Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

With the no new stuff challenge in effect we have been doing a lot of research to come up with some  homemade items for our children's Easter baskets. It is important to me that my children are able to find pleasure in the simple things in life, and to understand the true reason for the holiday. We as a society tend to shove the Easter bunny down kids throats along with tons of candy and plastic junk. Since our no new stuff challenge is all about non-consumerism and a simpler life the typical Easter fare just will not do! Normally I would walk into the BX and fill a cart full of random Easter junk without really thinking about the purchases I was making. It was Easter after all and my children "needed" these things to have a "normal childhood". Not anymore though! Now we are making a conscious decision about what we bring into our house and are keeping things much simpler, which I think will be a true blessing over time to our children. We are after all not raising consumers we are raising children!

First up this year I decided I decided to make a Bunny Service Jar for each of my oldest two daughters. I think it is so important to teach our children to preform acts of service for others. This jar is a great idea! I found this printable tag which explains the concept. For each act of service the child preforms they get to add a "bunny tail" to the jar (also known as a cotton ball). When their jar is full they earn a special treat!
Now on to the Easter basket! I decided to make the oldest 5 children Easter activity books. These are super simple to make. I just did a search on pinterest for Easter printables and got to printing.  I ended up doing a mixture of activities per child based on their ages and abilities. The older girls (8 and 6yrs old) got mostly mazes and puzzles to do while the younger two girls (3yr old twins) got simpler activities that are intended to teach them things like their colors, how to use scissors, counting, matching, etc. My son (1 yr old) on the other hand got just simple coloring pages. I love that I was able to tailor each book to each particular child's ability and skill level.

Once I had a equal number of age appropriate pages printed out I got my supplies out  to make the covers and get my books put together. I had some white cardstock and Easter stickers in my scrapbooking supplies. I added in some spare yard, crayons, scissors, my three hole punch and my scrapbook paper cutter (what is that thing called anyways?)

I cut the cardstock down to 28x24in and then used my three hole punch on all the pages making sure that they were all lined up correctly. Once I had the books layered together with the holes lined up I used the yarn to "bind" the book together. When the books were properly binded together I wrote the child's name on the front of each of their books and added the Easter stickers. Done! 5 activity books completed with supplies on hand in less than an hour. My kids will love these!
I also decided to make homemade sidewalk chalk...1 1/2 cups cornstarch, 1 1/2 cups water...mix, divide evenly into 12 muffin tins, add 2-3 drops of food coloring to each, let harden and pop out. These were a bit more difficult to hide as they had to sit on my counter for days to harden. Luckily the little ones don't have a clue and the older girls were willing to work with me ;) They were really runny even the next day and I had to soak up some of the liquid off the top with a paper towel to get them to finally come together. Once they were dry they just turned into a crumbly mess...these are a no go and I will NOT be making them again :(

My next project was to try and make my very first cake from scratch. I usually just buy the box mixes but since we are also cutting out processed foods that wasn't an option this year. I found this recipe for a vanilla cake and icing and decided to give it a try. Since it was Easter I had to make a bunny cake! We decorated it with dried blueberries and cranberries instead of candy...I mean they had PLENTY of candy the didn't need more candy on their cake!
We were very blessed this year that between the few things I made and the gifts sent by family members their baskets (that I saved from years before) were over flowing. I just had to buy one bag of candy to put in the plastic eggs for the egg hunt.

And lastly here is a very rare picture of all 6 of my kids together. Usually they are impossible to get all in the same picture...guess all I needed was some candy ;)

Total I would have spent: $200
Actual amount spent: $11

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