Tuesday, April 7, 2009

To dye or not

Hey, that's my egg! Yours is the broken one. --All children dying Easter eggs

My mother hated hard-boiled eggs. She was also frugal and could not allow two dozen of them to be thrown away. That explains why my sister, brother, and I never dyed Easter eggs. I did not know what I was missing until I became a mother myself and plunged into the endeavor one Easter. Despite the dripping dye and stained mugs and accusations of egg tampering that accompanied the project, my children looked forward to it every year. I considered skipping it some years when, as a paycheck mother and very pressed for time, I groaned inwardly at the additional work and the fussing. But I never could let it go, and Holy Saturday always found me boiling up a pile of eggs in the big stainless steel pot and spreading newspaper over the table.

Children value traditions more than they let on. It may not be until they are far too busy to dye eggs that they will start telling stories around that same table on a holiday visit about how their brother always tried to corner more than his share of boiled eggs or about the striped one they made that no one could duplicate. Whether it's bedtime stories or Easter eggs or birthday candles, remember that children remember.

And here's an easy way to make homemade egg dye. I use disposable plastic cups and set them inside coffee mugs to keep them from tipping and to protect the mugs (and I keep the plastic cups after rinsing them for next year). In each cup, put 4 ounces of water, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 3 or more drops of food coloring. Have fun.

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