Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Who knew that Easter egg dye kits are only an American phenomenon.  Hondurans don’t dye Easter eggs.  Most have never heard of such a thing.  So…they obviously don’t sell stuff for dying Easter eggs in the stores.  I didn’t realize this until it was too late to buy a box on Amazon, so it was either deprive my poor girl of an Easter tradition, or get a little creative.  I have made all natural food coloring when I wanted to make pink pancakes, after reading horror stories about how harmful food coloring is, so I figured it would be pretty easy to come up with a few other colors.

After a quick trip to the store and a rummage through the refrigerator and pantry, we were in business.

The color of the liquid dye is a bit deceiving.

Some of my experiments worked perfectly.  Others, not exactly as I had imagined.  But I love that they all look so different.  The uniqueness of each egg and the length of time the eggs were in the dye made a beautiful variety of colors.

dye Easter eggs naturally

I can’t get enough of them.  I almost want to dye all the eggs we buy from the store every week.  Colored eggs would be such a cheery start to my morning.

organic easter egg dye

Colored eggs and blueberry-stained, chubby fingers…is there anything better?

organic food coloring

If you want to try it, below are the ingredients I used.  I took each ingredient and boiled it in a small pot for about 10 minutes with the salt.  Then I poured the liquid dye into mason jars and added vinegar and the hard boiled eggs.  Some eggs were in the dye for a few hours, and others stayed overnight (in the fridge).  The most vibrant colors were from the cabbage, blueberries and turmeric.  The spinach really didn’t do as well as I hoped.  Maybe it was just the variety of spinach available here?  I will try it again with good old American spinach next year.  Also, the eggs that were in the beet dye for just an hour or two came out a nice light pink.  Those that soaked overnight turned a very pretty, earthy, pinkish-brown.  I definitely recommend trying it out with a small disclaimer… it is not as easy and quick as dropping the little tablet in hot water and adding vinegar.  Even though it took a while, it was fun, and if you are planning on eating the eggs, wouldn’t you rather have some beets or spinach seep into your egg instead of artificial colors?

To dye your eggs BLUE:

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-2 cups chopped purple cabbage
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs GREY-BLUE:
-2-3 cups blueberries
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs PINK:
-1 beet, chopped
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs BROWN:
-2 cups of strongly brewed coffee
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs ORANGE:
-1-2 tablespoons paprika
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs YELLOW:
-1-2 tablespoons turmeric
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs GREEN:
-3 cups chopped spinach
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

I would love to hear about your experiences if you try it out!  What ingredients worked best for you?  Any disappointments?  Do any of you have these beautiful wood eggs from Etsy?  I think I might have to have them next year.

More Easter egg decorating ideas:

Natural Brown Easter Eggs

A few days ago we decided we were ready to dye some

Naturally Dyed Eggs Go Ombre

Remember these colorful beauties from last year? We

DIY Growth Chart

diy vintage number growth chart

Chicken scratch on the side of the closet door.  It was what we all had.  There was no such thing as cute store-bought growth charts.  I love simple pencil marks on the wall, creating a family record, writing history right into your home.  I wish we could have something permanent like that in our house, but since we move every few years, that just really isn’t an option for us.  We needed something portable that could be hung in each house we live in, and simple enough to look good in any room.  And I realized that we needed this when I was about 8 and a half months pregnant.  So it also had to be super easy to make.

It doesn’t really get any easier than this.  We had a six foot wood board and some white paint left over from another project.  And on a recent trip to San Francisco I had bought some reclaimed vintage numbers at my favorite store Timeless Treasures.  All that was left to do was paint the board white and super glue the reclaimed numbers at one foot intervals.  Then wait until my little baby was old enough to stand up to be measured, and start adding chicken scratch pencil marks to the side.  We love measuring her every few months, and seeing how much she has grown!

If you are looking for inspiration to make your own growth chart, there are a ton on Pinterest.  If you aren’t feeling very crafty, but still want something handmade, Etsy has some very cute ones here, here, and here.  And if you want something vintage looking, Pottery Barn Kids has an awesome vintage ruler growth chart.

Who else grew up with a growth chart on the closet door?  Does anyone still have pencil marks on the wall in your house?

  • Melissa - Love it! we have a homemade growth chart too! Dylan’s is a surf board that my dad made out of wood and then painted and detailed. I painted on the numbers myself but have never really been happy with them. I like the idea of your numbers.. Maybe I’ll change out ours someday?? Also I have not ever marked his height on it. You have now inspired me to do so. It would make it even that more special.ReplyCancel

Wine Cake

The blue index card is covered with flour, batter, grease.  The edges are bent and the pen is fading.  But it is in her writing.  Her recipe in her handwriting.  Seeing this cards brings back memories of my grandmother as much as any photograph I have.

I am a fan of keeping recipes on the computer.  Less clutter in my kitchen, less stuff to move around every 2 years.  But how do you part with handwritten recipe cards that hold memories of your childhood?  I fought with that for a while and have come up with a solution that works for me.  I am slowly but surely taking pictures of the old tattered and stained recipe cards and adding them to my digital collection of recipes.  All of the sentimental value with none of the clutter. Perfect.

And I can make sure that I make wine cake the way it should be.  Perfectly moist, just sweet enough, with a slight crunch of sugar on the outside.

Ingredients:

-1 package yellow cake mix
-1 package instant vanilla pudding
-4 eggs
-3/4 cup oil
-3/4 cup cream sherry
-1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

-Preheat the oven to 350°.
-Grease a bundt pan with butter or Pam spray.  Gently add a few tablespoons of white sugar to the pan, and swirl around to coat the butter / spray.  Shake out the excess sugar.
-Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Using a hand mixer, mix on medium-high for 5 minutes.
-Pour batter into the greased and sugared pan.
-Bake for 40 minutes.
-When the cake is finished, turn the bundt pan upside down on a dish and gently tap to release the cake.

  • kati - that cake looks so pretty! and so special to have a hand-written recipe of your grandmother’s.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - K~ Sometimes it feels like you are writing my blog. First, the Christmas ornament post, then the Dutch babies, and now heirloom recipes from grandma. No wonder we’ve remained friends all these years. Keep them coming. I truly enjoy reading each one.ReplyCancel

  • Magda - What a great idea! Can’t wait to try the cake!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Bradley - That is beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Uncle Pancake - Looking over Robin’s shoulder from across the room, I exclaimed “that”s Mama’s recipe card” without having any clue what she was looking at.

    I’ll gladly take the clutter once you have it scanned.ReplyCancel

Traveling with Tots

Tegucigalpa Airport

“Mommy, are we going on the airplane today?” is a question that I get asked at least every other day.  Apparently we have spent a lot of time lately traveling.

In her two and a half years, Avery has racked up more frequent flier miles than most people I know.  Her first cross-country trip was a 8 weeks old.  Since then, we have probably made over 2 dozen round-trip flights.  Most of them just me and her.  International flights, red-eye flights, multiple stops, 18 hour days, missed flights, we have done it all.  By now, we have the routine down to a science.  What to bring, how to pack it, and what we can live without.  I get asked about flying with babies / toddlers all the time, I figured I would share what I have learned, and hopefully it will help some of you.  Because trust me, it has taken me some pretty messy situations, literally, to learn the easiest and most effective way to do things.  And while there are always going to be hiccups and unforeseen challenges, traveling with babies and toddlers does not have to be a miserable experience.

The key is preparation.  First, check the regulations for the airline you are flying.  If you are flying domestically, most airlines will let babies under age two sit on your lap for free.  But they still have to be on your reservation.  This, unfortunately, is not the case on international flights.  You end up paying almost half of the full price fare for the baby to sit on your lap.  If your child is over 2, they will need their own ticket no matter what.  If your baby doesn’t have a Passport, always carry a copy of their birth certificate with you when you fly.  I have been asked for it many times.  The day before your flight, have everything packed and ready to go.  This way you can be sure you have everything you need, and that you can carry it all.  Especially important if you will be by yourself, like I usually am.  You really want to travel with the absolute smallest amount of things possible.  Ideally, I like to check one rolling suitcase for both of us, have a large purse or small carry-on for myself, a small bag for her, and a small insulated bag of food and water.  Thats it.  Anything more and it is too hard to hold, carry, and keep track of.  Once you have everything packed, figure out how you will be carrying your child through the airport (a stroller, a baby carrier, rolling the car seat, etc).  Then practice.  Pick up everything that you will have in the airport.  Walk around.  If you can’t carry it all, or you are not super comfortable, reassess.

This is a list of what I consider to be the essentials for traveling with babies or toddlers.  I try to travel very light, but there are some things that you just really can’t be without.

Diapers and wipes – Take double the amount of diapers you think you might need.  Then throw in a few extras just in case.  Trust me on this one.  Even if your child is potty trained, the middle of a 6 hour flight is not the time to have an accident.  All over them, you, and the seat.  Not that I have any experience with that or anything.  And forget the cute plastic wipes case that came with your diaper bag that holds like 10 wipes.  Bring the whole bag of wipes.  You will use them for everything.

Clothes – Two extra sets of clothes for your little one, and an extra set of clothes for you.  You don’t want to sit for 8 hours smelling like a dirty diaper.  People will stare and you will be gagging.  Again, I learned this the hard way.

A bag to hold soiled clothes – You can use a gallon size Ziplock bag, an old Target bag, or a Zippered Diaper Tote like we have.  Just have something on hand that can contain the dirty clothes, and keep the rest of the items in your bag clean.

A comfortable baby carrier – If your child doesn’t have their own seat, this is the way to go.  Strap the baby on in an Ergo, a sling, a Moby Wrap, whatever, and leave your hands free for your carry on.  It’s as easy as that.  Depending on the carrier, you don’t even have to take it off to go through security.

GoGo Babyz Kidz Travelmate - If your child has a seat on the plane, it is safest for them to be in their car seat.  And dragging a car seat through the airport without this would be a nightmare.  I would say that this is the one thing that I couldn’t  travel without.  If I somehow forgot it I would probably have a panic attack.  It is that good.  You basically attach the toddler / convertible car seat to the base, strap your little one into the seat, and wheel them through the airport like a rolling suitcase. Every single time I travel people ask me where to get them, or say how much they wish they had one when their kids were little.

Plenty of food – Airport food is expensive, unhealthy, and not always available.  Plus, food on a plane can keep even the crankiest, most bored toddler quiet for a while.  I always try to bring a lot of variety, and way more than I think I will need.  (Having plenty of food saved me on an un-planned, over-night stay in the Miami airport)  I swear by the Zoli On the Go Snack Dispenser and the Zoli Sumo Snack Stack.  I have one of each, and I fill each section to the brim with a different type of food so that she has plenty to choose from.  They are the perfect size, they don’t leak, your snacks don’t get smashed, and best of all, they double as little dishes on the plane.

Water – If you tried to bring a regular bottle of water for your little one, you would never be able to get it through security.  But if it resembles a baby bottle, and you refer to it as “the baby’s sippy”, or “the baby’s bottle”, they will usually just do a quick test on it then let you through.  Worst case scenario you dump the water in the trash and refill it after security.  We use the Nalgene Kids Water Bottle and have never had a problem.

A Lightweight Blanket – Not just to snuggle with for nap time.  It can be draped over you for breastfeeding, laid on the ground for your little one to have a place to sit or play, and even used as an extra burp cloth or cleaning rag if needed. My favorite is the aden + anais Cotton Swaddle Blankets.

Pacifiers – Babies sometimes have trouble with their ears on planes.  If they suck on something during take-off and landing, it helps regulate the pressure in the ears and relieves the pain.  If your baby doesn’t use a pacifier, try to breastfeed or give them a bottle during take-off and landing.  For toddlers, if they seem to be in pain, try having them eat something chewy, and drink water.  If you bring pacifiers, bring at least 3 or 4, since they inevitably end up on the dirty floor.

A few toys or books – I usually bring 2 books, a coloring book and crayons, and maybe one or two small toys that are new to her.  Your kids are not going to entertain themselves while you sit and read a magazine.  I know, I have tried.  You are going to be entertaining them.  The entire time.  So don’t go overboard with the toys, it will only make a bigger mess on the plane and a heavier bag to carry.

And that’s it.  Like I said, I keep it pretty minimal.  Now I know there are a lot of other frequent flying mommas out there, so please add to this list.  What are your must-haves?

  • Nikki - Great post!! Loved looking at all your suggestions. You always find great stuff!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - Wehave the Gogo baby thanks to you, and we too get all kinds of comments at the airport telling us how cool it is :) thanks!!ReplyCancel

  • Magda - Great tips! Will definitely try these this summer, heading to Canada and Poland. Really hope Della likes to fly:)ReplyCancel

  • Kim Bradley - I remember the days! It does get easier.ReplyCancel

  • brigida - the extra change of clothes is so important – for the kids and adults!ReplyCancel

Help-Portrait Honduras

A few months ago I saw this video from Help-Portrait on another photographer’s blog.  After watching the video, I was so inspired, and couldn’t wait to host a Help Portrait event in Honduras.  So a few weeks before Christmas, I went to one of the orphanages just outside of Tegucigalpa, filled with some of the most beautiful and amazing children you will ever meet, and took portraits of each of them.  Many of these children never have had, nor will they ever have, a portrait of themselves.  They were so excited, and so appreciative.  When they saw the portraits for the first time, they were so amazed.  They kept saying, que bonita…que guapo!  Here were these kids, who either didn’t have parents, or whose parents had sent them to live at the finca, who literally have nothing.  No toys, no books, no family photos albums, or parents to tell them about what they were like when they were younger.  And I was able to give them this amazing gift, better than any toy or material object.  I was giving them a memory, possibly the only photo they will have from their childhood.  I hope these kids keep these photos with them.  I hope they add them to their one and only duffel bag of belongings in this world, and always remember.  If you are a photographer, I totally recommend getting involved next year.  It is such an amazing feeling to be able to use your talents to really brighten the lives of people all over the world.  Here are just a few of the beautiful children I had the honor of photographing.  Thank you to Help-Portrait, for giving me this opportunity, and thank you to all the children at the Finca, you inspire me more than any of you will ever know!

  • kati - love the new look, with just the grey (even though i loved the blue before, too, didn’t you have blue?) so simple and pretty!ReplyCancel

    • kaley - Thanks Kati! Yes, it was blue, but I am really feeling the monochromatic greys lately.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - Wow, I didn’t expect to scroll down and see so many older children! Usually when you think “orphanage,” it’s babies and toddlers and maybe up to 8 year olds. I’m so glad you were able to give them such a special and personal gift. Thanks for your good example!ReplyCancel

    • kaley - Thanks, everyone. It was really such an honor and a privilege to photograph them. I, too, was expecting younger kids. But what sweethearts they all are!ReplyCancel

  • Malm - This project is amazing!
    Those kids look so happy.

    Love the looks of your new site, too!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Bradley - I love it! It was fun watching you do this.ReplyCancel

  • Sonia De La Rosa - What a beautiful project.ReplyCancel