Tie Dye Party, part 2

Provided you’ve got the space to do it, tie dyeing is not that hard.  It’s time and water intensive, and it makes a huge mess, so inside your house isn’t a good location, unless you’ve always wanted tie dye carpet.

All the supplies for the party were purchased through Dharma Trading Company.  They sell everything you need, at very reasonable prices, and they’re super helpful to boot.  A couple times I had to contact them with questions on some of the procedural aspects of tie dye, and always, within hours, I had an answer!  They’re so helpful for the novice dyer.

I used the Serious Tie Dye Group Kit.  It contains pretty much everything you need for a group of tie dyers.  I did add on 3 more squirt bottles and some of their Professional Textile Detergent.  We dyed about 16 shirts (~8 year old sized), and 2 pairs of socks.  I think we could have dyed about twice as many shirts (though some of the kids were very sparing with the dye, so maybe not quite that many).  You have to use twice as much of the turquoise dye powder than the other colors, so with extra turquoise, we could have dyed even more shirts. (We had plenty of dye powder left over in the yellow and fuchsia, so you could easily dye ~30-40 shirts with another ounce of turquoise dye powder.  Though you’d probably need more soda ash for that many shirts.)

The dyeing process itself is fairly simple.  Wash and dry the shirts (or whatever) ahead of time.  Since I was working with younger kids, I folded and rubber banded the shirts before the party, so there would be less for them to do.  Older kids can do this themselves, but it does go a lot quicker if you do it for them.

The morning of the party, I mixed all the dye.  There are instructions on how to mix on the Dharma Trading site.  The neat thing about turquoise, fuchsia and yellow is that they’re primary colors and you can mix them to make other colors.  Turquoise + fuchsia = purple.  Turquoise + yellow = green.  Fuchsia + yellow = red.  No, it doesn’t make any sense when you’re familiar with red, blue and yellow primaries, but it works, I promise.

Once you’re ready to dye, soak the shirts in the soda ash solution for about 10 minutes.  Wring them out, then dye!  You’ll want to make sure your table is covered in a ton of old newspapers.  Apply the dye as desired (color blocking – filling in each section with it’s own color tends to work best, though there are no wrong moves with tie dye.  Plenty of the kids put the dye all over the place and the results were still awesome) and then (carefully!) place in a plastic bag – the shirt needs to sit for 24 hours, and needs to stay wet.  This is what your garage looks like after a bunch of tie dyeing:

Once the shirts have been able to sit for 24 hours, you start rinsing.  This is where you use a lot of water.  First, you want to rinse off any extra dye in cold water, then rinse in warmer water as you take off the rubber bands.  Once the water runs almost clear, you’ll move the shirts into a washing machine prefilled with the professional textile detergent, or a bucket with hot water and PTD, if you’ve got a front loader (then put them in the washer with more PTD).  Wash and dry as usual.

And here’s the results!

Happy dyeing!


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Tie Dye

This blog has been horribly neglected of late.  I apologize.  It’s been a busy spring.

April is always the worst month for me, in terms of the sheer amount of stuff to do.  Spring break is always in April, so the boys and I head out of town to visit my mom.  (2 kids, with no school for over a week, and DH still has to work….no thanks, let’s go see grandma!)  Once we get back, it’s craziness of Thing 1’s birthday party, and planning for Thing 2’s nursery school’s spring fair, plus the other assorted social obligations, and it’s a whirlwind of a month.

This year, Thing 1 had a tie dye party.  The kids have been big tie dye fans since before they could walk, thanks to Fit To Be Tied, who we visit every year at the Craftsman’s Classic craft show.  Every season, my kids have at least one tie dye shirt.

So this year, rather than succumb to another $300+ bounce place birthday party, Thing 1 invited a few friends from school over (I believe we had 8 total, counting my 2) and we tie dyed.

I discovered 2 things.  1, tie dyeing, with the right materials, isn’t all that hard, and yields amazing results.  2, for a “hippie” activity, tie dyeing is not at all earth friendly.  So much water goes into the process.  But it’s still worth it though.  If nothing else, than because your kids can wear shirts like this, that they made:

I’ll post the full party details and how-to later.  For now, I’m out of free time.

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Kid friendly foods

I just got an email with a link to a bunch of “kid-friendly” recipes.  Made me laugh.  Why?  Because in the last few weeks, my kids have eaten:

Penne with eggplant, taco pizza (with black bean “sauce”), lamb stew, falafel, gnocchi, corn chowder, bruschetta chicken, and lamb chops.

We don’t do “kid food”.  This is such a huge accomplishment for me.  Because a year and a half ago, that was all we did.  My older son would eat nuggets, plain meat, plain noodles and a few other equally boring foods.  My younger was a bit more adventurous, but after watching his brother’s reactions, he was trending towards a more limited diet as well.

Finally, I had enough, and declared that what was for dinner was what was for dinner, and they could eat it or go hungry.  I won’t lie, my kids had some fairly lean meals for a couple weeks (of their own choosing – there was food on the table, they just chose not to eat it).  And then, they tried the new foods, and they liked it!

My older son loves baked ziti with loads of ricotta.  He’s especially fond of fresh mozzarella.  He’s most excited about falafel night.  And both of them adore lamb. Thing 2 adores any kind of soup, especially squash soup, and loves cucumbers.

They still have their fair share of nuggets and mac and cheese for lunch, or when we eat out, but their culinary horizons have expanded so much.  I’m amazed and proud.  If my kids can get beyond “kid foods”, anyone can.

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Hooray for Health Insurance

Today, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr Day by going to the pediatrician.  My kids just love getting sick, or so it seems anyway from the number of times we’ve been to the doctor.  Thing 2 is now on his 3rd round of antibiotics since October.  (That’s 2 sinus infections and an ear infection, if you’re keeping count.)

Nothing makes me happier to have good health insurance like a trip to the pediatrician’s office.  Today’s doctor’s visit cost us $15.  Our prescription cost $10.  The prescription would have been $55 without insurance, and I don’t really want to think what the doctor’s visit would have been without.

ObamaCare has gotten a lot of bashing from the right lately, and while it’s not a perfect bill by any means, it certainly is a vast improvement for millions of Americans.  We no longer have to pay copays for well child visits (now if only that were the only visits we had to make!).  We don’t have to worry about our insurance not covering our children due to pre-existing conditions.  Soon, millions of people who didn’t have insurance will be able to buy affordable health coverage.

I hear a lot lately from the Republican candidates about repealing ObamaCare, and it makes me so angry.  Everyone in this country deserves to be able to see a doctor when they’re sick, and shouldn’t have to worry about huge medical bills because of it.

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Being Green

The holidays were crazy here.  Since we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, it involves a lot of family visits, a lot of gifts and a lot of insanity.  Add Thanksgiving to the mix, and it’s truly a whirlwind 2 months.  But it’s over now, it’s 2012, and we’re back to quiet – for the most part.

While I was always environmentally conscious, to an extent, having kids has made me more so.  Well, let me clarify – now that I’m past the sleep deprived infant stage, I’m more environmentally conscious.  Those first couple of sleep deprived years (yes, years, my kids are crappy sleepers), I’d have done almost anything to get through the day.

But now, the kids are bigger, and saving the earth is important to them.  But keeping the household going without too much fuss is important to me, so I try to go green in the easiest ways possible. Here’s a few of my easy green switches:

1. Reusable grocery bags.  I’m kind of obsessed with cool reusable grocery bags.  (Especially if they have muppets on them!)  They come with me to every trip to the grocery store, and to target, when I actually remember.  It took me a while, but I finally got in the swing of remembering to bring them on my grocery runs, and it’s so much better than using all those plastic bags.  It’s better for the environment, and it’s easier to bring in and put away the groceries!  And it’s one of the easiest “green” choices you can make, IMO.

2. Low flow shower heads.  I refuse to sacrifice on shower quality.  But when I read about Evolve Shower heads, I knew they were for me.  First, they’re affordable.  The model we have runs about $30.  These shower heads are cool for 2 reasons – first, they’re extremely low flow (1.5 gpm) without sacrificing any water pressure.  Second, and here’s the really cool part – when you turn the shower on, it lets the water run until it warms up.  Once the water’s warm, it slows the flow to a trickle until you’re ready to get in the shower.  This is great in 2 ways.  No more hot water running down the drain while you’re getting ready to get in the shower, and no more standing by the tub waiting for the water to warm up.  Walk in, turn the shower on, and then deal with whatever toddler tantrum is going on, or brush your teeth, or whatever.  Then, once you’re ready, pull the chain and hop in to a fabulously warm shower!  No more freezing your naked butt off waiting for the water to warm up either.

3. We compost.  Compost seems intimidating, but it’s not.  We got a great deal on a compost bin at costco at the end of season clearance, and decided then to take the composting plunge.  It’s easy.  In the fall, all the leaves go in (or as many as we can get in there – our compost bin isn’t particularly large), and then, all the fruit and veggie scraps go in as I’m cooking.  Newspaper shreds can go in too!  (Well, technically we compost about half-time.  We compost until our bin fills up, then we have to wait for that batch of compost to be done, then we use the soil in our garden, and fill it back up.  Maybe one day we’ll get a 2nd bin and can compost more frequently.)

4. We garden.  In the summer, we grow a veggie garden!  We’re still in the learning process – last year the cucumber plants about took over the whole thing, and we’re learning which varieties of tomato aren’t worth the time (I’m thinking of you, yellow pear tomatoes!), but it’s fun for the whole family.  Last summer, my kids discovered the goodness of spinach and green beans, raw, straight from the garden.  They love watching the things grow, and they especially love helping to water (and water themselves in the process).

So there’s a few (relatively) easy green choices.  More in another post, as I think of them!

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Love this


The text reads:

Dear Evangelical Christians:

God here.

First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,000,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous. Grow a brain.

Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors, their credibility or their possible ulterior motives, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.

Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who withheld evidence of my existence in the first place.

Fifth, I would not care who you do or how you “do it.” I really wouldn’t. This would be of no interest to me, given that I can create universes. Oh, the egos.

Sixth, I would have smited all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric for me to even contemplate).

Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second — every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

Move on — get over me. I did.


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Happy Birthday!

Today was Carl Sagan’s birthday.  Famous scientist and religious skeptic, he also wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Contact.

“The major religions on the Earth contradict each other left and right. You can’t all be correct. And what if all of you are wrong? It’s a possibility, you know. You must care about the truth, right? Well, the way to winnow through all the differing contentions is to be skeptical. I’m not any more skeptical about your religious beliefs than I am about every new scientific idea I hear about. But in my line of work, they’re called hypotheses, not inspiration and not revelation.”

If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.  The movie is pretty good too, though the book is better (as usual).

On a related note, the summer the movie came out, I was in Atlanta, working a summer internship at Georgia Tech, for the SETI institute.  I got to help look for alien intelligence!



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