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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Toddlers and Easter Eggs

In case you don't know, we raise chickens.  That lay eggs.  Lots of eggs.  We haven't bought eggs in almost two years and we sure aren't going to buy them at Easter when we're swimming in eggs around here.  

Some people believe that you can't dye brown eggs.  I set out to prove them wrong. 
(And managed to prove that I'm an idiot, always a plus to have a humbling moment!)

First, let's talk how to boil eggs.  Here's how I do it:

Most Important:  Use eggs that are at least a week old.  This is difficult in our house as our eggs are always fresh.  I literally have to hide a dozen so that I have week-old eggs to boil.
Why do they have to be a week old?  The shell of an egg is porous and some of the water in the egg will evaporate as it ages.  This leaves a slight separation between the shell and the white and makes them oh-so-much easier to peel.

Put eggs gently in pan.  Add water from the tap.  The temperature really doesn't matter.

Put them on the stove, turn the burner to high and wait for them to just start boiling.

Set your timer for nine minutes.


 After nine minutes, turn off the burner and immediately remove the pan from the burner.

Wait an additional 2 minutes and then drain the hot water from the eggs.  

And here's where I'm an idiot.  Normally, when I hard boil eggs I'm using them for deviled eggs, egg salad or kid-snacks.  I just toss them into the colander.  Who cares if they crack??  I'll just be peeling them in an hour anyway.

I was cooking eggs on autopilot and tossed the EGGS TO BE DYED into the colander and then yelled.  Because I had broken half of the dyeable eggs.  Good grief...

So I boiled up some more eggs.

 Then we got down to business.  We reached another milestone with Kiddo3 the day before the egg dyeing, she can climb up to the table now.  Which made this family-memory-making opportunity infinitely more difficult.

I set up nine different colors and we had fifteen eggs.  Before we started, I thought "Fifteen is definitely not enough."  Then we did it, and it was more than enough.
Kiddo1 is in charge of eight of the colors.  Kiddo2 only dyed one egg.  It was in the orange dye right in front of his cowboy hat.  It was the first egg in the dye and it was the last egg out.  He fussed over that egg.  He only did one egg, but he did it very well!

 Here are some of Kiddo1's eggs.  Notice the peeling on the yellow, red and light blue eggs?  We don't wash all of our eggs.  Only the ones that have ANY dust, dirt, hay, etc. on them.  When a hen lays an egg, she puts an anti-microbial coating on the shell.  We want to preserve that if we can.  Did you know you can't sell a washed egg in Europe for that very reason??

Anyway, those three eggs were not washed and the dye couldn't penetrate that natural coating.  Isn't that just the neatest thing??  This former science teacher and self-professed science nerd had an AH-HA moment right then...

We dyed 15 eggs, six of them ended up on the floor at various times, two were eaten right away.  Not too shabby for a three year old, a two year old and a mom with a one year old in a head lock under her arm to keep her from dumping nine cups of egg dye on her head.

I called my mom when we were done and said, "I think anyone who dyes eggs with three toddlers deserves some kind of an award."

She said, "Or a nap."  That's my mom.  Mother of three toddlers once herself.  Who also dyed eggs and has the pictures to prove it.  

Thanks Mom, for doing for us so that I could do for them!!

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