Believe it or not, most of the time, I can forget that I have FIVE kids. Once you have a couple children you get kind of used to (which is far different than appreciative of) the general noise and hubbub. I’d be making dinner anyway, now I just set a fuller table.
However, there are a few times a year when it becomes abundantly clear that I’ve um… abundantly reproduced. The moment of realization usually occurs at the register at Target. There’s Christmas, obviously, Halloween, back to school season (which now starts in June – what?!) and Easter. Easter is definitely the most painful. I walk up to the checkout lane and lay down the last hundred bucks of my tax return so that I can what? So that I can spend the next month scraping jelly beans out of the carpet and consoling toddlers who’ve wound their pecking chicks past the point of no return. Super Suck.
Still, it just feels wrong to forgo the whole ordeal. I mean what would childhood be without a few moments of commercialized awe? So here’s a brief list of ideas for the Easter Bunny that won’t leave your kids in a sugar coma and your house buried under yet another pile of stuffed bunnies. Most of these items are things you’re going to be buying soon anyway, or small delightful upgrades of necessities. There are some treats (come on) but the presentation lets you get away with making a little look like a lot.
Easter Basket and Easter Egg Fillers That Don’t Suck
- Bubble bath, or trial size fancy body wash for bigger kids. Here’s a hint, if you live near Ikea (or plan your trip well) you can pick up a four pack of travel bottles for $.99. This means you can buy one bottle of cheap bubble bath and split it up among all your littles.
- Boo boo bunnies: they hold ice for boo-boos, duh, but they could also hold the fancy bath wash from above for an older child.
Instructions can be found here.
- Cute bandaids: there is the slightest possibility these may actually be used for their intended purpose and not just for body decoration
- Sidewalk chalk: Surely last summer’s supply has been
left out in the rain to dissolveused up by now.
- Small bottles of bubbles: Bubbles are one of those things that I think were invented to drive parents insane. Little kids usually get more on themselves or the floor than into the air. However, my fabulous step-mother turned me onto the idea of getting those mini bottles used for weddings and it works brilliantly. There’s only about 4 tablespoons to spill, the stick is attached to the top, and you can get a pack of 12 for around $3 at craft stores in the wedding section. If you’re feeling crafty you can design labels on standard return address sized labels and make them all cute and Eastery.
- Flipflops/crocs: Summer is around the corner, and no, last year’s
can’t be founddon’t fit.
- Stickers: cut them up and put them in the eggs, or put whole sheets in the basket. You might save some band-aids this way.
- Popcorn ball eggs: Popcorn balls are essentially like Rice Krispie treats, with popcorn instead. By using popcorn you can make large eggs (just mold it into an egg shape with your hands, or use a jumbo plastic egg as a mold) that look really impressive and aren’t actually that bad for your kids. Wrap in plastic wrap tied at the top and voila!
- Chick banks: For you crafty types, might I suggest these adorable jars, featured over on Number 2 Pencil? She uses a cricket machine to cut the nose and eyes out, but you could just as easily use plain old craft paint. Cut a slit in the top of the jar and you have yourself an adorable
- Change: Quarters are a big deal at my house. We pay slave wages. You might get a couple quarters for dusting the blinds, or rubbing mom’s feet. So just finding a couple bucks in the yard is a huge win. The little girls don’t care so much, and will happily trade their money for the sticker eggs or barrettes.
- Barrettes: My little girls love “hair-dos”. They love them so much that we can’t seem to keep them around for a week. Buy them at the dollar store (10 pairs for a buck) and stash a pair in each egg.
- Bath toys: Until someone figures out how to keep that nasty black stuff from growing inside bath toys, they will need to be replaced seasonally. Look at that, Easter comes just in time.
- Seed packets: The quintessential spring supply. You can pick them up at Aldi right now for a few cents.
- Small flashlights: These are a hot commodity at my house. The littles use them for light battles in a dark room, the bigs use them at night for not-so-secret reading. Again, try the dollar store.
- Books: This is a big ticket item in my older kids’ basket. If you live in TN, as we do, you need to hit MacKay’s which will completely change your perception of the used bookstore. You can get great books (Newbury winners, etc) for $.25-$.75. The latest books in a series (The Hunger Games) will cost you $4. However, you can bring in old books or video games to trade and end up getting Easter goodies for free. If you don’t live near a MacKays, Half.com is a great resource too.
- Playdoh: Ah, the smell of new play-doh. Enough said. The generic kind is almost as good.
- iTunes or Amazon cards: Let me make a prediction. If you have children over the age of six, sometime in the next week someone is going to beg for an app, a song download, or a movie to rent. Be a hero. Say yes up front with a gift card. If, like me, you have only 2 big kids, you can pick up the three pack of $10 cards and still have one left over for the Easter Bunny.
- Peeps on a stick: Come on, these things are adorable. they provide the sugar component and the vertical component necessary in any respectable Easter Basket. If you need directions, or just want to know who took this lovely photo go here.
- Twisty straws: My big kids still fight over getting to use the twisty straws. It’s also a go-to way to get my little girls to eat soup.
- Jars of sugary cereal: If you’ve read my $300/month food budget, you know we don’t have much variety in breakfast cereal. I never buy the sugary kid cereal, except once a year for a beach trip. So finding a jar of sweet goodness (especially the kind with pastel Easter marshmallows) tucked into a basket is a huge delight. Besides, it can’t possibly be any worse for you than a bag of jelly beans. And just this once you can call it breakfast. Ta-da! One meal taken care of. Two
birdsbunnies, one stone.
Ready, set, go! Fill those baskets, bunnies!