Category Archives: Easter

Happy Easter {with a birthday and bald head}

Happy post-Easter! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Holy Week turned out to be just what we needed as we read a few scriptures every night around the kitchen table. Everyone is a bit nicer to each other when we do that. Spring sports hadn’t started yet and we had a little more down time than usual. It’s good to stop and breathe.

And then there was a birthday!

Our baby girl turned 9. I’ve requested to always be allowed to call her “baby girl.” I have to be careful because sometimes my nostalgia rubs off and she says things like, “I don’t want to be 9. I want to be 8,” and then we talk about the great adventures ahead and how WONDERFUL it is…as I feel my heart go walking outside of my body and get stomped on…unnamed-2

There was a last minute request for a class birthday treat….AH! We do what we can do.

In anticipation of Easter, it became cold and rained ice. I was fascinated by these tulips and daffodils “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Just stand your sacred ground.” –Brene Brownunnamed-3

We had Easter baskets and an egg hunt on Saturday. This year was extra special because our COUSINS came!!! I found quite a lot of interesting pictures of my phone…

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On Saturday I received a phone call from the boy: “Mom, do I have permission to shave my head for St. Baldricks?” To raise money for childhood cancer? Shave away!

It was shocking to see bald boy come through the front door. Maybe some day I will be so brave…! Will you do it with me???

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Easter egg hunt with the little ‘uns…(Despite good intentions, we still managed to consume way too much sugar.)

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The next morning we awoke late and hustled to church where my father-in-law and I were speaking. We were really late, had the church programs in the car, and our van said we had ZERO miles left of gas. I imagined myself RUNNING to church, bursting through the doors to deliver a peaceful talk about Jesus… “I feel like I’m going to faint.” The Professor told me to “Assume a warrior pose. Shoulders back. Deep breaths. Resolute face.” I tried. It helped.

My father-in-law delivered an awesome talk on Jesus, those who mocked him, and the resurrection.

I was asked to speak about the women in Jesus’ life. What a great topic to study!

The brothers who know how to sport Easter egg ties…unnamed-10

The mamas…one of my besties for life – Jill!unnamed-9

Coincidentally, (?) prior to speaking I watched two films: Suffragette and He Named Me Malala. Both tell the true accounts of great women who were the foot soldiers in important revolutions. They spoke up, at a great cost to themselves and other women. There was violence and blood shed. Both films shed light on the need for greater love, education, and equality. Our ultimate example? Jesus Christ. Man, sometimes it feels like we’ve made such progress and sometimes it feels like we have so much further to go.

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As I spoke, I looked down at the pew where a long line of my girls sat. These strong, amazing girls – some my daughters, some my nieces, my sister-in-law, my friends, my young women, strangers. I want so desperately for us all to know…remember who you are! Become all the wonderful things you are meant to be!

Yes, I was quite inspired by the good women of Easter.

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And let’s not forget the good men who are helping us raise such good, strong daughters.

Whether they were with us today or were far from home…love, love, this family of mine.

Happy spring!

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Can You Help Our Minimalist Easter Bunny?

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I made this Easter Bread once. It was yummy.

Naturally-Dyed Eggs

Want to dye eggs with tumeric, beet juice, and cabbage?

Keep it simple, keep it simple. This is our Easter mantra, right?

The Holy Week coincides with me reading the advance copy of Joshua Becker’s book, The More of Less. Becker is the author of the wildly popular blog, Becoming Minimalist . This book is good!

I’m underlining EVERYTHING, folding down pages, making stars, and nodding YES the whole way through…and I’m only half-way through.

More on the book later, but it’s forcing me to look at all our STUFF, giddily purging closets and drawers and gasp – hair products (this shall be a great trial and you will need to hold my hand.)

And…in comes the Easter basket. This Saturday, the Easter Bunny is going to come hopping through the house. Bunny needs some help.

It seems quite incongruous to preach the evils of sugar and more stuff and then promptly hand it over in honor of a holy holiday, oh, but it’s Easter! This, my friends, is what Gretchen Rubin would call a “loophole:” justification for our behavior because it’s a “special occasion” or we’re on vacation or because “it’s just this once.” Ha! It’s never just once! Tell me, who can eat just one Cadbury egg???

Feeling the pressure of tradition, marketing, and childhood nostalgia…I bought sugar. The Professor made me. But just a wee bit. Like Cadbury eggs and the Trader Joe’s jelly beans.

I did not buy Twinkies even though I wanted them and it’s totally tradition to have a Twinkie in the Easter basket. sniff.

So. In the spirit of minimalism, what’s a minimalist Easter bunny to do?

Some ideas:

  • Colored pens and markers (we could live happily in Staples)
  • Underwear (yep, I’m fun)
  • Hamilton musical tickets (hey, a girl can dream, right??!!)
  • An orange
  • A can of V-8 juice
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Bubbles
  • Lip gloss
  • Hair elastics
  • Fingernail polish
  • Gum
  • Raspberries
  • Beef jerky
  • A picnic gift certificate?
  • A bike ride with dad?

Geez, this is such a first-world problem isn’t it?

I don’t need to put ALL of these things in the basket, but I’d like a basket that contains a few meaningful, frugal, and tasty delights.

Help!

Ideas? What are you doing for a healthier, less sugary, less “stuff,” Easter?

Thank you in advance. Love, the minimalist Easter Bunny

Post script: Here are some great ideas from Facebook commenters!

Way back when, I was known to give my kids toothbrushes at Easter.  smile emoticon Another idea if your kids like to plant things: packets of seeds. (Tickets for “Hamilton”, what every “big” girl wants!) -Connie

We used to get socks and new Keds-type sneakers. We also used to get updated rain gear. Kind of a preparing for spring type of theme. – Robin

Our Easter bunny brings bathing suits! Both necessary and fun!! – Michelle

Love it! I’m so over the sugar… (But I did give in for a little ). Will is getting a glove for baseball, Hannah a swimsuit, Crosby a ball cap, Ella some socks smile emoticon. Always toothbrushes too- Those should fill the baskets right up! -Katelyn

My mom started getting us journals every Easter and I loved it. -Abbie

Thanks for starting this conversation. Chris and I were just about to give our kids two baskets of cavities. Now I have some awesome ideas to give instead! -Kat

 Last year for my nephews, we got them stuff to start their garden. Seeds and seed starters. A little watering can could be cute. They weren’t super excited but once they were able to start planting and eventually see their veggies growing, I think they loved it! They were proud of what they grew. -Paige

We give them water bottles and this year they are also getting zen tangling coloring books for a little zen time…. -Annie

My mother used to hide peanuts in the shell instead of eggs filled with candy, although we didn’t love that as kids… :o) -Becky

I was one of 5 kids growing up and we received a community basket each year. There were always 5 identical chocolate bunnies but then there were other things like jump ropes, bubbles, the jungle book movie, etc depending on the year. It was never a lot, usually simple and usually geared toward something we could do together. -Jillian

We bought our children Nerf guns. They rediscovered an old gun of Ammons and they have been shooting it with the 2 remaining bullets. We figure this will make for a fun morning and a great lesson on physical vs spiritual death and the resurrection, lol. -Kate

I love swimsuits and flip flops, or something similar spring related, something you need to buy anyway. This year I’m going to put a a big bottle of Sadie’s favorite shampoo and conditioner. You know, the nice stuff that I never want to buy. I’ll probably do something relative to that for my younger ones, like bubble bath, or something. -Annaca

 Every year I buy a lego set, open the box and fill plastic eggs with all the pieces. After all the eggs are found they work on building the project together. -Jackie

We do coupons fr things they don’t get daily. Like iPad time or tv time get of time out free things like that -Jessica

New bike helmets, sandals and each a Lego set. Baseballs and softballs too and bubbles! -Jill

I have to admit – I love Easter baskets! And candy! But we asked the Easter Bunny to come on Saturday, and he usually brought more “toys” than candy, and when the kids were little, we decided to focus less on the baskets and more on our new Easter tradition, which we still do today. We try to go fishing Easter weekend, if we can. If we can’t, we just buy a nice, big salmon from Costco. Then, for Easter dinner, we have our loaves and fishes meal. Served in baskets with butter and honey. Oh, and homemade grape juice, which we usually get from our neighbors. As the years have progressed, we have added other items to the menu, which may or may not go with the theme. But we ALWAYS have the loaves and fishes! And talk about our favorite stories from the Old Testament. That’s one tradition I’m really glad we started! -Naomi

You guys rock!

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The Holy Week

An attempt to make Easter more meaningful:IMG_4789 If you’d like to print these pictures and text out, scroll to the bottom…!

In the Christian world, this Saturday marks the last week of Jesus Christ’s life. The Holy Week. I could use a little more holy.

My kitchen faces windows and sun, so apologies for the glare on the photos. They come out better when printed.

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This year we will dye the eggs and hide the baskets and eat too much sugar, but this year especially, I need Easter to be more than that. I need faith in my life right now. We women are stressed out of our minds most of the time. I see it in our faces. We are rushing around going, going, going. Maybe what really need from Easter is some quiet time to ponder the really big questions about faith and who Jesus Christ was and why any of it matters.

I try to imagine Jesus rushing around with his long checklist of Easter activities, glue sticks, scissors, and jelly beans to ensure everything is FUN and LOUD and full of SUGAR. Um. Can you imagine that?

WOMAN, SLOOOOOW DOWN. BE STILL.

My advice? Keep Easter really simple. A fresh vase of tulips. Or not. Pictures on the fridge. Scriptures. Ponder. Pray. Perhaps a cadbury egg or two (I mean, Jesus surely likes chocolate, right?)

Whittle it down to the bones: why is Easter significant to you?

The Holy Week as a Google doc

The Holy Week as a PDF

Much of the text and images compiled from Here.

Fabulous Bible and Easter videos to go along with bible stories Here.

May you have a wonderful Holy Week! (and a few cadbury Easter eggs…)

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Unplugging and Seeing Signs of Spring

Did your mother ever order you out of the house? To go play outside and enjoy the good earth? It’s been hard to do that in New Hampshire as we’ve been living in the movie Frozen. But hark! On Sunday, spring began to tease….

Mom ordered all minions outside to investigate if it really was true.DSC_0111The boy lugged over the trampoline so he could dunk.

DSC_0113Look who’s been busy…the voles. They are like big mice that burrow little highways underground. Doggie is in heaven, nose to the ground, sniffing them out.

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We hauled out the bikes and began a walk, finding trees that stretched high and dry

DSC_0133New England soil is full of big rocks. So when settlers needed to plow a field and build a home, these stone walls were built by hand. The stone walls go on for miles and are so artfully built that 21st century children can run across without a rock toppling. I’m in awe of the craftsmanship.DSC_0145Two will still smile for the camera

DSC_0150Finding puddles of mud to write messages for water buffalo neighbors

DSC_0153 DSC_0154 In just a few months, these apple trees will be in bloom

DSC_0164 We switch sides of the road and walk on the other stone wallDSC_0165This is the start-up vineyard up the hill; a hard thing to do in New Hampshire with so much cold. Will the trees survive?

DSC_0170And at the top of the hill we turn back around DSC_0177And follow all the melting water that flows down to where our house sits. Well. It came, flooded our basement, forcing us to pull up baseboards and part of Cope’s new bedroom wall. So frustrating. We’ve pumped the water out, but I block out all the work that still needs to be done. Let’s go back to enjoying Spring.DSC_0175This is an old hay machine. You’ll find this a lot out here; abandoned farm equipment no one knows what to do with. These relics around the neighborhood could fill a museum.

DSC_0171 Countryside as the sun starts to set

DSC_0180As we headed down the hill we saw a sight we don’t often see…four children playing together?DSC_0189It made me smile to see the older kids with their hands in the mud, dirt, and water. The boy got that devilish look in his eyes as he said, “Do you want to see our DAM?” “Mom, we’re making a DAM. Do you like our DAM?”

DSC_0202Proof! There were four who played. In mismatched pajamas. Perfect.

DSC_0215And then they were off again, headed home, flying fast.

I had to close my eyes and breathe in every oxygen molecule, bottling up the fresh spring air. Because I am a wiser New Englander: who knows when spring will come again?

Good thing I grabbed it. Tonight, the forecast predicts snow!

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Bold and Beautiful, All Natural Egg Dye

This is just the sort of thing I look at and say, seriously? The PAAS kit is $1.52.

But then I pondered the great possibilities of cabbage.DSC_0317Gregor kept walking past large vats of vegetables and spices, shaking his head. “I just don’t understand…”

I know. But occasionally we like to try being Martha.

The best thing about this experiment, was playing chemist with the kids.DSC_0254 Here are the eggs our hens so lovingly layed. We used the brown, too.

cabbageThis was the only thing I purchased specifically for eggs. The rest was in the fridge or cupboard.

DSC_0248 Cabbage is so naturally beautiful

DSC_0258 Red onion skins

DSC_0259 I took a picture of the tumeric and it gave me a reflection of spring, coming

DSC_0260 The cloves gave me a shot of the sky

DSC_0263Beet juice and Cloves

DSC_0267Dill and Tumeric working magic.

I kind of felt like a witch above her cauldron.

Instructions:

Boil eggs (I actually don’t boil mine; I just use raw and try not to drop)

Keep boiled water for dying

Bowls should be deep enough for eggs to sink to bottom and be completely covered.

Add Ingredients to pots and pour boiling water on top. Let sit awhile (1/2 hour?) so the color from the ingredients can seep out. It won’t work if you don’t do this! Also, don’t add raw eggs until water is cool. They will crack.DSC_0270For Azure Blue: Boil 1/2 head of red cabbage on stovetop for about 1/2 hour. Spoon out cabbage and eat. Or not. Let cool. Add 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt. Add eggies!

DSC_0288Perhaps a beautiful orange color? Boil 3 cups water, 1/2 a bag of carrots, 1 orange peel, and 4 skins of yellow onion. Let cool. Add 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt, and eggs.

DSC_0291And this would be the dinosaur eggs. Dill was supposed to turn it green. Oh well.  3 Cups Boiling water, 3 tbsp dill seed. Add 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt, and eggs.DSC_0294 Lemon yellow: 3 cups boiling water, 3 tbsp tumeric. Add 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt, and eggs. 

It really…smells.DSC_0303Clove Brown: 3 Cups Boiling water, 3 tbsp Cloves. Add 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt, and eggs.

This had a particularly potent odor. DSC_0310I was hoping for red, but beet juice gives a light brownish…so we basically dyed our white eggs to match the brown eggs.

3 cups Boiling Water, Canned Beet Juice, Skins from 3 Red Onions. Add 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt, and eggs.

Cranberry juice and Paprika probably would have worked better. DSC_0323And there you have it, your very own colorful palate of naturally dyed eggs.

In addition, you’ll get a perplexed husband, a wonderfully(?) aromatic home, and kids playing chemist.

If this freaks you out, go buy the kit. We have so many eggs, we’re trying that route tomorrow, but I do like how there is no downside to actually eating or touching these natural dyes.

Looking for more? Try some Easter Egg bread. Delicious and beautiful for Palm Sunday or the Easter meal. Also, a very Happy Passover to my Jewish friends!

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The Aftermath

Aren’t these cute?  My mother-in-law made them.  Chocolate-covered pretzels, eggs, and peeps.  She is the queen of creativity and thank goodness for Grandma; she makes sure the holidays are celebrated in style.

We are now in recovery mode from the Easter holiday.  Which was grand.  But I’m very tired.  Last night I dreamed I was running away from a tsunami. I could see it coming and the water was very cold. I knew where my children were, but I couldn’t get to them.  What do you think this means?  My interpretation:  More naps. 

Easter came at the end of an exciting week.

After months of practice, The Dutchess made her debut in her school’s Alice in Wonderland.  At first she was sad she didn’t get the part of Alice.  But then she realized she was born to play royalty and hold a pig baby.

And the boy was the Knave of Hearts who ate the tarts, but didn’t really, only because the poem said so.  Confused?  So was the knave.  Lewis Carroll was truly an intriguing individual. I feel compelled to read more about him.

The play was amazing.  All the kids were great, the set breath-taking, and the directors deserve more than the granola we gave them.  As a parent, I’m especially grateful for teachers who love, care, and educate children.  

We forgot to buy flowers (bad mom?) for the Dutchess so Brynne found a pine branch and a popped balloon and wrapped it around the pine branch.  Cope was super pleased.  But I did buy her pizza afterwards so all was forgiven.  I hope.
Easter was good.  Pretty much.  On Saturday there were eggs filled with candy, and Nelson got a dusty bottle of bacon bits from the basement.

On Sunday morning I saw the sunrise with Brynne.  I wanted to keep that nice, quiet Easter feeling as we returned home.  Except everyone seemed to be taking turns crying.  Paige said, “Can we wake up again and just start over?”  We had to start over more than once.  

Here is our Easter picture.  I really wanted to actually get in the picture.  But that didn’t happen.

This is Cope telling us that instead of saying, “Cheese” you’re supposed to say “Hi.”  Don’t you think it works so much better?

Brynne wore her beautiful new dress from Edna (thanks, Edna!) and Paige wore her beautiful new dress from Barbara (thanks, Barbara!)  Brynne also wore this heirloom jewelry from her great-great grandmother that is really just costume jewelry, but we love it anyway.  Of course it was promptly broken before we even got to church.  Cope was mad as she had already claimed it for her wedding.

A little better?  Nelson wore his duct tape bow-tie. 

Sweet things

Those white gloves didn’t stay white for long.  I have no idea what she’s doing.

Kiss, kiss

It’s hard not to laugh when Paige is trying to kiss you.

Painting the roses red, pink, and orange
Every year I want to take this picture of the flowers on the cross that sits outside of the congregational church down the street from my house.  I just happened to have my camera with me.

At church we are all asked to speak; usually your turn comes around about once a year if you’re so inclined to say yes.  Guess who got to speak on Sunday?  Lucky ducky me!  That really was the best part of the week – preparing for such a topic.  I’ll have tell you about it sometime when I’ve come out of my hazy stupor.  

After church we traveled to cousins in Needham, Massachusetts.  My brother-in-law told me the cake AND the frosting he had made did not have any butter in it.  Instead, he substituted…are you ready for this?  Avocado!  Yes, I know how exciting this is.  I pretty much freaked out I was so overcome with delight.  Oh, I have plans…

I can’t say it was the best part of Easter, because you know, there was the resurrection and all. But it was up there, you know?

I’m still enjoying the clouds up there.  

All weekend Paige kept telling me her throat hurt.  “I have strekt throat,” she insisted.  Poor thing was pretty much patted on the back and told to feel better.  Well.  She was right.  Did you know “strekt throat” usually makes it way back to the person who originally had it?  She had it in December.  All the tooth brushes are being Listerine’d and perhaps the bathroom should be cleaned…

The doctor was a really good doctor, a real no-nonsense but friendly lady.  She asked Paige if she liked school.  “No,” Paige said (which I wanted to refute as a lie.)  Why don’t you like school? the doctor asked.  “I miss my mom,” Paige said, which made me smile and the doctor frown. The concerned doctor quietly asked me if everything was “okay.”  Yes, I said, she likes school, especially after she gets on the bus.  

Then Paige proceeded to tell the doctor she has her own room, “but Brynne and I sleep in mama’s bed.” More shock and alarm.  “Oh! We have a lot of things to talk about!” the doctor said.  I wanted to go into a long justifiable explanation…but well, I was tired and crashing from all those Easter holiday jelly beans.

The sun is shining this morning, the kids are back in school…except Paige is still sleeping.  In my bed.  
xo.

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Easter Bread

Happy Easter, friends.

The eggs are hard-boiled and then put in the dough to bake.  Isn’t that just the coolest?

Easter Bread:
Hard boil 5-6 eggs
Dye them

Sweet Dough:
2/3 cup whole milk 
5 tablespoons sugar, divided 
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope) 
2 large eggs, room temperature 
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 cup 

(1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted


In Mixer:
Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°–115°. 
Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar. 
Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. 
Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. 
Add 2 eggs; whisk until smooth. 
Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. 

Add milk & yeast mixture 
With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter
Mix on medium speed for 1 minute 
Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes. 
Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise to about double.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray baking sheet) 
Punch down dough 
Divide into 3 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into a 16-inch-long rope with tapered ends. (If dough begins to bounce back, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes to allow dough to relax.) 

Arrange ropes side by side lengthwise on prepared sheet. 
Pinch top ends together. 
Braid dough. 
Pinch bottom ends together to secure (braided loaf will be about 12 inches long). 
Tuck dyed eggs between braids, spacing evenly. 
Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. 
Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until puffed but not doubled in size, 45–50 minutes. 
Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. 
Whisk remaining egg with 2 tsp. warm water in a small bowl. (optional)
Avoiding dyed eggs, brush dough all over with egg wash. 

Bake until bread is golden brown. 
Let cool on a wire rack. 
Serve warm or at room temperature. 

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover dough with plastic; chill. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours (or 2–2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated).

From Bon Appetit Easter bread recipe

May you have a beautiful Easter holiday.  May the bunny visit, leave eggs, bunny poops (or is that just my house?) and some jelly beans.  
 
More importantly, “As I have loved you, love one another.”  
 
Beautiful Life of Christ clips to watch HERE.  My kids love them. 
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Happy Easter

Easter eggs were fun.
I like chocolate.
But I especially needed this message today: Peace I leave with you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  Christ Lives is a video clip on the life of Christ.  It’s good.
I did not feel a great amount of peace this week.  It wasn’t until I returned to the most basics of questions did I feel lighter.  It is the reflection about who I am, where I came from, and where I want to go after this life.  Is there not a yearning in everyone to know the answers to these questions?
On this blog I like to write about books and writing.  Since it’s Easter, I heard the story of the resurrection again.  People all over the world, in all sorts of different religions heard this same story in some way.  Why has the The Bible been the most popular and enduring book in history?  Is it only mere tradition passed from mothers and fathers or is there a spirit to the book we recognize as truth?  Are the stories just stories or did they really happen?  Were they written and translated by man or prophets?  After translation, how accurate is it?  
My mother has a friend who’s little boy once asked her, “What if it’s not true?  What if you get to heaven and you were wrong?”  And the mother said, “Then I wouldn’t regret it.  I would know I did the best I could.”
I think this post and reflection comes at an interesting time, after I just posted about Hunger Games and why we love Katniss.  Perhaps, on a much grander scale, it also the reason we love the story of Jesus Christ.  A mere human, born in a stable among pigs and cows.  A child who grew in light, destined for something great.  A performer of miracles, betrayed by his friends, mocked and spit upon, crucified only to appease the masses. The underdog.  If he truly rose again, did he not overcome the greatest odds there ever were – defeating death?  He not only made a sacrifice, but the ultimate sacrifice for every single human being who has ever lived and whoever will live.  Because of prophecy, millions of people were all ready talking about his birth and death before it had even happened.  Who has ever been famous before they were born?  Millions more believe it still, even 2000 years after it happened, also believing that He will come again, in trailing clouds of glory.  How do you know it’s just a story?  How do you know if it’s real?  How do you know it’s not?  One cannot prove a negative.  
When you say someone is Christ-like, is it not the ultimate compliment?  There are the pretenders, the false-Christs, who commit atrocities in His name, all for power and glory.  Isn’t it interesting that wars continue to be waged in Christ’s name, and our different interpretations over a book?  His name is used as an expletive daily and than worshipped on Sundays.  Isn’t it interesting that most people lay on their death bed and seek the comfort of a phrase from this book?  That many can only find peace through the scriptural passages of a man who overcame death?  Is it because we need to believe that we can live again too?  
Even if it’s just a story you cannot literally believe, it is still the greatest story ever told.  I think in the end, I too, will have to answer “I don’t regret it.  I believed it was true and I did the best I could.”   

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Jumping into Spring

Although snow flakes were falling just yesterday, they say that next week will be warmer.  NH will finally start to feel like spring next week…it’s been a long winter.  
What are we doing?
Paige is working on her letters, days, and borrowed this calendar.  As far as preschool goes, I’m pretty laid back.  The kids go to kindergarten knowing their letters and how to spell their names.  I don’t do workbooks, computer games, or sit-down school.  I read to them a lot and try to point out words, numbers, shapes, and sing songs.  
So far, whatever we’ve been doing has worked well.  We’ve decided Paige will just have “school” with Mama instead of a more traditional setting.  Cope and Nelson had a few hours in a school but Brynne had play groups and a once week rotating co-op preschool with some other moms that was extremely laid back.  Both options worked great for us! 
A few choice children are working on Civility.  Writing was an employed tactic when death stares and repeated “Stop!” was not enough.  But I thought it was funny and showed them what their uncle Peter used to do in school.  I told them the abbreviated version didn’t count!  One child had to write, “I will not burp at the table.”

We got to watch General Conference the first weekend in April.  I always look forward to it as we get to listen to our spiritual leaders give talks.  One thing that sets the LDS church apart from others is that its members believe in a living prophet.  There is no paid ministry in the entire church; it is completely volunteer-based.  You can’t help but feel a great spirit when you listen to men and women who have decided to dedicate every single day to teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are no talks on fashion, how-to’s for budgeting, painting the house, gardening, etc.  It is completely based on how we can become closer to God.  I always feel so good after watching. I feel more peace in our home, my marriage, and have a clearer sense of how to be a better parent.
 We are lucky BYUTV is on satellite; they broadcast it twice a year.  My mollycoddled (new word!) children will have no memories of lying on a church bench while their parents try to listen.
Sometimes it’s hard for kids to listen to one talk after another, so I was happy to find this idea.  For each selected word spoken, I had a food (I prefer the delicious but healthy variety) they could eat.  If “Jesus” was said, they got to eat the celery with cheese.  They helped choose the foods, so we had some interesting ones – marichino(sp?) cherries (Brynne) and shrimp (Nelson).  It was fun, a new family tradition!  You could use this for anything you wanted your children to listen to.  
Not everything should have a food/treat reward, but I like this activity for conference.
The past week it has rained and rained and rained.  For birthdays my girls usually get their own umbrellas, they love them so much.  They also love flashlights – another good gift.
We just filed our tax return.  Who has any money for home improvement with it?  We’re having work done in our basement to stop water from coming in and are in the beginning stages of building a room for Cope.  This will take a few tax returns and summers, but she’s super excited.  Someday it will all be finished…play room, food storage, clothes & Christmas decor storage…yes, very exciting. I highly recommend local Doug Bent.  He’s a jack of all trades, extremely reliable, and is so willing to work with your budget.  Yes, we have many many plans for Doug!
The forsythia bushes probably won’t bloom this spring thanks to Peter’s superior chopping job, but they’re going to come back beautiful!
Spring always reminds me of HOW MUCH work owning a home is.  Good work projects as a family.
The snow is almost entirely melted
These sticks will grow and bloom a beautiful purple
Nelson has been kept busying flying his remote control into people’s heads.  He is in heaven.
We colored eggs using food coloring and vinegar instead of buying the kit.  Who knew?

We had a great time 
Except for this girl who was coming down with something and recovering from a track meet.  We’ve all been fighting something but finally feel on the up-swing.  The school sent home a note that said flu-like symptoms are still going around!  Wash your hands!
Even more fun than coloring eggs was experimenting with the colors, painting the newspaper with brushes, and making soup out of the colored newspaper – a good 45 minutes of activity.
What has mom been doing?  Working on the budget!  Coupons rarely work for me so I’m planning better and writing every single expenditure down.  I’m compiling lots of tricks that work for me which I’m excited to post.  Until then…
Happy Easter Weekend!
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