Friday, April 12, 2013

Making Cascarones - a Tutorial of Sorts.

Friends in the Rio Grande Valley introduced us to the Easter tradition of cascarones during the years we lived there.  This Pacific Northwest girl had no clue what these were when friends first told us about them. However, after our first hunt and ensuing "battle," we were hooked and wondered how we missed out on such an awesome and FUN tradition to celebrate Resurrection Sunday! 

Fast forward to last year--our first Resurrection Sunday living in the Hospitality State. The boys, Rob and I all missed having cascarones as part of our celebration. One cannot drive around Starkville to look for people selling boxes of these confetti-filled eggs like he or she could while living in the RGV. Truthfully, they are unknown around these parts. We had friends from out of town just before Easter, and I was in the midst of planning the International Fair for our local homeschool group, so I did not have time to sit down and make them.  So sad. :( The boys periodically mentioned to me (hinting, begging...) the idea of making our own cascarones this year. At one point in time, David even brought me the instructions he found in one of their Boys Life magazines!  Yes, this mama got the hint. I have written out the instructions of how we made these with the photographs below. 

First, you need to have empty egg shells. If you are planning to make quantities in the hundreds and have the storage space, plan to save egg shells throughout the year. However, we live in a fairly small house, and the egg cartons housing the empty shells took up residence on top of my washing machine (which lives in my kitchen). Crack the bottoms of the eggs and peel the shell off.  You don't want your holes to be too big because they are a bit more difficult to cover over later, but you also want to be sure that they aren't so small that you cannot get the egg out.  After you crack the egg, use your finger or a butter knife to break up the yolk so it will come out more easily.  Or, if you are more of the patient sort like myself, you can gently shake the egg until all of the contents come out into your bowl.  

Once you have your empty egg shell, rinse it out thoroughly (this is crucial--you don't want your eggs smelling up your house!).  I put a drop or two of dish soap into the egg shell, add hot water, shake it around and rinse well.  Then, I set them with the open sides down onto a folded paper towel to dry.  Once the egg shells are dry, place them (gently!) in a bowl, basket or in empty egg cartons until you are ready to use them. 

The empty egg shells are symbols of Christ's empty tomb on Resurrection Sunday.  The shells themselves also symbolize new life--just like the new life we have when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 

Now the fun begins.  Dying the egg shells.  You could also paint them, but we made almost 100, and dying them seemed to be the best way to ensure less breaking of the egg shells with my over zealous helpers! :)  David is very excited about the color of his egg.

For the dye, we just followed the directions on the back of the PAAS (sp?) egg coloring kits for the vibrant colored eggs.  A few of my friends pinned directions on how to use Kool-Aid to color eggs onto their Pinterest boards.  I had one packet of cherry Kool-Aid left, so we mixed that with 2/3 cup very warm water and added it to the mix.  The Kool-Aid tended to color the eggs a little bit faster, and the red was very vibrant.  We are interested in trying other Kool-Aid flavors next year.

 Aidan wanted to color eggs red because red symbolizes the blood Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins. :) I love how he embraced that symbolism.

Ahem - please excuse the disorganized artwork and .22 targets from 4-H hanging on my fridge in the background. The fridge has become the boys' art and show-and-tell gallery. Oh, and that tired-eye look Aidan is sporting? The pollen that is currently floating through the air turning everything green outdoors is making each individual in this household miserable from allergies. :(

 Here are the boys in the midst of their egg-coloring operation.

 Once the eggs have been colored, allow them to sit and dry completely, the open side facing down.  Having the insides dry before moving onto the next step is very important!

Now that your eggs are colored and are dry, it is time to fill them!  My amazing husband drove all over town looking for confetti; however, there is none to be had in Starkville.  Had we been willing to drive to Columbus, Jackson, Tupelo or Tuscaloosa we might have been able to find some to buy, but since we were pinched for time (and were NOT going to drive out of our way for confetti), we used paper Easter grass instead.  Rob and I cut the Easter grass into small pieces so it was more confetti-like, then we set up an assembly line around the "island" to fill them.  Each of my guys was assigned a color, and they passed the egg shells around until some of each color of confetti was placed inside.  I was standing at my post cutting more confetti.  (The blister on my thumb is almost healed now!)

Once the eggs have been filled, you will need tissue paper squares.  Any color will work (we chose purple to represent the royalty of Christ). You also need Q-tips, Elmer's School Glue and a paper plate or paper towel.  Put a puddle of glue onto the plate or paper towel, and dip one end of your Q-tip into the glue.  Spread the glue around the edge of the hole in the filled egg and place your tissue paper square over the hole.  Add more glue, if needed to help hold the tissue paper in place.  Put the egg, tissue paper side facing up into the egg carton and continue this process until you have finished covering the holes in all of your eggs.

 Once they are dry, the eggs are ready to be hidden and hunted for.  Once the eggs are found, break them on your children, parents, friends, etc. The confetti inside is a great reminder of the celebration and hope we have of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ.

"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NKJV)

"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)

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