My Easter Cascarones! Happy Hunting!

What the flibbitygibbit does a mother do when she wants to provide a plastic-free, candy-free easter egg hunt?? 

“Hunt for hard boiled eggs, you say?” Sure, but that just isn’t something I can get excited about. And let’s face it, the hunt is just as much for the parents’ entertainment and delight as it is for the kids. I vaguely recall that at a public egg hunt as a kid, and having the coordination of a drunken daddy-long-legs, I wasn’t fast at picking up eggs. I remember getting at least one hard boiled one that the other kids had passed up. It was crushed, warm, and smelly. I sure remembered that foul thing. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but I was excited to do something else. IMG_5600.JPG

Last year, I took the kids on flight to visit their Aunty-Boo in Pennsylvania. I took both kids. By myself!! I still feel like I should have a badge for metal for completing that journey. We missed a connection and wound up with an agonizingly loooooooooooooooooong layover.

Anyway, there was an exhibit I was enthralled with as I corralled my 3 year old and rocked a sleeping baby. There were crates of Cascarones made by children in a local art fundraiser. They are a Mexican and Mexican-American celebratory tradition with hollowed-out, confetti filled eggs that are decorated and cracked over someone’s head. Here is a little bit more from the exhibit I encountered:

Cascarones are a fun, celebratory tradition popular in Mexico and with Mexican Americans living in the Southwestern United States.

What is a cascarone? A cascarone is a hollow eggshell filled with confetti and brightly decorated with paint, glitter, colored paper – any craft material of choice. The hollow confetti-filled eggs are meant to be cracked over someone’s head and when the eggshell breaks the confetti rains down symbolizing good luck and God’s blessings. It is said that having a confetti egg cracked on your head is “a sign of affection.”

The unique cascarone tradition has been introduced to Philadelphians by artist Marta Sanchez, who moved here from San Antonio, Texas. At first, Sanchez made cascarones for her friends to share the joy of her family tradition. Then, after a family member passed away from HIV/AIDS, Sanchez founded Cascarones Por La Vida Art Fund – a nonprofit organization that sells cascarones to benefit children affected by HIV/AIDS.

For the organization’s annual fundraiser that typically takes place each Spring, Sanchez invites artists, friends, community groups, and students to volunteer their time to fill and decorate eggs. From simple to elaborate designs, the fund sells approximately 2,000 eggs each year, some for as little as $1. To date, Sanchez’s fundraisers have provided more than $30,000 to programs that provide services to children with HIV/ AIDS. One additional gift is that each egg poured from each shell is donated to area shelters to help feed the homeless. Nothing is wasted – the egg and its shell benefit two very worthy causes, all while sharing the fun-natured tradition of cascarones.

Visit artedemarta.com.

I decided to try my own!

Here are my notes:

First, I had to buy white eggs. Having our own hens and supporting local producers, well, we just don’t see many white eggs!

After watching a few tutorials about how to crack a hole in the egg, I decided just to softly but swiftly thwack the fat end of the egg with the sharp side of my chef’s knife, then pick away at the shell into the compost bowl.

I dumped the eggs into a jar that I can use later… Easter brunch casserole perhaps? Or if I didn’t have an immediate need for them, they freeze well too. I ovulate once a month, but these hens ovulate one a day! Don’t waste them!

Decorate them!! I chose to dye the shells with your regular old vinegar and food coloring dye. As you can see from the images I took at the airport, decoration options and mediums are endless.

Before you fill them, make sure they are DRY. You don’t want soggy confetti.

I chose to fill the eggs with bulk bin grain and legume remnants from by cupboard. You know, those annoying jars with just a few tablespoons of dried goods in the bottom. I wanted something biodegradable and harmless if consumed by birds or other wildlife. I was also considering confetti, or shredded paper that was biodegradable, but chose another route. Next time, I’ll empty all of my leftover flower seed packets from half-empty seed envelopes or birdseed!

To cover the opening, I repurposed tissue paper from a recent gift. Apply a small amount of glue around the opening with a paintbrush or finger, and apply a circle of tissue paper. Another opportunity to get creative!

I found out these crack really well… I dropped one and it went kirsplat! Just how I imagined it would.

I plan to hide them at the family egg hunt. I can’t wait to watch the confetti rain down good luck and God’s blessings on the kids at Easter!

Happy Easter, Readers!

 

 

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