Easter Eggs

So, this year we dyed Easter Eggs.  It’s been one of our favorite family holiday activities over the years.  Now, being the artsy-crafty sorts, we can’t just do the dip the eggs in food coloring thing; we have to do it over the top.  So, we dye our eggs with ties.  Yep.  Men’s ties.  Silk ties, specifically; if they aren’t silk it won’t work.

So to do this, you need the following:

  • White eggs
  • Silk ties
  • Cotton fabric scraps
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or cord
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Large pan

When choosing ties (which I got at the local thrift store) there are several things to keep in mind.  First, they MUST be 100% silk – check the labels if you’re not sure.  Polyester will not transfer dye.  Also, dark colors work better than light, and ideally, several dark but contrasting colors.  Wide ties fit better than thin. 

To begin, prepare the fabrics. I did this the night before, while watching  TV.  Turn the ties over to the back, and using a seam ripper or scissors, open the back seams.  Remove any tags and the lining. You can save the lining to use as the fabric wrap, but it’s a lot more unwieldy than cotton strips.   For  the cotton strips, I used old tee shirts; cut off the seams and ribbing, and then cut the fabric into strips, wide enough and long enough to wrap around an egg, leaving room for ties on each end.  The good news is that all of this fabric can be used again the next year.  Cotton, being a cellulose fiber, will not absorb the dyes from the silk, which is a protein fiber.  If you use the lining from the ties, they are generally polyester and will not absorb dyes.

So the next day, gather the family around the dining room table and start wrapping!  Remember, the eggs are NOT cooked at this point, so they will be fragile and handled carefully. We did have one casualty each year we’ve done it.

Choose your tie and your egg. Right side of fabric should be against the egg shell. Start wrapping the egg from the wide end towards the narrow. Wrap once around, then cut any excess. Generally, you only need a big chunk of the bottom of the tie; you don’t need the extra bulk of using the entire tie.

Carefully tie yarn or string at either end of the egg to hold the fabric in place.  You want the fabric snug around the egg, to have as much contact as possible, but not so tight as to crack the egg.  Honestly, tying the yarn is the hardest part, especially for kids.

Now wrap the egg in a layer of cotton.  This cushions the egg to protect it, but also helps hold the silk close to the egg for good dye transfer.  Tie as you did previously.

Once all the eggs are wrapped, place them in your pot and cover with water.  Add a good slug of vinegar, maybe a half a cup for a 5 or 6 qt pot.  The vinegar helps the dye set.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Carefully unwrap your eggs, and be amazed at the gorgeous textures and colors!  To me, they seem almost marble. You can make them shiny by rubbing them with a bit of oil on a paper towel.

They’re almost too pretty to eat!

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Feeling Bad, Easter Eggs and Mother’s Day

As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been too miserable, too overwhelmed, to brain-fogged to muster the energy to post.  I save every bit of energy I can come up with to spend time doing things with my family. I am determined not to let this thing interfere with being there.

I do have to, occasionally. I did miss one baseball game because I was just in too much pain, dizzy, nauseous, etc, that I just couldn’t see how I could do it without making everyone around me miserable.  So I stayed home and napped instead.

I seem to be coming out of it a bit; the pain and exhaustion hasn’t been as bad the last week or so, and I recover a bit faster than I have been.  I still have moments of strange though.  On Tuesday, I got so dizzy and nauseous I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to drive home.  I did, barely, and fell into bed and didn’t move for the rest of the day.  Last night, I was so happy to have worked a bit in the morning and not feel like death warmed over that I tried to help wash dishes while dinner cooked, and I had a sudden bout of weakness; my arms and legs shook, didn’t feel like they’d hold me up, I got diaphoretic and winded and had to sit down for about twenty minutes.  I have no idea where that came from.  Those types of episodes are really frustrating; at least with the pain I can function if I have to, and of course, there’s medicine to help.

Anyway, we have had some fun since I last posted.  One of the most fun things we do for Easter is coloring eggs.  We don’t do it with dye tablets or food coloring; we dye with ties!

Much later…. I drafted this post and never got back to it. So will be continued in the next…

How bad can you feel?

Just when you think you’ve reached bottom, that you feel as bad as you can ever feel, you discover that it’s really a whole new level of lousy.

Friday was a wonderful day. It was our eleventh anniversary.  Since we’re currently living at “poor church mouse” level, I didn’t expect much in the way of celebration, except I  knew we’d probably go out to dinner alone, without the children, for a change.  Which we did, and it was lovely.  That would have been enough, really; he gives me  so many gifts every day I don’t need more.  However, the Beloved surprised me with three cards and  a gift.  I was amazed.

The cards were perfect, as always.  The Beloved and I have a slightly warped sense of humor, as evidenced by the April Fool’s Day Wedding.  So for the first card, it was sweet.

Who, us? Fight over the remote?  Never happen.

The second card was amusing.

The third card, as always, was a Sympathy card

I personally think he’s the one who needs sympathy, but if he sees it that way, who am I to argue?

Here’s the earrings:

As always, he has my taste down perfectly.  I love multi level, mixed metal jewelry.  Gorgeous.

How did I find a man with such good taste?  Lucky, lucky woman.

Then we went to Sea Fresh for dinner. Yum.  Serious yum.  I had Sesame encrusted Ahi Salad, with a citrus teriyaki dressing.  I even splurged and got the optional tempora veggies.  Yum yum yum.

The Beloved had the Ahi sandwich, sans bread, with onion rings.  He even shared.

Oh, I forgot; we got an appetizer!  The Monkey Dragon Sushi Roll;  awesome! Those chopsticks are blurry because I tried to get a picture before we dove in; barely made it!

It was a lovely anniversary.  But honestly, there is so much love in our house every day that it’s redundant to celebrate so extravagantly; though it won’t keep us from doing  it!

So, that’s the good stuff.  Here comes the not so good.

I woke up very slowly on Saturday.  Having had a lot of activity and excitement on Friday, I knew I’d be tired, so I woke up but didn’t get out of bed for hours.  I puttered on the computer and read, and listened to music, and got caught up on Craig Ferguson on DVR.  Made the video in the post below, which was a blast.  Then around 12:30, I got up to get dressed to go to Murphy’s baseball game.  Gave myself an hour, figured that would be plenty of time so I wouldn’t have to  rush.

Somehow though, at the time to leave, I found myself running around crazy collecting blankets and jackets and snacks and water bottles and pain meds to bring along, and by the time I got into the car, I felt AWFUL.  Seriously exhausted, headachy, and pain building everywhere.  So I took the pain meds I brought with me immediately. Without food.  Big, big mistake.  Watched the game, which was fun, but tough; the Padres took a beating, though Murph played really well, got a couple of great hits.  It was cold (again with the temperature changes; last weekend record lows, mid week record highs, and back to near record lows this weekend) and I’d worn sandals; feet and fingers were not happy.  Hubby offered his socks, the sweetheart. Came time to go, and I stood up to find I could barely make my legs move.  Even using the folding chair as a cane didn’t help much; it hurt my hands as much to lean on them as to walk.  Added to that was HORRIBLE nausea.  I knew I was going to throw up in the car if I didn’t get something in my stomach, so the whole way home I nibbled the granola I’d brought and not eaten, as I hadn’t been hungry.  Made it home without vomiting, though every bump and turn was agony.  Went right to bed, didn’t even take off my clothes or unpack my bag.  Slept about five hours, on and off.  Woke up just in time to say good night to Murphy. Ate some dinner the Beloved had left for me.  Watched TV with him, but felt so incredibly bad I kept tearing up in pain and frustration.  Medicated again, though I’m terrified my practitioner will not renew my dwindling pain prescription.   Spent the rest of the evening snuggling on the couch.  Then slept a full night.

I feel a bit better this morning but there’s so much to do.  Laundry is overflowing, taxes need to get filed, knitting for money needs to be done.  Never mind the normal household stuff, which the poor Beloved is having to do more and more by himself.

I think I need another tour through “How to be Sick” by Toni Bernard.  I never did get around to making notes on it, so I can keep a pocket reference.  I think it’ll help.  But mostly I just have to learn how to stop to think in the middle of feeling so bad, not let it overwhelm me, so that I can redirect my energies.

I really want to cook today; I want to make Amish Friendship Bread starter. If anyone is interested in receiving a starter kit, let me know, I’m happy to enable others. I also want to make baked donuts.  Can you tell I’ve got a Carb Lust on?  I’ve been pretty good lately, eating mostly salad and veggies, so maybe I’ve earned a treat.  Will have to see if I can stay vertical that long though.  Maybe I can enlist Murphy and Eric to be gophers in the kitchen…

Dinner!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. For Father’s day.  I used a vegan chocolate cookie crust, premade.  The Chocolate layer is just melted vegan chocolate chips and a block of silken tofu.  The peanut butter layer is homemade peanut butter, sweetener, and soy milk. Pretty easy to make, but I used every appliance in my kitchen.  Had to make the peanut butter, so had the food processor going; made the chocolate layer in the blender, then finished the peanut layer in the processor again.  It’s very dense, rich; I thought the peanut layer might be light and fluffy, but it’s not; it’s like cheesecake, almost.  It was very good, and should last for a while, since it’s so rich you just need a sliver.

Tonight I’m baking doughnut nuggets, little mini doughnuts baked, not fried; and for dinner it’s Enjedra,  Smells yummy with the cumin and onion cooking now.  I’ll report back!

Reporting back… no pic. Sorry. Every speck was devoured.

The problem with learning to cook totally new is that I don’t really know what I’m going for.  This dish, which is red lentils and steamed greens served over rice, tasted wonderful.  I don’t know, however, if I really did it properly.  The directions called for cooking chopped onion and cumin in olive oil, then adding red lentils and water, cooking til “Smooshy” (yes, that was the technical term used in the recipe!), and that the lentils should be smooth when done.  My lentils were “smooshy,” for sure; but not exactly smooth; and it took at least a cup more liquid than the recipe called for.  Regardless of how it was supposed to turn out, we very much enjoyed the way it DID turn out.  It had a sweetness I really didn’t expect, and the cumin was very understated.  I served it with jasmine rice and steamed spinach.  Everyone liked it, except Murphy didn’t like the spinach part.

The baked doughnuts turned out fairly well. They’re very pale, didn’t brown at all, and the flavor is mild.  Almost the texture of a scone, though the batter was certainly not like scone batter.  A very nice, not too unhealthy, not too sweet little treat.  Too easy to eat too many though.

A very nice meal, all in all.

Happy Father’s Day!

There’s a few trains running through my thoughts, and I often lose their tracks with the ADD thing, so I’ll try to remember to note them, at least, so I can get back to them later.

First; Father’s Day.  I feel terrible, because I let both of the important fathers in my life down.  Didn’t even get a chance to call my own father.  Will make a point of it tomorrow; usually Father’s Day comes first, and I call/gift for that, and then skip his birthday.  So tomorrow, his birthday, I’ll call.  I wish I could do more, but limited funds prohibit it.  Then there’s the father of my own children, who is such an amazing dad.  Sent for a gift for him, but it won’t get here until tomorrow.  Murphy made him a gift, but left it at Primary, and when he went back for it, the teacher was gone, probably having taken it home with her, so he’ll get it next week, we hope. Eric did manage to make a card, which was lovely. We did take him out for dinner, which is becoming a rare treat, and then I made a peanut butter chocolate pie, which he loved.

The dinner was the second train; we went to Sea Fresh.  It took me quite a long time of contemplating; would I get seafood, or really and truly commit to the vegan lifestyle.  I’m happy to report that I ordered the Tofu Teriyaki Bowl.  It’s quite probable that the teriyaki was not strictly vegan, but I simply can’t get that obsessive yet; one step at a time.   I’m still sorting out what’s important to me, what I can live with, what will help me achieve my ultimate goals, and what will help me be the me that I envision on the inside. I expect it will take quite some time for me to sort it out.  It feels really good to be trying though, to be working on what feels right to me.  Dietary Vegan vs Lifestyle Vegan blah blah and yeah, I know labels aren’t necessary or even good but I need to define things for ME, so I can know what I’m committing to, what I care about.  Process.  Time.

Cooking; last night I made non vegan bread for the family; we’ve had a sealed container of Knudsen bread machine mix up in the cabinet forever, and the beloved really wanted some.  So quick and easy; toss mix in the Kitchen Aid, add water, let the dough hook do the work.  Turned out well.  Today, I made Oatmeal bread for me.  It was fairly easy too; but I think I forgot the sugar (recipe called for brown sugar, I couldn’t find any in the cupboard, so planned to just sub regular/molasses, but think I forgot it completely.)    It turned out ok; fairly light,  nice crumb, but not much flavor, probably due to the sugar issue. Will try again.  Then made the Chocolate Peanut Butter pie; wow that is incredible!  So rich!  I’m going to have to do the nutrition on it; I’m thinking it’s horrible but it may not be as bad as I think.  It’s chocolate chips and silken tofu, peanut butter, soymilk, sugar.  Because it was for Peru, subbed Splenda for the sugar.  Warned him it is still way high in simple carbs;  but again, it’s so rich you only need a tiny sliver.

The  last train (that I can keep track of, anyway!) is my hair.  Well, my appearance in general.  But specifically the hair.  I’ve been feeling so old (turning fifty this year is really doing a number on me!) that I really needed to do something.  And I do tend to do drastic things to my hair when I’m in crisis/change/upset mode.  I did have my asbestos friend Barbara trim it for me when she was here recently; it was so long and scraggly looking, damaged at the ends and such.  The trim helped. But still gray/white hair is OLD.  It certainly doesn’t help when you’re looking for a job.  So I decided to henna it.  I’m actually really pleased at how it turned out.   I found a great site (mehandi.com) where you can buy really good quality henna and indigo in bulk, which will save money in the long run over the old chemical kits I used to use, and has the added bonus of being, well, not chemicals, and also GOOD for my hair.  It feels amazing.   I took this picture with my phone, and shockingly enough I actually LIKE it.  I never like showing my picture.  I’m taking it as a sign that I’m liking myself better, because I’m making the changes I want to make, getting healthier mentally and physically, making progress. Here in my mid-life crisis. Bwahahahah.

I’ll try to get a picture of the pie before it gets devoured.  Need more food pics!  I just end up wanting to eat before I can think about taking  a  picture!