Easter Memories

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One of my favorite holidays is Easter.  I have such great memories of growing up and spending this holiday at my Grandma’s house in Appleton, WI.  She had this teeny, tiny little two story (blue) house and the entire family would come down to celebrate this holiday together.  There were typically about 20 people (adults & kids) staying there.  Every night there would be a sea of sleeping bags spread all over the house – upstairs and downstairs.

And every morning I would wake up to my Grandma either sitting in her chair saying her morning prayers (if I woke up really early!) or else she would be sitting at the kitchen table separating the marshmallows from the cereal in the Lucky Charms box.

Why would she be doing this you ask?

Well, she would be doing this little task because I may have made the comment at some point that I really, REALLY liked the marshmallows, but didn’t like the cereal part much.  So every time I was at her house she would separate the two and give me an entire bowl of just marshmallows and milk.  Yep!  That was my breakfast.  My Grandma was awesome like that.

On top of my super special cereal, she always made sure to have blue raspberry popsicles for me.  I know she had the other grandkids favorites on hand too, but I don’t remember what theirs were.  I just remember that she always had blue raspberry popsicles for me.  She was awesome like that.

My grandmother passed away when I was a senior in high school.  She had been very sick off and on over the years and even though her death wasn’t unexpected, it was still very difficult to deal with.  She was a very religious person and attended Catholic church every day that she could get a ride there (she didn’t drive).  She was an amazing cook.  Absolutely amazing.  She rarely used recipes.  And if she did she never really read them or measured out the ingredients.  I am definitely a cook like her.  Oh, wait.  No, I don’t mean I’m an amazing cook like her.  I just mean that I don’t really follow recipes or measure things out.  I estimate.  I always give Jim a hard time because he always reads the directions for making Kraft macaroni and cheese and he measures the milk and butter out each time.  I’m not sure I even knew there were actual directions to make mac & cheese.

My grandma made beautiful wedding cakes as well.  I know I don’t have the patience to do what she did, but I do still enjoy baking.  Remember my bunny cupcakes?

Easter was my grandma’s favorite holiday.  And every Easter I feel closer to her than any other time of the year.  So you can imagine how completely ecstatic I was when I got to host Easter this year for my mom, Aunt Nancy and cousin Catherine.  This was some of the family I spent so many Easters with growing up at my grandmother’s house.

Immediately when we found out we’d be spending Easter together we started to plan the menu with traditional Slovak recipes just like grandma used to make.  And we crammed everyone into our house for the 10 days leading up to Easter.  It wasn’t quite like at grandma’s with sleeping bags everywhere, but it was close.  Cousin Cathy was on an air mattress in the guest bedroom which she had to share with Aunt Nancy who got the actual guest bed.  My mom and Ryan shared his room.  Ryan slept on his toddler mattress on the floor and was kind enough to give grandma his bed (it took several weeks of persuasion to convince him of this plan!).

We woke up on Easter morning and the boys had a great time finding all the eggs around the house.  Owen just wanted two though.  One for each hand.  He didn’t see a need for anymore than that.  Which worked out great because Ryan wanted every single other egg he could get his hands on.  Once Owen figured out there were jelly beans in the eggs than he changed his plan and had to open each and every egg.  He would grab hold, pop it open and if he found a jelly bean he would exclaim “OH!” and pop it into his mouth and eat it.  Then he’d move on to the next egg.  If he popped it open and there was nothing instead you would hear “Oh no.  All don.”

After we had bunny and egg shaped pancakes, we headed to church.  We all went as a family to Vinings Lake Church.  It’s nothing like my grandma’s traditional Catholic church was, but we really enjoyed it.  Jim and I have plans on going more often; we’ve been talking about it for several years now.  Ryan loved the toddler program and said he can’t wait to go back.  Owen wasn’t really a fan though.  He sat in the teacher’s lap and read books for the entire hour without saying a word; he refused to get out of the teacher’s lap.

It was a great time.  It was wonderful having them here for so long and especially to have them over Easter.  I love hosting family and friends and having people stay at our house.  I know the boys enjoy it too!  They talk about it for weeks after wards.  Seriously, what a great holiday.  Enjoy the photos.

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