Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

We celebrated Easter this weekend, of course, and as we usually try to do, we do a combination of Easter Bunny stuff as well as the true meaning of Easter.
Yesterday we did one of our favourite Easter recipes - resurrection buns.

Here is the recipe:
Take a package of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and separate them, laying them out flat on a cutting board.
Tell the Easter story as you do each step.
Take a mini-marshmallow (representing Jesus' body, after being crucified) and dip it in melted butter or margarine (representing the oils they would have used to annoint dead bodies) and sprinkle cinnamon on top (representing the spices they used).  Then, place each marshmallow on top of a piece of dough, representing when they placed Jesus in a tomb.  Fold the dough over the marshmallow, making sure that you pinch all sides of the dough (representing the tomb being completely sealed up).
Bake, according to directions on the package, meanwhile, pretending to wait 3 days and 3 nights.
Discuss how they went back to look at the tomb and discovered that the stone had been rolled back.
Take the crescent rolls out of the oven and once they have cooled, break one open, discovering that 'Jesus' body' is gone!  (The marshmallow disappears.)
I love how this recipe is a hands-on (way) to demonstrated the story of Easter.  And of course, then you get to eat the rolls - yum!

This morning we did our egg hunt, that we always do.  We hid a bunch of plastic eggs with things in them like stickers, temporary tattooes, a grow-a-bunny, a top, a very small stuffed puppy, and lots of bracelets, scrunchies and necklaces.
We learned years ago, that Jaymi was so thrilled with those little things, the whole egg hunt, and opening the eggs, that we decided not to give a bigger Easter present.  To this day, she loves it, and doesn't expect anything big at Easter.  (There are enough holidays with big presents.)
Her favourites this year, were two adorable eggs we found that play sounds, calling you, and saying, "I'm over here!....Come and find me!" and they giggle until you find them.  So cute!

Jaymi also received two very nice presents from her grandparents.
Lots of chocolate Kinder Surprise eggs from Gramma and John (she asked us to hide them so that she could find each one), and some fantastic new shoes and jeans from Granna and Grandad (they're all perfect).
Thanks, guys!

Today we did something we have done for years together - a Seder Supper.  It's a traditional celebration of Passover, but we do a very simple, child-friendly, shortened version of it.

Here is a summary of what we did:

Set table
-two kinds of bitter herbs (horseradish and romaine) representing the bitterness (this year I used two bitter greens instead)
-charoseth representing the clay used by the Hebrew slaves to make bricks. (a mixture of chopped apples, walnuts, lemon juice, cinnamon, honey, and wine or grape juice)
-a roasted bone representing the lamb sacrificed so the blood marking the doors of Jewish families would cause their first-born sons to be literally “passed over” during the final plague to strike Egypt. (We always make some kind of lamb for this part)
-baitzah (roasted egg) representing new life
-fresh greens or vegetables to celebrate the new season
-three matzahs
-a bowl of salt water
-wine cups for everyone
-a big beautiful wine cup for Elijah the Prophet
-wine for us and grape juice for Jaymi
-a paper bag for each child/person, with Plague props inside (plastic bugs, stuffie wild animals, marshmallows or cotton balls, blindfolds)
-two sheets laid out to represent the Red Sea.
-a transparent jug with a bit of red food colouring at the bottom.
Since we make this our dinner, we also had couscous and a loaf of bread.

And this year, just to make it extra fun, I told Jaymi that we weren't allowed to use utensils because they didn't have utensils back then.
Wash hands.
Everyone say, "Shalom!"
Dip a vegetable in salt water (symbolic of the Red Sea and reminiscent of the salty tears shed by the ancestors during their enslavement in Egypt.)
Start the story-
Once upon a time in the Land of Egypt, 2000 years ago,
A ruler named Pharaoh made the Jews work very hard.
They worked all day and all night with no rest.
God heard their prayers for help and made a plan.
One helper was needed to save them.
Who was it going to be?
Moses climbed a mountain one day.
He saw a bush that was very bright!
It was God, in the bush!
God spoke to Moses.
He told him to free the people from Pharaoh.
Moses went to Egypt.
He said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go!”
(First cup of wine)
We drink four cups of wine because there are four Hebrew words for freedom.
The Season of our Freedom is the first name of our holiday.
Pharaoh laughed at Moses and said, “No way!”
“I need the people to make the statues.  I need them to make bricks.  I won’t let them go!”
Moses said, “I will return.  God will set them free.  You have one day to change your mind.”
Moses was sad.  He prayed hard.
Pharaoh still did not let the people go.
So God sent some reasons to help change his mind.
When we count the plagues in the seder, we mark them by taking a little of the juice (wine) out of one of our cups with our finger and put it on our napkins.
Second cup of wine.
The second name for our holiday is Festival of the Lamb.
Taste the bitter herbs and dip them in Charoset. (This reminds us of the bitterness and sorrow of the Hebrew slaves.)

Tell about each of the 10 plagues, using the props:
1-Blood (prepare a large clear pitcher – empty except for some red food colouring at the bottom.  At the appropriate moment, pour in some water – and watch water turn to “blood”.
2-Frogs (pretend to be frogs hopping around)
3- Lice (plastic bugs)
4-Wild Animals (stuffies)
5-Pestilence (all animals died of disease – pretend to be a dead animal)
6-Boils (uncontrollable itching)
7-Hail (marshmallows or cotton balls)
8-Locusts (hop around)
9-Darkness (walk around blind)
10-Death of the First Born

Pharaoh finally said, “Yes, take your people now.”
And they packed up their things and headed to the Promised Land.
Third cup of wine.

Then, act out the trip through the Red Sea.  (Jaymi was Moses this year, and raised her 'staff' to let the Red Sea part - two sheets that we divided apart.)

Jaymi made a sign that says, “You are now leaving Egypt”

The third name for our holiday is Festival of the Matzah.
Eat a Matzah and bitter herb sandwich.
Enjoy the Festival meal.
Every year at the Passover seder, we invite a very special guest.
Who could it be?
It’s a very special prophet who goes from house to house on Passover night and has a sip of wine from a special cup put out just for him!
Elijah is his name!
Open the door for Elijah.
Fourth cup of wine.
The fourth name for our holiday is Festival of Spring!
We eat matzah to remind us that when Pharaoh let the people go, they had to hurry and there wasn’t enough time to finish making the bread.  So they took the dough that wasn’t ready yet.
We eat charoset with the matzah to remind us of the bricks that the slaves were forced to make.
Eat matzah and charoset.
We were slaves in Egypt, and that is why we try really hard to make sure that no people are slaves today.  We want everyone to be able to live happy, safe lives everywhere in the world.  Everywhere in the world we fight for freedom.
And we hope for peace throughout the world.

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