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

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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.

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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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Make your Own Glitter!

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Kids love making up homemade versions of every day things – and this homemade glitter is so easy to make with just 2 simple ingredients!

We have gone green today as St Patrick’s Day is coming up but you can make any colour of the rainbow and more, mixing and blending colours until you get the perfect shade.

What you will need:

Epsom Salts (ordinary salt will do but Epsom Salts shimmer and are a cool texture)
Food Colouring
Small Sealable Bags
Containers or Bags to store the finished glitter

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Method

Add the desired portion of salt to the sealable bag and add a few drops of food colouring – seal the bag then mix, shake, blend and add more colouring if desired. We made a green one, dark green and a green mixed with yellow one – this vibrant goldie green is my favourite green at the moment – perfect for St Patrick’s Day!

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Once the salt & colouring are completely blended open the bags and air dry them – this may take any where from a few hours to up to a day depending on the amount of salt & colouring you have used.

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Once dry pop them in a container or air tight bags and use for any number of fun sparkly creations!

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How easy is that?

Thanks for stopping by today – check us out on Facebook for more fun kids activities & lots of yummy recipes.
http://www.facebook.com/justamumnz or we are on Twitter @justamumnz. I post something several times a week so there is plenty to see.

Have a fabulous day! 😀

Gorgeous Baby Gift – Nappy Bike Tutorial

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I am so delighted that my guest blogger Lee-Anne from New Zealand has offered to share a tutorial of her very clever creations – Nappy Bikes or Diaper Bikes depending where in the world you are. Check it out – just HOW cute they are! Imagine walking into a baby shower with this – you would be the talk of the day.

Lee-Anne has prepared step by step instructions for you to be able to make these amazing gifts yourself for your friends and family.

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Items you will need:

• 48 nappies/diapers (I like to use the Budget brand as they are plain white and don’t clash with the overall look of the bike! They are also the nappy I have used for my 4 babies and I think they are good quality. Keeps the costs of the gift down too. Medium size 6-11kg. I find that the newborn size don’t roll as well and most babies don’t stay long in that size)
• 2 bibs or burp cloths with cute designs on the front
• 2 muslin wraps/swaddling cloths
• A pair of socks for on the handlebars
• A sippy cup with handles
• A teddybear or similar (you could buy a newborn outfit and dress the bear if you wanted to add more to the gift)
• Rubber bands
• Till paper roll (I don’t know what it is called – the paper you put in the cash register!)
• Cellotape and double sided sticky squares
• Curling ribbon and ribbons/trims to use for decoration
• Fake Flowers
• Cellophane for wrapping

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Method

Begin by rolling each nappy starting at the patterned front band so that the gathered back is on the outside of the roll and secure with a rubberband. When you get half way, pull on the end to straighten the nappy out a bit so it rolls easier. For the two back wheels you will need 14 nappies each wheel and for the larger front wheel, you will need 20.

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Start by putting a big rubberband around 7 nappies (one in the middle and 6 around the outside). Then slot the rest in going around in a circle – leaving one out. Tie tightly with curling ribbon. Turn the nappies so that the fronts are neat on the outside of the wheel. Squash the last nappy in after you have tied tightly – this increases stability.

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Measure the till roll paper around your wheels and cut three strips. Decorate the paper with ribbon, sticking on with double sided tape or glue. Place the strips around the wheels – securing the join with a thick piece of cellotape.

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Now you are ready to decorate your bike! I always like this part the best! Roll the muslin wraps along the length and secure each end with a rubberband.

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Take your big front wheel and thread one wrap through the wheel. Thread the handles of the sippy cup through the wraps and secure with a rubberband.

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Adjust the ‘handlebars’ so that they are pointing flat as they should and cover the rubberband with a bow of ribbon (or a flower or some other decoration).

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Tuck one of the bibs in over the wheel under the cup. You can stick a bit of cellotape under it to hold it if you want. Lastly, arrange a sock on each of the handlebars. Next one I make I am going to attach shiny coloured ribbons to the ends – it reminds me of a tri-cycle that I had when I was little!

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A similar thing happens with the back wheels. Take a piece of cardboard kitchen towel tube or similar and cover it with a piece of your wide ribbon. Use it to keep the back wheels separated. Thread the wrap through the wheels and then attach and tuck under the front wheel.

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Make the seat out of the second bib, securing on each wheel with some tape. Pop the teddy on top and you are done!

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I put it on a cakeboard before I wrap up for stability and then finish with cellophane, curling ribbon and a flower.

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How amazing is that Just a Mum readers!!! Everything included in the bike is practical for a new Mum whether it is baby number one or six! I would have been delighted to receive this when I had my babies. I imagine it would be hard to use the stuff that’s in it – so that is another good reason to buy the next size up from newborn nappies so they can enjoy looking at it for a bit longer.

The colour scheme is totally up to you, pink, blue, yellow or green, it would look gorgeous in any shade so even if you do not know the sex of the baby this is such a lovely gift idea.

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Thanks so much to Lee-Anne for sharing this tutorial with us, if only I was having another baby one day!

For more fun activities for kids and lovely recipes please follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/justamumnz and I am also on Twitter @justamumnz.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day! 😀

Buttercream Icing Recipe – Step by Step

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I thought I would share a more step by step process for making buttercream icing – there are many recipes out there but there are a few tips & tricks that make it easier and once you have made it a few times it’s easy to get the hang of!

Disclaimer – I am Just a Mum! I am no expert and have learnt what I know from making my kids birthday cakes not culinary school! There are plenty of other experts around for you to look at, this is just my take on it! 😉

When I was making sure my recipe was the same as others out there I noticed that there are many variations to quantities, so this is my recipe I have always used but the processes are the same regardless of what amounts you prefer.

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I used standard butter here but I often use vegetable shortening from our local kitchen store Chef’s Complements if I need the icing to be pure white as our butter here in NZ means the icing still retains a creamy/yellowy colour at best.

The first tip is that you will need either an electric hand beater, food processor or food mixer for best results. You need to really whip the butter to get it creamy and pale and its near impossible to do it by hand.

Ingredients

125g softened butter
1 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar (you are supposed to sift I never do!)
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla
Food Colouring

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I recommend using the best icing sugar you can find – some brands are definitely better than others and will effect the outcome. Also you use imitation vanilla essence but you will need to use more for flavour than a quality vanilla. Taste as you go for the flavour you prefer.

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Soften the butter in the microwave in short bursts to get it to just softened stage, not melted, 10 seconds at a time.

Add the butter to a large bowl and begin to blend on high until it begins to go pale and creamy – approx. 2-5 minutes

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Add half of your icing sugar and mix well again for at least 60 seconds – I find by adding this first portion of icing sugar and mixing it allows me to get a paler colour as the mixing blades have more to work with.

Add the last measure of icing sugar, milk, vanilla and food colouring. I doubled the recipe today so I added the icing sugar in 3 stages, adding milk to the last two stages. Continue to add food colouring a few drops at a time until you get the desired colour. Try not to overmix too much once all ingredients are together to avoid overly aerated icing.

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Once the colour and consistency is right prepare your piping bag.

There are so many piping bag sets available, you can buy them for only a few dollars to more expensive brands, and even reusable ones are available at supermarkets – with a bit of practise I find it’s easier to pipe decorations onto a cake than it is to try and get smooth icing!

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I usually use a plate to practise on before I ice onto the cake – this allows me time to get the feel of how to hold the bag – and also make sure I am happy with the tip I am using, try out a few different ones to see which one you like the best. Today I wanted to try something I have not done before with my Magical Orange Cake, I see all the errors but really I am sure it looks ok! Icing is pretty forgiving and you can always scrape bits off or just do your best and no one will be the wiser.

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When icing with a piping bag make sure you twist the top tightly and that no air is trapped in the bag and that you have a firm grip on the bag itself – there are lots of tutorials on YouTube for easy fancy ways to decorate so check them out!

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If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask and I will see if I can help.

I hope you have enjoyed this Just a Mum ‘How To’ – icing kids cakes is such a simple way to delight them on special occasions.

Thanks for checking out my recipe today – you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter for more recipes & fun kids activities. Invite your friends along too!

Have a great day and happy icing! 🙂

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Make your Own – Sponge Water Bombs!

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I have seen this idea in lots of places on Facebook and thought what a great idea! Who doesn’t love a water fight in summer – but water bombs take sooooo long to fill, are fiddly and the fun is often over quite quick! And THEN you are left with hundreds of little pieces of balloon everywhere that you are still finding months later!

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Well this idea will stop that forever! Within minutes of me finishing these and filling a few buckets all 3 kids (and not long later my husband) were all outside – each with their own bucket having an epic water fight……our poor neighbours….. te he he! The best bit was they could carry on for ages, never ran out, there is no mess, they were soft so no tears, and the bombs can be set aside for the next time – have I convinced you yet???

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The ingredients are simple – all you need is budget kitchen sponges, rubber bands and scissors! I have seen people use string, fishing line, even cable ties – but our very old seen-better-days rubber bands did the job perfectly and makes these so easy to assemble!

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I cut my sponges widthways into approx. 15mm pieces (rough guess no perfect measuring here!) then in order for the colours to mix well I set them up in a pattern.

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Then you wind the rubber band around the middle – aiming to tightly wind the band around until it is tight as you can get it – the sponge pieces will then form into a ball – you may need to adjust the pieces to get them into ball shape.

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Then go ahead and make lots more – I used the budget brand so this whole game would have cost around $8 for all the sponges I purchased – cheap fun that you can use again!

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Then – and this is the important part – you fill a few buckets of water and place them several metres apart – then call the kids and watch the wet fun squealing madness! So perfect for a hot day.

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I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine did 😀

You can find me on Facebook for more recipes, fun kids ideas and random Mum stuff. I post several new ideas a week.

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