Apr 012013

We had such a nice Easter weekend together. My husband and I actually enjoyed some time alone, which is rare, because the weather was nice enough that the kids played in the backyard for several hours on Saturday. It’s still too cold to really feel like spring (in shady areas there’s still snow on the ground!) but in the Midwest, if the temperature gets above 40, we all say “Ooooh, it’s so warm out!” and open our windows. It’s not unusual to see people in shorts and t-shirts too, which I personally think is crazy.

Anyway, on Saturday we had Resurrection Rolls for breakfast, and dyed eggs with the kids, and my husband did some laundry and cleaning while I cooked. In the last few years, we’ve developed a routine that works very well with our church schedule. We always have our big Easter dinner on Saturday night, so we can have a leisurely Sunday breakfast, the kids can enjoy their Easter baskets, and I don’t have to spend 3 hours of my holiday in the kitchen. We go to church at 11:15 on Sunday, so everyone is usually starving by the time we get home at 1:30, and it’s nice to just be able to heat up delicious Easter leftovers. It works for us.

As a rule, we do not eat pork because my husband and I decided that it was in our family’s best interest to follow God’s blueprint for health as defined in the book of Leviticus (after all, God created our bodies, so we believe he knows what’s best for us). This is really very easy for us, and we all feel better now that unclean meats are no longer a regular part of our diet, but we do make one exception to this general rule for ham balls. These were a holiday tradition in my husband’s family, and he enjoys them, so we decided that on Easter Sunday we’ll have them for dinner. I believe, as with all things that I consider to be less than healthy, that moderation is the key, and eating pork once a year is an acceptable indulgence.

Over the years, I’ve developed my own recipe, and if you’d like to give ham balls a try, you will need:

3 1/2 pounds ham loaf mix (this is a blend of finely ground ham and ground pork. Ask for it at the meat counter)
1 1/3 cups cracker crumbs (I use saltines because they’re inexpensive)
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1/4 cup crushed pineapple

In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients until just mixed. Using a quarter cup measure (I use an ice cream scoop), shape ham loaf mixture into balls. (I flatten mine slightly, so they’re more egg-shaped). Place in a single layer on a well-greased, or foil-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with a lip. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine glaze ingredients; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Spoon over ham balls. Cover and bake at 325° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more, or until ham balls are just beginning to brown. Gently toss in glaze. Serve warm. Yield: About (30) 1/4 cup ham balls.

In addition to the glazed ham balls, we had my prize-winning hash brown casserole. I say prize-winning because it won 1st place in a newspaper recipe contest back in the 60s, and I discovered it, clipped and stashed in my husband’s Grandma’s recipe file after she passed away. I’ve modified the recipe because it originally called for crushed cornflakes and a crap-ton of butter, but it’s still fantastic. Every time I take it to a potluck, it’s the first dish emptied.  We also had roasted asparagus, strawberry spinach salad, the kids’ favorite chocolate peanut buster pie, and of course, sparkling grape juice.

DJ was happy because we gave him a fancy glass for his sparkling grape juice, so he could “do clinks” with us (this is what he calls making a toast).

On Sunday morning, the kids had fun searching for the eggs my husband hid all over the house. We always hide a dozen plastic eggs filled with candy or money, for each kid – pink for Bee, purple for Cakes, and blue for DJ – and my husband purposely makes DJ’s eggs really easy to find, and Bee’s eggs harder to find, since she’s almost 11 and needs more of a challenge. This time, he made them SO hard to find that we still haven’t located one of them. The kids also enjoyed their Easter baskets before getting ready for church. I gave each of them a DVD, a chocolate bunny, a Build-a-Bear gift card, and a couple small toys.

The girls were excited to wear these cute little Easter bows, sent to them by my sweet, generous reader and friend, Jessica, all the way from Louisiana.

When they were all dressed, I attempted to get a picture of them together in their Easter finery.

Getting decent pictures is a challenge these days, because DJ is going through his awkward and impossibly difficult picture-taking phase, and either refuses to look at the camera,

or he DOES look at the camera, but he makes a really weird face like this one.

Such a goofball!

Fortunately, the girls always have beautiful smiles, and that helps alleviate some of my holiday photography frustration.

We enjoyed a wonderful church service, with a performance by the children’s choir,

and our pastor gave a sermon about the victory we have in Jesus when we surrender our lives to him. We were each given a white flag, with a blank line where we could write down what we need to surrender to Christ, in order to be free. I wrote “my worry, fear, and insecurities,” because I seem to have a lot of those lately. We waved our flags in the air as we sang Chris Tomlin’s White Flag,

and I’m keeping my flag above my desk, as a reminder to stop stewing and fretting and wringing my hands, and leave my worries at the foot of the cross.

I feel so incredibly fortunate to attend a church where I’m continually encouraged, lifted up, and nurtured to grow in my faith.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35


  4 Responses to “Easter 2013 Recap”

  1. We say the same thing in New England! 40’s in March/April constitutes a heat wave, and I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt as I type this 🙂 Glad you had such a nice holiday 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing, your kids are adorable 🙂 Jane

  3. My mouth is watering thinking about that hashbrown casserole. I found the recipe on your other blog but am wondering what tweaks you made to it (e.g., the sub for corn flakes). Do you mind sharing your new, improved version? Thanks!

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