This month, the kids and I are studying gardening. Although it’s not warm enough to plant outside in New Hampshire just yet, we are learning and preparing for next month when we can. We’ll be covering all things seeds, soils, sustainability, and much more. My plan is to update this post throughout the month sharing the resources, books and the creative activities we will be using.
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…..)
white eggs (hardboiled)
nylon knee highs
small hair elastics
small flowers, leaves, clovers
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.)
“A mountain has no need for people, but people do need mountains. We go to them for their beauty, for the exhilaration of standing closer to mysterious skies, for the feeling of triumph that comes from having labored to reach a summit.” – Earl Hamner, Jr. (The Waltons)
It is a rare occurrence to find myself without children and without plans. About a month ago, it happened. I had a few hours in between appointments and I had time to kill. A million possibilities crossed my mind but many were not feasible or rooted in reality. (You can’t get to a warm, tropical island and back in a time span of 2 hours. Just saying…)
I was already overcaffeinated, so a coffee shop wasn’t the best choice. The weather was cold and I was not prepared to be outside, so no walk or a hike. I really did not want to spend a lot of money (or be tempted to spend a lot of money), so I needed to stay away from the mall. BUT I was in the mood for some sort of discovery. Then I remembered seeing an ad pop up in my Facebook feed. Something about one of the largest indoor antique stores in Lawrence, MA. It was only 10 minutes from my location.
Mind made up, I turned the car down the road and I pulled into a small parking lot nestled next to a large brick building. It was overshadowed by towering red-brick mills with tall, rounded, brick stacks touching the bright blue sky. I opened the old door of the mill and stepped into a wooden stairwell. It smelled damp and old. This was a good idea!
There’s something special about entering a place of historical significance. Some people call it nostalgia, but to me it feels more like connectedness. Old places and the items they hold, are windows into time gone by. They are doors that connect people from past to present. The shadows left behind by people who lived real lives with all the same, real and raw, emotions, struggles and celebrations that we live with now.
The Canal Street Antique Mall is huge. There are floors and floors of furniture and vintage goods tucked in every nook by various owners and dealers. I strolled through the rows of furniture, looked at the spines of aging books, touched woolen clothing and held glitzy, lacy hats over my head. I was looking for something smaller than any of these items. High up on a shelf, bundled in rectangular, plastic boxes, I found them. Hundreds of postcards waiting to be combed through and read.
The front of a postcard is beautiful, but the real treasure is the message on the back. I could spend hours reading each one and that is what I did. I made myself comfortable on the old wooden mill floor and surrounded myself with stacks of sorted cards. I read as many messages as I could. The messages included things about reminding the reader to pick up the sender at train stations, others were asking for visits, many declared their regrets for missing events due to their vacations, and many, MANY addressed the temperamental New England weather-the snow, heat, rain, and cold. (Not much has changed. New Englanders are still always talking about the weather.)
I became attached to two of the postcards (pictured below.) One of the cards shows the White Mountains and an another of an Appalachian Mountain Club hut. Maybe they stood out to me because I had been dreaming about an adventure, the mountains, and hiking. If you followed my hiking trip of 2016,you read about last year’s adventure at the huts. I have been looking forward to a return trip since then.
When I had killed enough time, I decided to purchase these two postcards and be on my way. About two weeks later, in most perfect timing, Fearless Leader, sent out the call for hikers with a proposed plan for a Summer Hike. The route would take us through the White Mountains (peakbagging Mount Washington- the tallest peak in the Northeast) and would involve spending the nights at two huts. The Madison Hut would be one of the huts we would stay at! The very same hut as pictured on the postcard.
Of course, I answered the call with a YES! I will be preparing for my grand summer adventure and looking forward to many smaller and equally exciting ones along the way. I invite you to come along with me through my blog and follow my trip preparations. (More details of our trip below.) Mountains here I come. You are a place of adventure, beauty, discovery, and a door between past and present. Until then….
Everyone needs a friend who encourages and gently prods-or pushes- them to try new and adventurous things. I have a friend who is like this. She is one of my best and dearest friends and one of the things that I love most about her is that she believes in me wholeheartily. So much so, that if she believes I can do something, I know that I can and usually execute it with much more confidence and grace than I thought possible!
So when my friend sent an email invitation to “a few dear friends who might be interested in spending a few days in the midst of God’s beautiful creation in the mountains,” I did not give it a second thought. My answer was an enthusiastic “YES!”
New Hampshire has 48 mountains over 4,000 feet and we plan to “bag” four of them. This is not a day hike. It will involve three days of hiking with three overnights all while carrying a 25+ pound pack on our backs. Three other, brave and adventurous friends will be joining the expedition.
I feel excited and a bit anxious all at the same time. I have a lot to do to be physically prepared for the trip. I am hopeful that this will kick my rear into gear and help me get back in shape. I also have some emotional preparation to do. The longest hike I have been on have been day trips and camping has involved being close to a bathhouse. Sleeping overnight miles into the woods, in a mountain hut, with strangers is stretching me big time. (Those who know me well will understand this.) There is a lot to learn especially about packs and equipment and I want to take it all in.
I plan to blog through the preparation in the weeks leading up to the trip, partly for accountability but also for reflection. I will be posting my hiking updates on “WONDER-FULL WEDNESDAYS.” Why not give it a name? The definition of the words are a perfect fit. I hope that you will consider “joining” me and cheering me on as I prepare to embark on a challenge that will stretch me physically, emotionally and spiritually. With wonder and enthusiasm, I can’t wait to find out what God has in store for me!
desire or curiosity to know something.
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.