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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

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When it comes to Easter baskets, kids are easy to shop for. Grab some jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, gather a few small toys, add the artificial grass and voila, you have created the magic of the Easter Bunny.

And then they become teens, and the Easter basket dilemma begins.

First off, don’t think for a second that teenagers are too old to wake up to an Easter basket on Easter morning. It’s more important than ever for parents to keep the magic alive as long as possible – and Easter morning is just one of those occasions to do just that.

However, teens are notoriously hard to shop for. They have specific tastes in style and gifts, and many times their tastes can be more expensive than the average Easter basket item.

With the help of other parents of teens, I have gathered more than 100 things to place in your teenager’s Easter basket – most of them completely affordable. If I’ve missed any, be sure to leave them in the comments.

(P.S. To see 50 more things, click here)

Alternatives to Traditional Baskets
– Fill an upside-down umbrella
– Use a portable shower caddy
– Fill a lunch box
– Use a reusable shopping bag
– Create an Origami box

Handmade Coupons
– Get out of chore
– Date night with Mom or Dad
– Day at the beach
– Teen’s choice for family outing

It’s All About the Money
– Eggs filled with coins
– $5 gift card to local business
– Gift certificate for mani/pedi
– Gas card

Toys for the Kid in All of Us
– Stuffed animals
– Nerf guns
– Bubbles
– Wind-up toys
– Family game
– Lego set
– Playing cards
– Hula hoop
– Jump rope

Get Ready for Summertime
– Beach towel
– Swim trunks or bathing suit
– Pool toys
– Sunglasses
– Swim goggles
– Flip flops
– Sunblock
– Baseball cap or floppy hat
– Snorkeling gear
– Beach umbrella

Subtle Hints for Upcoming Vacation
– Disney coffee (or hot chocolate) mug
– Pine cone (for hiking or camping)
– Seashells
– Pineapple (for Hawaii)
– Croissant (for Paris)
– Calendar or photo book of destination

Plan for Rainy Weather
– Umbrella
– Rain boots
– Rain jacket

Tasty treats
– Candy, of course
– Cheese sticks
– Beef jerky
– Trail mix
– Old-fashioned soda
– Handi-snacks
– Granola bars
– Cereal
– Hot chocolate

Bath Time is Fun Time
– Bath toys
– Bubble bath
– Bath salts
– Washcloths
– Bath towel
– New robe
– Hair brush
– Bath sponge
– Pumice stone

Practical, But Cool
– Cute socks
– A new outfit
– Underwear
– Key chains
– Deodorant
– Flavored tooth floss
– New toothbrush
– Colored shoelaces
– New pajamas
– Travel mug
– Water bottle
– Fingerless gloves

For the Creative Teen
– Colored pencils
– Colored chalk
– Scented markers
– Coloring book
– Water color paints
– Gel pens
– Polaroid camera
– Sketch book

For the Studious
– A new book ;-)
– Cool pens
– Colored paper clips
– Cute office supplies, like this cat shaped Post-it dispenser
Refrigerator magnets
– Mad libs
– Erasers
– Flash drives

Things to Do
– Movie passes
– Sports equipment (basketball, bucket of baseballs, etc)
– DVD of their favorite movie
– New video game

For the Teen With the Green Thumb
– Flower seeds
– Gardening gloves
– Gardening tools
– Potting materials
– Collection of succulents
– Hummingbird feeder

For the Music Lover
– iTunes gift card
– ‘Retro’ mixed cassette tapes
– Concert tickets

For the Girly Girl
– Nail polish
– Lip gloss
Metallic temporary tattoos (I want these!)
– Mini lotions
– Hair accessories
– Jewelry
– EOS chapstick (shaped like an egg!)
– Body spray or perfume
– Henna kit

What else?

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When you think of Easter baskets, you probably think of young toddlers running out to see what the Easter Bunny has left for them. You may have visions of tiny toys and plastic eggs filled with jellybeans. There’s magic in those grass filled baskets, and it’s not wasted on toddlers who will marvel at every single surprise they discover Easter morning.

But what about the teenagers?

When I was growing up, my mom made it a point to never take away the magic we felt at holidays when we were younger. Well into our adult years, we received a stocking full of small gifts at Christmas, a bunch of pink and red covered chocolate treats at Valentine’s Day, and an Easter basket full of trinkets and goodies at Easter. And now in my own house, I am continuing the tradition.

Thing is, however, it is much more difficult to find fun things to give teens at Easter when the majority of seasonal treats are geared towards kids under the age of 10. This year is even harder as we work to steer clear of all things sugary – i.e. anything that is traditional to give at Easter.

So with a little help from other parents and some searching on my own, I have put together my own list of things, edible and not, a teenager might want to discover in their basket Easter morning.

Happy Easter!

1. CDs
2. DVDs
3. Gift cards to their favorite store
4. Nostalgic kid toys (wind-up cars, Lego men, yoyos)
5. Pez dispenser
6. Gum
7. Themed baskets (nail spa, music list, hair, etc)
8. Movie tickets
9. Family coupons (for a later curfew, get out of chores free, etc)
10. Gas card
11. Nail polish
12. Lip gloss
13. Magazine (cars, beauty, or whatever their interest)
14. Poster of their favorite actor/band
15. iTunes gift card
16. Sunglasses
17. Perfume or cologne
18. Toothbrush
19. Water bottle
20. Travel coffee mug
21. Book
22. Phone accessories
23. Ear buds
24. Comic book
25. Disposable camera
26. Hair accessories
27. Flip flops
28. Beach towel
29. Sketch pad
30. Journal
31. Socks
32. Gel pens
33. Smelly pens
34. Glitter glue
35. Sharpies
36. Kite
37. Small package of cookies
38. Snapple
39. Crackers
40. Subway gift card
41. Keychain
42. Hat
43. Chapstick
44. Lotion
45. Flower seeds
46. Video game
47. Jewelry
48. Wallet
49. Purse
50. Dollar coins

What else?

Does the Easter Bunny still visit your teenager? What kind of treats do they give your teen?

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Easter traditions

It was still foggy outside, the increasing light casting dim shadows around the room when my sisters and I jumped out of bed. There was no hiding our excitement as we pounded on my parents’ door, rousing them at a way-too early hour to get them to wake up so we could find out what the Easter Bunny had left us.

“Hold on,” my mom grumbled, and we could hear the bed creak while they both found their robes and finally opened the door –all the permission we needed to race down the hall and search for the baskets hidden somewhere around the house. I found mine easily behind a couch. My youngest sister’s was tucked safely behind the curtain. But my middle sister’s basket was nowhere to be found. It was only when my sister was close to tears that my mom finally hinted to a place she hadn’t checked. There, on the top shelf, sat a light brown basket overflowing with fake plastic grass, the eggs we dyed the night before, a hollow rabbit wrapped in gold foil, some jelly beans, and a toothbrush to hopefully scrape all the sugar off our teeth when we were done celebrating our candy fest.

“Look!” my mom said, staring out the window towards the neighbor’s backyard that backed up to our own. We joined her at the window. Jumping in and out of the bushes were baby rabbits from the family of bunnies who had made it their home. But to us, it was a multiplication of the real live Easter Bunny, making one final appearance to make sure we got our baskets.

Years later, it was my daughter’s nose plastered to the window, delighted to see the rabbit jumping through the vineyards that surrounded her aunt’s house in the country.

“Look! The Easter Bunny!” she cried. And we were all momentarily brought back to that age when the line between make-believe and reality was oftentimes blurry. Her hands were still colored orange and green from the previous night’s egg dying adventure. She showed me every egg she had colored since I hadn’t been there the night before. It was the first Easter after the divorce, and she was spending time with her father. I was merely a visitor in this house, trying not to feel like a stranger as my child shared her other part of her life with me. Each egg she handed me held her tiny fingerprints. And even though I hadn’t been there to guide her in her efforts, she had successfully written words and designs on each egg with the raised markings of wax crayons.

A few more years, and we sat around my mother’s table with bowls of dye and several dozen hardboiled eggs. My mother was busy with just one egg, carefully spooning the colored vinegar water over the smooth surface as she created her annual black Easter Egg. It was nearly there, but still looked purple. The kids were busy balancing eggs strategically in the dye to give the illusion of stripes. And occasionally they’d sneak in a few markings on the egg that would reveal a funny word or picture that bordered on inappropriate. To the side were the plastic eggs that still needed to be filled with candy for the older kids, cheerios for the toddlers, and gold dollar coins for the adults in their own version of the childhood tradition.

Last year, despite the fact that no one in the house was a young child anymore, the enthusiasm for coloring Easter eggs was still there. We were now living in our new home with my fiancé and his son, and we brought our Easter traditions with us to share with them. We all took turns perfecting each white egg into the exact shade we envisioned, and even slipped a black egg in – just like my mom was probably doing in her own kitchen. The candy was hidden in my closet, ready to leave at their place on the breakfast table, sans basket. The Easter Bunny might have stopped coming as he visited the littler kids instead, but they would never be too old for a few gifts of chocolate and a toothbrush to guard against cavities.

It’s unknown if the kids will be as into it as they have been in past years. Even just a year has made a difference in how excited they get over tradition. But one thing’s for certain, the dye will still be there for anyone who’s willing to get a little dirty (even if it’s just the adults), and the plastic eggs will still hold tiny surprises to discover on Easter morning. Oh, and of course there will be a new toothbrush.

May your Easter be filled with traditions and memories to cherish forever.

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As you may remember, I gave up sugar for Lent – not added sugar, but anything that might resemble dessert. And while I’d love to say it was for religious reasons since Lent is a time of meditation, it was more to get over an obscene obsession with sweets following the winter holiday season.

The first couple of weeks giving up sugar were hard. I found myself snacking on anything else I could substitute for sugar. The food victim that suffered the most at my hands was a jar of peanut butter. Yes, you could argue that it has a lot of added sugar and should therefore be considered a cheat. But being that it only has 3 grams of sugar in it and doesn’t fall in the “tasting sweet” category, I used PB as an alternative to gorging on chocolate. Unfortunately, I found myself getting just as addicted to it.  I realized it needed to be on the “do not eat” list as well, especially since the scale was creeping up despite my “no sweets” diet thanks to 16 whole grams of fat in that “tiny” serving of PB.

At any rate, I made it to the other side of Lent with my cravings curbed. I also gorged on candy all day Easter Sunday. One piece of chocolate led to an invite to several more pieces of chocolate. And soon I was hosting an all-out chocolate rager in my mouth. Obviously I still need to keep strict restrictions on my sugar intake. But luckily, I came out of this experience with a few tips for curbing the sugar cravings, as well as mindless snacking that leads to unaccounted calories throughout the day.

1. Green smoothies. I have fallen in love with this little concoction. It’s a mixture of veggies and fruit to create a sweet snack without adding sugar, and while also getting the proper amount of veggies in my diet. As someone who is not very good at eating her greens, this has been my lifesaver! I make a large cup of it in the morning and sip it throughout the day to keep me from reaching for the salty or sweet snacks. And because it’s so filling, I’m not tempted to cheat. Of course, I have yet to find the exact recipe to entice my kids to enjoy these as well since I’m trying not add anything to sweeten it besides berries or bananas. But I’m getting closer. My personal favorite is banana and kale with a little almond milk and wheat germ. But you can make it as simple as adding one serving fruit to one serving veggie, and just adding water. For some healthy smoothie ideas (green or not), visit our forum discussion at SantaRosaMom.com.

2. Plan it out. If you take the time out in the morning to list all the foods you are allowed in the day, and even when you can eat them, it will help to keep you from cheating against it with mindless snacking. If you’re going to work, pack a lunch every day to avoid eating out and consuming too many calories. Stagger your eating so that you don’t have a chance to get too hungry. An empty stomach can cause you to make bad food choices, so always allow for healthy snacks like a lower calorie yogurt (my favorites are Light Yoplait at 100 calories, or the Light Dannon at 60 calories), fruit, cut up veggies, or a small plate of lunch meat and a string cheese. And get in the habit of writing down everything you eat so that you’re holding yourself accountable.

3. Water yourself. Always keep a large water at your side, and drink it liberally. Many times when we’re hungry, we’re actually dehydrated. Our bodies need more water than many of us are supplying it with, so increasing your water intake is a great habit to get into. At first, it might be hard. But once you get used to drinking more water, you’ll find that you actually crave it. Also, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of other drinks you’re having as you increase your water intake. Nix the sodas and fancy coffees – drinks that add way too many calories to your diet for being just liquid – and drink water instead.

4. Do something – anything! I found that at times I was sitting around and bored, that’s when I wanted to snack the most. But when I was busy, I didn’t even find the desire to snack. I recently took up running, and the motivation from this simple form of exercise has motivated me to think twice before snacking as I feel more energized and way healthier than ever before. Of course, there will still be times when sitting and doing nothing is necessary. But make rules or habits that will curb mindless snacking – like no eating in the living room (to keep from grazing while watching TV), or busying your hands with knitting or the like.

5. Check out the additional tips we have listed over at SantaRosaMom.com.

What are some ways you curb mindless grazing?

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the day when practicing Catholics start their 40 Day Fast from one thing until Easter Sunday when they can indulge to their heart’s content. The reason behind it is to a) make a sacrifice in honor of the sacrifice made for them, and b) up their opportunity of prayer and meditation as they struggle with giving up something they love.

Our Christian family finds this Catholic tradition beautiful. And while it’s not a required tradition in our sect of faith, it is a tradition in the roots of my faith. And it’s become something I’ve taken from my childhood religion and introduced to my family at this time of year. We welcome the challenge to give something up for 40 days, seeing if we actually can do it. And more times than not we come out of the experience with a fresh outlook, as well as an ability to lessen one more addiction from our lives.

Of course, our favorite addiction to give up is sugar.

Not only is our family in love with all things sweet (in terms of dieting, it is my #1 downfall), we crave it when it isn’t around. This is why I try to keep my house free from desserts at all times. Our biggest sweet splurges in the house are Jello pudding snacks, strawberry jelly, and honey. The absence of desserts keeps us from scarfing sugary sweets throughout the day. But, of course, when it is around us – WATCH OUT.

Remember that scene in Finding Nemo when Marlin and Dory are at the would-be vegetarian shark meeting, and Dory is hit in the mouth so that recovering fish addict Bruce catches a whiff of her blood? This is slightly less dramatic than what it looks like when the kids and I catch sight of some innocent chocolate just laying around.

This is also what has made it so dangerous when we come over to Mr. W’s home.

Mr. W is one of those annoying people who can eat ANYTHING without gaining weight. His son has annoyingly taken on this genetic ability as well. The two of them rave about their greasy cheeseburgers, two-pound sirloins, cheesy lasagnas, and other artery clogging, thigh-enhancing, humongous meals without any sign of their health deteriorating or their waistbands expanding. I, on the other hand, only have to smell such foods to gain 5 pounds around my lower half. Another characteristic to this unfair calorie-cancelling duo is the ability to pass up sweets without a second thought. I mean, their ice cream has been in the freezer for so long, it has freezer burn. I wasn’t even aware ice cream did that! I suppose if it stayed in there longer than 3 days, however….

In Mr. W’s kitchen is a cabinet at eye level that holds the most enticing snacks a sugar-holic could dream of. Halloween candy. Easter candy. Those two-pound dark chocolate bars from Trader Joes. Truffles. Cookies…. You get the picture. When I come to Mr. W’s house, we all make a bee-line for this cabinet if only just to stare at the wonderfulness of it. Here is this magical cabinet that holds candy that has been untouched for months! Is that even possible? And for some reason, whenever we visit Mr. W, the candy on those shelves lessens just slightly. And I can’t for the life of me explain how I gained a couple pounds just from a mere visit to Mr. W’s house… I finally had to instruct the 6’ tall Mr. W to hide everything of interest on the very top shelf so that my 5’4” self couldn’t reach them without some effort, and so they weren’t staring me in the face every time I walked by. And it seemed to mostly do the trick.

But still, those sugar addictions exist.

Yesterday afternoon I caught a chocolate craving so intense I could barely think straight. And I made a beeline to our office vending machine to quiet my inner chocolate gremlin. Alas, I only had a $5 bill. I plugged it into the change making machine, and then listened to what sounded like the winning jingle at the casino slot machine. Apparently the machine was out of dollar coins and quarters. But it had plenty of dimes and nickels. :-/ No worries, I just pulled out 20 nickels and bought myself a Hershey’s chocolate bar – which promptly got stuck when it fell to a part of the machine that wouldn’t allow it to travel the rest of the way to my waiting hands. You’d think I’d listen as the universe plainly told me I didn’t need these extra sugar calories, but no. I just counted out more change and bought myself the world’s most finicky chocolate bar. And sitting at my desk, I forgot that anyone could see me as I inhaled the chocolate bar without coming up for air. And it was heavenly.

And it was also my last sugary indulgence until Easter Sunday when, appropriately enough, we will be surrounded by chocolate bunnies and crème filled eggs.

This morning my son asked me if he could give up video games instead. And I told him I thought that was a wonderful idea, but that it didn’t make much sense unless he included his computer games as well.

“But what will I do then?” he lamented before deciding that sugar was an easier addiction to avoid for 40 days.

Goodbye pudding. Goodbye yogurt. Goodbye juice and soda. Goodbye chocolate. Goodbye freezer burned ice cream at Mr. W’s house…. I’ll miss you all terribly.

Are you giving up anything right now, for Lent or for any other reason?

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Easter Photo Blog

Here are a few of the photos from our Easter.  Be sure to check out the Photo Albums at SantaRosaMom.com for more Easter photos, or add your own if you haven’t done so already!

Before coloring eggs, we had the kids help out with filling Easter eggs for the younger kids to be able to find in an Easter Egg hunt in the living room (thanks, rain).  Afterwards, we filled special eggs for the grown-ups, prized for our first annual family trivia night where the adults would compete for the most eggs that held chocolate and dollar coins.  The questions that were asked had to do with family history, current events, pop culture, and other random trivia. 

Then it was on to coloring eggs!  We decided to skip using crayons to make markings on the eggs this year, as we were more interested in making eggs interesting colors.  We just used regular food coloring since I believe it works way better than egg dyeing kits.  I did find, however, that the neon dyes didn’t seem to work as well as the regular color food dyes.  But they still made pretty colors.

Ok, you guys did see the spoons that I had provided in one of the previous photos, right?  Why, then, did my kids insist on using their fingers???  Their fingers are still colored…

There we go.  That’s what spoons are for.

One very pretty egg, and a very colorful hand.

Our masterpieces.

(More of our Easter photos are available at SantaRosaMom.com.)

How was your Easter?

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