Nature Print Eggs with Natural Dyes

natureprinteggs

This week we are learning about Romania and I wanted to find a craft to tie into our studies. I searched online for Romanian crafts ideas and pictures of leaf print eggs caught my attention. The eggs are dyed in natural dyes (which also tied in nicely with our medieval studies) and finding the little flowers, ferns, and tiny leaves to imprint on our eggs added to this week’s nature studies. Multi-subject lessons are the best! I’m not sure how Romanian these eggs are but they were fun to make and they are absolutely beautiful.

Just a few words to keep things real, this project was time consuming. From boiling the eggs, preparing the natural dyes, patience with the egg designs and waiting for the colors to come through, and the mess (oh, the mess!! see end of post) this is not your average-throw-a-color-tablet-in-a-cup-of-vinegar-and-add-an-egg type of thing. BUT if you are adventurous and like a good creative-challenge, this project is for you!!! (And my four year old stayed with us and enjoyed the project the whole time, so if he can do it…..)

Materials:

  • white eggs (hardboiled)
  • tumeric
  • beets
  • coffee
  • red cabbage
  • white vinegar
  • water
  • nylon knee highs
  • small hair elastics
  • small flowers, leaves, clovers
  • papertowels

Directions:

1.) Boil the eggs and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2.) Search outside for small flowers, interesting leaves, ferns, and clovers. Cilantro and celery leaves would also work.

2.) Make the natural dyes. I followed Martha Stewart’s directions for dying eggs naturally.

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3.) Decorate the eggs. We noticed the condensation on the eggs (from being in the refrigerator) helped the leaves and petals stick better. If the eggshells were dry, we added a little moisture to the leaves to help keep things in place. This cut down on frustration levels for those with little hands. ūüôā

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4.) Cover decorated egg with nylon. The foot of a knee high works great but since we only had two per package, we had to create our own “foot” with an extra small elastic. Pull nylon tightly around the egg to hold things in place.

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5.) Give the eggs a natural dye bath. The longer the eggs soak, the more vibrant the color. We left the eggs in the dye for a minimum of an hour. See Martha Stewart’s directions for time and color suggestions.

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6.) Cut off the nylon and peel off leaves and flowers. (We patted the egg dry with a paper towel before we cut the nylon. I am not sure if this make a difference in color but it made the eggs less slippery to work with.)

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7.) Observe and enjoy!!!

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natureprinteggs

And the promised TRUTH…(BUT it was worth it!!!)

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Kindness ROCKS

kindness rocks

Keep your eyes open and you might find one! Love, peace, joy, or a smile! The kids and I have been inspired to spread kindness in the shape of rocks. Following the example of the following four organizations, I bought five bags of black river rocks (at the dollar store.) We painted hearts, rainbows, crosses, smiley faces, and other things that might make one smile and we have been hiding them all over our town.

Our hope is that each rock is found at the perfect moment and it will bring a smile to the finder’s face. If you do find one, we would love to hear about it! We would love to know what happened to the rocks after we left it somewhere.

Check out these beautiful stories of others who are spreading joy and kindness one rock at a time.

Love Rocks  (A beautiful, courageous story of how one family is overcoming loss and grief with love and joy!)

The Kindness Rocks Project

Word Rocks

The Rainbow Rock Project (A story that tells you are never to young to make a difference!)

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Decorating Easter Eggs with Nail Polish

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Happy Easter!  He is risen! The tomb is empty and we celebrate hope and new life. I hope that you had a blessed day gathered around your friends and family.

Now, I realize that this post may be a little late for this year. Most of us will not be dying or decorating eggs until next Easter but I had to share this nail polish technique. Tuck it away for next spring or boil some eggs and give it a try. I couldn’t believe that it worked so well. Our eggs look like art. They boast¬†bold, bright colors and unique designs and patterns.¬†I was very tempted to boil another couple of eggs just to see¬†what different patterns I could create.

You will need:

  • eggs (hard boiled or blown out)
  • bright colorful nail polish (the more expensive brands worked better than the cheaper polishes)
  • plastic cup
  • water (room temperature)
  • toothpicks
  • plastic gloves
  • newspaper or table cloth
  • paper towels
  • a place for the eggs to dry (egg carton, plate with paper towels)

Directions:

Watch the tutorial below.

 

Tips:

1.) Decorate eggs in a well-ventilated area. The nail polish smell can be overwhelming.

2.) Cover your table or work area with an old table cloth or newspaper. This can be a messy project.

3.) Be sure to use room temperature water.

4.) We had difficulty using the nail polish brush to drop the nail polish into the cup (see video.) Instead, we carefully tipped the nail polish bottle and let the desired amount polish slowly drop out into the water.

5.) When lowering the egg into the water, hold the egg vertically rather than horizontally. We noticed that the patterns and swirls seemed to come out better this way.

6.) If you do not want to waste eggs, blown out eggs would be work great too. (http://www.wikihow.com/Blow-Out-Eggs)

7.) To fill in any white spaces, dip the nail polished egg into the traditional egg dye.

8.) NOTE: I WOULD NOT ADVISE EATING THE EGGS AFTER DECORATING WITH NAIL POLISH. Instead of eating them, try an egg fight. Egg fights were a fun Easter tradition in our family complete with “trophies” and bragging rights. ¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j2yJtea6Ug

Here are some of our eggs:. 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope today brought you more kisses than pinches, shamrocks and rainbows, and laughter and blessings. Tomorrow, I will return to writing¬†about the process of finding a good balance in life and using our time wisely. But today, I wanted to write about a little bit of mischief and a little bit of fun that took place in our house.

On the eve of March 17th, legend says that a “leprechaun” travels from the green hills of Ireland to the green hills of New England to play some harmless tricks while the children sleep. ¬†The “leprechaun” was back and at again this year.¬†“Lenny” made a mess of things. He turned the toilet bowl water green, spread green and white feathers in the bathroom, wrote a message in green sugar sprinkles on the kitchen counter, and left a little note with a small treat.

After the excitement of the tricks wore off, the kids and I took a few minutes¬†to make a new batch of playdough. I added a few extra drops of water and oil to my basic recipe. I think that this made the playdough’s consistency smoother and easier to work with than past batches. Don’t forget the GLITTER!! The glitter is the best part. ūüôā I added two whole tubes of each color.

 Glittering-Green Playdough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus a few extra drops)
  • 1 cup of water (plus an added tablespoon or two)
  • green food coloring (I like the gel coloring)
  • fine green and gold glitter (at least two small tubes)

In a medium saucepan whisk together the dry ingredients. Next, mix in the water, oil, and green food coloring. Stir until a thick batter is formed. Cook the mixture over a low heat until a thick dough forms. Spoon the playdough onto parchment paper or a plate. Knead until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of dough. I usually double the recipe for use with three kids.

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There is much more to this holiday than leprechauns, parties, parades, and pots of gold. My favorite part of the day was reviewing the life of Saint Patrick. What an amazing man! What a story of faith, answered prayers, and very bad circumstances turned to good for God’s purposes and His glory. ¬†I could tell you the details of his story myself but it may be more entertaining to watch them. I found this Veggie Tales video on the life of St. Patrick. If you have a good sense of humor, you might like it. If Veggie Tales makes you cringe, you may want to Google his life. Either way, I think learning about Saint Patrick will inspire you.

 

 

So until tomorrow,

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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PS: I am in love with the little “Lenny” note (see above pic) that I purchased from Caravan Shoppe. This is not a paid compliment, just well deserved praise. The Caravan Shoppe is a small business, run by two young families who¬†specialize in digital downloads for home, family, and fun. Their work is creative and affordable. Check them out here! http://caravanshoppe.com/¬†

Painting With Snow

Puffy Snow Paint

I am still waiting for a BIG snow storm to arrive. The “Blizzard of 2016” turned out to be a disappointment, dropping a total of zip-zero inches in NH. I am slightly bitter that the¬†snow was redirected¬†to the Mid-Atlantic states and accumulated in the yards and driveways of some of my relatives (who by the way, are not particularly known to be snow lovers.) My lucky brother and sister-in-law got at least 18 inches! Oh, I am so jealous!

I cannot say that we have had no snow this winter. Two weeks ago, a small storm came through bringing a wimpy three inches of snow with it.¬†The kids were able to scrape together a cute, little snowman who stayed around much longer than we expected. Unfortunately, last week’s warmer temperatures did a number on the poor little guy. See picture below.¬†(How about those flip flops???)

cute little snowman

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It seemed about the right time to whip up a little “snow” of my own. My kids love snow paint!¬†Snow painting is an easy-to-make, fun, sensory activity. With snow paint, you can create three-dimensional snowmen and other snow designs that will stay around all winter no matter what the weather report is.

Snow Paint

Puffy Snow Paint Snowmen

You will need:

  • shaving cream
  • school glue
  • glitter (optional)
  • paper plates or bowl
  • spoons or hands to mix with
  • construction paper
  • paintbrush
  • materials for snowman’s arms, mouth, nose, accessories

On a paper plate, mix 1/4 cup school glue to 3/4 cup shaving cream. Add glitter. Combine with spoon. If using your hands, I would recommend blending the materials in a big bowl or on a cookie sheet. It will give you more room to work with and help contain the snow.

Mixing Puffy Snow Paint

Using your finger or a paintbrush, make an outline of a snowman on construction paper. Generously fill the outline in with snow paint. The more snow, the better. The more textured, the better.

Snowman outline

Decorate your snowman as you wish. Use different materials for his arms and face. Give him a scarf or a hat. Be creative. Twigs work great for arms and a background. Fleece and fabric work beautifully for hats and scarfs.

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Add falling snow and/or a background. Allow paint to dry completely. When dry, the paint will set into a soft, puffy material.

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Embrace Winter! Embrace Creativity!

(This idea is adapted from a  BOZ MOPPETS Lesson)

 

 

 

 

“100 Things I Love”

100 things I love activity

Everyone is creative in their own way. God has created each of us with different gifts and talents to be used to reflect His goodness and His image. Creativity is not constrained within the arts, it is included in the processes of thinking, planning, and decision making. Sometimes, we need to remove distractions and shift our perspective so that we can find the creativity that God designed us to enjoy.

At our last MOPS meeting, my creative Co-Coordinator came up with this amazing activity to help us “notice goodness,” “embrace rest,” and to “celebrate lavishly.” ¬†We started our meeting by watching an engaging speaker, Kay Morison, talk about the importance of finding our creativity and embrace it as a way to recharge so we can continue to pour into others. She made a point to say that creativity looks differently in all of our lives and it can be found in things like spreadsheets and in runner’s strides.

“Creativity teaches us to be more present in the moment, enjoy the process, and let go of the end result.”

Kay Morrison-Eyes to See…Creativity¬†

Noticing Goodness Kit

After viewing the video, each mom was given a “Noticing Goodness Kit.” The kit contained cardstock, numbers, mat, a heart, and writing prompts. We organized the items on our paper, glued them in place, and waited for the next instruction. My Co-Coordinator asked us to think about the many things we love and then led us through two or three examples, encouraging us to be creative in how we numbered and wrote the items on our paper.¬†

“On your paper, write number one. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of what you love? (PAUSE) Write number two. What is your favorite smell? (PAUSE)”¬†

Once we all had a good idea of what we were to do, she sent us off to find a peaceful, quiet space. Then we were left alone with our thoughts, a pen and our paper.

When you are a mom of little ones, you rarely get 30-40 minutes of alone time without interruptions. The time to think was a gift in itself.

It took me three or four tries to find a comfortable, quiet spot. Once I found a space, I did nothing but sat and breathed. The silence was unfamiliar. A good five minutes went by before I pulled out the prompts and things started coming to mind. Sometimes, they came quickly. Word after word. A few times, I got stuck and sat in silence again. I found that there was no particular order of importance and one word/memory often led to many other things that I loved. Before I knew it I had 100 items on my paper. I could have kept going.

I reread my list and realized that I had missed things that I absolutely love- chocolate-chip cookies, apple picking, Santa Claus, running, the 4th of July. I also realized that I missed many memories- Story Land with my family, going to Cape Cod, my wedding, soda floats in chemistry beakers with my grandpa, and watching Days of Our Lives with my aunt.

It did not matter what I missed or how many things I forgot. This was not a checklist-type of activity. No bonus points for the best or most unique item. This was practice in opening our eyes to notice the goodness in the every day, in the smallest moments, with the people who you do life with. It was also helped us embrace rest and to celebrate lavishly in what we accomplished.

You do not have to have a special kit to complete this activity. Grab a piece paper. Find 30 minutes of “quiet” time- maybe at nap time or when the kids go to bed. ¬†Start one at a time and number your items. I think you find yourself opening up as you go. If you get stuck, here are a list of prompts that you can use: ¬†100 Things I Love Prompts

If you need even more inspiration, check out these pins and the different ways others have completed this type of project:

47cf8424f630cbe354480d34025c660d 100 things

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AY8ichhWgnUDkgUSc6s1DyiIul1JJc6DNunyzFLpTtCXGwgxWIxl4TQ/

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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/131871095314686653/

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Crafty Island Girl

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267119821626528980/

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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267119821626529714/

If you do get a chance to do this activity, I would love to hear your thoughts and how you did.

Embrace your creativity!

A Snow & Soup Day- Healthy Greek Lentil Soup Recipe

healthygreeklentilsoup

Today I woke up to a winter wonderland. Three inches of beautiful snow already lay on the ground and big, fluffy snowflakes continue to fall from the sky. ¬†“Snow days” do not change our “schedule.” We still have school, still plan to read books snuggled on the couch, and will still be doing the chores. But snow days somehow make the house seem cozier. And when I think of cozy, I think of thick¬†blankets, warm mugs of cocoa and coffee, and soup.

I am always in search of new soup recipes to try.  I came across the following lentil soup recipe from Angela of Fit Mom-Angel D. Angela writes about fitness and wellness on her blog and has a lot of great recipes to share. Her Greek Lentil Soup intrigued me. I love lentils but for some reason rarely make them. Lentils are inexpensive, packed with high nutritional value, and have many health benefits. They are filled with fiber and are fairly satisfying. This soup is not only healthy but delicious. Kid approved in my house. The recipe makes a lot of servings, so you will have a ton of leftovers.  Leftovers are a gift in my house.

Angela gave me permission to share her Healthy Greek Lentil Soup Recipe. I hope you will try it and enjoy it too.

Healthy Greek Lentil Soup- by Angela D.

PREP TIME: 15 minutes     COOK TIME: 1 HOUR 10 minutes  SERVES: 10

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 celery stalks, diced

4 large carrots or 2 cups baby carrots, sliced

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

2 Teaspoons Dried Basil

2 cups of dry lentils

1 (24 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (32 oz) carton low-sodium chicken broth

4 cups of water

2 cups baby spinach leaves (more of less to your liking)

1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice (the more the better in my opinion)

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1.) Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add celery, carrots & onions and cook until tender.

2.) Stir in garlic, oregano & basil, cook 2 more minutes.

3.) Pour in lentils, crushed & diced tomatoes, broth and water. Stir and bring to a boil.

4.) Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour.

5.) Salt and pepper, to taste.

6.) Stir in spinach and lemon juice. Let the spinach leaves to wilt before serving.

 

Do you have a favorite soup recipe?  If you do, I would love for you to share.

 

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