Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Easter Eggstravaganza

On Sunday afternoon we dyed Easter eggs and it was a fantastic mess! I had big plans to dye eggs naturally so a little 18 month old boy could participate freely.

Here's how it worked out for us:

I decided to only do four colors since our stove only has four burners.  We did beets for pink eggs, grape juice for blue eggs, spinach for green eggs, and paprika for orange eggs.


I basically made a "tea" out of each item.  I boiled the veggies/ spices in water for about an hour. The longer you boil the richer the color will be.  I heated the grape juice in the microwave.

I then let the colors cool until they were warm but not too hot to touch and added about 1/4 cup vinegar to each.

We took our colors outside and the fun really began...


Charlie's favorite was the grape juice.  I tried to sneak eggs into the other colors and he would take them out and plop them into the grape juice bowl.

Then I guess he got thirsty and didn't seem to mind the vinegar at all:


It was such a good experience for him to learn to dye eggs without a bunch of napkin-bearing, hovering adults.  He laughed and stirred and splashed and made a big disgusting mess.






Here's an exciting action shot:


Overall, the experience gets a 10 for a fun toddler activity. I can't even describe the carefree excitement Charlie had when we just let him do what he wanted with the activity.  He doesn't have the "don't make mess" filter that adults have.  He didn't know the eggs weren't supposed to crack and didn't really care what color they turned.  I love to see how his untrained mind works. 

If I had to rate the actual egg dying method (with the goal being really colorful and pretty eggs)... maybe a 2?

Here is how they turned out.  I'll let you guess which are Charlie's creations and which belong to the adults:

  • The two pretty pink eggs are dyed with beets.
  • The three yellow eggs were in the paprika.
  • The spinach didn't work at all.  After about 45 minutes in the spinach, we stuck them in the paprika -- those are the two peach looking eggs.
  • Those four grayish-blue guys spent about an hour sloshing around in grape juice.

We started with 18 and finished with 11.  Rob ate some, Charlie ate one, I have no idea where the others went.

If you are considering this egg dying method, here are some things I would do different:
1. boil boil boil -- maybe even for several hours.
2. Put the eggs in while the "tea" is still hot.
3. Use grape juice concentrate instead of the bottled stuff.

When it was all over, Charlie chased the dog around with the grape juice spoon, we stripped him down to his diaper out in the yard, and then moved on to his second favorite activity of the day -- bath time!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Scribble Scrabble, Uganda, and Jalapenos

This week, little C found a piece of carboard and worked on this masterpiece each day, all on his own:


He was very serious about his scribble scrabble.  The black crayon even broke a little.

Painting with Purpose
I have been meaning to share this bit of info for a couple weeks.  One exciting thing about the new crafty Etsy business is that the little bit of extra income allows our family to give more.  We have a number of people in our lives who advocate for some really important causes (that are typically very close to their families).  We always wish we had more to give and are hopeful that the Etsy business can make that a reality.

So, for the first quarter of 2011 we were able to give a portion of the crafty profit to an incredible organization- Africa Children's Mission- on behalf of a great family!!! Let me tell you 3 things about my college friend, Joy:
1. She's hilarious. You have no idea until you ride on a leaky bus through Greece with her for a week.   
2. She also has a little C who is almost the exact same age as mine.
3. Her family has an incredible heart for Uganda (her husband is even from there)-- and they are literally selling all their stuff (house included) to move there.  This family is the real deal.

Bloggy people, Joy's Uganda Blog is one to add to your Reader.  I think about her family a lot and I admire their vision and passion (which is explained SO much better in her blog than I can write here). 

How's the Murray Garden?
Glad you asked! We've got some new sprouts since last week. We are proud to annouce several new jalapeno babies this week:



Five spaghetti squashes still growing strong:


and 12 crazy zucchini plants that need bigger pots really soon:

Tomorrow you will get to hear the big Easter egg dying update.  "Natural" egg dying happened in the Murray yard this afternoon...wait til you see the results :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I have an Easter Craft Idea

Last Easter Charlie was a baby, about 6 months old.  So, while Rob and I dyed eggs,

the little guy did this:

and this...
Box Face

This year I want him to be able to join the egg dying fun, but I don't want to have to hover over him and make sure he doesn't drink the egg dye or eat the little dye tablets that look like candy...because he would.  This kid eats handfuls of dirt and drinks bath water.  He also thinks its pretty clever to dunk his paci in the dog's water bowl and then put it back in his mouth.

So I have an idea -- we are going to find natural ways to dye eggs.  Then the silly boy can dunk them, lick them, wear them as hats, whatever.  In my mind it sounds like great fun, it reality it very well could be a great disaster.  I'll let you know, and we'll take pictures either way.

Here is what I'm thinking we will use (the great part is we already have most of this stuff)...

Blue -- Grape juice ( Wait? Grape juice is purple!  I thought the same thing but I read this one works so we are going to try)
Purple -- red onion skins, apparently you need a lot
Green -- Spinach
Yellow - Cumin or Celery seeds
Brown - Coffee (brown Easter eggs? I don't know about brown, but I do know I own coffee already so we're making brown eggs)
Orange - Paprika
Pink - Beets 

So I guess you just boil the stuff in water. The longer you boil, the deeper the color.  Strain the chunks out, then add some vinegar and dye away. 

Has anyone out there ever done this before?  Suggestions?

THE MURRAY GARDEN UPDATE:

You may remember that I mentioned I started some seeds last week...

Well, this week I am happy to report we have 12 baby zucchini plants growing in the kitchen window!


5 baby spaghetti squash plants... and no jalapenos yet.



This week I may try to get out in the garden and plant some lettuce and kale.  I'm pretty excited about the kale because I have a terrific recipe for kale chips that I got off a friend's blog.  I may need to share it soon.  Super easy, yummy, and healthy.  And toddlers eat them.  There is something VERY satisfying about seeing my 18 month old crunching on a kale leaf.