My Simple Heirloom Easter Table Setting

Last weekend we had our first family get together for Easter. It was an impromptu, last minute early Easter gathering. As I cleaned our house, getting ready for our guests, … Continue reading “My Simple Heirloom Easter Table Setting”

Last weekend we had our first family get together for Easter. It was an impromptu, last minute early Easter gathering. As I cleaned our house, getting ready for our guests, table decor ideas were coming to me.

I knew I didn’t want to spend any money on new decor, or fresh flowers, nor did I have time to head out and shop. So, I decided to get creative and use what I already had.

I started to gather items from around our house… carnations that were still hanging on from a bouquet I had put together for a photoshoot (the hydrangeas had already bit the dust), faux greens and basic terracotta pots that I had purchased in the fall from Michaels for our Autumn centre piece, linens from our pre-kids-days, crystal handed down from my grandmother, 1950’s milk-glass plates and salad bowls passed down from Mike’s grandmother, and a simple white rabbit I nabbed from the shelf of my office.

You can find vintage mid-century 1050’s milk glass dishes on Etsy.

I began setting the table…

To break up all of the white with the table cloth I decided to sandwich the robin’s egg blue napkins between the dinner plates and salad bowls.

When it comes to Easter and Halloween I prefer to stay away from the overly themed decor and go for a natural and neutral look that reflects what is happening with the foliage outside.

But I just couldn’t resist adding my little office bunny to the centrepiece as a nod to Easter.

To complete the look I added a white carnation to each table setting. I was so happy with the overall look. It was simple, fresh and reflected the season. Watch the entire transformation unfold here…

Easter Gift Guide – Books for all ages

My memories of Easter as a kid was spent with family, a big delicious meal, going to church, pretty Easter dresses and a very anticipated Easter egg hunt. My older brothers and my younger sister and I would love racing around looking for the small foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and comparing who found the most. Then for the months following we would continue to find random eggs around our home. Those were simpler times.

As a mom I’ve made a conscious decision to not try to keep up with the Christmas-like gift giving highlighted by Instagram that seems to go on with Easter these days. I just can’t.

Way back when Holden was a toddler, as I watched all of his grandparents spoil him with stuffed animals and chocolate, I decided that each year I would buy a book for each of my kids for Easter to balance out all of the sweets and stuff.

This simple tradition has been happily embraced by our four kids, and although I still pick out Easter-themed books for our twins, our big kids enjoy putting in requests for specific books they’ve had their eye on. And I happily oblige.

I thought for this year’s Easter gift guide, I would share some very sweet Easter-themed books for kids. Perfect for an Easter gift. I’ve included some of our family’s favourites too. Enjoy!

0-2 years

1. Peter Rabbit Naturally Better Classic Gift Set by Beatrix Potter

Are you or is someone you know expecting around Easter or early spring?

The classic Peter Cottontail Classic Gift Set is the perfect gift for the new bundle’s first library.

These books come in beautiful pastel colours that would look great in a nursery, and the classic stories are loved by many generations. Shop here.

2. Where are Baby’s Easter Eggs? by Karen Katz

This Easter themed story of Baby’s search for Easter Eggs is an adorable and interactive book for little ones who love to turn pages and lift flaps. The bright and colourful illustrations and simple wording make it an engaging (and short) read sure to keep kids and parents happy. Karen Katz has a series of books featuring some adorable and relatable “baby” characters that are sure to be a favorite. Shop here.

3. Little People: Easter Is Here!

Parents of toddlers know the Little People, mostly for their toys. But did you know they make really fun books? Our Little People Easter Book is one of our favourites all year round. Shop here.

3-5 years

4. The Berenstain Bears Easter Parade by Mike Berenstain

Who doesn’t love the Berenstain Bears? My little sister and I were raised on Berenstain Bears and we have passed on the tradition to our kids. The Easter Parade book is one of our favourites. Shop here.

5. Plant the Tiny Seed by Christine Matheson

Press, tap, wiggle, and jiggle to start the magic!

This book is a great way to teach your little one about nature, and also get them to follow simple commands as they listen to the story. It would be great to read one on one, or even with a group of young kids. They will have lots of fun acting out how to plant a seed, clapping to bring the sun, and wiggling their fingers to water the plant and make it grow. Shop here.

6. My, Oh My-a Butterfly! By Tish Rabe

Learn about butterflies with the classic Cat in the Hat character. Filled with silly sounding rhymes, this book is a lot of fun for young readers. Plus, it’s actually pretty informative, explaining the metamorphosis of an egg into a caterpillar into a chrysalis into a bright new butterfly. Shop here.

6-8 years

7. The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer

Do you have a kid that is fascinated by creepy-crawlies? This book is a beautifully illustrated way for them to learn more about nature, where to find bugs by teaching them to be a young bug spotter, and it’s filled with fun facts that may teach Mom and Dad some new things. Shop here.

8. The Princess In Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale &Dean Hale

This is one of a series of Princess in Black stories, which are filled with mischief, humour and fun illustrations. These books are simple for early readors, but are presented as chapter books so they feel a bit more “grown up.” And this story with fluffy tail bunnies would be great for Easter! Shop here.

9-12 years

9. The Babysitters Club #1 Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

Did you read these series of books as a kid? I sure did. And the movie was one of the first I saw in the theatre with my friends without a parent (it’s due for a remake, as Hollywood is really into that at the moment). These feel good, girl-centric stories are perfect for a young woman coming of age. Wouldn’t it be great if your daughter was inspired to be a successful entrepreneur too? Shop here.

10. A Wrinkle in Time Trilogy by Madeleine L’Engle

Are your kids in love with Disney’s latest live action movie? Encourage them to read the classic story about Meg, Charles and Calvin on their mission to save the day, and keep reading more where the movie leaves off by buying the trilogy (or you could even look into the box set of 5 books which is also available). Shop here.

11. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

One of my all-time favorites, this book features the importance of family, honesty and a sense of bewilderment.

This is a book that every kid should read at some point. I’m sure you’ve probably read it yourself? Why not re-read it as an adult, then have a marathon movie party with your kids? Start with the original starring Gene Wilder, then watch the most recent version with Johnny Depp. And don’t forget to pick up some Wonka candy and chocolate treats to enjoy together. Shop here.

Easter Weekend, A Panic Attack And Simplifying Life At Home

I stood in my bathroom, trying to quickly get ready for our second Easter dinner. We had a busy day at Mike parents’ house the previous day, and now it was time to go and have dinner with my family. I had successfully braided one side of my hair and was trying to braid the other side. But despite the fact that I had done this specific hairstyle a thousand times before, my hands just couldn’t seem to co-ordinate with what my brain was telling them.

Mia and Everly Easter egg hunt

I could see Mike watching me, as he got ready from his side of the bathroom. He was intently listening to the increasing number of deep breaths I was taking, as I kept starting this simple braid over and over again.

My chest was tightening, and I felt frustrated with myself. Why wasn’t I getting this simple task?

The previous week was spent taking care of sick children. All four, (plus Mike), had been hit hard with a viral bug. But Mia and Beau took the brunt of it. Between an ice storm, the Easter long weekend and sick kids, I had a week full of children home.

Although running my own business from home has a lot of perks, one thing remains the same… you can’t just not work. Yes, I scaled back, but I was spending the evening hours frantically catching up. Even worse, I wasn’t getting it all out.

Blogging for me is how I release the stress from parenting and work through problems swirling around in my mind. I crave the quietness each day, that my office brings. Then, once the school bell rings, I can be engaged and energetic with my kids.

But the week of colds, fevers, vomit, sleepless nights and toddlers wanting to be carried around constantly had taken it’s toll.

As I stood there staring back at myself in the mirror, my mind felt fragmented.

Worry washed over me, as it sometimes does. Was my mind failing me? Why couldn’t I get this braid?

My chest became heavier, my breathing laboured. Mike knowingly and understandingly walked over and put a hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay?”

“I’m having a panic attack.” I replied.

Unlike so many stories I have heard, when I have a panic attack, I don’t feel like I am having a heart attack, or dying. I feel this extreme loss of control. I don’t feel comfortable in my skin. I feel like I can barely breathe and can’t keep my head above water. I knew what I had to do.

I start talking to Mike, telling him what I am feeling, and as I listened to the words coming out of my mouth, reality started coming back. Worries started to gain perspective again and I felt a sense of clarity.

My breathing returned to normal, although my chest is still tight, today, (the next day). I let go of the braids and pulled my hair up into a simple ponytail, and finished getting ready.

We enjoyed our day, while in my mind, I was making a plan of attack.

I would get through the last day our older kids were home, as best I could. I would make sure laundry was away and the house was tidy enough.

I would organize my schedule into two columns: important appointments I will be keeping for the next few weeks and non-work commitments that I can let go of. I would get back to the big home purge Mike and I started months ago and simplify our world.

I would dive into my work this week, knocking my to-do list out of the park and letting the words flow.

Until I get back into my rhythm this week, I am giving myself a break. I am making easy meals… yes my kids have had toast for breakfast and lunch today. At least they have full tummies.

The crafts to keep my kids busy for their last day off have consisted of me stapling computer paper together and instructing them to each create a book. Each of them masterfully came up with incredible ideas, including Beau’s “which colour is missing from the rainbow?” book.

Kids colouring

As the week begins, our routine resumes, and the business of Easter fades away, so will the tightness in my chest. I will stick to my plan of simplification and carefully choose what will feed my soul.

I won’t let myself be swallowed by anxiety and panic. I will allow myself to feel it and keep talking, knowing that my mind isn’t broken, it’s just tired.

I think so many of us parents can feel this way, especially after a particularly rough week of parenting. It is so important to take those deep breaths, let go of what you can and give yourself a break.