Sunday, March 31, 2013

Candy Free Easter Baskets!

I am not a huge promoter of holiday candy. I like baking around Christmas, I like Thanksgiving pies. What I dread is the endless bucket of SweetTarts, Jolly Ranchers, Skittles packages, etc., that come home by the handful around the holidays. I throw them all in a bucket and try to ration them out to my children--who have proven to me many, many times just how wild a little sugar will make them. My littlest literally starts spinning around after a little sugar rush. In a month I usually end up tossing a lot of the candy. I am actually tossing the Valentine candy this week. I don't think it will be missed in the excitement of Easter.

I am not all bah-humbug, though. I did take them to our church Easter egg hunt today. I will have more eggs for them to hunt tomorrow--some with actual candy in them! Those without candy are usually stuffed with animal crackers, Goldfish crackers, pretzels, Cheerios, or other items with a little less sugar.

Our budget is tight this year. I did not really want to spend a lot of money on candy that would get tossed in a month or on trinkets that will break easily. I don't have a ton to spend on big ticket items. I thought it through and decided to buy stuff on my grocery list (or a near future grocery list) and make them a bit more festive and fun than usual. That way I am buying items I will need anyway and will get used.

Here they are followed by a list of what is inside. There are a few little indulgences in there. The whole basket contains only one sugar-y item which clocks in at 4 grams of sugar per serving.

I recycled our Easter baskets from a previous year.

Easter themed Goldfish crackers: Since they got them in their baskets this year I didn't put them in the eggs.
Bunny-shaped Macaroni and Cheese: Total splurge! My kids usually get the store brand or homemade.
Toothbrush and toothpaste: To fight decay from the candy they do get!
Book: From the under $4 price range
Got Milk milk straws: My friend mentioned to me that she had picked these up for her son's basket and I thought they were a great idea! They are straws filled with a little flavoring (this is my sugary treat for them) that are used to drink milk. They flavor the milk as you drink. I figure the milk drinking balances the sugar out a bit.

Flip-flops: Spring is upon us and flip-flops are a summer necessity around here.
Squeezable applesauce: My kids love this stuff but it is not on our normal list. They are usually stuck with the jarred kind.
Mr. Bubble foam soap: They needed bath soap anyway.
8-Pack of new crayons: My oldest has realized the wonderfulness of a fresh pack of crayons complete with perfectly pointed tips. Ahhh, a boy after my own heart!

Total cost: About $23 each. Yes, that is a bit more than I would have spent filling their baskets with dollar-store treasures, but now I don't have to buy all these necessities on top of that. The crayons, milk straws, and books were the three items that wouldn't have been purchased at all. Those together were $6.50. I guess you could look at it from that perspective that the baskets were only $6.50 on top of our normal spending.

Final verdict: When I list out loud what I got them (toothbrush, soap, shoes) it sounds kind of lame. One day my kids may look back and think this was a lame basket, but I think its actually pretty great. I think they will love it!

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