Pine Cone Bird Feeder

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With daylight savings officially upon us and darker, colder days here to stay, we’re thinking about the winter to come… and in particular, helping out our feathered friends.

On our latest nature walk, we selected three large pinecones for the project. Travis was very curious to see how we would turn them into bird feeders!

First we needed to smear them with peanut butter, a gooey and fun step.

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To cover the pine cones with bird seed, we filled the bottom of a paper bag with the seeds, added our pine cones, and then shook the bag.

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The shaking was arguably the best part of the project!

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And of course, leftover seeds are fun to play with.

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Ideally, we’d have a tree or bush to hang the feeders from, but the best I could do was to hang them from the bicycle handles on our patio. We can’t wait to see if any feathered friends visit for a nibble!

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Zucchini “Pizza”

Zucchini Pizza

These adorable individually-topped zucchini slices make either a great snack or a hearty side dish at dinner time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup Kite Hill ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • Tomato slices
  1. Cut the zucchini into 3/4-inch thick rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the ricotta, olive oil, and herbs; blend until combined.
  3. Top each zucchini slice with a heaping teaspoonful of the ricotta mixture. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  4. Top with thinly sliced tomato to serve.

Leafy Linens

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This lovely fall project would make a beautiful decoration for a Thanksgiving table, or a perfect gift for school teachers around the holidays.

The first step (as with so many of our autumnal projects it seems!) was to bring home a few treasures from a walk in the park. Look for a variety of leaf shapes, ideally flat and still quite fresh and sturdy.

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Set out the leaves, along with a foam paint brush and fabric paint – don’t use tempera paint here, since the linens will go through the wash. I gave Travis a selection of seasonable colors, such as red, green, and gold. Use neutral-colored napkins if you plan these for a holiday table. We chose to make ours onto white handkerchiefs, which will make great table centerpieces or gifts.

Paint a leaf with a foam paintbrush, ensuring you have a nice, even layer.

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Place the leaf, paint side down, on the fabric, and roll over it with a brayer or old rolling pin. This new tool was Travis’s favorite part of the project, and he eagerly rolled over each leaf.

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Carefully lift up the leaf for the big reveal – neato!

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Repeat with different leaf shapes and colors until your fabric is filled.

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Towards the end, our prints got a bit messy as the brayer itself was coated in paint, so you may want to give yours a wash or two as your work. Travis didn’t mind though, and loved mixing our paint shades.

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We plan to give these to his preschool teachers as the holidays approach!

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