Easter Egg Inspiration: 10 Fun And Creative Egg Decorating Ideas

With Easter less than a day away, I thought it would be fun to do a fun little Easter Egg themed post! There have been so many cute, creative, and non-traditional Easter Egg decorating ideas popping up on Pinterest, and I wanted to share a few that I’ve stumbled across over the past couple weeks. So if anyone’s looking for some last (last) minute Easter Egg inspiration, you’re in luck! Here are ten of my favorites:

10 Fun And Creative Easter Egg Ideas

The collage above shows an overview of these ten creative egg decorating ideas — they’re all rather different-looking, right? I seem to recall that the ones we did when I was growing up were just simple solid colors.

But anyway, since the above is kind of just a big teaser, I figured I’d go down the list of thumbnails one by one and talk about each egg decorating idea in more detail, with links to where you can find more information:

Easter Eggs With Hearts (Masking Tape)#1 – Heart Shapes

This is a really cute idea, and simple enough to pull off — you just cut out masking tape in the shape of a heart, and then stick it on the egg before dying it with a standard egg coloring kit. Afterward, pull off the tape, and voila – a little white heart shape remains on the colored egg! I think it would be fun to try this with other shapes too, or maybe letters or numbers. Check out this post on the blog The Sweetest Occasion for a full tutorial on how to make these!

Easter Eggs With Striped Pattern (Rubber Bands)#2 – Rubber Band Stripes

Similar to the masking tape, these eggs achieved a nifty striped effect by wrapping rubber bands around them before dyeing them the traditional way, which leaves the area covered by the rubber band white while the rest of the egg gets colored. I like how using different widths and wrapping them at different angles creates a whimsical and non-traditional pattern for the eggs. This article on Style At Home has more details on how to make these.

Easter Eggs With Scrapbooking Flowers#3 – Scrapbooking Flower Eggs

When I first saw this photo on Pinterest, I assumed the eggs were traditional hard-boiled eggs with the flowers glued on for decoration, but interestingly they use a technique to blow out the whites and yolks so as to “make these pastel beauties last for years.” The eggs are colored normally, then the flowers added with tiny dots of glue — for step-by-step instructions on making these, check out this article on Country Living.

Black & White Sharpie Easter Eggs#4 – Black & White Sharpie Eggs

Forget the colors — just get out a sharpie marker and doodle some shapes and patterns on those eggs! I’ve seen a number of variations of this concept floating around on Pinterest, and it seems like it always produces a really dramatic and modern-looking effect. Though it probably requires a little more forethought for coming up with the designs, and some level of competence with using a marker! For more info and pics, check out this post on the blog Obviously Sweet.

Quail Eggs Dyed For Easter#5 – Quail Eggs

I’ll confess — before I stumbled upon this image, I had no idea that quail eggs were even a thing you could buy, but according to this article they’re often found in Asian markets. Anyway, these cute little speckled Easter Eggs are only about a quarter of the size of traditional chicken eggs, and the speckled pattern is a natural part of the quail egg, so all you have to do is dye them the traditional way to produce this adorable and charming end result! For more info, check out this post by Brett Bara.

Eggs With Neon Dot Stickers#6 – Neon Dot Stickers

This next idea is completely mess-free, since it doesn’t require any kind of dye, paint, markers, or glue. Instead, you just get some brightly-colored dot sticker labels from an office supply store (I was able to find these, though they’re not quite the same color as the ones shown in the photo) and then arrange them on the uncolored eggs in any pattern or arrangement you like — this example does cute little flower-like clusters. The idea comes from this article on Better Homes and Gardens.

Tissue Paper Easter Eggs#7 – Tissue Paper Eggs

This technique actually gets tissue paper to “bleed” its color onto the eggs (apparently not all tissue paper will work for this, so it needs to be a specific kind). You just get the eggs wet, cover them in little squares of tissue paper, and then leave them wrapped in wet paper towels for a little while. When you unwrap them and remove all the tissue paper, the colors are left behind in whatever shapes the tissue paper was cut in! For more details, check out this post on the blog Connecting Family and Seoul.

natural-easter-egg-dyes#8 – Natural Egg Dyes

I was really intrigued when I first saw this technique — instead of using artificial colors, you actually color the eggs using ordinary foods. Beets make pink, spinach makes green, blueberries make blue, etc. There are a number of variations on the technique floating around Pinterest, and the end result always has a distinctively muted, less saturated look than what you get with traditional store-bought egg-coloring kits. For more information, and recipes on how to get all the different colors, check out this post on the blog Happy Hour Mom.

Temporary Tattoos On Easter Eggs#9 – Temporary Tattoos!

I had no idea you could just stick temporary tattoos on eggs, but apparently it works! And it opens up all kinds of possibilities for getting very intricate designs and patterns onto your Easter Eggs with very little effort, especially since I’ve just learned there’s such a thing as temporary tattoo paper that allows you print out anything you want (using a standard printer) and turn it into tattoos. Neat, right? For more info, check out this article on Country Living.

Camouflage Easter Egg#10 – Camouflage Egg

This last one doesn’t have a guide or blog post to go along with it (at least not that I know of) — I just saw it pop up on Reddit with the caption, “Grandpa takes his Easter egg hunts seriously.” I thought it was an amusing and mischievous idea, to paint Easter Eggs in a camouflage pattern for an outdoor Easter Egg hunt! Good strategy for making it extra challenging for the kids, right?

And that’s the end of the list! Last year, we didn’t do much in the way of egg-coloring — I made those fun and tasty Deviled Easter Eggs, and dipped an egg or two in the colored water as an afterthought, but that was about it. So this year it would be really fun to try out something a little more special, and even though I’m posting this at the last minute, there’s still the rest of today to mess around with coloring eggs and still be ready in time for Easter!

What do you guys think? Do you have a favorite from the above list, or know of another especially creative egg decorating idea that I missed? And if you typically decorate Easter Eggs, do you have a favorite technique you always use, or are you trying out something new this year? Feel free to share in the comments!

You’re Doing It All Wrong, Parents — Introducing Solid Foods Edition

No Solid Foods For Baby

Uncanny timing — within just a few days of posting an update about our daughter learning to eat real grown-up food with real grown-up silverware, I heard a blurb on the radio about some new study admonishing parents for introducing solid foods to their babies too early. It especially caught my attention because this latest big worrisome health risk was introducing solids before six months — and we introduced them with Lillian at four.

All I can say is that this is what our pediatrician recommended, and there’s no shortage of reputable websites saying “between 4 and 6 months, here are signs that your baby may be ready” (see here, here, and here for just a few examples). Reading up on it more, it seems like the news story was making the biggest deal about the percentage of babies starting on solid foods before four months — but even so, hearing about the six-month rule came as news to me.

More details about this latest big “you’re doing it wrong, parents” newsflash can be found in this New York Times article, but one of the parts I found most interesting was this little snippet about why the recommendation was raised in the first place:

For at least 20 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics had advised against feeding babies solid food before they turned at least 4 months old. Last year, encouraged by growing evidence of the health benefits of breast milk, the group raised that age, saying babies should be fed nothing but breast milk for six months.

So I guess it’s reassuring that the new recommendation apparently has more to do with promoting breastfeeding (because Breast Is Beast, didn’t you know?) rather than new evidence showing some major harm to introducing solid foods before six months, or something of that nature.

But most reassuring of all? I daresay our daughter isn’t the slightest bit worse off for having her parents unwittingly defy the AAP’s six month recommendation — and I suspect the same applies to the millions of children born and fed by well-meaning parents in the 20+ years before this edict was handed down.

How do you feel about these kinds of changing health recommendations, and the way they’re presented in the media? To any parents reading, when did you start your babies on solid foods? Have the recommendations changed since then? I’d be curious to hear any thoughts on this matter in the comments.

Teaching Our Toddler To Eat With Silverware

It’s easy to take silverware for granted when you’ve been using it for as long as you can remember, but being around a 16-month-old toddler can be a sweet little reminder of just how challenging a skill it is. The precise movements it takes to get the food on there. The steadiness it takes to get it all the way from the plate to your mouth without having it fall right back off again. You need a lot of practice to become good at it, and that’s a tall order when you’re little and impatient and just want to eat your food.

We’ve been spoon-feeding Lillian since she started on solids at four months old, and she’s been feeding herself various snacks and finger foods since she started to get teeth to chew them with, but only since the start of this year or so (at around the 14-month mark) did we really get into a consistent routine of giving her a spoon during meals to see what would happen.

Colorful Kids' Spoons

Random photo of colorful kiddie spoons on our kitchen counter.

Right from the start, she seemed to be pretty interested. (Sometimes, she would even insist on two spoons so she could have one in each hand.) And right away she mastered the basic movement of dipping the spoon into the food, and then moving the spoon to her mouth, though the most this tended to accomplish was a bit of sauce or flavor to lick off.

The challenging part was learning to scoop actual substantive mouthfuls up. For us, what really seemed to be the ticket here was to (1) give her one spoon to practice / play with, while (2) using another spoon to shovel food into her mouth as fast as she could eat it. Sometimes for number two we would instead load up the utensil and hand it to her and let her move it to her mouth, but in either case it seemed pretty important to keep the food coming to keep her from getting impatient and just abandoning the spoon in favor of fingers.

Using this method, she began to get the hang of it, and we started to see her manage two or three bites per meal all on her own. This gradually increased over the course of a few weeks as with practice she got better and better, until now she’s practically a pro. I shot this short video around two weeks ago, when Lillian was really starting to get the hang of things:

This little clip shows the full range of what happens during a typical meal around here:

  • Lillian easily scooping up peas and successfully eating them with the spoon.
  • Lillian taking a few bites with her fingers, with me giving gentle encouragement to use the spoon instead.
  • Me loading a spoon and handing it to Lillian to eat.
  • Lillian requesting a second spoon and then randomly switching between spoons.
  • Peas flying everywhere (bound to happen).

And just in case the video isn’t working or you can’t watch it right now, here are a few still frames just for fun:

Toddler Eating With Spoon

Toddler With Spoons

Toddler Using Spoon

One day at daycare, Lillian picked up a spoon and fed herself an entire bowl of rice all by herself, leaving the owner impressed at how good she was at it for her age. And surprisingly she even has decent luck with real adult-sized (plastic) forks, though for the most part she uses the same scooping motion she uses with the spoons and any actual food-spearing seems to be mostly accidental. Here’s a recent adventure to our favorite noodle restaurant, with Lillian enjoying a big bowl of penne with marinara sauce:

Toddler Eating Noodles

(We forgot to bring a bib that day, and while amazingly she didn’t get too messy, it certainly felt lucky that she was wearing a shirt the same color as the sauce!)

So anyway, that’s the story of the latest big grown-up skill acquired by our little Lillian. All I can say is I’m really proud of her, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say she’s really proud of herself, too. Sometimes she’ll scoop up a spoonful and hold it up for a few extra seconds for Daddy to see, beaming all the while. And every once in a while she’ll offer a bite to me (it’s quite the feeling to find the baby you’ve spent so long spoon-feeding suddenly spoon-feeding you!) or to Grendel (interestingly enough, our cat likes peas and will eat them with gusto.)

To anyone reading who’s been down this road before, how did it go? Any tips for teaching the little ones to eat with utensils, or table manners in general? Did your pets hang around like vultures waiting for the inevitable bits of dropped food, possibly surprising you with an unexpected enthusiasm for vegetables? Feel free to share in the comments!

Losing The Baby Weight: A Progress Report, 16 Months Later

Well, I suppose this post has been a long time in the coming. I admittedly kept putting off writing any kind of “losing the baby weight” update because I hoped to be able to do some kind of “yay, victory is mine!” post — but alas, at 16 months later, I feel like it’s finally time to own up to how things have been going.

As mentioned in my last post on the subject, I gained an excessive amount of weight during my pregnancy with Lillian — nearly 70 pounds — and as of November 2011, I still had 30 pounds of that to lose in order to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 190 pounds. As for how much progress has been made since then? Here’s an updated photo of the scale:

A digital scale reading at 207.5 pounds.

So I suppose the good news is that some progress has been made — 207 pounds is certainly an improvement over the 220 from my last update. But at the same time, that leaves another 17 to go. And considering that I had hoped to have shed those pounds by last summer, it’s probably safe to say that things could be going better.

This is the part where I’m supposed to reflect on what a struggle it is to lose all that weight, but honestly, I don’t feel like I’ve been trying very hard. With the exception of a few short-lived stretches of dutifully trying to cut back, I’ve just been snacking and eating junk and drinking as many sodas as I want for the last year. And then there was this business where me and Joe invented something called “wing feast,” which certainly didn’t help matters any.

Exhibit A: "Wing Feast," a smorgasbord of glazed chicken chunks, chili cheese nachos, and all the celery sticks you can dip in fatty blue cheese dressing.

Exhibit A: “Wing Feast,” a smorgasbord of glazed boneless buffalo wings, chili cheese nachos, and all the celery sticks you can dip in fatty blue cheese dressing.

The idea was to enjoy a deliciously awesome meal while watching a movie, to make up for how infrequently we found ourselves going out on dates and generally having “couple time” in those early days of parenthood. Which doesn’t sound so bad in and of itself, except that for a while there, we were doing it pretty much every weekend.

So in conclusion, motivation has been a big problem. But the good news is that I recently started feeling a greater desire to try harder at this “losing the baby weight” thing. Maybe part of it is that my baby is now a toddler, and she discovered a fun game where she lifts up my shirt and pats my belly and laughs at how squishy and jiggly it is. Or maybe it’s just a random coincidence. In any case, lately I’ve found myself feeling oddly motivated to “get back on the wagon.”

So since around the beginning of March, the sodas have been cut way back, and the snacking has been reduced to reasonable levels, and my meals have come with more vegetables and less meat/carbs/gravy than they used to. And even though it hasn’t been that long yet, I feel like these measures are already starting to have an impact — not necessarily on the scale or the waistline, but in feeling generally healthier and more energetic. So hopefully I can keep it up and have some better progress to report in another few months.

Anyone else out there currently in the midst of a struggle to lose a bunch of pregnancy weight, or a bunch of weight in general? Any tips you’ve found useful for staying motivated when it takes longer than you originally hoped?

Our House’s Wood Trim: To Paint Or Not To Paint?

The house-blogging genre dosen’t have much to offer in the way of controversy, but if anything comes close, it seems to be the subject of painting wood.

One interesting example can be found over on the blog Making It Lovely, where Nicole wrote this post a while ago about painting the natural wood trim in her home. This decision resulted in some generally polite, yet critical second-guessing from commenters who saw it as destroying something special and valuable and unique to the home — but in this case the wood trim wasn’t in the best shape, and she didn’t care for the way it looked, and why treat the house like a historical time capsule instead of the place where a family lived in the here and now? They ended up painting the wood trim, and based on subsequent blog posts, it turned out well and everybody was happy.

So on that note, I wanted to talk about the wood trim in our house, since it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. The virtual house tour post is full of photos taken before we moved in, but here’s a quick glimpse of what we’re working with for reminder purposes:

The Wood Trim In Various Rooms

The living room, dining room, and kitchen (shown above) have wood trim around the doorways, windows, and along the floor. But there are some inconsistencies throughout the house, and the trim in the hallway, bedroom, and bathrooms was already white when we bought the place. Here’s the view looking from the dining room toward the hallway and bedrooms:

Inconsistent Trim Colors

The trim in the hallway also seems to be a slightly different, less fancy style (notice the slight curve and lack of ridged detail compared to the unpainted version) but the difference in color only makes the inconsistency stand out even more.

This next angle, looking from the hallway back toward the kitchen, shows a better view of how the trim is actually painted white on the part of the door frame not visible from the kitchen:

Mismatched Door Frames

I think it looks kind of strange to have it cut off like that part of the way through the doorway, though I’m not sure it would look any less strange to have it all wood with white trim (of a slightly different style) right there next to it.

The view looking toward the other bedroom (Lillian’s room) isn’t bad, though I’m not sure how I feel about the dark stained wood of the door combined with the white frame:

Brown Door With White Frame

I’ve seen some great-looking photos of spaces with white trim and wood doors, but somehow the combination feels a bit off in our house. Granted, we didn’t do any painting in the hallway when we bought the house, so maybe it would help if the trim here got a fresh coat of paint? Or maybe it’s just that the wood is so dark?

Or maybe a part of it is just the general surface condition of the wood. At a glance the wood looks rich and glossy and high-quality, but up close… I’m not sure if it’s gotten too many layers of varnish or what, but overall it has this kind of brushed-over, splotchy look, and seems to lack the texture that comes to mind when I think “natural wood.” Here’s a closer view of the trim around the entryway to the living room:

Wood Trim Closeup

Quality-wise, what the above photo shows is about as good as it gets, and there are other places where the wood trim is marred by nicks, scratches, and even nail holes:

Damaged Wood Trim

I hope this post isn’t coming across as a big whiny complain-fest, though — it’s not that I’m trying to give the impression that it’s horrible, but rather to provide some context before saying, “we’ve been thinking it might be nice to paint all of the trim in our house!”

Truth be told, I didn’t expect to arrive at this mindset when we bought the house. But the more time goes by, the more I can’t help feeling drawn toward the idea of the entire house having crisp, clean, consistent white trim.

Granted, it would be a lot of work just to cover it all, since that would surely take multiple coats of primer and paint. And we’d have to research carefully and select a durable paint that would easily wipe clean, since we have a little one running around the house. And even if there might be other options — one of our friends suggested stripping everything down to the wood and then re-finishing it all — it seems like painting would yield the best result for the least work from among those.

So anyway, that’s where things stand — no concrete plans have been made either way, so this post is mostly just thinking out loud. What are your feelings on the subject of painting wood trim, either in general or in our specific case? Have you ever taken the plunge and painted wood, and if so, how did you feel about it afterward? I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts and experiences on this in the comments.