Easter Weekend in France

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I was really excited when I realized where we would be for Easter this year.  Spending the Easter holiday in France would make it something special and one we wouldn't soon forget.  I was lucky enough to have brought egg coloring kits with us from the States.  (and family sent the girls stickers and coloring books too)  We had very good intentions of wanting to attend church in one of the local towns (actually, had we still been in Paris we would have tried to go to Notre Dame), but we chickened out... we just didn't feel comfortable showing up in a small local church.  Instead we did our own Easter just at the chateau. 
The day before we went to the supermarket and while Matt kept the girls busy, I hunted for Easter stuff...you know baskets, candy, goodies.  Well, Easter in France is not Easter in the States.  (at least not where we were)  No monster baskets full of junk (I mean goodies)...very little candies to choose from (tons of chocolate bunnies...but that was about it)...no Easter decorated toys.  I kept staring at the shelves hoping that something would magically appear...then I realized...my daughters have NO idea what is supposed to be in an Easter basket.  (hell, this is only Lily's 3rd Easter!)  I was thinking I had to have this super amazing basket and then thought...they'll be happy to have anything at all.  So, I picked out a couple of little 3 Euro pink baskets, a few chocolate bunnies, some jelly beans and a toy.  That was it.  No Easter grass, no Peeps, no crazy toys...And let me tell you, when they found those baskets the next morning they were beyond stoked.  Chalk that up to parent lesson #244.  
Okay, so next problem...there are no plastic eggs.  What in the world am I going to hide from the Easter Bunny???  (I knew I should have brought some with me)  Sure, I could have hidden the eggs we colored...but, wait, yeah...haven't colored any yet.  So, I grabbed a bag of chocolate eggs and figured whatever we didn't find the next day the woodland creatures would be in for a treat!
Easter morning Matt and I left the girls in bed and went tearing outside like a couple of crazy people...we tossed chocolate eggs around the grass...hid the baskets and ran back into the house.  After breakfast we unleashed the eager egg hunters into the vast grassy backyard...nothing but giggles and squeals as they found their eggs.  It was so much fun.  
After the egg hunt, we packed up and headed to Amboise...we were told they had a fabulous Sunday market.  The place was packed (we didn't think it would be open because of the holiday...just the opposite!).  Venders selling all kinds of things from cheese, wine, smoked meats, to clothes, trinkets, jewelry and pottery.  We wondered around for some time just taking in all the sites and people.  Afterwards, we headed back to the chateau to color eggs and prepare our Easter dinner feast.
For four days (and even that morning at the market) we searched in vain for white eggs...honest...in the entire Loire Valley, we didn't see a single white egg.  I was really worried that the egg color wouldn't work...but, just the opposite, they turned out so pretty.  The girls had so much fun sitting outside decorating the eggs. (and so did mommy) 
Easter dinner was a lovely pork roast (I wanted to make a ham...family tradition...but we couldn't find what we wanted) and steamed artichokes...with Easter eggs and chocolate for dessert.  Maybe it wasn't the grand feast we would have had at my aunt's in Vegas, but it was ours, and it was special.
I was a wonderful Easter and one that I will always treasure. 

The day before Easter (Saturday) we went somewhere I had been looking forward to going all week.  The French National Horse Riding School...home of the Cadre Noir.  By now, most of you know of my intense love of horses.  I really wanted to find somewhere to ride in France, but it didn't work out.  Instead, we were taking our daughters to see their first horse show.                              I was ten times worse than my kids...practically jumping out of the moving car when we arrived.  Sat on the edge of my seat during the whole show, gawking at the beautiful creatures in the arena.  The show consisted of a couple of dressage performances (think ballet for horses), a small circus type act, and some demonstrations of special jumps and tricks the horses are trained to do.  Afterwards, we went to the stables and everyone was taking turns petting the horses.  I literally had to be asked to leave...and no, I wasn't the least bit embarrassed.  We went for lunch and then came back for a private tour.  Then we got to pet the horses again...and again, I was the last to leave.  (see that beautiful black horse in the photo?  Yeah, could have stood there with him all day)  When the girls asked if they could buy stuffed horses...I just replied...of course!  (and I hate stuffed animals...but no way was I turning down anything horsey!  lol)  It was a lot of fun and the whole family enjoyed the day.


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