(Early) Easter with the Girls

So with less than a month’s notice, the Army tagged me to attend a joint military exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA.  Since this was our last duty station, it would be nice to visit some of the restaurants, coffee shops, and game stores that I use to frequent.  The bad news is that not only was I going to miss my girls for three weeks (our parenting plan states that they will go to their mother’s location if I have to go on a temporary duty assignment longer than two weeks), but I was not going to be able to spend Easter with them.  Since adjusting to change is no longer a serious problem for us, we simply moved our Easter celebration up a week.

“Please do not look at me like that.  This is going to be fun, I assure you.”

For our Easter activity, we decided to dye eggs and then decorate them with stickers and/or paint them (“Yes, girls, you can do more than just eat chocolate.”).  We already had the PAAS Easter egg dye packages on hand, but had to go back to the store because someone forgot to buy vinegar for the dye solution.

My little helper is getting better at cooking every day.

Because this was our first time coloring eggs together, I made sure that both the girls got to participate as much as possible in the process.  Elaina helped me make hard-boiled eggs as I tried to explain to her why we needed to do this before dyeing them.


Except for two eggs that had small cracks on them (Elaina dropped them into the saucepan instead of gently placing them), we had our hard-boiled eggs and were ready to move to the next step: Making the Easter egg dye.

This was the longest five minutes of our lives…

Elaina measured out the vinegar for the coloring containers (noting that it smelled absolutely terrible) and then the girls chose what colors they wanted to use.  They then placed the dye tablets in the containers, watching and waiting for them to dissolve.  “Are they done yet?” chimed on for the few final minutes.  After the tablets were fully dissolved, Elaina and I carefully added water to the containers, filling them up to the line.  The girls mixed the water and vinegar together just a little more to make it even.

“Egg-holders at the ready!”
Attempt #3
“Make it yellow!”

After bending the egg-holders and handing them to the girls, I brought over the eggs and we started to color them.

“Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’.  Keep those eggs a rollin’.”

Considering that this was their first time coloring eggs, they both did a great job.  No blue countertops.  No green fingers.  They both were very careful when placing the eggs in the containers and while rolling them around.

That is one proud egg… coloring… dyer… person…

Their first batch turned out just perfect.  The girls really enjoyed turning over the eggs in the coloring solution and were primed to start the second batch.

Round 2 (now with even more smiles!)

We continued coloring the rest of the eggs until the first batch was dried.  Again, the girls both did a stellar job of not tipping any of the containers over or putting their hands in the coloring solution.  Anything that helps limit my cleaning is much appreciated.

Example of a perfectly centered “Happy Easter” sticker”
Gabriella’s stickers were… slightly less precise.

The next decorating step was to plaster stickers all over our beautifully dyed eggs.  Elaina took the “less is more” approach, while Gabriella put almost an entire sheet of stickers on a single egg.  And yet they are sisters.

“The answer is no… now what was the question again?”

It was inevitable that Elaina was going to eventually ask me if she could peel and eat one of the eggs; it happened when she came across one of the eggs that she cracked during the process of cooking it.  While I already knew the answer, I thought it better that she find out for herself why you cannot eat them after they had been dyed.  She took her egg over the garbage can and peeled it, ending up with a white egg with green lines all along it where the cracks had been.  “It got green on the inside, Dad, so I do not think I can eat it.”  Clever girl.

“Dad, we are done with all the stickers… where is the paint at?”

They continued placing stickers on their eggs while I got ready for the next decorating phase.  The girls wanted to paint their eggs (did they not just color them?), so I had to prepare the dining room table and set out the supplies.

But not without proud photos first
“I would like to thank the academy…”

After the paint and paintbrushes were laid out, we moved to the dining room and the girls got to work.

Gabriella during her Blue Period

In hindsight, this does look really fun.

Being younger and less precise, Gabriella painted her eggs a single color and then, before that coat had dried, painted over it in a different color.  While it is not a technique that I would have suggested, it is a technique nonetheless.  And she had loads of fun while doing it, so the end product was not as important.

The stickers all had to come off during the painting step
Taking a moment to contemplate her next brushstroke

Elaina not only exercised a little more precision, but she also decide to incorporate a mixed media approach.  After painting her eggs, she started coloring them with pens and then pouring glitter glue over them.  That is my girl, always pushing the boundaries of egg coloring art.

The mini Cadbury eggs are hidden under the grass
Pretty sure that giant marshmallow bunny is not going to have any ears by the end of the night…

While the girls were busy painting, I briefly snuck away to prepare their Easter baskets.  My girls love chocolate, but I really try to limit their intake of sweets.  When it comes to Easter, while all bets all off, I still wanted to keep it within reason.  So pretty much no full-size Cadbury eggs or chocolate bunnies the size of their heads.

“I have been a good girl this year, so please bring me lots of chocolate eggs.”
Such a waste of good oranges and grapes

After the girls got finished painting their eggs, Elaina did something that really surprised me.  She wanted to write a letter to Santa wishing him a Happy Easter.  This was certainly because she got a letter back in the mail from “Santa” before Christmas after sending her letter to the North Pole.  It was so cute that I did not want to tell her no, just that Santa is so busy that he only responds to Christmas letters.  Either way, that was very sweet of her.

This picture is from the following morning, but it is better at portraying the evolution of “Look, a chocolate bunny” to “Holy crap, they fit a Peep in there!”

It was about this time when I asked the girls to start getting their books picked out for story time when Elaina went to choose her book from their bedroom.  She screamed out “Gabby, the Easter Bunny was here!” as I hear Gabriella scamper into the room.  They come running out into the living room with their Easter baskets in hand and I really should have anticipated their first question: “How much can we have tonight?!?”  I love my girls.

If you have read some of my last few posts, you probably have noticed that a lot of them really just seem to be about things that we do as a family as opposed to solely things to aid in being a great single parent.  But the latter is exactly what they are about, if you consider it.  Even though I am their primary custodian, the time with my girls is still limited, and we need to make the most out of it.  And this certainly includes holidays, ensuring that we still get to spend them together no matter if I have them or not.  It is what makes the difference between a good parent and a great parent.  It is not the things that you buy for your children or the places you take them, but the quality time that you spend together.  And that goes for any parent, single or otherwise.  Thanks for checking in on us and I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.


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