Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Spring Tradition Involving Dessert (Keep-It-Simple Science)

(I love living in an area of the world where we get all four seasons to the extreme, and I love finding ways to celebrate each one of them with my family!  Sounds cheesy?  I don't care!  Love it.)

Four years ago the boys found their first robin's egg while on a Spring walk.  Since then, we've had a tradition that when we find the first robin's egg of Spring, we make candy nests to celebrate.

This year, Aaron found the first robin's egg without us :(  He spotted it on a nature walk he took with the kids at the homeschool study center.  

I wasn't going to officially count it as the first egg for the family, but since then we haven't had much luck.  The neighbors are probably starting to wonder why we've taken to wandering the neighborhood at all hours with our heads drooping down, randomly circling trees.... "Oh, it's those people from down the block again...  Didn't we see them picking up a dead mouse from our yard last Spring?  Should we call someone about them???"

We've had no luck until yesterday, and even yesterday's finds weren't actual robin eggs. But we're combining the egg-found-outside-the-family-unit and the family-neighborhood-walk discoveries from yesterday and calling it a win.  (We are in league with the mailman who has promised to alert us to the next robin egg he sees, so we are hopeful this isn't the end.  Believe me, my kids won't let him forget his promise.) 

still have not identified this egg... will carefully sift through any and all suggestions offered by readers who happen to be bird enthusiasts
we used our bird guides to identify this as a robin's nest - messy outside,
neat grass inside, layer of mud in between
a nest Aaron found about two weeks ago... several friends have indicated it's
probably a finch's nest

We've got some fine material for our nature notebooks here. (Ohhh, the nature notebooks... we got them out today only to find that the last entries were from October, if that tells you anything...)  More on that soon.

So............. on to the chocolate nests.  We've never been able to find a pale blue Jelly Belly, so have had to settle for the dark blue ones... a bit overpowering and not robin's egg blue, yet they suffice.  This year we also bought some toasted marshmallow jelly beans to imitate the cream speckled egg we found.  One year we tried an elaborate recipe for the nests that involved Chinese noodles, pretzels, chocolate, marshmallow fluff (gag) and peanut butter - the nests were very 'moldable' and we were able to make very neat and tidy nest shapes.  Too much work though.  Now we just go with melted dark chocolate discs and Chinese noodles. (If you make these, do yourself a favor and add some peanut butter to the warm chocolate!)  They are not so moldable and are wacky and messy - true to robin nest form, I guess.  

I can't even begin to imagine how to get a carb count on one of these things... but other than that potential hiccup, we're all looking forward to dessert tonight!
You can see by my children's serious faces that making the nests each year is no laughing matter.  We take "fun" very seriously around here...

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