edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

An Easter Blow Out April 24, 2011

A: Activities and U: The Unknown

This is the first Easter post kids that I can recall us parents being on our own for Easter activities. I discovered that it’s really a mini-Christmas with decorating, egg-coloring, a visit from the Easter Bunny, brunch and hiding jelly beans for the hunt.

 

We’ve always hard-boiled eggs prior to coloring them, which means you don’t want to make them too close to Easter. By the time my week wound down and we re-grouped on Friday, two days out from Easter, all the crafts that intrigued me suggested blowing out the eggs. Foreign concept to me.  We watched an MS video, which didn’t necessarily convince me it would be easy. Regardless, we forged ahead and made our list.

 

Egg Blowout Technique

Egg Blowout Technique

 

From the millions of Martha crafts we chose the Big-Eared Bunny and the Crepe Paper Bunnies. I don’t know if I’ve ever made a recipe or craft by fully following the instructions – I’m always tweaking a bit.  I call it Martha with modifications. These two crafts were no exceptions.

 

We bought a few dozen eggs on Friday. That’s all the further we got. First thing Saturday we’re up and trying to figure this technique out. I notice our eggs have been branded. They have a “EB” on on end for Eggsland’s Best, or Easter Bunny, as I suggested to the kids. The first two explode before we can get all of the contents out.  We made the mistake of making the top hole so large that the pressure from the tool was too much. As we progress, we make some adjustments – for example, really only a pin hole is needed in the top hole. In all the rest of the bunch, with two random brown eggs added (26 total), we only lose three.  The third one my 5-yr-old, Calvin, held too unsteady while trying to pierce the egg with a safety pin. After we get a routine down, Calvin is fascinated by the egg scrambling and content extraction (among other names) and sticks with it for the full 23.

 

Bunnies Outweigh Carrots in the Garden

Bunnies Outweigh Carrots in the Garden

 

We take a break a head to the MIA for Titian. When we proceed with the dyeing process, it’s 3:30. Because the eggs are hollow, they are nearly impossible to submerge in the dye. Martha recommended doing it in this order: blow out then dye. So this is a source of frustration. We finally rig it up with coffee mugs and a medium weight spoon face up to hold down the buoyant, fragile egg shells. Only once does a mug and it’s content spill. Final count are 7 pink and 4 orange for the Big-Eared Bunny craft and 12 miscellaneous colors (including one black sheep (bunny) of the family that comes from an original brown egg in midnight blue dye).

 

It’s like 5:00 on Saturday.  We leave them out to dry. I just use cookie drying racks whereas Martha has a foamcore and straight pin grid for drying. I test out the glue’s strength (weak) to adhere straightened felt ears (heavy). It’s obvious that is not going to work. We improvise with some plaid paper for ears and I get out my narrow scrapbooking tape which works wonders. The pompon noses go on with glue, I dot the eyes and stick them back in the egg carton container. I also improvise with green construction paper for the carrot tops.  The 11 eggs end up in the carton which is now the garden, due to a few failed passes at the felt-bunny feet. Time for bed.

 

Bunnies in their Baskets

Bunnies in their Baskets

 

Easter morning. We finish up the bunnies (close-up) in their cupcake homes pretty quickly. Again altering Martha because we couldn’t find crepe paper. Mind you, the crepe paper streamers at home are too flimsy, not the same thing as the pressed crepe paper. We settled on colored cardstock paper. I traced the 22 ears and my 7-yr-old daughter, Ava,  cut them out and creased them. And as we didn’t have crepe paper for the grass in their baskets, they got the Easter basket cellophane filling. We glued on the small nose pompon and the larger tail ponpom, made the eyes and attached the ears. Now it’s 7:30a.m. I’m calling it done.

 

Next up church, brunch and the hunt. While we’re away at church, the EB takes care of the jellybean hunt and pops in the quiche. Post ceremony, the kids run wildly around the house – only to collect like 20 jellybeans each. They did get a boomerang and a balloon machine to make fancy balloon shapes too. I am pleased we kept the giant chocolate bunnies out – no major feat. And the Easter baskets, courtesy of their Grandma, had Goldfish (crackers) and plants – great ideas.  We set the table with our decor, light a few Easter candles and enjoy brunch.  It’s 11:30a.m. I’m hoppy it’s all over and time for this bunny to take a nap.

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The Incredible Inedible Egg April 11, 2011

Filed under: Eats — edamomie @ 10:09 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

E: Eats

Chef Incredible, Adding Some Muscle in the Kitchen

Chef Incredible, Adding Some Muscle in the Kitchen

I had the pleasure of cooking with Chef Incredible for Easter treat-making this year. Together we made some incredible inedible eggs. As it turns out this recipe, while wildly whimsical and scientific, is not one we’d recommend.  If you insist, have at it though. Just swap out the (decorative colored) sand with just about anything else.

 

This Martha Stewart recipe for Marshmallow Easter Critters is unforgiving if your m.o. in the kitchen is relaxation and checking back in with the recipe after each step. We learned how critical timing was the first go around with what MS termed Marshmallow Magic. The gelatin sat about a minute too long and the syrup portion went only 3-4 degrees higher than the perfect 238. The boiling syrup (obviously no kids near while this was going on…) when added to the mixing bowl, definitely sparked a reaction with the gelatin. Just not the one I envisioned.

 

We all agreed that it was not looking promising, but we just had to optimistically turn on the mixer. The beaters didn’t budge. I’m convinced I nearly broke the mixer. The hard “candy” confection we had created in 9 seconds would not let go of any surface. I actually sliced my finger trying to get it off of the spatula.

 

Sugared Sand or Sanding Sugar?

Sugared Sand or Sanding Sugar?

I could not let the Easter attempt go down in this fashion. After a little first aid, we prepped again. The ingredients are cheap and simple really. Sugar, water, gelatin, sugar, vanilla extract and sand.  Both kids seemed in disbelief that we’d try it again after failing so miserably. On the second attempt, we got the timing and temps right (always use a candy thermometer). Success! The syrup reached the right temp at the right time, along with a little monitoring of the temp control on the burner.  The mixer spent 10 whole minutes transforming the clear liquid to white fluffy peaks – just like Martha said it would. Scientific exploration at its best.

 

The King Declares Marshmallows to be Dangerously High in Sugar Content

The King Declares Marshmallows to be Dangerously High in Sugar Content

We spread it out in our pan and sprinkled with that sugar in three even sections and let it set for an hour. Chef Incredible, my son, poked it quite a bit – testing…. Finally the kids were ready to take the sugar cookie cut-outs to the pan of spongy marshmallows.  The critters separated nicely. Regrettably, we rolled the edges in more of that sand.  The result: over-sugared bunnies, eggs, butterflies and tulips. In hindsight, the marshmallows alone would have tasted yummy.

 

I’m sure Martha hosted several kids’ focus groups for all the treats in April 2011 issue. I would have to think the sugar in these hyped them up a bit? Maybe the parents settled on this observation:  If you want eye-appealing decor to last until Easter and you don’t actually want to be tempted to eat your Easter treats, make these.

 

 
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