Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Onion Dyed Eggs

I originally learned about this natural egg coloring technique from a message board. It was posted about 5 years ago, and my thanks to Sunnyday for sharing it with the world!

These will be some of the coolest eggs you'll ever make! Get Ready!

Here are the items needed:

Brown Eggs
Onion Skins
Non-Aluminum Pot
Small Flowers and Leaves

Optional items for hollowed and blown eggs:
Pin or Needle
2 Bowls

If you want to preserve your eggs, you will need to blow out the contents of the eggs. These are so beautiful, that you may want to keep them for future display. As long as the hollowed eggs are safely stored (I recommend keeping them in an egg carton) they can last forever!

How to blow out your egg:

Insert a pin or needle into the top and the bottom of the egg shell.
Open a paperclip, insert it into the top hole and move it around to break up the yolk inside, repeat this step with the bottom hole.

Over a bowl, place your lips over the top hole and blow out the contents of the egg - as though you are blowing up a balloon.
Fill a second bowl with warm soapy water and rinse the exterior of your egg. Then place the bottom hole in the water and suck some water into the egg - like a straw. Shake your egg and then blow the water out of the egg. Do this a couple times to clean the inside of the egg.

The Onion Dye Technique

We used a bag of onions and peeled the dry skins off the exterior of them. You don't necessarily need to purchase onions, usually there are tons of skins around the onion display at the grocery store - but they had been all cleaned up by the time I got there.

Dump the skins in the pot and add enough water that the eggs will be completely covered.
*If you don't have a non-aluminum pot, look for one at your local thrift store. They are cheap and perfect for crafting!

While your pot of water and skins is heating up on your stove (bring it to a boil) choose which items you want to use to decorate your eggs. Here I have a small flower flattened against the egg. Cut your nylons and knot one end, carefully pull it over the egg and flower and knot the open end. (Or you can use rubber bands, but I found that knotting them works just as well and is easier to do)

Place your eggs in the hot pot of onion water. Let them simmer for 15-20 minutes. This will hard boil any raw eggs, and will give your eggs a nice deep golden brown color.

Once sufficiently cooked/dyed, drain the onion water and rinse eggs in cool water. Once cool enough to handle, cut off stockings and peel your flowers or leaves off your eggs and this is what you should see!

Too good to be true right?!
Jump in and try it! You'll love it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chag Sameach

Pesach (Passover): March 29 - April 6, 2010

I found this clip online, and thought I would share it with you. It's a compilation of clips from the last few years.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Grocery Shopping Torture

I knew it had to happen. I was having entirely too much luck with my grocery shopping. Yesterday, Jack had been sooo good. The past 3 trips Zena checked out and slept. I was even beginning to feel a little smug (never a good thing) about my skilled parenting and well behaved children. I should have known that it couldn’t last.

Our shopping trip started out well. Zena was passed out in her bucket seat, Jack sat in the shopping cart. He insisted on sitting in the front child’s seat that faces me (I usually put Z’s bucket there, but that was fine. I just had to juggle the coupon book as I shopped. I was so organized, this trip was going to be short and sweet. In and out. I had my list, I had my coupons. No problem. Until...

...Zena decided to have a melt down in the store. Ok, no biggie. I took her out of the bucket and held her. Normally I would put her in my sling and carry on, but all the slings are in my husbands car at the moment (don’t ask. I have no idea why!) Besides she’s not even 10 pounds so holding her is no big deal. However, that brought me down to 1 hand to push the cart, shop, and handle coupons, but hey, I’m an Amazon! I can handle anything! She nestled into my neck and calmed down, “Excellent!” I thought. So we continued.

Then Jack decides that he’s tired of sitting in the kid seat and wants to walk. Ok, that’s fine. That’s great actually, because now I can move Z’s bucket up to the front seat and have more room for my groceries. So we pause a moment while I rearrange everything. I set the sleeping Zena into her bucket and we start down the next aisle. About 3 steps in, Zena realizes that she’s not being held anymore and begins to fuss, at about the same time, Jack decides he simply MUST sprint down the aisle at full speed. And that was just the opening ceremony to what would become Jack's Grocery Store Olympics.

Yes folks, I was that lady at the grocery store today that you either hate or love. Hate, because her devil spawn are wreaking havoc and disturbing YOUR shopping trip. Love, because you’ve been there, done that and at least it’s not you... this time. If I asked Jack once, I asked him 27 times, to get up off of the floor, while I held a fussy baby that wouldn’t stop squirming.

Again, normally, I would have baby in a sling, and I’m so sling savvy that I could have nursed Zena, without anyone being the wiser, AND finished my shopping trip. Or I could have tied the sling around my son, who was suffering from selective hearing loss, to keep him in tow.

So I did the only thing I could do, we left. I had intended to use my 20 allotted daily coupons for Super Triples week at Harris Teeter, but alas only used fourteen. Still, I did VERY well - shopping wise, spent $36.41 and saved $62.41!

If you want to become as coupon savvy as I am, I strongly recommend you check out the Southern Savers blog at

If you want to share your ‘Shopping with Kids’ horror stories I would really, really, love to hear them.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Feel Good Friday - KITTENS!

TGIF! Enjoy these kitty videos! and SMILE!

Jump in to your weekend! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Funny Bones

Have I got a movie for you!

Put it at the top of your Netflix queue or run down to Blockbuster.... NOW!

Funny Bones is not your typical comedy. It’s not really a comedy at all, I suppose it could be considered a “dramedy.” The film stars some of vaudeville’s and modern comedy’s top performers, most notably Jerry Lewis, Oliver Platt, George Carl and Lee Evans.

Here are some snippets of the NY Times review from the original release, March 24, 1995:

And now for something completely different: "Funny Bones," a winningly eccentric flight of fancy from Peter Chelsom, director of the captivating "Hear My Song." Unquestionably Mr. Chelsom is an odd bird, but he brings a fabulist's magic to tales no one else could tell. This film's title refers to the natural gift of a comic sensibility, a talent that money can't buy. In his quirky way, Mr. Chelsom has funny bones for sure.

"Funny Bones" is such a peculiar film that it is best watched in a trusting state, with the certainty that this many-stranded story is meandering toward a moment of true clarity. (The screenplay, which Mr. Chelsom wrote with Peter Flannery, has the perfect last line.)

This movie is great! You’ll love it, whether you’re a fan of slapstick, or if you out and out dislike it - this story is about identity, love and family.

Watch this trailer and then rent this movie. You won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Triple Chocolate Break Your Heart Brownies

This recipe was originally from America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. I tweaked it here and there and now it is mine!!! But still, it’s eerily similar to theirs, so I have to give them credit.

These brownies are so rich and dense that I cut them into 1 inch squares. Oh, and they are ESPECIALLY good straight from the fridge, although my husband insists that they are best warm. You will have to decide for yourself!


5 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, quartered

3 T cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1 1/4 c. sugar

2 t vanilla extract

dash of salt

1 c. flour

Also need:

aluminum foil

8”x8” baking pan

cooking spray


small pot

heat proof bowl

medium mixing bowl

wooden spoon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position

Fold two pieces of foil lengthwise to fit into 8”x8” pan crosswise. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan. The overhanging foil on all four sides will aid in removal of baked brownies. Spray foil with cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water,

melt chocolates and butter, stirring until smooth.

Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Remove bowl from simmering pot and set aside to cool slightly.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until combined (about 15 seconds).

Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture at a slow but steady pour.

With a wooden spoon, slowly stir flour into bowl until just combined.

Pour mixture into prepared pan, be sure spread mixture into corners and shake pan gently to level surface.

Bake 30-40 min, until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs. DO NOT OVER BAKE.

Cool on wire rack for a couple of hours. Do not cut until ready to serve.

Caution: these brownies have been known to cause hearts to flutter and uncontrolled mouth watering.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Club Selection - "Alice I Have Been"

Welcome to the first Jumping Monkey’s Book Club Selection! Through the next four weeks we will read and discuss the new fictionalized biography by Melanie Benjamin, “Alice I Have Been.”

from Publishers Weekly:

Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature in her excellent debut, spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Her research into the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the family of Alice Liddell is apparent as she takes circumstances shrouded in mystery and colors in the spaces to reveal a vibrant and passionate Alice. Born into a Victorian family of privilege, free-spirited Alice catches the attention of family friend Dodgson and serves as the muse for both his photography and writing. Their bond, however, is misunderstood by Alice's family, and though she is forced to sever their friendship, she is forever haunted by their connection as her life becomes something of a chain of heartbreaks. As an adult, Alice tries to escape her past, but it is only when she finally embraces it that she truly finds the happiness that eluded her. Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold.

Alice Liddell as a young girl, a young woman, and in her 80's touring America

Be sure to submit your questions as we read the novel, as Jumping Monkeys may be in contact with author Melanie Benjamin! At the end of the April, if I can figure out how to set it up - we’ll attempt an online chat, hopefully with Ms. Benjamin herself!

So pick up your copy today! You can find it your local library, or at any number of booksellers. Some price comparisons are below... - $16.50 + free super saver shipping; or used and new from $13.94 - $22.50 *borders rewards members have exclusive discounts

Barnes & Noble - $18.00 + “fast and free” delivery

Local Library - FREE!

Jump into a good book and join us for “Alice I Have Been” this month!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sibling Adjustments

It has been a week now since Zena joined our family and our dynamic has been forever altered. I knew things would change, but I was never able to imagine which path our relationships would follow.

My oldest has truly embraced her role as big sister. She not only looks out for her baby sister but she has adopted a more patient and loving attitude toward her little brother. While sitting in my room, nursing Zena or “resting,” I’ll hear her playing or talking or soothing her baby brother and my heart aches with the love and pride I feel for my first baby girl. She definitely has my maternal instinct - in fact I’m beginning to feel her instinct is so deeply developed at the tender age of 7 that she will be an indomitable maternal force when she reaches adulthood. She even keeps an eye out for me, picking up empty coffee mugs and re-filling the depleted diapers in the changing basket. I simply marvel at her.

I am especially grateful for my mother’s presence over the last week. Without her aide in keeping my three year old son occupied I would never have been able to spend some quality “Mama Time” with my Big Girl. Most recently, my daughter and I were able to make my triple chocolate brownies - from scratch! (Look out for the recipe later this week!)

My mother has definitely taken up the slack in regard to my son. He adores her and relished the one on one attention she gives him which I am finding difficult to offer while this little one needs me so. My boy is definitely finding his new role as big brother a challenge. I hold him and kiss him as much as I can but learning patience and the need to “share Mama” is a difficult task. My mother, in her infinite wisdom was successful in halting his regression from potty training. That alone is a small miracle. The biggest challenge he and I face right now is his distract and delay tactics, most notably at bedtime. He used to be able to be reasoned with about doing things he didn’t really want to do - like getting dressed, brushing teeth and getting ready for bed. (Well, to perfectly honest here, clothes were always a challenge; he prefers his birthday suit.) It’s at these key times though that I know he needs me most. He is not ignoring me or purposefully being difficult, he just wants his mama, and I’m still trying to figure out how to meet his needs while taking care of Zena’s needs at the same time.

We are only a week into a lifetime of change, and that our lives will continually evolve and transform. However, it is interesting to see what a difference a week makes in the lives of siblings.

How did your children acclimate to a new family member? What challenges did you, as individuals, have to overcome?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Feel Good Friday

It's Friday again!

Here are your feel good videos to brighten your day and welcome the weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The best show you aren’t watching

One day last Fall, after I sent my daughter off to school, and my son was settled in with his toy cars, I sat down with my coffee and began to flip through the channels on our television. It doesn’t take long, since we have the bare bones basic cable and have a grand total of about a dozen channels. I quickly happened upon a new show I’d never seen, Bonnie Hunt was sitting behind a desk and was interviewing a celebrity (I admit, I can’t remember who!) they were chatting and it was refreshingly funny. It gave me enough pause to put down the remote and continue watching, which, for me, is a big deal. Now, as often as I can, I have coffee with my good friend Bonnie at 9 am and sometimes she brings her mother Alice.

The Bonnie Hunt Show is like a breath of fresh air in the sordid smog that has become daytime television with near pornographic soap operas, obscene talk shows (read: Jerry Springer) and paparazzi spewed entertainment drivel. But any day I start with Bonnie is sure to be a good day - or at the very, least a good morning. I don’t have to worry about my kids overhearing anything questionable.

The show is wholesome and pure and fun, which is pretty much a death sentence in the ratings world. And so, despite having A-list celebrity guests (I still remember the Gerard Butler interview - whoa momma!) and hilarious moments, it was the week between Christmas and the New Year that the Bonnie Hunt Show learned it would be cancelled after this season.

Fans and viewers were shocked and outraged. And many immediately began to organize in a desperate attempt to save the one shining light in the sea of television putrescence.

If you haven’t seen this show, I encourage you to find out when it is shown in your market. If it’s not shown where you live, you can watch clips online. Your time will not be wasted, and I bet you’ll end up laughing!

If you are already a fan, or a new fan and would like to try to save the Bonnie Hunt Show you can go to this website for more information.

I encourage you to write to Warner Brothers and make your voice heard.

Warner Brothers

Bruce Rosenblum, C.O.O., Pres. W.B.

C/O The Bonnie Hunt Show

9336 West Washington Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232

In the meantime, here are some of my all time favorite Bonnie Hunt Show moments - at least the moments for which I found web clips!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lucky Ribbon Shamrock Pin

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today’s craft is a quick and easy ribbon pin.

You may even have all the materials you need laying around the house or in your craft area.

Supplies Needed:

Green ribbons (1 yard per color)
Sewing Needles
Spare Buttons
Pin Backs
Fray Check

Chose your ribbons. I’ve chosen 3 ribbons of varying shades of green. Cut your ribbons to 1 yard (36 inches) in length.
Align your ribbons and hold them in the exact middle (18 inches)

Take the right tail of your ribbon set and flip it in a loop as shown. Do the same with the left tail.
Both tails should now be pointing down.

Repeat step 3, so that both ribbon tails are pointing up.

Secure the loops with a straight pin.

Using your needle and thread, secure all the layers of ribbon. Your stitches don’t have to be neat, they just need to hold all the loops and layers in place.

Without cutting your thread, sew your decorative button to the middle of your ribbon shamrock, covering your previous stitches.

Again, without cutting your thread, sew your pin back to the back of your shamrock.

Tie off your thread and add a dab of Fray Check to add strength to your knot.
Trim the ribbon tails at an angle and dab ends with Fray Check to keep ribbon from unravelling.

Viola! You have a beautiful Ribbon Shamrock pin!

Don't forget to put it on - you don't want to get pinched!