How to Make Your Own Natural Easter Egg Dyes!



Did you know that thousands of years ago the ancient Chinese were already dyeing fabric?

Or that the Maya in South America created red dye from ground insects?

Instead of buying those pre-packaged egg-dye kits this year, why not create your own natural dyes?

You have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry already. Experimenting with various vegetables and spices and turning out eggs that are one-of-a-kind is a great hands-on, multi-age project.

Here’s what you need:


The items we used are pictured above. (We had to go to the store to get red cabbage to get a bluer-blue, so add that one.)  Here is a list of what we used this year and the color that each material yielded:

  • yellow onion skins: dark red
  • red onion skins: purplish-red
  • coffee: light to dark brown
  • tea: light tan/golden brown
  • spinach: light green
  • turmeric (spice): bright yellow
  • red cabbage: bright blue
  • raspberries: light pink

Gather items you can use to make dye, such as the ones above.  Try some other spices, grass, flower petals and other items you might have outside with one crucial caveat:

 Check and make sure that nothing is poisonous, please! 

You would not want to touch or have your children touch plant parts that are poisonous, and you certainly would not want to put anything poisonous in your cookware. If you do not have a thorough field guide to your local plant life, just stick to vegetables and spices.

You will need at least four small saucepans. (Smaller pans don’t require so much dye material.)

Depending upon how many eggs you would like to dye and how much material you have  –  I recommend at least 12-18 uncooked white eggs. It seems over the years that some eggs absorb dye better than others – I am not sure why that would be; does anyone know?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Authorities say eggs are not safe to eat if they have been out of the fridge more than two hours after cooking, so keep track of this unless you aren’t going to eat them.



  1. Chop (veggies/skins) or mash (berries) each item that needs it and put a cup or more in each saucepan with the egg(s).  The typical four burner stove allows four saucepans/dye colors to be done at one time.
  2. Measure about two cups of water  – or just enough to cover the egg(s) – add one tablespoon of white vinegar for each cup of water. Stir it.
  3. Boil the eggs for 20 minutes and turn the heat off or remove pan from burner.
  4. Check the color of the eggs.  Leave them in the water longer/add more dying material if you would like a deeper value.
  5. You can even leave the eggs in the water overnight if you refrigerate the pan with the water and the eggs. (Cool before putting in your fridge.)

Leaving three eggs  in red cabbage/water overnight (in the fridge) resulted in the gorgeous blue pictured below!



Other Method

Another method is to use the procedure above but without cooking the eggs until you have boiled the material for an hour and strained it.

Once the dyeing material has been boiled and removed by straining, use the water to boil the raw eggs  for 20 minutes.  This probably results in a more solid, uniform color, rather than the “textural” look of our eggs.

I have never tried this.

Perhaps I was too impatient to boil it for an hour….

While You are Waiting

While you are waiting for the eggs to cook/dye to take, you might read and talk about the history of dye creation. Here are a couple of links to get you* started:

General historical info about dye (Science)

Dying silk (Science/history)

The famous “Silk Road” trading route: (History/geography)

*Please do not let your kids loose on links without first taking a thorough look – I did not read every word on every page connected to these.

The Results

When you are done cooking the eggs and you are happy with the color, remove them from the dye water, gently pat dry and refrigerate. The egg carton they came in is a perfect place to keep them. When they have cooled, shine them up with a little vegetable oil to bring out the color.  




What About You?

Have you ever dyed your eggs using natural dyes?  How did they turn out? Do you have any dyeing material that you particularly like?




Five Simple Ways to Say Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up in a week. Normally I post homeschool learning and ministry ideas for families before this special holiday, but this year my Valentine’s post is not going to be about homeschooling at all.

This year, I am reminded that there is a relationship we moms… especially we homeschool moms…are all too likely to put on the back burner.

When you are juggling a baby, chasing a toddler, grading an essay and answering an algebra problem, your husband is not exactly on the forefront of your mind, right?

I sure could be better at this… maybe you could be, too?

I know this doesn’t apply to everyone; you may be single.

But if you are not….you might have noticed that it. is. so. easy. to. put.  our.  kids first.  Sometimes they have to be first, obviously… but there should be regular times when we intentionally, mindfully do things to let our husbands know that we haven’t forgotten about them!  Do you agree?

Five Simple Ways to Bless Your Husband—and not Just on Valentine’s Day

1. Spend intentional, stop-everything-else-and-look-at-him-while-he-is-talking-time every day. We are exceptional at kissing ouchies, listening to stumbling new readers and chattering toddlers. We sometimes even do an admirable job of keeping the house relatively germ-free, pulling off regular meals and keeping the clothes clean. But we are so busy that we seldom just stop. listen. and look, giving our husbands our undivided attention.

2. You’ve read a thousand times about how important it is to have a regular “date night.” You may not be able to pull this off weekly, but why not find another couple with small kids and trade babysitting every other week? Your kids will have big fun and you will get some much needed, regular time alone with your spouse. (And  please work at talking about something else other than the kids!)

3. Study your husband like you do your kids. After teaching them all day, you know how they like to learn, what they get excited about, and how to bless them.

Hearken back to your dating days and remember what has been lost in light of the dirty diapers, messy kitchens and a plethora of homeschool projects. Seek ways to bless your husband, even if it is just an unexpected back rub at the end of a long day.

4. Use your talent or hobby to bless your husband on Valentine’s Day.Crafty? Make him a card or put together a basket of special food or hobby treats.  Musical? Write him a song or cover another song and make him a recording. Or make a playlist of “your” music.  Artistic? Paint him a picture. Writer? Write him a poem or love note.

5. Bite the bullet: plan and do something HE likes to do. You get extra points for this if he knows it is not your favorite activity. Watch the game, go on a hike, play golf, go fishing, play paintball, help him do yard work or share in a needed home repair.

Believe me when I say that your family will all benefit by you mindfully honoring your husband by conserving time and attention for him.

Now tell me, does this strike a chord with you? Could you do better at investing in your relationship with your husband?  Are you going to do anything special for him on Valentine’s Day?

Please tell me in the comments!

Unto us a Child is Born!

Traditional school is winding down in favor of Advent readings, baking Christmas cookies, caroling for neighbors, wrapping presents and getting ready for travel or company!  Yay!


Below are ideas for fun things to do with kids during these busy days as well as some resources for you. From keeping Christ in Christmas to what to tell your kids about Santa to ideas for healthy holiday hors d’oeuvres… if you are like me, you could use the help! :-)


Praying you have a blessed and Merry Christmas as you focus on JESUS!

Christmas Fun for Kids

  • Talk about how God  gave us the first Gift — the gift of His only Son — and how that gift can be multiplied as we give that gift to others by telling them about Him. Then play this Christmas word game.

Listen to Online Christmas Music



Keeping Christ in Christmas


Our Favorite Christmas Books


Yummy Christmas Food


What’s Labor Day all About?

Child labor
“Addie Card, 12 years. Spinner in North Pormal [i.e., Pownal] Cotton Mill. Vt.” by Lewis Hine, 1912 – 1913
Picnics and barbecues. Parades. Weekend beach getaways. Last days by the pool. These are what most people think of when the words “Labor Day” come to mind — enjoying time with friends and family as most people have that day off from work.

However, Labor Day has a greater and richer meaning than that. Keep reading to see why we honor this special day.



More than 100 years ago the labor force was completely different than it is today. Men, women, and even children of five and six labored ten to twelve hours a day for little pay, seven days a week. There were no weekends. No sick leave days. No vacation days. No over-time pay. Working conditions were often dangerous and unsanitary.

In 1872, a New York City carpenter by the name of Peter McGuire rallied over 100,000 workers to go on strike and march through the streets of the city, protesting these conditions. Many people have credited McGuire for the idea of Labor Day. McGuire fought for a decade to earn rights for workers.

Workers began organizing into labor unions to fight for higher pay, shorter days, and rights for children. They fought to set an age limit on the children who worked to prevent them from injuries. Finally, in 1882, McGuire had the idea to designate one day as a special holiday for workers.

On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, ten thousand workers once again joined together in the streets of New York City. However, this time it was for the first Labor Day parade. The Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York by also celebrating a “workingman’s holiday.”

Labor Days in the late 1800s typically consisted of street parades followed by festivals for workers and their families. Elected officials used the opportunity to speak, and picnics and celebrations abounded. Then, in 1894 Congress passed a federal law declaring the first Monday every September as Labor Day.


Labor Day Ideas for Children


  • Have children create an “Occupation Collage.” Provide magazines and newspapers for children to look through and find workers. Cut out pictures of various workers in our country. Glue and display the pictures onto colorful, patriotic paper.
  •  Thank You Cards. Show your children how to write/stamp the words “Thank You.” Allow them to stamp the words onto paper. The children can decorate cards then deliver them to community helpers (Library, Fire station, Bakery, Post Office, etc.).


  • Have children choose an occupation. They can draw a picture of the specific worker then together brainstorm a list of the responsibilities or things a person must do for the job. See the link for a helpful worksheet.
  • Thank you cards are also perfect for elementary students! Also consider the folks that pick up the trash and deliver the mail (but nothing inside the mailbox, please!) Consider adding some freshly baked cookies to your thank you!
  •  Interview. Children can select a few jobs that interest them or that they want to know more about. Schedule interviews with people in the community and allow the children to conduct the interview after first working together on listing appropriate questions.

 Middle School

  • Build a Resume.  Middle school students can research what skills and education are necessary to obtain  jobs they might be interested in. Have them create a “future” resume of what they would need to accomplish in order to be chosen for a job in that specific field.


  • Volunteer. Have your high school students choose a job that they would like to pursue. Have them arrange a day where they can volunteer or shadow someone in that profession to experience the responsibilities and commitments that are necessary for success.

Note: The little girl pictured above worked in a mill. She told the photographer she was twelve, although her coworkers all said she was ten. 

How are you planning on celebrating Labor Day this year?


Mini Valentine’s Day Unit Study!

Here are 15 Valentine’s Day ideas, broken down by subject, to add some pizzazz to your homeschooling!

Valentine’s ideas for History and Geography

1.  Did you know the original St. Valentine was said to be a Christian martyr? Noting that there are a few different versions of the St. Valentine’s legend, have your middle/high schooler research and create a short oral report about St. Valentine’s life and death and present it to your family.

2. Have your dramatically-inclined student use the above research and create a short play based on St. Valentine’s life and perform it for another homeschooling family.
3. Task your students with researching Valentine’s Day during the Middle Ages and find out what Valentine’s Day had to do with birds.  :-)
4.  One of the most common symbols of Valentine’s Day is a Cupid. After defining  the word “symbol” for your youngest students, have your older ones research Cupid, draw a picture of one (in color, of course) and include a description of the origins of Cupid on the page.
5. Valentine’s Day is not just an American holiday! Have your student(s) locate other countries where Valentine’s Day is celebrated and do one or more of the following: Make a notebooking page for every country you find that celebrates Valentine’s Day.  List the Valentine’s Day traditions of that country and draw a map of each country.
6. Choose one or more interesting traditions and incorporate it into your family’s celebration.

7. Create a world map labeling the countries that celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Ideas for Language Arts

8. Create a word search including the following terms: Valentine’s Day, roses, pink, red, lace, cupid, card, St. Valentine, heart, doves, chocolate, etc.

9. What does the Bible say about love?  Instruct your students to find verses that describe the love that God has for His people, for the church and the love believers should have for one another.  Choose some of the verses as copy work and/or memorization.
10. Have your students define the word “love” in a paragraph.  Have them read about love in the Bible and then revise their paragraph as needed, including Bible verses as references.  Use this assignment as a lesson between love as a “feeling” and love as a “choice” and/or an “action.”

Valentine’s Ideas in Science

11. Use this week  as an opportunity for a quick scientific study of the heart. Write a short report about the function of the human heart.  Include a diagram of the heart, labeling the various parts. Using different colors, show the blood flow into and out of the heart.

500px-Heart_diagram By ZooFari CC-BY-SA-3.0  via Wikimedia Commons

12.  Make a poster  comparing and contrasting the human heart and the heart of an amphibian or reptile. If comparing and contrasting is a new concept you may want to use a Venn Diagram for help.

Valentine’s Ideas for Fun and Family Ministry

13. Gather your construction paper, wrapping paper scraps, ric rac, spare buttons, markers, glue and other craft supplies in the appropriate colors. Take an afternoon off school and construct hand-made Valentine’s cards for friends, family, elderly or shut in neighbors, children at a local hospital, etc.  Add a Bible verse about love to your cards and talk about what the verse means.

14.  Bake heart-shaped sugar cookies, frost with pink icing and glaze with pink sugar.  Include a homemade card and cookies and take to the neighbors, a nursing home or use to create a care package to a college student or two.
15. Start a new tradition!  Join with another family or two and assign many of the above ideas to different children.  Plan and execute a Valentine’s Party or dessert.  Have everyone share their reports and projects, exchange Valentines and then enjoy homemade Valentine’s treats!
And let’s not leave out any of the youngest members of your family — here is an adorable interactive book that will make your babies giggle with glee.  (Really!)
What ideas can you add or what mentioned here sparked your interest?  What do you do at your house to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Heart image courtesy of Zoo-fari via Wikimedia Commons