Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016

5:45 a.m. and the alarm that is the preschooler went off . . .

It's Easter! It's Easter! It's Easter!

Then the clamoring and rushing, and holding back the wild horses while I said that  no children could enter the den where the baskets were waiting until Mama and Daddy had hot cups of coffee in our hands. Priorities!

'What is this, Mama?'

This year we gave one family basket of gifts, which were, for the most part, to be shared by all, or appealed to one age of kids or another.

Plastic cars!!!

New veils for the girls

New veils for the girls

I'm trying out two new book titles, and I have a number of friends who ask me what we're reading, so I'll share:

I bought "The Mad Scientists' Club: Complete Collection" by Bertrand R. Brinley (see here and as recommended by Seton Homeschooling here), mostly to interest my nine-year-old boy who vacillates between reading serious works (like right now, devouring "King Arthur" by Howard Pyle) and boyish fluff (like "Encyclopedia Brown"). The initial report from John digging into the book is two thumbs up.

Also, I gave as a family read-aloud which I hope will appeal too all ages, three to nine, "Redwall" by Brian Jacques (see here), it having been recommended to me from several reputable sources. If the story of this brave mouse merits my reporting my own recommendation, I'll write about it on the blog!

Robin Hood DVD

Lately I've been attempting to remove more of what Chris and I think of as 'frenetic' television content from our children's consumption. We already rule out so much media based on moral content, but I realized one day that I'm all about Charlotte Mason eradication of 'twaddle' in books, but I allow much 'twaddle' in television and movie content.

Out, out, out, I say!

Often, the television the children watch in a day is in the hour before dinnertime, so one of my tests of whether a show is too frenetic is if they sit like zombies in front of it, then show up at the dinner table bounding with energy, nonsense, inappropriate noises, and low-brow jokes.

Chris and I typed up a four-page list of television and movie shows, many of which the kids used to watch but which we're no longer allowing, plus the list of shows of which we do approve.

I'm trying to fill in the gaps which more calming television, so for Easter, we gave the children the British series of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1955-1960, in black and white), all 143 episodes for the bargain price of $11 (see here). Also, to appeal more to our younger set, we gave them "The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends," a DVD of some of the Beatrix Potter stories (see here--and no! I didn't pay $50!). This is part of a very expensive series, and I can see why: the stories are so soothing and calming. Each story starts with live actors and a real rabbit as we see Beatrix Potter sitting to write her stories. Then the story transitions to animation that is not garish and frenetic, but looks like the real sketches from the books come to life, like beautiful line drawings.

A really good bubble maker

Thomas chasing a new plastic car

This summer's stash of sidewalk chalk
The play silks (faux silks--a fraction of the cost of real ones!) are already a huge hit with all ages. The imaginative games that burst forth immediately were a delight: bull fighting, leaves and flowers falling from trees, a williwaw of swirling wind, princesses with veils, and so forth.

Play silks

After eight years in this neighborhood, we are joining the recreation club, which means having access to the pool and tennis pool--which have, all this time, been tantalizingly right behind our house, just a few hundred yards away! From the tiniest ages, we've had to explain repeatedly to the children why we can see the tennis courts and pool but aren't allowed to use them.

Since Chris and I decided to join the rec club, we realized that the joyous news should be included in the family Easter gift basket. See the below series of photos as John and Mary realize the import of the certificate which they are reading.

The breakfast menu consisted of: croissants, hash browns, fruit salad, and bacon.

Then, the egg hunt was on! This year we hunted indoors due to inclement weather. I think the kids found about 80 eggs in two minutes, maybe three. Then all the candy is confiscated into the family candy bowl and dolled out over the Easter octave.

Unfortunately, that's when our otherwise idyllic Easter celebration met Real Life: John had been feeling sick and it was getting worse. He crawled into bed as we were getting ready for Mass (which he always wants to attend) and we parents had to discern the truth of the matter. He said that even if his best buddies all got together for football after Mass, he wouldn't want to play with them. He said he would stay in bed even without television.

I pulled him out of bed to the outdoors for my Easter family picture, but he was queasy and dizzy, so the decision was made for me to stay home from Mass with the boys while Chris took the girls.

John stayed home and slept.

The girls at Mass with their daddy

I served supper as early as I could manage, which was 4:25--cutting it mighty close since I still had my Mass obligation to meet and it was at 5:00. My menu was: ham, sweet potato casserole, leftover hash browns, green salad, macaroni and cheese (using Easter-themed noodle shapes), fried apples, and deviled eggs.


I ate and dashed, disappointed to be leaving my family behind, but glad I live in a free country where I felt fairly confident I would be participating in the Mass in peace (unlike victims of variously located Muslim terrorist attacks this last week), that I have an intact family to be leaving temporarily, and that we got to enjoy a bountiful dinner together.

Happy Easter to all! Let the octave of celebration begin!


  1. Katherine, do you let the children watch Little Bear? Haley used to love this cartoon and it is not frenetic at all. It was calm and soothing with beautiful animation.

  2. Rachel: Yes, Little Bear is a wonderful one! We used to watch that a lot and it has fallen out of the rotation, so I am now reminded to see if I can find it on Netflix or Amazon. We like the books of it too.