Hello, everyone ... and a Happy Easter to you!
I hope you all had a nice weekend, and a lovely holiday, as well. I thought you all might like to see some pictures from our Sunday?
(Now first ... please let me "warn" you ... this is an awfully long post. I know it might be a little "tmi" for some folks, but please keep in mind, I use this blog as a big family scrapbook and many years from now I'll be glad I captured every last detail!)
So ... away we go!
Well, Earlybird was up SUPER early (as usual) so we let him look through his basket provided he leave his brothers alone. Bill and I enjoyed our (strong) coffee while EB dove into his goodies ...
The Easter Bunny always brings EB a few candies he can have - natural/organic jelly beans and "safe" chocolate bunnies - but mostly special books and toys. Like a ruler of his own, a turtle bath sponge, a Lego to build, and brand spankin' new crayons. Thankfully, he never seems to miss all those extra candies his brothers get in their baskets. :)
Finally, around 6:30 we allowed EB to wake up his brothers ... and I just had to share this picture - fuzzy and dark thought it is - because it cracks me up! Two tousled bedheads, squinty eyes, folded arms ... a general air about them of, "Huh?"
EB, ever the master of ceremonies, was quite happy to welcome the boys to their baskets ...
The older boys also get candies from the Easter Bunny (of a more traditional sort) as well as a couple of magazines, a new sketchbook and maybe a Wii game.
Archie just sat back and observed ...
And so the day began ...
Now, my mum and I started planning this dinner (this day) many weeks ago. And regular readers of my blog know this because I've talked about it quite a bit! We were expecting a party of 23 people in all, so that takes a lot of organization - particularly when it comes to food preparation and seating arrangements.
We'd be nowhere without our various lists ...
As much as I love the holidays - Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas - I almost love the "lead up" even more. Because I love the anticipation and I have such fun working with my mum putting this all together. I especially love how, as Mum and I work, I glean all these great tips and hints. Like how to care for Gram's silver, and what pans work best for what foods ... bits of information I know my mum gleaned from my gram. And I feel this is a way we keep her with us as we go along. ❤
So, in getting creative with seating, we transformed the learning room into a table for four:
The dining room table can be expanded to eight, but we squeezed 10 chairs around it:
We set this table with some of my mum's "Blue Danube" china and two of my "English Countryside" plates. We also combined silverware sets ... but all the linen napkins once belonged to my grandmother.
And, finally, we had a table for six set up in the family room:
So where did that leave the other two guests? Why, that would be Bookworm and Crackerjack - who kindly agreed to sit up at the kitchen island all on their own.
Now, for a few lots more pictures from the dinner party itself ...
I know this punch looks like nothing special - indeed, the lighting is terrible in my "cocktail bar" (aka the china cupboard on any other day). But I promise you, it was delicious! It was quite a hit, and though the picture does not show it, the shade was the prettiest peachy-pink. It looked just like an Easter morning sunrise. :)
The punch recipe (which I found online) consisted of strawberries, pink lemonade, cold black tea and ginger ale ... and they tell me it was fantastic with a splash of coconut rum. ;)
(Added to my party notes for future gatherings ... a punch ladle!)
Here are two of my smiley guys ... Crackerjack and my brother, Matt.
And my lovely cousins, Kate and Kara with their handsome gentleman friends, Paul and Manuel.
(How time has flown ... I used to babysit these girls!)
It's hard to tell from this picture, but the two couples are playing table-top soccer. We moved the foozball table up from the playroom and onto the deck for the day. Here's a great big party/small house trick ... lure the guests outside, lol!
Here's my CJ setting up "lawn bowling" for the younger kids ...
We even had two little doggies attend our Easter party!
These pretty pups are "Lily" and "Sophie," who belong to my cousin Colin and his wife, Tina, who were on from New York. Though Archie and Oliver were "sequestered" for the day (in the older boys' bedroom), the dogs were kept outside in our fenced-in backyard. The house was already chaotic enough!
So, I have to show you this neat little thing ...
I saw this idea in a magazine ... you (meaning, Bill, who did this for me) simply cut a small purple cabbage in such a way it will hold a thick dip (in this case, spinach) and then arrange your fresh veggies all around it. Isn't it so springy?
Here's part of our Easter party ...
(From left to right): Kate and Paul, Uncle Karl, Grandma Barbara (Bill's mom), Bookworm, Kara, Auntie Marcia and Manuel.
And here's a few more ...
(L to R): My sweet sister-in-law Ami and her boyfriend, Eric, Bill's dad (aka Grandpa Bill) and finally, my Bill. :)
So we served cocktails and appetizers at 1:30 ... and in addition to the veggies and dip, there was artichoke dip with French bread, devlilled eggs (made by Bill's mom), assorted cheeses with crackers, grapes and apples ... and cheese straws and breadsticks served with pesto.
Dinner was ready about an hour later ...
I use our L-shaped kitchen island for serving, "buffet style" at most of our gatherings. It's central and convenient as most of our house is open from room-to-room.
Our Easter Dinner Menu, 2012:
baked "honey" ham
roast turkey breast
potatoes au gratin
Annie's macaroni and cheese* - EB's one request, lol!
roasted spring vegetables
Uncle Karl's Irish soda bread
assorted dinner rolls
(I put an * beside the things I made/prepared myself - everything else was contributed by somebody other than me.)
Here I am with my mum, who was keeping EB company while he "chilled" on the couch.
(EB's not always one for the dinner table. Not for long, anyways, lol.)
And here we have the "dining room" party, which included my dad in the bottom center, then, going counterclockwise: my (little) brother Matt, my cousin Caitlin, and my cousin Colin and his wife, Tina, as well as their two (adorable) little boys, Connor and Finn.
Oh my goodness, I have to show you this sweet little boy ... Finn is my first cousin's son, so I'm not sure if that makes him my second cousin (once removed)?
Whatever it makes him, he's such a dear little boy ... and yes, the baby-lust was surging strong. ;)
So after a brief intermission, in which I had lots of help putting away the leftover food - I set Bill about making coffee, and we got desserts out on the buffet ...
Our Easter Sunday Desserts, 2012:
Auntie Marcia's butterscotch pudding
(served with whipped cream)
cream cheese-frosted vanilla "bird nest" cupcakes*
assorted cookies and candies
freshly brewed coffee
(same * rules apply)
A few shots of the dessert buffet ...
After desserts there was an Easter egg hunt in the front yard!
Caitlin and Colin with Connor.
Crackerjack, Earlybird and Connor.
Dad and Auntie Marcia.
(As you can see, there's a lot of height in my family ... it just skipped me and my mum, lol.)
Earlybird, giving the thumbs up!
My three "Boston Boys" ...
... spending a special day with their "New York Cousins."
So by sunset, the party was over and our guests had gone home ... the flowers had drooped and the flames had burned low ... another Easter Sunday was over ...
But a whole Easter season just begun!
In my heart, this is what Easter is all about: celebrating the LIFE and the LOVE with which we have been so richly blessed, and all the amazing things we get to enjoy simply because God is so GOOD ...
I thank Him for every year we're together.
Well, my friends, I hope you have enjoyed this rather lengthy "peek" at our family's Easter celebration, and I thank you for sharing in our joy. I had such fun telling you all about it!
"A joy shared is a joy doubled." ~ Unknown
So have a good night, everyone ... I will see you again very soon!