Easter came, and has already gone for this year. Fortunately we didn’t put much thought into planning our Easter festivities this year, or I might have been highly disappointed with the cold, wet, rainy conditions Tennessee experienced. But planning or no, I’m not about to let a holiday pass by with no celebrating. So Thursday morning Brinn hauled a clearance Christmas turkey out of our deep freeze and I made a call to Grandma, then sent a text to my cousins. Friday morning found Brinn, Ian, and I loaded in the jeep with a mountain of food and the puppies.
Our family of five headed to East TN for a day of family, food, and egg coloring. The first thing we had to do upon arriving was get the bird in the oven. Usually I like to plan a huge meal for family shin-digs, complete with at least four different side dishes. This year we kept it simple: fresh fruits and veggies for snacking throughout the day, turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, green beans and cranberry sauce. Grandma makes the best dressing on the planet. It’s one of the few foods that she ever cooks, but man is it good. It’s probably the only food she ever makes 100% from scratch. It starts with a pan of cornbread (made in an iron skillet) at least one day ahead of time so that it can sit out and get a little dry. I made the cornbread Thursday evening, but as Brinn and I were both coming back from a stomach virus and hadn’t eaten much in days, the smell of that crusty cornbread proved to be overwhelming, and we ate half the skillet…so we had to make another skillet of cornbread later that evening. After Grandma crumbles all the cornbread up in a bowl, she mixes in all the goodies: celery and onions fried in butter, sage, poultry seasoning, and broth. Even the broth is homemade. Grandma takes the giblets from the turkey and cooks a broth off of it to use in the dressing. The result is out of this world. We like our dressing firm enough to cut it into squares and eat it more like bread than like a pudding. No stuffing for this family.
After all the food was prepared and either happily roasting in the oven or simmering on the stove, Ian went down for a nap and it was time to get down to business. Two dozen plain, boring, hardboiled eggs needed to transform into brightly colored highly decorated Easter eggs. Brent, Emily, Kristine, Nat, Brinn, Daddy, and I each took a turn at creating hot pink, deep blue, pastel green, and bright yellow eggs with stickers and glitter. After drying our eggs, it was time to clear the counter and set out the food!
We all ate ourselves silly, and Ian even tried turkey for the first time. He wasn’t quite sure after the first bite, but he soon changed his mind and started chowing down along with the rest of us. After gorging on Joy’s Butterfinger pie and Karen’s chocolate cake, we settled in for family conversations and story telling. Brent told us his great story about his almost/possible encounter with the chupacabra and local sightings of panthers.
After a great afternoon of family and fun, we headed home for a quite Saturday. The rain resumed in full force on Sunday, so we spent a quiet Easter inside with ham and hashbrown casserole until the rain slacked off to a drizzle. Ian’s Grandpa headed outside to hide eggs while we suited Ian up with his John Deere coveralls Uncle Houston had sent him a few weeks earlier and a sweater. Mogwai also decided to suit up against the chill (for those who follow Mogwai’s tales, he has fallen off the wagon) to come assist with hunting eggs.
Ian had no idea why we kept dragging him around the yard when he was content to play in one spot. Soon he understand the concept of grabbing the brightly colored eggs, but he saw no reason to put them in his Easter bucket Aunt Joy had made for him. Why put something away that you can carry and chew?
We ended Easter by giving Ian his first taste of chocolate. Grandpa got him a gigantic chocolate Easter bunny. Ian found it delightful, and was already to really tuck-in to chowing down, but we limited him to the equivalent of about one M&M’s worth of chocolate. The rest of us, however, had no problem massacring said bunny.
Ian cleaned up for his first Easter. Joy made him an adorable Easter pail and filled it full of goodies and snacks, Grandpa bought Ian a G.I. Joe Easter basket (complete with a wind up jeep that zooms across the floor), and Ms. Virginia brought Ian a big fluffy bunny. Despite our relatively quite holiday, I’d consider it a highly succesful first Easter for Ian, with many more to look forward to.