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. 🙂

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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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Nancy Drew and Jessica Fletcher

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I love a good mystery! But what makes a mystery so great? Trying to piece together the clues? Testing theories against logical thinking? Or is it thinking about the possibilities of impossible things?
 
Nancy Drew and Jessica Fletcher are two of my favorite fictional heroines.They both share a keen perspective, ask the right questions, make accurate deductions, and find themselves in adventurous (and somewhat dangerous) situations. All the while they meet the most interesting of characters, solve the case, and seem to enjoy every minute of it. (Or at least the majority of the minutes, when their lives are not in danger…)
 
If we think about it, don’t we all have a little bit of Nancy and Jessica in us? Thrown into the great mystery of life? Trying to figure out the possibilities in impossible situations? Making deductions with what we know and moving forward testing our theories? Some of us trying to get out of dangerous situations? Crossing paths with some of the most interesting people and always, always learning something new?
 
I will never figure out all the mysteries of life (not while I’m here on earth) but I may be able to solve a small “case” here and there. I can get to know the people I meet and piece together clues to love and serve them better. I can ask questions and make deductions based on what I understand to be The Truth. I can marvel at scientific discoveries and wonder about vastness of God’s creation. I can put myself out there, in the middle of messes, take risks and chances, and embrace the places I find myself in.
I can do all of this because I have peace and confidence. Peace given to me by the One who has all the answers, who has solved all the mysteries, and who has created all things. Confidence in my relationship with Jesus. In this, I find safety and freedom to wander, to wonder, and securely step out and into what the Lord is calling me to do. So take hold of wonder, observe, question, search, dream, move forward in peace, and learn something new. Mystery and adventure awaits! 

Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 40:5 (NIV)


“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/

936c1ff85216238296c771d3ce8e88f7100things

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!


Tot-Time Tuesday ~Straws and Pasta~

Pasta and Straws

I am always searching for ideas that are easy and that keep my two-year old entertained for longer than one whole minute. I found this idea on Pinterest from Laughing Kids Learn. The author calls this activity “Pasta Threading.”  It is great for the development of little one’s fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills generally refer to use of the small muscles like fingers, hands, and wrists. Development in fine motor skills help with tasks such as stacking blocks, zipping zippers, turning book pages, holding a pencil, handwriting, and using scissors. As a child develops, they gain more motor control and can perform more sophisticated motor tasks. As a parent and teacher, it is important to provide opportunities for your little ones to practice these skills.

I had everything in the house that was needed for this activity.

  • Playdough  (Store bought! It would have been nice for homemade playdough but that is a project for another time. )
  • Straws
  • Rigatoni Pasta (Penne and Ziti would work great too!)

1.) I made a ball of playdough. 2.) I stuck straws in the playdough. 3.) My son placed the pasta on the straws. It was a easy as 1-2-3.  This activity kept him entertained for enough time that I could unload and load the dishwasher AND prepare dinner in the crock pot. After a while, he just wanted to play with the playdough and that was fine because playdough is another great activity for developing fine motor skills.

Pasta and Straws

TIP: When we do this activity again, I am going to have a larger area of play-dough available, more straws, different widths of straws, and different types of pasta. If I get really ambitious, I might use different colored pasta too! I think having some different options would have kept my son engaged for a longer period of time. (Maybe wishful thinking?)  And we could work on some other skills like color recognition, compare and contrast, sorting and attributes.

Pasta and Straws

You can find the original idea here:

 http://laughingkidslearn.com/2014/03/pasta-threading-activity-for-toddlers.html/


Hesitation

I hesitated to start this blog.  Conversations with other moms, about mommy-blogs, produced chuckles and comments like:  “Why would she want to write that?” “How does she have time to write a blog? I barely have time to ..xyz…” Not wanting to be the receiver of those chuckles and comments, I laughed along and kept quiet my own desires to one day start a blog.

In the safety of a few friends, I have shared my thoughts about wanting to blog and in those conversations it was ME who chuckled and made the comments. “But who would want to read what I write?” “Do I really have something to say?” “Writing is not my strong point.”  Those dear, encouraging friends smiled, encouraged me to write, and assured me that they would read what I wrote. Time after time I have talked myself out of it, convinced that “blogging” was not for me. My stalling to be out of a lack in self-confidence and self-consciousness about sentence structure and grammar. (I’ll save the topic of my struggles with a Type-A personality for a future post.)

Days and months went by, but the desire to write and share my ideas persisted. Then came an opportunity to write a few paragraphs for a leadership website. I tried to ignore the opportunity. I tried to not think about what I could write about or the things I could say. I tried to convince myself that I was not a writer and someone better than me could write it. But the harder I tried to stop thinking about it, the more I thought about it and the only way I could get “it” to stop (what ever “it” was) was to sit down and type everything that flowed out of my mind and heart. It felt so good! Therapeutic!

After my initial word and thought “dump,” I took time to add and delete and improve my writing. It was like crafting but without the glue, ribbon, and paper. When the post was finished,  it was more than accomplishment, it was like something that had been stirring inside me was brought out and was staring at me on the paper (or I should say on the computer screen.) I know, that sounds very dramatic but that is exactly how I felt. I decided to send the passage in with no expectations, just thankful that I had accomplished the task. Long story short, the post was picked and posted to the website. And that small bit of writing is what gave me the confidence to write some more and start this blog.

I teach my kids that they should try new things and press on in difficulty. I tell them the more they practice, the better they will become. I also tell my kids that God made them perfect just the way they are, what others say or think should not change what they want to try or who they want to be (in a negative ways, of course.)

I want to write because it is a challenge for me. I know I have a lot to learn. It is a chance to improve myself in a new and interesting way and be an example to my children.  I want to write because excuses, hesitations, other people’s thoughts, and missed opportunities is not the way to fully live. This is an opportunity to take my own advice and practice what I preach one blog post at a time.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.- Lao Tzu