Happy little Sunday things.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

My Easter weekend was the best. I headed home to Connecticut to spend the holiday with my family. It was two days full of cooking, eating, catching up, and talking about how nice it is to finally see some sunshine. Remember all that talk a couple of weeks back about lions and lambs? Here’s to lambs. And here’s to April.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

1. The weekend’s sunshine really got us all thinking about talking a lot about warmer weather things. On the way to my mom’s house, my sister and I made a shopping pit-stop, and I found myself buying shorts and dresses and skirts, trying on sandals and, yes, even bathing suits. Bathing suits. We talked about summer barbecues and our upcoming July trip to Block Island, and it all seemed so nearby, so realizable. It’s funny what a little sunshine will do — it so much invites a looking forward, a considering of days and weeks (and months) to come. And all at once, all with such fervor, such rabidity. Sun is here and we want more of it — can’t live without it now. While en route Friday afternoon, I found myself actually worrying that I hadn’t packed my sunglasses with me. These are the kind of late-March emergencies that would have seemed so impossible just a couple of weeks ago. The first bites of spring are the most delicious — they make you want to toss off your wool cap with reckless abandon, to boldly put away the ice melt for the season, to roll the cuff of your pants and let your ankles breathe for the first time since their early fall hibernation. Glorious.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

2. The sunshine afforded me an opportunity for two long morning runs, one through my sister’s heavily-wooded (and very hilly) Uncasville neighborhood, and the second by my mother’s home, in waterfront New London. On both occasions, it was so nice to be out early, before the cars, before the dog walkers. To run in the quiet morning, when the sun is coming up, and all the houses and people are still sleeping, is something special that does not exist in Boston, a place where there is always sure to be somebody going somewhere. To be outside, out in the open, and to have so much privacy is truly a suburban privilege.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

3. My family celebrated the Easter holiday on Saturday, as we often do. My mother and I spent the entire afternoon in the kitchen cooking and prepping for dinner and for Sunday morning brunch. While we chopped, peeled, and parboiled, we nibbled on cheddar cheese, quinoa crackers, famous Rhode-Island style soupy (which, incidentally, cut into perfect little hearts), and my mom’s classic deviled eggs (told you so). Meanwhile, we sipped on my brother-in-law’s homemade pear wine. It was so many good things at once.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.] [Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.] [Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

Dinner was of epic proportions. My mother studded a nine-pound pork roast with handfuls of garlic cloves and then rubbed the skin with salt and rosemary. We grilled up some asparagus and carrots, mashed several pounds of potatoes, and braised a bouquet of kale with dijon mustard and plenty of butter. This year, my Portuguese step-dad was able to find his beloved fresh-baked Portuguese sweet bread — a fortunate find after last Easter, when he spent much of the day driving around town in search of the stuff. Despite our prodigious dinner spread, we ended up with fewer leftovers than we had expected.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.] [Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

4. After dinner, the Easter Bunny came! While he brought baskets full of chocolate bunnies and malted milk balls for my siblings, he, with the utmost compassion and consideration for my sweet-free ways, brought me the loveliest of Easter surprises — a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi‘s all-vegetable cookbook, Plenty. Isn’t my Easter Bunny the best?

5. We finished off the evening with our deeply-rooted family tradition of blowing up marshmallow Peeps in the microwave. This year, we hosted a face-off between the purple Peeps and the blue Peeps. In the first round, both purple and blue fell on their own swords, but purple really pulled ahead in the second round, and she was named the Easter 2013 champion.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

6. Sunday morning meant more cooking and more eating, my mother and I once again in the kitchen (this time sipping on coffee), whipping up quiches and home fries. Here is a sneak peak of my crustless spinach and cheddar quiche, more details for which will be coming to you soon…

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

Melissa, my older sister and greatest friend, celebrates her 29th birthday tomorrow. Happy birthday, my dear sister! I hope it is unlike all other birthdays you have had before — and in all the greatest of ways! Here’s to one more year of not being 30 yet. Cheers to you.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

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