Friday, June 15, 2012

Nostalgia Inspired, my Son and I Made a Pinecone Bird Feeder

Nostalgia set in the other day and I felt an overwhelming urge to make a pinecone bird feeder with my son.

I'm not even sure where this yearning came from. Did I make a pinecone bird feeder with my mom when I was young? Or am I reminiscing something I saw on TV or read in a book?

No matter because I was going to make sure my son had his own memory of crafting a pinecone bird feeder to recall.

In my whimsical memory, I saw peanut butter and wild bird seed. But, somewhere along the way, I thought I had read that peanut butter is bad for birds. So, being the researcher I am, I googled this question. On the Massachusetts Audubon Society page, I found the go-ahead I was hoping to find. While there is concern that a large amount of straight peanut butter might cause a choking hazard to birds, mixing it with suet or seeds is perfectly acceptable.

So, my son and I went on a nature hike, to my mom's front yard, and found two perfectly imperfect dry pinecones (you'll want to find dry ones because they are open and provide many little crannies for the peanut butter and bird seed). Once I gathered all the ingredients, we set up shop on the back patio to create our pinecone bird feeders.
Ingredients for our pinecone bird feeders
First, we spread peanut butter (I thought it best to go with Trader Joe's organic peanut butter) between as many of the apophysis as possible; apophysis being the technical term for the little arm-like protrusions on a pinecone.

Spreading the peanut butter
During this first step, my son realized, "Hey, this is peanut butter!"...


...and, I lost him!

While he ate the peanut butter, I coaxed him into rolling the pinecone around in the bird seed...

Step Two: Roll the peanut butter-coated pinecone in bird seed
...but, he quickly went back to eating peanut butter...


...leaving me to finish making our second pinecone bird feeder!

Upon completing both feeders, I bribed my peanut-butter gorged son (with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch) into posing for a couple of pictures...
Our finished product
...and then I realized I had no way of hanging our beautiful creations up for the birds to perch on!

(rummage...rummage...rummage)

I found some bright and cheery ribbon in my mom's craft supplies and, voila...

Tie your pinecone bird feeder to a pretty ribbon
We thought hanging them from a tree would be ideal, until someone pointed out the possibility of tree rats :-(

A feast for the birds or tree rats!
After much deliberating and exploring, we settled on the perfect spot for our pinecone bird feeders...


...easy access for the birds and within view of the back patio!

Find unique ways to show-off your beautiful creation
Don't worry, this bird cage is just for looks! We aren't intending on catching any :-)
Now, we get to sit on our back patio and watch the birdies enjoy the "fruits of our labor".
And, I now have an actual memory of making a pinecone bird feeder; one that I shared with my son...


...though, I'm quite sure his recollection of this day will be of the peanut
butter :-)

Do you have any fun outdoor crafts you and your children make together? I would love to hear from you...

Friday, June 8, 2012

How Making Pizza Gave me more Quality Time with my Son

Pizza Dinner Compliments of my Son
As a single mom, with an insurmountable amount of things to do each day, I often find myself torn between spending more quality time with my son and checking chores off my “to-do-list”! Worse still, with my son’s nap time becoming increasingly shorter, I am finding more accumulation on that ever-present “to-do-list”. To put it bluntly, some days I feel like I am mothering my “to-do-list” more than my toddler.

Instinctively, I know that quality time spent with my child affords many benefits to his emotional, psychological and physical growth and development. So, one day, while sitting on the edge of our bed watching my son sleep and realizing I couldn’t recall one moment of unshared time with him that day, I decided to make that my priority! I sat up that night and brainstormed ways I could still get things done but bring in more one-on-one time with my son, and in a moment of clarity, it came to me…chores!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Educating Esme: An A-typical book review


Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year

I have often wondered if a simple, personal journal could be published as a memoir; I mean in its original state of being a journal, would there be enough interest and relativity to make people want to buy it? 
Well, my answer came in the form of one such memoir, "Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year".

Esme Raji Codell shared with the world what most of us would deem too personal, too revealing, and maybe a tad inappropriate to share beyond our tight circle of friends.  In her journalistic style memoir, "Educating Esme", Codell takes us along with her as she elegantly stumbles through hir first year of teaching in an inner-city Chicago public school.