On the surface, community Easter egg hunts seem like an easy thing to organize: Put someone in a bunny costume and a bunch of plastic eggs in a field and let the kids do their thing, right? Not so much.
The annual Serenbe Easter Egg Hunt has been a work in progress since it began in 2010 — each year we have made wonderful memories, but also a few logistical mistakes. This year Garnie had the most brilliant idea in the history of Serenbe Easter Egg Hunts: put Kara in charge of it.
Kara is the queen of lists: Nothing makes her happier than organizing something. Back when the girls were in high school, we’d host pre-prom dinners in the backyard for 55 people — they’d organize; I’d cook. When Kara was a senior, she decided we could pull off double that amount. I decided to hire a caterer. She hired two buses and organized it to perfection. We set up a buffet on the Hawthorne patio and I have the best picture of her, clipboard in one hand, fork in the other, eating directly from the buffet because she didn’t have time to sit.
But it was brilliant. And it was fun. That’s our Kara.
Before she moved home from Seattle, Kara contacted all 20 counselors from Camp Serenbe to help out with the event. They distributed 8,000 plastic eggs — yes, you read that right — and navigated all four age groups of kids through their designated hunt times. If the counselors were lucky, they got to hold one of the five battery-operated bullhorns Kara purchased so everyone could hear the announcements.
She had three face painters, two balloon artists and envelopes with tickets and wristbands for everyone who pre-registered online. She even had Easter baskets available for purchase in case someone forgot theirs or didn’t have time to pick one up the week before. When parents arrived, they got their envelope and hopped off to have fun.
Even though the weather was gray, it all worked out perfectly. We had 800 people here that day, 350 of whom were children, and it never felt like chaos. Parents were happy, children were happy and we even got to take advantage of the set from Serenbe Playhouse’s production of Carousel, which was surrounded by real fair rides and games.
And what would a Serenbe event be without food? The Inn did a locally made bratwurst from local Double T Farms with chips and a drink and The Children’s House, the Montessori school in the community, did an old-fashioned bake sale table. Steve and I bought lots of goodies, but my favorite was the chocolate chip cookie. They were absolutely delicious, so I reached out to the daughter of the woman who made them to see if she’d share the recipe. I got this in response:
“I have bad news (maybe).” She said she just followed the recipe on the back of the Yellow Bag (aka Nestle Toll House Morsels). She likes to cook them a little longer so they get nice and crispy.
“It makes me feel better knowing that even Alton Brown wouldn’t do a show on chocolate chip cookies because he said the Yellow Bag recipe can’t be improved.”
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestle Toll House semi-sweet morsels
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 9-11 minutes (or longer, for crispier cookies) until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.