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11 Tips to Up Your Easter Egg Game

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Instead of resorting to the same old egg dyeing kit, try something new this Easter. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for your next egg decorating party. 

1. Make swirls 

This trick draws its inspiration from an old elementary school experiment. Fill a container with milk and add several drops of different colors of food dye. Next, add a drop of shampoo to make the colors move and swirl. The soap dissolves the fat molecules and reduces the surface tension. The milky surface around the soap will begin to move and push the dye into different directions. The result is a swirled pattern of dye that just begs to have an egg dipped into it. 

2. Use a whisk 

If you insert your egg in a whisk, you can dip your eggs into dye without get your hands involved. Eggs often fall off of a spoon, but whisks create a cage to keep your creation in place. 

3. Scratch away a design

First, color the eggs with crayons; you can use one color or a whole rainbow. Next, paint over your colors with black paint. Once the paint dries, you can scratch away at the paint to reveal the colored egg underneath. Add some glitter for extra flair. 

4. Make them glow in the dark 

If an egg’s albumen (egg white) has more than 12 percent ovotransferrin, it can be made to glow. Heating a raw egg with sodium citrate (commonly found in food dye) can sometimes trigger this eerie effect. The video above shows what can happen when you briefly microwave a dyed egg. It doesn’t always work, so you may need to try a few eggs before you find one that glows. Just remember that the eggs are no longer edible once they've been through this process.

5. Bounce your eggs

You can change a hard eggshell’s properties by soaking it in vinegar for 24 hours. When you remove it, the egg will be soft and translucent. The acetic acid breaks down the eggshell, so what’s left is the yolk encased in the protective membrane. 

6. Use nail polish

For beautiful marbled eggs, try using unwanted nail polish. Fill a container with water and slowly pour several different colors of polish on top. Swirl the colors until they look exactly how you want. After putting on rubber gloves, dip your egg into the swirls. Ta-da! Marbled eggs. 

7. Dye them naturally 

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Instead of using artificial dyes, you can make your own natural dye with ingredients from your pantry. For a nice purple color, you can use beets or blueberries. Red cabbage makes a light blue color, and onion skins make yellow. Boil your food in vinegar and water; the vinegar will help strip the pigment from the food so you can use that color on your eggs. The natural dye will be less vibrant than artificial ones, but the imperfect coloring is uniquely charming. 

If you want to add a design that fits the natural theme, try tiny leaves. Situate flowers or leaves on your eggs and secure them by wrapping the egg in panty hose. Dip the whole thing in your dye. The leaf or flower will work like a stencil and leave a nice imprint on your egg. 

8. Make tie-dye eggs 

Start by coloring the egg with permanent markers—the more the better. Next, take a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover and swab your egg. The acetone in the nail polish remover will break down the marker and make the colors bleed together. The finished product will look like you tie-dyed your egg

9. Use baking soda for added fun 

Another way to make tie-dye looking eggs is with baking soda. Mix food coloring with baking soda to create a thick colorful paste that can be painted onto your eggs. When the egg is fully covered, drop it into a glass of vinegar. Just like the volcano experiment from grade school, the glass will fizz and overflow. You can remove your egg with a spoon or whisk to find it beautifully colored. 

10. Melt some crayons 

This one requires some caution. While boiling your eggs, shave some crayons into a powder. When the eggs are done, carefully insert them into an egg carton. Before they cool, sprinkle the crayon shavings on top. The crayon will melt and create a cool texture. Just make sure you don't burn yourself on the eggs!

11. Boil your eggs with baking soda 

Once you’re finished decorating your eggs, you probably will want to eat them (so long as they’re not too covered in glitter or nail polish remover!). To assure that the egg shell will slip right off, boil your eggs with baking soda. The baking soda raises the pH of the water and helps separate the membrane from the shell for easy peeling. For added flair, try the trick in the video above and blow the egg right out of its shell. 

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holidays
Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists
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We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

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Food
How Mammoth Poop Gave Us Pumpkin Pie
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When it’s time to express gratitude for the many privileges bestowed upon your family this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to be grateful for mammoth poop. The excrement of this long-extinct species is a big reason why holiday desserts taste so good.

Why? Because, as Smithsonian Insider reports, tens of thousands of years ago, mammoths, elephants, and mastodons had an affinity for wild gourds, the ancestors of squashes and pumpkin. In a 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Smithsonian researcher and colleagues found that wild gourds—which were much smaller than our modern-day butternuts—carried a bitter-tasting toxin in their flesh that acted as a deterrent to some animals. While small rodents would avoid eating the gourds, the huge mammals would not. Their taste buds wouldn't pick up the bitter flavor and the toxin had no effect on them. Mammoths would eat the gourds and pass the indigestible seeds out in their feces. The seeds would then be plopped into whatever habitat range the mammoth was roaming in, complete with fertilizer.

When the mammoths went extinct as recently as 4000 years ago, the gourds faced the same fate—until humans began to domesticate the plants, allowing for the rise of pumpkins. But had it not been for the dispersal of the seeds via mammoth crap, the gourd might not have survived long enough to arrive at our dinner tables.

So as you dig into your pumpkin pie this year, be sure to think of the heaping piles of dung that made the delicious treat possible.

[h/t Smithsonian Insider]

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