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Striving To Stay Sweet Sans The Sugar

Holy Nativity Keiki 3's teacher Stanell Koanui gives instructions for a candy-free Easter hunt. The treat afterward was a fruit bar PHOTO FROM TANNYA JOAQUIN

Holy Nativity Keiki 3’s teacher Stanell Koanui gives instructions for a candy-free Easter hunt. The treat afterward was a fruit bar PHOTO FROM TANNYA JOAQUIN

Easter was responsible for two of my guilty pleasures when I was growing up.

No. 1: Those sugar-covered, pastel-colored marshmallow (at least, I think that’s what they are) chicks better known as Peeps.

No. 2: Cadbury Eggs. Something about the over-the-top sweet yolk-colored filling inside the chocolate made me cringe but crave this strangely sweet treat.

Looking back, it was probably the sugar high and feeling that I had to have them. After all, Peeps and Cadbury Eggs only are sold during Easter time.

Fast forward to this Easter. I didn’t dare indulge in either of these childhood favorites or introduce them to my children.

My daughter’s preschool teacher Mrs. Koanui presented an interesting homework challenge to parents. We each had to turn in 14 plastic eggs for an Easter hunt, but there was a catch. We could not fill them with any sort of candy.

On the surface, that might sound easy, but consider how accustomed we’ve become to celebrating holidays and special occasions with sugar and sweets. Think birthday cakes, Valentine’s Day chocolate, Halloween treats, graduation lei made of candy, etc.

Stores make it easy for us.

They sell us eggs prefilled with sweet goodies and offer conveniently packaged sugary snacks.

I tackled my homework assignment at my local Walgreens. I was a mom on a mission to prove I could get creative. No candy required. (Confession: I had a sweet tooth at the time, so I had to dig deep to hightail it by the chocolate section.)

Hmm, what small knickknacks could I find that both girls and boys would like? I made my way to the school supplies section, but nothing caught my eye.

Plan B took me to the store’s small book section. Score. I found a book of SpongeBob Stickers.

OK, one down. What else can I get? Wait, these look interesting: scratch-and-sniff stickers. These used to be hot in my day. I grab a pack and add them to my basket.

I can do this, I reassure myself. On a whim, I head over to the pharmacy side and remember my daughter’s fondness for character Band-Aids. Bingo! Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse Band-Aids.

As a finishing touch, I pick up some colorful shells. I was pretty proud of the sweet spread (minus actual sweets.)

I laid out our goodies to fill the eggs with my kids, and didn’t even mind when my son asked, “Hey, where’s the candy? Easter eggs always have candy inside.”

Not this time.

tjoaquin@hawaiinewsnow.com