Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Preparations

Looking back on my childhood, one of the reoccurring memories of Easter was decorating coloring eggs with my brother. It seemed like it took us an entire day from start to finish though I now have confirmed that it probably only took an hour. Funny how time as a kid and time as an adult varies so much. Last year we had bought some PAZ Easter egg kits but never used them since Little Abbey seemed to young to enjoy coloring them. This year however, I knew she would have the attention span and would actually enjoy it so one slow evening last week, we prepared Easter Eggs.

I boiled 14 eggs up ahead of time so that Mrs. Abbey and I could both eat an egg while Little Abbey was decorating the other twelve. I called Little Abbey over to the kitchen table and set a cookie sheet in front of her with six small juice glassed for the six colors of dye. I cut open the dye and directed her to put one tablet in each glass, which she dutifully did. I added the vinegar to dissolve the tablets and then the water to make up the rest. After bending the little metal egg dipper and demonstrating how to lower an egg into the glass, I turned her loose.

The first egg she dumped from too high of an altitude causing it to splash out some of the dye, which is why I put the glassed on a cookie sheet so no harm was done. I emphasized that she needed to do it gently and the remaining four went in nicely. Since the directions called for stirring the eggs from time to time for even coloring, I showed her how to check the eggs by pulling them up and then telling me what color they were. At this point I could have walked away and let her entertain herself for an hour but I didn't. We waited for ten minutes or so and then I showed her how to lift them out and set them in the little cardboard drying rack. She was able to do the other five without a hitch and soon six more eggs were soaking in the dyes occasionally being lifted out and admired by a 34.5 month old.

When the second batch was dyed, I moved the first batch back to the egg carton while Little Abbey fished the most recent ones out to dry. While I was emptying the glasses of dye out and rinsing the glass before a mishap could occur, Little Abbey transferred the still wet eggs into the carton as well, just as daddy did. So a little of that dye got rubbed off on the cardboard but no real harm done.

Back in my day, the PAZ kits came with stickers that you held under water and then transferred to the egg by rubbing on them with your fingernail. That meant that the sticker got so soggy that it practically dissolved into pieces before you got it transferred or that you didn't wait long enough and tore the decal trying to apply it. Either way, you ended up putting the pieces of a sticker together like a puzzle on the eggshell. Modern PAZ kits have eliminated this problem by having a sleeve that you just slip over the egg and when you dip it in boiling water, it shrink wraps itself around the egg. The only drawback is that the kid now has no creative part in placement of the various stickers. They are either on or off. You can no longer place the rabbits so that they appear dead, choking on an egg, or with an egg sticking where the sun don't shine, etc. You are stuck with the premade scene of a rabbit, mouse and turtle frolicking among colored eggs and flowers.

Little Abbey was really proud of her eggs and carried them around for a bit so that everyone could see them. I finally snuck them back in the fridge where she would forget about them until Easter morning when I plan to hide them for her to find. The finding process was always the highlight to my Easter right behind receiving an Easter basket full of jellybeans and that large chocolate rabbit. We are skipping the basket of sweets this year since she really doesn't need them at this age but will probably have to give her them next year. Probably the next best thing after the sweets and finding the eggs was turning all those eggs into deviled eggs. Kind of ironic way of celebrating Easter but I always loved my mom’s deviled eggs. I hope to turn some of Little Abbey's eggs into those tasty little devils and perhaps maybe some potato salad or tuna salad. Now that I'm on the topic of food, perhaps I will buy Little Abbey a large chocolate rabbit and just forget to give it to her. Mmmm mmmm.


The Real Mother Hen said...

Ha, you can buy me a chocolate bunny too :) believe it or not, I have never colored, decorated any Easter eggs. I have not been to any egg hunt either. Chocolate bunny - nope, I don't even eat them.

It's like I don't do pumpkin on Halloween, and don't cook turkey on Thanksgiving.

It isn't about not wanting to do, however, it is about not knowing how to, and no reason/ motivation for doing as well. If I have a small kid like Little A, I would have done a lot, probably. But I don't. So for now, I just like to believe that it's really scary to see a dry and wrinkly yellow cabbage dying eggs and hunting them, all by herself :)

R. Sherman said...

The only problem with the PAZ kits is that the house smell likes butt for most of the rest of the day when you're done.

At least that's the way it was when I had three kids involved.

Viz. HALO egg drops, the EMBLOS finally made sure that all egg dying activities took place outside.


Murf said...

Big A asked if I wanted to colour eggs but I was never to keen on that as a kid. I did it but without much enthusiasm. Do they still have that white crayon that you can decorate the egg with and then it shows up after it's been dyed?

geri said...

I wish I had arrived in the U.S. where everybody still decorated eggs the way we've seen on tv as kids. Been here 5 years I have to see real Easter eggs.

Ed Abbey said...

Mother Hen - When I was single, I didn't do any of those things either. Kids change things.

R. Sherman - I don't know about smelling like butt but it probably smelled like vinegar. Fortunately, no matter what it smelled like, I was suffering with a head cold at the time and couldn't smell anything.

Murf - It didn't to my dismay. I thought about getting the white crayon out of her set for coloring books but didn't. I'll save that for when she knows how to spell words.

Geri - So what did decorated eggs look like on tv as a kid? This is the only way I have ever known.

fullfreezer said...

I'm glad you had fun. That's the most important part. The eggs and chocolate bunnies are all a bonus. Of course, don't try to tell my children that. It's really all about the candy....

sage said...

Murf, when did you start adding a "u" to color? Remember, you're an American, we're economical when it comes to letters!

My daughter and I fixed eggs on Saturday. She wanted me to hide them on Sunday and I did and then she complained about them being too hard to find or having to stick her hands in dark places--I think she's about to get over the Easter egg thing :(

TC said...

My Mom always ate my chocolate bunny when I got one. No, seriously. If I didn't have it eaten by the Monday after Easter, she felt it was fair game. I don't think I've forgiven her for this.

Beau said...

We decorate eggs the same way, and it's always so much fun. I didn't realize it was a rarity until talking with a few folks this past weekend. The kids sure do love it- and we enjoy hiding them around the house. But I definitely think there's too much candy involved! A good 'ole chocolate bunny is about the best thing.

Ed Abbey said...

Fullfreezer - Aren't they all?

Sage - I blame Murf's canadian ex-boyfriends. I plan to hard boil a dozen eggs for Easter even after my daughter gives up on the Easter Bunny. I like those deviled eggs.

TC - I wouldn't either. We hid ours from our mom so that she couldn't take it away and always gloated when we still had some left and the sibling was finished with his.

Beau - Decorating eggs is a rarity or decorating them with a PAZ kit? I've never known any other way.