Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Infertility Awareness Part 2: Infertility Etiquette

Yesterday's post was for the couple facing fertility issues.  Part 2 of my post is for the family and friends of someone facing infertility.  Often loved ones are at a loss as to what to say to the couple struggling with infertility.  Resolve has a perfect article regarding infertility etiquette.  I could not have said it better, so I am posting their wonderful article.

Infertility Etiquette

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.
Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.
The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.
As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.
A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:
  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.
Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.
Don't Tell Them to Relax
Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.  Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.
These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.
Don't Minimize the Problem
Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.
Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.
Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?
Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.
People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.
Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.
Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"
Don't Be Crude
It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don't make crude jokes about your friend's vulnerable position. Crude comments like "I'll donate the sperm" or "Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination" are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.
Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.
The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.
Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."
I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.
Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.
Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.
Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.
Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition
Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.
Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized.
Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.
You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.
Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.
So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load. Here are a few ideas.
Let Them Know That You Care
The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.
Remember Them on Mother's Day
With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.
Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.
Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments
No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.
Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.

Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

Monday, April 22, 2013

Infertility Awareness: Part 1

April 21-27 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Did you know that infertility affects 7.3 million people in the United States? This figure represents 12% of women of childbearing age, or 1 in 8 couples. (2002 National Survey of Family Growth).  I actually began writing this post in July.  At that time, I felt led to write what was in my heart.  I wrote it hoping that one day it would  be a source of comfort and encouragement to others. Now is the perfect time to share it with you.  This is a two part post with today's post for the couple facing fertility issues.  Tomorrow's post will be for the family and friends of someone facing infertility. 
I begin by saying that our boys are first and foremost, a gift from God, secondly, a testament of the love ordained between a husband and a wife, and thirdly, the result of years of fertility treatment.  When we started our journey, we were excited, anxious, scared, and worried about the financial cost of treatment.  However, we entered the process with a prayerful heart filled with trust in the Lord and with an expectancy of what we hoped God had in store for us.  I can look back on the road to both pregnancies and can actually find humor in the memories as well as many days of emotional pain and despair.  We were lucky.  We were entering treatment at a time when fertility methods were on the cutting edge.  There has been little change in treatment since our experience.

If you are facing infertility, dig down deep and find strength in the Lord.  Cry out to God.  Psalm 18:6 tells us, "In my distress I called on the LORD, and cried to my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears".  He will hear your voice and He will give you comfort. His promises are everlasting.  I was always comforted in knowing that our Lord was listening to my cries of fear, despair and confusion. 
I would encourage you to surround yourself with loving, supportive, and understanding family and friends.  Don't isolate yourself.  Feelings of despair and loneliness will only be exasperated.

Nurture your relationship with your spouse.  I remember one doctor telling me, "You know, this is hard on your husband, too".  He was right.  Too often marriages suffer during this time.  Satan tries to attack marriages when they are vulnerable, seeking to tear apart and destroy.  Nearly one-fourth of women in a  survey conducted by the nonprofit organization, Healthy Women, reported that infertility had a negative impact on their relationships.  Work hard at making this one of the strongest times of your marriage. Pray together.  Talk about your fears and concerns with each other.  Listen to each other.  Take care of each other.  Love each other.
Be aware of the many emotional aspects to infertility.  Some of these are not conscious thoughts, but may be your body responding subconsciously.  These feelings are not limited to, but may include anger, grief, inability to concentrate, irritability, difficulty sleeping, etc.  Do not attempt to cover them up.  If you like journaling, write your thoughts down. As a counselor, I know how important it is to work through our feelings.  Trying to cover them up is similar to a splinter in your thumb.  If it remains there, it will only get worse and cause more discomfort.  If you feel as though you are unable to deal with your feelings and they are consuming your life, then it may be time to seek assistance from a mental health professional.  Many fertility clinics have on site fertility counselors to help you.  Find a support group.  Resolve, The National Infertility Organization, has a search engine on their website for finding support groups in your area.  Here is their link... Resolve   If you do attend a support group, find one that you are comfortable in and one that is uplifting to you and your spouse.   Do not spend time in a "Negative Nelly" group.  It will only cause you more distress.  A good leader of a support group will limit negative talking and encourage a supportive atmosphere.  
Some couples travel this road alone, not wishing to share such a private concern.  Other couples openly discuss their infertility.  We were the latter.  We asked people to pray for us and to encourage us.  We also asked that they not change their behavior around us.  It was okay to discuss their children with us.  As an infertile woman, I never felt more alone as when friends would discretely stop discussing an upcoming baby shower or what was going on with their own children.  I knew they were doing what they thought was best, but it made me feel even more alone and different than I was already feeling.  Open discussion with these dear friends made them aware of my feelings and blessed our friendships.  If you realize your friends are at a loss for what to say, open up the discussion with them.  Tell them what you need from their friendship.  They will be appreciative of the open dialog. 

For the infertile couple, life becomes a series of charts, doctor appointments,  procedures, injections, and planned relations with your spouse.  Don't allow this to consume your marriage.  Find time for enjoyment apart from your fertility work.  If you are like us, you may have to travel outside the area you live for treatment.  We had to travel to New Orleans, LA for our fertility procedures.  I urge you to plan an enjoyable excursion on your appointment day.  Maybe a nice lunch out, a walk in a beautiful park, or a visit to a museum, etc.  If you are like many couples, it may seem as though all you do is discuss your treatments.  Go ahead, discuss your appointment, but then spend some time with each other discussing other issues.  It will benefit your relationship with your spouse and bring joy to your day.

Too often intimate spontaneity between a husband and wife literally becomes a military plan of attack!  Calculated to the tee! If you allow your treatment to become work, it will reek havoc on your marriage.  Keeping the romance in your marriage is extremely important, especially during this time.  Find time to be intimate with your spouse outside the time frame of your treatment regimen.  Do not discuss conception at all during these times.  Money is often tight due to the treatments, but if at all possible, plan a night or weekend away and focus on the spontaneous relationship you once had.  Your relationship will only grow stronger.

I am sure you know this, but your infertility is not a punishment from God.  I say this, because at some point, I thought it myself and I know my friends facing infertility shared the same thought.  Remember that infertility is a medical issue.  It is not a consequence of our sin.  As a Christian, I knew that my sins were forgiven and that God was not withholding His favor from me.  Even so, those negative thoughts surfaced. Be aware that you are not alone in these thoughts, but they can be very damaging.  Talk to a supportive friend or your clergy.   Pray and seek guidance if these negative thoughts become overwhelming.  As a counselor, I know that when people realize they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings, those feelings become more bearable.

We know that stress does not cause infertility, but infertility definitely causes stress.  One of the best ways to reduce stress is exercise.  Spend time with your spouse walking, hiking, riding bikes, playing badminton, etc.  This is also another terrific way to build your relationship with your spouse during this trying time.  Another great way to reduce stress is by laughing.  We often found humor in the rigid routine we were given.  I remember receiving a call from our fertility specialist telling me that a small miscalculation had been made on our time for "relations".  Our optimum time was soon approaching.  My husband was a high school football coach at the time and was at the practice field prior to an out of town game.  I prayed that he would answer the phone to the field house, but no, it had to be the head coach who answered.  This was such a Godly man and he and his wife knew of our treatments and were lifting us up in prayer.  With some embarrassment, I told him that my doctor's office had called and I needed my husband at home.  This sweet man briefly hesitated and simply asked if he could come back after I "didn't need him anymore"! Don't you love that? Coach Gill went to be with our Lord last year. All these years later, that story still makes us smile.
There are numerous websites which address infertility and the emotional aspects of treatment.   I urge you to do some research and find those that benefit and support you.  Even though we were eventually blessed with two wonderful sons, I still carry the emotional scars of infertility.  It does not define who I am, but it did play a  part in shaping my adult life.  For many of us, the quest for a child is not easy, but I urge you to be hopeful and encouraged in your journey.  May God bless you and your spouse as you travel this path. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
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Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie!  These three words evoke memories of home, a warm kitchen, laughter, and wonderful family discussion around the table.  I have been making homemade chicken pot pies since I married.  Almost 30 years!  It is one of my boys most requested home cooked meals.  There are many variations for chicken pot pie.  This is just mine, topped with a delicious, flaky pie crust.  It is not a 30 minute meal, but definitely worth the time.  My friend and co-worker, Lisa, asked me for my recipe.  I am always at a loss when asked for the recipe because I really don't follow one.  However, on this rainy afternoon, I attempted to write it down.  Here it goes!!

The Starting Line-Up: 
Chicken of your choice:  Today is all white meat, but I often throw in thighs
3 cans of Chicken Stock:  If you boil thighs or a whole chicken, just use water
Potatoes: Cut in uniform sized cubes
Mixed vegetables:  Fresh is best, but frozen will do
1/2 Cup of Diced Onions
1-2 Cloves of Diced Garlic
Milk-  1 cup or more depending on thickness desired
4 and 1/2 Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour
4 and 1/2 Tablespoons of Butter
Flaky Pie Crust-  Makes 3 crusts
3 Cups of All Purpose  Flour
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup of Crisco
1 Egg
6 Tablespoons of Cold Water
Begin by washing the chicken thoroughly.  I know, the cooking experts say you don't have to do this, but my momma does and so do I!  Place chicken in a pot and cover the chicken with enough water, broth, or combination to cover the chicken.  If I use dark meat and breasts, I just use water.  Since I have  breasts today, I used three cans of broth and two cups of water for the size of my stock pot.  Just make sure to cover the chicken with liquid.  Add diced onions and garlic to the broth.  While the chicken is cooking, let's make the pie crust!
Pie Crust-  I like to do this by hand, but for my friends who have an aversion to this method, a  food processor will work.  Place the flour and salt in the processor and give it a quick whirl.  Add 1-cup of Crisco and pulsate only until it resembles a crumbly mixture.
Do not over mix!  Whisk the egg with water and slowly pour into processor while pulsating.  This will form a ball very quickly. Again, do not over mix.  The key to flaky pie crust is to not over mix.
Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper, wrap it up and stick in the refrigerator.  I actually made a half recipe of pie crust.  I would urge you to make the whole recipe, especially if this is your first time at pie crust.  I have to admit that I was almost out of Crisco, so had to half the recipe!    Now let's get back to the chicken.
Boil the chicken until done and tender. Remove from the stock pot and let rest. Add the cubed potatoes to the stock pot and cook until tender.  Always cut the potatoes in a similar size so that they cook at the same speed.  Plus, it just looks pretty! 
When the potatoes are tender, remove from the pot and add the mixed vegetables.   I used about a half of a 16 ounce bag of frozen vegetables for this recipe.  Note:  You can cook the potatoes and veggies all at once, but by doing it separately you are assured that the potatoes will not turn to mush. Nobody likes mushy potatoes!  While the mixed veggies are cooking, cut the chicken into bite size pieces.  Once veggies are done, remove the veggies from the stock pot either by using a slotted spoon or pouring the contents of the pot through a mesh strainer.  Reserve the liquid.  You will need 3 and 1/2 cups of stock/liquid.  I ended up with 2 cups, so added about a cup of milk. Sit the liquid aside while you make a simple roux. 
Melt 4 and 1/2 tablespoons of butter in the bottom of the stock pot, add 4 1/2 tablespoons of all purpose flour and whisk for a minute or two, cooking to get the raw flour taste out.
Slowly pour in the remaining stock and enough milk to make 3 cups of liquid.  Allow mixture to thicken.  Check for seasonings and add those needed.  We are "pot pie purist", so salt and pepper are all that I use.  This is a forgiving recipe.  If you think your mixture is too thick, add more milk. 
Meanwhile, back at the hall of justice...  Oh, sorry, I must be in a Super Hero mood!  Meanwhile, preheat your oven  to 375 degrees. Add chicken and mixed veggies to the pot.  I usually allow the chicken to make friends with the mixed veggies for awhile before adding the potatoes. The goal here is to impart flavor without the potatoes turning to mush. Looking yummy!
At this point, you can allow this to cook on low, merging all those yummy flavors together while you roll out the pie crust. My guys like individual pot pies.  Of course, you can do one large casserole dish.  Today I am using these cute covered dishes I ordered from QVC! I purchased this Temp-tations bakeware set (Mini-Round-Covered Casseroles) last year.  They are fabulous!  Sadly to say, my version is not longer available, but I have attached a link to another similar Temp-tations set.  Temp-tations-Vintage Set-of-4-Mini-Bakers-w Wire-Racks 
Roll out the pie crust on floured parchment paper.  I love parchment paper!  It has become my favorite kitchen tool.  Ladle the mixture into the dishes.If you are feeling naughty, drop a slice of butter on top of the mixture before topping with crust.
Top with crust and cut a few vent holes in the top.  If you like a more rustic look, let the dough hang over the edge of the dish and push to seal at the ridge.  Brush with a beaten egg to give it a golden color when baked.  Place on a foil lined tray for easy clean up and bake in a 375 degree oven until the crust is lightly browned. This recipe today made 7 mini pot pies. 
One word of caution, if you use individual dishes, the dishes will be very hot as well as the contents.  Enjoy with a simple green salad and fruit.  It really is a great old fashioned meal in a dish!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mod Podge Easter Eggs Project!

Today I am joining the Share It One More Time link up party.  This is my first time for this party and thought, what can I share?  My Mod Podge Easter Eggs came to mind.  What a perfect time!  If you are having a rainy day like we did yesterday, it would be a perfect project for the little hands you might need to keep busy.  They would make a terrific gift from your little ones to their grandparents.  Before we start, let me show you a vintage Easter egg from Germany.  Believe it or not, these are not that expensive.
(From S for Snail Blogspot)
Now for our project!  Since it is after Easter, head on down to your local craft store and buy all the paper mache eggs available, select some pretty scrapbook paper, a sponge brush, and a jar of Mod Podge.  If the Peeps are on sale, grab a pack of those.  A little sugar inspiration can do one wonders.  Now let's get crafting!

Supplies Needed:
Paper Mache eggs
Scrapbook Paper
Sponge Brush
Bottle of  Mod Podge Gloss-Lustre  (decoupage in a jar)
Pair of disposable gloves (optional, but I learned the hard way)
Wax Paper
Peeps or my favorite, Reece's peanut butter eggs (for snacking only)
As you can see, I didn't have a sponge brush and it was too late to go get one.  However, I can say from experience that the sponge brush is faster to work with. For my first egg, I began cutting strips about 1/2 inch in width.  After laying everything out on wax paper, I applied Mod Podge with a brush to the back of the paper strip as well as on  the egg.
Next, position the paper strip and then repeat the steps until the entire egg is covered.   Use your fingers to press the paper onto the egg, sealing edges with the pressure of your fingertips.  This process moves along very quickly. I didn't get a picture of this, but I am sure you get the idea. 

Continue in this fashion until all your eggs are done or until you run out of Easter candy!  Lastly, apply a couple of layers of Mod Podge to the entire egg and let it dry thoroughly.  Now they are ready to add a cheerful bit of color to your home next Easter!

I didn't like my first egg with the long strips, so decided to cut the paper into tiny squares.  I have voted the this one "Best Egg"!
Or maybe this should be the "Best Egg"?  Oops, I see a spot I missed.  Do you see it? Good thing about this project is that you can go back and fix it!
I can't decide!  Is this the "Best Egg"?  For this one, I randomly cut flowers from the paper and positioned them on the egg. 
I also did a green and yellow polka dot which you will see in the bowl below.  I cut the yellow pieces too large, so there are wrinkles on the egg.  Make sure that you cut the pieces so that they lay smoothly on the surface.  I still have 18 more eggs to do, but wanted to share this easy project with you while the "After Easter" sales are still going on.
I think this will be the perfect addition to the Reading Room.  By the way, this is another pair of gloves I picked up for my holiday decor.  They are soft kid leather with small pearls across the top.  What small hands she must have had!
TIP:  I didn't use gloves when I made the pumpkins (Delightful Decoupage Pumpkin Project) last fall and found that Mod Podge, even after repeated hand washing tended to stick to my nails resulting in a  "Mod Podge Manicure", another one of my inventions! In other words, you may want to use gloves!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse!
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