The Todd Nest : Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt & Brunch

Sneak into our garden and check out the Easter Egg Hunt we had with our neighbors this year...

As most of you know, we inherited an amazing backyard garden when we bought this house. The lady who lived her before us spent most of her days cultivating the lovely flowers that bloom year-round. We couldn't think of any better way to enjoy it than to enjoy it with others. 



Decor: We used the potting bench JD and dad made for us as the drink and dessert table. It worked superbly! We displayed chalkboards which proclaimed the glory of Christ, that He is risen! Unfinished quilting squares were used as tablecloths and we placed our snowball hydrangeas in old tins and a large vintage teapot. They bloomed just in time for the brunch. Mom and dad gave us their super sweet vintage cooler on wheels so we served ice out of that and filled with side pocket up with little glass Coca-Cola bottles (not pictured).


JD and I put together a mass of these "Jelly Bean Story" favors with the help of our next door neighbors. My friend Katy Jo told me about the poem she found online but I rendered it a bit to give it more diversity in the rhyming. :) The design matches the invitations we delivered to our neighbors. My genius husband had the idea of placing a couple of our barnwood boards on the arms of the island chair to create another table. Gosh, I love that man and his creative brain. We set a watering can and a few other vintage items on it. One of our neighbors brought us a lovely spring bouquet we set in the watering can.


All of the neighborhood kids came over, with baskets in tow. 


They started wandering the backyard garden as soon as we said "go"! 
{did you like the rhyming there...?}


Since we're planning on hosting this Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch annually, we asked the kids to return their emptied Easter eggs to a basket so that we could use for next year. (Thanks to my parents, we ended up having a total of 600 eggs!!! And thanks to our church small group, we had several hands willing to stuff tiny prizes in each one. Wahoo!)


The kids emptied their baskets and sorted through their eggs to find lots of little surprises....


And we even hid six golden eggs (a few with half dollar coins and one with a $5 bill). One of the kids found two golden eggs and sweetly gave his second one to Lilianna. She opened it only to find the one rolled up $5 bill. Cha-ching! 


This was, by far, my favorite moment of the day. I loved watching JD help little Ava open all of her eggs. While we're incredibly happy in the season we are in (married without kiddos), these moments certainly make my heart anticipate the day that we have some little Todd-lings running around. He's going to be an amazing dad one day. ;)

Ok... retreating from the sappiness, each family brought a delicious brunch item which varied from homemade cinnamon rolls to cheesy grits casserole to homemade biscuits with the fixins to sausage pinwheels to fruit to cute cupcakes. It was incredible!! 


Look at all of these beautiful faces!!


What an absolute joy it was, to see relationships being built and families gathering together all while worshiping the resurrection of Christ through joining in community!



We loved, loved, loved getting together with everyone... but having my parents with us made this celebration priceless. My mom is the master of hosting and making all things lovely. Seriously. She is the person I call before typing "how to" into Google. 

I thought she was going to help me organize everything and give me a checklist of things to be done. On the contrary, she made dad turn into an estate sale early Saturday morning instead of coming to help us. Before you start judging her and thinking that this was a terrible thing for a mom to do, please know that in hindsight, I couldn't be more grateful. I'm incredibly dependent on her and she knows it. She wanted this to be an event that JD and I put together all by ourselves, to show that we could do it without her and dad. 

It's the same way I learned to ride my bike... My dad was always there guiding me but when he knew I could peddle on my own without falling off, he stepped back. He let me ride freely, with my hair flowing in the wind (or stuffed under a fat helmet). He trusted that I learned all that he taught me and that I listened well. And you know what? Sure, I fell off a few times after that, but I always got back up. I learned from my mistakes and developed into a really great biker that only falls off her bike rarely now (instead of often. Yes, it still happens occasionally).

And so it went with the party. It made me flip out at first, but at the end of the day, I learned SO MUCH MORE!! She and dad stepped in when they were absolutely needed but stepped back at all other times. Thank you for teaching us your skills, your tricks and your creativity. Thank you for trusting that we learned those things and learned them well enough to do it all on our own. Thank you for letting us go forth on our own, but still coming to support us and celebrate with us. We are so deeply grateful for you both, mom and dad. 


The entire event was a massive collaborative effort. Thank you to everyone who helped us prepare / brainstorm, brought food, and helped clean. We couldn't have done it without you all!!


Easter : For He Has Risen



Risen.

There is no sweeter word to celebrate this season of resurrection and redemption.

"And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquakes and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said,

TRULY THIS WAS THE SON OF GOD!"

But wait. 

The Father and the Son were not done.

The angel of the Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and said, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

He is not here, FOR HE HAS RISEN, as He said."

Matthew 27:51-54, 28:5-6

Not only did He rise from the grave... He walked back to Galilee to chat it up with the disciples and a few other folks. Well, "chat it up" may not be the best phrase to describe His conversation with the disciples, but you get the point. 

Jesus is. 

No word could possibly convey
 the greatness
the love
the character
the justice
the wisdom
the sweetness
the compassion
the grace
the power
the Truth
of Christ.

We pray that we are all able to grasp a mere portion of the magnitude of Christ's sacrifice and atonement for His children this Easter. 


Check out our post about walking the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross or Way of Suffering) in Israel here