Monday, March 29, 2010

Blown Eggs - the EASY way!

Blowing eggs the traditional way can be a chore.  You have to mouth an egg and end up with two holes in the shell.  This way is much easier and your shell will have only one hole.  And, you won't get light headed unless you hyperventilate from sheer excitement.  In which case, you need to get out more. :)


*  eggs, can be dyed, but must be uncooked
* syringe with large gauge needle or sewing pin/needle and bulb syringe(also known as a booger bulb in our house)
*  some sort of receptacle to catch the egg innards
*  paper towels or old rag
*  mineral oil


1.  Decide which side of the egg you want to display.  On the opposite side, poke a small hole in the shell.  I used an 18 gauge needle and it went right in when I twisted it like a drill.  Then, I used the tip to break a tiny piece or two of shell outward.

2.  Wipe off the bits of shell using a paper towel or rag.  Try not to leave any loose pieces so you can use the eggs once they're out of the shell.
3.  Insert the needle and gently scramble the egg a bit in the shell.  You want to break the yolk up  a little.

4.  If using the syringe, pull the plunger back so it's full of air.  Insert the syringe or bulb syringe and gently blow air into the egg.  As air goes in, egg will come out.  Repeat as needed until the shell is as empty as you can get it.

5.  You have a couple options to clean the remaining egg residue from the shell.  You can use your syringe to squirt water in and blow it out until it runs clear(ish).  Or, you can hold the shell under running water in your sink, then shake the water out.  Both work fine, I did a combo of both using the syringe first, then the sink as I was washing the outside of the shell.

6.  Allow to dry hole side down or bake in a 200 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

7.  Dye or decorate, if desired.  I left my eggs natural, I love the variety of colors my hens lay.

8.  Coat lightly with mineral oil for a light sheen.  Pour a dime size amount on a paper towel, then rub the eggs well.  Allow to sit for a few minutes, then buff off the excess oil.  You could use a vegetable oil if you want, but the mineral oil will last longer.  This step is also optional.

Enjoy your beautiful eggs year after year.  Or until your kids break them. :)


*  If you're using eggs you've already decorated, practice on one you don't love to make sure you've got the hang of it.
*  If you dye afterward, the eggs will float, so you'll have to fill them with dye if you want them to sink.
*  I did my eggs in batches as I needed them over the weekend for cooking and baking.  It only added about 5 minutes to each thing I was making and then the eggs didn't go to waste.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Plans

Ten things I'm doing this weekend, in no particular order:
  1. Sewing.  I have a few fun projects waiting to be done.
  2. Mopping.  I actually like to mop, it's just hard to find time.
  3. Playing with my kids.  On the floor.  None of that "in a minute" baloney, either.
  4. Blowing a bunch of eggs.
  5. Preparing to dye eggs.  We're using homemade dyes this year and I'm gonna need to either prep before involving the kids or break out the booze, so I'll prep.
  6. Playing Super Mario Bros. on the Wii.  That was my birthday gift from the kids and it's a lot of fun to play together.  Might be doing a lot of this since the Mr. has a badly sprained ankle and is camped on the couch.
  7. Probably absorbing some basketball via osmosis.
  8. Soaking up the sun.
  9. Reviving my neglected sourdough starter so I can do some baking.
  10. Battering and freezing a batch of chicken fried steaks.  Yum.

I'll be doing a lot of reveling in this, too.  Smushing and squeezing and kissing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Quest for a Pretty Burp Rag

My first baby didn't really spit up.  Baby number two spit up for a very short amount of time, until we figured out his dairy sensitivity.  Three, as we affectionately referred to him in utero, spits up a LOT.  After a couple of months of wearing soft, practical, and super absorbent cotton prefold diapers on my shoulder all day enough was enough.  I mean, I was using those things out in public, everywhere.  Not so pretty.  I had a few of those thin baby terry burp cloths, but, really?  Useless.

So, one day I bought some cotton chenille and flannel and these were the result.

They were a big step up.  Soft and absorbent and not diapers.  However, maybe I'm weird, but I am just so tired of pastels and baby prints.  They're cute on babies, but I'm not a baby and I'm the one wearing the darn thing 24/7, right?

So, back I go and this time I picked up some fresh white chenille and some pretty quilter flannel.  The quilter flannel is very soft and smooth and came in prints that appealed to me much more.

Now I'm happy.  These are functional and pretty.  And I need all the pretty I can get in this nose- and bottom-wiping, sleep-lacking, crazy wonderful season of life.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Baby Shoes

I made a couple more pairs of baby shoes this week.  The first pair is for Baby T. 

I'm not really crazy about them.  The fabrics "go" together nicely, but I wish I'd put the contrasting fabric on the soles, instead of the heels.  I fully lined these with white minkee, so they are nice and soft.  And, the toe and sole fabric is a super cute Buffalo Bill word print that is just right for my little cowboy.  Oh well, they'll keep his feet warm for the next few chilly months, anyway.  Oh, and you see how there's just one in the picture?  Wonder where his mate is?  Me, too.  I. don't. know.  He'll turn up, eventually... 

This next pair is for some friends who recently had a baby.  They are a 6-9ish month size and should fit the baby in the summer months, so I used a cute little crab print.  On these ones I lined the soles with minkee and used the contrasting fabric on the outer soles and inner lining.  Much better!  I'm wishing I'd stuffed the shoes with tissue or chunky baby feet for the pics now, but you get the idea.

I've also been tweaking the pattern and I'm starting to be happy with it. It needs a bit more, but I'm definitely getting close.  The first pair of shoes I made were fine, but I've been enjoying the creative process of making the pattern mine.  Not to mention adding to Baby's shoe wardrobe. 

I'm making a couple of burp rags to go along with the shoe gift, I'll share those next.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Blessings to You

St. Paddy's day is one of my favorites.  I'm Irish, I'm Catholic,'s my birthday! 

So, my gift to you on this special day is a collection of Irish blessings.  I love reading them, they make my heart feel full.  I hope you enjoy!

This is a gorgeous flash movie.  Warning: it does have music, so if you have a baby sleeping on your lap make sure to turn down your speakers.  Baby T was on my lap when I played it the first time.  It was naptime and he had just nursed, but was still a little fussy.  I played it and he quieted right down.  I played it again to actually read the words...the scenery is so beautiful I didn't pay attention the first time..., looked down, and he was asleep!  Awesome!

This slide show has some lovely ones in it.  Number 4 is just beautiful and number 7 makes me chuckle every time.

Finally, this is a collection of blessings and prayers for many occasions.

Whether you read one or all of these I hope they brighten your day, as you brighten mine.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Surprise Birthday Tea Party

Sounds fancy, huh?

Our now 4 year old has a bit of an obsession with tea parties.  Every time we come home from somewhere she asks, "Is that the tea party?" about our house.  Then, when we go inside, I'm supposed to say, "Oh, thank you for coming to my tea party, I'm so glad you could make it!"  So, as her birthday approached it was obvious that she needed a tea party.  And, since we've been playing a lot of "you jump out, then I'll jump out, and you yell SURPRISE!" lately, it clearly needed to be a surprise tea party.

I found these darling invitations online, but, to tell ya the truth, didn't order them in time.  When I invited everyone I suggested little-girl-tea party-fashions and my very obliging guests didn't disappoint.

photo borrowed from my older sister, Jennifer

After the big surprise, I took the birthday girl up to her room to change into a party dress and hat.  She was a little shell-shocked, so that also let her decompress a little and get into a party mood.

My sisters were generous enough to pick up some teacup and saucer sets from thrift stores and I put out the fancy serving dishes and silver.  I have a set of demitasse cups and saucers from a garage sale that the kids used.  I loved the shabby-fancy look of all the mismatched sets.  And, I've really been enjoying drinking my coffee out of a different pretty cup every day.  I placed paper doilies on the saucers to make it a little fancier, too.

Our menu was:
  • assorted teas (of course!) with lemon, milk, and sugar cubes
  • strawberry lemonade and coffee
  • chicken salad tea sandwiches
  • cream puffs
  • fresh fruit
  • relish tray
  • strawberry shortcake for the cake

Other tea party standbys that I considered were: scones, crumpets, assorted cookies, cheese and crackers, and soup.  I also considered different varieties of tea sandwiches like flavored cream cheese, egg salad, and cucumber.  And, wouldn't it be fun to use pb&j's or fluffernutters cut up all fancy-like?

The next day, my big girl told me it was a good tea party and asked if we could do it again.  I declare that success!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Look! Eggs!

Lookie what I found yesterday when I went to feed my chickens!

I've had a major egg drought.  I've been buying my eggs *gasp* for the last few months because my little freeloaders have been on winter break.  Chickens need a certain amount of light hours per day to lay, and unless you provide light during the short days of winter-and I don't-they'll slow down or stop production.  The days have been getting longer and they finally started laying again.  Yipee! 

My punkins ate a couple of those beautiful eggs for breakfast today.  Aren't the bright orange yolks pretty? 

My birds free range and the beta carotene from the grass they eat makes the yolks a much deeper color than standard store-bought eggs.  Of course my little creatures of habit  darling children were a little wary of the different color after several months of store-bought eggs, but they changed their tune after a couple of bites. 

It's almost time for baby chicks!!! 

P.S.  My middle sister made that pottery bowl!  Isn't it gorgeous?!  I love pottery so much, it just makes me happy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pinecone Bird Feeders

Here's a quick little project for little or big hands.  My kids love to do this and it's super simple.  The only downfall is that the cleanup can take longer than the project. 

We gathered these pinecones from my grandma's yard last year.  Kids love pinecones, mine are always bringing me special ones.

Spread the pinecones with a generous amount of peanut butter.  I think little spatulas might be easier for the little hands, but we used butter knives. 

Once the pincones are mostly covered with the peanut butter roll them in birdseed.  Press down to pack the seeds into the peanut butter.

Tie a string of some sort around the pinecone.  We used twine, but you could also use fishing line, floss, or even ribbon.

Hang the feeders outside and wait for birdies.  The weather's so nice right now they're not very interested, but, as one of my friends pointed out, April is the new December here lately, so I'm sure we'll have some takers soon.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Dream of Spring

Oh boy, do I ever have spring fever!  The weather has been lovely, highs in the 50s, and it's starting to smell good outside. 

We went skiing again on Wednesday and my project for the car trip this time was sorting through the seeds I have left over and going through the seed catalog and picking out what I want for this year.  And what I want for this year turns out to be a bit ambitious.  Oh, the plans I have!  I want to plant some fruit trees and bushes, expand my garden, add several beds to my yard, and start some new containers.  I want to grow enough veggies to freeze and can a large amount for winter.  And, most of all, I want it to be pretty!

photos from This Old House
Aren't those twig trellises cool?  I saw them in TOH magazine a couple of years ago and I think about them whenever I think about gardening.  They're pretty and functional.

I can see a romantic cottage-y type of yard surrounding our old farm house.  You know, the kind with rose bushes and hollyhocks and cosmos.  All lush and pink.  Like this:

photo from Country Living

Unfortunately, we also have rattlesnakes living near our old farm house, so I need to keep the yard safe and free of snake hiding places for my munchkins.  That means no lush bushiness in my yard.  Somehow, I'm going to make it work, though.

The other thing I want this year is to try my hand at edible landscaping.  I want to incorporate as many food plants into my decorative around-the-house planting as possible.  I love the idea of flower pots and beds being beautiful and productive.  I'm thinking strawberry plants in window boxes would be I just need to talk someone into making and installing window boxes...

And, my sister gave me this book for my birthday last year.  She knows me well!  I want to adapt a couple of the ideas and plant a wall of sunflowers around the kids' playhouse and have some scarlet runner beans climbing up the posts.  Wouldn't that be a magical play area?

Since bushes are off-limits in the yard, I have plans for a small orchard near my chicken coop.  I've planted the seed(get it? planted?! oh, I'm so clever, hee hee hee) with Hubby and I think he'll fence off an area for me so any horses or calves in the pasture won't chew on the bushes.  I want to start off with some raspberries and gooseberries, maybe some pie cherry bushes, and whatever else I can get away with in this climate.

So, you can see that this all is not going to happen for me this year.  Not with my three little helpers to care for.  But, it is something for me to work toward.  And dream about.  Because it's March, and the weather's nice, and I can pretend that spring is almost here.

Linked to The Inspired Room


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