Color Easter Eggs Naturally and Avoid Unhealthy Food Dyes

natural Easter egg dyes tutorialI don’t know about you, but I cringe at the sight of bright food dyes. They not only make food look unnaturally and unnecessarily colorful, they are plain unhealthy.

Did you know that food dyes have been linked to cancer, hyperactivity, and allergies?

I avoid them whenever I can, and I’m that mom who scrapes off that blue frosting from the birthday cake at my son’s friend’s party.

There’s simply no need for food dyes, they don’t enhance the flavor of food, and they are chemicals I don’t want in my son’s body. So this year I wanted to try out something new: dying Easter eggs with natural dyes. It was really easy and I love the results.

What You’ll Need to Dye Eggs Naturally

  • White eggs
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Glass jars or similar glass container
  • For blue eggs: purple cabbage or blueberries (can be frozen)
  • For yellow eggs: a few teaspoons of turmeric or curry
  • For pink eggs: chopped beets
  • For green eggs: chopped spinach
  • For orange eggs: paprika spice

Tutorial for Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Boil a dozen or so eggs for 10+ minutes to make hard-boiled eggs. Make a few extra just in case some crack. (If they do, you can make alien eggs, which are described below!)

I made two colors — yellow and blue – and I used red cabbage out of a jar and curry powder.

You will do the same thing for every colors:

  • Chop up two cups of the ingredients or add several teaspoons of the spice
  • Add two cups of water and a tablespoon of salt, and let the mixture boil for ten minutes
  • Strain the dye, put it into a glass container, add a tablespoon of vinegar, and then add the egg

Let the egg sit in the dye for a while – the longer you wait, the more vibrant the color will be. To make the dark blue egg took about three hours, for example.

I’d dyes one egg at a time so they will be evenly colored. And you can have fun with the design of the eggs: if you mark them with wax, that part won’t be colored. I love how my blue egg with wax turned out, and I made one more with my son’s initial.

You can also put a rubber band around the egg before lowering it into the dye, which will leave lines. I did that with my yellow egg, but it’s hard to see.

Bonus Idea: Make an Alien Egg

alien egg made with natural food dye

I remembered seeing an “alien” egg on Pinterest and tried making one. Since the colors are more subtle compared to conventional food dyes, the results are not as stunning, but my son loved how the alien egg turned out.

Crack the shell of the hard-boiled egg by hitting it on the table, and then dye it. A small amount of dye will make its way through the shell and get deposited on the white of the egg. Since the dyes are natural, they are edible.

Have fun coloring your Easter eggs the natural way this year! It’s healthier, plus you’ll avoid dumping all that fake dye down the drain.

You could get your kids involved and make this a family affair and learning experience for the kids about creating natural colors with vegetables.

If you are inspired to dye Easter eggs naturally this year, let me know how they turn out in a comment.

~ Dagmar Bleasdale of Dagmar’s Home

3 Tips That Helped Me Succeed With Breastfeeding

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-mother-feeding-her-baby-nature-outdoors-park-breastfeeding-image30732749

Breastfeeding might look easy, but it often isn’t. Unfortunately, that’s why many new moms only nurse for a few days or weeks. It takes a support system and the right resources to help new moms succeed at breastfeeding.

Because it looks so easy, a lot of new moms mistakenly think that the new baby will take to nursing like a champ. Many new moms don’t take into account that breastfeeding – especially in the first few weeks – can be painful, and both mother and baby need to get the hang of breastfeeding to ensure baby gets all the nourishment he needs.

Just like many moms, I struggled with breastfeeding my baby. I’m lucky I succeeded, and these are the three tips that were most relevant to my success.

1. Visit a breastfeeding support group BEFORE baby arrives. 

This was my doula’s tip, and I’m so glad I visited a breastfeeding support group while still pregnant. I met several new moms at the meeting who all had the same concerns and made it clear to me that breastfeeding is not necessarily easy.

The most important thing I took from that visit – aside from learning how much there is to learn about breastfeeding – was to not expect nursing my baby to be easy, so I wasn’t surprised when it wasn’t. I had already witnesses other moms having many of the concerns I ended up dealing with, so I knew I wasn’t alone with my worries.

2. Stay in bed with the baby for several days after the birth and limit visitors. 

You and the baby need to get to know each other, and you need to heal from the birth. Do yourself a favor and stay in bed with the baby for the first few days as much as possible. Line up help for those days before the birth so you can concentrate on bonding with your baby. Someone else can do the dishes and make dinner.

Explain to family and friends that learning how to breastfeed is important to you, and that there will be plenty of time to see and hold the baby after a few weeks – when breastfeeding is going well. It’s hard to listen to your motherly instinct when family member or friends constantly interrupt with visits and well-intentioned suggestions that might not reflect your parenting style. It’s easier to avoid that stress by not allowing many and prolonged visits.

3. Have breastfeeding support lined up when you need it. 

From my visit to the breastfeeding support group, I had the number of the lactation specialist, and boy, did it come in handy. It was so helpful to have that number already on my fridge when I couldn’t take the pain of nursing my son anymore, and have someone to talk to who assured me that everything would work out fine.

It only took the lactation consultant a few minutes to figure out that I was in pain because of my son’s latch, and a few more to teach me to latch him on correctly. It was such a simple thing, but without her help I might have given up on nursing my son after two weeks of pain.

After getting his latch adjusted, I never had another problem and ended up nursing him for many years. It was a wonderful experience I will cherish forever.

I hope these three tips will help you to breastfeed your baby, if that is what you chose to do.

Did you breastfeed your baby? Share your successful breastfeeding tips.

DIY Vintage Photograph Penny Jar

DIY Vintage Photograph Penny Jar

While packing up to move into our new house, I recently came across a vintage photograph that I got from my parent’s antique store 20 years ago. I love vintage items, and I started to wonder what I could make with it.

I didn’t want to cut or glue the photograph, because there is a handwritten message on the back of it. I didn’t want to destroy the message on the back, so using it for scrapbooking was out.

Glancing around our kitchen, I thought it would look good in a tall mason jar that I use a lot to store my dry goods.

Aha! Why not make a vintage-inspired penny jar! I added some burlap, and now I have a neat way of collecting all of our loose change.

DIY Vintage Photograph Penny Jar supplies

How to Make Your Own Nostalgic Penny Jar

Supplies

  • Vintage photograph (or any photo you’d like to display)
  • Tall mason jar
  • Piece of burlap
  • Scissors
  • Double-stick tape
  • Pen

Directions

  1. Add a strip of double-sided tape on the back of the photograph to make it stick to the inside wall of the mason jar. If you don’t have a vintage photo, you could also print out a sepia-toned photograph you took, or vintage clip art.
  2. Place the lid ring on the burlap, trace around it with a pen, and then cut out the burlap circle.
  3. Attach the burlap on the top of the mason jar lid top with double-stick tape, and then you can close the jar by screwing the top and lid ring on it.
  4. I added some twine to the lid to add more interest, but you can decorate it in many ways. You could add a vintage-looking tag, for example, that reads: “Penny Jar” or “For Our Next Vacation.”

And here’s what the DIY Vintage Photograph Penny Jar looks like when it’s completed. We used to collect our change in an old earthenware pot, but I like looking at this vintage photo penny jar so much more.

DIY Vintage Photograph Penny Jar tutorial

Do you have a loose change jar? What are you saving up for?

I’m saving up for this Puj Snug faucet bumper for the tub for our new house, and one can never have enough CleanWell all-natural hand sanitizing spray around. Plus, I just discovered this adorable Green Toys Gardening Kit. I want it for my son, because I want to garden with him at the new house.

Easy Father’s Day Gift: Custom Sharpie Art by Kids

Mothers Organic: Sharpie art by Dagmar Bleasdale

Father’s Day is one of those celebrations where Dad usually end up with the same old, boring gifts: a tie he’ll never wear, golf equipment he’ll never use, or a tool that we end up using ourselves because we’re not about to ask Dad one more time to please put up that shelf.

I wanted to make something for my husband that he can use for years to come, and I wanted our 6-year-old son to be able to help make it for him.

Get out your permanent markers: Sharpies to the rescue!

Apparently, you can decorate plates and/or cups with Sharpie pens and then bake them to make your masterpiece permanent! Who knew?

This is a wonderful craft you can do with your kids. You can draw on a cup, for example, and your child can decorate a plate for Dad, or you can collaborate. That’s what my son and I ended up doing: he drew on the plate, and I added the writing.

You can even make your own custom gift wrap for the cup by reusing a plain brown paper bag and coloring it with Eco-Crayons like these from Eco-Kids USA.

Supplies you will need:

  • White or light-colored plate(s) or cup(s)
  • Sharpies (I bought a whole set of colored Sharpies at a dollar store)
  • An oven to bake the items

DIY Sharpie Plate or Cup Tutorial

  1. Wash the dish you want to draw on with warm water and soap, and dry it.
  2. Decide with your child what he or she will be drawing, keeping in mind that this will be a gift for dad on Father’s Day. Or just let your child draw anything he or she wants.
  3. If you want to write on the plate or cup, you can put tape on it for a straight line to follow when you are writing the words. Be careful not to get too close to the tape because the ink can run under the tape.
  4. You can scrub off the Sharpie marks and try again if you or your child make a mistake.
  5. When you are happy with your design, sign the front or the back, maybe add the date, and then bake the item in an oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  6. Be careful not to burn yourself when you take it out – wear oven mittens and let the item cool down. Caution: make sure small children are not around when you do this and make older kids aware that the item is cooling down and not to be touched.
  7. Care instruction: wash the Sharpie plate or cup with warm water and soap instead of in a dishwasher.

Sharpie Art Gift Ideas for Other Occasions

Need a quick gift for the grandparents? Have your child draw on a cup or plate with Sharpies, bake the item, and you’ll have an instant gift that will be cherished for a long time.

To decorate for a holiday or birthday, why not draw or write something fitting on a plate or cup for that event? You could make a whole tablescape or wall decor using Sharpie plates (think inspiring quotes or Christmas motives).

My son had fun creating his first Sharpie plate. I can’t wait to wrap it up for his Dad.

How will you decorate your Sharpie plate or cup for Dad – with a quote about what makes a great dad, or a drawing of something special?

{Images by Dagmar Bleasdale. For more DIY gift and home decor ideas, visit her blog Dagmar’s Home.}

How Mothers Organic Makes Living with Allergies and Asthma Easier

Mothers Organic sells organoc, hypoallergenic products

Nowadays, we unfortunately all know someone who has an allergy to something, or even asthma. Allergies and asthma are so common that May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. It’s a month to increase awareness and educate people about these diseases.

Sadly, I can speak from personal experience when it comes to allergies and asthma. My husband suffered from childhood asthma and has an allergy to cats, but in recent months he has been suffering from severe congestion and breathing problems that resulted in several severe and frightening asthma attacks.

My husband would be okay during the day, but when he’d come home, he’d start sneezing, wheezing and gasping for air. I dusted, let in fresh air, and turned on our air purifier more often. I also threw out our down pillows and blanket and replaced them with hypoallergenic products, but he wasn’t getting better.

When he went to Australia for two weeks, he didn’t have any of those health issues, but once he came back, he was getting even worse.

I was convinced there was something in our house that was making him sick. So I kept dusting and vacuuming, and bought natural air purifying bags filled with bamboo charcoal that absorb pollutants and allergens. Finally, his breathing problems became less severe.

When my husband finally had an allergy test, it verified my suspicion: he is allergic to dust mites. This is a new allergy for him, which just shows that we can become allergic to something at any time in our life. That’s why it is so important to buy products that are safe and non-toxic for our family and our home.

Mothers Organic is committed to only feature products that meet at least one of the Mothers Organic eco-focused standards.

Products offered at Mothers Organic have to be one or more of the following: organic, fair trade, allergen free, recycled, no-toxic, cruelty free and made in the USA.

Moms who want to buy green products don’t have to worry – Mothers Organic has already done all the research and tested products personally!

Many cleaning and personal care products have been linked to asthma and allergies. Mothers Organic carries many hypoallergenic products to make buying safe products easy for you.

Check out some of the safe and non-toxic products in the Mothers Organic store:

  • Episencial (I love the safe and gentle sunscreen)
  • HelloMellow (Check out the Kiddo On-the-Go Kit filled with all-natural baby skin care products)
  • Zoe Organics received a zero in the skin deep cosmetics database by EWG! (The Nipple Balm provides relief for breastfeeding moms)

Do you know someone who suffers from allergies and/or asthma? Do you make a point to buy hypoallergenic products? What other tips do you have? Share them with in a comment.