Coloring hard cooked eggs at Easter time was a tradition which started in my childhood and has lasted throughout my adulthood. When I was growing up, I remember Mom using her meat roaster, an oval shaped blue enamel pan with a matching lid, in which to cook a dozen or two eggs. She would always cook a couple of extra eggs in case any eggs cracked during the cooking process. That would ensure we would end up with a complete dozen of perfect eggs, without cracks, per carton. Mom would let the raw eggs set out of the refrigerator till they got closer to room temperature before cooking them. She would carefully place each egg in the pan, add enough cold water to submerge them, turn the gas burner up high, and heat the water in the pan till it started to boil. Then she would turn the flame down in order to let the water come to a simmer. At that point, Mom would set her hand cranked white timer, with painted black numbers (5,10, 15, . . . 55) and markings for each of the minutes, for 17 minutes. The timer made a tick-tocking noise as the face of it slowly moved counter-clockwise. It would give one solid “ding!” signaling when the 17 minutes were up. Then the pan and eggs could be set in the kitchen sink where cold running water from the sink faucet could cool the eggs. Mom would put 2 teaspoons of vinegar and half cup of boiling water in each of six coffee cups to which my sisters and I would plunk one tablet of each of the different colors which came in an egg coloring packet kit. The kit also came with a copper wire egg holder which had a hexagonal shaped base the right size for holding one egg. We girls had fun watching the tablets fizz till they were completely dissolved, turning the water into a crisp blue, violet, pink, green, yellow and orange color. We preferred using spoons to dunk our eggs. We would let the egg in the shell sit at the bottom of the coffee cup completely submerged, lifting it up with a spoon occasionally to reposition the egg in order to ensure the complete surface of the egg would end up being colored. The longer you leave the eggs in the coloring, the deeper the color the egg shell would become. Mom always said, “Be sure to make a royal blue one!” After we took each egg out of the coloring with a spoon, we would place it on newspaper or a paper towel and let it dry. Sometimes, after an egg would dry, one of us girls would dunk just part of the egg in a second or third color. (We got a little creative.) I usually ended up staining the tips of at least some of my fingers. (If that happens to you, it’s best to dry your fingers well with a paper towel, so you don’t get fingerprints on another egg.)

One can use regular food coloring to color eggs. Just use a couple of drops in each coffee mug with water and vinegar. Also, one can make golden colored eggs by adding onion skins in the water of your pan when cooking your eggs. Easter EggsI tried this technique out yesterday; it worked pretty well. One can research the history of egg coloring on the internet to find out more fun facts and ideas.

I hope you can find time to color your own eggs this Easter time if this is a tradition at your household. If you want to, you can use construction paper, computer paper and crayons, or other things you might be able to find around the house, to come up with your own kind of eggs. Be creative. Have fun!

I completed our household’s U.S. Census questionnaire online today. (This is the first time it could be completed in this fashion.) Afterwards, I started thinking about what has happened in my life the past ten, twenty years. (The census is taken every ten years.) My husband helped me patch some of it together. I think it may be good to reflect upon our past, taking note of challenges and successes we have had, then appreciate how far we have come since then. The official census day is April 1st, April fools day. “Somebody must have had a sense of humor,” my husband said.

During this time of social distancing, I’ve heard people on the news talk about everyone having extra time to do things (at home) they might not have had time to do before such as clean out files or a closet. I am glad the government extended the time we have to file our taxes, as I am spending time doing some organizing while I am not discussing and posting cancellations, trying to decide whether to do zoom meetings or not, running to the grocery or drug store, cooking meals at home, washing dishes, trying to decide what to eat first out of the refrigerator, thinking about family and neighbors, or worrying about whether we have enough toilet paper, etc. One sister of mine is driving a neighbor, who doesn’t have a car, to the grocery store once a week. She is also taking walks around her neighborhood picking up trash. I’m taking time to read. We can learn and grow from reading. This would be a good time to read to your children or find some of the many online educational events popping up. The Cincinnati Zoo is doing a Home Safari FB live at 3 pm each day. I hope to do a FB live reading of my book Flip Flap Try soon.

My husband is spending most days helping out at a local food bank. He also is finding some time to “goof off”. He built several new bird houses. I gave him some walnuts in shells left over from my book launch to give to our backyard squirrel who has been eating up some of the bird seed from the bird feeder. I got to hear a cardinal tweet on one of our walks to the mailbox. My husband pointed him out to me. It was near the top of a tree across the street from our mailbox, “probably looking for a mate.” I also got to hear the spring peepers (little frogs). Have you noticed the trees are budding?

Life goes on. Our Country has made it through hardships before, though not so much in my generation. It is time for us to step up to the plate, keep our eyes on the ball, and swing. Like my pastor said at our last in person church service, “May we not forget to be kind.”

Spring is coming & with it spring cleaning. I started my spring cleaning a bit early. It started the day I decided to refill a soap dispenser in my kitchen. I had it about half full of Dawn dish soap when I accidentally knocked it of the counter. Most of it (and the jar which held it) landed by my feet, upside down, of course. I was able to scoop a lot of it up with a couple of spatulas, but a puddle of blue soap remained on the floor. There was also a nice spill line reaching across a cupboard, front of the dishwasher, bag of the wastebasket, an area of faux wood flooring, over to a wall on the other side of the kitchen. It would have made a nice spill study for a crime scene investigator. Paper towels, wet dish rag, and later a mop and bucket of water, got the mess up. Getting all the little soap suds up was challenging. Anyway, this incident sparked me into tackling other areas of the kitchen which needed some attention.

Soap has Virusbeen getting a lot of attention the past few days. I was happy to learn from googling “soap” that it can actually destroy the Coronavirus. See New York Times article. It just takes a little time, therefore why one needs to wash their hands for 20 seconds. I loved the diagrams showing how soap does this with its hydrophobic tail. Hand washing is so important in deterring the spread of this virus.

Soap is a hero, along with all the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and other first responders who are risking their lives to help the rest of us. Rainier, my husband, and I want to shout a big “Thank you!”

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” — George Bernard Shaw.

Family is important. It is where you are nurtured to become a happy, emotionally stable adult. When an infant, your cerebral system is still developing. Feeling safe in your mother’s or father’s arms is important so you can focus your energy on the development of this system. How your parents respond to you throughout your life through non-verbal cues, are as, if not more, important then the quality of your physical needs being met. I recall fun times growing up seem to be when we played board games, cards, or a more outdoorsy game like badminton or croquet. We got to be silly and laugh at times. We each had our own strengths and weaknesses, but we were accepted as we were.

As adults, at family get togethers, we tend to tell stories. Telling funny stories, reminiscing about things which happened in the past, was how I learned things about the family that I never knew before, or got to hear how someone else remembered something differently. Nonetheless, it is a time of bonding, of feeling happy and secure.

One can also feel like belonging to a family in groups, such as volunteer organizations. If a group falls apart, it can be like losing a family. I am currently trying to help keep a couple Toastmaster clubs going.

When a loved one passes, we are blessed to have our memories of them. My Aunt Elda kept a very neat house and her pies looked and tasted perfect. (My mom kept up with her older sister very well with house keeping and pie baking.) Aunt Elda did a great job of keeping in contact with grandchildren, nieces, and all. She bought a copy of my first book and was always asking me how the second one was going. (My husband says she was more interested in how I was doing.) She, herself, (with the help of one of her son’s) wrote a history of life on the farm where she, her two brothers, and younger sister grew up. My husband got the call from my oldest sister today that Aunt Elda had passed away. I am fortunate to have had a loving aunt with which to share my life.Aunt Elda