They're not too old, I'm happy to see.
When they were very young, our kids prowled a limited space in the house for Easter chocolate. We'd place treats in brightly coloured plastic eggs and hide them in the family room. Each daughter would have her own basket, in which they would collect what they found. They were limited to one colour for each egg, to ensure that our eldest daughter, who had the eyes of a hawk, would not collect all of the booty before the hunt was over.
If she found an egg of a colour that she already had, she would help her baby sister find it.
As the years went on and as the girls got older, we stopped hiding the chocolate throughout the house. We extend the range of the search, but instead of placing the eggs, full of sweet chocolate, throughout our living space, we filled those plastic shells with slips of paper.
To find the pot of gold (basket of chocolate) at the end of the hunt, the kids would have to solve a set of clues, each carefully hidden throughout the house. The final clue would lead them to their old baskets, filled to overflow with gold-wrapped bunnies, caramel-filled chocolate, and Easter Cream Eggs.
This year, DW and I woke up late. She had already purchased the chocolate for the girls but was planning only to fill their baskets and leave them out in the kitchen for the kids, for when they awoke and decided to come downstairs.
But, as DW sat up in bed and tried to stir me, she had a change of heart. "Help me come up with clues," she said as I became conscious.
I'm not at my best in the morning.
"But first," DW continued, "go to the basement and get 10 of the plastic eggs." We keep the Easter decorations in a large, blue Rubbermaid container. DW had already pulled it out to decorate parts of the house.
When I reached the main floor, DD16 was already downstairs, was fixing herself a glass of warm water and salt. "I have a sore throat," she said in a sleepy voice.
"Sorry to hear that," I said. "The salt will definitely help."
She didn't question me as I continued down to the basement. On my return, empty egg shells in hand, DD16 had already headed up to her room. I made it back to my own room without detection.
It took DW and me about 20 minutes or so to think up the locations for the eggs and to create clues that would lead the girls to each location. We filled their baskets and made the final location our oversized bathtub. I placed each basket next to a bathtub basket filled with bath bombs. The final clue: When it comes to Easter hunts, mom and dad are da' bomb!
The initial clue was written on a cue card and placed in a decoration of a stuffed rabbit holding a frog (see the photo, above). It introduced the hunt and gave a clue to our dryer, that was running with bath towels.
I went to DD16's room and gently rubbed her back as she lay in bed. "Do you feel up to an Easter hunt?" I asked.
Bright eyes, big smile. She sat up in her bed. "Really?"
"Yes," I said. "Let's get your sister." DD13 was sound asleep but was receptive when her excited, older sister told her to get up.
DW baked cinnamon scones. I sliced up a pineapple and washed some fresh strawberries, and made a pot of coffee. By the time breakfast was ready, the girls were sitting on the family-room sofa, chewing on chocolate.
It's great to see that as these young teenagers grow into young women, the thrill of the hunt still lies strong within them. To some extent, they're still my little girls.