Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Egg Scavenger Haunt (Katya can't remember to call it a "Hunt" and the name has stuck)

On Easter I did.. No... the Easter bunny did his traditional scavenger hunt for the girls. He left clues and plastic eggs filled with jelly beans (We actually had them this year!!! Chris brought them back from his business trip in New York earlier in the month) for the girls to find throughout the apartment.

The hunt was a really big deal this year because of Natalia's ability to read her own clues. Last year, frankly, it was still even hard for Katya... They were both so excited. Unfortunately, our midnight trip to the medical center for Natalia's ruptured ear infection had thrown us all off-kilter. Natalia and I missed two good nights' sleep (the night before when she in such ear pain, but I had no idea--I thought it was nightmares, and the night of the trip to the emergency doctor after orange goo started to drain out of her ear and she was crying out in pain) and we both ended up sick. Again.

I have always had trouble with sinus infections and this time of the year I'm especially prone to them. Deprive me of sleep and... voilà! I hadn't had any time to help the Easter Bunny prepare for his visit... And all of his candies, etc., were hidden high up inside suitcases buried under bags in our entryway... My first chance would have been Saturday night, and I was too-darn-tired. Chris made me go to bed, even though it meant no Easter basket and hunt for the girls to wake up to. I had a very hard time listening to Chris about that.... My parents always did scavenger hunts with clues for me and I loved them... Traditions are SOOOOO important to me, particularly since there are so many we can't observe while living overseas (pumpkin patch visits, Thanksgiving school plays and assemblies, trick-or-treating, Valentines exchanges at school, Easter egg hunts on a church lawn, to name a few)... But I did.

In the morning, I told Katya that the Easter bunny must have been unprepared for all the snow that was falling in Russia (it really was falling hard), so it was simply taking him longer than he'd planned--but I was certain he would make it to our home at some point that day.

He did, late in the afternoon. And it all worked out just fine. Being in Russia has it's advantages when it comes to some holidays... Orthodox Easter isn't until the end of April, so we still have plenty of time to decorate the eggs we hadn't gotten around to... (And since Russians are still celebrating Orthodox Christmas and New Year's in January, there isn't such a rush to get down the decorations in the winter...)

In any case, back to Easter. Since Natalia and I were too sick to go to church, we stayed home. Natalia slept until lunchtime, so I'm glad she got to rest. Instead of pretty dresses and a lovely service, we had pajamas and a quiet (relatively... in our home it's never that quiet) time here.

Before we started the scavenger hunt, we read our books about Easter. Katya's godparents have given us many good books--favorites are The Story of Easter, (thanks, Jim and Lisa!) and The Lord is My Shepherd (not just for Easter, but we love it--thanks, Melissa!). Katya then read to us from her children's Bible. She was so proud to do so! I knew then just how much reading all their clues would mean to them...

I gave them both this letter from the Easter bunny and the first clue. Let the hunt begin! (Her response to Clue #19 was particularly funny. What helps parents to wake up early in the morning so they're not grumpy? "US!" --shouted joyfully and emphatically! Hmm... Not exactly...)

It’s time for the hunt,
but this year with a new rule…

I heard, you see,

what Natalia learned at school!

She can read! She can read!
And Katya can, too!
This year I have clues
for each of you.

If the clue is in pink,
then Natalia shall read.

If the clue is in violet,
then Katya shall try it.

Work as a pair
to find each next clue…
Much fun awaits

for both of you!

Clue #1
I’m cozy and warm
with crinkly ears blue and green…

If you’re small, come inside—
you’ll see what I mean!

(the kittens’ tent from IKEA)

Clue #2
You ran and ran!
Now your shirt is smelly!

Put it inside

my silver belly.

(inside the washing machine)

Clue #3
I can tell you the hour—
way up in the sky!

I light up your room

when I sparkle and fly.

(underneath Katya’s glow-in-the dark and ceiling projection Tinkerbell clock)

Clue #4
Licorice came over,
and you can, too!
Peek inside
to find a clue!

(inside Katya’s “Coconut” dog house, behind the cat and pup)

Clue #5
Get down, crazy cats!
When will you learn?
If you jump here when we’re cooking,

your tail fur will burn!

(inside a pan on top of stove)

Clue #6
Silly Sasha loves to rest here
and go for a ride.
Doesn’t he know…
a DOLL should be ins
(inside the doll carriage)

Clue #7
Be careful with me
when you’re on the potty.

A little is enough—
or you’ll be nau
(tucked inside roll of toilet paper)

Clue # 8
I’m super fast
and I go “Beep! Beep! Beep!”
Look inside me for a treat
that you can keep!
(inside microwave, with new diaries)

Clue # 9
You loved to play me
when you were small…
Now I’m quite lonely,
k in the hall.
(behind toy piano that we're about to give away)

Clue # 10
Very good, Felicity!
Clap! Clap! Clap!

You helped your sister

fall asleep for her nap.

(inside baby Polly’s cradle)

Clue # 11
I’m plastic and blue…
My toys give great pleasure…
Natalia once used me

to hide secret treasure!
(inside big blue Lego storage box where Talia had been hiding,
ahem, our house keys last fall)

Clue # 12
The cats think I’m a tree…
I stand very tall.

Quick! Find your clue…

before CRASH down I fall!
(inside mesh hanging basket tower from IKEA that is about to break)

Clue # 13
It’s almost time to ride us again…
! Zip! Zoom!

But we’re still folded up…
aiting so long…
to leave this boring room.

(inside bin with the girls’ scooters)

Clue # 14
Use me carefully,
with some spray…

to make pretty pigtails

when you start your day.

(inside basket where we store hairbrushes and detangler)

Clue # 15
In real life I’m gigantic—
here not quite so.
made me herself—
one weekend ago.

(inside the paper Eiffel Tower that Katya just made)

Clue # 16
Clothes—not kittens—
belong here inside.

They go in wet

and come out dry.
(inside clothes dryer… the cats like to jump in while you empty it)

Clue # 17
Mommy keeps me clean—
otherwise I’d stink!
I may be a sort of toilet,

but at lea
st I’m partly pink!
(behind, yes,
behind, kitty litter box)

Clue # 18
We’ve played together for years—
my games are never the same.

You love me at bedtim
or when up in a plane.
(inside the case with their Leapsters)

Clue # 19
I help grown-ups wake up
so they’re nice when it’s early.
Look behind me for treats

that will please any girly!
(next to the coffee pot, behind the grinder, with two cloth headbands)

Clue # 20
It’s time for a show!

Where would Molly and Emily go?

(behind the curtains on the American Girl stage)

Clue # 21
You’ll find the next clue—
and so much more—

when you come to shop

at this Coloni
al store.
(on shelves in “Felicity” store scene--note Asya on the doll's bed)

Clue # 22
Red and pink?
Yes, only the best…

for the coolest cowgirls
in the wild, wild west!
(tucked inside their cowboy boots)

Clue # 23
Zip me up all way
when you go out the door.

Then leave me hung up neatly,

not dropped on the floor.

(in Katya’s coat pocket)

Clue # 24
You can be anything
you want to be—
Have fun,

choose a new identity!

(in accessories basket beneath dress-up clothes)

Clue # 25
Life at the Plaza…
Room service!


Bubble baths!

But now it’s time for
and writing…

Time to learn her maths.
(inside case of “Eloise Goes to School” dvd)

Clue # 26
Pink and black, soft and hard—
you can use me to write…
when tucked in your
before sleeping at night.

(inside little pocket of Katya’s lap desk)

Clue # 27
I help you play,
I help you laugh…

We have such fun

when you’re in the bath.

(in basket with bath toys—and with new containers of bubble bath that look like Barbie in “Mermaidia” and “Magic of Pegasus”)

Clue # 28
A brother and sister flew with him—
up in the bright Florence sky.
Down below were meadows, grapes and olives…

Don’t you wish you could try?

(inside “Monday with a Mad Genius,” Magic Tree House book #38. Katya is now obsessed with Leonardo Da Vinci after reading it!)

Clue # 29
If you’re too short,
I can make you tall.
Just stand still!

Please don’t fall!

(under bathroom stool)

Clue # 30
This sweet girl fell
after jumping high in the air.

The doctors checked her ankle…

w she’s resting in this chair.
(under doll wheel chair that had a doll dressed in a skating dress and skates sittin
g in it)

Clue # 31

and kings…
Black and white…

Think carefully, don’t race.

When the game is then over,

put it back in it’s place.

(inside the case for Katya’s chess game)

Clue # 32
One hundred and ten!

Read them every day…

Then put them back again.

(inside Natalia’s flashcard pouch for school)

Clue # 33
Abracadabra, Abracadoo…
My apple lights up
Baby and you!
(inside carrier that goes with Katya’s doll stroller; the apple decoration actually does light up!)

Clue # 34
You usually sit here
to play all kinds of games…
American Girl and Nickelodeon…
Webkinz, Barbie, Disney, too…

This time look underneath—
I’ve left a basket for you!

(their Easter basket, left under our computer desk)

This year the girls' basket was stuffed with treats my mom had sent back with Chris this month... They actually got Cadbury mini eggs (MY FAVORITE!), malted eggs, chocolate bunnies and many other little goodies... I always stick in a small game and some school supplies, too. Not knowing that Chris would be in America before Easter, I had planned to fill their basket with non-candy items--so this year they were extra lucky! It's now Tuesday and we're still stuck at home recuperating (we all have this week off from school), so the diversions are quite welcome.


Muddy said...

Im sorry you guys are sick again. Hopefully you'll all be feeling better soon.

What a fun way for them (and you) to celebrate Easter. I love the picture at the end of both of them looking through the basket. Wonderful poem clues too!

Tina in CT said...

How did you manage to get all the stash out, write the clues, fill the plastic eggs and hide everything with the girls around? Your girls are so lucky to have such a talented and creative mom.

Your clues sure put the ones to shame that Dad and I did. I'm sure the girls had lots of fun.

How did you keep the big basket hidden with all the goodies when they were searching for all the clues?

Love Asya in the doll bed in the Fecility AG scene book.

Good that you had not bought new outfits for Easter since you all couldn't go to church and out to eat.

garnet said...

This is amazing. How my kids would have loved this. Well, Xander can't read but still he would have had fun, and Larissa would have been so proud to follow the clues. And what absolutely great clues.

And jelly beans! How I'd love some black ones. I need to make more of an effort to plan for Easter as well as Christmas when we're in the states this summer.

I was terribly pathetic about planning anything for Easter, though it didn't help that the school banquet fell on the same day and my there was a lot of business with preparing for that. But still . . . the kids had arranged dying eggs themselves on Friday (as much as you can dye brown eggs) and they'd been hiding them too that day (so we'll have forgotten where they are by Sunday, Mommy!) but somehow -- I'm not clear how -- they got unhid and I was planning to try and do a little hunt on Monday but by then they'd all gone rotten and had been thrown out (not sure how that happened so quickly -- they may have been really old).

Interesting egg fact here -- no one stores them in the refrigerator. Ever. Apparently they last just fine for a decent amount of time as long as they've never been put in the fridge.

Tina in CT said...


I plan ahead for Tamara's Easter needs. Last year the day after Easter, I was at Wal-mart and several drug stores stocking up on half price Easter trinkets and candy. When she was here visiting me this January, she was suppose to take it back but forgot to get it out of it's hiding place. Fortunately Chris had an early March business trip to NYC and I included it in the big box that I UPS'd to his hotel.

Yesterday after work, I went to two drug stores and did all the half price shopping for Easter candy for the girls for Easter'09. It'll get hidden in her bedroom and I'll bring it when I go at Xmastime. I ALWAYS shop ahead and have done it all my life. Gotta catch those sales.

Tamara's mom

Tami said...

What a fun way to do the 'haunt'! We may steal this idea for next year! :)