A bird on the plate is worth two in the fridge….

Birds are a huge source of entertainment in this household.  The boys and I recently added a large birdfeeder outside our dining room window so we could keep better tabs on the neighborhood bird drama.  We live on the water and have feathered friends of all kind; from small sparrows to geese.  We even have one “city pigeon” that comes in every afternoon for his regular fly-by snack.  Our freezer always maintains extra bread for duck feedings and we have even had to start purchasing our bird seed from Sam’s to keep up with the high demands of our beaked buddies.
To say that the boys were excited to do a bird themed snack would be an understatement.  I knew we were going to have to provide some pretty incredible meals for my two bird-loving boys.  Thankfully, there was no shortage of ideas out there.  Since, we couldn’t choose between a few of them, we planned a whole day of bird themed meals.

BIRD’S NEST BREAKFAST

I found the idea for this on Pinterest and its just incredibly easy for a fast but adorable birdie breakfast for your babies.
All you’ll need is:
  • Bread (toasted according to your little one’s preference)
  • Hard boiled egg (we made this really easy by buying them right from the store)
  • Teensy tiniest bit of a carrot
  • Edible marker (thought you could easily use a small piece of raisin for her little eyes)
Simply cut your toast into strips.  Levi likes his with a little butter so we buttered it first.  Arrange your bread pieces in a nest shape.
Cut a small triangle shape from the end of a carrot for the birds beak and position on the egg.  With your edible marker, add two eyes.  Levi decided our bird was a girl (or “grill” as he pronounces it) so we gave her pretty little eyelashes.
Nestle her into her little warm and “toast”-y nest and serve to your overly enthusiastic little one.

FOR SNACKTIME:

Another very easy idea for a quick snack.
What you’ll need:
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Grapes
  • Carrot
  • Edible Marker

I snapped the pretzel sticks into smaller “twigs” and just tossed them into a small bowl.  Dot little eyes on grapes and set them in their “nest”.  Cut small triangles from carrots and place on the birds and you’re done!

FOR DINNER:

And finally for dinner, spaghetti noodles with bird meatballs on a celery branch.
What you’ll need:
  • Center stalk of celery (with the leaves on the end to look branch-like)
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Meatballs or like we used, mini-hamburgers
  • Mozarella Cheese
  • Carrot
  • Edible Marker

Place celery branch across plate, use a fork and twirl a large section of spaghetti into a nest shape.  Place noodle nest on its side.  Tuck in two meatballs or mini hamburgers into the nest.  For the eyes, I cut slices of a cheese stick and used a piping tip to make a smaller circle cut out.  You could most certainly use the entire slice though.  Add a black dot in the center of the cheese slice with an edible marker or you could use a caper, piece of black olive or a piece of raisin.  Whatever you happen to have laying around in the pantry.  Position the eyes on the meatball/ hamburger.  Cut a small triangle out of a carrot and place under eyes to form the beak.

The boys loved this idea so much that we had a version of it for dinner the next night as well.  The second night, I made a nest of rice and tucked their meat into it.  Just as easy and just as entertaining for the little ones in your life.
Contributing author: Rachel Skvaril
Sugar Artist

Poem Share: Red Bird

The First Red Bird

by Evaleen Stein

I heard a song at daybreak,
So honey-sweet and clear,
The essence of all joyous things
Seemed mingling in its cheer.

The frosty world about me
I searched with eager gaze,
But all was slumber-bound and wrapped
In violet-tinted haze.

Then suddenly a sunbeam
Shot slanting o’er the hill,
And once again from out the sky
I heard that honied trill.

And there upon a poplar,
Poised at its topmost height,
I saw a little singer clad
In scarlet plumage bright.

The poplar branches quivered,
By dawn winds lightly blown,
And like a breeze-swept poppy-flower
The red-bird rocked and shone.

The blue sky, and his feathers
Flashed o’er by golden light,
Oh, all my heart with rapture thrilled,
It was so sweet a sight!

Another delightful interpretation of The First Red Bird by Sierra Valone.
“Thank you, Sierra, for reading this month’s poem for us!”

I HEART bird feeders

A Fireflies’ Family Activity – Gather the materials and together create these adorable feeders for the birds in your backyards.  They are easy to make and mold into endless possible shapes.  Consider using Jello molds, cookie cutters, or no forms at all to create these bird feeders.  Make them unique to you and yours!

The following makes 5 – 6 bird feeders depending on the thickness of each shape.

Materials Needed

  • 3 cups of bird seed
  • 1 packet of plain gelatin
  • 3 T corn syrup
  • 3/4 c of flour
  • 1/2 c water
  • Wax paper
  • Shape maker: cookie cutters, jello molds etc.
  • Cookie sheets
  • String
  • Pencil or straw for creating the “hanging hole”

Directions

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the water, flour, corn syrup, and gelatin.
Add the bird seed and mix until evenly coated.   (I wanted to buy the smallest amount of bird seed available which was parakeet bird seed.   I really loved it using it because of all the colors and shapes of seeds.)

Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper, fill your desired forms with the seed mixture – packing firmly.  If the seed is not pressed together firmly, it will fall apart.

Place a hole in the center of your shape using a straw or pencil.   Make sure the hole goes all the way through.  (Placing it closer to the middle allows for enough strength to hold the string.)  When your shapes are complete, allow to air dry for 24 – 48 hours – turning every once in awhile.

Run a string through your hole, hang your bird feeders, and enjoy!

Hang where children can observe many fine feathered visitors
coming to dine on their creations.

A Fireflies’ Gratitude & Service idea:
Why not make a heart shaped bird feeder for Grandma and deliver with an “I love you” note?  Every day is a great day to say “I love you”!

CLICK HERE for more creative and natural bird feeders ideas.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The boys and I have been doing a mini unit study on the letter “B” which of course, includes baseball!  For a craft we opted to do the one below.

B is for Baseball
&
Baseball Bat Craft

Things you’ll need:

  • White construction paper
  • Brown construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie or other permanent marker
  • Pencil
  • Red paint
  • Red crayon

On the brown piece of construction paper, draw the outlines of a baseball bat with a sharpie and on the white paper, draw out a circle.  The kids will cut these out in the first step.

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My 6-year old doesn’t really need much practice with his scissors these day but this part was a perfect way for my 3-year old to get some additional practice cutting.

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You can see that he was quite proud of his cut out bat and ball.

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On the white construction paper circle, use a pencil to create the lines on a baseball if your little one needs some extra help.

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Then, have them trace over the lines with a red crayon.

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Have your child dip his finger into the red paint and gently add the threads on the baseball lines.

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When they are all finished you should have a baseball with red fingerprint threading.

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After the baseball has had a chance to dry, glue it to the bottom of the bat forming a “b”.  For our little 3-year old, his “B is for Baseball” craft was just the perfect way to help him remember his letter of the week.

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Baseball Popcorn Balls

All that crafting will certainly work up an appetite so in keeping to the theme of baseball, the boys and I whipped up some popcorn balls.

We followed a recipe found on Allrecipes.com
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-ever-popcorn-balls/

Basically all you’ll need is:

  • light corn syrup
  • margarine
  • water

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  • Popcorn

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  • Powdered sugar
  • Marshmallows

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Have your master chef (with a lot of adult supervision) heat all the ingredients minus the popcorn till it comes to a boil on the stovetop.

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How cute is he??

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Coat popcorn with mixture until the mixture is evenly coating all of the popcorn kernels.

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Heavily grease your hands with shortening, shape into balls and set aside on some wax paper while they set up a bit.

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Grab some Twizzlers and add the baseball lines to the popcorn balls.

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And there you have it!  A snack just perfect for the little sluggers in your household.

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Author: Rachel Skvaril
Sugar Artist

www.fondantflinger.com