10 Candy –free Easter Baskets kids will love. Themed collections will be remembered long after the last jelly bean is gone. Found this in the paper. Susie-Peyton, an art teacher in Redwood City, CA came up with these ten themed Easter Baskets
1. Gardening basket. Gardening is at least as much as a symbol of Easter as a foil-wrapped rabbit, and a row of carrot tops pushing through the soil is something kids will remember long after the last jelly bean is gone. Instead of using a basket, try a small rubber gardening tub, a plastic watering can or a bucket organizer - $25.00 at Gardeners Supply catalogue, www.gardeners.com. Add colorful seed packets, a pair of gardening gloves and a few intriguing gardening tools.
2. Sleepover Basket. Cradle a pair of slippers, some new pajamas, and a couple of silly joke books or bottles of nail polish in a small, sturdy overnight bag. Add a plain pillowcase and some fabric markers so the child can decorate it. Then add a nightlight. There’s a good selection of affordable ones in the themes from Las Vegas to T-Rex at Lamps Plus, bit.ly/dUHibY
3. Bird lover’s basket. Birds are another surefire sign of spring. You can use the birdfeeder as the basket; many of them have lift –off roofs that provide an original nest for a bird-friendly collection including birdseed, some seed covered suet bells, and a pair of inexpensive binoculars or a stuffed owl. The National Audubon Society has a free brochure called “Bird Feeding Basics,” downloadable at web4.audubon.org/bird/at_home/bird_feeding/birding_brochure.pdf
4. Art basket. Start with an inexpensive plastic beach bucket from the dollar store. Add a sketchbook, gel pens and fancy=edged scissors. Scrapbooking stores carry a fantastic array of rubber stamps or places like Stampadoodle Art & Paper will custom-make any stamp you want. www.stamadoodle.com
5. Sports-themed basket. Geared toward the passion of the child in question. For a gymnast, that might mean a new leotard, shorts or warm-up gear, all nestled in a handy mini-laundry basket. Throw in some new grips, chalk or wrist guards. Gymnasts also like gymnastics-themed T0shirts, posterd, hair ties, and the all-importanat hairspray and curlers. Nail polish is usually prohibited in competition, so add some nail polish removers to the mix. For the Little Leaguers, try new batting gloves, baseball hat with the logo of a favorite team, sunglasses and a book about a legendary player. Future hoops stars, might likes a pump and needles to keep the basketballs firm, a team jersey and matching shorts and a sweat band.
6. The food basket. Just because candy is off limits doesn’t mean all food has to be. Pancake mix, exotic cookies such as Pocki sticks ( a Japanese treat available at most Asian stores), and some fresh fruit. Retired Portland Ore., dietitian Carolyn Knutson, who has spent time comparing sports bars, recommends Kashi chewy granola bars, which are low in fat and sugar compared to their shelf-mates at the grocery.
7. The goldfish bowl. Every year, humane organizations around the country pleasd with parents to steer clear of the gift bunnies and chicks because so many of those impulse purchases turn into unwanted pets. But if it’s a live gift you need, try goldfish. The setup is inexpensive, the care in minimal, and the fish themselves, in the right setting, are a strangely soothing addition to any kitchen counter.
8. The cooking basket. Use a large mixing bowl as your container. Add a kid sized apron- William-Sonoma has a nice one for $22.00 with a garden theme, www.williams-sonoma.com - and mixing spoons – Anthropologie has beautiful nesting spoons and cup measures – and a colorful chicken-themed egg timer – along with a colorful spatula (Oxo’s is just $7.99 available at Bed, Bath and Beyond). As for instructions there’s no better guide for the newly hatched chef than Georgeanne Brennan’s “Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook”. Brennan shows a rare sensitivity in her treatment of delicacies like Sjlopp (homemade granola ) and Lime Ice. (Personally I would pick up some of these items from a Dollar store).
9. The memory book. Craft store mike Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics sell sturdy decorated cardboard file boxes and upholstered sewing baskets that can be made into scrapbooking kits for the very young. Add a photo to the album, some scrapbooking paper, and some prints, either from your own printer or an inexpensive site like Snapfish, www@.snapfish.com Add a blank book and an invitation to write in the journal every day, even if it’s only a line.
10. The sweet-smelling basket. Onfe of the biggest hits among the seventh-grade girls I know last Christmas was a scented candle that smelled like a cupcake. As any preteen will tell you, you can find a lip gloss, candle, or lotion in almost any flavor or fragrance under the sun. Recently Jelly Belly got in on the act with a host of products that smell like jelly beans but don’t cause cavities, such as bubble wands, nail polish, candles and even stationery.
And even if you’re anti-candy, consider throwing in a few real jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. “The bottom line is that all foods have a place in the diet, but it’s a matter of frequency and amount” Said Knutson, who was a department chairwoman at Clackamas Community College in Oregon and has worked in community and hospital nutrition. “It’s OK to have candy on special occasions. It’s part of living”