This space has been remarkable by its silence for quite awhile. This is mostly due to the fact that your friendly scribe has very little positive to say about the winter holiday seasons. This is not because she hates presents or buying presents or things like that. No, it is because she hates turkey, and both Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations depend heavily on turkey—that’s all we’ll say about that. But now that it’s starting to be spring, Ms Betty Kay (AKA Mimi) has come out of her cave, and she has some ruminations about the season.
Even though it is taking its sweet time, spring is finally springing in North Texas. Following the Ice Apocalypse of December and the Return of Ice in February, we greet any day with a temperature above 45° with joy. People break out the flip-flops and shorts and carry on despite chill bumps. We’re a hardy bunch here, and we believe we can encourage warm weather by showing our appreciation of it.
This week at school, we have all been Irish. The Pre-K measured and weighed potatoes and discussed the colors of the rainbow. It’s been a green week. Spring crafts are especially fun because they can feature growing things. It’s about time to start a grass garden in a shallow dish if you want to create an egg and bunny scene in a few weeks. You can grow real grass seed, sprouts or bird seed then embellish with miniature bunnies, chicks or flowers. Or grow grass and flowers in a basket to make a living basket. Line the basket with plastic to keep it from leaking on the floor when it’s watered—water sparingly.
How about beginning some vegetable seeds for replanting in the garden using the paper type of egg cartons as a germinating spot? By the time the seeds are ready to transplant into the ground, the ground will be ready. Plant things kiddos will eat—carrots are good. Ever planted edible flowers? Consider that, too.
My favorite Easter craft used to be sugar eggs. They are time consuming, but well worth it. Mix fine-grained, white sugar with water until it feels like damp sand (about 3T water to 2 lbs. of sugar—depending on local humidity). Using any plastic egg cut in half the long way, pack the sugar into the mold halves, filling completely and tightly. After an hour or two (again, depending on humidity) scoop out the sugar from the center of each half, leaving a good “wall.” If you want to make “peeking eggs” (the kind where you look inside and see a scene), use a spoon and open up a hole in the tip of each half when you scoop the middles. Now, allow the halves to dry completely before decorating. You can use Royal (or super hardening) icing for glue and decorating or just glue the halves together with egg white. (I have read that you can use brown sugar without the water to make the egg pieces, but I’ve never tried it myself.) These eggs are edible, but I don’t suggest it.
Recently, peeling and chopping two dozen eggs for egg salad reminded me that using up hard boiled eggs is a messy business. If you dread getting rid of the “real” eggs after the hunt, consider letting the kiddos decorate either the colored plastic eggs, heavy paper or Styrofoam eggs. All are cheap and don’t result in egg shells on the floor. You can put out glue, sticker, yarn, rick-rack, ribbon, or any craft supply for decorating. Eggs wrapped ‘round and ‘round in yarn are pretty, so are decoupage eggs. For decoupage, use any kind of paper—tissue, magazine, wrapping paper, newsprint. Use either flour water paste or school glue diluted with water. You can reuse these eggs in another form of decoration next year.
Years of experience discourage me from blowing egg shells. [Although the most “fun” egg is a real egg shell, blown out, dried and refilled with glitter or small paper pieces (you can use the stuff from a cross-cut shredder). Stick a little piece of paper over the hole and decorate with tissue paper decoupaged on. These are best thrown at unsuspecting relatives like water balloons.] But don’t say that I was the one who suggested it.
When I was a little person, my daddy kept the lawn clippings for us to make our nests for the Easter bunny. These nests don’t have to be cleaned up because they recycle automatically.
When my sister was about four, my dad mowed the yard, then went to run an errand telling her he would help her make nests when he returned. Sister got antsy waiting, so—being an excellent big sister—I told her we could do the nests without Daddy. While we were making nests, I kept hearing clunking noises from inside the house. The next morning, my sister’s eggs were all over the yard—some in the nests we had made, some not. It turns out (because I was the dumb big sister who didn’t know The Truth about Easter Bunnies) that the bunny can’t hide eggs in nests unless he is really, really sure where they are. Since the Head Bunny (AKA—Daddy) hadn’t participated in the nest building enterprise, he had no clue where to look. The noises I had heard were of Mother trying to keep tabs by looking out the window.
Once I was an adult and more knowledgeable about such things, I told my obstetrician that he had to guarantee me a baby pre-Easter or that I would hold on until Monday at the latest. Why? he asked. Because, I told him. I’m the one who knows where I laid the eggs. Michael was born on Thursday. So there!