Maybe it’s because we’ve had so many sleety Easters in Colorado over the years, or maybe it was divine inspiration, but I decided yesterday that we were going to embark on a multi-day Easter-related crafty project. When we woke up today to a gray, rainy morning, instead of being disappointed, we had plenty of Easter crafts to keep us occupied.
First up on our list was planting rye grass for Easter, a Finnish tradition the kids wanted to try. But that was such a quickie that I had to come up with a few more things. We’d already boiled eggs, but I had another half dozen that hadn’t fit in the pan, so I decided to make blown eggs. This is something the kids did every year at their preschool back in the US, so they were anxious to try again.
How hard could it be, right? I sort of remember poking eggs with a toothpick and doing something to get the egg out, but it was all vague, so I turned to Google. I immediately clicked on Martha Stewart’s egg-blowing instructions in the results, thinking she’d have some simple and fool-proof instructions. Um, her materials-list included a dremel tool and required one of two types of egg blowing tool–wtf???
Just for a second opinion, I clicked on WikiHow’s article on blowing out eggs. It was slightly less complex, and had the great advice to bake the eggs for a few minutes to sterilize and strengthen them, but I still decided to improvise!
Note: If you are a raw-egg phobe, I suggest you stop reading here. If you are the type who, like me, not only consumes raw cookie dough, but lets your children do so, you may continue. Rest assured, no salmonella was contracted during the research for this blog post.
So I went to my junk drawer, pulled out a paperclip and a straight pin, and got to work. I did wash all the eggs in warm, soapy water, because here in Finland our eggs often show up with some chicken-detritus attached.
The first thing I noticed was that egg shells are a lot harder than I thought! I put a pin in the top, made sure I had punctured the membrane underneath the shell. This hole would allow us, in the absence of some nifty tool, to blow into the egg and push the contents out the second, slightly larger hole, in the bottom that the egg (see what I mean–salmonella-phobes should really stop reading and for heaven’s sake, don’t look at the pictures!).
This second hole is about the size of pin-head, although on a couple I accidentally made them quite a bit larger. You can do this by sticking the pin in several times in a gradually-larger spiral. Make sure you get the membrane out of the way, or it will just sort of reseal around the hole and keep the egg from coming out.
Next, stick a straightened bit of paperclip into the egg and jostle it around until you’re sure you’ve broken the yolk. This step is important–the more you can do to break up the stringy bits in your egg, the easier the next step will be.
I let each of the kids blow one egg out. If your children are not yet old enough to blow up a balloon, they may not be quite able to do this. My kids are 4 and 6 and did pretty well. Be sure to catch the egg in a bowl and use it to make a frittata or something! You want to blow with steady, gentle pressure–don’t blow your ear-drums on this step!
Despite washing the outside of the eggs with soapy water, we all definitely got at least a little raw egg in our mouths during this step. So like I said, if this bothers you, consider
buying organic local eggs skipping this activity.
It will take several puffs before you get all the egg out of the shell, and you’ll still want to rinse the eggs by putting the larger hole under running water and blowing them out again until its mostly water and not yolk coming out. Dry them in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes to sterilize and strengthen them–we’ve had some of these things last for multiple Easters, and with all the work that goes into them, you may as well prep them for the long-haul.
Since I boldly proclaimed that I kicked dear Martha’s ass, I should sheepishly insert here that we only ended up with 5 eggs. Remember how I said those shells were hard? Well, the last one wasn’t, and I annihilated it when making the first hole in the top.
I had egg down my leg and even on the floor, much to my son’s delight. He was in hysterics and when I asked him what was so funny, he admitted gleefully that he loved seeing me make a mistake. Um, does that mean he’s missed all the other mistakes I’ve made? I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a very bad thing, but I’m resolved to screwing up in front of him as much as possible in the future.
Luckily, Matt Artz missed this part:
Once they’re clean and dried, you can decorate them any way you like. Ours ended up getting colored with oil pastels and dipped in traditional Easter egg dye, but there are all kinds of cool things you can do with these, including using white school glue and tissue paper to color them. Two things I noticed that were less-than-perfect is that the stamps they put on eggs here in Finland come off when you boil eggs, but not when you wash them by hand before blowing them out, so the stupid stamp showed through my dye. And second, the eggs float, so you have to spend some time moving them around to get the color even.
This may not be so remarkable by itself (although I was impressed with myself), but making Easter egg pinatas was really a hoot. Again, there are all kinds of things from wallpaper paste to school glue that you can use in the making of a papier mache pinata, but we used water, flour, a balloon, and a bunch of newspaper we collected from the Metro on the way home from school yesterday. I mixed three cups of flour into four cups of water to make the paste, tore the paper into strips, and let the kids have at it. Two layers of paper was the goal, but that’s a lot easier for an adult to achieve than a little. Still we had fun, and made a mess, and you can’t really beat that.
This is a fun, multi-day project that doesn’t have to be Easter-specific. Lily said my pinata looked a lot like a hot-air balloon, and of course it could easily be made into a Halloween pumpkin, a face, or an animal depending on what you were willing to stick on to it!