Easter Countdown

Posted by on Mar 9, 2013

One of the surest ways to arrive at any holiday with less stress is to create a plan for the day, including the week leading up to the actual holiday. For Easter the timeline starts on the Monday prior to Easter Sunday, giving you six days to finalize holiday preparations. By hopping through one or two tasks a day you’ll get it all done and have time to actually enjoy the holiday with your guests.  Here’s a suggested countdown. Happy Easter!

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Easy Easter Placecards

Posted by on Apr 1, 2012

From the Entertaining for Busy People blog …

It’s a throwback to more formal times for sure, but using placecards to seat your guests at Easter dinner is a fun way to encourage conversation and add some color to the table. Here are three super easy creations.

Dyed egg: Write the name or initial of the guest on a dyed egg (you already have them on hand; why not use them?). Place the egg in an egg cup or, as here, a liqueur glass. Or, look for paper egg stands where you purchase dye kits.

Candy carrot: Cut orange tissue paper into 8 inch squares. Place a scant handful of jelly beans or chocolate candies in the center of the paper, gather into a loose cone shape and tie with green curling ribbon. Cut a piece of green paper and a piece of velum into leaf shapes; write the guest’s name on the velum leaf. Layer them together, punch a hole and attach to the ribbon. Curl the ends of the ribbon for carrot tops!

Bunny buddy: Who can resist a solid chocolate bunny on Easter? Simply write the guest’s name on a white tag (available at office supply stores) and tie the tag to the bunny’s neck with curling ribbon. Your guests can take their treat home to enjoy later, or indulge (ears first, of course!) right at the table.

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5 Alternatives to an Easter Basket

Posted by on Apr 1, 2012

My parents loved making us Easter baskets (or at least it seemed like they did!). Just before Easter my dad would go up into the attic and bring down our baskets: big, wicker creations with enormous handles and pastel colors. The plastic grass was re-used from year to year, and at some point, the baskets started getting past their prime.

Reusing items year to year is great, and my parents certainly got their money’s worth from our baskets. But today another great tradition is repurposing items for something other than what they were originally intended. In that spirit, here are 5 ideas to ditch the wicker basket this Easter and create a “basket” where the vessel becomes part of the gift and can be used by your recipient every day—not stored away and used once a year. As a bonus, several of these ideas are less expensive than a traditional handled basket.

Sand bucket – Include beachy accessories like sunglasses and sunscreen among the Easter fare.

Paint can – Most home improvement stores will sell you clean, empty gallon-size paint cans. They’re lightweight yet sturdy, and with their simple, strong lines they’re a great alternative for little boys. After Easter, they can be used to store art supplies, toy cars – really anything small collectible that seems to multiply. Hang them on the wall with a coat hook, screw them right into the wall, or simply place on a shelf for easy organizing.

Organizing basket or tote – This is oh-so-practical and great for any age group!

Printed storage box – Like the organizing tote idea, but this one has a lid to keep the contents under wraps. This would also be a good alternative for creating a gift basket for Mother’s Day.

Garden pot – This idea is a huge hit with boys and girls alike! In addition to traditional Easter candy and toys, include seed packets, small gardening gloves and a few garden tools. After Easter, children will have a fun activity that teaches them about nature and responsibility (they have to water their plants!).

In each instance, continue to fill the vessel with paper shreds, excelsior or plastic grass, just like you would a basket, and include the same goodies and gifts. Each of these may even be wrapped in cellophane (use a clear cello gift bag for greater ease) and tied with a bow.

But don’t stop here. Wherever you’re shopping this week, look around for more alternatives. There’s no need to rush around looking for an “Easter basket.” Think about photo boxes, metal pails, or even a wastepaper basket. Pretty much any container can become an Easter basket!

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More St. Pat’s & Easter Ideas

Posted by on Mar 9, 2010

shamrockListen to the Celebrations.com radio show at www.blogtalkradio.com/partyideas for great St. Patrick’s entertaining ideas from Rachel Hollis from Chic Events (www.mychiclife.com) and Easter ideas from yours truly. You’ll also learn about “Pi Day” on March 14th, which celebrates the mathematical function of pi (3.14 … get it?).

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Countdown to Easter

Posted by on Apr 11, 2009

Countdown to Easter

The Saturday before Easter gives us one more day to make a final push for Easter eggscellence this year.

Here’s a reminder list:

-Purchase remaining items on shopping list for meals

-Pick up any special order items

-Set the Easter table-Make or assemble placecards and favors

-Put finishing touches on Easter baskets

-Fill plastic eggs for Easter egg hunt

-Check times for Easter services at church

-Dye eggs-Make cookies and treats

-Load fresh batteries into camera and check film or remaining memory

-Dust off the Easter bonnet

Above all, have a joyful day tomorrow!Holiday Hints will return with a newsletter in May and June for the remaining summer holidays. Then (believe it or not) it will almost be time to gear up for Halloween. Time flies, so hold on and enjoy every minute!

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What’s to eat? Part 2

Posted by on Apr 9, 2009

Between college and law school, I took a year off and lived at home with my parents. For Easter that year, I insisted that my mom take the day off and I would prepare the entire meal myself.

I can no longer recall the (no doubt elaborate and tedious) menu, but I do recall the exhaustion of working all day (and for days before Easter) only to have the meal consumed in a matter of minutes. I also recall falling asleep right after dinner, sitting straight up in a chair in the TV room. That day gave me a whole new appreciation for the years of holiday meals my mom turned out; for her part, my mom was more than amused at my efforts and my naiveté.

Lesson learned: a simple, easy to prepare menu gives you more time to relax with family and friends. With that in mind, I propose the following Easter dinner menu:

Easter Dinner

  • Strawberry Salad
  • Glazed Ham
  • Roasted New Potatoes with rosemary
  • Fresh Spring Peas with mint and pearl onions

And now for the recipes!

Strawberry Salad

Toss together:

1 c. sliced strawberries
1 ripe pear, sliced
½ c. candied walnuts
Spring lettuce mix

Drizzle raspberry vinaigrette over the salad and serve. (Hint: candied walnuts are now available in the nut/chip/cracker aisle of the grocery store.)

Glazed Ham

Prepare a store bought ham as directed on the package. During the last 30 minutes of roasting time, brush on the glaze of your choice two or three times. Serve extra glaze on the side.

A flavorful glaze takes a simple roasted meat to another level. A fruit-based glaze goes well with ham; and of the following glazes could be used with a pork roast or turkey as well.

Orange-Curry Glaze

Whisk the following ingredients together in a small bowl:

1/3 c. light corn syrup
1/3 c. orange juice
1 T. curry powder
1 T. orange zest

Bourbon Glaze

Blend 1 c. packed brown sugar and ¼ c. bourbon in a small bowl.

Orange-Mustard Glaze

In a small bowl, combine:

¾ c. packed brown suga
r¼ c. orange juice
2 T. orange marmalade
1 T. Dijon mustard

Pineapple Glaze

In a covered blender container, blend the following ingredients at low speed:

1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple (with juice)
½ c. packed brown sugar
2 t. Dijon mustard
½ t. ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves

Mango Glaze

In a bowl, combine the following ingredients:

1 9 oz. jar of mango chutney (cut up any large pieces of fruit)
2 T. honey
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. ground ginger (or 2 t. fresh grated ginger)
2 t. orange zest

Roasted New Potatoes with rosemary

For this easy dish, figure 1 pound of baby new potatoes for every 3 people. Rinse and dry the potatoes, and cut any larger potatoes in half to ensure even cooking. Place the potatoes in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper and plenty of chopped fresh rosemary. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until fork-tender.

Fresh Spring Peas with mint and pearl onions

3 pounds of fresh peas, shelled, or 2 c. frozen baby peas
1 jar of pearl onions, drained
1 T. chopped mint
2 T. butter

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring ½ c. of water to a boil. Add peas and onions and cover; cook 5 to 7 minutes until tender-crisp. Drain and toss with mint and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

If desired add in some dinner rolls and a dessert of your choice to round out your meal.

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