Friday, May 02, 2014

Easter Crafting

Easter was a little bit different this year.  We always take the Saturday before and decorate eggs with the kids' cousins and then go to the big Varnum family get together after Church on Sunday.  We normally force everyone to get a big family picture outside of Little Union, with many complaints from the adults, and threats or bribing directed toward the kids.  It's just a good time.  Easter however, isn't a good time for Gary to be gone, as it is when the season up here really kicks off.  Not that they are planting yet, but it is the time of year for preparing the ground, spreading fertilizer, finalizing seed sales.

So, we made plans to be with the Cook's after Church and lunch, for an egg hunt.  The kids of course wanted to decorate eggs, even though we weren't really going to need them to hide.  Sis. Kimberly assured us that she had plenty of the plastic eggs.  I decided I'd let them decorate around a dozen to carry, after all, we can always cut them up and eat them on salads afterward.  However, I wanted to try something different, so I got online a few days before to hunt down some directions.

First, we tried out some geo-eggs.  I thought it was a fantastic idea, but for us it just turned out to be a flop.  I really like Hooked on Science's stuff.  It's alot of interesting experiments and activities, and that is something that Britt is big on.  Plus, I'll admit it's the fun part of homeschooling.  Perhaps the directions were clear enough, the idea was to boil water, add an excessive amount of Borax, then pour it into the inside of some blown eggs.  I opted to add the food coloring separately so that the kids could make different color crystals.  The idea is that the water evaporates out, and it appears that crystals have grown inside the eggs.  I let the kids do two eggs apiece.  They chose the colors, and Britt took pictures while Gary poured the solution and I held the eggs.  After a week and a half I ended up just dumping out what remained of the liquid.  Some of the eggs had grown some crystals inside.  The kids were fascinated, but I felt like it would have been much better to have used one of the Smithsonian kits, like my brother had growing up.

Next we used the standard water and vinegar mix in several cups, adding food coloring to make six different colors.  Each kid picked three colors to soak their eggs in.  They turned out really nice.  I didn't buy the tabs this year, but opted for getting food coloring, since I needed some anyway.  I let them soak a while, before letting them dry sitting in the drainboard in the sink.

Finally, I got to try out the eggs I was most looking forward to, the marbleized Easter Eggs.  After reading several different verisons and the various comments on them.  I followed a few of the modifications.  I used some of the neon gel coloring, since alot of comments indicated that it gave better color.  First each kid two took eggs and mixed up green and purple in about half a container of cool whip on a tray.  They swirled the colors together, and I thought they probably mixed it too much since, we had mostly this very dull grey - green color when they were done.  Then we used the rest of the cool whip as icing on about half the cupcakes they had made for Church the following day.  Next I took the other half of the cool whip and they mixed the orange and pink together.  Then we took the rest of the frosting and again iced the cup cakes I had left.

The key to getting good looking eggs was to leave the cool whip heaped on a bit, and then put the eggs on a plate and slide them in the fridge.  The best results happen the longer you leave the cool whip on, but according to the reviews I've read, unless they are in an air tight container, you can't let them sit much more than 8 hours, or the cool whip becomes hard to clean off.  I let them sit probably close to 10 hours, and I had trouble cleaning off some of the cool whip on a few of the eggs.  They really did turn out great though.

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