Can you color brown eggs?

Yes! You totally can! 

I think we all got in such a habit of dying white eggs that we've just been convinced that brown eggs won't work. But they definitely do, and I think they make some of the prettiest colors. You have to let them sit in the dye a little longer to get the color to really soak in, but the wait is worth it. You end up with beautifully rich colors that I think look more "earthy" than the same store bought egg dye applied to white eggs. 

We did a little comparison - these eggs were all dyed with the standard old store bought egg dye, mixed with vinegar according to the package instructions for vibrant colors. The group on the left are brown eggs (except the blue row), the group on the right are white eggs. (and all the little white marks are just where my kids drew on the eggs with the wax crayon).

Can you dye brown eggs for Easter?

Brown eggs are usually more expensive, so I don't know that I would go out and buy them just for Easter egg dying. But if you have them and weren't sure if you could use them - go for it! I absolutely love how they turned out. 

 

 
 
How to dye brown eggs for easter! from WhatLisaCooks.com
 

25 Days of Christmas Activity Calendar

25 Days of Christmas Activity Calendar

Look, I'm not an over the top holiday gal.  I just never will be.  I decorate a little, we do a tree, and a wreath, sometimes we get the lights up on the house. There is some holiday baking, and cards, Santa visits, and gifts of course.  I'm not saying I don't enjoy the holiday - I definitely do!  But I'm not going all out decorating my house with garlands and centerpieces and changing out all my table decor. It's just not me. I'm somewhat of a minimalist, and I enjoy the holidays more when I'm not working my butt off the whole time.  But when you have little kids who get excited about such things, it's impossible to avoid adding on a little extra holiday festivity and activity.  And really the best thing about Christmas is enjoying it through the eyes of a child. 

So what could I do that's easy for me, and exciting for them?  Last year I think I came up with the perfect thing.  Browsing ideas on Pinterest of course - it can make your head spin.  But I took the basics of several different things I saw, and made it my own.  And I kinda loved it. 

Read More

Easy Holiday Teacher Gifts

Holiday & Christmas gift idea for school teachers: Give your teacher a gift they can enjoy now and use all year long - a lunch box packed with treats! from WhatLisaCooks.com

Every year the requests come out to contribute to class gifts for teachers, and I always debate whether to participate in the group gift.  I don't doubt that the teacher appreciates these gifts, but they seem so impersonal to me.  Our teachers work so hard for us.  And especially for our unique little (big!) family I recognize that they may even be working just a little harder sometimes (and well, I know I tend to be a squeaky wheel).  I know I can't do much, given budget and free time constraints, but I do feel like making something personal is the very least I can do for these people that give so much of their time for us.  Spending a little of my precious time to thank the people that spend so much of their time with my most precious people just feels better than putting some cash in an envelope.

I always make some kind of baked goods for the holidays, and I've given other small things along with them in the past.  Since I'm making somewhat of a name for myself around these schools for my lunch making, I figured I'd go slightly with that theme for my teacher gifts this year.  

So my super simple and fun little gift idea: pack up my usual holiday cookie gift in one of our favorite lunch containers, EasyLunchboxes.  Teachers need lunch too, so I'm hoping they will find this to be something they can actually use, and hopefully remember how much we appreciate them when they use it.

I'm feeling pretty good about this right now - I think I've got something that will put a little smile on their faces, and let them know that we appreciate what they do for us.  And for me, it fit in my limited budget and was very easy to do.  

I brightened it up a little with a few colors of cocktail napkins that I had picked up recently at Ikea. 

image.jpg

The main compartment has two flavors of homemade biscotti - a basic almond biscotti, and a new double chocolate version that I've never done before (I just added 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 cup chocolate chips, and skipped the cinnamon and almonds).  Those are topped with one cut out chocolate cookie decorated by the kids, in a little parchment bag.  (It's nice to have a little of the kids touch to the gift, but let's be honest, most adults don't love those sugary sweet frosted cookies)

One of the small compartments contains one of the EasyLunchboxes mini dipper containers (I've included the lid as well, just under the napkin) with a few easy chocolate cookies I made using this recipe.  And in the smallest compartment is a dark chocolate covered salted caramel (not homemade), wrapped in a green napkin like a little present.  

Topped with the EasyLunchboxes lid and tied up with a pretty bow.  And that's it.  

 
Holiday & Christmas gift idea for school teachers: Give your teacher a gift they can enjoy now and use all year long - a lunch box packed with treats! from WhatLisaCooks.com
 

Easy little felt Christmas tree activity

If you're like me, you see all this amazing crafty holiday stuff all over your favorite pages and maybe let out a little groan.  That's nice for people that have that kind of time.  But I've got four little kids and not a lot of spare time to prep for elaborate Christmas crafts or activities.  So here's one for you that I know you can pull off. Because if I can manage it, anybody can!  It takes no artistic talent, you just need to know how to use scissors.  And the supplies are very minimal.

Can you cut a triangle?  Ok, then you're good.  

All you need is a couple pieces of felt.  I happened to have a stack of random felt from a project a few years ago, so I was happy to find a use for it.  The only part of this that requires a tiny bit of precision is cutting out the tree.  I used a ruler and a pencil to get my lines somewhat straight.  After that, just randomly cut out shapes.  I managed to get a few that look a little like stars, some diamonds, some circles.  I cut a few pieces in long wavy shapes for a look of a garland on the tree, and then a lot of just random little snips of a few different colors.  That's all.

I got the idea from seeing a bigger, wall sized thing in a catalog.  But I wanted to do something smaller.  So these are made from just small pieces of felt - the size of a piece of paper.  The whole thing folds up and stows nicely in a quart sized ziploc bag - perfect for sticking in a purse for an activity to take along to a restaurant.  I originally made them last year before we were going on an airplane flight.  I only made two and I should have made four, because my kids of course argued over who got the first turns.    

Kid Created Table Cover

You might have noticed in a lot of my food posts that we have very colorful artwork on our dining table.  I've had a few people ask me about this, so I thought I would share it with everyone.  

Our dining room is pretty much the center of our house.  Everything happens here.  Our family dinner every night, along with all our other meals and snacks.  Homework and art projects and cooking projects.  Play dough and painting.  Making cards for loved ones.  Sewing up holes in well loved objects.  Work and play, seriousness and fun. It's definitely the heart of the home for our family.  And so what better to decorate our table than something created by the kids?

Read More