Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Most Egg-cellent Adventure!

My friend, Nikki, and I decided to try natural egg dyes with our kids this year (her son is three weeks younger than Moose and her daughter is almost six).

But before I begin, Nikki and I have been talking a lot lately about honesty in blogging.  She doesn't blog (although she ought to - she's one of the funniest people I know!) and I only dabble, but we're both avid blog readers.  More than a few times, we attempt (or ponder) an activity we've seen on a favorite blog and think to ourselves (or each other) it would SO not be that easy/wholesome/idyllic in my house.  (We're not the only ones: see #8 on this awesome mommy survival guide.)

So I'm starting with the gratuitously perfect photo of our finished eggs (go ahead, scroll back up so you can see it again), complete with fresh-baked millet muffins in the background.

And now for the nitty gritty.

We started planning our dyes last week with this article on natural egg dyes.  All was going well until I went to pick up the chlorophyll caplets at Whole Foods on Saturday and I turned green when I saw that the least expensive bottle would set us back $18!

Back to the drawing board we went and found this article with some other ideas for green.  We settled on green tea for the green dye base to round out our lineup:

Pink: juice and two beets from a jar of beets
Yellow: two eyeballed tablespoons of tumeric (boiled in 1c water)
Green: six green teabags (boiled in 1c water)
Blue: 1c frozen blueberries plus 1c water
Brown: 1c strong coffee

As much as we prefer to use organic or local eggs in our cooking at home, we were afraid the brown (and other shades) wouldn't pick up the dye well enough (and retain the kids' attention), so we used white eggs.

I'd love to give you some photos of our natural dye concoctions simmering on the stove, but we tended to those tag team while chasing the two-year-old boys and trying to have a conversation, so I'm afraid you're out of luck.

Because Nikki has more mommy experience than me, she wisely set us up outside on a hose-down-able plastic table in the grass and instructed me to bring "grubby" clothes for the Moose and myself.

Making a mess is always a hit with kids!  

You may be thinking that the dear little hands above are smaller than the Moose's.  You would be right.  This is Nikki's son, enjoying the pink dye.  The Moose took one egg, tested to see if he could bite it (nope), slam dunked it into a dye cup, declared himself all done, and took off for the swingset (he did return, briefly, to test how well a hard-boiled egg worked as a hammer). 

Nikki's daughter graciously modeled the blue/purple dye for me.

All in all, I think our eggs turned out beautifully:

Not as intense as artificial colors, but then again, the kiddos weren't exactly patient enough to leave them in a particular dye cup long enough to let the color get really deep.

Oh and the bonus learning game?  The kids tried smelling the dye cups and guessing where the scent came from!  Moose correctly guessed the coffee brown dye on the first sniff (and even through the vinegar!).

What does that say about my coffee consumption?  (And maybe that means coffee was a good thing to give up for Lent . . .)

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