Last minute Easter basket goodies & more!


Can you believe that EASTER is this Sunday? Wow! It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating Valentine’s Day. Before you know it, it will be Memorial Day weekend.

I miss the day when my kids were little and looked forward to the Easter Bunny coming and leaving them baskets of goodies, not only at our home, but also at both sets of grandparents homes AND their great-grandparents home. Needless to say, my kids received A LOT of candy for Easter. For that reason we (my husband and I) used to gift the kids a lot of non-candy options for Easter, and let the grandparents and great-grandparents give them their “sugar rush” with a lot of candy.

We did gift our kids candy in their Easter baskets too. After all, kids come to expect that in their baskets.

Jelly beans are a MUST in Easter baskets. Seriously, what is Easter without those sweet, flavorful, little egg shaped balls of goodness.

One of my favorite brand of jelly beans are Brach’s Classic Jelly Bird Eggs. I’ve been buying that brand of jelly beans for as long as I can remember. I like them because their jelly beans have the most flavor. I especially LOVE their black jelly beans (licorice). Not too many people like the black ones, so there is more for me.

Sorry… we refer to them as “jelly beans” even though technically they are “jelly bird eggs.”

Brachs also offers consumers my husband and kid’s favorite jelly bean – Brach’s Sweetarts Sour Jelly Beans. If you love Sweetarts, you MUST try these jelly beans. You’ll think you are eating a mouthful of Sweetarts! No kidding!

I do enjoy these jelly beans, but they are too tart/sour for my tastes. However, my husband and both of my kids LOVE these. They love the sourness.

Something new from Brach’s that I have never seen or heard of before is their Purple Rain Jelly Beans.

The Purple Rain jelly beans come with four fruity flavors – Grape, Berry, Blueberry and Blue Raspberry. These are SO GOOD! I especially love the Grape flavored jelly beans.

This bag of jelly beans was devoured by my family in a matter of two days, that is how much we loved them. I’ll have to make sure to pick up another bag next Easter.

Another yummy Bachs treat for Easter is their specially packaged box of Sweetarts Ropes. This adorable little box comes two packages of Cherry Punch flavored ropes. Ropes are licorice-like treats with a creamy center. They are a bit tart, but in a good way.

The great things about Brach’s is that their Easter candies are readily available at many retailer locations across the country. I’ve seen them at the grocery store, drug store and even places like Walmart and Target. Brach’s also offers a wide variety of goodies to fill your Easter baskets.

Brach’s candies are also budget friendly.

If you are interested in learning more about Brach’s candies, visit their official website at Brachs.com. Their website also features recipes for the various holidays (Easter, Christmas, Halloween and Valentines Day) that are worth checking out.

The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found on the top right of their website.

In addition to great tasting candy your family is sure to enjoy, another great idea when it comes to filling Easter baskets is Oriental Trading Company. They carry a lot of great non-candy options to fill up your child’s Easter baskets.

Oriental Trading Company surprised me with an Easter package featuring adorable little Easter buckets shaped like rabbits, as well as a big bag filled with various Easter toys such as blow up plastic bunnies, Easter rubber duckies, Easter carrot vehicles, plastic eggs filled with adorable plush toys, paddle board and more.

I wish I had received these sooner. I would have given them out to my “work kids” at a special Easter treat. That’s OK. I’ll pack them away with our Easter decorations so I can give them to my “work kids” next Easter. They’ll love them. I especially love the cute little plush toys that come in the plastic eggs.

Oriental Trading Company things need to be ordered (they are not found in stores), but you could have them express shipped to you if need be.

Oriental Trading Company carries toys, candies, goodies and more for all the major holidays. Next up is Memorial Day weekend, graduations and the Fourth of July. Oriental Trading Company has plenty of goodies to help you celebrate in style, including party ware, decorations and so much more! They even carry crafts, which is something I love to purchase to use with my “work kids.”

To see what Oriental Trading Company has to offer, visit OrientalTrading.com. The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found on the bottom right of their website.

What is your favorite Brach’s candy (any holiday)?

Have you ever shopped at Oriental Trading Company?

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.


*I received free product samples from both brands to review, however, I DO purchase their products on my own as well. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Non-Candy alternatives for Easter


Easter is fast approaching. I know this because I can’t walk into any store without seeing candy, candy, candy and pre-made Easter baskets. Not that I mind, per say. I LOVE chocolate, so I don’t mind picking up some Easter chocolates from time to time.

Growing up, I could not wait for Easter morning. Seeing what candies the Easter Bunny brought me was just as exciting as Christmas morning.

One year I received an Easter basket made out of SOLID chocolate. The ENTIRE Easter basket was a block of solid chocolate. It was also filled with candy. It was sugar overload! I actually tripped taking it down the stairs and it shattered into a million pieces when it hit the ground. I bet my mom regrets buying that for me that year.

My mom was big on filling out baskets with a lot of candy. When my kids were little, she did the same thing for them. In fact, my kids received A LOT of candy from both sets of grandparents, as well as their great-grandparents. For that reason, the Easter Bunny didn’t bring them a lot of candy at our home. Instead, the Easter Bunny brought them non-candy alternatives (we let the grandparents & great-grandparents provide them with all the sweets).

Some of the non-candy alternatives we used to give our kids included;

  • Books
  • Bubbles
  • Coloring/Activity Books
  • Crayons/Markers
  • Jump Rope
  • Small games
  • Dolls
  • Plush Toys
  • Cars/Trucks (Matchbox/Hot Wheels)
  • Hair accessories/jewelry
  • Clothing

Seriously, there is A LOT more you can put into an Easter basket then JUST candy. Of course an Easter basket needs candy, but it doesn’t need to be overflowing with candy. You can still make it special without all that sugar.

If you are looking for a cute Easter gift, check out Calico Critters.

I have wanted Calico Critters for MYSELF for years. I think they are super cute. I didn’t want them to play with. I just wanted to put them on my desk to look at.

If you are unfamiliar with Calico Critters, they are super cute miniature animal toys that often come with accessories. You can also buy houses, furniture and more for them.

Calico Critters come in a variety of animals including puppies, kittens, kangaroos, Alpaca, otters, mice, and more. They are all SO CUTE!

New for Calico Critters is a darling ferris wheel.

The Baby Ferris Wheel seats three (3) baby Calico Critters. It also comes with a baby Toy Poodle figure (so cute!).

The Baby Ferris Wheel is a great way to encourage imaginative play, especially paired with Baby Airplane Ride (sold separately).

I have little patience when it comes to putting things together. Thankfully this put together in mere minutes. It was as easy as snapping a few pieces together, and adding on a few stickers.

The Baby Ferris Wheel came with this adorable puppy. Notice how much attention was paid to the details.

The Baby Ferris Wheel is easy to move, either by hand or by turning the handle in the back.

The Baby Ferris Wheel is super cute, and I adore the little baby figures. In fact, you can get some of the baby Calico Critters in “blind bags.” Each comes with an accessory.

A “blind bag” is a bag that contains a toy, but you do not know what toy is inside until you open it. It’s nice to be “surprised,” especially if you happen to get the one you want or one that is missing from your collection.

Calico Critters has “blind bags” for the baby Calico Critters with shopping accessories, and other “blink bags’ with the baby critters and musical instruments.

I received a baby boy bunny with a cute little drum (it even game with drumsticks he can hold) and a baby girl bunny with a bottle of juice and some eggs.

I think that the Calico Critters are simply adorable. Their different characters, accessories, vehicles and buildings add to endless hours of imaginative play.

I am a BIG believer in the importance of imaginative play. With smart phones, tablets and video games, I’m afraid that many kids won’t ever truly get into imaginative play. That is all I ever did as a child. I spent hours on end with my Fisher Price Little People, dolls and Barbies. Literally – hours!

If you are interested in learning more about Calico Critters, you can visit their official website, CalicoCritters.com. The brand can also be found on social media. Their links are found on the top right of their website.

I have seen Calico Critters sold at many retailers. Look for a toy store, or toy section, near you.

Is your child/grandchild into Calico Critters?

What do you think of using Calico Critters as a non-candy Easter alternative.

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

PHOTO SOURCE: Calico Critters Facebook page.


*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Preserve your Easter memories for years to come with Eggnots


Our son when he was little collecting Easter eggs during an egg hunt.

In a previous post I wrote about how much my family and I enjoy coloring Easter eggs each year. Even as young adults, it’s something my kids still enjoy doing.

Some of our favorite family memories are those we made when we colored Easter eggs. From coloring “failures” (that turned out to be funny memories) to spilling egg coloring all over the carpet (we never could get it out of the carpet).

Sometimes our fond memories are those of the finished eggs. Over the years we’ve had some gorgeous looking eggs, and some pretty funny “fails.”

It’s sad that you can’t hold on to some of those colored eggs. After all, they are real eggs and won’t keep long. In our home, hard boiled eggs get gobbled up quickly too.

Actually… there is a way to preserve some of your best colored eggs, and use them year after year as holiday decorations. Their called Eggnots.

Eggnots are an Easter egg alternative. Not only can you enjoy your creations year after year, it’s also a great way for those with an egg allergy to enjoy coloring eggs without fear of having an allergic reaction.

You can even use them for Easter (or non-Easter) crafts.

Eggnots are high quality ceramic “eggs” that can be colored, dyed and/or painted, just like a real egg.

Eggnots are the same size and shape of real eggs too.

I did a review for Eggnots last year. You can read that review, and see how I colored Eggnots with shaving cream and food coloring here – Create Long Lasting Memories with Eggnots.

Eggnots look like real eggs. They even come in an egg carton.

I still have those Eggnot eggs that I made last year. I am currently using them as a decoration on our dining room table.

This year I took some Eggnots to work with me to let my “work kids” have fun with them and to see what they came up with.

The kids loved having eggs they could decorate and keep “forever.” Knowing they could keep them long past Easter, some of the kids went to great lengths to make them look “perfect.” They even went so far as to glue on gems and other embellishments.

I had to fuzz out my “work child’s” face for obvious reasons.

I made “stands” for the Eggnot eggs out of a cut up paper towel roll.

Many of the kids used their Eggnots with the Eggmazing Egg Decorator that I also brought in for them. You can read that post HERE.

Here are some of the eggs that kids forgot to take home with them. I wish I had taken more pictures of the eggs because some of them turned out so beautiful.

All of the eggs pictures above are Eggnot eggs.

These are not indestructible. These are ceramic. They are pretty hardy, but they can break. We found that out the hard way when one of the girls dropped her Eggnot egg on the hard cafeteria floor. It broke in half (thankfully it didn’t shatter). Luckily I had an extra one left over so she was able to make one.

I wish I had more photos I could share. I went through all of the ones I took, but they feature the faces of my “work kids.” I am not allowed to show their faces, and it was hard to crop them all out since there were about a dozen kids working on the eggs.

You can see more examples on my post (linked above).

These are the Eggnots I made last year using shaving cream. I love how they turned out.

Eggnots are available on the brand’s website, Eggnots.com. They start off at $10.95 for a six-pack of Eggnots. They have bulk packages for schools, churches and groups too. They even have accessories for your Eggnots including decorative pieces you can glue on to your creation and hang it.

Why stop at Easter eggs? Eggnot can be turned into Christmas ornaments and other decorative pieces too. You can paint them, color them with markers, glue embellishments on them and more.

If you are interested in learning more about Eggnots, visit their official website (linked above). You can also check out the brand on social media. Those links are found on the top right of the brand’s website.

What do you think about Eggnots? Would you love to try decorating with them this Easter? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.


*I received free samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Take Easter egg decorating to a new level with Eggmazing Egg Decorator


Do you and your family color eggs for Easter? My family does, even though our kids are not little anymore. Our kids are 19 and almost 22 (sigh…) but they both still enjoy coloring eggs.

Last year only my husband and I colored eggs (our kids were too busy with school, work and significant others).

Growing up we always used food coloring in a cup. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but these days there are so many other types of egg coloring kits, from tie-dye to sparkly and just about everything in between.

I’ve even tried a few other ways of coloring eggs including using shaving cream and markers on plastic bags (it gives the eggs a water-color look).

This year I tried a new product to color eggs. Actually, I brought it to work with me and let my “work kids” try it out for me. It’s called the Eggmazing Egg Decorator.

The Eggmazing Egg Decorator is an egg shaped “box” with an opening in the middle.

To use the Eggmazing Egg Decorator you first need to insert batteries. I can’t remember what type of batteries it took. I actually left the machines at work. Currently I am filling in as a site director at a different school, so I don’t have access to them to check out what batteries it took. I believe they take AA batteries.

Once you have the batteries in, you’ll need a hard boiled egg. Insert the egg into the opening in the center of the box, then turn on the switch found on the side of the box.

The Eggmazing Egg Decorator spins the egg, giving you the opportunity to create colorful stripes (or squiggly designs) on your eggs.

The Eggmazing Egg Decorator comes with a nice assortment of colorful markers. You can also use your own markers.

This brief video shows you the Eggmazing Egg Decorator in action.


It really is that easy. And the results are amazing – or should I say “Eggmazing!”

Here are some of my “work kids” having fun with the Eggmazing Egg Decorator. Please note that I had to “fuzz” out their faces for obvious reasons.

I was sent two units to review – thankfully. I have 18 “work kids” and they were all anxious to give it a try. If I had only one I’m sure there would have been a lot of arguing. Ha Ha.

You can make the colorful bands as thick or thin as you like, or make some thick AND thin. It’s totally up to you.

I took a photo of some of them (I used a cut up cardboard roll for a base). I wish I had taken more pictures of the finished product. Some of them really turned out beautiful.

A few of my “work kids” have very steady hands and made the most beautiful, colorful stripes on their eggs. These were some of the eggs left behind (the kids forgot to take them home that day). There were a few that I saw that I was very impressed with.

Children young and old can use and enjoy the Eggmazing Egg Decorator – including us “big kids.” It’s super easy to do.

The Eggmazing Egg Decorator sells for $24.95 and is available at Eggmazing.com. There are also decorating tips found on the website.

FYI… the Eggmazing Egg Decorator was first seen on Shark Tank. I love that show.

If you are interested in learning more about the Eggmazing Egg Decorator, visit the link above. You can also find the brand on social media. All of their links are found on the top left of the website.

What do you think about the fun Eggmazing Egg Decorator? Does it look like something you, or your family, might enjoy?


*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Easter is just around the corner! Get ready to celebrate with HarperCollins Children’s Books


Our son gathering Easter Eggs taken approx. 12 years ago.

Our son gathering Easter Eggs taken approx. 12 years ago.

This time of year you expect to see Valentine’s Day cards, candy and decor. After all, stores started to stock their shelves with Valentine’s Day stuff practically the moment the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Day (or so it would seem).

Believe it or not I have seen EASTER candy on store shelves already – and Easter is not until April 16th of this year. We have a very long time to think about it.

Our kids are 17 and almost 20 years old. Needless to say it’ been a while since the Easter Bunny stopped at our home delivering Easter baskets (although my kids still wand candy on Easter).

We never put too much candy in their Easter baskets because we knew their grandparents and great-grandparents would spoil them like crazy with candy. Instead we put in the basket a small plush toy, coloring books, crayons, a movie and a book. We also included some candy too.

If you are like us and you like to include a book in your child or grandchild’s Easter basket, you should check out these titles from HaperCollins.

I work with Kindergartners and I think these titles look (and sound) adorable for young children.


Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes

9780062408723 — $17.99 —Ages 4 to 8 

The multiple-award-winning and national bestselling author Kevin Henkes’ 50th book for children is a graphic novel for preschoolers about four eggs, one big surprise, and an unlikely friendship. Egg is not only a perfect Easter gift but a classic read-alone and read-aloud for all year round.


The Runaway Bunny: A 75th Anniversary Retrospective 
Written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

9780062489944 — $19.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 1/24/2017

A 75th anniversary edition of the bestselling classic story, The Runaway Bunny, with a historical essay by Leonard Marcus, featuring archival materials all presented in a beautiful linen case cover with a commemorative foil sticker.


The Story of the Easter Bunny Board Book

Written by Katherine Tegen, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert

9780062381552 — $7.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 1/24/2017

Everyone knows who the Easter Bunny is, but not everybody knows where he comes from. This fresh, innovative story describes how one little rabbit became a legend. Now in board book!


Otter Loves Easter
Written & illustrated by Sam Garton

9780062393395 — $9.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 1/24/2017

For her next paper-over-board picture book, Otter celebrates Easter with a little too much chocolate and a lot of creativity.


How to be a Bigger Bunny
Written by Florence Minor, illustrated by Wendell Minor

9780062352552 — $14.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 1/24/2017

Perfect for springtime and Easter, Florence and Wendell’s joyous picture book celebrates the powers of persistence and learning from good books. Featuring lots of adorable bunnies as illustrated by the inimitable Wendell Minor!


Fancy Nancy and the Missing Easter Bunny

Written by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

9780062377920 — $4.99 —Ages 4 to 8 — On Sale 2/7/2017

Fancy Nancy can’t wait for Easter… and this year, the family is in for a treat. Join Fancy Nancy in a fabulous storybook adventure about Easter, complete with fancy stickers!

Are you gearing up for Easter?

What do you put in your child’s/grandchild’s Easter basket? Do you often include books?

This is an Easter cake that I make often.

This is an Easter cake that I make often.


*I was not compensated for this post. I shared this information for the benefit of site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Fill your Easter baskets with the World’s Smallest classic toys



When my children were little one of my favorite things to do was to put together their Easter baskets. I could have easily purchased a pre-made basket, but I had fun creating the baskets so I wanted to do it myself.

Since the grandparents and great-grandparents showered my kids with candy, I kept the candy to a minimum. Trust me, they had more candy than they could possibly eat. They never complained about the lack of candy in the baskets that the Easter bunny brought them.

Whenever I created their baskets I made to include all or most of the following items:

Coloring book & crayons

  • Movie
  • Book/Books
  • Plush Toy
  • Small Toys (bubbles, sidewalk chalk…)

Finding small toys is not always that easy. You want something that will fit into the basket, but it has to be fun to play with too.

Blowing Bubbles

I would often shop for small toys in the party favor section of the party store. Those toys are nice and all, but often they are not well made and break easily.

One year we gave the kids scooters for Easter. That was a BIG toy. LOL!

I’m a big fan of classic toys, especially the ones that I grew up with from Fisher Price and Playskool.

How about filling an Easter basket with classic toys like a Rubiks Cube, Etch-a-Sketch, Fisher Price Telephone or a Fisher Price Rock-a-Stack.

I know what you are thinking… those are not really small toys. An Etch-a-Sketch and Fisher Price Telephone would take up almost the entire basket and leave no room for anything else… or would they?

A company called World’s Smallest has recreated these classic toys, and more, but in miniature version.

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my post of some of the World’s Smallest toys next to my coffee mug.

World's Smallest

How cute are they?

Not only are they adorable – they work too! You can really use the dials on the Etch-a-Sketch to create an image or design. The Rubiks Cube really does twist and turn. Even the Fisher Price Telephone’s go up and down when you movie it – just like the larger version.

I think the rings come off the Rock-a-Stack but I am afraid I might break it if I pull on them too hard.

As someone who is a HUGE fan of Fisher Price classic toys, I am totally in love with these miniature versions.

They even have a miniature version of the Fisher Price School Bus. I MUST find this one!


If you happen to find the World’s Smallest Fisher Price School Bus on your travels PLEASE let me know. I would love to add this to my collection.

World’s Smallest toys can be found in most Walmarts, Barnes and Nobel, Learning Express and other smaller shops.

Other World’s Smallest toys include Little Green Army Men, Duncan Yo Yo, Magic 8 Ball and Perplexus.

These sweet little toys would make the perfect addition to an Easter basket. You can leave the in their original packaging or pop them out and put them inside a plastic Easter egg for an even bigger surprise.


In addition to fun Easter basket fillers, World’s Smallest toys would make great stocking stuffers, party favors or gifts for the “big kid” in your life who enjoys classic toys.

I keep mine on my desk and I actually do play with them. They are a fun distraction from my work.

I collect classic Fisher Price toys and toys from my youth. Now that I know about World’s Smallest I am looking forward to adding more of their toys to my collection. I am determined to find them all.

World’s Smallest is made by the brand Super Impulse. They make other cool toys. If you would like to learn more visit SuperImpulse.com.

What do you think about thee adorable little toys? Do they look like something you’d like to give to your child/grandchild? What about a fun toy for YOU?



*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.