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

Slightly Bird-Brained

How did you get my daddy to go to sleep when he was little?” asked my young granddaughter.  “Oh, dear one, let me tell you a story. . .”  And my mind wandered back many years, to The Trumpet of the Swan, and how Louis was determined to become a trumpeter.  Our boys loved the story, especially since their daddy played the trumpet.  They were almost sad when, after many days of reading, we finally completed the book.  Even today when they hear, “Day is done, gone the sun…,” they immediately think of Louis the Swan.  

Slightly Bird-Brained

Growing up in North Dakota and Iowa should have caused me to be a much heartier person. It didn’t.  Each winter I endured the blizzards and ice storms while counting the days until once again a crocus or daffodil would peak through and announce that color was returning to my world.  Oh, what joy when the first robin was spotted!  When at last the sweet chirping of birds could be heard, I knew that warmth was returning as well.

The Byrne childhood home

There was, however, an unfortunate downside to my fondness for the returning bird population.  My dear mother was concerned that should there not be sufficient seeds, worms, etc. available upon their immediate return, I should begin taking out all leftover bread after supper each evening. This should be torn up into teensy little bits and distributed around the yard, particularly under the trees. We had trees everywhere! At first I didn’t mind.  Then after about two days my teensy bits became “bits”, then “chunks”, and soon I just tore the pieces of bread in half, figuring those old birds could figure it out for themselves.

My next chore was to clean out the birdbath. This not only meant making sure that the water in it didn’t get a layer of ice so the birdies couldn’t bathe (heaven forbid we have dirty birdies!), but I was to keep the basin and water clean. Hauling water in my little bucket took a lot of time. If you’ve ever had a birdbath you know how gross cleaning one can be, if not, just don’t ask.

Earlier I mentioned something about not being hearty. That also involves a real distaste for any type of bug or creepy crawly. Therefore, my last spring bird job caused me a great deal of anxiety.  I was to  “till” a small area in our garden since the ground was still quite hard from being frozen all winter. This was to allow the birds to peck more easily for worms. You can’t imagine my delight at unearthing one while digging! Yet even though I may have done my chores slightly bird-brained, our yard always abounded with birds of every color and species. For this I am eternally grateful!

How thankful I am to now be living in a year-round warm climate.  I don’t tear up bread, don’t own a birdbath, and will never dig for worms! But I still love listening to sweet chirping, watching nests be built, and catching a glimpse of a cardinal with its mate on our back fence.

I think it’s time to dust off  The Trumpet of the Swan, and curl up on the couch with all of my dear grandchildren.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of daddies even wanted to take a turn at reading a chapter or two aloud.  And maybe when we finish the book, PopPop may surprise them with a little “Louis” song of his own!!

“All is well, safely rest. . . God is nigh.”

Love,

Button

Mary Byrne Kline

Mary Byrne Kline . aka Button

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us as we create Heritage 2 Legacy memories
through the delight of a children’s book.

 

 

Feathers for Lunch

Author & Illustrator:  Lois Ehlert

This is a book that is never read once, for as soon as it is finished you will hear, “Read it again!”  PLEASE

We have a very hungry cat on the loose, determined to make lunch of some birds. He’s sneaking around the backyard and his adventure is an engaging and entertaining rhyme.

“His food in a can is tame and mild,
so he’s gone out for something wild.”

Will the cat be successful in his attempts at catching a bird?

“But cats can’t fly and they can’t soar,
and birds know what their wings are for.”

At first glance it may appear to simply be a short quick read, but look closely and you will find some hidden treasures.  Each bird is identified, along with the plant or shrub upon which it is resting. All birds illustrated in the story are portrayed life sized and true in their coloring.

At the end of the book the reader is given the factual treat of “The lunch that got away.” These four pages are filled with information on the twelve birds our poor cat couldn’t catch.

Here are some delightful learning (play?) opportunities that go along with Feathers for Lunch.  Enjoy!   PINTEREST (images and ideas)

Mary Byrne Kline

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.