Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Meet one of the new additions to our home, Lily the Easter Rabbit! Lily was lovingly hand knit with pure Merino sheep wool and filled with pure fleece by a very talented Waldorf Mamma in South Africa (see her Mamma 4 Earth etsy link on my blog). Lily arrived with a few other goodies that we're going to be enjoying very soon! When I showed Lily to the girls, they grabbed her and hugged her and I didn't see her for the rest of the day as she went off on their adventures. Needless to say, I asked them to put her on the nature table to celebrate Easter and there she resides (for now).

We have been really enjoying our spring nature scape. We had to trim the grass, even though the bunnies were enjoying hiding in it. I told them they better start munching or else I'd have to bring out my scissors to trim the grass myself. Hmmmm...they weren't very good listeners...

On the eve of Good Friday, "C" and I molded a cave to symbolize the tomb where they placed the body of Jesus. "C" decided to make a cross to put on the top and decorated it with clay stones. We *sealed* the tomb with a large "boulder" and waited.

Could life so end, half told; its school so fail?
Soul, soul, there is a sequel to thy tale!
~Robert Mowry Bell

With the arrival of Easter Sunday, an angel appeared and the boulder was pushed aside, revealing an empty tomb in celebration of the Resurrection!

The fasts are done; the Aves said;
The moon has filled her horn
And in the solemn night I watch
Before the Easter morn.
So pure, so still the starry heaven,
So hushed the brooding air,
I could hear the sweep of an angel's wings
If one should earthward fare.
~Edna Dean Proctor, "Easter Morning"

And this is how our Easter began...

There were many other preparations made for our celebrations, so here are our adventures the preceding days...

While I baked, "E" who had just recovered from the flu, opted to play with play dough...

"Paschal Lamb"

My mother is 100% Polish and I spent the bulk of my childhood in the good ole' Midwest - in the suburbs of Chicago, where many ethnic groups settled, especially the Poles, Irish and Italians. We were lucky enough to be surrounded by many Polish traditions, one of them being the Easter Lamb Cake. Every Easter Sunday, without fail, we would pile in the car and take the long drive to my Babci's house (Granny Goose) where all the cousins and relatives would gather and eat food from the basket that was blessed in the Catholic church (hard boiled eggs, homemade Polish sausage made by Uncle Waller, and rye bread). We would have horseradish (or at least some of us), ham, honey, and for desert, we'd would have Lamb Cake.

After years of searching for my own mold, I finally found a ton of them online this year and bought this beautiful one...

Partially due to several food allergies and my love of animals, I have gone in and out of veganism. Recently, I developed an allergy to rice and a sensitivity to soy, which has made it very difficult to get my proper nutrients as a vegan, so I've had to break out of the mold, but try to eat vegan whenever possible. So we made our lamb cake vegan...

The batter was delicious (one big benefit of not using eggs - you can really sample that batter - mmmmmmm....) and I tied a string around my mold before baking, though it did leak out all over the place anyway (drat)!

She came out just beautiful!

Tony had bought two coconuts from the grocery, so we cut into one and I hand grated the coconut to make the grass for our "Paschal Lamb".

And here is how she turned out!

OK, so I admit that her head did fall off once I put frosting on her - so maybe the eggs as a binding element would be better. But she tasted delicious and we ate her on Easter Sunday after our brunch!

"Dying Easter Eggs"

On Holy Saturday, we dyed our eggs. I wanted to try the great recipes others had given in their blogs about making our own dye, but the darn stomach flu left us with little time for it. So we used a traditional kit, which was still fun!

We used a mixture of white and brown free range eggs.

The girls were excited!

The girls have never had an egg in their life, except if one was baked into a cake they consumed at a party. I asked them if they wanted to try a hard boiled one, but they declined.

"Easter Bread Ring"

This year, I added a new tradition to our family, which I believe has its roots in the Swedish heritage. DH has a tiny bit of Swedish in him (and his cousins who range from 6'3" - 6'5"!). The recipe is from the fantastic book, "All Year Round" by Druitt, Fynes-Clinton, and Rowling. We also scrapped the eggs and milk and used egg replacer and almond milk and a butter substitute. It was DELICIOUS!

After mixing the ingredients, here is how it took shape:

You cut it into four segments. Looks like octopus legs :)

And then you weave it over and under and over again, like so...

And then shape it into a circle. I admit, I didn't convert the ingredients correctly and mine was rather fat - so next year, I'll be confident to make it longer and thinner...but I'm learning :)

I put in on a baking stone as such. Now for the unique element. You gather stones and wrap them in foil and nestle them into the bread in evenly spaced pockets. Then bake, cool and remove the stones...

Easter morning, the girls came downstairs to find this on the table:

Now, it was recommended to put a candle and flowers in the hole in the middles, but as you can see, mine was so fat, it had no year :)

"Easter Morning"

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices...
~Charles Kingsley

Now for some shots of our day. The girls had an egg hunt in the house. Here they are with their loot:

And opening their eggs. We don't eat a lot of candy (at least they don't - I'm trying to mend my bad habits), so every year, the Easter bunny leaves crackers in their eggs and sometimes those little chickies you can buy at the craft stores. This year, they got peanuts, as well. They love peanuts and sunflower seeds now.

This is the first year the Easter Bunny left them any kind of chocolate. I had been visiting with their pediatrician, Dr. Jay Gordon, and he told me in a joking manner that the girls need to fire the Easter Bunny after I told him *he* or *she* doesn't leave them chocolate, so they got their first chocolate bunny, but honestly - they tried it and went, "yuck". I know it's that cheap chocolate - if it were a ghiradelli chocolate bunny, then it might have received a warmer welcome. So the bunnies are in the trash already, but they sure make for cute pictures!

Grandfather came over and we had a nice brunch and then the girls enjoyed a gorgeous, warm day watering plants with daddy and playing and sharing a grape picnic with their best friend, "Cai", same age, who conveniently lives next door!

Here are some of our blossoms - our potato tree, our olive tree, and some of our azalias...

A friend of mine posted an interesting blog about baking "Easter Story Cookies" with her children. For those Christian readers who are interested in a "living" lesson of the crusification/resurrection, you might enjoy reading about it here:

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful spring holiday season with lots of growth, new beginnings and the promise for a better year.


  1. Wow there are so many wonderful ideas and activities. I loved your nature table! The lamb cake was so enchanting what a wonderful thing. I love family traditions, we didnt have a lot of them growing up but the few we do have are very special to me. What a lovely post.

  2. I love all of your Easter activities! The bread is really amazing. We'll have to try that! :)

  3. Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for blogging about my Lily Rabbit! I am so happy that you are enjoying her! Thanks so much for all the lovely words you wrote, I really appreciate it...

    Have a great week,