If you like to feed the birds in the winter, here is an easy way to recycle toilet rolls AND feed the birds. Spread peanut butter on some empty toilet paper rolls and then roll onto bird seed. These can be put easily on tree or bush branches.
Homemade Bird Treats
Here are some fun recipes the birds will enjoy
High Protein Birdie Treats
4 cups suet or solid kitchen fat
1 cup cracker or bread crumbs
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup dried fruit such as raisins, currants or dates
1/4 cup peanuts or peanut butter
1. Melt the suet or fat in a large, heavy saucepan until it is liquid. Remove from heat and allow it to cool until slightly thickened
2. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and pour the cooled suet over the mixture. Stir thoroughly
3. While the mixture is still warm and pliable, you can spread it onto tree trunks or tree limbs, pack it into the spaces in pinecones and hang them from tree limbs, or spread it into a baking pan or several cake pans and refrigerate overnight. When the treats are hard, cut them into squares that will fit your feeder.
Soft Peanut Butter Treat
1 cup suet or solid fat
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup bread, cookie, or cracker crumbs
1. Melt the suet or fat in a heavy saucepan and when the fat is liquid, add the peanut butter and cornmeal. Stir and mix completely. Remove from heat. Add flour and crumbs and allow cooling and thickening slightly before packing or smearing on tree trunks, as described above.
This year, instead of taking the easy way out and picking up the cheap paper Valentine cards that everyone else will be giving out, sit with your children and make homemade cards. One year, we cut out and decorated butterfly wings and taped them to a stick of gum. Another year, we put small candy into zippered plastic snack bags. We used a hole punch at the top of the bag and with a ribbon and homemade tag, we labeled each with the name of each classmate.
Here is another Valentine idea. Cut out hearts and write on them "You're Just Write For Me". Cut two slits large enough to slip in a fun pencil.
Valentines Candy Necklace
Lay out 3 feet of plastic wrap and cut it in half long-ways. Place wrapped candy (peppermints) or a group of two candies (candy hearts or M&Ms) 3 inches apart. Roll the plastic wrap over and tie bows of ribbon between each candy. Tie the two ends together and cove the knot with another ribbon. Make some for your friends.
Valentines Flower Pot
(We made these for the teachers one year)
3 inch terra-cotta flower pot
Acrylic craft paint
Plastic sandwich bag or decorated holiday treat bags
Using acrylic craft paint, sponge paint hearts onto the flower pot. Put some potting soil into the plastic bag and tie with a pretty ribbon. Add a packet of seeds and give it to your special Valentine.
Make Homemade Stickers (adult supervision recommended)
8 Tablespoons vinegar
4 packages of unflavored gelatin
1 Tablespoon peppermint extract (or other flavors that you like)
Paper, such as wrapping paper, photos from magazines, or your
Bring the vinegar to a boil and add gelatin packages. Reduce heat to low and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the extract. Brush on to the back of small pictures to make stickers. Let dry. Lick and stick. Store remaining sticker glue in an airtight jar and it will keep for several months. It will become solid, but simply place the jar in a pan of hot water to melt and use again
St Patrick's Day
Green Candied Popcorn (from the Disney Family Website)
4 quarts popped corn 1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup 2 T. butter
1/2 t. salt 1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. vanilla 1 t. baking soda
green food color
In a heavy saucepan on medium heat, melt butter than add sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt. Increase the temperature to medium high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.
Once the mixture boils, add in food color and stop stirring. Boil for 5 minutes (do not stir). Mixture should be about 250-260 F. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla and baking soda.
Working quickly and while mixture is foamy, pour mixture over popped corn and gently stir to coat the popcorn.
Place the popcorn into a large roaster or rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray) and bake at 200F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
St. Patrick's Day Oreos (from Crafty Morning)
Oreos (double stuff or regular)
Green and white candy melts/chocolate
Green and white sprinkles
Wax or parchment paper
Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time. If you do not have green candy melts, white chocolate with green food coloring will work.
Dip the oreos halfway into the chocolate and place on parchment or wax paper
Shake sprinkles onto the chocolate while still warm.
Let them set for about 20 minutes.
Cut the bottom half of an egg carton into thirds, paint them, and attach a pipe cleaner as a handles for the 3 Easter egg containers. Decorate with glitter, buttons, sequins, etc. Put small goodies in plastic eggs and give the baskets away as a gift to friends, neighbors, a teacher, or a family member
Egg Decorating: This was our eggs one year. A little messy but fun to make
Hard boiled eggs
Tear off a sheet of foil a little larger than the paper towel sheet. Place it on a protected work surface. Place towel on top. Put 8 to 10 drops of food color (same or different colors) in the center of the paper towel. Allow the colors to spread about 6 inches in diameter. Place a damp egg on its side in the center of the paper towel. Starting at the bottom of the egg, very gently press foil around the egg until it is covered with the foil. Carefully peel back the foil and paper towel together. Let the egg dry. Once paper towel is saturated, you can use dry eggs instad of wet eggs.
2 1/2 inch foam egg
Plastic beads and jewels
Put three toothpicks into one end of the foam egg to make it stand up for easier decorating. Use a stiff paint brush to spread a thin layer of glue onto the egg, then sprinkle on some glitter When the glitter has dried, glue on the beads and jewels into the design you wish to make. Do not remove the toothpicks until the glue on the egg is dry. Make a stand with the pipe cleaners Make a circle to set the egg on and attach three lets with little circles on the ends to make a stand.
START A COLLECTION
Pennants from different states or events
Things with holes
A favorite animal like elephants, horses, owls, or even unicorns or dragons
Stickers kept in a photo album or sticker book
Things that are your favorite color
Things with hearts
Pennies. Try to get one for each year they have been made
Items from your favorite actor, singer, band, scientist, astronaut, etc. Keep a scrapbook of articles.
Autographs of famous people
BOREDOM BUSTERS = THINGS TO KEEP THE KIDS BUSY
Make a bird feeder: Using a milk or juice carton, cut a hole on the side for the bird to eat from. Below the larger hole, put a hole where you can put a small dowel through. Add a hole in the back for the dowel to go all the way through. This will be where the bird can sit and eat. Hang the feeder from a tree.
Bake cookies and deliver them to neighbors, policemen, firemen, or an elderly neighbor.
Write letters to government officials about an issue that concerns you.
Pick up litter in your neighborhood. Collect any aluminum cans you find and turn them into a recycle center for some money.
Help an elderly or ill neighbor. Walk their dog, weed their garden, or do some light housework for them.
Collect pennies for a favorite charity.
Learn some words in a different language.
Memorize a poem and recite it to your family.
Learn to spell an unusual word and try to use it in a conversation throughout the day
Create a comic strip about your family.
Start a journal. Write down your thoughts, feelings, dreams, and ideas each day.
Write your life story.
Write a poem about your favorite season.
Write a secret message using one of the invisible ink recipes under Non-Edible Recipes. Give it to a friend to figure out.
Make a card for someone who is sick or lonely. Say something like “Have a nice day”, “You are special”, or “Hope you feel better soon”
Cut out noses, eyes, hair, mouths, etc. from magazines. Use a paper plate or pieces of construction paper to glue the cut pieces onto. You can make a collage of funny faces.
Scribble a design on a piece of paper. Pass it to your friend and see if they can make a picture from it.
Make a flower bracelet: Put tape around your wrist, the sticky side up. Take a walk and collect flowers. Attach them to the tape. Do not pick flowers out of neighbors gardens without permission.
Be a nature detective: Fill a backpack with the following items: Small containers with lids to collect small rocks, a magnafying glass to investigate bugs, flowers, etc. Make a bracelet of sticky tape, sticky side up, to collect seeds, leaves, small flowers that you can identify when you get home. Use a notebook to log animals or bugs seen, draw pictures of flowers and plants. Take a walk around the neighborhood or at a local park and look closely and identify the nature around you.
Cricket Thermometer: Using a watch with second hand, count the number of times a cricket chirps in one minute. Subtract 40 from this number and divide the answer by 4. Add 50. Check a thermometer and see how close your answer is to the outdoor temperature.
Ball in Cup Game: Hang three paper cups, using tape, off one side of a table so that the cup opening is level with the edge of the table. Put small prizes in each cup. The prizes can be stickers, candy, pencils, erasers, or coins. Give two players a paper towel roll and put a ping pong ball in front of each of them. The players have to gently blow the ball across the table, trying to get the ball into a cup. If the ball goes into a cup, the winner gets to choose a prize. If the ball goes over the side of the table without landing in a cup, that players turn is over. Keep taking turns and playing until all the prizes are gone.
Count the Beans: Use a large glass jar with a lid. Count out jelly beans and fill the jar with the beans. Each guest has to try to guess the amount of jelly beans in the jar. The person with the closest guess wins a prize.
Balloon Pop: Before blowing up balloons, put a piece of paper in some of them that gives the name of a prize. Everyone gets a chance to pop balloons and if they pop the balloon with a paper in it, they win the prize.
Trash Can Basketball: Using a small trashcan and a Nerf ball. Let the players throw the ball and see how many times they can make a “basket”.
Penny Toss: Using a checker board, let the players throw ten pennies. Give points for each penny that lands completely on a red square.
Penny Toss 2: Cut off the top third of a plastic milk jug, leaving the handle. Use it to play penny toss. Pick a spot to stand and see how many pennies out of a ten each player can get into the jug.
Penny Toss 3: Remove the top of an egg carton and mark the inside of the cups with numbers 1, 2, and 3. Each player takes a turn throwing the same number of pennies. Add up the score and the high score wins.
Scavenger Hunt: Hide clues around the house and/or yard that lead the players to the goodies at the end, whether it is the cake, goodie bags, or prizes. Or another option is to hide prizes such as pencils, candy, or other small prizes around for the players to find.