Easter Basket Ideas for Kids

pile of dyed eggs

Easter is just around the corner and of course that means thinking about figuring out Easter basket ideas for the kids and what exactly those Easter gifts should be. This year it’s going to be quite a bit different for most of us. The biggest of the Christian holidays and we’ll all be celebrating at home this year with non of the usual traditions!

If I’m honest, it’s been years since we’ve done Easter gifts in our house. Typically the days leading up to and including Easter include many egg hunts, events, and fun memories that I haven’t felt the need to compile Easter baskets of our own. On Easter the focus is more on church and family.

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In this year of quiet, doing less, and making memories at home we are going to celebrate the Resurrection and worship as a family at home and online, and I think that we might just have to include Easter baskets for the kids. They will be so excited!

If you are like me, you don’t want more stuff  in your house and you want things that encourage creativity and action! I’ve put together a list of over 50 Easter basket ideas for kids that I know my 3 would enjoy. These are especially good ideas for keeping our kids busy during this time of self-distancing!

easter basket with eggs

Easter Basket Ideas For Kids

Indoor Activities, Crafts, and Kits

Fun, Personal Items:

  • New Flip Flops Check out Old Navy or Children’s Place for sales.
  • Graphic T-Shirt
  • Summer PJs
  • Warmies Our local bookstore has these, yours might too!
  • Stainless Steel Water Bottle My kids received these for Christmas and have loved them
  • Favorite Foods Treats you don’t normally buy are always a great idea for the Easter basket. And being able eat things from it might make the days at home a little more special.
    • Snacks
    • Candy
    • Drinks

Outdoor Activities:

Christian Themed Books, DVDs, CDs

Will you be putting together Easter baskets for your kids this year? What are your favorite Easter gifts? If you choose to skip the tradition all together this year or spend less and go super simple, no guilt from me!

wooden easter basket

Homemade Naan Recipe

Homemade naan recipe stacked on a plate

We love this delicious, simple homemade naan recipe! My kids frequently request it (and butter chicken).

Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not naive enough to think this is like what you’d get living in India or at an Indian restaurant but it’s still absolutely amazing and beats anything you can buy at the grocery store. (I’ve tried the premade kind from a large supermarket grocery store and was not impressed 😉 )

plate of cooked homemade naan

I love breads. Naan might top the list for me. I’ve been known on multiple occasion to go to an Indian restaurant and only order naan. On vacation one year, I saw in Indian option in a mall food court. Of course, I had to order naan. I don’t think the poor man could handle the thought of us sitting there eating plain naan and sent out a bowl of chicken curry as well. I didn’t complain about that all!

If you enjoy naan or even if you just enjoy bread, I hope that you’ll make this recipe! It’s perfect with butter chicken or a curry dish. It would also make a great wrap for sandwiches (check out this recipe for an Indian themed chicken sandwich), naan pizza, or even to snack on plain.

homemade naan dough balls resting on a plate

After kneading the dough together, you let it double in size and then divide into balls. Cover with a towel and again let them double in size.

homemade naan rolled out

After that second resting period, get your grill or skillet heating up and start rolling out your naan into circular or oblong shapes! Then then you are able to cook and enjoy this homemade naan recipe!

Garlic also makes a fantastic addition to naan! If garlic is your thing, be sure to turn this into a garlic naan recipe by microplaning or finely mincing some fresh garlic and kneading it into the dough. You can also infuse the butter you brush on top of the naan with garlic – perfection!

 

close up shot of a stack of homemade naan

Homemade Naan Recipe

4.7 from 3 reviews
Homemade Naan Recipe
Serves: 16 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3½ cups flour
  • Optional - 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2-4 tablespoons melted butter
Instructions
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until frothy.
  2. Add milk, baking soda, egg (poke the yoke several times after you add it to the bowl), salt, sugar, and 1 cup of flour.
  3. Add enough of the reminder of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  4. Cover bowl and let rise until double in size. (Around 1 hour)
  5. If adding garlic, knead into the dough now. (Can also add to just part of the dough)
  6. Divide dough into 16 balls, cover with a towel and allow to double in size. (Around 30 minutes)
  7. Roll each ball into a fairly thin circle.
  8. Preheat grill or skillet (stainless steel or cast iron) to medium high. Make sure it's good and hot.
  9. Before cooking, turn heat to medium low.
  10. To cook, brush one side of naan with butter. Put buttered side down onto grill or skillet. It should bubble up right away. Brush top side with butter. One side will be done in a minute or two.
  11. Watch carefully - you don't want to over cook. When the bottom is golden brown in spots, flip and cook the other side.
  12. When finished, remove and stack on a plate. Cover with a towel to keep warm until all the naan in finished.

stack of simple and delicious homemade naan!

 

 

Easy and delicious naan. One of my favorite breads. You can make it in on the grill or a skillet.

Here it is after being cooked on the grill.

Easy and delicious naan. One of my favorite breads. You can make it in on the grill or a skillet.

This is when it’s cooked in a skillet.

Originally published March 12, 2014

Favorite Books Read in 2019

stack of books to read with glasses resting on top

2019 was a good year for reading! If you are wondering “What good books should I read?”, I probably can help you out! In all, I believe this list comes to 80 books. Not too shabby. My 2020 reading rate is off to a much slower start. 😉

This book list also includes chapter books I read to or listened to with the kids. (Those books are marked by an *.) There are also a good number of children’s novels Kenna and I both read (separately) and I few I just read.

I have divided this list into a handful of broad categories and I’ll try and tell you the highlights of each group! It was interesting for me to see which books I still get excited about a year later.

The categories are: Fiction (including classic novels), Missionary Biographies, Biographies/Memoirs/Historical Non Fiction, Christian Non Fiction, Other Fiction and Children’s Novels

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Fiction

Little Women
The Count of Monte Cristo
Jane Eyre
Daniel Deronda
Middlemarch
Till We Have Faces
The Chosen
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader*
The Five Red Herrings
Becoming Mrs Lewis
A Portrait of Emily Price

I had so much fun re-reading some of my favorite classic novels! The 4 books in bold are my top picks from the category. I had forgotten just how good they were: Little Women, The Count of Monte Cristo, Daniel Deronda, and The Chosen.

Of course Jane Eyre and the CS Lewis books are also must reads.

A friend told me Middlemarch was her favorite George Elliot book, so I tackled it for the first time. I enjoyed it, but still loved the story of Daniel Deronda more. I am going to read it a second time, because I have a feeling the story will grow on me. Deronda was like going back to an old friend. 😉

Missionary Biographies

The Hiding Place
Through Gates of Splendor
God’s Smuggler
Evidence Not Seen
Daring to Hope

Honestly, I don’t have a top favorite. I’d say read them all! Except for Daring to Hope, these were all re-reads for me. Each of these individuals have amazing testimonies – these books are so encouraging and convicting. 

Biographies/Memoirs/Historical Non Fiction

Growing Up Amish
How to Be Like Walt +
The Boys in the Boat
Save Me the Plums
The Push +
Code Girls +
The King’s Speech +
The Magnolia Story
Shoe Dog

I love this category. True stories are so fascinating. I also enjoy learning about times in history I know little about and about people who live lives nothing like mine. Books are a great way to expand your horizons and keep educating yourself. The Boys in the Boat and Save Me the Plums are probably my top picks. Both books were very well written (and made me want to pick up other books by those authors). I also really enjoyed Code Girls (I was so clueless about this part of history), The King’s Speech, and How to Be Like Walt. If you are into rock climbing at all, The Push is a must read! (Actually, I’ve only been rock climbing once and I still really enjoyed it.)

The Magnolia Story and Shoe Dog were easy reads that I did enjoy and found fascinating how these “empires” got their starts, but they were a little stressful! I found myself wanting to read a not so risk driven entrepreneurial story after that. 🙂

neat stack of books waiting to be read

Christian Non Fiction

If
God in the Dock
The Reason for God
The Practice of the Presence of God
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus
Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus
Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus
Church History in Plain Language
The Jewish Jesus

Introverts in the Church
Missionary Mom
Memory Making Mom
Gift from the Sea
Friendish
It’s All Under Control
Everyday Love
2 Chairs

My number one pick(s) would probably have to be Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus and Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus. I LOVED them and found my self talking about them all the time. They also have helped me as I read the Bible.

I also quite enjoyed Keller’s The Reason for God and The Practice of the Presence of God. If is a super short and good book by Amy Carmichael based off of 1 Corinthians 13. So, my number one picks remain but after that I recommend any of those first 9 books.

In the last segment, Introverts in the Church I was just eh about. And 2 Chairs I didn’t love. Friendish is a thought provoking look at just what Christian friendship should look like. Everyday Love is a Bible study I enjoyed. The others were all quick reads I enjoyed but didn’t love enough to make the top segment. 

Other Non Fiction

White Fragility
Rising Strong
Essentialism
Smart Money Smart Kids
Everyday Millionaire

White Fragility is worth reading. It will make you think and hopefully see things from a perspective beyond what you currently know. Rising Strong is one of Brene Brown’s books and I recommend reading her work. You won’t agree with everything, but again they make you think and have a lot of good stuff in them.

The other 3 books were all fine, but nothing life changing.

Children’s Novels

Bethlehem Books:
God King
The Lost Baron
The Borrowed House
Red Falcons of Tremoine
Becky Landers
Downright Dencey
Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal

The Penderwicks
The Pernderwicks On Gardam Street
The Penderwicks in Spring
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
The Penderwicks at Last

The Black Stallion
The Black Stallion Returns
Son of the Black Stallion

Grandfather’s Dance
Mask of the Wolf Boy
White Horse
Misty of Chincoteague

10 of these books my 8 year old and I both read separately. Black Stallion and Misty I haven’t read since I was a kid and they are so good! White Horse is the first Elizabeth Goudge book I have read, and the only one our library has. I always see Sarah Clarkson recommend her books and wanted to try them.

Children’s Books Read to the Kids

Sarah Plain and Tall*
Skylark*
Caleb’s Story*
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader*
The Trumpet of the Swan*
The Wheel on the School*
Snow Treasure*
The Sword in the Stone*
The Secret Garden*
James and the Giant Peach*
Because of Winn-Dixie*
Where the Red Fern Grows*
The Cricket in Times Square*
More All of a Kind Family*
Tuesdays at the Castle*
Holes*

A lot of these were books I read growing up and it was fun reading them with the kids. The Sarah Plain and Tall series is so good. They are also quick reads. Snow Treasure, All of a Kind Family, Dawn Treader, and The Wheel on the School I all enjoyed as a kid and again this past year. 

My 6 six year said that his favorites that we read aloud or listened to the audio book of this year were:

  • The Trumpet of the Swan
  • Because of Winn Dixie.

My 8 year old said she liked all of them but when forced to pick she said:

  • Holes
  • Tuesdays at the Castle
  • Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Snow Treasure
  • Secret Garden

Enough words about what I read in 2019! My question for you is, what where your favorite books read last year?

Stack of library books to read

Easy Butter Chicken

Bowl off easy butter chicken on a wooden board

This easy butter chicken recipe is so delicious! It’s my husband’s favorite Indian dish. Indian should probably be in quotation marks, because I’m sure this is a thoroughly Americanized version. But that’s okay, because everyone enjoys it!

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Another plus is that except for one ingredients, you probably already have everything in your kitchen or can grab it inexpensively at your local grocery store. So don’t the list of ingredients scare you! This easy butter chicken recipe is so simple and comes together quickly.

Plate with spices on it

Garam masala, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves.

What’s the one special ingredient? Garam masala. This spice mixture smells amazing. You can find it at an Indian store or even try to make your own blend. You’ll find flavors like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon in the blend along with others! Doesn’t it sound intriguing?! Of course, it’s also available on Amazon!

You can also use garam masala in this delish appetizer: Indian Layer Dip.

Butter Chicken is a favorite in our house. It is even one of our go to options for company. Most of our guests haven’t had it before but this dish is loved by everyone.

Serve over rice (or cauliflower rice if you prefer). Of course it’s amazing with naan or you can simply have a salad or roasted broccoli to round out the meal.

pot of butter chicken on the stove

The leftovers taste just as amazing as the first day, so this is a meal you could prepare the night before and pull out and gently reheat on the stove while the rice is cooking on a Sunday after church.

Aren’t those types of meals the best?

You will want to be sure to check out this recipe for homemade naan, as well! The prepackaged super market variety doesn’t compare. My kids love it.

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

A plate of easy butter chicken served over rice

4.5 from 2 reviews
Butter Chicken
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
Sauce
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 T. finely minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 T. finely minced ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. garam masala
  • 1½ t. cumin
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups tomato puree
  • 1½ cups half and half
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 t. salt
  • pepper
Chicken
  • oil
  • 1½ pounds chicken cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 t. garam masala
  • ⅛ t. cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 T. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Cooked rice for serving
Instructions
Sauce
  1. In a large pan saute onions until tender. Add in ginger, garlic, butter, lemon juice, garam masala, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, and bay leaf.
  2. Cook until ginger and garlic are done.
  3. Add tomato puree and stir and heat through.
  4. Add in half and half and yogurt. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust other seasonings if needed.
Chicken
  1. In a skillet heat a small amount of oil and brown chicken.
  2. Add garam masala, cayenne pepper, and a little salt
  3. Add a few spoonfuls of cooked sauce and let the chicken finish cooking.
  4. Add cooked chicken to the sauce mixture.
Finish
  1. Combine and arrowroot powder and water and add to the butter chicken. Cook until the mixture thickens and is heated through.
  2. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Bowl of butter chicken with a gray dish towel in the background

Easy Meal Plan

chalkboard with the word meal on it.

This week was a strange one! We’ve only had 1 of our kids for almost all of. Let’s just stay it’s been abnormally quiet and a lot more picked up around our house. (The last time I’ve had one child at home was over 6 years ago when our second was born!) We met up with the grandparents for an outing and then the big two went on home with them. They come back tomorrow. My 3 year old has done so well being alone (for her first time ever) but I think she’ll be so excited for her siblings to be around.

Because we just had the 3 of us, I wanted to tackle some projects around the house so meals were extra simple. No great markdowns or deals this week, either.

If you are new to the world of meal planning, be sure to check out this post on 7 different methods you can try! And obviously it’s even okay to switch up your methods for different period. 

And I have to ask, is it soup weather where you are at yet? I’m looking forward to making my first soup of the season soon! It’s been so hot for so long.

Easy Meal Plan

Saturday
(This is the day we were gone with Shaun’s parents)
Mexican Restaurant
Freddy’s

Sunday
Cereal (yep, that’s what happens when you are short on kids)
Pizza at small groups

Weeknight Suppers:
A bowl with teriyaki Chicken, roasted brussel sprouts/broccoli/onions/bell pepper, & brown rice x 2
Leftover pizza and veggies
Chorizo, Scrambled eggs, and sauteed veggies
Homemade Pizza (the kids are back)

Breakfasts: Pancakes

Weekday Lunches: Salads for Shaun and myself (with assorted veggies and some meat), PB sandwiches/butter toast with veggies and fruit for Reagan

Snack Options: Grapes and pretzels

What’s on your menu this week?