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Archive for March, 2015

March has come in like a lion with a huge snowstorm bringing more than a foot of snow, and now the spring thaw has begun 10 days into the month.  Rain has been pouring down all day, the yard is flooded as the earth cannot swallow up the water fast enough.

We put a new bird feeder up on the outside of our living room window, during the snow storm.  It has been such a treat to watch woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays and all the pretty birds that cohabitate in our yard, but a little more up close and personal.  We have always been avid bird watchers, journaling about what we see, blogging about what we observe and pondering over their cycle with the seasons.

Little Eagle has a big birthday coming up.  He is hitting the double digits.  We were so inspired by our bird friends that we decided to make bird seed ornaments as birthday favors.  Little Eagle will give them out to friends at church, and cousins. We are not having a formal birthday party with his friends this year, because he had a big one last year.  We decided as a family that each child gets to rotate having a big party.  Each child gets a big party once every two years, until Cedar is older, then it will be every three years to include him.  The amount of money, planning and time is taken into account, otherwise we gather as a family.

I got a recipe for bird seed ornaments off of Pinterest.  There are many more recipes to choose from, if this one doesn’t suit you.

3/4 cup flour
1 pack of gelatin
3 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4 cups of bird seed

Make sure you spray the cookie cutters with cooking spray.  This is imperative. I did a test batch and basically ruined the shapes, because they did not pop out of the cutter easily.  Then I laid them out on wax paper on a cookie sheet.  The recipe makes about 8 ornaments.  So far I have made 17 successful ornaments. The rest I will use here at the house.

Mixing up bird seed for ornaments

When it was all mixed together I packed a handfull into the cutter and pressed from both sides filling it all in.  Then I placed it on the wax paper and pressed the top down.  With the test batch I used a straw to make holes in the ornaments for string, but decided not to do that with the other batches.  I will take embroider floss or hemp and just wrap them to hang.
ornament molds and curing
Here is a picture of the ornaments curing.  The shamrock is delicate and won’t make it, so I added it to our home stash.  The Easter egg, bunny, butterfly, flower and star works out.  If you are in a pinch use ball jar lids!

To make tags I used a unique paint brush and made a pretty design on watercolor paper, both sides.  Next I cut out shapes, punched holes and wrote “Little Eagle turns 10!”  This will slide right on the string to hang them.

This craft takes a little planning and doing, very little money and it is a great sensory experience packing the cookie cutters with bird seed.  You get to take a sneek peak early, because this mama has to plan with all the busyness of spring. Enjoy.

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The irony is we haven’t officially begun Fourth Grade, until Easter.  We school year round and begin anew with the Spring.  But leave it to my oldest child to speed ahead and be inspired.  As we wrapped up the Third Grade year with review and making sure our Main Lessons Books were looking good, I would talk with Little Eagle about Norse Myths and the Vikings.  He knew I was studying and preparing to teach him.  I did tell him that upon meditation I would like for him to spend some time in the wood shop with dad creating tools.  I knew he was interested in tool-making, so it makes sense to gear it toward the Vikings and Norse Mythology, right!

Little did I know my husband also thought it was time that one boy came with him, on a weekday.  Each week the older two boys will take turns in the shop on a business day.  This means they will get to spend time one-on-one making things. They may also run errands with Papa to one of our many clients, or interior designers. Otherwise, it is a chance to spend time with dad in the shop creating.

The first project Little Eagle did was an upcycled knife, with a wooden handle. He did the research and wood burned a Viking style W on the handle.  The wood is purple heart, with a grapeseed oil finish, and a wood plug holding the metal and wood together.  He also put together a killer Viking axe, all wood.  I had to wait until the next day to see it, because he left it at the shop overnight, so the glue could dry.  Here it is.  I think Fourth Grade might be A LITTLE fun.  I’ll keep you informed.

Viking Axe

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Hi friends and family!  We made it to the Maple Syrup Festival.  The first day was a bit icy, slushy and a little muddy, but all in all fun.  We always break out long johns and mud or snow boots and go with it.  February is known for its cabin fever frenzy in the homschool world, so we embrace this little festival as a means for breaking free from the fever.  Aside from a couple big jugs of Maple Syrup (grade A and B), as gifts from The Gramps, we took home this lovely log slice, with a maple leaf branded on the side.  It makes a beautiful addition to our seasonal nature table.

Woodburned Maple LeafUpon arriving at the festival our boys were all excited about perusing the tents and buildings, so they could wonder over any knives that fit their budget.  They left with a few treasures in their pockets, spent with saved money.  After we shopped for a bit we headed to the main syrup processing building, where we ate lunch. Thankfully, there was a large table open for all of us, four adults, and three children. Any child under 5 eats pancakes or waffles free, so Little Bear gobbled up his fair share.  Here is the view from our table below.

IMG_6030It was so nice seeing familiar faces. Parents, Grandparents and little ones.  We cross cut sawed the log above. There were hatchets to throw.  Maybe we missed it before, but they had a fantastic old-fashioned merry go round, made of one large log, upright in the middle, seats and ropes.  Two young men pushed the children sitting in the seats, as the rope twisted around and round the middle upright log. Then, as they were let go, the seats whirled gracefully around.  Amish people gave rides on their lovely wagons and beautiful horses. Homemade wine samples. Woven rugs for sale.  Hand thrown pottery.  Teas and coffees.  And a little music with fiddles, banjos and guitars.  Plenty to do!

color books and activity booksJust before we left I noticed books were 75% off, so for $1 a piece I bought each of my big boys a coloring book and activity book.  Little Fox loves doing mazes, and brain gym games, as well as coloring, so this was perfect.  Little Eagle, the oldest said he wasn’t interested in them, so I will just save them for Little Bear in a few years.  The website www.lmsugarbush.com has curriculum for homeschoolers, so check out the link. Here is a link to free coloring pages.

We plan to use our syrup wisely this year, so that we don’t run out months in advance.  Do you think we will use up a gallon?  It is definitely possible if we cook with it And eat it on pancakes and waffles.  Thanks for joining me here on my blog. I want to leave you with a picture of my husband and I.  It is special for me to get a picture with him, as we both work so hard and take care of the kids, so getting in a picture together is rare.  Mwah Papa Bear!

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