on this year:

I love these twig colored pencils from :

As a child, I loved getting fresh art supplies. I wish they had something like these back in the day. Maybe it's the twig component, or the the bouquet of Easter colors, but these pencils just scream "Spring" to me.

I also adored the Little Golden Books when I was young. While I do have several of the classics from my childhood (thanks, Mom, for saving them!) to introduce to my children, I've been filling in the gaps by buying them through Amazon. For Easter, I picked up this one:
and this one:

At just $2.99 each, I can't pass them up! While I find plenty to love about the many modern books I've bought for my children, reading these Little Golden Books transports me back in time. The quaint illustrations, the text, everything about them is a gift that I am so pleased to share with my own kids.

Lately, my daughter can't build enough tents, houses, caves, and tunnels. We've been getting by with strategic draping of blankets and stacking pillows. But, I sense the need for something more dependable and sturdy (understandably, she gets so upset when her "roof" caves in after she's worked so hard to build her elf house). These wooden play clips should do the trick!

As I've stated in previous posts, I have a fondness for birds and squirrels. So, at Joann Fabrics I picked up these cuties put out by the Audubon Society:
All of their plush animals have authentic calls that are emitted by a squeeze of their soft bellies. To keep the robin from getting lonely, I bought him a friendly squirrel whose realistic chatter is sure to get the attention of our real squirrel pals just outside our back door.

To round out the baskets, I have stickers, glitter glue, and watercolor paints. I'll also be stuffing in some needed items like new socks, underwear, and "bug" dishes, like these:

Also at Joann's, I came across these itty bitty pop-up books:

One is nursery rhymes and the other is forest animals (each page has some educational tidbits about the featured animal on that page). We got a pop-up Christmas card from someone last year and Roo played with it so much (open, close, open, close, get the idea) that it fell apart. So, she should love these books. And if they fall apart (or shall I say when they fall apart), it won't be a big deal because I got them out of the dollar bin!!

Looking over this post, I realize it may look like I bought a lot of "stuff" for the Easter baskets. But, most of the items are things I would have bought anyway -- either for educational value or because we needed it. If there is something that my child needs, that I would be buying regardless of the holiday, why not put it in the Easter basket as a "gift?" Believe it or not, my daughter gets quite excited by new socks. So, in essence, they make a great (and practical) "gift." And because I think reading, art, and creative play are some of the most important parts of childhood, I can justify buying items that fit into these categories. I do try to limit buying "stuff" for stuff's sake. I abhor cheap plastic "filler" items. I try to stick with useful, quality products.

As for my husband, he's happy with some Peeps, a chocolate bunny, and a great meal. So easy to please!

So, along with Mass, breakfast, Easter egg hunts, and a fancy dinner with all of our loved should be a beautiful celebration! Only one week to go (and it's going to be a busy one)!

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