Decorating Easter eggs has always been a giant exercise in patience and paranoia for me. As a kid, my mom would have one of the neighbors boil eggs in their house - so as to avoid the high potential for an asthma attack for me. Once the eggs were safely boiled and cooled, they were returned to our dining room table... where we would line up the identical set of coffee mugs (which I swear we only used for this purpose) filled the appropriate amount of vinegar, plopped the little sweet-tart looking discs in, and went to work transforming the evil little ovals of death into brightly colored holiday decorations.
My efforts were generally hindered by wearing my mother's rubber dish washing gloves and attempting to balance these fragile beasts on the end of the flimsy bent wire "egg holder" that came with the decorating kit. More often than not, I simply gave up trying to handle them myself and directed my dad to plunk them into the various colors. I participated for the traditional family gathering aspect of it, I wasn't going to have anything more to do with them anyway... the eggs were turned into snacks and egg salad for the rest of the family, and come Easter morning, the kid's egg hunt was for the plastic sort that had prizes and candy hidden inside.
I'm not sure if I've grown even more paranoid as the years go on, or if I've just decided that life is to frackin' short to be actively adding potential health hazards to it, but either way I believe I have entirely given up on the traditional real-egg-dying baloney. I've tried to stick with it out of some sense of loyalty to the past, some years combining the precarious-egg-dying with the far more enjoyable wooden-egg-painting... but really, when it comes down to it, what's the point?
I don't want hard boiled eggs in my house. The smell makes my stomach turn over, the sight of them in my fridge makes my hand instinctively recoil as I reach for my coffee creamer, and as incredibly careful and cautious as both D and G are when handling the little devils... I spend my days feverishly scrubbing down counters to avoid breaking out in hives and secretly plotting out ways I can "accidentally" throw out what's left and just be done with the whole stinkin' holiday. (Now take that paranoia and multiply it a thousand times over when someone who is not as careful as D comes over and starts cracking one open on my kitchen counter. *shudder*)
My alternative tradition is to decorate fake eggs.
Last year I picked up several bags of paper mache eggs, and G and I had a lovely time sitting and painting the little guys. She found it far more interesting to be able to paint designs rather than plunk them in a cup and just... watch. Also, she enjoys not having to be afraid of dropping them. This makes me feel satisfied that my allergy is not depriving my child of our own holiday family tradition.
This year I saw an article in Family Circle magazine about ways to decorate plastic eggs. When I took a trip to Michael's last week I picked up some of their new, brightly colored paper mache eggs, a few packs of origami paper, and tonight G and I sat down and experimented with a few designs (as well as breaking out the pastel paints for the leftover paper mache eggs from last year)
The result of tonight's efforts:
What I also love about this project - besides being able to save them as decorations for future Easters, is that it can be an ongoing project all the way up to Easter, which gives us more than just an afternoon of sitting around smelling vinegar.
Edit on Sunday: Today's Egg Adventures