Pics from the day (mostly egg hunt)

As always, click the pic to see it larger.

Daddy and Ava having deviled eggs.

And now for more egg hunt pictures than you ever cared to see! Ava enjoyed finding the eggs so much (and mommy enjoyed taking pictures) that we had to do it twice. ;)








And lastly, Ava sitting with mommy, checking out her egg hunt loot. (Pay no attention to my nappy, growing out, looks like crap hair. I am SOOO in need of a haircut, it’s not even funny.)

Where’d the Easter bunny come from, after all?

Today is widely celebrated as Easter Sunday, the day that Christians believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead – on the third day after being crucified.
But if the holiday is supposed to focus on Christ and his resurrection from the dead, have you ever wondered what’s up with all the bunnies and eggs?

I’ve done a bit of research lately about the origins of Easter (more here) and came across the following About.com article on how the Easter bunny and eggs tie into all of it. I thought it was an interesting read and worth sharing, especially since we saw someone dressed up as an Easter bunny and kids having an egg hunt at a local park this morning and then we had our own egg hunt in the yard for Ava this afternoon. (She LOVED it by the way. Pics will follow at a later time, of course.) :)

Ostara’s Hare
From Jennifer Emick
The Pagan origins of the Easter Bunny

Have you ever wondered where the celebration of the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Christ acquired its unusual name and odd symbols of colored eggs and rabbits?

The answer lies in the ingenious way that the Christian church absorbed Pagan practices. After discovering that people were more reluctant to give up their holidays and festivals than their gods, they simply incorporated Pagan practices into Christian festivals. As recounted by the Venerable Bede, an early Christian writer, clever clerics copied Pagan practices and by doing so, made Christianity more palatable to pagan folk reluctant to give up their festivals for somber Christian practices.

In second century Europe, the predominate spring festival was a raucous Saxon fertility celebration in honor of the Saxon Goddess Eastre (Ostara), whose sacred animal was a hare.

The colored eggs associated with the bunny are of another, even more ancient origin. The eggs associated with this and other Vernal festivals have been symbols of rebirth and fertility for so long the precise roots of the tradition are unknown, and may date to the beginning of human civilization. Ancient Romans and Greeks used eggs as symbols of fertility, rebirth, and abundance- eggs were solar symbols, and figured in the festivals of numerous resurrected gods.

Pagan fertility festivals at the time of the Spring equinox were common- it was believed that at this time, when day and night were of equal length, male and female energies were also in balance. The hare is often associated with moon goddesses; the egg and the hare together represent the god and the goddess, respectively.

Moving forward fifteen hundred years, we find ourselves in Germany, where children await the arrival of Oschter Haws, a rabbit who will lay colored eggs in nests to the delight of children who discover them Easter morning. It was this German tradition that popularized the ‘Easter bunny’ in America, when introduced into the American cultural fabric by German settlers in Pennsylvania.

Many modern practitioners of Neo-pagan and earth-based religions have embraced these symbols as part of their religious practice, identifying with the life-affirming aspects of the spring holiday. (The Neopagan holiday of Ostara is descended from the Saxon festival.) Ironically, some Christian groups have used the presence of these symbols to denounce the celebration of the Easter holiday, and many churches have recently abandoned the Pagan moniker with more Christian oriented titles like ‘Resurrection Sunday.’

Note: This post is not meant to criticize anyone’s beliefs or say they are wrong. To each, his/her own. :) I just wanted to share the information I found for those who might be curious to learn about the bunny and egg origins, as I was. Of course, if you have information to the contrary, you are welcome to share it too.

Hope everyone is having a lovely day! :) It’s sunny and in the 70s here and couldn’t be a more perfect spring day.

Ugh – taxes!

Here it is April 15 and we still haven’t filed our 2005 income taxes. Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting it on my very public blog, but the good thing is that since “tax day” falls on a Saturday this year, we have until Monday to file. So we aren’t late – yet. What a relief!

Generally we would’ve filed by now, because let’s face it, everybody wants their tax return. But…this year we aren’t getting any money back. In fact, we owe. (Not a lot, but still.) Jody adjusted his withholdings this past year so that we’d get the maximum amount of money in each paycheck so we could afford to actually pay our bills. (Novel concept, I know.) But because of this, the gov’t didn’t get quite enough and we owe a couple hundred bucks.

Anyway, I am thankful for Turbo Tax and the fact that we pretty much have our taxes already done, we just need to give it the old once-over and submit it and send off our hard-earned moolah. Should be pretty easy, so why do we keep putting it off?

Holy turnout, Batman!; The ’stache club; and more…

Yesterday was our monthly API meeting. This month’s topic was focused on baby wearing, which is one of the eight AP ideals for infants. Our speaker talked a bit about different techniques for baby wearing; various slings, carriers, wraps and pouches; and safety. Then there was a slew of slings, carriers, wraps and pouches available for everyone to try out and get some hands-on experience. Most folks there seemed to already have a favorite kind that they use/used, but it was good to see the different varieties available.
I, for one, had a NoJo basic ring sling with Ava and never really got the hang of it. It was just so big and bulky. So instead, Ava was held in arms a lot. Then once she was a little older (around 4 months I think) I got a Mei Tei made by a WAHM (work-at-home mom) I knew from a message board and I liked that OK, but didn’t use it a lot because Ava was so heavy by that point. Then I finally got an Ergo carrier and LOVED to use that.
Anyway, the really exciting thing about this meeting was our incredible turnout! There were a total of 22 families there (25 adults because 3 dads came too) and a whole mess of children. This was, by far, our biggest turnout yet. The interest has grown so great in such a short amount of time that the group leaders are going to have to seriously look for a new, bigger place to hold our meetings.

Now moving on to the “‘stache club”…
My husband has created a monster (10 of them really) at his work. He got this grand idea last week to shave off his long beard and grow just a cheesy mustache instead. And not only that, he then recruited at least nine other guys at work to join in the silliness as well (and he tries to get more every day). Ava and I stopped in there after our meeting yesterday for a free lunch and I got to see a few of the participants. One of them walked up to me and said “Your husband made me do this” and pointed to the Paul Sr. (from American Choppers) looking ‘stache on his face. Jody’s has since turned into something resembling Paul Sr.’s mustache as well. I mentioned to one of the guys that I think it’s just a power trip for Jody to see how many guys he can recruit into this silliness, but the guy said it’s a good for “team building.” Guess Jody has him fooled. ;) The plan is to keep it up for the rest of the month, then everyone is going to get a mug shot taken before they can shave again. Boys will be dorks boys, I guess?? :oP

I apologize for not blogging much lately but I’ve been seriously swamped with the photoshoots I had over the past several weeks. I’m still behind, but hope to catch up this weekend. It will be sooooooooooo nice to have a break this weekend so I can relax a bit. Sure, I will still need to work on proofing my last session, but at least I won’t have to leave the house. ;)

I made another recipe from the Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook last night and I liked it better than the last one. This one was called Parmesan Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole, which also had tofu and marinara sauce in it and baked mozzerella cheese on top. It was dee-lish. I promise to post pics and recipes from this and the enchiladas soon. I’m bummed though that my other cookbook still hasn’t arrived.

It’s supposed to get up to 85 degrees here today (gah!) and I think Ava and I might head to the park for a bit before it gets too warm. So that’s all for now.

Off to the dentist (and other stuff)

I’m embarrassed to say it, but I haven’t been to the dentist for a cleaning in over 2 years *gasp* – since before Ava was born.

I grew up going to the dentist for cleanings every 6 months without fail. Mom was very good about that. It was something I kept up for the most part after I left home. I prided myself on not having a single cavity until I was in my late 20s and was shocked when it finally happened.

Anyway, my regular dental appointments were easy to keep up, that is, until I had Ava. It seems once you become a mommy, you don’t always take the time for necessary upkeep for yourself that you need to. I know I should have gone, but then there was a change in our insurance and we didn’t have coverage at *that* dentist anymore, and I just let it go from there.

Well, as a result of my lackadaisical attitude, I think I now have more than a few cavities. :(

It’s not that I haven’t taken care of my teeth since then – I still brush and floss regularly – but I really think the professional cleanings make a good deal of difference.

I bring all of this up because I finally made myself an appointment and am going for a cleaning tomorrow (Tues.) morning. I’ve never been afraid of the dentist or had any worries about going there, but I admit I’m a bit afraid of what they may find tomorrow. However, I know it’s better to get in there sooner than later, before any problems I may have worsen.

I’ll keep ya posted. ;)

——————————————–

In other news, had a nice weekend here. Went back to the dairy farm on Saturday and saw the goats again. Then had a yummy lunch of Chinese food and hung out at Jody’s work (the place was empty) and played a round of pool. Jody won. :oP On Sunday I had a maternity photoshoot for a friend, which went pretty well. Didn’t do much for the rest of the day, other than spend some time outside because it was gorgeous out, but that was cool with me. Oh, and I made my own marinara sauce (yum!) using fresh tomatoes and we had pasta (that Barilla Plus brand which is really good) for dinner.

Today, after a trip to Vitamin Cottage for some groceries, I tried out a recipe for Black Bean and Sweet Potato (with Kale) Enchiladas from my “Vegetarian Mother” cookbook. Got to use up some of the veggies we got from our Door to Door organics delivery this morning. :) I even made my own enchilada sauce! I took some pics, but I have to admit it wasn’t as delicious as I hoped it would be. It was good, but just not *WOW* good. I may post the pics and recipe another day.

That’s all for now.

Excited about my new cookbooks

I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in a rut lately as far as cooking is concerned. Sure, I come up with a few new interesting things to make here and there, but it takes time and thought, both of which I don’t feel like I have a lot of lately. I feel like I need more direction. While it’s fun for me to invent new recipes, lately I’d rather just flip open a book, find something with the ingredients I have, and go at it. Which is why I’m so excited about two new cookbooks I recently ordered off Amazon. :)

The first is “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day” which I found used for $5.72. Here’s a bit about it:

“The Moosewood Collective has had big vegetarian cookbook success with other collections. The main aim of this addition to their list is to offer much-needed help to those who need recipes for speedy preparation. Most take less than 30 minutes preparation. Recipes include stir-fries, salads, sandwiches, bean dips, soups, scones, pancakes and desserts. Almost all are vegan, with dairy products offered only as optional extras, though there is a separate section on fish and eggs. Winner of the 1995 James Beard Award for vegetarian cookbooks.”

It comes widely reviewed and recommended and I’ve heard only good things about the Moosewood collection as a whole. I’m especially interested in the recipes that don’t take long to prepare. ;)

The second book I got is “The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook: Whole Foods To Nourish Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women – And Their Families” which I found used for $14.24. This book comes highly recommended as well. A bit about it:

“The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook is a cookbook especially designed to nourish vegetarian pregnant and lactating women, though the delicious meals are also excellent for serving one’s whole family. Over 300 vegetarian and vegan recipes with nutrient analysis (vitamins and minerals as well as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and sodim) along with vegan recipes, “quick fix” meals and freezable entrees, wheat-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and egg-free options,” and more.

The reviews all seem to indicate that this cookbook will be very useful to the whole family beyond pregnancy and lactation and I’m looking forward to it.

I already checked the mail today and no books yet, but hopefully they will be here by the weekend so I can check them out and get cookin’. :)