Our First Dye-Free Easter

Well it was our first dye-free Easter, and I do believe the words “peaceful”, “fun”, and even “magical” could be used to describe it.  Our long weekend with family included lots of eating out at restaurants, kids’ birthday parties, and the best egg hunt ever.  This of course meant we were surrounded by gorgeous cupcakes, goody bags, and brightly colored plastic egg fillers.  And yet our daughter’s behavior chart was awash in green stars all week (Spring Break with mommy…surprisingly good) and she did not get upset or feel deprived at Easter.  Success!

We dyed eggs with juices of beets, blueberries, and cranberries…along with liquid chlorophyll and boiled turmeric.  No PAAS to be found (what’s up with that name, anyhow?  What does it mean?  All I got was ‘Petroleum Augmented Allurement System’.).  Crayon drawings turned into cool tempera paint designs under the dyes, and fern leaves and flowers from grandma’s yard left odd-shaped designs.  Crayola markers produced mysterious results (yes you read that right…since the marker ink was so faint and she wasn’t going to eat the shell, I decided it was okay…The Crayola people assured me that even though their ingredients are “proprietary”, they never use Red 40 dye…and I LOVE the way they turned out, especially the “Fairy Egg”).  Some natural substances worked better than others.  For instance, fresh carrot juice had no effect, and the chlorophyll, while deep green in the bottle, produced only a pale green on our eggs.  My favorites were the blueberry and beet juices.  And as you can see, one egg never even made it to the coloring stage, poor little dude.  A valuable lesson in gravity, I think…

The Easter Bunny had to do a little extra recon this year, and spend a little more bunny money (hey, it’s only once a year…soon after Valentine’s Day…which is soon after winter holidays, soon after Halloween…etc., etc.), but overall I think s/he did a great job.  A smart pink straw fedora hat served as the basket – thankfully my girl forgot all about that huge pink monstrosity she wanted from Target, a la July Garland in “Easter Parade”.   The Easter Bunny’s throwback hat trick included filling it with a chocolate bunny from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s chocolate covered peanut butter eggs, Fairy Garden flower seeds, TJ’s organic fruit leathers, Yummy Earth gummy bears, shortbread cookies, a rose shaped bath scrubby, and an assortment of chocolate eggs filled with coconut, caramel and raspberry creme from Whole Foods.  Still, the Easter Bunny is not beyond criticism.  As I watched my child take the longest time to read every ingredient label before diving in face first, I had to remind myself that I must have done something right if my kid questions even the Easter Bunny’s quality assurance.

Our girl did really well at the egg hunt, which included a mix of our naturally dyed eggs and plastic eggs filled with dyed candy.  She didn’t even give the candy stash a second thought and focused on the cool balloons instead.  Later she happily chowed down on some strawberry cream cake from Earth Fare.  Good things come to those who wait…

And no meltdowns or tantrums followed.  Like Stephen Colbert’s take on the old security advisory system (“TELL ME, terror tweet!!!”)…it was almost too quiet.  Unbelievably, she left the celebrations without hijinks when it was time to get on the road, and she happily occupied herself for the entire five and a half hour drive home.  Even after cake at grandma’s house…and then Starbucks cinnamon bread on the road…and chocolate milk…hey, it’s only once a year, right?

Easter miracle?  Nah, nothing so dramatic (although it was awesome) – just a good kid enjoying well-chosen holiday treats for her growing body.

So, how was your dye-free Easter weekend?  Were there any accidental exposures?  Were your kids satisfied with their dye-free haul from various gatherings?  What did the Easter Bunny bring?  How did your egg dyeing experiments go?  Most importantly – did the naturally colored jellybeans live up to your own expectations as you secretly raided your kids’ stash late last night?

Please post up pictures of your dye-free Easter baskets and naturally dyed eggs on the DFD Facebook page!

PS – I wanna give a shout out to the Miccosukee Root Cellar peeps in Tallahassee, Florida…they offered local, all natural ingredients and thoughtful care for a dye-sensitive 7-year old (Blue Sky grape soda was a special treat).  The brews and tapas were a hit with the grown folks too.  Please go say hello when you’re in the area!

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