To the First Robin
by Louisa May Alcott
Welcome, welcome little stranger,
Fear no harm and fear no danger.
We are glad to see you here,
For you sing, “Sweet spring is near!”
Now the white snow melts away,
Now the flowers blossom gay.
Come dear bird and build your nest,
For we love our robin best.
Last month spring arrived in the Frozen Tundra. It came early — about a month earlier than usual — and our family celebrated with a First Robin Tea Party on the last day of March.
These teas are becoming an annual tradition around here, and we have a lot of fun with them. The only rule for our tea party is that everyone in the family must see a robin in our yard before we can have the party. (By the way, we stole this rule, and the whole tradition actually, from my aunt who also raised two girls in Minnesota.)
My daughters each invited one friend to join us. This way the party counted as lunch and two playdates! I would say we killed three birds with one stone, but that just seems disrespectful in a posting about the first robin.
Anyway, on our menu this year was an assortment of daisy sandwiches served with pretzel sticks, fresh strawberries, and cheese sticks. Laurel enjoyed a cucumber sandwich.
Linnea’s was cheese, and we also served a PB&J sandwich to one of our guests.
The day before the party, the girls and I made these edible nests using chow mein noodles mixed with melted chocolate chips and melted butterscotch chips. I forgot to include melted marshmallows, which really help the “twigs” stick together better. But these turned out pretty cute anyway, especially with the chocolate robin egg candies nestled in them.
During the party, we listened to some music — Carmen MacRae’s “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bobbin’ Along;” Joel Hansen’s “Songbird;” and “Carnival of the Animals: Aviary” by Saint-Saëns.
The best highlight of the party, though, was when the girls took turns making their own mud pies with earthworms. Here’s Laurel showing the ingredients for such a pie.
- small graham cracker pie shells (ours were from Keebler)
- finely crushed chocolate Teddy Grahams (the dirt)
- milk chocolate pudding (the mud)
- gummy worms
- whipped cream (melting snow)
Stick the worm(s) in first and then assemble as desired for a delicious mud pie!
Prior to the party, my daughters and I read A Nest Full of Eggs, by Priscilla Beltz Jenkins, which would have been great to include during the tea party. And, incidently, we found the robin poem by Louisa May Alcott earlier this year when we read a book called Louisa May and Mr. Thoreau’s Flute, which was also a great book.