Tiny Salutations

Tiny Salutations

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Celebrating Easter (with vegan ideas!)


Easter is coming up quickly. Easter brings salvation and family traditions. This Easter has brought a few challenges to our home. 

The first challenge is that our family is vegan. This is a welcome challenge, but requires a bit of creativity either way. Every holiday tends to have some sort of challenge to work around when it comes to being vegan, but fun new traditions can be born out of that challenge. 

For Easter, egg dying is the biggest vegan challenge. We would not buy eggs to boil whether we were dying them or eating them. Last year, we bought craft eggs to dye, which you can read about here.  The craft eggs were vegan, but they floated, which presents an issue when you are trying to dye them. Nothing we tried (including poking holes in them) could get them to sink. So this year, I wanted to find something different. I tried to find something else we could dye, especially since I really liked the silhouette effect we used on the eggs last year, but I didn't have anything on hand that would work well. 

So we didn't dye anything. Instead, we covered the tree in our front yard with chalk and made decoupage "dragon eggs".


Our finished Easter chalk tree in its entirety (left) and up close (right)

Our son adding his part to our Easter chalk tree

Our Easter chalk tree- I think the colorful branches made it look really interesting. 

The chalk does not hurt the tree, and it creates a pretty awesome finished product. Also, anyone who can hold chalk and reach the tree can participate! It is pretty fun for little ones. This is definitely going to be our Easter tradition to permanently replace egg dying. (You can see more photos at the end of this blog post).


All of our finished "dragon eggs". The pink one with only a few scales is L's egg.
My "dragon eggs". The brown one is meant to look more realistic and the black & purple is my idea of what a Night Fury's egg may look like from How to Train Your Dragon.  I think the brown one came out best of them all. 

The decoupage eggs are more challenging. I admit this probably wasn't a great project for our son. It required touching glue (not a great thing for my sensory-sensitive child with autism) and a bit more dexterity in the hands than he currently has. We originally were going to make string eggs, which may or may not be easier to make, but ditched the string for dragon scales. In mid creation of our string eggs, with glue on our hands, I looked around for inspiration online for our paper decoupage eggs and found the dragon look here. L's egg looked much less... like an egg.


Materials needed to make a string decoupage egg
To make the decoupage dragon eggs, you will need paper (the color you want your scales), a crayon (we used black and silver), scissors, paintbrush, balloons, and Modge Podge. To start, cut lots of dragon scales out of the paper. To get a less uniform look, we rolled a crayon across the scales.  Blow up a balloon for each egg to the size you want your egg to be. Starting at the base, cover your egg in scales. To do this, paint Modge Podge underneath the scales, then lay the scale on top, pressing them onto the balloon. Before laying the next layer of scales on, coat the scales that are already on the balloon with Modge Podge. Once it is finished, let it dry overnight. To make a string egg, follow the same general process, swapping the paper for yarn. Cut the yarn into small sections, set them into the Modge Podge to completely coat them, then lay them around the egg. The neat thing about the string eggs is that once dry, you can pop the balloon and pull it out, leaving it hollow, and quite neat looking.


Chalk eggs for this year's Easter egg hunt
We opted out of giving our son a lot of candy this year. Not that there is anything wrong with candy. I love sweets. Last year, we filled L's Easter eggs from his egg hunt with jellybeans, of which he ate enormous mouthfuls. It's just that we decided to go in a different direction this year. We bought chalk eggs-which are, as they sound, chalk molded into egg shapes- to use for his morning egg hunt. We got these particular chalk eggs from the dollar store- 18 eggs for only $3!

We filled his Easter basket with a few gifts and books, including some vegan comics. I recently found vegan comics that you can order for free from PETAkids. Having autism, L gets hyperfixated on things, which can be a strength or a weakness. Being vegan is no different, and I consider it a strength. He takes being vegan very serious and lectures everyone any time he finds them eating animal products. He always says "We don't eat animals". Despite his age, he is quite mature in the way he speaks about it. Just the other day I heard him explaining to my Dad that he does not eat cows milk, he eats soy milk. Every now and then, out of the blue, he will say "Did you remember that Pappy ate chicken?! I don't eat chicken. We don't eat animals." or "Did you remember Uncle Ryan ate turkey?! I don't eat turkey. We don't eat animals." (this part referencing Thanksgiving two years ago!). So given that this is something that he is passionate about, I signed him up for PETAkids' Cutest Vegan Kid Contest. If he wins, they will award him a little gift pack, which I know he would adore. The contest includes a popular vote, so I would appreciate any votes to help him win a prize that I know he would certainly appreciate (especially with his upcoming surgery-see below).  You can vote for him here!


A bud on the chalk tree, just starting to release flowers
Fully bloomed flowers higher up on our Easter chalk tree
The second challenge to this year's Easter is L's upcoming surgery, which is the day after Easter. This surgery will be more intensive than his past surgeries. It focuses on his airway, which brings both hope and worry. The first part of the surgery is intended to be exploratory to get a better idea of just what is going on in there, and the second part of the surgery is for repairing problems in his airway. Problem is that they aren't totally sure what exact repair surgeries they will decide upon until they have completed the exploratory part of the surgery. So we have no certainty until he is actually under anesthesia. We do know that they intend on doing some type of repair surgery on the area causing him to aspirate (liquids going into his lungs rather than his stomach) and speculate that they will need to do some kind of repair, such as widening, to try to decrease the ease of his airway closing (as it has several times causing him to be rushed to the ER to start breathing again). So every parent would be nervous about airway surgery on their child, but it also brings hope that those nights in panic trying to rush him the ER may be less likely in the future. 

So given his upcoming surgery, he has had to be totally isolated- no friends, no family, no going into any public place even the grocery store, no therapies, no doctors' visits unless absolutely imperative- for two weeks. Isolation means no Easter egg hunts (we found a great one put on by the local Parent-to-Parent), which L is always exceptionally skilled at, no church service, and no family gatherings. L will also have to be isolated for a while afterwards, and we don't know how long it will take him to recover enough to visit with friends and family. The isolation afterwards is a huge bummer, since his 4th birthday happens to be only a few days following his surgery. We will, of course, do something fun- just the three of us- so I just hope that he at least feels well enough to enjoy it all the same. I just hope that he will come out of the surgery with either answers or solutions and recovers well. 

Happy Easter! He is risen!




 


L and his Dad drawing with chalk on the curb 
My husband's (left) and my (right) dragon eggs while drying