Decorate the Garden for an Easter Egg hunt

This might sound a bit like overdoing it, but when we got hold of these lovely rustic hand painted wooden eggs we knew that at Easter they would look fantastic when hung all over our apple trees. The family were coming over for a celebration and the inevitable egg hunt for the kids was on the cards. Imagine their reaction when they saw that the trees were fruiting real eggs. The younger kids were entranced. The adults appreciated our handywork and everyone lingered in the garden enjoying the moment. The eggs against the apple blossom looked particularly effective, but any small tree should look great.

if you cannot find wooden eggs, look out for foil covered chocolate eggs that already have a loop of ribbon attached ( hint: garden centres seem  to stock them) if not, a dab from a hot glue gun at the top of  a foil covered choccy egg will be enough to attach your own ribbon.

We are planning to cover the entire orchard with hanging eggs next year, so be sure to come back and see the photos.

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Marble Eggs using nail varnish

I was hunting around for inspirational Easter activities when I found (via Pinterest) a picture of some really beautiful swirly marbled effect eggs. Not only is the result quite lovely, but the ‘how to’ photo shows how just three pins can make an effective drying rack for a dipped egg.

marbled eggs

Beautiful marbled eggs using indigo nail polish

The credit must go to Sara Albers’ post on the excellent aliceandlois blog. I am definitely going to give this method a try.  Resulting eggs can of course then be further treated as you would fingernails with a protective layer of  see through top coat.

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Finding inspiration for Easter decorations

I have been thinking about decorations and it strikes me that much of the crafty ideas we use to make our homes beautiful at Christmas can be repurposed for Easter. Sure, there is a different colour scheme, but aside from that we can definitely take inspiration from the whole Christmas decoration world.

Firstly, the Christmas tree.  No, I don’t suggest an Easter tree, but what does look great is a branch of witch hazel looks stunning in a vase in the springtime. Now let’s hang some decorations. We can take inspiration from Eastern Europe where this is an old tradition. They hang eggs (blown shells, wooden eggs or chocolate) all over the house from Russia to Belgium and all points between. In the UK, an influx of Polish immigrants have brought this wonderful tradition with them.

Using food as decoration (think gingerbread) has become a part of Christmas and can work wonderfully at Easter too. A display of mini simnel cakes can transform a sideboard.

There are some Christmas decorations that can be safely left alone at Easter (tinsel for example) but so many more ideas can be adopted with ease.

For example, once you know how to make small fabric stars and stockings for the tree, you also now how to make fabric eggs, doves and bunnies.

Paper chains are another Christmas tradition that might be adapted, but I have not tried this one yet. However, on the subject of paper, what about origami daffodils. They are easy to make and look fantastic.

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Simnel Cake Recipe

For hundreds of years the tradition in Britain has been to eat Simnel Cake at Easter. Similar to a christmas cake (but a bit lighter) this cake is always decorated with 11 balls of marzipan (representing the eleven apostles of Jesus)

4 large eggs
225g self-raising flour
100g glacé cherries
200g butter at room temperature
200g light muscovado sugar
225g sultanas
100g currants
50g/2oz chopped candied peel
1 orange
1 lemon, grated zest only
2 tsp ground mixed spice

450g marzipan
apricot jam

The cherries (washed), butter, sugar, eggs, self-raising flour, sultanas, currants, candied peel, lemon zest and mixed spice are all first mixed together thoroughly.

Pour half the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm round deep springform baking tin.

Roll out a circle of marzipan the same size as the tin (about 150g) and place it on top of the mixture before adding the rest of the mix on top so the marzipan forms a middle layer to the cake.

Bake the cake in a pre-heated oven for around 2½ hours.  Then allow to cool. Now warm some apricot jam in a sucepan and brish it over the top of the cooled cake. Now decorate with the marzipan. Either cover the whole thing, do lattice work, or whatever takes your fancy, but don’t forget to add the 11 balls in a circle around the top.

For a final flourish you can brush the top of the marzipan cake and the the balls with a little beaten egg and then lightly grill (or use a blowtorch) to add a little colour to the marzipan.

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Easter competitions for kids

At Easter it is fun to offer the kids games with prizes. Lets not discuss the morality of competition today. I simply remember that my mum and dad used to do it for us when we were little and Easter was all the more spacial for it.

Easter Bonnet competitions. Basically make an decorate a hat. You can be quite vague about the rules and when it comes to the judging everyone should win a prize.
Biggest bonnet brize, wackiest bonnet prize, most elegant bonnet prize etc. Don’t exclude anyone.

Easter colouring competitions. This is really an excuse for a quiet 20 minutes. Give the kids a simple easter clipart image (there are plenty on this site), a pack of crayons and some paper and let them get on with it. If you get 10 minutes of quiet the competition has been a success and all the kids should be suitably rewarded.

Easter egg hunt. Hide a variety of chocolate eggs around the garden, tell the kids the easter bunny has been and go hunting. Be careful not to let the older faster kids take all the eggs or the younger ones will end up in tears.

Decorating blown eggs. Blowing the eggs is a grown up activity, but once the eggs are done, a competition can be arranged to decorate the eggs. Younger kids are likely to break the shells so have a spare or two blown for emergencies.

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Easter Chick clipart

Hi everyone

I drew this cute chick in its shell today and hope you like it.

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Three Easy Easter Activities

Stuck for things to do over Easter? How about keeping the kids amused and away from the Xbox with some traditional Easter activities. They are all really simple to do, great fun for all ages and don’t cost a fortune.

Egg Decorating

Painting eggs is really easy and a great way of creating Easter decorations for the home. Once decorated they can be hung from bunches of twigs in vases or sat in egg cups and displayed on your mantelpiece.

Before starting to decorate the eggs, you will need to blow them. This involves making a hole either end of the egg with a needle, making one hole slightly larger than the other. When making the larger hole make sure the needle pierces the yolk as this will make it easier to remove the contents. Then, holding the egg over a bowl, blow through the smaller hole and the contents of the egg should come out via the larger hole. Leaving you with a completely hollow egg ready for decorating. Just remember to make sure your egg is at room temperature before you start, an egg straight out of the fridge is much harder to blow.

Once you have your empty egg you can get creative with paint, pens, glitter, sequins, paper, pipe cleaners to create patterns or characters. How about setting the decorators a challenge to create an egg that captures the likeness of a friend or family member?

Easter Card Making

Another really simple idea for an alternative to giving Easter eggs to friends and family is to create custom made cards.

You can pick up coloured card relatively cheaply from craft or stationery shops that will create your base for the card. Fold this in half and then start decorating with cut out Easter shapes, paint, crayons, glitter, twigs, pictures from old Easter cards or magazines. For anyone stuck for ideas giving them a theme to work from might help get their creative juices flowing. Easter chicks, Spring, humorous, Easter eggs etc. Or they could make it personal to the recipient. Mum, dad, grandpa, sister, best friends etc.

Another great way of making your cards really unique is to think up an Easter poem for the inside of the card. Perhaps set this as a competition for the kids to see who comes up with the best one?

Chocolate Easter Nests

Making chocolate Easter nests could not be easier. All you need is:

1 box of shredded wheat (16 large biscuits)
400 grams of milk chocolate
Mini eggs for decorating (about 200 grams)
A big bowl for mixing it together
A small bowl for melting the chocolate
30 cupcake cases

Start by crushing up the shredded wheat biscuits into the large bowl. Then break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in the microwave on a low heat. Remember to give the chocolate a stir every 30 seconds or so.

Once melted pour the chocolate into the large bowl and give everything a good stir until the chocolate evenly coats the shredded wheat.

Finally put a large spoonful of the mixture into a cupcake case and press the centre of the mix down slightly (creating somewhere to put the mini eggs). Press the mini eggs into the middle of each chocolate nest and refrigerate for around an hour until the chocolate has set.

Whenis is a really useful resource giving you lots of information about Easter and other popular holidays and festivals. When is Easter, what to do over Easter, traditional Easter celebrations and lots lots more.

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Easy Asparagus Soup Recipe

The very first British asparagus starts to come into season around the time of Easter and makes a great starter to any Easter menu.

Here’s a very simple asparagus soup recipe which you can whip up in minutes.

Ingredients

  • a glug of olive oil
  • one large onion – finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 large handful of asparagus – tough bottom bits snapped off and the remainder chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • a splosh of single cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a couple of slices of toasted sourdough bread (any bread will do but I love the texture and flavour of sourdough and think it goes really well with this soup).

Optional extra veg:

  • When I’m making this soup I often add extra veg that I have knocking about in the fridge.  At the moment I’m making this soup with a couple of small courgettes added to it.  Another great flavour with asparagus is peas (a couple of handfuls of frozen peas works best), or a finely chopped leek.  Half the joy of cooking is experimenting with flavours to find new and tasty combinations.

(We have now just eaten the soup with the additional courgettes and it’s a hit.  Something to definitely try if you’re looking for ways to vary this soup.)

Method

In a medium sized pan heat the olive oil and then add the chopped onions and garlic.  Heat over a low to medium heat until soft then add the chopped asparagus (and other veg) and cook for a further minute or so.

Add the stock (just enough to cover the veg) and simmer gently with a lid on for around 10 to 15 minutes.  Long enough for the veg to soften but not turn to a mush.

When the veg are cooked remove the pan from the heat and blend the soup to a silky smooth texture.

Season to taste and then stir through a splosh of single cream.  Check the seasoning again once you have added the cream.

Serve in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper with the toasted sourdough on the side.

Extras

A couple of ways of jazzing up this very simple dish are to add a poached egg.  All you need to do is separately poach the egg and add it to the soup (just drop it on the top before you are about to serve).  Asparagus and egg are a classic combination and though this may sound a bit strange I’d recommend you give it a go as it tastes great.

You could also fry some thin slices of pancetta and lay the crispy strips across the top of the soup.  Adding extra texture and flavour to the soup.

 

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Easter chick colouring picture

A nice simple easter chick for colouring in.

chick colouring in picture

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Easter poem

I stayed away from eggs this year
And ate no chocolate bunny
I lost a little bit of weight
And saved a bit of money.

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