Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lively Irises

With Easter so late this year, irises were the main attraction in my in-law's yard over the weekend. Here are a few of the stars ready for their close-up.

In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnished dove;
In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

-- Lord Alfred Tennyson

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Treasures in Nana's Garden

There is always something beautiful in bloom at my in-laws' Georgia home, and I discovered some precious treasures among the azaleas Easter Sunday. Here are four of Nana and Pop's prize blooms.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Brothers and Sisters at Easter

"In thee my soul shall own combined the sister and the friend." -- Catherine Killigrew

"I, who have no sisters or brothers, look with some degree of innocent envy on those who may be said to be born to friends." -- James Boswell

"A brother shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams." -- Author Unknown

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply." -- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

"Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet." -- Vietnamese Proverb

"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." -- Clara Ortega

"A sibling may be the keeper of one's identity, the only person with the keys to one's unfettered, more fundamental self." -- Marian Sandmaier

One of my holiday delights is capturing special moments between the children. I want them to look back at photos of their growing up and remember how much joy they shared. The photos above represent some of my favorite images from Easter this year -- so full of love and sweetness.

But I just had to share one more. As a mother I am always striving for that elusive perfect family photo -- one that beautifully captures and forever preserves an idyllic slice of our life together. Of course, I had this goal in mind when we arrived at Joe's parents' home for the afternoon yesterday. I reveled in the possibility when we piled out of the mini-van and Joe announced, "OK, children, you are at your mother's command for pictures before you can do the Easter egg hunt."
The children dutifully indulged me in group and individual photos, but quickly tired of taking pictures. They were eager to move on to other activities, so I ushered everyone to the final spot I had scouted for pictures.
"OK, just one more," I promised, "and you can have the Easter egg hunt."
I nestled the children between my mother-in-law's lush pink azaleas for our final shot, repositioning them a couple of times to assure the perfect frame. When I stepped back to take the photo, all four looked back at me with lackluster, clenched-teeth smiles. So, hoping to excite them about the fun to come, I encouraged, "Say 'Happy Easter!' " as I lifted my camera to take the picture.
"Happy Easter!" the chorus of four voices rang out. As they yelled, Carson lunged forward, causing a domino reaction, and this was the real-life moment I caught:

This is the moment just before the children tumbled into the azaleas, Mary Ashley and Emma crying when their brothers landed on top of them. But doesn't Emma -- unaware that she is about to be tackled to the ground -- look adorable?


Who's ready to hunt Easter eggs?

"Sibling relationships - and 80 percent of Americans have at least one - outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship.  They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust."  -- Erica E. Goode

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter

Wishing you a blessed Easter weekend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

White Chocolate Nests


Seven-year-old Mary Ashley was a bit skeptical when I showed her the white chocolate nests I prepared for her first-grade class. "Why couldn't you just make regular cookies?" she asked with a groan. But a little birdie told me they were a hit with Mary Ashley -- and her classmates and their parents -- at today's Easter egg hunt.

White Chocolate Nests

My sister-in-law used candy nests as place markers on our Easter table last year for a simply sweet touch.

4 cups chow mein noodles
3 1/2 cups corn flakes, crushed
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares
Speckled egg candy
Mix noodles and cereal in a large bowl. Melt white chocolate according to package directions, and pour over noodle mix. Toss gently to coat the entire mixture. Use a small measuring cup (1/4 to 1/3 cup) to scoop the mixture onto wax paper. While the mixture is still pliable, shape the mounds into nests and push candy eggs into the center. Allow the white chocolate to set according to package directions, probably about 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter or airtight container. Yields about 25 nests. (Note: I used Baker's Premium White Chocolate, which worked well and did not harden too quickly. For the candy, I used two 4-ounce cartons of Whoppers Mini  Robin Eggs. I probably could have gotten by with one carton, but used two to have enough pink eggs.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Painting Easter Eggs

A few weeks ago we made our annual trip to our favorite pottery studio, Artistic Expressions in Prattville, to paint Easter eggs. The studio has moved to a new location since our last visit: 2481 Pinnacle Way in High Point Shopping Center between Belk and Blush. Here are a few of our favorite images from this year's outing.

Painting pottery Easter eggs has become one of our favorite family springtime traditions. This year I have all of our eggs from years past displayed in a large bowl on our kitchen table. The children have enjoyed looking at all of them and showing them to friends. It makes me smile to think of Carson, Christian, Mary Ashley and Emma one day showing the eggs to college friends or a potential mate. Before I know it, the dimpled hands so eager to hold those pretty eggs will belong to my children's children. We may add to our collection by the dozens by then!
I am feeling nostalgic tonight, but keep scrolling and you will see why. But keep going, and you will see the light! 

Painting Eggs: 2006-2011

We have been taking the children to a favorite pottery studio to paint Easter eggs for several years now. I didn't even think to take my camera with me when we first started the tradition, but it seems I take more and more photos each year.

From one year to the next, it is amazing to see how much the children have grown. But even as their color preferences and paint techniques change, I see common threads in photos taken through the years. Carson, our most serious artist, displays quiet focus with lips pursed in concentration. Christian sticks his tongue out as he works, his countenance relaxing with each stroke of the brush. Mary Ashley is our delicate princess -- her every movement dainty and sweet. And Emma radiates joy, whether she is painting or playing. Here is a look back at how my little bunnies have grown.

"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future." -- Gail Lumet Buckley

Egging Her On

Emma was the first to complete her pottery Easter egg, and let's just say that busyness becomes her. A bored Emma will find some creative ways to amuse herself, and she usually amuses the rest of us in the process.

Making Faces:

Making Mischief:

Making Up:

Making Every Day Brighter:

That's my girl.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Soft Spring Whites

I think of the garden after the rain;

And hope to my heart comes singing,

At morn the cherry-blooms will be white,

And the Easter bells be ringing!

-- Edna Dean Proctor

"So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth" (Hosea 6:3).

Well pleaseth me the sweet time of Easter

That maketh the leaf and the flower come out.

-- Bertran de Born

" 'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the Lord, 'Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool' " (Isaiah 1:18).

Ye sleeping buds, break

Open your green cerements, and wake

To fragrant blossoming for His sweet sake.

-- Margaret French Patton

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10).

'Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees

Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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