The Grand Easter Egg Hunt

April 29, 2011

easter eggs in basket Olive and Maude Blair photos by Paul Ferney

Ready for the Easter Egg Party rundown? I’ve got dozens of photos to share, in case you’re interested.

The party started at 3:00 on Saturday. Guests (there were about 50 people including our family) arrived and scoped out the scene. In the yard, there is a trampoline, a treehouse, a jungle gym with slide and swings, and we set up a badminton net as well. So the kids started entertaining themselves immediately.

The tricky thing for us is always the language. To prepare for the party, Ben Blair translated 20 or so phrases he thought he’d probably need as the host and he did a great job communicating and chatting with guests. My language skills weren’t up to snuff, so I gave lots of big smiles, welcoming gestures and sorry attempts at speaking to try to make guests comfortable. I’m sure I was a comic scene. : )

garden party

Refreshments were served on a table under a shady tree. In France, gouter — the afternoon snack — is pretty much a sweets-only affair, so we just served sugary stuff. Macarons, mini-eclairs, cookies, and fruit tartlettes from a local bakery.

cookies fruit tartlettes macarons gouter dessert

In a small courtyard on the side of the house, we also had a station where guests could dye boiled eggs. Dyeing eggs isn’t an Easter tradition here, so we thought it would be a fun novelty for the French children to try. We set out a dozen different bowls of dye and had a basket with 6 dozen eggs. (We’re super lucky to have access to tons of free-range eggs. We bought 4 dozen from our next door neighbor and our babysitter brought us a few dozen more from her own hens.)

dyeing easter eggs dyeing easter eggs dyeing easter eggs

After everyone had arrived, we asked guests to gather under the open barn — out of sight of the great lawn — while a few adults hid the eggs. We had over 600 eggs to hide. Three hundred were plastic eggs filled with American candies and the rest were foil wrapped French chocolate eggs.

hiding eggs hiding eggs easter egg in tree

There was an area around the be-ribboned trellis that was reserved for the littlest guests. And they were invited to start hunting a couple minutes before the older kids.

easter egg hunt easter egg hunt easter egg hunt

We had a stack of tin pails on hand to collect the eggs.

easter egg hunt

The older guests had a more challenging hunt.

hiding easter eggs easter egg hunt

After the hunt, there was resting/going through the loot (I think the Reeses were a hit!), more eating of refreshments and general hanging out. I like to think this trail of opened eggs is a sign of a happy child somewhere:

open easter eggs easter egg hunt

The sun was really beating down, so it wasn’t too big of a surprise when a happy water fight broke out. (My siblings have a theory that most good parties end in a food or water fight.)

water fight water fight

I love this shot of soaking wet Maude:

Maude Blair Water Fight garden party

Just as parents started picking up kids, a sun-shower surprised us all and absolutely drenched everything. It was beautiful and came at just the right time. It felt like a fitting end to the festivities.

baby on swing

After the party (and the downpour), a couple of families stayed to visit and help with the clean up. When we said our goodbyes, the Blair and Ferney crew did the final take down and rolled up all the ribbon to be used another day.

rolling up ribbon ribbons on trellis end of garden party

What a fun event! I’m so glad we decided to throw this party. It’s always nerve-wracking to give out invitations and hope people will want to come to your event — every time I throw a party I feel some panic the night before thinking no one will show up. But the guests did come. And I think they had fun.

I do try hard to adopt the local customs here, but at this party, I also felt some freedom because we were out-of-towners. I knew some of what we were doing would feel American or foreign, but I assumed the guests would expect that, so I didn’t worry about it.

As we downloaded about the party afterwards, the whole family really felt like this was a great way to connect with the community.

P.S. — Want more party details? Here you go:
-All about the ribbon
-The invitations
-The macarons
-The welcome bike

Also. One of my favorite features of this party were the red-headed dads holding babies. : )

Ben Blair and Baby June paul and roman ferney

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa Jones April 29, 2011 at 3:48 am

How lovely!!! What a beautiful party! :)


2 Alison April 29, 2011 at 6:18 am

Love that you just let the rain come! and also love that your children are making great friends across the world


3 Ayme April 29, 2011 at 6:35 am

Thanks for sharing :) I can’t tell your kids apart from the french kids -good job Blairs!


4 jana April 29, 2011 at 6:44 am

Your children look so happy!


5 Starr April 29, 2011 at 6:48 am

“I also felt some freedom because we were out-of-towners. I knew some of what we were doing would feel American or foreign, but I assumed the guests would expect that, so I didn’t worry about it.”

This is precise what I love about being an ex-pat. Everyone expects me to not fit in, so I feel much more comfortable with myself.


6 auntie bliss April 29, 2011 at 6:55 am

Such sweet fun! I love this.


7 Cathi April 29, 2011 at 7:08 am

So fun! You Gabrielle throw the perfect party!


8 Ashlea Walter April 29, 2011 at 7:11 am

A bit of complimentary sugar, genuine smiles, that’s all you need! Watch out, they’ll be at your house every Sunday now. Gorgeous, just gorgeous.


9 Robin April 29, 2011 at 7:15 am

Big smiles reading this


10 sarah April 29, 2011 at 7:32 am

loved the day. thanks for sharing.


11 Erin April 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

You threw a great party. Thanks for sharing it with us!


12 Torrie @ a place to share... April 29, 2011 at 7:58 am

I loved every single detail of your party, and am quite impressed that you hosted such a large party so soon after moving there! Like you said, what a wonderful way for you to truly connect.


13 April 29, 2011 at 8:08 am

oh my goodness, what a large and fun party! and pastel macarons make are just perfect for easter when there are similar colored eggs around! lovely lovely post.


14 juliagblair April 29, 2011 at 8:12 am

So proud of you—-everyone!!! Such a lovely, lovely party! Gives us all courage to be more outgoing and inviting and inclusive and CREATIVE!!

Beautiful celebration of spring and joy!


15 kelleyn April 29, 2011 at 8:20 am

So happy your party was a hit!


16 Danielle April 29, 2011 at 8:32 am

How beautiful! Thanks for sharing!


17 Jenny also April 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

Love it! My favorite photo is the one with Ralph and his pals.


18 betsy April 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

wow! Such lovely pictures and party!


19 Chelsea April 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

this looks like it was a magical event! wish i could have pulled something like this off!
thank you for the inspiration!


20 Boston Mamas April 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

Just gorgeous, luv!


21 Keia April 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

Looks like the party was a hit and filled with lots of sweets! I love how you incorporated the Easter tradition of dyeing eggs.


22 Eva / Sycamore Street Press April 29, 2011 at 10:38 am

What a festive, beautiful occasion. I love it! You’re so brave to have a big party and invite a bunch of people over even though you’re not comfortable with the language yet. I think it’s awesome that you did that. And it looks like everyone was having great time!


23 Hannah/Sundry Mumsy April 29, 2011 at 11:01 am

Love the shot of the chocolate rooster. And the braces!!! So cute.


24 sara April 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

THese pictures are so dreamy and perfect – it looks like everyone had a wonderful time. Viva France!


25 tamara April 29, 2011 at 11:11 am

This post brought happy tears to my eyes. What a fabulous and blessed life! Enjoy the days and the children, well… you already do!


26 Sarah @ Knit York City April 29, 2011 at 11:13 am

What a gorgeous party! Oh my gosh! It looks like magic!


27 caru April 29, 2011 at 11:18 am

Gabrielle, looks like you spent a good time, beautiful party. Exquisite Details!


28 emily April 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

so beautiful! next time i will be sure to invite myself…


29 Stephanie Smirnov April 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Congratulations, it must have been beautiful. Great idea introducing American-style egg dying to your new French friends.


30 Kathy Ayers April 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Looks like a really fabulous party! What fun! You are so creative and adventuresome! I loved seeing the pictures, I was wondering how it went. Looks like the weather was just perfect!


31 Samantha Best April 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Such a wonderful time you all had and such a beautiful day!


32 Denise Laborde April 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Absolutely lovely!


33 Marianne April 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm

So grateful for your photo sharing of this joyful occasion!


34 kelly April 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm

things looked great! what a great yard to run free and play in. I loved the ribbon:) so springy. and as macarons make their way through the internet i find myself needing to eat one badly these days. i wonder where i can find a good one in rochester.


35 Aliesha April 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Incredible pictures of what looks like a beautiful, fantastic event. So envious of your adventures in France!


36 Andrea April 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm

what an amazing party. i love the mix of american and frech traditions. i bet they all had fun dying eggs. I love all the pictures of the beautiful food.


37 r8chel April 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I think the fact that you planned and hosted this party communicated a lot to your French guests, even though you couldn’t speak their language.


38 Emily Ballard April 29, 2011 at 10:55 pm

You? Panic that nobody wants to come to your party?!?

I think you’d have to be a fool to pass up on a Blair/Ferney event.


39 TN April 30, 2011 at 5:08 am

I think it is great to include American Traditions…It’s all fun isn’t it and for the kids! Why wouldn’t they love it? No worries. We had a great time too mixing French and American Cultures and Traditions. I’ m sure they want to learn about your traditions as much as they want to show you theirs ;-) I know my husband and in laws like to I’m sure its the same for most open minded French people. And the ones who came are definitely open minded ;-). Sounds like everyone had a blast and are looking forward to more parties at the Blair household!


40 Courtney | La Fille Américaine April 30, 2011 at 7:48 am

Salut Gabby!

I love this, and I am so inspired by your gusto to put yourself out there in your community in France. I know how nerve-wracking it can be to do those types of things out of your comfort zone, but I suppose having six kids really forces you to do so! I’m moving back to France in 2 weeks, and I am going to think of you anytime I feel timid.

Question: As a language tutor/linguist nerd I’m always curious how people choose to communicate in situations like these. Did you speak to your guests in French? English? Did the kids translate?



41 amy April 30, 2011 at 8:40 am

Thank you so much for sharing this! What a fun event for all the kids involved. I admire how you and your children put yourselves “out there” and aren’t afraid to try new things (like hosting a party for French children, when you aren’t comfortable with the language? aye yai yai!) So brave! I know what you mean about hosting a party and hoping people will show up! That is always my biggest fear!

Thanks again, so so beautiful!

amy @ glass confetti


42 holly April 30, 2011 at 11:24 am

gabby this is so beautiful! i love that you had a little station for dying eggs so the french kids could try it out. and i totally forgot the tradition to let the little kids start the hunt a bit sooner than the older kids. sounds like such a fun party! im sure your older kids will remember this for years to come.


43 'rachel April 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm

P.E.R.F.E.C.T! Wish we would have been there.


44 Zoe April 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

So lovely. Congratulations on such a successful and fun party! I have a feeling there will be more to come.


45 Erin April 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Looked like a delightful afternoon! Please let us know if you get feedback from the party guests. I’m sure they loved it!


46 Nicole O April 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm

You’re amazing!


47 Erin April 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm

It looks like a great time was had by all! Holidays like Easter transcend boundaries.


48 Marissa Gleason April 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Looked like a blast!


49 kirsten May 1, 2011 at 12:28 am

Oh, fantastic! How lovely to have your sister there to help and what a perfectly lovely afternoon, all the way around. Très bien, Gabrielle!


50 nikki May 1, 2011 at 6:42 am

so perfect! i wish it was warm enough in manitoba to have an outdoor easter egg hunt party! sadly the ground usually has snow on it and the temperatures are barely above freezing (sometimes far below!).


51 Kristen Duke Photography May 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

SO fun!!!! Way to step out of your comfort zone with the language barrier thing…the grounds are lovely, perfect for an egg hunt. Here is our egg hunt/lamb birthday party that same weekend (I told you about):

Still dreaming of finding a spot in the French countryside…way to inspire;)


52 ninfalis May 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm

It looks magical.


53 sophia May 2, 2011 at 8:11 am

i love the after shots of the family working together taking down the event. it’s what family and close friends do:)


54 Michelle May 2, 2011 at 9:18 am

Looks like the perfect mix of American tradition and French whimsy! Happy Spring Break!


55 Chris May 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm

oh me oh my, what fun!


56 Viv @ The Eclectic Life May 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm

What a gorgeous venue to have an Easter egg hunt! The kids looked like they clearly had a blast. That photo of Maude is completely adorable. Also love the ribbons you guys tied to add some pastel color to the event.


57 Kathleen May 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Looks like a fantastic party!


58 Kelly May 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm

It seems so brave to go all out for a party in another country and another language! So inspiring, as always. It’s gorgeous and most importantly, looks like a blast. You are representing the home country so well over there!! xo


59 Kate Coates May 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm

what a beautiful job you did of melding two cultures! way to build community globally, gab! and it is wonderful to see ralph and maude looking so happy and confident in their new world. marvelous pictures.


60 Maria Babin May 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Love it! This post really “speaks” to me since I’m an American like you living in France! Thanks for sharing!


61 tchouckinette May 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Wonderful party you threw !

I started reading your blog daily a couple of weeks before you all moved to France and I love it – this is on the best part of the day !!! I think your family is well settled now and seems to have a lot of friends now. Hope you do too !

As for the mix of culture, I am sure it is expected from you … and your guests surely appreciated the day !


62 heather m May 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Finally getting to this post. What a fabulous fabulous party! You put me to shame. Just getting to this, because we got our “europe” on by heading to Montreal & Quebec City for Spring Break. It was so wonderful to immerse ourselves in the culture for a week. Not quite european, but it had that feel. Made me want to head back to France even more. So I will continue to live vicariously thru you. :) ps, we did get our american canada on, with a quick ending in Toronto and Niagara. Every kid needs to see the Falls once. Looking forward to hearing about your trip!


63 currystrumpet May 4, 2011 at 11:05 am

Simply gorgeous. My mom always organized Easter egg hunts for my sister and I and our friends when we were young. This looks as much fun as I remember them to be, and prettier too!


64 Hannah S May 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm

What a fabulous gathering!!! It looks like the children had a great time. And what a great way to introduce new cultural similarities/differences. What a great setting for an Easter egg hunt. I love the food, the decor, the eggs, the buckets! Simple and well executed. Have you received any feedback from the French attendees?


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