Signs of spring are finally popping up and there's a new way to bring the outdoors inside to celebrate the season. "We had always grown real grass for our Easter baskets," explains Alison Zajac of Trumbull. "My sister had done it, kind of a family tradition, and whenever I would do it, friends would say, 'Oh hey, can you go get me some seed?'" Already the creator of Sandy Feet, a casting keepsake kit, she decided to turn her hobby into another sellable product. The Easter Grass-Kit, a craft the whole family can enjoy, was born in 2009: "This is something that is so lovely to display." Now, Zajac's kits are hitting the shelves at 500 Walmart stores, a major advancement for this mom-preneur's homegrown business.
"It doesn't take very long and kids' attention span is quite limited," says Zajac, as she shows off the key component to her kit, a dirt "puck" imported from India called cocopeat, an environmentally-friendly product used in hydroponic planting. "You add water to it and it expands. That becomes your growing medium." Kids as young as three can take part, pouring the moist dirt, made of coconut husks, into a lined basket and mixing-in wheat grass seeds that have been soaked in water. Results come fast, as sprouts appear within 48 hours. "In seven to ten days, it's good grass. You have a lot to show for that effort," says Zajac, who has a background in marketing and graphic design. "It's so simple but the kids, when they've done it, they want to do it again. They want to see their progress. Every year, it's a great tradition."
This mom likes to bond with her two daughters through unique crafts. "Kids, sometimes, they can get a little jaded. 'Oh, I've seen that, I've done that,'" Zajac says. "I'm always looking for something novel to do with them." She believes her kits bring families back to the basics, providing children with a break from electronics through an activity that's organic and pure. "Any way that you can pull them back, I think, is important," she says. "I like to weed out the plastic. I like the natural fibers, I like the natural wooden toys." The kits, assembled by disabled adults at Trumbull's Kennedy Center, are already sold on Amazon. Parents can learn more on http://www.spotsandladybugs.com.
Easter Grass is providing work, highlighting the environment and inspiring mom-preneurs everywhere. Zajac has been comfortable building her business, Spots and Ladybugs, at a slow pace, in order to balance work and family, but is now hoping that Walmart's involvement takes her kits to a new level. She thinks they give kids pride in creating their own garden, right at home: "It makes it a little bit less of a plastic-centered world. They can understand what they're doing, what they're growing." And, parents are left with a basket of lush green carpet, both beautiful and useful. "It's like leaving cookies and milk for Santa. You leave grass for the Easter Bunny," smiles Zajac. "He can nibble on it!"
To see an Easter Grass-Kit assembled, tune into Monday's Fox CT Morning News.