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Naturally Dyeing Easter Eggs

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Naturally dyeing Easter eggs is a fun and simple project to do with children.  We searched our home for fruits, vegetables, and spices that would produce color.  We also took a trip to the produce section at the grocery store and talked about the various plants that dye our fingers when we eat them.  We skipped the bananas and looked at raspberries and blackberries.

There are two ways to naturally dye Easter eggs.  You can dye them after the eggs are hard boiled or dye them while the eggs are cooking.  Because my children are young, we chose to dye the eggs after they were hard boiled.  It was more fun for them, and it kept them away from the hot stove.  However, using a hot method does tend to provide a deeper color.


For the cold method:

  1. Boil eggs and let them cool
  2. Cover the boiled eggs with water
  3. Add the dyeing material
  4. Add one tablespoon of vinegar
  5. Let the eggs soak for a couple hours or even overnight in the refrigerator

For the hot method:

  1. Place the uncooked eggs in a pan and cover with water
  2. Add one tablespoon of vinegar
  3. Add the dyeing material.  Use more dye material for more eggs or to darken the color
  4. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Strain water and let eggs soak longer if a deeper color is desired

For our dyeing material, we used fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, steamed spinach (blended), coffee, turmeric, steamed carrots (blended), and grape juice.

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The coffee, turmeric, and grape juice worked well and produced even color.  The berries (smashed and placed in glasses) and the steamed carrots did not produce color.  However, my three-year-old was able to paint an egg with smashed berries and a paint brush.  That was fun for her.

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We left our eggs to soak overnight.  Because we did not strain our material, we made speckled eggs.  The kids thought these were fantastic.  I was disappointed none of our eggs turned bright pink, so the next day I tried the hot method with dried blackberries and cherries.  The eggs turned a peachy brown color which was not the effect I was hoping for.  Next time, we will try cooking beets.

Experiment with the following to see what colors you can create:

Red / Pink BeetsBoiled red onion skinsCanned cherries CranberriesPomegranate juiceRaspberries
Orange Boiled yellow onion skinsCooked carrots Chili PowderPaprika
Yellow Boiled carrot topsBoiled orange peelsGround cumin  Ground turmericVarious teas (chamomile, green tea)
Green Boiled spinach leaves
Blue Boiled red cabbage leavesCanned blueberries Grape juice
Purple / Lavender Grape juice (smaller quantities) Red wine
Brown CoffeeBlack Tea Boiled freeze-dried cherries

 

Have you tried dyeing Easter eggs naturally? Share your thoughts below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.  

Coconut Oil: A Magical Elixir

Well…maybe it’s not really magical, but it is a potent potion.  Coconut oil is a staple in my home.  We use it for everything from cooking to body oil.  The best and most useful coconut oils are cold pressed, unrefined, and unbleached.  These are the brands that you can typically find at a health food store.  If the label does not say it’s organic, cold-processed, unrefined, or unbleached it is not the kind of coconut oil with the most health benefits.

Oils, in general, have had a bad rap for years.  When Americans think of oil, we often think of the hydrogenated oils that clog our arteries and broaden our waist lines.  Pure virgin coconut oil is healthy oil that contains medium chain triglycerides.   It allows you to feel full while consuming fewer calories and can aid in weight loss.  Coconut oil is great for cooking, baking, as a replacement for butter, as a supplement in shakes, or it can be ingested raw.   It can help cure chronic digestive problems and can help with fatigue when ingested.

I also use coconut oil for any and every kind of skin irritation.  As the co-owner of a cloth diaper store, I am approached daily about treating diaper rash.  One of my favorite ways to treat diaper rash and any other skin irritation is with coconut oil.  I prefer the Nutiva brand and carry that in my store.  Per Nutiva, “Coconut oil is about 50 percent lauric acid, a rare medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s milk that supports healthy metabolism and is now being studied for its anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial, health-protecting properties.”  I find that it’s not only good as a moisturizer, but it’s miraculous in its ability to heal skin irritations including yeast infections, dermatitis, rashes, and itchy skin.


Coconut oil can also be used as a beauty treatment.  It is a deep conditioning treatment for hair.  My oldest daughter has extremely curly hair that can fall into beautiful ringlets but more often than not becomes a tangled mess of mini-dreadlocks.  Nothing deep conditions and removes tangles like coconut oil.  Once a month, we rub it into her hair at night and wash it out in the morning.

Want to learn about even more ways to use coconut oil? Check out this article for 52 uses for coconut oil.

Do you use coconut oil? If so, what is your favorite way to use it? Share your thoughts below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.  

 

What’s on Your Baby’s Bum?

There’s a cloth diaper on my baby. Not only is it cute, but it will be used close to 400 times before he potty trains. That’s 400 disposable diapers that I’m keeping out of the landfills with that one little cloth diaper. The really amazing thing is that each baby born will have his diaper changed an average of 6,500 times before he is potty trained. This is either 6,500 single-use diapers being thrown away or 24-36 cloth diapers that can be reused not only for that child but for multiple children. In the US alone, there are more than 20 billion disposable diapers dumped in landfills each year.

I love knowing I’m helping reduce waste by using cloth diapers, but the primary reason I first started using cloth was for the health of my children. I have a confession. I used disposable diapers on my first child. In my defense, it was seven years ago, and there really wasn’t as much information available about cloth diapering as there is today. She was plagued by persistent diaper rash for the entire first two and a half years of her life. She was sensitive to the chemicals in disposables and nothing helped. I was determined to make changes when my second child was born. Baby #2 started in cloth from the very beginning. Now her baby brother is wearing her old diapers. And the best part is that neither baby #2 nor baby #3 has had diaper rash the way their sister did. Like me, many parents are becoming increasingly aware of what comes into contact with their children’s skin.

Cloth diapers are often made from natural fibers such as organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. Disposable diapers are made from paper and plastic and contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) which is toxic and can cause hormonal problems. Disposable diapers also contain sodium polyacrylate, a super absorbent polymer (SAP). A similar substance was banned from use in feminine hygiene products because it increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome. Sadly this and many other chemicals have not been banned from use in disposable diapers.


So I’m feeling pretty good about myself now. I’m helping reduce my family’s waste, and I’m keeping harmful chemicals off my children at the same time. If that doesn’t impress you, maybe this will. Cloth diapering two children, I have saved over $4,000 using cloth instead of disposables. That’s $4,000 going into their college funds to give them a brighter future. Using cloth makes an incredible difference on your budget, but you need diapers that will work for your child, and every child is different.

I could go on and on about the benefits of cloth diapers. For more information, I encourage you to contact a local cloth diaper store. It’s just another way to decrease your carbon footprint and support your local community. Also, consider where your diapers come from and how they are made. There are many great diaper companies who create their diapers in the US or have fair labor practices, great customer service, and great warranties.

For local cloth diaper resources, visit Cloth Diaper OklahomaBottoms and Beyond Boutique in Sand Springs, Gummy Giggles in Yukon, and Green Bambino or The Changing Table in Oklahoma City.

Do you use cloth diapers? If not, would you try them? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Photo Credits: Elizabeth Pilgrim

Cloth Swim Diapers

The sun is shining.  Diapers are fluttering on the line.  Birds are sweetly chirping in the rustling leaves of the trees.  You get the picture….summer is here!  Ahhh…summer…my favorite time of year.  Give me 100 degree weather, some sunglasses, Episencial sunscreen and a pool to play in.

And what does EVERY baby (and toddler) need in the pool?  Why, a swim diaper, of course…something to catch those little accidents that are bound to happen with your little one.  Just for fun, I looked at Target.com to check out the price of “Little Swimmers”.  They are $8.99 for 12 if you are lucky enough to need a small and $8.99 for 10 if you need a large.  That’s almost a dollar a diaper!  They can’t be reused, and if your kids are anything like mine, you will have at least two diaper changes when you are at the pool.  We swim frequently, so 8-10 swim diaper changes in a week is not unreasonable.  To be conservative, I’ll say we’ll go through 5 a week over a 12 week period (not counting swimming lessons in the fall and spring).  I would spend almost $50 this summer on swim diapers.


I am often asked, “How do reusable swim diapers work?”  The short answer is, “They work just like disposable swim diapers.”  They are not absorbent.  They are just made to catch accidents.  Reusable swim diapers are specifically made to withstand repeated exposure to chlorine, and because they are not absorbent, they will not weigh your baby down in the water.

I like to have two reusable swim diapers so there is a backup just in case we need a diaper change at the pool.  Luckily, I have my Bonfire Red AppleCheeks swim diaper that my daughter used last year.  My son can wear it this year.  I spared him her Pink Flowers Imse Vimse swim diaper and bought him a “manly” Black Lizard Imse Vimse this year.

By using reusable swim diapers, I will save $30 for 12 weeks of summer. (And in reality, I’m probably saving closer to $80 since we swim so often.)  Yay, me!  I will also save more than 60 one-time-use swim diapers from entering the landfills.   And you can save, too.   If you have a little one in diapers, consider making the switch to a reusable swim diaper.  Happy swimming!

For local cloth diaper resources, visit Cloth Diaper Oklahoma, Bottoms and Beyond Boutique in Sand Springs, Gummy Giggles in Yukon, and Green Bambino or The Changing Table in Oklahoma City.

Do you use cloth swim diapers? If not, would you try them? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo Credits: Diaper- Elizabeth Pilgrim, Baby-  chimothy27