Tradition #1: Cook Family Frozen Fruit Salad
We started out with some Easter preparations. I made the Cook Family (that's my side of the family) Frozen Fruit Salad, to take to the Watkins Family (that's my husband's side of the family) Easter. This recipe is Grandma Cook's, made through trial and error. My aunt has a "secret recipe" from her husband's side of the family that she can't share. We had the yummy frozen fruit salad at her house years and years ago and my mom loved it. Grandma Cook (aka Grammy) helped to recreate the yummy goodness.
OUR family recipe isn't a secret. Here it is:
Cook Family Frozen Fruit Salad
Mix one 8 oz. container of whipped topping (Cool Whip is great) with one 8 oz. package of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of sugar. Fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, one banana, 10 oz of pineapple chunks halved, and finally 10-12 oz. of strawberries (we use frozen). Do the strawberries last, unless you want a pink salad. Line a loaf pan with clear plastic wrap. Pour yummy goodness into the pan, leveling the top with a spatula. Fold the plastic wrap over the top and freeze overnight. Before serving, remove from freezer, place loaf pan under warm water, then carefully lift out of the pan. It should remove easily because of the plastic wrap. Slice and put on a serving plate. Devour.
As you can see from the photos, Gracie will probably make "helping mommy" a new traditions. She loved it when I allowed her to lick the spatula clean. She screamed when I eventually took the spatula away. I didn't bother to take a picture of that unforgettable moment.
Tradition #2: Easter Baskets
I don't remember Easter Baskets as a kid. That doesn't mean we didn't have them. I just don't remember them. We stick with little items, trying to steer away from food treats since there are tons of other treats throughout the day. Eric's parents always send Easter basket stuff ahead for the kids to open at home Easter morning. This year Daniel received Bibleman re-positional stickers & storyboards and the girls got the cutest woven purses.
Tradition #3: Church Easter Egg Hunt
Our church gives each kid a number and then you hunt for a bag of goodies with your number on it. What I love about this is that when you have little ones they still end up with some eggs. They didn't do it this way the first year and the little ones got trampled on by the more aggressive kids. Not fun. This also works more easily in the event of rain because it's easier to move indoors.
Tradition #4: Church at Warm Beach Camp
Easter wouldn't be Easter without a church service to celebrate the real reason for the season: Christ's Resurrection. This year I didn't get to participate in the service because I was engaging in service. I got to help in the 2 and 3 year old class. We had 15 very energetic (maybe a little sugared-up) kids. We got to take the kids on The Lights of Christmas train for a brief ride, too.
Tradition #5: A Bit of No Tradition
My side of the family is known for its holiday flexibility. So many years in different countries and states, far away from extended family has forced us to just be grateful for any time together, whenever it happens. This year we did get to be together on Easter after the service for light sandwiches (since we were going to Eric's extended family Easter celebration with a big meal later in that afternoon). Even Grampy and Grammy were able to be there. My family's flexibility has been helpful in staying apart of Eric's family's well-rooted traditions. I am thankful I haven't had to give up time with my family to spend time with his. The kids had an indoor Easter Egg Hunt (I hid the eggs). Then they dug into the Easter Baskets from Papa and Grandma Cook.
Tradition #6: Watkins Family Easter at The Hudsons
The big finale of the day was Easter Dinner at Jeff and Amber's house. Ham, potatoes, and yummy, yummy dessert made by Julie (I'm going to have to get the recipe). Everyone was there this year, which meant the camera and tripod came out for pictures. The family is so big that we didn't even attempt to get everyone in shot, but rather did three separate family photos of each of the Watkin's sister's families.
It's a relaxed time to visit, to tell stories (half of which always seem to be hunting related, no matter what time of year it is), and to let the second cousins play. Oh... and the big egg hunt. The first cousins and older second cousins hide the Easter eggs outside for the second cousins to find. Even Gracie participated with the help of older cousin Megan! It was fun and we got to get to know Julie's fiance a bit better.