Seasoned advice to the Easter Bunny

April 22, 2011|Alicia Notarianni | Making Ends Meet

It was a tragic Easter.

My in-laws had gathered at our house. My brother-in-law, Justin, brought along his dog, Pearl. A city-dweller who typically spends most of her time indoors, Pearl loves to roam free in our sizeable, fenced-in back yard.

Sometime during the course of our hearty holiday dinner, we heard the dog snarling out on the lawn. One of my older children, who was closest to the doorway of our crowded dining room, bolted out to see what was going on.

He came running back in with news none too pleasing to my toddler and preschool-aged children.

"Pearl ate the Easter Bunny!" he shouted, at once horrified and amused.

Apparently an unsuspecting rabbit innocently hippety-hopping among the daffodils had been caught unawares by the canine predator.

The dinner party cleared, the weaker-stomached running to the window, others rushing to the gory scene of the crime.

This year, I'm hoping for an equally memorable but less gruesome Easter.

Toward that end, I'm trying to get it right with the baskets. I could offer a how-not-to-fill-your-baskets primer.

First off, I'm skipping the grass. After years of digging jelly beans from clingy strings and spending weeks vacuuming strays off the floor, I've decided to forego the grass. My advocating this move could send mothers-in-law across the land into a tizzy. I know it's a violation of tradition. But why would I pay for something that — makes a mess and annoys me? This year, I won't.

Also, I won't be stuffing baskets with mounds of dyed sugary junk. I'll throw in a colored egg, a piece of chocolate, some jelly beans and maybe a package of each child's favorite candy and leave it at that.

There have been years when I've spent the days following Easter trying to detox my bug-eyed children from their extended sugar highs. I've dumped leftover candy from baskets into a bucket I store up high in the pantry. Some years, I'd go to dump the leftover Halloween candy into the bucket, only to find months-old peeps still gandering up at me.

There will be no party-favorish toys, the likes of which accumulate at the bottom of the toy box never to be played.

I do get excited about filling baskets with items that won't be tossed aside, but that will be used again and again — children's gardening gloves, tools, and watering cans; raincoats and rainboots; old standbys like bubbles and sidewalk chalk.

This year, I'm excited to toss in some seeds — sunflowers, vegetables or herbs —  for my daughter who loves to grow things.

My older kids enjoy practical goodies like sunglasses, flip-flops, a T-shirt, an iTunes card, even books.

To top it off, I will add a little goodie I stumbled upon by accident at a convenience store years ago — bright orange carrot juice. It's become a basket staple.

And one final note for a Happy Easter celebration — tie up the dog.

Alicia Notarianni is a reporter and feature writer for The Herald-Mail. Her email address is

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