Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Deals on Amazon

Here are some books on sale right now on Amazon.  They are mainly gardening books befitting the time of year :) but I also included some organizing and 'green' books.  As of this post all are 60% off and qualify for free shipping.


[When you go to amazon from any of these links I get a teeny tiny referral fee no matter what is purchased.  It is very much appreciated, thank you.]

May Crowning

We plan on celebrating a domestic May Crowning on May 10th.  It will be very, very simple.

Here is some music (the songs continue after the first one)(you may have to cut/paste the url):

We have some songs on our Little Flowers CD and I have a CD of Gregorian Chants that could be background musicvwhile we snack.

When I hear Bring Flowers of the Rarest or Salve Regina I'm immediately taken back to the 5th grade when we did a small procession and May Crowning at the parochial school I attended in Missouri for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th.  The small convent was right next to the small school and it is a sweet, positive memory.

Some food ideas (which is a bit restricted due to lack of blue food coloring right now - maybe that should be my first color of the India Tree Decorating Sugars. I have more food coloring options here):

~ Blueberry muffins

~ Monkey Bread Crown Cake (with a little vase of flowers in the center of it)

~ Grapes and raisins rosary

~ There are several good ideas here but I think I'll just do the Mystical Roses and Vessels of Honor.  Since we use natural soda with no fake coloring, we may just make it more like just ice cream floats - without the blue coloring from the gelatin (we use Blue Sky or Hansen for about $3 for 6 cans for rare treats).

~ Lily sandwiches to represent her purity; yeah, I think I can handle this :).  I can make a chicken sandwich spread from one of the last home-raised chickens in the freezer.

~ Little crown rice krispie treats.  We made homemade marshmallows for our grotto a while back.  I only have a few marshmallows left in the freezer so we would need to make more.

~ Incredible Marian titles luncheon ideas.  I was unaware of many of these titles.  Have I ever mentioned how my dc know more than I do and that I am learning along with them??

Some other ideas:

~ stained-glass coloring page (if you use regular markers and then dab with oil it will be translucent and looks nice in a window):

~ There are some free coloring pages at St. Anne's Helper:

You can find more ideas at Catholic Icing and Catholic Cuisine:

We don't really have a good statue of Mary so I was browsing and found many online here:
Mary statues at Amazon

I especially like this one for its size, price, and simplicity:

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Dinner tonight!  Baked Chimichangas.  I am obviously not opposed to frying in good fat but we are almost out of every kind I keep so this will be great.  I also happen to have flour tortillas soaking and ready to make; beans in the fridge from yesterday; and about 2 meals of rice left that I can make.  I love it when I have all of the ingredients for a spontaneous meal to come together :).  My adjustments: sunflower oil to just rub on the tortillas (I never use canola); homemade soaked beans; homemade fermented white whole wheat tortillas; crumbled Salvadoran cheese my cousin brought me at her recent visit (Queso Petacones); soaked rice. [update:  very good but time intensive when you include tortillas on the same day.  Now at least I have some tortillas in the freezer for another meal.]

Pumpkin Pancakes (dairy/gluten free):

Banana custard:

Lots of good ideas on their bi-weekly plan:

*Cheesy Vegetable Cups

*Soaked Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins:

Jello using frozen strawberries:

**Lunch ideas for kids:

Carrot cake pancakes:

Indian Lentils

Soaked Whole Wheat Bagels:

Soaked Blender Waffles:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3-Part Card Template

What's Schoolin'?

Here is the template I use to make 3-part cards for Montessori works.  It's a 6 cards per page template instead of the bigger 4 cards per page templates.  The smaller size has never been a problem for my dc when they were younger and it uses less paper (and seems to store better) than the larger cards also.  For us this has been the perfect size and hopefully this template will help some of you as well.  For personal use only.  Let me know if the links don't work. [Update:  click HERE for the open office and HERE for the pdf.  The open office document says that there is no preview available but when I click download it works fine.  It should work, but let me know again if it doesn't or send me your e-mail to send them as attachments.  The below links work but you have to copy/paste into your browser.]

In this photo of my Geometry Box you can see the difference between the two sizes.  The white cards are from one of the storage groups (I think)(and I REALLY appreciate them!) and it's 4 per page.  The orange ones are mine using this 6 per page template.

What's Cookin'?

Cottage Cheese!   Yeah, I made cottage cheese!  I did a few things wrong (like going to bed and leaving it all night to coagulate because I was really tired! I figured the worse thing that could happen is that I would have a pot of buttermilk, which I need anyway).  I took a couple of pics and hope to post about it soon.  I eat cottage cheese with fruit almost daily for lunch so if this works I hope to make it a staple around here.

Monday, April 23, 2012


What's Cookin'?

Oldest dd made the menu for this week.  It's sooo helpful to have someone else do the thinking!  We are not doing any grocery shopping for this week (except for a few bananas) so it all has to come from what we have.  We planned it Sunday afternoon so I'm starting with Monday (today).  This is true Montessori Practical Life for teenagers :).

~ B: Polenta
~ L: Organic Peanut Butter (and a few chocolate chips sprinkled) on homemade soaked pita bread; apples; pumpkin cake (no icing and only 1/2 the sugar); carrots; last bit of our Amish cheddar cheese.
~ Snack: Cookies (we found homemade cookie dough in the freezer!)
~ D: Homemade soaked pizza.  We only have raw Amish swiss from the freezer and crumbly petacones cheeses so this should be interesting.

~ B: Pumpkin Cake [It's not sweet like a cake but it's delicious - plus it's fun to say that you are eating cake for breakfast :).]
~ L: Organic PBJ on homemade soaked biscuits plus sides
~ S: Homemade chocolate pudding
~ D: Chili  Macaroni and cheese  Bean Soup (found a 15 bean mix in the freezer instead of meat or cheese)

~ B:   Homemade soaked oatmeal muffins
~ L:  (blank for now)
~ S:  Cookies (again??)
~ D: Chicken Pot Pie with easy homemade crust, frozen veggies, home-raised chicken, and homemade cream of mushroom soup I also found in the freezer (saved me the time of making it!)

~ B: (blank for now)
~ L: (also blank)
~ S: Banana Pudding Pie (we had one made with Jello pudding recently and several of us got msg headaches and felt sick... so we want to try one from scratch)
~ D: Chicken Nuggets and something with the potatoes in the fridge (homemade nuggets from home-raised chickens)

~ B: (blank!)
~ L: (blank!)
~ S:  She actually wrote "more cookies!" here but, um, we'll see...
~ D: Tortilla Soup (3rd and last meal from the chicken I'm baking and deboning today)(soup base will be the broth from the same chicken)

Seriously, we do not have sweets every day for afternoon snack as this menu reflects, really!  She's the one with the sweet tooth, can you tell?  If they have a couple of cookies with a nice glass of milk I may just call it a health food :).

Friday, April 20, 2012

2 Natural Giveaways ~ Speech: Super Duper Publications Sale

What's Green?

~ Here is a giveaway for MadeOn skin care. There is a great list of natural bloggers at this giveaway site also.  I already subscribe to some of them and got this link from

~ Speaking of green giveaways... Kelly has this AWESOME giveaway for a garden hose filter ($39.95 value).  Funny how I can get sooo excited for a garden hose filter and a new dress might get a shrug from me (actually, I could really use that too, lol).

~ One more green item that's on my mind:  Lipstick!  I cannot tell you (although I probably will in another post!) how loooong I have looked for lipstick without titanium dioxide, among other things, without avail.  I have been using Burt's Bees but really wanted something healthier and didn't really like the color I got.  Enter Cowgirl Dirt.  I ordered one stick and 3 samples.  I love every single color:  how it looks, how it feels, how long it lasts, and the ingredients.  On the main lipstick page it does say that they may contain iron oxide/zinc oxide (if I remember right) so I need to ask them more specifics - but it's still better than what I've been using.  Oh, and it doesn't cost $15-$20 per stick either like other naturals (all of which contain titanium dioxide that I've seen) with a high shipping cost.  It's just over $10.99/stick and the shipping was less than $3.  Samples are $0.99.

What's Schoolin'?

My youngest had articulation issues.  When the speech pathologist tested her I then had target sounds.  I went online and found images to match words with those targets and made little picture card sets.  Those became Montessori shelf works for her to go through with me and practice.  It was still teacher-directed in the sense that I said the word deliberately first and she repeated but it was low-key, always available, just part of our day, and she had choices. I carefully watched her to see if we needed to have sessions but she progressed once we had those targets.

We also did activities/games from Super Duper publications.  I got their literature-based book and used some freebies from their site.  I didn't use the book as much as I thought I would but that was me, not the book - I thought the book was great :).  They always have free shipping.  They have a sale right now for some items 50% off.  Look for 'overstock - 50% off' on the left tool bar. The book I had gotten is the last one listed on sale [Year-Round Literature for Language and Artic Book] :).

There are many Super Duper products on Amazon here where you might find some used products.  Some may be cheaper at the site so it's always good to comparison shop.

Super Duper Publications items on Amazon

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spanish Tapas Cookbook ~ Chemistry (yet again!)

What's Schoolin'?

I can't believe I had not listed this as a Chemistry resource before!  It's a great resource book (or maybe I did and it didn't show on the search?). Simple Chemistry:

What's Cookin'?

Dd is researching Spain (they each picked 2 different European countries) and I had checked out this book online. When I got it home I realized that it was a cookbook in Spanish - and that it's fabulous! It is loaded with real, traditional, scrumptious appetizers from Spain. If you read Spanish (and use metric measurements), then this is the book for you! Maybe your library has it or you can get it through inter-library loan. Here is the Amazon link and I've posted a translated recipe below.  For those of us who don't use metric here is a great conversion site that I just discovered:

Fried Goat Cheese with Honey

4 Appetizers

3 medium red onions (thinly sliced)
Olive Oil (to fry)
50 g sugar
150 g cylinder of goat cheese
1 egg (beaten)
2 tablespoons liquid honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 stems green onion for garnish

1. Prepare the garnish several hours before serving.  Fry the onion in 3 tablespoons oil on low heat until very soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain excessive oil and add the sugar.  Stir until well blended and the sugar has caramelized. (about 8 minutes).  Let it cool and refrigerate.

2. About 30 minutes before serving, form 4 equal balls with the goat cheese.  Pass them through the beaten egg, then the flour, and fry in a pan with a little olive oil, turning carefully until golden on all sides.  Drain on a paper towel.

3. Plate the caramelized onions in the center of a dish with the goat cheese balls around it.  Drizzle the honey, sprinkle the parsley, and garnish with the onion stems.  Serve immediately.

The notes say that the honey should not be too "aromatic" or it will mask the subtle flavor of the cheese and should be liquid to be able to drizzle easily.  To me this means that if your honey is thick you can put a little in a glass and put it in a bowl of hot water so it's not gloppy.  Also, if your honey is very flavorful you may want to use less or water it just a teeny tiny bit.

This recipe is part of Kelly's Real Food Wednesday:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Melissa and Doug Sales on Amazon

What's Cookin'?

I didn't have time this week to go through real food recipes but there are tons of gottatries on these two:

What's Schoolin'?

A way-too-cool site for teaching poetry.  Click on the tab at left and it opens a template with a sample for that type of poem.

Hands-On English.  We're happy with our Montessori and Winston Grammar, but this looks really interesting.

Here are some Amazon sales I found for Melissa and Doug products.  They have a gazillion more products with many on sale if you want to browse further - click here

I used to be able to find Melissa and Doug products for sale prices at a TJ Maxx before we moved, so you may want to check there also.

Deluxe Latches Board (28% off)

Sticker Collection (66% off)

Deluxe Pound and Roll Tower (22% off)

Magnetic Responsibility Chart (20% off)

Magnetic Dress-up Set (my dc loved these)(25% off)

Wooden Sandwich-Making Set (29% off)

Pizza Party (29% off)

Shape Sorting Cube (24% off)

Deluxe Standing Easel (free shipping)(38% off)

Wooden Birthday Party Cake (26% off)(This was an all-time favorite at our house!)

Wooden Bear Dress-up Puzzle (20% off)

Decorate Your Own Train (66% off)

Decorate Your Own Race Car (67% off)

Pattern Blocks and Boards (22% off)

3 Little Pigs Soft Play Set (28% off)

Magnetic Farm Hide and Seek (34% off)

Triangular Crayons (59% off)

Wooden USA Puzzle (28% off)

See and Spell (22% off)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway

What's Cookin'?

Here is our dinner menu for this week.  My youngest dd made it up and it was such a relief not to think about it this week!  If it seems heavy on the beef with a lack of chicken , it just so happened that I got 2 pounds of grass-fed beef on the way through our old town last weekend (thinking it would go for several weeks) and, truthfully, I was getting a bit tired of chicken anyway.  I also had happened to get a bag of organic potatoes then so that worked out well (they are on the dirty dozen list).

Sunday: Lasagna (using only 1/2 pound of the meat)(this was our Easter Dinner) with fresh garden salad
Monday:  Tortilla Soup with rice "lumpias" on the side, or rice in egg rolls and fried in palm shortening (okay, this one had chicken and we had leftovers for lunch twice so I wasn't completely free of chicken :) ).
Tuesday:  Meat loaf with mashed potatoes and peas.
Wednesday:  Chili (heavy on the beans and 1/2 pound of meat) - oldest dd made cornbread muffins with molasses to go with it and we had some Amish butter.  Mmmm.
Thursday:  Pizza (homemade with soaked crust - that sounds funny if you don't know what I mean!)
Friday: Macaroni and Cheese (homemade) with orange slices

For breakfast she wrote French Toast (which we made for Easter brunch together); eggs; crepes; cereal; muffins; and eggs.  Honestly, I didn't really look at that part nor the snacks  - blame it on the puppy in the morning! - but we did have egg casserole a few days with fresh farm eggs and hard boiled Easter eggs another day.  I'll pull out some oatmeal muffins from the freezer for today and I actually got a box of organic shredded wheat-type cereal this week as a splurge but we used it for a snack yesterday instead of a breakfast.  I have some rice leftover for a rice pudding breakfast also.  No crepes though... too much fatigue lately to handle that.

For snacks she had written animal crackers; pumpkin cookies; bananas; fig newtons; cherry bars; and cinnamon-raisin biscuits.  All of these would be homemade (except the bananas!).  I love that she thinks of these as from-scratch instead of from-box... they just didn't work out this week with several of us sick and the others staying up with said (cute) puppy.  Not to mention that fatigue thing.  I'm reading Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson right now... but keep falling asleep when I settle to read, lol!  I almost lost my adrenals to Addison's Disease with Lyme and take some supporting supplements.  I guess that would be a separate post if anyone is interested :).

What's (Lyme) Green?

Dr. Phil will have a segment on Lyme during his Friday show tomorrow.  Here is a preview:

The first annual Give Lyme the Boot Luncheon will be held soon in Houston (May 10th):

What's Schoolin'?

The Old Man and the Sea

Yes, I made it almost 1/2 a century without having read any Hemingway.  I only checked out this book because it matched up with our history time period and I was curious to see this hailed piece.


It is fantastic.

I think part of why I liked it so much is that I have such fond memories of going out on the beach at sunrise and watching the cayucos, or canoes, come in from fishing.  All of the dogs would roam in a friendly pack up and down the beach before going to their respective homes for the day.  Children would run out to help haul out the daily catch.  The men would help each other haul the canoes out of the tide by using logs underneath.  They would roll it a bit, then pull out the back log and run it around to the front.  Roll it a bit, then repeat the process until it was up in the hemp hedges or other beach vegetation.  The sights, the smells (!), and the sounds of them all coming in was truly amazing.  Once a fisherman pulled out a hammerhead.  It was huge! (and a bit creepy from just a foot away)

Walking on the beach late at night we would occasionally come across a tortugero, or turtle man (for lack of a better translation).  They would sit still and quiet for hours on end waiting for turtles to come lay their eggs.  Then they would take out a portion and leave the rest (supposedly - let's assume that they did, eh?).  It is mentioned in the book and I had that anchor memory.  More times than not we got quite startled at the shadowy figure, lol, but then would say good evening and each would continue in our separate worlds.  Once I had the enormous pleasure of walking alongside a sea turtle all the way back to the water after it finished laying eggs early one morning.

My memories made the book come alive for me.  I could smell it, feel the coolness of the dirt floor house, and imagine the fishing village.  My own dc only know the neat and tidy beaches on our own coast where the houses are beach cabins and the sea is not used for survival to the same extent.  It will be more of a stretch, but I hope it will come alive for them too.

Before you just let your child read it, I feel compelled to alert you to one pretty big curse word (well, for this prude it is!).  Ugh.

[Update:  Here is a link to my google doc of what I actually plan to do: 
Let me know if there is any trouble with the link.  It worked fine when I tested it.]

Here are some resources I tapped into for The Old Man and the Sea:

Animated video with oil pastels:

Warner Bros full movie (about 1-1/2 hours):

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The olders will be reading Tom Sawyer and I found this unit in my bookmarks that is all planned out day by day for 10 days.  I cut and pasted it into a more usable format with the lessons all together (for me) and the topic summaries (such as "Themes") along with other tidbits (such as the independent assignments - or homework) all together for the students.  This is the original link that I used to make my own arrangement of the lessons.  I like how it focuses on a different literary element each lesson:

Here is a list of other units that they have:

Here are some Tom Sawyer books:

This first one is a free Kindle (can be read on your computer if you don't have a Kindle).  They have the sequels as free Kindles also:

Youngest dd could read this one... She really enjoyed younger versions of Heidi and The Little Princess. I always said that it was better for them to wait and read the originals; however, these younger versions help her feel a part of what the olders are doing and she can read the originals later, right?

Kindle in Spanish:

Maybe we'll watch this when we get to the 70's in history...

Now I'm off to search for The Old Man and the Sea essay ideas!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some Random Resource Links ~ Lasagna

What's Cookin'?


I stretch things out so this is not a fancy recipe. I only use 1/2 pound of beef because I only get grass-fed organic ground meat and need to stretch those dollars. If I could I would use the whole pound plus I would get a jar of organic pasta/spaghetti sauce with the herbs already infused. Oh well...

I also make it as simple as possible - combining the meat, sauce, egg, and cheese together saving a bit of cheese for sprinkling on top.  You could call it lazy, efficient, good use of limited energy/time, or just faster.

Unfortunately, nowadays one has to really look at cheese ingredients.  There is that "anti-molding" additive now (it starts with an /n/), especially on shredded cheeses (grrr! - just eat the cheese before it molds or cut it off the block like when we were kids!  I also freeze cheese all of the time.  We all know that cheese molds, right?  That's okay; we don't need some new additive in our nation's perpetual food experiment with us as guinea pigs, sigh, stepping off soapbox...).  The store-brand block cheeses tend to just have milk, salt, enzymes, and annatto for coloring.  I've been able to make ricotta successfully recently and plan on trying cottage cheese again this month.

What makes this recipe better or worse are the ingredients one uses.  As mentioned, I stay away from CAFO beef, additives in cheese, non-organic tomatoes (they are on the 'dirty dozen' list regarding high amounts of pesticide), and other weird additives.  Unfortunately, when faced with organic cottage cheese with additives or "low fat" options I end up getting NON-organic Daisy brand because the ingredients are just... cultured skim milk, cream, salt (I get the minimum 4% fat one) and no hormones.  It's also less expensive and I appreciate that they try to keep it all natural in a fake food world.  I'm thrilled to have access to inexpensive free range eggs right now but don't always have that option.  I plan on freezing some for later.

This is a pretty cheesy, thick sauce so feel free to add another 8 oz of sauce or a little bit of water.


1/2 lb browned ground beef
1 box Barilla No Boil Lasagna Noodles [I don't make my own... yet, so this is a compromise ingredient. I like the no-boil kind and like that they are flat.]
8 oz cottage cheese
8 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella (set aside 1/2 of this to sprinkle on top)
8 oz tomato sauce
1 egg
basil to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of our dried basil from the garden last year so it's leafy, not powdery)
oregano to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon; same as above)
onion powder to taste
garlic powder to taste


Set aside 1/2 of the shredded mozzarella for the top.  Mix everything else except the noodles together.  Lightly grease a 9x12 glass pan.  Spread a very thin layer of the sauce/meat mixture on the bottom.  Layer the noodles.  Layer about 1/3 of the sauce mixture.  Put another layer of noodles and another of sauce/meat mixture.    Put one last layer noodles and of the sauce/meat mixture and sprinkle the reserved shredded mozzarella.

Bake at 350F for about 60 minutes.

Could it be any easier while still using real ingredients and making it from scratch??  If so, please let me know :).

This recipe is part of Kelly's Real Food Wednesday:

What's Schoolin'?

Here are some random resources.  Hope they are helpful to someone!

~ Writing Contests:

~ Free Constitution Class at Hillsdale.  In our state, citizenship is one of the big 4 homeschool requirements.  I've always found that interesting since it is NOT an annual requirement for public school.  However, it is such a natural extension of our family discussions anyway that it's never difficult to find ways to fulfill that requirement.  We watch gubernatorial debates; go see candidates; talk (a LOT); study US and state History; and one dd even did her 4-H Record Book one year in the Citizenship category.  This class would be a nice structured way to check off that 'box' for the year:

~ Free online budget:  Budget Simple

~ Free Math placement tests and other Math resources:

~ Free religious printables:

~ The sourdough recipe I used way back when and plan on using again as soon as our starter is ready:

~ This Usborne research site can be used with or without their books:

~ Online thesaurus:

~  Here's another:

~ Intro to classical art history:

~  Free online typing [all my dc have used this through the years]:

~ This is a little more advanced and could come after the Dance Mat Typing [we have not tried this yet]:

~ Some typing games:

~ Free interactive math games:

~ More free math games [There is a tool bar with math topics also]:

~ More math games:

~ Dinosaur website:

What's Green?

For Easter this year we used clay pots (made in USA!) for Easter baskets.  The dc got to enjoy opening their 'baskets,' I got some much-needed pots to container garden this year, and there are no unnecessary plastics for the landfill.  I have strawberries, cucumber, and herbs from a local feedstore (that does NOT use GE plants) ready to transplant.

The dc are painting them right now as I type :).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Coloring Easter Eggs with Food

I know I won't get any photos up before Easter so I wanted to throw out this quick post.  I've been experimenting this week with coloring eggs using foods I have around the house.

My personal favorite:  Tumeric - it made a rich yellow color

My least successful:  Blueberries - they didn't work at all so then I tried adding red onion skins... then I found a few drops of blue India Tree blue and squirted that in.  They ended up a light pretty blue-green.

Others I tried:
-Hibiscus leaves (my cousin sent me a pack from El Salvador for tea and I used a few handfuls since it makes such a gorgeous tea) - the eggs ended up sort of blue-ish/gray-ish.
-Paprika (okay; they look sort of like regular farm eggs)

I just added the food/spice into the cooking water, let it boil with the eggs for 5 minutes, let it cool completely before taking out the eggs.  However, a few times it was late and I was tired so I stuck the whole pot in the fridge to give the eggs more time and me some rest.

The dc and I had fun coming up with ideas and seeing what would work or not.  I think beets would have worked MUCH better than the hibiscus but, although I had planned on getting some anyway since beet kvass is a very healing tonic, I didn't have any on-hand and was making a point to only try what was only already in the house.  We'll have to try it for fun whenever I DO get some beets.

Happy Easter!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dye-Free Easter Treats

I could list technical reasons or link to scientifically-sounding reasons for avoiding fake food dyes... but I'll just comment that one child is more affected by them than the other dc and that colored frosting killed my grass - and BURNED it.  Enough for me to realize that none of us should be eating those chemicals; much less children.  Thus the constant struggle to NOT eat artificial dyes.  Here are my Easter finds:

I found Tasty brand fruit snacks at Sprouts and got the gum drops for an Easter Sunday surprise (we're never too old for an Easter basket right?  I have 2 high schoolers now but can't even imagine not giving them a basket!).

I really, really wanted to get them some jelly beans, especially since a jar has been on the counter for dh for at least a week (my mom brought for dc but they have avoided them - what will power!!).  Unfortunately the shipping is too high for these, but maybe next year:

Annie's bunny-shaped fruit snacks.  They are available in more and more stores and the shapes are cute.

Dye-free Easter Eggs:
Great post about dying eggs using foods.

Homemade Peeps:

Cross-shaped gumdrups:  I saw an idea somewhere (I *think* on Catholic Icing but I need to look) about using Jolly Ranchers and melting them together to form Cross pops.  I was thinking that I could use toothpicks and thread the gumdrops to make little Crosses.  One would be in the center with the 2 toothpicks criss-crossing in it.  Hope it works!  Jolly Ranchers wouldn't fall under the 'natural dyes' category :).

Natural Food Coloring Products:

This is a new company and not quite in stores yet.  However, you can purchase, in bulk, all 6 for $60 online now.  Unfortunately, I'll have to wait to try these but they answered my questions promptly through e-mail and I hope to try them soon:

!!Eco-Egg Coloring Kit with natural dyes!!
Amazon: Eco-Eggs Easter Egg Coloring Kit

More Eco-Kids products on Amazon!

India Tree also has food-based food coloring.  I plan on getting some of their sugars because I think they will last longer than the liquids. I can't remember exactly how long their food coloring lasted that I tried. I will probably get a red one to start with and see how it goes.  Look here for their products on Amazon [a few of their items are not dye-free so check the ingredients of your item before purchasing!  The colors and the sugars that I've seen are safe, but I vaguely remember one type of product as having synthetic dyes. It may be sparkling sugar vs decorating sugar].

India Tree Natural Food Dye Products

Of course, the ultimate in dye-free Easter treats are non-food items :).  I haven't been able to go by the store yet but I have some stickers left over from last year that I found at the Dollar Tree.  I hope to get some holy cards (my Mom gave me some Father Seelos cards for them), perhaps a little booklet, or even some printed coloring pages.

This is a really cool View Master Easter kit I just found:

What about some bulbs, a plant, or a packet of seeds?  These are everywhere in the stores right now and seeds should be very inexpensive.  I found a packet of seeds for each child while grocery shopping.

Here is a search page at Amazon with lots of non-food religious ideas (ignore any weird ones that slip in on the search):
Religious Toy Ideas for Easter