Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter - Part 4 - Family!

What's a holiday without family, right?! With my brother's wife and kids in town, and my mom living more or less locally, I geared up to have a nice family lunch. I invited a couple friends, too. We wound up with 5 kids (2, 6, almost 8, 11, and 12), 5 adults, a dog, and two kitties! We put on an egg hunt, with each kid having a certain color bucket. They could only get their color eggs, and everyone had the same number eggs. I was trying to make it fair, and it worked out, since one of the eggs was really well hidden and definitely would not have been accounted for had we not counted! My dad moved several states away about 4 years ago. It stinks, honestly. We weren't close growing up, but once I had my Minion, we got a lot closer. I lived with him for a while after my divorce, even. He's never met my 2 year old nephew, because not long after he moved, my brother and his family moved several states the other direction. We went from all living within an hour or so of each other, to living 9 or more hours apart. So, I made a phone call after the egg hunt. He had no idea that my sister-in-law and the kids were here, nor my mom (they are still close friends after all these years). It made my heart swell when he said that getting to talk to all of them was the best Easter gift he could have ever gotten. We don't get many chances to get all the kids together, so we try to take advantage of it when we can, and get some pictures.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter - Part 3 - The Bunny Cometh!

Part of the fun of Easter is waking up to see what the Bunny brought. Poor Minion woke up, went to the couch where his basket always is, and found...nothing. He thought the Easter Bunny forgot to leave his basket. On the contrary, the basket was in the guest room, with our planted jelly beans, safe from our kitties. The boy is into science, math, legos, and books. He's really not a big candy eater, so I tend to fill his basket with stuff he'll use, instead. This year I decided he needed a personalized basket (he loves having stuff with his name or initials on it, and green is his favorite color). So, I got him a durable and lovely thirty-one basket (bin).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter - Part 2 - Planting Jelly Beans to Grow Lollipops

I saw an idea on Facebook about "planting" jelly beans the night before Easter, so they can sprout into lollipops for Easter morning. We live in a semi-rural area, and there is no shortage of critters who would snarf down any stray anything resembling something edible. Planting outdoors was definitely out of the question.

We planted indoors, and I decided that we should have edible "dirt". I was thinking of crushing Oreos. While out running errands, I mentioned to Minion that I had read a story about planting jelly beans and when the Easter Bunny comes, they sprout into lollipops. At almost 8 I'm never sure what I can and can't get away with as far as plausibility. He seemed pretty into it though, so we discussed soil. He suggested chocolate chips - smart boy! As we were hunting for "regular" jelly beans (soft, and not tiny) he said we should get some worms to make them grow better, like the worms in the ground. Then he suggested gummy worms. I was good with that, so we picked up a couple packs. It took several stops, but we finally found  soft, regular jelly beans. When we finally found the jelly beans, I got lucky and he had to potty, so I snagged lollipops too. Along the way, I had the idea to use the cups we had dyed eggs in, to plant our jelly beans. He was definitely on board, and really excited about planting, at this point. I made a big point of telling him not to put more than about 5 in a cup, so they wouldn't run out of room to grow. We added a couple worms to each cup, to speed the growing process, too. This was honestly a ton of fun!

He was very proud of his planting:
I didn't think the little monkey was ever going to crash out (or even get close to it), but once he did, we grew lollipops!

I was really looking forward to his reaction the next morning, and he did not disappoint! We even wound up discussing DNA and genetics and how genes determine your eye and hair color, and that was how the different colored jelly beans made different colored lollipops. Minion is a huge fan of science, so he totally ate it up!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Anniversary Weekend!

FF and I went away for our anniversary, to the same cabin as last year. It was really a fabulous weekend. We're talking log cabin, no cell phone reception or internet, secluded, outdoor hot tub, and within driving distance of lots of vineyards. Last year we also did Luray Caverns. I had never been, and really enjoyed visiting them.

This year we did the Virginia Safari Park. There are two portions. The first part is a drive through portion, where you can feed animals from your car. It was incredibly amusing and a really good, relaxing time. Technically you aren't supposed to pet the animals - but it's obvious some of them are used to it and expect it! Plus, how often can you say you got to pet a zebra?! We had this odd bird who kept sneaking up on us and you'd look to one side and boom, there he was. It was hilarious.

After the drive-through portion, there is a walk through portion. It's not real big, but it was still neat. We even got to walk through the kangaroo exhibit.

Obviously, it started raining pretty good by the time we left. That didn't stop us from hitting a few vineyards on our way back, however. The FF and I neither one like dry wine - if we are going to drink, it's going to be sweet! Here's what we came away with:

So, what do you do when it tries to rain out your hot tub time? You put up a canopy, of course!

I'm glad we did, and enjoyed the hot tub some more that night. When we went to leave Sunday morning, it was SNOWING! The trip was definitely much-needed, however. Happy 3rd anniversary to us!

Easter - Part 1 - Dying Eggs

Given the sheer number of pictures I've got for this Easter, I think I need to split up the postings. The day before Easter, Minion didn't even say good morning, he just said let's dye eggs! He has always liked dying eggs, and admittedly, I enjoy it too. It was one of my favorite things to do as a kid, aside from the vinegar smell. Minion is crafty and very creative, so rarely do we do things the "typical" way. We add colors, we double dip, we usually do something out of the norm. This year was no different! We even ended up with one Spider-Egg (think Spider-Man).

 Everybody knows banana nut cheerios make good egg-dying fuel!
 The finished products!
 The famed Spider-Egg