April 24, 2014
So here's what you missed, during the Great Blog Outage of a Few Days of 2014: Me as a real-time walking exhibit of Pinterest Fail, because I decided to get obsessive over Easter eggs for some reason.
Easter is not my holiday jam. I always forget about it, and when it comes on the heels of a week-long break from school I'm generally just sort of over life in general. My own mom used to go All Out for Easter — baskets were like a mini-Christmas morning! there was a cake shaped like a bunny and a big fancy meal and candy freaking everywhere omg candy candy candy! — so I'm not sure what happened. I suck at it.
(Maybe because my love of holidays now is firmly carb- and entree-driven and I'm just not really that into ham.)
Before spring break, Ezra's preschool class dyed Easter eggs, once again reminding me that my kids' teachers have so much more energy and patience than I do, because I cannot even remember the last time we dyed eggs: I buy the plastic kind and fill 'em with whatever bagged candy is on sale.
(Though to be fair, this is Ezra's teacher's first year at his school, so it's possible we've simply gotten her before multiple knocked-over dye cups and broken eggs and oh God, Tyler, don't drink the dye spit it out spit it out have adequately crushed her can-do spirit. We'll see what happens next year when Ike is in her class — I'm guessing it'll be Easter eggs of the construction-paper-and-marker variety.)
Anyway, Ezra brought his eggs home and Noah immediately looked at them with an accusatory side-eye of NOT FAIR. How come HE never gets to dye Easter eggs? Huh, Mom, how come?
(Because it's a pain in the ass and nobody in our house eats the hard-boiled eggs so they all go to waste and the plastic ones have CANDY INSIDE, that's how come.)
Alas, the trap was set. I felt badly and promised him we'd dye Easter eggs this year.
Then we went to Williamsburg and I kind of forgot about the whole thing. Jason didn't, helpfully sending me a link to instructions on how to dye eggs naturally with vegetable scraps. And that part of my brain that's self-aware enough to recognize when I'm out of my crafty depth (which is admittedly very, very shallow) shut down at the sight of those pretty, pretty colors and I suddenly decided that I was the sort of person who not only dyes Easter eggs, but dyes them NATURALLY, because FUCK FOOD COLORING.
I should note that yes, we are pretty anti-food coloring. Artificial colors in food exacerbate Noah's sensory and ADHD symptoms, so we try to limit his exposure whenever possible. Blah blah blah, me and my precious principles, please remember that 1) we're talking about dyeing eggshells, not our morning breakfast cereal, and 2) NOAH DOESN'T EVEN LIKE HARD-BOILED EGGS. NONE OF US DO. WE'RE EVEN THE WEIRDOS WHO HATE EGG SALAD.
But no matter! I had found a project! A project I was 100% committed to and excited about for at least an hour, until I realized that I had absolutely none of the required vegetable scraps on hand. My produce drawer had a couple faded stalks of celery, some anemic carrots and a mysterious bag of Something Brown That May Or May Not Have Been Cilantro. And I further realized that going to the grocery store and spending money on fresh cabbage and beets and a buttload of onions for the express purpose of boiling them into an inedible slurry did not sound...frugal. Or even remotely responsible and earth friendly. So I was the sort of person who dyed Easter eggs naturally with expensive wasted food? Good god, I WAS A MONSTER.
It was time for a downgrade. I dug around in my baking supplies for awhile and emerged in principled triumph: A never-used package of all-natural, vegetable-based food coloring.
I meticulously boiled a dozen eggs — thinking, perhaps, if I made sure they were perfectly cooked someone would actually eat them this year — and set out our supplies and rallied the troops. The boys excitedly gathered around the kitchen counters as I measured out water and vinegar and shook up the dye bottles.
And shook them.
And shook them.
The yellow dye — the only really identifiable color of the three — was staying stubbornly separated, with a lot of solid goop clinging to the sides. The red and the blue dyes were...well, I'm ASSUMING they were red and blue, because they didn't really look like anything. I added them to the water anyway and both cups immediately swirled into a smelly dark brown liquid, something akin to rancid tea.
The boys stared at it, and then at me. At this point I flipped the dye box over and realized that they expired in mid-2012.
GODDAMN YOU, ARTIFICIAL PRESERVATIVES OF ETERNAL SHELF LIFE. WHY HAVE YOU ABANDONED US IN OUR HOUR OF NEED.
And my existing ambivalence towards this holiday grew ever, ever deeper.
Jason was out running errands (translation: rushing around looking for crap to throw in the boys' Easter baskets, because we'd forgotten about that, too), so I texted him an SOS. Grab some dye, any dye!
So. Yeah. $3 Angry Birds-branded Easter Eggs it was.
Quick! Just put the "speckled dye tablets" in some mason jars and add a photo filter! No one has to know!
The worst part — THE WORST PART — is that I ended up dyeing the eggs alone, after the boys went to bed. They'd completely lost interest in the activity after the false start with the hippie dyes. Eggsactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday night.
Well, at least the wine was going to be involved no matter what.
The eggs did turn out kind of pretty.
I hand-colored these with turmeric paste, organic algae essence and a touch of beet smoothie. Delicious!
The boys decorated the eggs with some stickers on Easter morning, after the World's Shortest Egg Hunt.
It literally took them less than five minutes to find every egg we'd hidden, including one that I think has been hanging out back there since last Easter.
Noah obeyed my direction to "let Ike find some" and diligently helped add to his brother's stash.
Ezra, on the other hand, did no such thing. Suckers.
Ike really liked finding the "real" eggs instead of the plastic, at least. He also really liked dropping them on the deck, repeatedly.
Back inside, Ezra and Ike agreed to try a slice of hard-boiled egg, which they both immediately spat out in disgust. I made some egg salad that nobody is eating, and am using the rest as a treat for Ceiba, hiding her joint pills in the (PERFECTLY COOKED) egg yolks.
The boys did LOVE their Easter baskets. Those were the one solid hit of the day. Jason found some chocolate bunnies and other candy, we lined the bottoms with scraps from our office shredder...and then I somewhat guiltily gave everybody a couple dollars of cash from my wallet. IT'S AN EASTER MIRACLE.