Beyonder Court

Easter...OH JOY!
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Illustration: Easter Egg Hunt

PSST!  SPRING IS COMING…PASS IT ON!

I love spring. Well, more to the point, I love Easter. There are a lot of reasons, but the main one is that I count on what Easter celebrates: resurrection. New life.

The Bible say to store up treasures in heaven, and your heart will be there. My son is one of my treasures, waiting for me to join him. I look forward to that. Does that mean I want the “bus” to leave today?  Nah. I have some treasures here, too, and a lot of work yet to accomplish. But some day…

Anyway, at our house, Easter is a BIG DEAL. I love Easter lilies and open windows and family gatherings. We have a family dinner, usually thirty people or so, with hams and scalloped potatoes and green bean casseroles. We have strawberry shortcake and rhubarb pie. And if the weather cooperates, we have an egg hunt for the little ones.

Easter morning starts out with the community sunrise service. Sometimes, it’s warm and the sun comes up on cue and the world feels right. Most years, though, it is overcast and windy. The aluminum football stadium bleachers are unbearably cold. Teeth chatter and you have to really work at singing.

Up from the grave He arose

With a mighty triumph o’er His foes.

He arose, the Victor from the dark Domain

And He lives forever with His Saints to reign.

He arose…He arose…

Hallelujah! Christ arose.  

Afterward, there’s a breakfast at one of the town churches. Usually, It’s breakfast casseroles and pancakes and bacon. There’s juice and milk and…oh, joy…hot coffee. Then, home to dress for the Easter service at our church.

I used to direct an annual community Easter musical. It was really fun, but it required a lot of cooperation and dedication, not only on my part, but on the part of everyone involved. Rehearsals started in January, once a week for two hours. Then, the week of the performance, we had three practices. The dress rehearsal took up a whole afternoon. But it was worth it…the community turned out and we gave two performances. But things run their courses and die out…people eventually tired of the practices; they wanted to put on the musical with just a few run-throughs, and didn’t show up each week to work on the parts. I decided to let the musicals die a graceful death, though perhaps someone will revive them.

So, maybe you believe that faith has no place on a website about supporting older parents. On a website that welcomes all Beyonders, regardless of creed or color. I beg to disagree.

It takes a LOT of faith to do what we do. It takes a belief that we can make a difference in a child’s life. Confidence that we will wake up in the morning, and that our health will hold. Trust that we can survive kids that kick in our doors, stain our carpets and stop up our toilets. Conviction that truth will out in the face of allegations. Reliance on the thought that one word we speak into the heart of a desperate child will some day take root and give that child something to hold on to.

And I firmly believe that no child will survive without faith…in something. We have to give them that faith. They need to learn they can trust people…often. They can trust themselves…usually. They can trust love…always. And they need to learn that nothing…not pain or suffering or Ipods or Playstations…lasts forever. Life changes. The best is yet to come if they can only hold on and wait for it. That’s called hope.

And that’s what Easter means. Hope.

So I go a little crazy at Easter. I overdo. And I make the coolest cakes for all the households in my family. They’re in the shape of 3-D lambs. The kids call them lambie cakes. I spend hours baking them, and a fortune decorating them. They’re worth it. I even have one former foster child who looks forward to getting a cake each year. It’s one more thing he can count on.  (Pans may be purchased through Wilton. To view a website with directions and tips, click here)

                          Happy Easter

LAMBIE CAKES ARE A SURE SIGN OF EASTER
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THIS GUY WAS ONE OF SEVEN

There are several different types of stand up molds. I have two: a realistic lamb with smaller, more intricate sections, and a large open model like the one on the Wilton website.
I seldom make the cakes from scratch. I use prepared mixes. ( caution: the ones which have pudding in them are NOT suitable.) These cakes, while meant to be eaten, are more for show, so the heavier a cake is, the better.
I make the mix according to package directions.
I grease and flour the pans THOROUGHLY. Usually, I rub shortening in them, then spritz them with cooking spray. I flour them, and add one more pump of spray to the ears.
Then the bottom of the mold is filled. I spray the cake top again, then the mold top is positioned and TIED ON WITH STRING.
The whole assemblage is placed onto a cookie sheet and baked...a little longer than package directions.
I take the cake out of the oven and turn it over ( front to the bottom) to rest for about half an hour in the mold while it cools.
Then, I cover foil with the cooking spray and transfer the cake to it front side up. I wrap the COOLED cake and put it into the freezer to freeze firm.
I take out the frozen cake, usually the next day, and unwrap it. I use a sharp knife to level out the bottom so it will stand straight.  
Most years, I buy inexpensive cookie sheets at the dollar store to put the cakes on. I  wash and dry them and then spread white icing on them, mounding a bit in the center to anchor the cake. Then I cover the frosting with green-tinted coconut.
I use a pastry brush to get rid of crumbs on the cake and transfer it to the cookie sheet, then  frost the cake with ready made frosting. You can make your own, but it's not necessary.
Sometimes I press coconut over the frosting and other times I use a spoon to "rough up" the frosting so it resembles wool.  
I use slices of black jelly beans for eyes and a pink one for a nose.
It is cute to "dress up" the lamb cake with a tiny straw hat from the party section of the dollar store, but a wide ribbon around the neck works well, too.
Then I fill the rest of the tray with chocolate eggs, purchased Easter cookies, Peeps and jelly beans.
 
Note: If the ears fall off of the baked cake, you can use bits of toothpicks as shunts to reattach them...Be sure to tell the recipient to look out for them, though.