Making Easter Dinner in Advance

Easter 06 I [Ham]

source: boodoo via Flickr Creative Commons

I really love to cook. In my fantasy lands, I am a chef, or at least I get to go to culinary school and learn more about the art of fine meals. In reality, I’m a mom of three little kids and my bad back makes it hard to stand in the kitchen for more than an hour. But who knows? Maybe someday …

What I don’t love is just attempting to get the cooking done. With kids and time restraints, it can require a small miracle to get everything cooked at the same time and on the table. Multiply that times 60 when we’re having guests over.

I love having people for dinner, truly I do. I love entertaining. But – without fail – every time we do I make myself insane in the hours leading up to the event, trying to bake and cook and decorate and get our home into a passable state. (No one wants to show her guests to the bathroom to find out her kids have colored on the toilet and left used Kleenex on the floor.)

We’ve had standing Easter plans with friends of ours since 2006; we’ve been together every Easter except last year (when I had a 2-week-old) during that time, even when we moved 2 hours away. So I’m preparing to host them for Easter dinner in a few weeks. And today it struck me that JUST MAYBE I should go ahead and get some things ready so I won’t be so stressed on Resurrection Day.

Here are some great, special-dinner foods that you can make ahead and freeze!

  • Some of my friends swear by potato salad for Easter dinner, but I have to have Special Potatoes. Cheesy, creamy, potatoey goodness.
  • What can I say, I’m a traditionalist. I love Green Bean Casserole. I love this one even more because it uses homemade cream sauce and real mushrooms!
  • I love making bread, but it can be tedious and near impossible when you have a lot of other things going on. These rolls can be made ahead, but baked on Easter for fresh taste.
  • For dessert, this Rice Krispies White Chocolate Trifle sounds amazing! Or you can bake cake layers ahead of time, wrap them well in plastic wrap and then foil, and freeze until you’re ready to use them.

With just a ham to make the day-of, I might find myself actually enjoying the preparations for the holiday this year. Happy Easter!

Seeing, Hearing, Touching, Believing: Leading Your Children to Experience Christ’s Resurrection

I bet many of our ParentLife readers have led their children through Truth in the Tinsel at Christmastime, haven’t you? It’s an ebook from our friend, blogger Amanda White, that helps you create an ornament with your child for 25 days in December – while talking about the Advent Scriptures.

This year, Amanda released an ebook called A Sense of the Resurrection. In it, she leads parents and teachers to guide their children through 12 experiences helping the little ones grasp the meaning of Easter. As Amanda says, it’s not as easy as Christmas. Parents are scared of telling their kids about blood, sin, crucifixion, murder. But as Christ’s resurrection is the absolute central truth of our faith, it’s important to start teaching it to children as early as possible.

A former children’s minister for a large church, Amanda is well-equipped to help parents through these sensitive topics. The projects she describes are to do as a family and most will decorate your home for the Easter season (a canvas, an incense jar, etc.). Children will use their five senses to experience the Holy Week and Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

 

We’ve long been a fan of Amanda’s work and featured her in ParentLife and HomeLife magazines. I do not believe you will regret for a second spending the few dollars to purchase this book and work through it with your children!

This post was not sponsored, nor will we make any money if you buy it through these links. Just wanted to bring the resource to your attention!

Last-Minute Ideas for Easter Weekend

 

Use a playdough mountain to teach about the crucifixion and resurrection

Make a resurrection garden

 

Easter fruit tart

 

resurrection rolls

Do you have any Easter traditions with your kids?

 

 

Easter Crafts

Are you, like me, a parent of a craft-loving child? I have a 4-year-old who would “make art” all day long if I had the motivation, ideas, and supplies!

All of the chicks and bunnies floating around in Springtime are cute, but they don’t teach about the true Easter and the Resurrection. Here are some craft ideas I dug up that do help teach that to your child!

Mosaic Cross at That Artist Woman

Remembrance canvas at OhAmanda

Hand and Footprint Donkeys at Catholic Icing

Easter Light Ray Cross at Philzendia

 

How do you keep Easter about Christ?

Not About the Eggs by Jessie Weaver

Easter Eggs 2

I went to Target on Saturday night to get diapers.

Every inch of the store is filled with bring Spring colors, plastic eggs, pastel-wrapped candies, bunnies, and baskets. Easter dresses and tiny three-piece suits fill the childrens section and Easter cards line the aisle. Egg plates. Roasting pans for clove-studded hams. Banners and flags and picture frames that all proclaim, "Happy Easter!"

It literally turned my stomach.

I have nothing against Easter egg hunts and baskets and dresses and Cadbury cream eggs are one of my favorite annual treats. But it feels like just another holiday we’ve morphed into a reason to buy cards, candy, and clothes. Another time for our kids to feel like they "deserve" something.

I know what I deserve: eternal separation from God, separated from Him by the blackness of my sin.

One of my favorite quotes is from Craig Groeschel’s book Confessions of a Pastor:

"If God were fair, I’d get what my sins deserve. I praise Him that He’s not fair … God is just, but He’s not fair. If He were fair, I’d have to suffer … forever."

These next two weeks, I want to keep my focus on the reason we celebrate: the Resurrection that saved me from eternal death. My kids are a little young to understand being saved from their sins, but I want to start the tradition now of concentrating on Christ. I’m reading my 2-year-old the stories of The Last Supper, The Triumphant Entry, and Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection from every kids Bible we have in our house. She may not get it, but the words are there. The Word, instilled in her little heart.

How do you keep your kids focused on the true reason for Easter?

SNV32999 copy.jpgWhen Jessie Weaver is not busy being the resident ParentLife Blogger, she writes at Vanderbilt Wife and also for magazines like HomeLife and ParentLife. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband, where they run after two little ones: Libbie (2) and David (4 months).

 

 

 

 

The Story of Jesus – Easter Activities for the Whole Family by Christi McGuire

"The Story of Jesus” is presented in a colorful way in April’s ParentLife. Use this teaching tool to encourage your family through Bible study in the days leading up to Easter. Get everyone involved!

StoryofJesus.jpgThere are 24 stories of Jesus’ life in this teaching tool. As a family, read one passage each night from April 1 to Easter Sunday on April 24.

Divide each color block into different ways to share the story.
Read the blue passages aloud; act out the yellow passages; draw pictures to describe the story for the red passages; create a puppet show for the green passages.

Talk about or make a list of everything you know about Jesus.
Read the Bible stories together and see what new things you learn about Jesus! Make a list of all the new things you learned in Scripture about Jesus; pray together to thank God for continually learning through His Word.

Worship together by singing songs to go with the different passages about Jesus’ life. Song ideas might include: "Silent Night," "Jesus Loves Me," "God Is So Good," "Zacchaeus," "Fishers of Men," and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." (For toddler and younger elementary-aged children, Wee Sing Bible Songs is a great CD with a singing book to follow along.)

Make a timeline of Jesus’ life. Cut apart each of the colored passages and place them in order on your timeline.

Read the Bible passage and let younger kids color a picture on that color of paper.
During the month, hang the pictures in a hallway to tell the story of Jesus’ life.

Cut up the colored Bible passages and mix them up.
Challenge older kids to place the passages in the correct order of Jesus’ life.

Give each person in your family a color to coincide with the Bible passages. Then each family member is responsible for planning the Bible study for that color passage. Challenge older children to create a song, activity, or game to go with the Bible passage. Help younger children retell the Bible story in a few simple sentences and create motions to a song.

Strengthen older children’s skills by hosting a Bible drill challenge. Each night, the first one to find the book, chapter, and verse of each passage gets to read it!

Do you do anything with your family to mark the weeks before Easter?

Thank you, Christi McGuire, for these helps. Christi is a freelance writer in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. She and her husband, Matt, enjoy each new day with their two daughters Mary-Allison (5) and Mia (3).

The Real Reason

41_InthePark.JPGCelebrating Easter has always been exciting to me for many reasons. It signifies the beginning of spring and the return of warm weather, flowers, and green grass. It’s also fun to get dressed up in new clothes and spend the day at church and with family.

I was especially excited about this Easter since it would be Jack’s first Easter. We had a busy weekend planned. We were celebrating with my side of the family on the day before Easter with an Easter waffle brunch. I had a new outfit all picked out for Jack for Easter morning, and we had big plans for having my husband’s side of the family over for Easter lunch.

But sometimes, the best-laid plans fail. Unfortunately, Jack came down with croup the Thursday night before Easter. After getting over the initial scare of dealing with Jack’s croup came the disappointment of not being able to celebrate Easter in quite the way we wanted. We did not take Jack to Easter brunch or to church on Easter morning. (We thought it best not to spread his germs!) To be honest, I was flat out depressed.

Then it hit me. After lamenting several times about how it just didn’t feel like Easter, I realized that I had lost focus on the true meaning of Easter. I am reminded of the words from Dr. Seuss’ classic story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. While the story is dealing with Christmas, I believe the concept could just as easily be applied to Easter.


“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags! … He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming, it came. Somehow or other, it came just the same.”

Easter is not about spring, new clothes, or even going to church or
spending time with family. It is all about Jesus, His sacrifice on the
cross, and most importantly, His resurrection! It is about the
opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with Him because of the price
He paid for my sins!

Were you able to celebrate the real reason for Easter this year? Tell us about your Easter celebrations.


Preparing for Easter

39_EasterFamily.jpgWe went shopping this week to buy some Easter clothes for our family. This is one way many families prepare for Easter. But these clothes only last so long or likely are outgrown before next Easter rolls around. Hopefully we are also preparing our hearts for Easter — a gift that will last much longer — by remembering Jesus’ death and celebrating the resurrection.

There are many ways families can focus on the meaning of Easter, especially going to church together on Easter Day. Take advantage of this time together and talk about what you heard whether it is explaining the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, the Bible story of the resurrection, or other special things your church does to celebrate Easter.

In the April 2009 issue of ParentLife, R. Scott Wiley’s article “A Strong Foundation at Easter” emphasizes how important it is to teach preschoolers about Easter. This teaching about Easter lays a strong foundation for a later faith decision. Recognizing this, the April issue also has the article “Leading Your Child to Christ” designed to help you lead your children through this important decision. So be sensitive to your child and how the Holy Spirit leads in his life as you teach him about Jesus this Easter.

Tell us special ways your family celebrates Easter and tells the Easter story. We would love to hear any Easter traditions your family has. Share with us!

ParentLife Product Pick — Hide ‘Em & Find ‘Em Eggs

18_HideEmFindEmEggs.jpgDo you have an egg hunt as part of your family traditions each spring? Try a new twist on a traditional egg hunt with Techno Source®‘s new Hide ‘Em & Find ‘Em Eggs. Hide the eggs to start the egg hunt fun. The eggs then begin talking (“I’m Hiding!” and “I’m Over Here!”),
laughing, and making noises as you try to find them. Open them up to
see a cute bunny or baby chick say, “You found me!”

The eggs come in six collectable colors: violet, pink, green, yellow, orange, and blue! Each egg is large enough to store candy and the batteries are even included!

Hide ‘Em & Find ‘Em Eggs will be available in March at Rite Aid, Target, and Wal-Mart as well as other retailers.