Thursday, April 13, 2006

Setting The Bar Low

Easter is just a few days away. Now that we're "local" and live near(er) to my family, we've been tagged to help with the Easter feast with a more elaborate dish (vs. the easy "just bring the rolls" assignment we had for years since we had to drive a couple of hours). I'm being asked to make the potatoes au gratin - enough for 11 adults and 5 kids (none of whom really like potatoes, so fine - more for the grown-ups). With this task in hand, I went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon to stock up on the ingredients.

This lovely store, Fred Meyers, has a Playland. It is wonderful. It's attended and stocked with kid-friendly activities which your kids get to enjoy for a solid hour FOR FREE. Really, it's been a savior for me on more than one occasion. Yesterday, I employed it so I could purchase the Easter supplies without an audience. Not only for the dinner, but for the Easter baskets. I just couldn't have my oh-so-curious children spying the goodies ostensibly coming from the Easter Bunny in advance. Oh no - I must maintain that ruse and illusion for as long as possible, right?

As I was perusing the aisles of all the Easter crap, er - stuff, the words of my sister came back to me: set the bar low. Follow the "less is more" mentality. Why go overboard when kids this young will be just as thrilled with a few jellybeans and a small hollow chocolate bunny? They will never miss what they didn't get. And so that's just what I did. I exercised extreme restraint (because me? and chocolate? things can get ugly right quick!) and only bought a single bag of jellybeans, a single bag of Whoppers eggs, and two small hollow chocolate bunnies. I steered clear of buying any candy that had individual wrappers - too much hassle for little kids and too many tiny bits of foil left all over the place. Which was really hard because the Reeces peanut butter cups were calling to me VERY LOUDLY. I even triumphantly declined to purchase a single Cadbury egg. Because those? Are the best.easter.candy.EVER!

But I couldn't, just couldn't, leave their baskets so skimpy. I had to include something - anything - else to jazz them up. My mother always included a little gift. Something small. So I found two coloring/activity books, complete with new crayons, and got those. The kids will love them. Add a few dyed Easter eggs and we're all set.

And that, my friends, is setting the bar low. And they'll never know the difference. And they'll be just as thrilled with their baskets.
More than anything, Nicholas was most impressed with the carrots I bought, ostensibly for the Easter Bunny. He's suggesting that we also leave some Ranch dressing out for the Easter Bunny, because while carrots are good all by themselves, they're just better when dipped in Ranch. And I agree, don't you?

So instead of hopping my kids up on loads and loads of sugar (don't worry - they'll get PLENTY of that at my parents house, complete with a full Easter egg hunt for all the grandkids), I'm going to follow the tradition established by my parents for us as kids of hiding the baskets. We had to search high and low to find our basket on Easter morning. It made it so much more fun each year. Rules evolved as we got older, and that just added to the enjoyment. I know my kids will have as much fun as we did searching for their baskets. And since we're in a new house, the options for hiding spots are endless!

So no matter how limited the contents of your Easter basket, the fact that it is the grand prize of the big search makes it a true treasure. I can't remember the contents of my Easter basket as a kid each year, but I remember vividly the various hiding spots in which my parents, er - the Easter Bunny, hid my basket each year. Which only proves the point that it's not the stuff you remember most, but the experiences. I don't know who's more excited about it - the kids or me!

Funny about the ranch dressing. At Christmas, we left carrots out for Rudolf because Faith insisted he would be hungry too. Then she goes to get the "white". In other words, ranch dressing!!! What good are carrots without the "white"!!!!
Happy Easter
I'm with you on setting the bar low. "The bunny" used ot hide our baskets too. It was SO fun! Enjoy the day.
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