Friday, March 30, 2012

Busy Kitchen Bunnies- or "Natural Easter Eggs"

I've been wanting to try making our own Easter Egg dyes for a few years now, and (even though Easter is still more than a week away) today seemed like the day. We had a free morning, a napping baby, and all the right ingredients in our fridge (which, admittedly, I had stocked the day before in hopes that the stars would align).

Ingredients needed: Red Cabbage (for blue), Red Onion (for celadon - green/yellow), Red Beets (for red). You also need some vinegar!Chop up your veggies!You thought we were going to grate everything by hand? You sure could, but we love our food processor, which hasn't been used much since Ze Boy graduated to table food. It was very happy today.Peel the onion skin.Put your ingredients in your bowls. Had we used smaller bowls, we could have used less water, and gotten a more concentrated color. Here's a link to a great dye 'recipe' page for measurements. As always, I eyeballed it.

One of my dear friends forwarded me this article that has a page about making leaf-print eggs. We wanted to give it a try, so on our morning walk we gathered some interesting greens (and browns).Carefully place them where you want on the egg and stretch some pantyhose around to hold them in place. Secure with rubber bands or, I suppose, you could stitch them securely.The four 'imprint' eggs, pantyhosed and ready to go. We would have done more, but ran out of teeny tiny rubber bands to secure the pantyhose with!And now to work!Placing the hardboiled eggs carefully into the dye. We cracked a few, but that's ok....Most of our eggs sat for 6 hours (in the fridge). The red cabbage ones sat overnight. This is not your PAAS quick method! I love the mottling that happened when pieces of the cabbage/beet touched the egg. If you wanted a smooth appearance, you could strain those out of your dye.Alex's boxwood left the best impression! The shades of the beet dye were perhaps the most impressive.Subtle coloration and plant images. This would look much different if we had used white eggs, I suspect, but I really like the results! Perfect for our 'natural' pre-Easter home celebration.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Festival

Justin and I joined Alex and her classmates today for their Spring Festival. Boquets of daffodilles graced the tables, gentle paper birds flittered above our heads, and we were given the gift of a beautiful performance by the children. They fluttered like birds, breezed like butterflies and sang some lovely Spring songs for us. Justin did an amazingly good job of staying attentive and focused. We did have to make a quick exit at one point, when he kept shouting "Ball" and pointing at the colored egg tree during Miss Brenda's story. We rejoined the group at a later, more talkative time for a wonderful feast.

The children each planted wheatgrass in special vessels they brought from home, and received gorgeous watercolor-paper baskets with dried grass and a very special hard-boiled egg from their teachers.

Spring is here, Spring is here!

Everest or bust!

Ok... so this isn't as much an Adventure of Alex and Justin as it is and Adventure of Dave and Amy, but I was TOO excited to let this pass. Here it is. My deposit for our Everest Base Camp trek of May 2013!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Some of our Chores

Despite the cluttered heap that I feel my house is in on a daily basis (namely at the end of the day when Justin-zilla has finished terrorizing the villagers), we try to reign in the chaos by keeping up with a strong chore rhythm. I used to have a chore/responsibility chart up for Alex, but removed it at Christmas-time, meaning to update it for both kids. I think that is on the top of my agenda right now. What types of 'chores' are appropriate for a 15 month old, you may ask? His are "wiping the table" and "putting toys in the basket". Alex's will be a bit more 'real'-- "clearing & washing breakfast dishes", "setting the dinner table", and "tidying room (no clothing or toys on the floor)". More than 2-3 chores/kid and it's too much. This way we can all stay focused on what we need to do daily.As far as weekly, seasonal work, we are quickly approaching the time of tending, weeding and watering our garden, followed by the sticky, messy constantly-in-the-kitchen canning season. Until then, we find things to do around the house to show that we appreciate and take care of our belongings. We oil our wooden toys, bowls and utensils. We sweep (e, mop and dust. We hand-wash our breakfast dishes and fold clothes. We bake and cook and serve meals. We live purposeful lives, full of work and smiles and laughter....and playtime!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Painting "Fabulous Story Eggs"

Alex has a book that talks about "Fabulous Story Eggs" painted by a bunny rabbit of, assumably, Ukranian descent. She's been so eager to paint some of her own. As I have yet to obtain a Ukranian egg kit (although if anyone has a hankering to buy me a gift, I'd take one, year round!), we got out the acrylic paints and the teeny, tiny brushes this afternoon. Our eggs. I made a donkey for Justin, as he loves a storybook about Jesus' donkey. Alex's is an Original Easter Rabbit, as in the book on our story table right now.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

I know I've posted a link to this book before, but we've gotten so much use out of it, I want to plug it once again... 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of the Twin Cities. We always throw it in our bag whenever we're going to a new part of town, and voila! we find a fantastic little hike! I'm pretty sure the publishers have an entire series, so check it out and see if they have one for your area!We didn't go for an extended trip today, because Alex's legs were sore (probably from the 1.25 mile RUN she did a few days earlier...!!), but did enjoy our first taste of Lebanon Hills Regional Park. There were some lovely lakes and fun hilly terrain to tackle. We spied lots and lots and LOTS of wild raspberries just starting to green up. We will have to visit again when we can grab a snack from the side of the trail!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Story Table: "Everything About Easter Rabbits"

It took us a while to get the March story table up and going. We had quite the family debate about which book to choose. Alex was insistent on her 'favorite' Easter book. I wanted to keep it more of an over-arching 'Spring' concept. She won.

I have no idea where we got this book from. It looks like one of GranMama's 'small town library going out of business book sale' trophies, and I wish dearly that we could find a hard-cover. The illustrations are so fun, and the handwritten 'notes' are hilarious! Here are some of our re-enactments of favorite scenes:

"The bad boys" who trick the Easter Rabbit into giving them all of his Eggs. Don't worry, they get their just desserts in the book!

How to identify "The Original Easter Rabbit" (as the book shows you three different variations of types of Easter Rabbits who may visit your house).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

a Drizzly Adventure

I know I've gushed about this playscape at the Tamarack Nature Center before, but seriously-- if you're in the Twin Cities and HAVEN'T checked it out yet, what are you waiting for? We decided to make a trip and sent an email to all of Alex's classmates, inviting them to join us, "rain or shine" (barring thunderstorms and lightning). Gotta love the Waldorf community-- there were four of us families who were able to make it...despite the rain! (And I have to admit that it was MUCH more fun to stand in the rain talking to other parents than stand in the rain alone) So thank you so much, dear friends, for joining us in our drizzly adventure this morning. The best shot of all five classmates that I could get!Justin (in brown) and a future MWS classmate had some quality 'discussion' time.

Did I mention we were the only ones there? A little rain kept everyone else away, so we had the entire playscape to ourselves!After our picnic lunch the sun came out and the raingear came off! Even though the water features were not turned on yet, the kids found some fantastic puddles to play in.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Nature Table- Fast Forward!

So my plan was to introduce a different 'letter' of the word SPRING each week until we were in short sleeve shirts and the lawn was green. Apparently Lady Spring and Mother Nature are on a little faster schedule than I was, so here is our 'full' SPRING Nature Table, plus some other decorations that Alex and I put up around the house today.

Working together to set up the Nature Table.

Our Spring centerpiece.

An eggshell candle from our adventure last year.We just cut our Easter Tree this morning, so hopefully it will green up as the days go by.

We ALWAYS have extra 'helpers' when fresh-cut branches are around!

The Easter Tree found a (hopefully) cat-free place to reside.

The little bunny pot that Alex will bring to school to plant wheatgrass berries in. Right now it's holding her cherished Zinnia seeds that will be sown as soon as we dare!

We traded the winter hats for our sun hats. What a welcome sight in the hallway!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mud Kitchen is OPEN!

Now that it's Spring, and we got a HUGE rainstorm last night, it was time for the Mud Kitchen to officially open. Alex and her friend Ana got right to working mixing up batches of food for their imaginary herds of cows and goats living in the field. Justin was not to be left out. He took a position directly in front of the 'oven' and made sure nothing burned. We took a quick hiatus from our kitchen-time when we discovered some new friends who had curled up under the water pail. Justin liked 'petting' the worm, and letting it crawl up to his lap, but was not so excited about the prospect of holding it.