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Bunny Garden Dessert {Easter Craft Series}

Bunny Garden Easter Egg Hunt Dessert

I made this one just for the kids – remember that yummy kid dessert called “dirt?” I was on a bit of a dirt kick a few years back and thought it would be cute to create a “dirt” patch where my chocolate bunnies were conducting their very own Easter Egg hunt. Their eggs were jelly beans, of course. I also found edible grass at the grocery store that looked like shoots popping out of the garden. I had cake sprinkles that look like flowers, and I knew the boys would love some bugs and gummy worms sticking out. I found mini Easter baskets at Cost Plus World Market, I think, but they’re also available online at Oriental Trading Company here. This was especially fun because one little boy in attendance was very concerned that I was serving “dirt” to my guests — he was very reluctant to try it, but LOVED it after the first bite!
You could do this in an Easter basket, but I had this rustic planter in my yard already – just fit food-safe container(s) in the base to hold the pudding dessert (recipe follows). Top with crushed Oreo cookies to make it look like real dirt and decorate with fun Easter candies and treats! I had to fill in my cracks with grass, which I already had on hand — if I had to do it over again, though, I’d use shredded green paper instead. And I got some inexpensive kids’ gardening tools at Hobby Lobby to use as serving spoons – spades and shovels are perfect for scooping “dirt” out of the bunny garden!
PS – I’ve also spiked this recipe for adult occasions — just sub in a bit of white chocolate liqueur for some of the milk!
“Dirt” Pudding
(multiply as needed to fit larger containers — I think I doubled the recipe for this photo)

• 1 package Oreo cookies, crushed
• 2 cups cold milk
• 1 package chocolate instant pudding mix, small pkg. (4-serving size)
• 8 ounces Cool Whip topping, thawed
• Easter candies and gummy worms to decorate

• Put cookies into a sealable bag and close tightly.
• Using a rolling pin, roll and crush the cookies until crumbly. Set aside.
• Pour the milk and chocolate instant pudding mix into a large bowl.
• Whisk well until all of the pudding mix is dissolved.
• Let stand 5 minutes.
• Add the Cool Whip and 1/2 of the crushed cookies.
• Stir until well blended.
• Place a large spoonful of crushed cookies into the bottom of your container.
• Add the pudding mixture on top of that until the cups are 3/4 full.
• Add some large gummy worms (if you want) so that they are half in the cup and half hanging out of the cup.
• Spoon in more crushed cookie around the worm to hold it in place.
• Serve chilled.

~Laura L.


Here’s A Reminder About Easter 2013 Calendar Dates -From About.com:
February 13 – Ash Wednesday
March 24 – Palm Sunday
March 28 – Maundy (Holy) Thursday
March 29 – Good Friday
March 31 – Easter Sunday (Western Christianity – Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, Protestant Churches, etc.)

May 5 – Easter Sunday (Orthodox Christianity – Eastern Orthodox Churches)


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“Because I Love You” {Relationship Enhancement}

Do one thing to make your marriage better.

The top problem in our family right now is a lack of sleep. Ever since Charlie
was in the hospital, he’s been up four or five times a night. And when we are not
sleeping, our family gets very, very grouchy.
So after a long night of little sleep, we usually have a happy (how does that
happen?!?!) baby, a demanding preschooler and two zombie-like parents.
Exhaustion turns into impatience, impatience turns into anger and often one or both
of us ends us snapping at the other, making silly, irrational accusations about the
night before. (Maybe you didn’t feed him enough? You’re supposed to let him cry!)
Obviously this isn’t the first time we’ve been here as a couple. Last fall,
shortly after Charlie was born, lack of sleep was wearing the same holes in my
One night, I was flipping through the “10 Great Dates” book, trying to find
something that Morgan and I could relate to. As I read the book, I saw this challenge:
“Do one thing to make your marriage better.”
So, as a former journalist, I did what I always do when presented with a
challenge. I googled for an answer. Eventually, I came across a Web site for a
Christian nonprofit focused on improving marriages, and their “Because I Love You”
Basically, you use a card that says “Because I Love You” to help remind you
and your husband of two things: First, of all the little and big things you do for each
other every day. And second, to take the time, however short it may be, to do
something kind and loving for each other. Instead of pointing it out, you can leave or
hand the card to your spouse.
According to the Web site, studies have shown that “couples who are doing
well exchange a larger degree of positive interactions than those who are
struggling.” So a simple way to make your marriage better is to increase the positive
things you do for each other.
So last October, I thought about one thing I could do for Morgan to show him
I loved him. And just like today, I decided to give him what we both covet more than
anything: sleep. One night, Morgan said he would wake up with the baby for his
second night feeding. But when Charlie started to fuss, I let Morgan sleep and did it
It was weird how easily my plan worked. Getting up wasn’t so hard, I felt
good about helping my husband and Morgan felt better because he had slept.
So now, I think it’s time to pull out my “Because I Love You” card again.
Instead of grouchy remarks and actions, I’m going to try to show Morgan love
through whatever small actions I can think of.
So here’s my challenge to you: Make a small card (or ask me, I have some)
and think about something you can do for your husband simply because you love
him. Make him his favorite dinner. Watch that TV show he loves but you hate. Take
the kids for a walk while he takes a nap. When he asks why, just hand him the card.
Or leave it on his dinner plate.
Then, ask him to reciprocate. See how he can hand the card back to you.

If you want, comment back about what happened!

~Melissa T.

Click the link below for the cards you can print out and use in pdf. format.  Thanks Laura L. for making them!

Because I Love You Cards

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Easter Bunny Bread {Easter Craft Series}

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=6ceba2fa60&view=att&th=13d41e7362af18de&attid=0.1.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P8w6AiD7kYBqAJOxH1Vgw6u&sadet=1362694626201&sads=iszC2Jk3fb_5JWaYyQ3IoA8MlUcEaster Bunny Bread

This is especially cute if you’re bringing an appetizer to someone’s house for Easter festivities. And, since you use pre-made bread dough, it’s pretty easy! I made this for the same Easter party two years ago. Here’s the link to recipe/instructions, and a photo of the one I did!
~Laura L.


  • 2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 2 raisins
  • 2 sliced almonds
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Dip of your choice


  • Cut a fourth off of one loaf of dough; shape into a pear to form head. For body, flatten remaining portion into a 7-in. x 6-in. oval; place on a greased baking sheet. Place head above body. Make narrow cuts, about 3/4 in. deep, on each side of head for whiskers.
  • Cut second loaf into four equal portions. For ears, shape two portions into 16-in. ropes; fold ropes in half. Arrange ears with open ends touching head. Cut a third portion of dough in half; shape each into a 3-1/2-in. oval for back paws. Cut two 1-in. slits on top edge for toes. Position on each side of body.
  • Divide the fourth portion of dough into three pieces. Shape two pieces into 2-1/2-in. balls for front paws; shape the remaining piece into two 1-in. balls for cheeks and one 1/2-in. ball for nose. Place paws on each side of body; cut two 1-in. slits for toes. Place cheeks and nose on face. Add raisins for eyes and almonds for teeth.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Brush dough with egg. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  • Place bread on a serving tray. Cut a 3-1/2-in. circle in center of body. Hollow out bread, leaving a 1/2-in. shell (discard removed bread or save for another use). Place a 1-cup shallow bowl in the hole and fill with dip. Yield: 1 loaf.

Here’s A Reminder About Easter 2013 Calendar Dates -From About.com:
February 13 – Ash Wednesday
March 24 – Palm Sunday
March 28 – Maundy (Holy) Thursday
March 29 – Good Friday
March 31 – Easter Sunday (Western Christianity – Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, Protestant Churches, etc.)

May 5 – Easter Sunday (Orthodox Christianity – Eastern Orthodox Churches)

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From Tadpoles to Sharks: Helping our little ones learn service and sharing

We have a jam-packed meeting planned for Friday:

_ Laura will help us create “Summer Boredom Activity Jars.” We’ll fill a jar with fun things to do over the summer for those days when you can’t think of how to fill the time. Help fill your fellow mom’s jars by thinking of great activity ideas to share.
_ We’ll also be working with the MOPPETS to fill donation bags for homeless people in our area. Our little guys will decorate the bags, then head downstairs to help pack them. I’ve attached the sign up sheet as a reminder of what to bring. Remember, please bring 10 items (20 for granola bars) for each box you signed up for.
_ Table 4 has breakfast. Vanessa has volunteered to do the devotional.
_ And don’t forget the usual stuff: Meetings run from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. MOPPETS can be dropped off at 9:15 a.m.
_ Don’t forget also to sign up for the Girls’ Night Out on March 22.
Have a great rest of the week and see you Friday!
~Melissa T.
Spring Cleaning?  If you have gently used children’s books to donate to our Service Project: Reach Out and Read, please bring those too.

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Super Orange Chicken {Recipe}

A recipe from Carrie.
Chicken legs are great for kids and they are a budget conscious choice at the grocery store.  To lower the fat count, I de-skin the legs by holding the ankles and removing the skin with a dry paper towel, it makes the almost impossible task much easier.  This recipe is so easy to make, and sure to please everyone!

recipe thumbnail

Super Orange Chicken

star rating


4 Servings, Prep Time: 20 Minutes, Cook Time: 45 Minutes


Baked chicken with a zesty orange zing. Try serving over rice with a side of broccoli done the way you like it.


  • 1 (6 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 chicken legs


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the orange juice, onion soup mix, poultry seasoning and cornstarch. Mix together well and set aside. Place chicken in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over chicken and cover with foil.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 45 minutes, remove foil, and bake for 15 more minutes.

Nutritional Information

Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 434

Fat: 20.4g
Protein: 32.3g
Sodium: 916.8mg
Carbohydrates: 28.7g
Cholesterol: 138.6mg
Dietary Fiber: 1.1g

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Real Grass in the Easter Basket! Get ideas and supplies now! {Easter Craft Series}

Easter happens to be my very favorite holiday. A few years ago I did a big party with my neighbors. I invited the neighbor kids over at the beginning of Lent, and told them to bring their Easter basket and a plastic container that fit nicely inside. I supplied the potting soil (purchased from our local Home Depot) and wheat grass seeds (you can buy these at Amazon). The kids got to fill their plastic containers with dirt, and sprinkle the grass seed on top. Then we covered them slightly with more potting soil, placed the baskets in a sunny spot, and VOILA! Real grass in their Easter baskets when the holiday arrives. In fact, we planted too soon and it needed several trims in the interim! If you did this 2 weeks in advance of the holiday you should be set. It looks beautiful and is MUCH more eco-friendly than the plastic green stuff (although, to be fair, I used the plastic green stuff last year, which is a little more convenient).

Here’s a photo of the finished product! I used mine as centerpieces for the main event, but all of the kids used them as their actual baskets, and collected their eggs in them. The Easter bunny also left his treats in them. Last year I did something similar for centerpieces, but I purchased pansies, tulips and other spring blooms to use instead of the grass, which also looked really pretty — and I got to transfer them to my pots for spring planting!
~Laura L.

Here’s A Reminder About Easter 2013 Calendar Dates -From About.com:
February 13 – Ash Wednesday
March 24 – Palm Sunday
March 28 – Maundy (Holy) Thursday
March 29 – Good Friday
March 31 – Easter Sunday (Western Christianity – Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, Protestant Churches, etc.)

May 5 – Easter Sunday (Orthodox Christianity – Eastern Orthodox Churches)

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Plunge Into Child Development Meeting Recap

Last Friday we plunged into Child Development.  Our guest and speaker was educational consultant Patricia Atwell. She specializes in the twice-exceptional student. During our meeting Ms. Atwell did not give the typical developmental timeline for our children.  Instead she imparted her knowledge and a peek at the variety of ways she has known to help see the uniqueness of our children as well as the subtle or not so subtle techniques to help our children learn, focus, concentrate, enjoy, take control and even LOVE their day-to-day.

It was a refreshing way to look at my child.  After I left the meeting I couldn’t help but take little glimpses or moments of time from my days as a Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher and play them in my mind.  So many of the points of her talk were familiar but some forgotten to me!  I especially loved one handout from Ms. Atwell.  She gave us what seemed to be a word scramble.  It looked like a list of nonsense sentences.  The goal was to try to decipher the real words or meaning of each statement.

Here is an example: Want a drain sit bores.

What????  Read it a couple more times and see if you can figure out what the sentence should be.  Scroll down when you are ready for the answer.

Answer: When it rains it pours.

This particular activity pointed out how sometimes the words or meanings that we adults take for granted might not register to a child (maybe even some adults).  Maybe they heard the example sentence… Maybe they only heard one word.  Maybe they heard the whole thing but they just don’t know what it means!

My 3-year-old boy is quick to repeat and even use words he has just learned.  This lesson helped me to remember that he is only 3 and that even if he hears it and can repeat it, it doesn’t mean he knows what it means.  Here’s a funny example:  He loves cars and trucks and construction and clearly knows about tires and dirt and cement.  But the other day he decided to use the word “percent” while playing with his trucks.  He stopped calling his construction vehicle a cement mixer and started calling it a percent mixer!  Just to use the word… Obviously he is not aware of the meaning of percent!

I had a lot of thinking to do and still do. :-).


P.S.  Can you use an example from home that came to mind at this MOPs meeting?  Tell us about it in the comments below.