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Hi! My name is Chris, and I'm writing this blog to share my passion...nature!
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Monday, January 31, 2011

Feed the birds with this fun and easy activity!

One day last week when it was just too cold to think about going outside to play, my son and I made these fun birdseed cookie treats.  They are easy to make and will provide your backyard birds with a tasty and nutritious snack to help keep up their strength during the cold winter months.

To make the cookies, you will need:

2 C flour (use wheat flour if you have it)
½ tsp. baking powder
C vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
2 eggs (if you want, you can blend the eggs with shells in a blender and add it to the mix)
¼ C water
¾ C birdseed (a mix with small seeds in it works best)
Cookie cutter
Yarn or twine for hanging the cookie (about 8”)

Mix the first 6 ingredients together. I put the shortening in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it first (it made it easier to mix into the dry ingredients). Form dough into a ball and then roll out to ¼” thickness. Cut into shapes with the cookie cutter. Lay the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using a toothpick or the end of a paperclip, poke a hold through the top of each cookie (I made a small circle using the toothpick to make the hole a little larger and to make sure it didn’t close up during baking as the dough expanded). Bake them at 325 degrees F for about 14 minutes or until cookies are hard. Remove them from the oven to cool. String a length of yarn or twine through the hole and tie to make a hanger.

Follow my blog to always have fun and easy nature activities in your back pocket!

Thanks for reading!

Check out my last blog post for more fun and easy winter activities..

If you’re looking for other fun activities to do in the winter, visit the post “The Wonder of Winter. 8 ways you can connect with nature in winter."

Please feel free to leave me comments!
Have a great idea that I didn't include?
Suggestions for future post topics?
Just let me know in the “comments” section, thanks!

To reference this post directly, use this link.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

5 Fun & Simple Winter Activities!

Whether you’re looking for something fun to do inside or out, these activities will boost the winter blahs.

Paint the snow!
Fill a re-usable spray bottle with water and 3-4 drops of food coloring. Make a few different colors and head outside to paint in the snow!

Make easy paper snowflakes

Take a dessert plate or large round soup bowl and turn it upside down onto a sheet of white paper to trace it. Cut out the circle and fold it in half. Fold it in half at least one or two more times. Cut out different notches and unfold to see your creation.

For inspiration check out the book The Art of the Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht…a photographic journey into the tiny world of the snowflake. It showcases hundreds of beautiful snowflakes images.

You can also try making your own virtual snowflake at Make-a-Flake. Click on “make your own snowflake”, wield the virtual scissors and you’re on your way!

Turn your tried-and-true games into winter versions.

Think winter pictionary (where players draw winter themed things like sleds or ice skates), pin the carrot nose (or top hat) on frosty, or winter charades (select books or movies with a winter theme).

You can also make your own winter word search. There are many different sites online to help you do this, but I found this one to be quite easy to use. Just enter as many search words as you’d like (like winter, boots, snow and ice), hit “create page” and your word search is instantly created. Just print it off and you’re all set.

Try a new winter sport.

Think ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, ice skating, winter hiking or camping. You can also call or check the web site for your local Nature Center to see if they have any winter activities scheduled. Most are pretty reasonably priced and have programs that include nature themed arts and crafts for the kids. Visit your states Department of Natural Resources web site to get ideas on where to go in your area.

If you have just a little spare time, pack up the sleds and go to a local park with a good sized hill. Or look for a ski hill in your area that caters to sledding for a more high-flying adventure.

You can also try winter Letterboxing. Snow will add a fun, new challenge to this sport that’s known to be a combination of treasure hunt, navigation and exploration. Take a look at my previous post on Letterboxing if you're not familiar with it.

Enjoy these Marshmallow Candy Treats

After being out in the cold, head inside to warm up and enjoy something sweet. You can spruce up your hot chocolate with these, or enjoy them on their own. Here’s how to make this yummy sweet treat.

Melt some chocolate chips, candy melts, chocolate bars or confectionery coating in the microwave, stirring often. Dip marshmallows ¾ of the way into the melted candy coating. (If you have some craft sticks, insert one into each marshmallow first, then dip). You can then dip them in sprinkles or nuts if you’d like. Place them onto a plate (chocolate side up) to let them harden, or place them in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to speed up the process. These are also a great addition to hot chocolate. Just stir one into a warm cup of cocoa for an extra special treat.

If you’re looking for other fun activities to do in the winter, visit the post “The Wonder of Winter. 8 ways you can connect with nature in winter."

Stay warm everyone! And have fun trying something new this winter!

Follow my blog and you’ll always have fun and easy activities in your back pocket!

Please feel free to leave me comments!

Have a great idea that I didn't include? Suggestions for future post topics?

Just let me know in the “comments” section. Thanks!

To reference this post directly, use this link.