I always keep my eyes open for seasonal milestones. The first leaves that change color in the fall. The first frost, and then the first real snowfall, in the winter. Spring, of course, has many milestones, and one of the important ones is finding the remnants of robin egg shells that have been flung out of the nests by clumsy baby birds.
It was easy to find the nest this particular egg had fallen from. Mama robin had built it a mere six feet off the ground. If you look closely, you can see her protectively huddled over her little ones.
Older nests sometimes fall from the trees. After a particularly windy night, this large nest was rolling around on the ground. Thankfully, it was empty.
Another spring milestone: my creeping thyme has finally bloomed!
It's a really lovely groundcover and even though the flowers are only in bloom for about 3 weeks in the spring, the low-growing green foliage is pretty in the summer, too.
The large lilac bush is in full bloom! Now I'm just waiting on my dwarf bushes to bud out. A solid six weeks of lilacs...I love it!
The fragrant blooms of this crabapple tree are all open, both on the branches, and in a drifting pink carpet below the tree.
The bradford pears are lovely...
...and our Indiana redbuds are providing a nice contrast.
Even my indoor plants are getting in the spirit. I'm terrible with house plants, but was happily surprised to see this cyclamen plant put up a few blooms.
Somehow, I'm even growing mushrooms in my snapdragon box, strange little white umbrellas that unfold and then collapse within a few hours, every single day.
I was motivated to make another Easter project with some of my hollowed-out eggs. I found this idea on the Poppytalk blog and thought it looked like fun.
Make sure your eggs are completely emptied and dried. Take some decorative paper and a hole punch, and punch out several 'dots' from each page.
Paint your egg any color you'd like. After it dries, take a small slip of paper, write your Easter message on it, and roll it up into a tiny scroll. Insert it into the egg through one of the holes you made when you hollowed it out.
Next, glue your dots onto the egg, taking care to cover up both hollowing-out holes.
Attach a card that lets people know what to do with the egg...
...and seal everything up with an Easter-themed stamp.
It was a lot of fun! I'm afraid that I rushed though the first step and my eggs weren't completely dry when I inserted the scroll. Lesson learned!
Besides decorating Easter eggs, I made the traditional hot cross buns to eat with our meal...
...and a new discovery - pavlovas. Pavlovas are a type of sweetened meringue topped with citrus curd, chocolate, or jam, and then smothered in fruit. They were so much fun to make!
adapted from Good Life Eats
Makes 9 mini-nests
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice from half a lemon
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 ounces egg white (from 5 - 6 eggs)
Let your eggs sit in warm water for about 20 minutes to bring them to room temperature before separating them. While they're warming, preheat your oven to 250 degrees. When eggs are room temperature, separate them and add the whites to your mixing bowl. Mix on low for a minute, and then gradually increase speed.
Meanwhile, mix the sugar and the cornstarch together. Add to the egg white mixture after 2 - 3 minutes, when your meringue develops soft peaks. Increase speed and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Finally, add the vanilla, lemon juice, and vinegar, and beat at high speed for another 2 - 3 minutes, until the meringue is glossy and has stiff peaks.
I should have spooned the meringue into a pastry bag and piped delicate, nicely-shaped birds' nests on my greased cookie sheets. However, I had bread rising, and I was cooking lemon curd on the stovetop, and mixing up sugar cookies at the same time. For expediency's sake, I just plopped soft, pillowy dabs of meringue on my cookie sheet. They looked so pretty...
...but after cooking at 250 degrees for 45 - 40 minutes, they flattened a bit. Well, now I'll know for next time! Even though they were a little flat, they were a lovely color and consistency.
I topped each one with homemade lemon curd and a mixture of blueberries and raspberries. YUM!
We even squeezed in a backyard Easter egg hunt!
It was an EGG-cellent day, indeed, full of good food, good friends, and the knowledge that our Savior rose from the grave on this day, separating life from death and ensuring our salvation.
I hope you had a great weekend, too!