Monday, April 25, 2011

Dying eggs, round 2

Never mind that Easter was officially yesterday.

We need to get pink eggs.

Although there was definitely a big, fat, adventurous spirit to our last egg-coloring event, I came away really longing for that cheerful pink egg.

A friend suggested hibiscus tea. Nice idea, except that my local grocery store just sells regular stuff, so I had to settle for a combo pack of fruit teas. A humorous home remedy story comes to mind, in which I accidentally dyed my daughter's face red with a cranberry tea.

I get the tea home and see that the first ingredient in 4 out of 5 tea flavors is hibiscus. Sheesh.

So we try again.

This time we have Raspberry Zinger, True Blueberry, and Country Passion Peach. Someone else mentioned that they never dye white eggs at their house, only brown, because the results are so much more interesting. We try both.

The results: Brown and Browner.

I think I'll wait till next year to try the beets. I'm up to my vent in egg salad.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

preschool is not complete without...

For some reason, I don't think a child should be allowed to graduate from an accredited preschool without fulfilling certain requirements.

1) being able to use a public restroom
2) being able to write one's own name
3) growing something from seed
4) mixing colors of paint
5) milking a cow
6) visiting a fire station

With my younger daughter just weeks away from tossing her cap, I've had to consult my list of graduation requirements. Lucky for us, our local cooperative preschool is nothing short of stellar, and works almost all of these into the curriculum.

For example, we recently went to the Pittsfield Township Fire Station.

Field trippers of all ages enjoyed this visit. The kids loved climbing in the trucks and seeing the firefighters' sleeping quarters.

I loved the fire engine red washer and dryer.

How strange to see an otherwise spotless station strewn with boots and laundry, only to realize that these are uniforms in their waiting position!

Kids complied when parents requested small group photos.

The firefighters were friendly and informative. I learned that the station receives 7 calls daily and most of them are health related. One firefighter proudly revealed that he had wanted to be a firefighter since he was 5 years old!

Next field trip: Real Life Farm to milk that cow!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I brake for museums.

The recent Spring Break afforded us some much needed free time. But looking ahead to a full week of open time, I got a little twitchy and gravitated toward my sanity mainstay: The Play Date.

One day we met some school friends at the Detroit Children's Museum and loved it. Its small size lent itself to satisfaction as we were able to see/play/experience all that we wanted to without feeling rushed.

Another day we met some oldie-but-goodie friends at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Also a fun time to explore, but we only did a fraction of what was offered before kids and adults alike started mumbling about lunch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Goodbye, poison ivy wallpaper!

I finally mustered up the energy to do something about the flowered, ivy wallpaper that was in our bedroom.

From the first time we saw this house almost three years ago, I've been thinking, "That wallpaper has got to go."

And last month, it did.

I invited a few friends over, promising them snacks and tea, if they would help me get that wallpaper down. And would you believe, they actually came to my house, one of them bringing her steamer for sharing?!

After much discussion, sampling, and more discussion, we decided on 'chopstick' and 'hosta.' It works, I think.

Any ideas for what to put on that charming little shelf? Or window treatments?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Natural dyes for Easter eggs

I know it's a bit early for dying Easter eggs, but I couldn't help myself. This chilly weather, combined with a not-very-springy Spring Break, was starting to get to me and I really needed a craft. That used turmeric.

I'm not sure why, but I love that color. That warm, orangey, fragrant color.

So I invited some cheery friends over and called it a play date. We busted out an ugli fruit,

wrangled the dog,

and engaged in general merriment.

But really it was all about the eggs.

I took the 'recipe' from my latest favorite book: Keeping Chickens by Ashley English.

(In case you are wondering, yes, my dear city allows 4 backyard hens, but, no, we're not getting any. At least, not this year.)

We used pots of coffee, blueberries, red cabbage, and turmeric.

We boiled,


and boiled some more.

And finally...

we had our eggs.

I was super pleased with the results, except for the red cabbage. Those eggs looked just as white as when we dropped them in. Plus, they ended up only soft-boiled. Even though it's not my personal favorite, one friend was delighted and claimed them for herself!

Next year, I'd like to try spinach for green, and maybe something for pink or red. Any ideas out there?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Craft with 25 First Graders!

Some of you know that I've been following my new mantra: Use What You Have, and applying it to various areas of my life.

Look what happens when you take 25 first graders along for the ride!

Here they are at their Spring Gathering, with glass jars, tissue paper, and glue in hand.

What in the world are they making?

Spring candles!

Let's not forget about the lids.

They became picture magnets!

I'm so thankful for parent and middle school helpers to guide these little, eager hands!