Tuesday, April 11, 2017

{This and That}

It's Holy Week!  I'm going to have a quieter online presence this week so that I can get some Spring Cleaning and spiritual prep going here before Easter arrives.  But before I do so...

Some of my Holy Week posts from past years:
Welcoming Holy Week (from way back in 2013!)
Some Spring Arts and Crafts for your Easter season
A few Easter Basket ideas (I've got more coming below!)


Also, one year I blogged through the liturgical work of Christina Rossetti, including her poetic meditations for the days of Holy Week.  Here is yesterday's:
"The Voice of my Beloved."
Once I ached for thy dear sake:
Wilt thou cause Me now to ache?
Once I bled for thee in pain:
Wilt thou rend My Heart again?
Crown of thorns and shameful tree,
Bitter death I bore for thee,
Bore My Cross to carry thee,
And wilt thou have nought of Me?
If you'd like to read more, you can find them here.  (Just scroll down to the bottom of that search page and work your way forward through the week.)  We are reading them again this year because we're covering Year 2 poetry in Morning Basket.


While we're on the topic of Easter: let's chat about Easter baskets!  We don't do much candy and I really try to avoid the little odds and ends that accumulate when gifting baskety items for eight young kids.  Over the years, I have come up with more ideas than I could ever use! So I figured I'd pull together some ideas off the top of my head.  And if you order in the next couple days and have Prime shipping, it will all arrive with time to spare. ;)

:: We love our growing collection of Schleich animals!

:: I like to include replacement outdoor "toys" like sidewalk chalk and bubbles.  We got a couple nice quality jump ropes last year.  We also do gardening supplies like pots, spades, and seeds or baby plants to watch and tend.  (I have a black thumb, so whatever the kids grow is pretty much all we attempt.)  Also, new beach toys are always welcome!  We have particularly liked the Ikea shovels.

:: Nature study supplies are always a hit.  Binoculars are a bit pricey for a basket (but make a great birthday gift for middle-aged kids through adults!), but loupes are perfect.  Insect growing kits for a butterfly or praying mantis are great heading into summertime, or you could just get a habitat and do some critter collecting of your own!  (We're planning a snailery thanks to the Handbook of Nature Study and Pets in a Jar.)  Watercolor postcards, pocket watercolors, and waterbrushes make a simple portable art kit. You could even tuck them into a little zipped pouch.

:: Handicrafts are my favorite category for Easter baskets.  We give craft kits pretty much every year: we have done kits for embroidery, sewing, paper crafts, woodburning, and more.  My older boys are getting these Maker Kits that I picked up cheaply -- we'll see how well they work!  I like the look of these string art kits but haven't tried them yet. Older kids who already have developed some skills get extra supplies for the projects they love, like stacks of wool felt, more kite paper for suncatchers. peg peopleroving for felting, or a new project book that's a bit above the beginner level.

:: Fun school supplies work also.  Gianna and Cate have been experimenting with lettering -- gelly rolls come in every color and can be a nice addition to schoolwork.  We go through a lot of post-its here!  I buy a multi-colored package and give one color to each child to use for bookmarks.  And have you jumped on the Frixion bandwagon yet?  Erasable pens that actually work!  We use these for almost all of our lessons.

:: Small (or travel-sized) games make fun additions and tuck into a basket nicely: Set, a miniature chess set, Uno, Skip-Bo, Spot It, Phase Ten. Quirkle, Tangoes, Dutch BlitzSleeping Queens.  Mad Libs and Doodle Books fall in this same category and are nice to have in the car.

:: My kids love miniature books and they are so perfect for baskets!  A few favorites:  Elsa Beskow has lovely miniature hardbacks and we enjoy Sendak's Nutshell Library.  Another option is to get a bigger set, like the Brambly Hedge collection (or even a boxed Beatrix Potter collection!) and break them up to put one in each basket or give to the same child but over a few years.

(Links are affiliate links -- happy shopping!  Thanks for your support.)


Charlotte Mason West's next event just opened for registration last week: the Conference at Puget Sound, coming this September!

I'm not organizing this Seattle-area event, but a lovely group of ladies are heading it up and the wonderful Nancy Kelly is giving all the talks!  I've heard that the retreat center is quiet and beautiful, right on the Sound.  I'm not sure if I'll be attending yet -- it depends on how I feel after baby arrives in July, God willing -- but if I end up going, I'd love to see you there. Either way, it promises a great time. Head over for more details!


This week is our last week of the school year!  We will have exams during Easter week and then we'll be off for summer.  I'm making a monster list of projects that I'm hoping to take on with my free time during naps. Only half of it will likely get done, but I should at least have nesting energy helping me along because I also just entered the third trimester!  Hitting lots of exciting milestones over here.

Speaking of exams, I haven't shared any of our exams for this year yet. I'll be playing a little catch up on those posts at the end of this month because I like to have them "filed" here for my own records.


Our nature study outing was rained out again this past week, so I contented myself with catching up on the March wildflowers in my nature journal, painting from my photos from previous weeks.

A very pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon!


Wishing you a blessed Holy Week, friends!  I'll be back after Easter -- or you can catch me over on Instagram sharing some peeks into our devotional observances.


  1. Lovely post filled with way too many fun things! Thanks, Celeste, for your wonderful ideas.

  2. Thank you so much! I don't always even do Easter baskets but I made some really nice ones using mostly your ideas so I hope those affiliate points came through to you! Oh and I got those erasable pens for myself -- AMAZING. Off to get some for my sister now. What a great invention! You are like the Idea Factory Celeste. You come up with so many great ones!

    1. Thanks, Andrea! <3 I actually wanted to get an even more comprehensive list up because I have so many more ideas than that, but I couldn't pull it together in time. Maybe next year! :)

      Oh, and one of my friends mentioned that she LOVES her Frixion pens, but she has to remember not to write checks with them! LOL