March 28, 2016

A beautiful Easter celebration

What a spectacular day we had on the farm this Easter!  It was a warm, sun-filled day, filling us with a sense of well-being and gratefulness for all the blessings we have.

The morning started off as the pitter-patter of little feet came down the stairs.  First Oliver came down.  He went into the family room, looking around, then came back to me in the kitchen and asking nonchalantly, "So, do Easter baskets usually show up on Easter?"  I said, "Yeah, they do."  He went back up to snuggle with dad for a bit then reappeared before long, again looking around.  I said, "You know, I think I may have seen something in the backyard."  He rushed out the back door and quickly found his basket.  

Not long after, little B also joined the fun, running out to get his basket.

McGregor took a bit longer to rouse but, when he finally came down, he too happily went through his basket to see what goodies the bunny brought.

After breakfast, we packed in the car and headed to Community Friends Meeting, the Quaker Meeting that I grew up in and have attended almost all my life.  They have a tradition of doing an egg hunt for the children in the woods behind the Meetinghouse.  It's fun for all ages, but especially for the older kids because it allows for more challenging hunting.  

The grounds were in full bloom and beauty with flowering trees and blossoming plants everywhere you turned.  Some of my favorites are the random daffodils that have been planted back in the woods through the years - a happy surprise when you're walking along the paths.  

Someone "hid" a perfectly colored egg in a pear tree that was camouflaged by the flowers.

This year Oliver was big enough to go off with the big kids in the woods, and he was super excited.  Some friendly adults helped him a little with a game of "hot and cold" so that he could find eggs others were missing in the trees and ivy.

After the hunt, Baxter had fun blowing bubbles and eating some candy on the picnic table in the yard.  He even peeled and ate a hard boiled egg that he found all on his own, which he was pretty proud of.

When we came home, I went out and gathered eggs in the coop, kind of like my own little Easter egg hunt.

After washing the eggs, I got dinner started then went out with my garden shears and basket to gather some flowers for our table.  Spring offers so many lovely options.  First I went out to the ornamental pear in the front yard and cut a few low branches.

I just love the simplicity of the branches and small clumps of pale flowers.  I stuck them in a tall vase to decorate the buffet.

Here's a view into my beloved kitchen that my husband did so much to open up for me.  What started off as a dark, closed in space is now an open and inviting work space for me.

Next I went out to get some smaller flowers.  The hillside by the pond is dotted with clumps of daffodils.  Oliver had been out taking pictures in the yard with his new camera but wanted to help cut flowers.  I held the basket while he selected and cut the daffodils.

We got a nice basket full!

After we finished, we sat in the shade of a huge pine tree by the pond for a few minutes enjoying the breeze and watching the ducks splash in the pond.  This is the life!

A rare picture of me!

Flowers collected, my table setting was complete.  I used lots of small objects, vases and candles to fill the center of the large table.  It came together nicely, if I do say so myself :)

I like to put a picture of my mom on the table when we do big family dinners.  Her spirit is always with us; it's nice to have a visual too.  She would have loved having us all together, eating and enjoying each other's company.

I recently got my mother's china and it was a perfect fit for this table setting - plates full of spring!

We were 11 + 2 babies so we needed a second table, which I set up in the family room so we could all be in the same space together, even if we were at two tables.

Ok, now for the food!  

I found a recipe on Pinterest for an Asparagus and Gruyere Tart, which was delicious.  We had that and my mother-in-law's famous deviled eggs (made with Phillips Farm eggs, of course) as appetizers.

For the main meal, I prepared a Bacon Pea Salad using turkey bacon which was really tasty.

Another side I made was Crockpot Creamed Corn, which was very easy to prepare and much tastier than what you get in a can.

My mother-in-law also brought Scalloped Potatoes - who doesn't love cheese and potatoes put together!? - and a beautiful ham.

My dad brought some turkey breasts for the poultry eaters amongst us.

Some fresh baked Honey Whole Wheat and Country White bread rounded out the meal.

And for dessert, Josh's aunt prepared stunning German Chocolate cupcakes and a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.  The perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

During dinner, my niece was standing at the back door saying, "Chickens!  Chickens!"  So when I finished eating, I took her out to the coop.  When we got out there she saw the ducks and yelled, "Ducky!  Ducky!"  We went down to the pond to watch them swim and swing on the porch swing a little.  Before long, Bailey yelled again, "Chicken!" so we came back up to the coop to see the girls.  Next was, "Egg!  Egg!"  She's already made the connection between chickens and eggs (Hooray!  This child will know where her food comes from!).  I took her over to the nesting boxes and opened the lid.  She peered down in and saw something: "Egg!  Egg!"  This time with true excitement.  She reached out and picked up a pretty green egg.  I encouraged her to put it in the basket we had brought out and she did.

We brought our goodies inside: a daffodil we had picked for "grampy" and several more eggs.  She gave the flower to my dad and I got her some eggs I had blown out to carry around.  She really wanted the real ones we had gotten outside, but the empty ones are a safer bet inside the house to save us from a huge mess when she inevitably squeezes it too hard or drops it on the floor.  She is only 1.5 after all!

Look at that face...

Around 7:30, our family went home and we settled in for the night with dusk settling and a breeze signaling coming storms.  Mother Nature gave us a true gift of a day full of beauty.  

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