formaggio

Ready for Easter?

In my family growing up,  Easter was a big deal. My mom made our Easter outfits (I know, pretty incredible), dresses in sprigged cotton and matching lining in the pastel wool coats. Yes, she made us coats. And new shoes and frilly ankle socks for me and my sisters, my brother got a new suit or new shirt and tie.  I particularly remember our footwear, especially the one year that white patent go go boots (to be clear, only we called them that), replaced the usual patent leather Mary Janes. Oh, we were mod.  I wish I could find a photo to show you the awesomeness.

There were Easter services, an excruciatingly painful time away from our candy, and we had awesome candy. Always an Easter egg hunt with plastic eggs filled with candy, and peeps, because there must always be peeps, and a solid chocolate bunny. Bunnies were special, and if your bunny was touched, you knew it and if it was defiled, you could tell by the teeth marks left behind. Or was that just us? It took years of hurled accusations to realize that the cleanly cut off tail was certainly the handiwork of our father, who would stoop to steal a bit of Easter candy but never in such a base manner as to actually gnaw on the bunny, and he always used a sharp knife. We should have known.

When I had children of my own, the week before Easter we dyed eggs (always fun and messy), and Easter morning had an Easter egg hunt (my favorite thing), and I made up pretty baskets and stayed true to solid bunnies. And just in case you think this is picture perfect, it’s not. Here’s how it usually goes around here, the night before Easter, I dig out the plastic eggs from last year to fill with the candy I have managed not to eat, and I go to the present cabinet for the few non-edible gifts I stashed there over the past few weeks. Seat of my pants, people, seat of my pants.

My blogger/friend/cohort team that makes up @GoLocalBoston, all approach holiday preparation with a purpose – some of us are just better planners. And for Easter, with a quiet (okay, not quiet), certain, and thoughtful focus, we curated gorgeous gift baskets. Why do we do this? For you, dear reader.

In general, we got together because we all like to support local businesses, and we like each other, and we all really like sweets. So this was definitely not a bad gig. Most of my work involved unwrapping candy, arranging hard to wrangle lollipops, and bolting down most of the Cadbury mini-eggs (sorry, Debbie). As we took pictures of the beautiful items from local companies, we called out orders to each other, laughed, sampled candy, and talked about the work at hand, other business, food and families. What a fantastic group of women to work with, and as we are all slightly opinionated and not afraid to share our thoughts, some people might need a lie down after a session with us. We are funny, too. Just ask any of us.

So for this project, we started off with baskets in the following themes: Nautical, Spring, Sports, and Farm. If that’s not your style, simply grab your favorite from each, and mix and match.

Want to round out the baskets with non-food items? Ideas abound and some of our favorites include:

Sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, bouncy balls, a frisbee or two, stuffed animals, art supplies, markers, pens, or colored pencils with sketch pads or journals, picture books, twinkle lights, phone cords, portable phone chargers, a cute new case, ear phones, a tea cup or coffee mug and fill with small treats, or add a small flowering plant. Since there is no shortage of cute baskets, pails and other containers, just go to local drug store or market to find the just right sized basket.

 

Easter basket treats are not just for the kids any more – I’d love to bring one of these as a hostess gift or use as Easter brunch centerpieces or even make small baskets as party favors.

Want to learn more about these local lovelies who helped us fill these baskets? Check out Leah’s Life, A Little Bit About A Lot of Things, and Kim World.

Featured brands include:

A Dozen Eggs

Bisousweet

E Frances

eh chocolatier

Cardullo’s

Formaggio

Gray Mist

Harbor Sweets

la Burdick

Magic Beans

Pao de Brasil

Phillips Candy House

Pure Sugar Candy

Royce chocolates

Seacoast sweets

Spindler Confections

Wilson Farm

#Easter Capability Mom

Amd P.S. I steal their candy, too. Only I know better than to cut the tail off.

Best Hostess Gifts – Day 7 of The 12 Days of Shopping

Anne Taintor napkins, coasters, magnets, capability mom loves them allI love finding great hostess gifts, really. It’s fun and easy to create a signature gift. Anything Anne Taintor is fabulous.

Why Whine:

There is the favorite I-don’t-know-what-to-bring-or-even-if-this-is-decent-because-I-am-re-gifting-it bottle of wine – it is what you do with it. The Dollar Spot in Target is filled with great wrapping paper, cello and gift bags. anthropologie and sur la table dishtowels from capability mom Deliver the wine with a bow or personalize it with your own art work (get out the Mod Podge!), ribbons or ornaments. I keep a stash of Target ornaments and papers that I use for package decorations. Affix the tag to ribbon or write your message on the package.

Let’s Dish:

I also pick up pretty dishtowels throughout the year, holiday themed or not, you can use them as wrapping paper for wine, baked goods or tuck them into a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon and the dry ingredients and recipe for your favorite holiday treats.

Chow Down:
Choccapability mom finds the best chocolate gift - and they are mice LA Burdickolate is always a favorite and you don’t have to spend a lot but feel free to upgrade, you can also go higher end both container and chocolate to make it even more special. I have found great containers at Target, Marshall’s, T.J. Max, Home Goods and The Container Store. The best chocolate (both in presentation and taste) I ever received was from this company, L.A. Burdick, and I may have eaten this box by myself, maybe.
Plant an Idea:
Prarosemary tree from Whole Foods Market by Capability Mom Bloggmatic Mom likes to give a lemon cypress or a rosemary tree. I got one last year that I didn’t kill kept alive for three months finally succumbed to my inattention. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods both have them for under $10. You could decorate it with little tiny presents or bows but they are gorgeous as is, smell terrific and you can tuck a favorite rosemary recipe in the card.

Spice It Up:

This is an item that I have long coveted – Dean & Deluca’s Spice rack. Cool, modern and a little geeky, which I love, of course. capability mom has long coveted this spice rack from dean and delucaIt is on the splurge side, so if you want to do this less expensively, pick up nice spices at your favorite local place like Sofra Bakery or you could head to Target for this cool Trudeau 16-bottle spice rack – $31.99. Still not what you are looking for? The Cheese Shop in Wellesley has spectacular food gifts and makes the best gift baskets. Also try Formaggio Kitchen – great cheese, chocolates and more in Cambridge and Hi-Rise Bakery – also Cambridge – for their own jams and a nice selection of wines (they package everything beautifully). Still not what you are looking for? Try Uncommon Goods, Black Ink or Just Next Door.

I almost forgot one of my favorite holiday haunts…Fastachi in Watertown – homemade chocolates, roasted nuts, specialty candy and nut butter (try the almond) – all prettily packaged, fresh and delicious.

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