My son Joseph, who is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy, sesame and mustard, was thrilled to enjoy jelly beans just like so many others during the Easter season when we were introduced to allergen-friendly Gimbal's jelly beans last year. We can find bags of them at the local Wal-Mart, but when I saw the specialty packs for Easter and other varieties on the company website, I couldn't resist making an order. Our Easter desserts will be more festive with the pastel jelly beans and sour bunnies.
Our kitchen is showing signs of Easter's approach this week. My daughter Pamela had fun making Easter cookie shapes and pressing jelly beans into the frosting. Next, we plan to turn red velvet cupcakes (using our favorite recipe by Cybele Pascal) into mini Easter baskets with jelly beans and sour bunny in the middle of the frosting. Then we will place each cupcake into an Easter basket cupcake collar. Chocolate-covered strawberries and homemade chocolate eggs featuring melted Enjoy Life Mega Chunks also will make it onto our Easter celebration menu. Both kids enjoy deciding what desserts to make for the holiday so that the unsafe confections that abound on Easter are not missed.
While we make lots of safe treats to celebrate the holiday, a majority of the enjoyment is without food. Even just hopping around like bunnies, elicits giggles. They both had a blast over the weekend collecting eggs filled with trinkets at the NC FACES (Food Allergic Children Excelling Safely) annual food-free Easter egg hunt over the weekend. They both were thrilled to run through the field, baskets waving in their hands as they hurried to pick up their eggs. No surprise that Pamela grabbed mostly pink and purple eggs, while Joseph leaned toward the orange and yellow hues. It is such a pleasure to watch them happily open each egg to discover something new, such as a rainbow-colored ball, sparkly pink ring or bottle of bubbles, without a worry that a deadly piece of candy will pop out with the potential to ruin their fun outing. Instead of candy, the Easter bunny hides baskets in our house that are full of toys, books and other trinkets. Joseph is hoping the bunny will hop on over with a set of Hexbugs, while Pamela hopes the furry friend will grant her wish for a swimming doll.
The wood eggs the kids color each year also help us safely enjoy the Easter tradition of coloring eggs. Joseph and Pamela loved painting their eggs last week and we continue to admire their handiwork, featuring colorful swirls and polka-dots. Their creative juices will continue to flow this week with more crafts and fun school activities, including those plastic eggs and several printables featuring Easter and spring themes. For example, 2 Teaching Mommies provides an Easter symbol set of printables that features adorable little chicks and bunnies that Pamela has enjoyed using for patterns, counting and letter sorting. Both of my children love playing the roll and graph game that has them cheering to see if the chick, the bunny or even an egg will have the most rolls to make it to the top of the graph first.
I hope Easter day is as enjoyable for my kids as the week leading up to it has been. Now, if only I could make sure my little bunnies don't hop off with too many jelly beans during the next few days before Easter.