It’s Spring!  The temperatures are finally getting a bit warmer and the days are longer.  Flowers are beginning to bloom and kids are anxious for Spring Break.  It’s also a time of celebration as Easter approaches.  For our family, it’s a reminder of the resurrection of Christ.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins because He loves us that much!  But the tomb could not hold Him and He is Risen!

Easter has always been a special time with our family.  Easter baskets, Sunday church service, lunch with Mimi and Poppa (my parents) followed by an Easter egg hunt.  Our girls grew up getting all kinds of candy from the Easter Bunny, various egg hunts, friends and grandparents.  We would have candy for weeks and I would find myself gradually throwing some away because it was just too much!

Did you know the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it?  Sugars are added to almost every food we eat including candy, sauces, cereals, yogurt, salad dressing, fruit juices and much, much more.  Would you like to guess how much added sugar an average American eats a year?  152 pounds!  That’s equivalent to 3 pounds a week!  The American Heart Association recommends limiting our added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons (100 calories) for women, 9 teaspoons (150 calories) for men and 3 teaspoons (50 calories) for children.

Excess sugar in our diet promotes obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and triggers inflammation.  It also has an impact on our brain.  What happens when your child/grandchild has a whole bunch of candy?  Aren’t they “pinging” off the wall?  After ingesting all that excess sugar, we crash!  Mood swings, irritability and decreased energy all set in and the cycle continues.

Our girls still get candy at Easter but on a significantly reduced scale.  Mimi & Poppa always give them a few jelly beans and the Easter colored M&Ms as well as a fun t-shirt.   The Easter Bunny hides coins or small trinkets in plastic eggs and brings a dark chocolate candy bar.  (We like the Endangered Species brand with 70% cocoa with hazelnut toffee or tart raspberries.)   In an effort to reduce all the sugar and candy, here are a few Easter basket ideas that we have done over the years that our girls have enjoyed.

  • Arts and crafts:  Glue sticks, stickers, paper, scissors, crayons, coloring books (kid/adult), coloring pencils
  • Baking basket:  Apron, spatula, cookie scoop, cookie cutters
  • Beauty makeover:  Nail polish, lotion, hair brush, makeup, hair accessories
  • Environmental friendly – Water bottle, reusable snack bags, stainless steel straws [inspired by Victoria this year since she wants to pursue a degree in environmental science]
  • Games / Game night:  Card games, puzzles, crossword puzzles, brain teasers, dominos
  • Outdoor fun:  Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, jump rope, water toys, frisbee, hat, sunglasses, umbrella
  • Spa:  Shower melts, neck wrap, essential oils
  • Techy teen:  $5 gift cards to iTunes, Starbucks or favorite restaurant, keychain, phone case, ear buds, gas cards

Don’t forget to scope out the dollar bins at your local dollar store, Target and 5 and Below for fun non-candy treats to fill your baskets.

 May your Easter be filled with love, family and many blessings!

“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”  Mark 16: 5-6

He is Risen Indeed!