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Holidays

A Meaningful Easter Snack

 

My boys absolutely love Easter. And of course, one of the things that they look forward to each year is the infamous Easter Egg Hunt!

In the weeks leading up to Easter, we probably have at least 50 Easter egg hunts in various forms, just because my boys are completely captivated by “the hunt.” They ask Mommy and Daddy to hide eggs whenever they have a chance. They hide eggs for each other. And as the actual holiday approaches, we get to go to a few organized events (either with our co-op, church, or other family members) where the Easter Egg hunt is in full swing!

As much as I love a good Easter egg hunt (my parents have actually held one for the adults the past few years), I never want my boys to miss the true meaning of Easter – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, when they were young, I started trying to brainstorm ways we could weave the two activities together. Now, of course, we’ve done the popular Resurrection Eggs – which are absolutely wonderful! However, one element was missing for my boys – FOOD! I mean, with all of that hunting, they definitely needed a snack, right?

So, we created this Resurrection Snack Mix that not only points to the true meaning of Easter but also gives them a little something to eat after using all of that energy to find the eggs!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Clean, plastic Easter eggs
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Fish crackers
  • Chocolate chips
  • Small marshmallows or Popcorn
  • Any small red candy (sometimes I’ll save red M&Ms from the Valentine’s assortment or pieces of licorice – see my note below)
  • Large bowl

Now, you can do this a number of ways. If you want to place the actual snack mix items in the Easter eggs, be sure that you wash them thoroughly before filling them with the food items.

Then, fill the Easter eggs with the various items listed above. Leave at least one empty egg. Then, hide the eggs for your kids to find. Be sure to give them instructions NOT to open any of the eggs yet. Once all of the eggs have been found, come back together. Then, open the eggs and dump the contents into the large bowl. As you open each egg, explain what it represents in the Easter story.

The other option is to fill the eggs with instructions about which items to dump into the mix. For example, 1 scoop of popcorn. 1 scoop of chocolate chips, etc. I tend to prefer this option simply because 1) it takes less time to prep and 2) much fewer snack ingredients end up on the floor. If you do use this option, I recommend a 1/2 cup scoop for the popcorn, 1/3 cup or 1/4 cup for the goldfish crackers, a small handful for the pretzels (just because it’s hard to get pretzel sticks to fit nicely in a cup, a tablespoon for the red candy, and a teaspoon for the chocolate chips. Even if you’re filling the eggs with instructions and not ingredients, be sure to still leave an empty egg! If you choose this option, be sure to grab the FREE download. All you’ll need to do is cut out the paper strips and add them to the eggs.

Again, as you add items to the mix, review what it represents in the Easter story. By the time you’ve finished opening all of the eggs, your kids will have been reminded of these truths several times. Here’s what each ingredient represents:

  • Pretzel sticks – remind us of the wooden cross, where Jesus died
  • Fish crackers – remind us that several of Jesus’s disciples were fishermen and he also taught his disciples to be “fishers of men.”
  • Chocolate chips – remind us of the dark sin that we were covered in
  • Popcorn – remind us of how the blood of Jesus makes us as white as snow –
  • Red Candy – reminds us of how Jesus suffered and bled for us
  • When you get to the empty egg, celebrate that it is empty because the tomb was empty – Jesus is ALIVE!!!

Then, you simply pass out the snack mix for your kiddos to enjoy!

When we did ours this year, I couldn’t decide on small red licorice pieces for the red candy or red M&Ms. I loved that the licorice looked more like “strips,” reminding us of how He bled and died for us, but I also loved how the red in the M&Ms covered the dark chocolate (which we used to represent sin) – so literally, His blood covered the sin. So, we ended up using both!

An added bonus to making this snack mix is that it will last for 3-5 days if you keep it sealed well in an airtight container. And this means you can continue to draw their attention back to the true meaning of Easter.

I hope you enjoy this fun snack mix! And if you’re interested in other Easter activities that focus on the true meaning of Easter, be sure to check out my Christian Easter Activities below.

If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes. Leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear all about it! And don’t forget to grab your free download below!

Faith, Family, Holidays, Homeschool, Parenting, Preschool

My Absolute Favorite Post-Thanksgiving Tradition

 

 

No, it has nothing to do with shopping…..but everything to do with family!

 

You see, my parents had tremendous foresight.

 

Several years ago (far more than I care to admit), when my siblings and I were still living at home, but were quickly approaching the time when we’d begin to move out and start new chapters of our lives, they instituted a new yearly “celebration.”

 

My parents knew that as their kids got older, got married, and had kids of their own, it would become increasingly difficult to always have all of the holidays all together. Oh, we would most definitely try, but because they wanted to prioritize time together as a family, without adding extra stress or overwhelm to their kids and families, they started Soupus.

 

It was really quite simple – Soup + Us = Soupus.

 

And I cannot tell you how much everyone looks forward to this Every. Single. Year!

 

There’s so much I love about this family tradition, but I think the thing that I love the most is that I get to see so many people I care about. Of course, I get to see my parents, my brother and his family, and my sister and hers, but I get to see so much extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends from high school…..the list goes on.

 

And because it’s not a formal dinner, we can all get together without anyone having to stress about preparing and hosting an elaborate meal for 40+ people!!

 

So, now that I have you totally sold on this tradition, let me share some of the details.

 

We have always had this the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Everyone does their own smaller Thanksgiving (we’re usually at my husband’s parents) on Thursday, and then EVERYONE comes together on Saturday. People have had a chance to “recover” from all the food on Thursday, have gotten their Black Friday shopping in, and are eagerly awaiting Saturday.

 

In the morning, my dad organizes some kind of game or activity. We have done everything from baseball, to flag football, to ultimate frisbee, to whiffle ball, and this year, we’re trying pickle ball (it’s all the rage, haha). The games are pretty low key, but with my family there’s always a bit of a competitive spirit. And as more kids have been born and are now old enough to play (and perhaps some of us have gotten a little older), we usually have one kid oriented game and one more adult oriented game.

 

After an hour or two, everyone heads back home to shower and clean up.

 

Then, around 3pm, or so, everyone heads over to my parents. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. Some years we’ve had 35 or so people, and other years we’ve gotten closer to the 60 mark! My mom has the most tremendous gift of hospitality and welcomes people into her home with such generosity and grace. But it’s such a fun and unique tradition, that it seems like once you’ve come, you always want to come back! My in-laws, and all my siblings in-laws come (and sometimes even other members of their family). Old friends from high school or college (whom I rarely talk to during the year), will call just to make sure Soupus is still on!

 

Like I said, no one is responsible for making a huge formal dinner, but several families bring over crock pots full of soup, others bring bread, some bring appetizers, and we always have more than a couple of desserts.

 

We also have some sort of “cooking competition” – and if you watch Food Network, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. We designate some category or ingredient and whoever wants to brings a dish for the competition. Some of the ones we done in the past are: apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, maple, and pomegranate. Sometimes it’s more broad – appetizer, dessert.

 

Over the course of the afternoon, people can try any or all of the competition pieces, and then vote for their top 3. At the end of the day, my mom tallies all of the votes and has prizes for the top 3 (my mom is seriously THE cutest thing!!)

 

We usually eat around 5pm – and it’s always fun to try the different soups and see what everyone brings (my sister makes the most amazing Tomato Soup!)

 

And while everyone is “semi-gathered” someone (who knows ahead of time), shares a short devotion pointing us to Christmas and the TRUE reason we are celebrating. Sometimes it’s read from a book, other times just a few verses are shared, and still others just share what the Lord has put on their heart. It is a beautiful time to reflect and refocus as we enter the Christmas season.

 

Then, as the evening wraps up, my mom usually has some sort of craft for the kids and everyone begins to head home. And I assure you that as each goes their own way, they leave not only with full bellies, but with full hearts as well.

 

Soupus has become a beloved tradition for our family, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you today!

 

If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes – and how you tweaked it to work for your family!

 

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving – and a Happy Soupus!

 

Faith, Family, Holidays