Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay, New York

I like every season for different reasons. One of my favorite things about spring and summer is the abundance of gorgeous gardens. I’ve been stopping to smell the roses…and the lilacs and lilies and hyacinths and hydrangeas. This past Mother’s Day was spent at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, New York which is on Long Island. After that, we stopped at a nursery to buy flowers. Outside on a sunny day absorbing vivid colors and sweet scents? Lovely!

Bright Blooms and Poem for Peace

Morning walks are my meditation; sweet scents my solace.

A year ago, we were frozen in place. When the pandemic shut our world down, my family asked, “How long will this last?” “Surely, a few weeks.” “Surely, not past July 4th.” As the months dragged on, and everyday was the same as the last, several walks a day was our way to break the monotony. And guess what, hon? Senses heightened. Flowers were more vivid than ever. Garden scents filled the air. Songbirds were distinguishable. And the antics of our sweet furry angels, Lucy and Midnight, entertained us. I’m still walking, discovering wonders everyday. And everyday, those wonders bring me bits of peace.

Click here to learn more about Maya Angelou.

“Sonnet” by Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Poems enter my mind in words and phrases, begging me to concentrate on how to make language sing. April is National Poetry Month. Hon, hope you enjoy the history behind it and a “Spring song.”

National Poetry Month

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives. In 2021, the Academy of American Poets looks forward to celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of this annual celebration!

“SONNET” BY ALICE DUNBAR-NELSON

I had no thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten gleam.

Spring Tulips & Shel Silverstein

After a The Max Challenge Zoom workout, the trainer read Shel Silverstein’s poem “The Voice.” The poem spoke to me on several fronts: trying to get through quarantine with a hopeful outlook, helping others with my particular skills, and focusing energy on long-term goals which seem, during this strange and unsettling time, to be floating on waves washing out to sea.

Wishing you a peaceful day filled with beauty in small moments, like noticing how droplets cling to tulip petals.

The Voice
by Shel Silverstein

Easy DIY Kids Activities, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests as pictured in DMagazine.

Egg-cellent Spring Kids Activity

We’re all washing our hands like crazy, so sticky, marshmallow-y hands are no problem! After School Enrichment kids in grades 3-5 enjoyed creating their own Spring-y, Easter-y birds nests. Because this is a messy project, I didn’t take many photos of my students’ nests; credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for some of the project photos.

The process is the same as making Rice Krispies Treats, only with the chow mein noodles subbing in for cereal. The measurements quoted here yield about 12 cupcake-sized nests, or one really huge nest that would be about the right size for a real bunny, if bunnies sat in nests.

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

Once the Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of the cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

A teeny-tiny nest with one egg is perfect as a cupcake topper. 

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)
Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles (Rice Krispies could be used, too.)

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2. Add chow mein noodles, and mix til combined.

3. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray, as well as your fingers. Mold the mixture into nest shapes in the cupcake tin.

4. Place in freezer for at least an hour. Remove nests using a knife.

5. Fill with your choice of candy.

Source: DMagazine