Oh happy day! I have just had my boys home for a couple of days it being a long weekend for Easter and so I had all three of my baby chicks back in the nest once again! How lovely for my daughter to have her brothers back home again too, and yes, dear readers, joy and laughter reigned in our home once more.
When we first moved to California, I was a young mum and I soon discovered that quite a few seasonal traditions in America were quite different to the ones I grew up with, not least of all at Easter time. So, eager to create new memories for my family, I learnt the art of creating Easter baskets as well as keeping up traditions from my childhood by giving them British-style chocolate Easter Eggs. This was usually achieved thanks to my mum, who would often visit around Easter time bringing the eggs with her – oh such excitement!
When I was a child, we would receive our Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday (the number we received depended upon how many relatives happened to be visiting, the more the merrier!) and I remember that the best and most exciting bit was opening up the solid chocolate egg and finding a little packet of sweets inside! It was magical. They don’t seem to make them like that anymore, now the sweets are packed separately in the box. Shame.
Talking of Easter Eggs, here’s an interesting little fact for you: The first solid chocolate egg was made by J S Fry of Bristol and was sold in 1873. However, a recent report states that sales fell by 4.5 million last year and the trend seems to be continuing. I wonder why?
All I know is that my children always received their Easter Eggs from their Granny with glee! One year though, they had to go without.
Mum had arrived for her annual stay and after unpacking she handed me the precious eggs for sake keeping until Easter morning. I put them in the garage on top of the washing machine and so out of sight, which seemed the best place for the time being.
Returning from a walk later on that day with our then lovely dog Bonnie, a cross labrador/collie who was sharp as a whip and adored the water, I put her in the garage (accessed from the kitchen – love that about American houses) to dry off. I was not expecting the sight that greeted me a little later…
Bonnie was her usual bright and bushy-tailed self, tail wagging and happy to be let back inside but I did a double-take when I noticed a large amount of shredded cardboard and ripped up foil strewn all over the garage floor. I couldn’t understand where it had all come from.
Then, suddenly feeling a little sick, I realised that Bonnie had not only managed to drag the bag containing the Easter Eggs from the top of the washing machine, but she had ripped open all the boxes, torn off the foil and eaten every single chocolate egg, not a morsel left.
Oh no! My dog was going to die!! Chocolate is poison right?
Well, all I will say is that Bonnie was absolutely fine. No problems whatsoever. It could have been worse. (Incidentally, she also got to an entire leg of lamb once – another Easter incident – but that’s another story.) We all laughed about it in the end and the kids forgave her! She was cast iron that dog. She went on to live to be 14, with her grey old muzzle and slightly arthritic leg and she loved to swim practically right up to her last day until old age took her quietly away one autumn evening.
The importance of creating family traditions was always so important to me and one thing I used to do with the kids at Easter for breakfast was make ‘Roll Away The Tomb Buns’ which is a great way to teach them about the meaning of Easter morning in a very simple (and tasty!) way.
Get a pack of frozen bread roll dough and defrost. Roll out each bun into a circle about twice the size of the dough ball and place a large marshmallow in the middle. Fold up the dough all around it, pinching it together making a round ball. Glaze the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake in the oven according to the dough’s instructions and voila! It’s that easy! Cut them in half and where the marshmallow has melted on the inside it creates a hole in the centre of the bun. Just like an empty tomb, which brings me to the simple, yet powerful message of Easter.
For me, this can best be summed up in the words repeated by a certain little boy. Running out of Sunday school one Easter morning, eager to show me pictures he had drawn and very excited about getting home to his Easter treats, he insisted on firstly telling me something every important that he had just learnt and memorized about Jesus and he needed to tell me now, it simply couldn’t wait. It is these words, pouring out as they did with such joy and excitement from the mouth of my youngest son all those years ago that I leave you with today:
“He is not here, He is risen, just as He said!” (Matthew 28:6)
Wishing you all a very Happy Easter 🙂