Easter Around the World

THIS is not a post about Easter traditions around the world. It’s a post about how we have celebrated Easter on the other side of the world from most of our friends and family…with our new friends and with a few new traditions. The major new tradition was the annual neighborhood egg hunt. Then of course we hope the Easter Bunny comes to visit. Since Fiona can read now and she likes reading the blog, I need to remember to not insinuate myself into the antics of the Easter Bunny, the Leprechauns, Santa Claus etc.  If you catch my drift. Then of course there is Easter Dinner, which just might be my favorite holiday dinner of the year.  Most importantly, however, at church on Sunday we are able to enjoy talks, music and instruction centered around Christ and his sacrifice for us which is the real reason to celebrate this season. All three years we have been blessed with a wonderful community of LDS members and most recently a brand new church building to worship in. All the way around the world on this tiny island of Okinawa.


Our house backs a large grassy open area which runs into a narrow strip of jungle vegetation. Each year several families in the neighborhood get together for a barbecue and egg hunt. The kids get herded inside while the parents hide the eggs and start grilling. Then it is complete craziness while all the little kids run around finding eggs. It’s been so much fun every year and we will really miss this tradition. Of course…some of us will be in similar locations in the future so a Kadena Egg Hunt reunion is very much a possibility next year in Northern VA!!

Leif finds an egg-our first year, 2013

Leif finds an egg-our first year, 2013. This was before I started taking him to get his hair cut.


A little Bocce ball after eating.


Leif thinks he is ready to pull Brady’s wagon.

Sena and Maeve

Sena and Maeve in Easter colors.

Leif has grown a lot taller, gotten his hair cut finally and also developed a few OCD behaviors in the last 3 years:

After finding the green egg, Leif spots another one...

After finding the green egg, Leif spots another one…

Got it!

Got it!


In the past year, Leif and Maeve have become cute little buddies.


It may have all started with this trick- which greatly entertained them and us!!


Just look at them holding hands!! So cute.


I couldn’t find any photos of Fiona from 2014. She must have been too busy finding eggs and I must have been too busy eating and socializing to take many more photos!

Now on to 2015

DSC_0015Remember what I said about Leif’s slight OCD tendencies Well…as reported to me by Shannon, who was helping Leif out- Leif had to open every egg he found, check inside, close it (which with these cheap eggs is quite tricky) and then put it back in his bag before looking for another egg.

DSC_0017This particular behavior from him didn’t surprise me. With certain things nowadays, he has to carry them out a certain way!! Needless to say, his egg count wasn’t quite as high as his peers. I’m sure by now Maeve has already added 10 eggs to her little pink basket.

Look at little Fiona from 2013!



Fiona- 4 years old


Fiona- 6 years old

I didn’t plan this, but Fiona wanted to wear her Halloween peacock costume for the egg hunt. It actually turned out really colorful and beautiful in these photos. She had a really great time searching for the eggs that were hidden a little bit trickier for the older kids.



DSC_0010Our knobby trees have a lot of really good hiding spots.




Fiona showing off her haul.

I don’t know what is wrong with me (hungry?) but in looking over all the photos I don’t have any photos of the table of food that we all enjoy after the hunt! It is always delicious and we always have more than enough food. We have a lot of really good cooks in the bunch, so after gatherings such as these I come away not just feeling stuffed but also with good ideas and recipes.

IMG_5622Oh how we will miss this neighborhood of ugly houses, beautiful friends and lovely memories!!


The Easter Bunny has found us all three years. In 2013 he brought colorful candy and a few little toys. 



It’s always a little tricky because the kids get their Easter Baskets but then we are also in a hurry to get ready for church. This year I must have trusted Fiona not to get her Schokolade Hase on her Drindl!


She was really excited to get a WHOLE bunny all to herself.


It’s not Easter without a chocolate bunny.


I remember my personal taste test (conducted while the kids weren’t looking) I actually preferred the Russell Stover bunny to the Lindt! I don’t think the kids are as discriminating. As long as it is chocolate, they are happy.


I think Fiona was a bit shocked to see that her bunny had a hole. Hm, maybe that is where I did my taste test.



Despite being pregnant, I, I mean the Easter Bunny…what did I say? Anyway, the Easter Bunny had a surpising amout of stamina this year to make the Easter basket experience really fun. The Bunny hid the baskets outside and there was a jellybean trail from the kids rooms to the baskets.


Here they are, gritting their teeth for the camera while I am sure all they really want to do is start eating all that candy. I don’t think they had very big chocolate bunnies this year.


Oh, 2015. I didn’t even take any photos of the kids baskets before or after! Our visitors Denise and Alex just came into town so I have been a bit distracted. Things were so distracting that the Easter Bunny forgot to give the kids their chocolate bunnies! I happened to notice later on that day after church that there were these two chocolate bunnies in the freezer! What? I think the Bunny had gotten them a long time ago maybe to carve a bunny into a mummy to use inside the Rice Krispie pyramid but then the Bunny changed its mind and realized a note would suffice?? What am I talking about? I have no idea. Ok, back to yesterday.

So, no photos of the morning Easter Basket. The Bunny DID bring a new easter outfit for Fiona. Reportedly, the Bunny picked the outfit up in Hong Kong. Fiona was very happy to have a new tulle skirt. Leif is wearing his new shirt and old pants that are too short. It’s ok. Alex is wearing a graphic tee and K-Swiss shoes. IMG_5668

I’m not sure of the specifics- whether there is one Easter Bunny for the whole world, or if there was some agreement between the Osterhase from Germany and the one that comes to Japan…but suffice it to say that these amazing Kindereier were hidden in Denise and Alex’s house for our kids to find. (They are staying at this above house while they are here). Oh, and the chocolate freezer bunnies made their way over there somehow. Thank you Alex and Denise for facilitating the international Easter Bunny agreements.


Fiona & her giant Kinderei and Chocolate bunny.

IMG_5667Have you ever seen such an enormous  Überraschungsei? It is called MAXI! Sorry the photo was blurry, Leif was a bit excited.


Even more excited to unwrap it!


And to discover the toy inside! Fiona got a Hello Kitty figurine, and Leif got a complex Minion toy.


Here is Denise helping the kids open the yellow “inside egg thingys”


And here is Alex helping a very shy Leif put together one of his Kinderei toys.

Kind of like what happened with St. Patrick’s Day, we didn’t have the eggs ready for the Easter Bunny to hide. So we decorated eggs on Easter Sunday while the ham and potatoes were cooking.

IMG_5659This was Leif’s first time coloring eggs and maybe Fiona’s second time. Having the big pre-Easter egg hunt has made the real egg decorating/hunt thing easier to let fall by the wayside. However, since we have Alex and Denise here & we had some time I thought it would be fun to do at least a few eggs. The funny thing is that we never hid them. So….do we hide them now, or just eat them?

IMG_5657Next year I want to do the traditional thing where we dye the Easter eggs the week prior to Easter & then leave them for the Easter bunny to hide on Sunday. This year the kids were more excited about dropping the dye into the water than actually decorating the eggs. IMG_5706

Here are our simple Easter eggs. Denise did the cute bunny face and German Easter greeting. Of course Alex drew a funny body on Denise’s egg when she wasn’t looking. Wir haben ihn ausgeschimpft. Die Arme Denise!


I only have a photo from 2014 and this year for our Easter Dinner spread. It’s pretty much the same menu every year with slight variation on the sides. Because as long as the 3 heavy hitters (ham, potatoes, rolls) are there…everything else is just a bonus.

What may be pictured in the below photos…

HamFuneral Potatoes [our version uses real shredded potatoes, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, green onions and cheese. We actually call them Cheesy Potatoes. Rijen makes them nowadays] Crescent Rolls, Canned Corn, Green Salad and/or one or two other vegetable sides. Last year we also had Deviled Eggs. This year I made a pecan, apple, red onion and bacon green salad with Pecorino Romano (a version of yours Melinda) and a pasta salad (with the fun pasta shapes you sent us last year Melinda)  and Shannon made roasted carrots. Martinelli’s because we don’t drink. It falsely looks like everyone had their personal Martinelli’s bottle and now that I look at this table I think that is a GREAT IDEA!

Easter Dinner 2014

Easter Dinner 2014- Cheesy Potatoes obviously taking center stage!

Easter Dinner 2015

Easter Dinner 2015

After all that food it’s nice to take a little walk.


And attempt a cartwheel or two.


We have been so fortunate to have such a wonderful community of LDS members here in Okinawa. I always enjoy going to church on Easter Sunday where the talks and music inspire us to contemplate Christ’s life and message.


This is a photo from 2013: One of my friends Donna who I was working with in the Primary (children’s organization) dropped off these cute bunny cupcakes for my children. She is just one example of a church member who uses her talent to bring happiness to and help others. I have learned a lot from her.

When I was younger I often got a new dress to wear on Easter Sunday to church. I haven’t been as consistent with myself or our children, but it seems like most churchgoers try to look a little nicer Easter Sunday and it is also a good time to attempt a family photo. Emphasis on ATTEMPT!  I don’t even try to get a photo BEFORE church- both because Rijen leaves early for church meetings and we are usually struggling just to get to church on time. Which means that post-church photos find us a little more bedraggled. We didn’t take a photo in 2013, but 2014 went pretty well.



This year it didn’t go as well.

This was the best one of the bunch.

This was the best one of the bunch.


Unfortunately Reika saw me and got hungry.


Yes it is cute how much the kids love the baby. The baby just doesn’t always love it.


The addition of ME didn’t really help matters.

Happy Easter 2015: Nailed It!

Happy Easter 2015: Nailed It!

One of these days we’ll get it…..


2 responses to “Easter Around the World

  1. I love traditions. And I love all these pictures. And I love the family photos. But I don’t understand how Reika looks so much older! Tell her to stop growing up too quickly.
    Oh, and I love German Fiona!!!


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