This past Easter we celebrated the holiday a little differently. In actuality, EVERY Easter is just a little bit different from the one before it – a side effect of my vexatious A.D.D. I suspect!!! This year my “passion” blossomed out of a “cavernous” fancy to “resurrect” (puns all very much intended) the Jewish roots of our Christian holiday and blend them altogether. I wanted to celebrate Jesus, our Passover Lamb, especially since this year Passover fell on Good Friday (2019). Perhaps you’re looking for ideas how to celebrate and you’ll find something here that trips your trigger?
The “Steady Eddy’s” of our holiday usually include new dresses/outfits for church + shoes to go with them + the same basic food & drink (except this year I added LAMB to the menu) + an Egg Hunt. And there is always some sort of fun activities to follow. So, let’s get started with the menu, and then we’ll work our way on down to the ever-evolvingfun stuff at the end…
— THE MENU —
A nice 10-lb spiral cut honey smoked ham.
Make a Chamoy glaze of apricots (2 cans plus the syrup), honey (1 cup), and spicy chili peppers (2 or 3 fresh green Cayenne peppers finely chopped/ground – or ½ tsp Cayenne powder). Place glaze ingredients in a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until reduced and thickened.
Heat ham in the oven, wrapped tightly in foil for about 1 hr and 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Place ham on serving platter and pour glaze over ham just before serving.
6 Lamb Chops
Preheat outdoor grill with charcoals, preparing to add mesquite or applewood chips just before grilling. While the charcoals are getting ready prepare the sauce and the lamb.
Sauce: ½ cup Olive Oil, ½ cup chopped onion, 3 cloves peeled and sliced garlic. Sauté in a sauce pan until onions are translucent, and then remove from heat. Place onions, oil, and garlic in a blender (I use my Bullet) also adding 2 Tablespoons low sodium Soy Sauce, 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar, 1 Tablespoon fresh Rosemary needles, 2 Tablespoons course ground mustard, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and about ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Blend until thoroughly emulsified. Set aside.
Rub lamb chops with salt and pepper.
Separate charcoals and sprinkle with wood chips. As soon as they begin to smoke, place chops on grill about 6 inches above heat and close the lid. Let them grill undisturbed for about 4 or 5 minutes. Lift the lid and flip the chops over to the other side. Close the lid and let grill for another 4 or 5 minutes. Lift the lid and check the internal temp of each chop. Continue flipping and cooking until each chop reaches an internal temp of 135 degrees (medium rare). Don’t eyeball it – use a thermometer for perfect results. The moment they reach temp, remove them from the grill, placing them on a dish. Let them rest for a minute or two, then drizzle each with sauce and serve with a sprig of Rosemary for garnish.
NOTE: I wish I could remember where I found this recipe so I could give them credit and kudos!!!! If you know, please let me know in the comments. And I’ll tell you, I am not a fan of lamb… (I just don’t care for the gamey flavor. I don’t like goat or goat cheese for the same reason) …BUT THIS LAMB was a wonderful surprise. My family LOVED it and have begged if I will make this every year from now on. So, if you don’t really care for lamb either, you might want to give this recipe a try. I promise it will change your mind.
TATER TOT HOT DISH
32 oz. bag of Tater Tots
1 cup onion, chopped
1 16-oz container French Onion Dip
1 jalapeno, minced
2 cups shredded Colby cheese
1 10-oz can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1 can French Fried Onions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish. Mix together the Onion Dip, jalapeno, cheese, soup, garlic powder, and salt. Toss in chopped onion and frozen tots. Use hands to mix tots and sauce all together. Arrange tot mixture in casserole dish. Top with French Fried Onions. Bake in oven about 60 minutes.
SWEET PEA SALAD
2-lb package frozen sweet peas, thawed
½ Red onion, diced
1 ½ cup Cheddar Cheese, cut into pea size cubes
8 slices bacon, fried crispy and crumbled
3 Tablespoons parsley, chopped (optional)
½ cup Sour Cream
¼ cup Mayo
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix together the sauce ingredients and carefully stir them into the thawed peas. Add the red onion and cheese and carefully incorporate. Taste to make sure there is enough salt and pepper. Place in serving dish and top with bacon for garnish.
1 dozen eggs, hard boiled (place cold eggs or fresh eggs in cool tap water in a pan big enough to fully cover the eggs with water, bring to a rolling boil on high heat on the stove and boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit 5 minutes and then pour off water. Let eggs cool. Eggs can then be peeled and placed in a zip bag in the refrigerator overnight.)
Cut eggs in half, remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork. Add about ¼ to ½ cup of Mayo or Miracle Whip to them until a thick creamy texture is achieved. Also add 1 to 2 teaspoons coarse ground mustard, and 2 Tablespoons each finely diced onion and sweet pickle relish. Stir until well combined. Drop dollops of yolk mixture into the split egg-white halves. Sprinkle with sweet paprika. Garnish each egg with finely chopped green onion or chives. If you have sweet pickles, slice into “pennies” and press a penny into the center of each egg. Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.
HOT CROSS BUNS
I usually use a hot roll mix and follow package directions, except to add a 1/3 cup of dried currants and 2 Tablespoons of orange zest to the mixed dough. Bake as directed. Let cool completely. Mix an icing of 1 cup powdered sugar and about a Tablespoon of milk (thin with additional milk a tiny drop at a time until desired thickness). Place icing in a zip bag and cut the corner off. Pipe a cross on top of each roll. Garnish with a few more currants and some orange zest.
This year I cheated and purchased frozen cinnamon rolls, and added the currants and some orange zest as a garnish after icing.
2 packages frozen rhubarb (or 5 cups fresh)
2 granny smith apples peeled, cored, and chopped
½ tsp. salt
Splash of lemon juice
½ cup of sugar
Stir together and place in a buttered casserole dish.
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 ½ sticks of butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla
¼ tsp salt
I sometimes mix this all together in a gallon size zip bag the night before and let sit on the counter until baking time. It saves me time later and gives the butter time to soak up the flour and oats and lends a nice crispiness to the finished product.
Serve warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Sweet Tea, Lemonade, Lemon water, or wine
Sunday Dinner is usually served immediately after the egg hunt. The children give the blessing and then we all start stuffing our faces.
— THE EGG HUNT —
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 19:13
This year’s egg hunt mostly consisted of plastic eggs strewn all over in the yard, all the way around the house. A few were perched in the limbs of the trees and some other slightly more difficult hidey spots. As per grand-daughter’s request I hid special GOLDEN eggs (1 per kid) in the more difficult places. They got to redeem those for one special prize each – their Easter Baskets! I put a little note inside each golden egg which told the kids where to look for their “special surprises.” The special Easter Baskets were filled with a few candies, some little toys, jewelry, Knick knacky things, and a pretty journal and fancy pen for each girl, which they’ll get to use as journals all summer.
— THE FUN STUFF —
Food – done….. Egg Hunt – done….. Let the games begin! As I said earlier we did a PASSOVER theme. Our Passover activities commenced down on the banks of the little brook that weaves a path by our backyard. It was the perfect setting for our first activity, saving baby Moses!
Saving Baby Moses
I made each girl a little bamboo raft (we have so much of it growing along our river front, it was a ready material that cost me nothing). Walmart had perfect little 6” baby dolls for about $2 each – I bought one for each girl.
Our youngest granddaughter wasn’t feeling well, so she went down for a nap while we did all the activities with her sister. But later, when she awoke, we did the whole thing all over again for her, exactly as we had done for her sister.
The girls wrapped their baby Moses in a blue blanket, laid him in his raft, and then walked down into the river and placed him on the water and let him float away as we all looked on. As baby Moses floated away we all prayed that God would save baby Moses’ life, just like in the Bible!
It really worked out that the one granddaughter was napping when the other granddaughter did this, so it seemed to each child as if there had only been one baby Moses. If they had both been involved for the shared experience, we would have only floated one baby Moses.
Little baby Moses slowly floated away and when he was finally out of sight I told the story of how Moses was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, how he then grew up to be a young man, and then found out that he was a Hebrew. He accidentally caused an Egyptian to die and then in fear ran away and lived with a Midianite priest and his daughters in the desert. That’s where he met God on a mountaintop in a burning bush, and God told him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let the Hebrew slaves go free.
The Plagues and Pharaoh Games
(I had prepared each of the plagues days before and had them ready in a box for this exercise).
I told the children how Moses went to Pharaoh to ask him to let the people go, but Pharaoh said, “NO!!!!!” I instructed the kids to yell, “NO!!!!!” whenever I asked them if Pharaoh let the people go.
The first plague was to turn the Nile River into blood: I poured water into a glass for each kid and added red drink powder to it. Then we tossed in some Swedish Fish to represent the fish that died. Then I asked, “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” – and I pointed to the kids to say, “NO, NO, NO!!!”
So God sent a second plague – Frogs: I had purchased some sticky frogs from Walmart and put them in a big jar. I handed the children the jar of frogs and let them take the frogs out and stick them to us and squish them and play with them for a bit. Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and I pointed to the children who said), “NO, NO, NO!!!”
So God sent a third plague – Lice: I used confetti eggs, called Cascarones here in south Texas, and divided two dozen of them between each of us and we all got to break them on each other’s heads. This always causes lots of laughing. Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and I pointed to the children who said), “NO, NO, NO!!!”
So God sent a fourth plague – Flies: I used black pipe cleaners, cut into about 4” pieces and twisted them into wings and a body shape and I filled a glass jar full of them. I took the lid off this jar and dumped the flies in the kids’ hands and let them put them on us grown-ups, in our hair, down our shirts, etc. They then had fun picking them up off the ground and tossing them around some more. Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and the kids yelled), “NO, NO, NO!!!”
So God sent a fifth plague – the dead animals: I found a cheap container of farm animals at Walmart. I pulled it out, opened the lid and dumped the animals out, instructing the children to put all the animals on their backs with their feet up in the air, which they happily did. Some would fall over as they were setting others upside down so it took a while to get them all to “die.” I talked about how stinky that must have been. Pee-Yoooo! Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and the kids yelled), “NO, NO, NO!!!”
So God sent a sixth plague – Boils: Now, I know you are probably going to think I’ve lost my marbles on this one, but I cut up about 6 panty-liners into 3 pieces each and wrote “BOILS” on each piece with a Sharpie marker. I put them in a jar. I opened this jar and let the kids take the BOILS out one by one and peel the paper off the back, and stick them to all of us on our bare arms and legs and faces, and we stuck a bunch of them on the kids as well. The sticky is sort of irritating to the skin after a while so it produced a decent effect, but it didn’t hurt to pull them off later. Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said (and the kids yelled), “NO, NO, NO!!!”
So God sent a seventh plague – Hail: I had purchased several boxes of ping pong balls (6 balls for $1 at Walmart). I gave each person a handful of balls and on the count of three we all simultaneously tossed the balls in the air and let them fall on our heads. We then picked them up and tossed them at each other for a little while until I said, “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said…“NO, NO, NO!!!”
So God sent an eighth plague – Locusts: For this plague I produced a zip bag with a leaf of romaine lettuce per each person of us. Since locusts are veggie eaters, on my mark we would have a lettuce eating contest. 1-2-3-crunch, crunch, crunch!!! Hey this is one way to get kids to eat their veggies. Ha! And then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said … “NO, NO, NO!!!” (-muffled through their mouthfuls of lettuce).
So God sent a ninth plague – darkness: For this one I had purchased a game of Blindfolded Twister. It wasn’t a good thing to play outside, where we were at the time, so I improvised and had the kids cover their eyes and try to find mommy, then daddy, then grandpa, then grandma, then sister. (We did play the Twister game later, in the house and it was perfect). Then I said – “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, will you let my people go!” but Pharaoh said … “NO, NO, NO!!!”
So Moses informed Pharaoh that if he didn’t let the slaves go that God would send a plague of death of the firstborns among the Egyptians. Moses told all the Hebrew slaves to kill a baby lamb and use the blood to paint on their doorposts, then cook and eat the baby lamb with unleavened bread. And that night when the spirit of death came to Egypt it PASSed-OVER the houses with the lamb’s blood, but the Egyptian firstborns all died, including Pharaoh’s son, which made Pharaoh sad and mad enough to say “GO, GO, GO!!!”
Here’s how we did this next part…
I told the girls that Jesus came to set us free from our slavery to sin. The Bible says that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). In the history of mankind there has been no one who was without sin – only Jesus. And that is why He was the perfect Lamb of God – to take away our sins.
John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
I gave each girl a little lamb, a nail, a Popsicle stick cross, and a hammer, and we nailed their lambs to their crosses. I explained that if that lamb was a real lamb the nail would make the lamb bleed.
I then gave each girl two hearts cut from foam board that I had punched holes in all around the edge. I gave them each a needle and thread so they could stitch the two pieces together to make a pocket. As they stitched I explained that we all have to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus (which means we have to turn from our sinful nature and open our hearts up to Him). Once their hearts were sewn together I gave the girls red paint, representing the blood of the lamb, and we used a clump of weeds to paint the “blood” on their hearts. And then we asked Jesus to come into our hearts – which was represented by placing the lamb-crosses inside the pockets of the hearts they made and painted.
I explained that we all have a body and we all have a spirit. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden our bodies will someday die, but our spirits will either go on to live with Jesus in heaven or with the devil in hell. If we prepare our hearts and let Jesus come in to us, even though our bodies die, the second death – the death of our spirit – will PASS-OVER and we’ll get to live with Jesus in heaven forever.
At the Last Supper, Jesus said His body was broken for us, and He took bread and broke it and asked His disciples to eat of that bread in remembrance of Him.
I took a saltine cracker and broke it and divided the pieces with everyone. Then we partook of the Lord’s body which was broken for us.
Jesus, at the Last Supper, then took the cup of wine and said it represented His blood that was shed for us for the remission of our sins. He asked His disciples to drink of it in remembrance of Him until the day that He comes back for all of us.
I then poured us each a little cup of wine, and we partook of the Lord’s blood that was shed for us.
Family Movie Time
After our riverside adventures, we all got a heaping helping of dessert and snuggled up on the couch in the mancave to watch The Ten Commandments (w/Charleton Heston) together as a family. This was always a tradition in my son-in-law’s growing up life to watch that movie at Easter, and what a lovely tradition to continue.
A Craft Nightcap
We girls left the mancave for one final thing – crafting the Red Sea. After asking Jesus into our hearts, the Red Sea event is kind of like a water baptism. First we are saved by Jesus, then we are baptized. After that, our souls make the long journey to our heavenly “promised land.”
And that was our Easter/Passover of 2019! I hope if you have the chance to do this with your family for your next Easter that you are as blessed as we were by the experience. All glory to God!
He is not here for He [Jesus] is risen!
“I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and recieve you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3