How to Make Your Own Pinecone Bird Feeder

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Every now and then I remember to do something crafty with the kids, just to feel virtuous once every few months and not too neglectful lol! This one is easy to do and good for nature too 🙂 I remember seeing this years ago on a children’s TV show – you need very few ingredients and the kids love it – good messy fun and caring for animals.

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If you are allergic to peanuts this is not the activity for you as peanut butter is the main ingredient however you can use lard), or if you are adverse to mess or gooey sticky hands again steer clear from this one! 😉

What you will need:

Pinecones
Peanut Butter (or lard)
Wild Bird Seed (I got this from Bin Inn $3 for a big bag)
String
Plates, Scissors, Spoon

Birdfeeder 1

Method

Chose a pinecone that has good openings in the body so you can smoosh lots of peanut butter amongst the gaps.

Tie a string securely around the stem of the pinecone – or if no stem – around the top openings.

Birdfeeder 2

Spread 1/2 to 1 cup of peanut butter onto a plate and half a cup to a cup of birdseed onto another plate, depending on how many you are making.

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Roll the pinecone in the peanut butter, using your hands to smoosh the peanut butter in the openings.

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Transfer the pinecone to the birdseed and roll around until completely covered in birdseed.

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Then ask the kids to put their hands in the air, touch nothing and make their way to the bathroom for a full de-peanutbuttering of their hands! 😉

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Find a suitable tree and securely tie the pinecone to the tree – choose somewhere the birds often like to come and ensure that you keep any cats away if you want the birds to survive their dinner!

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Then sit back and watch! Depending on the season it may take some time for the birds to come but this is a lovely treat for them during Autumn and Winter.

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Thanks for checking out this easy kids activity, let me know if you try it and see if you can get a photo of a bird having a snack – we will keep an eye out on ours for the next few days too.

Bird on the Birdfeeder!

Finally got a picture of a wee bird enjoying the pinecone – not clear but you get the idea! 🙂

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Hug your kids today.

Anna 🙂

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‘Frozen’ Snowflake Cookie Recipe – Yum!

Frozen Snowflake Cookies 2

For our recent Frozen Birthday Party I wanted cookies to fit the theme so snowflakes were perfect! A cutter from our local kitchen store was $4.99 and will be well used at Christmas each year also.

It is not easy finding a great cookie recipe to use shape cutters with, some are too crumbly, dry, and a pain to work with but this one works really well, it is a really tasty biscuit on its own at any thickness so could be used as a basic cookie or rolled out and used with any shape cookie cutter, it is lovely and buttery and crisp – like a nice shortbread.

You can have the cookie on its own, or with sugar sprinkled on top, with pretty icing, dipped in chocolate or sandwiched with jam or icing! 😀

The recipe is simple but you will need to make it in advance as it needs to be refrigerated for a few hours before it is hard enough to work with. Do not be alarmed when its first made as it is super soft and hard to imagine it will come together to use with a cookie cutter or hold its shape!

Frozen Snowflake Cookies 1

Ingredients

225g Unsalted Butter (I used normal and it was fine)
3/4 Cup White Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
2 Cups Flour

Method

Combine the butter and sugar together in food mixer until it is pale and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally and then mix the salt and vanilla well into this mixture.

Add the egg and beat well.

Slowly add the flour and mix until only just combined.

Place some plastic wrap or gladwrap on the bench and tip the mixture into this. You can either gently mould it into a flat ball shape if you wish to roll it out later for cookie cutters, or you can manipulate it into a roll in the wrap to later cut into 1 cm slices.

Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours to several hours if you wish to cut slices off it.

Once out of the fridge gently knead the dough and on a well floured surface roll out the dough to the desired thickness, we went quite thin but could also be thicker and just cooked longer. You may need to flour the rolling pin too to ensure nothing sticks.

Use the cookie cutter to cut the shape and gently transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cook at 160C for 13-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them from about 12 minutes on to ensure that they do not begin to brown at the edges, they should be pale golden underneath when done.

Cool on the tray for 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

For the Frozen Party Snowflake I added blue sugar crystals to the top for the icy effect before I baked them, you could add red or green for Christmas, or even add some food colouring to the recipe to make cookie shapes for whatever theme you need.

These were very popular at the party with kids and adults alike.

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Thanks for stopping by – I will be uploading more Frozen Themed Party Recipes and Ideas over the coming weeks so search above left for FROZEN.

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‘Frozen’ Coconut Ice

Frozen Movie Coconut Ice

We went a little Frozen crazy recently for my Daughters 4th birthday party! If you have been living in a cave it is the latest Disney Movie that is a huge hit with kids! Blue & White food was the theme and boy did I have fun Googling, brainstorming and going Pinterest crazy!

This is a modification of my usual coconut ice recipe to make it more Frozen like 🙂 This is the uncooked coconut ice, great for kids to make as it is not hot and can be handled straight away. So easy and looks really effective, you could alter the colour to suit any theme or party – red and green for Christmas, white and green for St Patrick’s, pink and pinker for Valentines etc etc.


Ingredients

3 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar
3 Cups Desiccated Coconut
1 tin Condensed Milk (400g)
1 tsp vanilla essence
Blue food colouring

Method

Combine the icing sugar, coconut, condensed milk and vanilla in a bowl and blend well. Once it begins to come together use your hands or a strong wooden spoon to kneed it until completely combined .

Frozen Coconut Ice 1

Take half the mixture into another bowl and add a few drops of blue food colouring until you get the desired colour, work quickly as it does begin to set.

Line a baking tin (I used a 25cm by 25cm tin) with baking paper, and spread the blue mixture evenly into the tray, press down with a damp hand to get it smooth and even.

Carefully dollop the white mixture over the blue and with the back of a spoon or your damp hand cover the blue evenly with mixture, ensuring the two colours do not mix.

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Once complete pop in the fridge to cool completely and set, this will take around an hour or two. I took it out of the fridge for 20 minutes before I sliced it into small squares, and pop back into the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Frozen Coconut Ice 3

I have lots more Frozen party ideas that I will pop up over the coming weeks, search Frozen in the side bar to see what else we came up with!

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If you like what you see follow my blog on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up your email above left to get the latest posts as I post them. Also check out my Sweet Treats or Kids Activities tab above for lots of great ideas to keep your household busy and happy.

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

 

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Table Hammocks – Simple Fun for Kids

Table Hammocks 4

After having the kids home sick all week I was desperate for something to keep them quiet but happy and came up with this! A new take on the usual sheet over the table tent – we created table hammocks! And it was so easy and they had hours of entertainment – simply using a queen sized sheet tied over the top of the table 🙂 (Turns out this is not an original idea – but it was to me ha ha – the joys of Google prove me wrong but happy to share my version :-))

(Please ensure that you take all practical steps to ensure safety for your little ones and do so at your own risk with constant supervision,  consider the child’s age, strength of your table, child’s understanding and size of your child before you set this up please- I cannot accept responsibility for you trying this at home)

What you need:

Queen sized sheet
Strong Sturdy Dining Table (a Must!)

How:

Simply take two opposite corners (on the diagonal) of the large sheet bring them up from underneath the table tie them on top of the table. We tied it width ways across our table (which is approx. 1.2m wide) You may want to try a few times to get the sheet the right height – high enough so they are off the ground – not too high so they are kissing the table! 😉 You will need to tie a tight strong double knot.

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Once you have the sheet tied to a suitable height, take your little one under the table and teach them how to hop in – bottoms first in the very centre of the hanging sheet – then gently lay back and lift their feet, after a few tries they will be away! Once they are in they can pull the sides of the sheet out a little to make a wider hammock if needed so their shoulders are supported – the other corners of the sheet make a comfy cover if they want to snuggle down in there and pull them over like a blanket.

When they are ready to get out – teach them to gently roll out and come out of the table on their hands and knees to ensure they do not bang their heads.

Table Hammocks 1

This is one of those activities that is so simple and easy BUT you need to use common sense. My table is very very strong solid wood – I know it would not collapse under their weight and I did not allow them to swing when they are in there so they did not bang their heads etc and also taught them the safe way to get in and out. I double knotted the sheets and checked it from time to time to make sure the knot was still strong.

So my 3 loved it – we started with only one hammock and quickly needed to accommodate all of them under there – they took in a wee table with some fruit on it, books, teddies and dollys, even the ipad was played on under there. It made a special place just for them – somewhere quiet they could be and create their own special world. We covered the whole table with a large sheet so it was cosy and snug in a little world made for 3.

And it saved my sanity on a sick day!

Table Hammocks 3

Feel free to ask any questions if you are not sure how to set it up = but try it a few times first and see how it goes – remember the opposite corners on a diagonal on the sheet.

Thanks for stopping by to check out this quick easy idea for kids – I have more under the Fun Kids Activities tab and lots and lots of yummy recipes too.

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Lolly Cake

Lolly Cake 3

Lolly Cake is a bit of a kiwi tradition, available in most cafes and very popular with the kids. I am not sure if there is an equivalent around the world so let me know in the comments below if you have something similar where you are from and how you make it 🙂

There are only a few ingredients and the lolly’s are called Fruit Puffs, you can get them at some supermarkets but they are also available at Bin Inn.

Ingredients

250 g malt biscuits (one packet)
120 g butter
200 g sweetened condensed milk
180 g of Fruit Puffs (you can easily substitute for other soft sweets)
100 g desiccated coconut

Lolly Cake 1

Method

Melt the butter in either the microwave or stove top and add condensed milk, mix together well.

Crush the biscuits in a food processor – they do not need to be a fine crumb – a few bigger bits adds to the texture and pour into a large bowl.

Cut the fruit puffs in half or quarters if you wanted smaller bits.

Lolly cake 2

Pour the butter mixture into the biscuits and mix well, add the fruit puffs and stir well.

Pour the mixture into a dish or onto the bench and using your hands mould it into a log like shape – you need to man handle it all pretty firmly as the fruit puffs tend to want to escape! (Alternatively you can press it into a slice pan and sprinkle with coconut, or even roll them into balls)

Once you have a log shape, roll in the coconut and using your hands cover the entire log with a light dusting of coconut.

Lolly Cake 4

Set back into a slice pan and refrigerate until set. Slice into 1.5cm pieces and you can either store in the fridge or in an airtight container. It will last up to 3 days at least.

Lolly Cake 7

I hope you enjoy this quick easy recipe that is a hit with kids and adults alike.

Feel free to have a good look around the blog for more recipes & fun kids activities and you can follow me by registering your email above, or check me out on Facebook & Twitter to get my latest recipes as I post them.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Coconut Ice Easter Eggs

Coconit Ice Easter Eggs 9

When I was thinking of what Easter Treat I could make this week I remembered making these when I was in school many years ago and thought I had to give them a go and I am really pleased with how they turned out!

I used an uncooked coconut ice recipe so it as really easy for the kids to make as well and easy to work with as it is cold.

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So here are my spin on a Coconut Ice Easter Egg, complete with a yellow yolk and chocolate coating.

Please note – I halved this recipe today – it made 10 eggs reasonable sized eggs, if you are making this whole amount you will need to use a larger tray to place eggs on.  You could easily make them smaller too so the recipe will go further 🙂

Ingredients

3 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar
3 Cups Desiccated Coconut
1 tin Condensed Milk (400g)
1 tsp vanilla essence
Yellow food colouring
Chocolate for Coating – Milk or Dark & White for the fancy schmancy decoration
(Optional – white chocolate powdered colours)

Coconut Ice Easter Eggs 1

Method

Combine the icing sugar, coconut, condensed milk and vanilla in a bowl and blend well. Once it begins to come together use your hands to kneed it until completely combined.

Take 1/4 of the mixture and pop this into a separate bowl and add a few drops of yellow food colouring. I also mixed this with my hands but be prepared for your skin to go a little yellow too! 🙂

Coconut Ice Easter Eggs 2

Take a teaspoon sized piece of yellow coconut ice and roll it into a ball, repeat with remaining mixture.

Coconut Ice Easter Eggs 3

Take a large tablespoon sized piece of the white coconut ice and pat it flat in your hand and pop the yellow ball inside. Gently mould the white around the yellow and once all covered in gently roll it in your hands until you get a round ball – then gently squeeze the ball to make it more egg shaped.

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Pop the completed eggs on some greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 10-20 minutes until set.

Melt 200g of Milk or Dark Chocolate (I used Whittakers Creamy Milk – yum!) in the microwave in 20 second bursts until the chocolate has completely melted.

Drop the egg into the chocolate mixture and using a spoon turn the egg to completely cover with chocolate. Using the spoon carefully lift the mixture and hold it over the melted chocolate until most of the drips come off then lay it on the greaseproof paper. It does not look flash but that is why I am Just a Mum and not a professional chocolatier! 😉

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Pop the chocolate covered eggs back in the fridge. They look great just as they are and would make any person old or young happy just like that. But if you want to make them look a little more festive, melt 50-100g of white chocolate in the microwave in 20 second bursts until completely melted.

Using a teaspoon take a scoop of the chocolate and hold it about 30 cm above the eggs and begin to quickly flick the spoon back and forth – with a bit of luck, it will leave strings of chocolate across the eggs! If not it will leave large blobs of chocolate and a bit of swearing but that is fine too as really we are not planning on winning awards with our Easter Eggs!

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Chill the Eggs until you are ready to serve – the chocolate will not keep for long outside the fridge so store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you need them. How cool do they look!

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I have in my stores the proper white chocolate powdered colouring, I highly recommend it as it was quite reasonably priced (bought from Trade Me) and has lasted for ages as you use so little. You cannot colour white chocolate with regular liquid food colouring as it will spoil the chocolate.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my Coconut Ice Easter Eggs – I would love to hear from anyone who has made these before and if these are how they remember doing them.

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Feel free to have a good look around the blog for more recipes & fun kids activities and you can follow me by registering your email above, or check me out on Facebook & Twitter to get my latest recipes as I post them.

Coconut Ice Easter Eggs 8

Happy Easter! 😀

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Easter Nests

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This is such a simple recipe and a super easy Easter Treat! Only a few ingredients and the result is a lovely rich dark chocolate nest complete with mini Easter Eggs. This would be a great recipe to make up with school children at Easter time too 🙂

I have used cornflakes today but shredded wheat is also a popular option however it is not easy to come by in New Zealand. Simply use the same quantities if you replace it – break it up into little pieces so it resembles twigs in a nest a little more than cornflakes do!

Makes 10 Nests

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Ingredients

110g dark chocolate
2 TBSP Golden Syrup
50g butter
80g cornflakes
30 mini Easter eggs

Easter Nests 3

Method

Prepare a muffin tray with cupcake cases – I used some large old ones I had as you will not need them to display the nests.

Add the dark chocolate, golden syrup and butter to a saucepan and melt over a low heat until completely combined and chocolate melted.

Easter Baskets 1

Add the cornflakes to the chocolate mixture and gently combine – it can take a minute or so to completely cover the cornflakes in chocolate.

Add a large tablespoon full of cornflakes to the cupcake case, create a nest shape as best you can by gently pressing down the centre of the mixture with the back of a teaspoon.

Easter Nests 2
If you would like the eggs to stick to the nest then put them in now – alternatively leave it until they are set.

Refrigerate the nests until completely cooled, approx. 1 hour, carefully peel cupcake cases from the nests, add 3 eggs per nest and serve! Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Easter Nests 4

Thank you for stopping by to check out this cute Easter Recipe – have a wander around the blog while you are here – lots of Sweet Treats to tempt the baker in you.

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Happy Easter 🙂

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