Friday, March 21, 2014

First Day of Spring

A couple weeks ago I started planning a little celebration for the first day of Spring with Avery. Ryan and I decided that for our family, we would rather take the bunnies and eggs and activities that are usually associated with Easter and enjoy those at another time instead. The first day of Spring seemed like a good time to do that. And now Easter is reserved to celebrate Christ's resurrection and focus on what that day means for us.

Since Avery loves helping me in the kitchen, I knew she'd enjoy baking cookies. I also found a couple cute crafts to keep her busy throughout the day.

For breakfast, we made banana whole wheat pancakes shaped like butterflies and flowers. I only had one cookie cutter of each shape and I didn't have the patience to make pancakes for hours, so there were three cute pancakes, and the rest were normal-shaped. But Avery loved them and ate all three of her "special pancakes."

After breakfast, we started working on a batch of sugar cookies. We had made the dough the night before so it could chill overnight. Avery loved using the rolling pin and helping to cut out the cookies. I also caught her sneaking quite a few little bites of cookie dough. Like mother, like daughter! I had bought a box of gel-based pastel food coloring for this project. Apparently I used a little too much of the gel because the colors are obviously not pastel. I guess it's better than Christmas colors, though.

While the cookies were cooling, we dyed eggs for our table centerpiece. I removed the tops of 6 eggs, cleaned out the insides, and placed them in a bowl of water with purple food coloring. The eggs ended up being more of a mauve color, but Avery thought it was the coolest thing to see the eggs turn a different color. She even brought one of her bowls and her pretend eggs into the kitchen and told me she was coloring her eggs as well.

Once the eggs dried, I placed them in my brand new porcelain egg carton that I found at Bed Bath & Beyond for $1.99. We filled the eggs with water, placed a small flower in each one, and spread moss around the edges. It turned out to be a pretty and inexpensive spring centerpiece for our dining room table.

While Avery napped, I worked on the next baking project - coconut "nest" cookies. When Avery woke up, she helped me fill the nests with homemade nutella (which, by the way, was super easy and delicious) and peanut butter m&m eggs. Avery was very particular about which colors she used. But I think her favorite part was licking the nutella off her fingers.

Our final craft project was making small stained glass window pictures. The night before, I ripped up colored tissue paper into small pieces. Then we spread Elmer's glue on a piece of waxed paper and let Avery place the tissue paper pieces on the glue. After gluing another sheet of waxed paper on top, we let it dry for several hours. Finally, I cut various shapes out of dark purple card stock and glued the waxed paper / tissue paper to the templates. They are currently hanging in our dining room window. I couldn't believe that they actually looked like stained glass when the sun shines through them!

We had planned to have a picnic in the park for dinner, but the weather was a little too chilly and windy to eat outside. But before dinner, Avery got to open a few gifts. Grandma and Grandpa even sent her a special surprise. We gave her a necklace and bracelet, lip gloss, and a new Madeline movie (mostly because I was tired of listening to the same ones over and over in the car). Her grandparents gave her an adorable stuffed bunny, a new book, and a pair of orange jellies. She was in heaven!

After dinner, Ryan and Avery brought the baked goods to our friends and neighbors. The best part of enjoying the fun of baking all day is sending it all away so I'm not tempted to eat it all!

I think Avery enjoyed our new springtime tradition. I know I'm already looking forward to next year!
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