“Easy Peazy” Heart Birdfeeders

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These are so easy to make, “Easy Peazy!” This is a great indoor craft for the kids and the birds love it too. One of our favorite family pastimes is birdwatching. These bird feeders are a great way to say “I love you to our feathered friends”.

My son loves to say “Mom … Mom … there is a Blue Bird” and my daughter loves the red Cardinals, (she has such a sweet way of saying it!)   Mom prefers the tapping of a Woodpecker and the little chickadees. If you want to spread some love to your birdies and have some fun with the kiddlets why not try these easy home-made heart bird feeders for Valentines.

(Supplies)

 Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter 
 Bag of Birdseed 
 Straws
 Twine
 Knox gelatin  
 Large mixing Bowl
 

(Directions)

Take a large mixing bowl and measure 4 cups of bird seed, (we used wild bird seed mixture).  Add 3 packages of small Knox gelatin mix, stirring in 2 cups of boiling water for about 2 minutes. (we used a bit more water than the package calls for).  “My motto is “More is always better”.  Grease cookie cutter with a non-stick spray.   We used a non-stick pan of 6 heart shapes, still spraying the inside of the pan with the non-stick spray, (we found this at our local grocery store).   Spoon and press into molds.  If you have a single heart-shaped mold (use a piece of foil on the back of it, and spray with non-stick spray).   

Use spoon to smooth top of the filled cookie cutters to flatten. Poke in little holes at top of each heart with straws and put into hearts. We cut the straws in half.   Put in your freezer or outside if cold,  (we used the freezer for 2 or 3 hours),  this allows for a faster hardening process. 

Carefully take out the hearts (we used a knife to start the edge of the cookie cutter.  If straw is not all the way through hole, gently push it to the other side of heart.  Put a piece of twine in the hole.  We started with the hard side of heart to get it through the hole easier.  Use  a big enough piece of twine to tie at top and hang outside.

This recipe makes about 12 small hearts.  Place on trees and watch the birds and kids delight in their new heart feeders.   If you don’t want to put them all out at once, we suggest storing the leftovers in the Freezer in a container as this keeps them hard.  Volia – How hard was that – “Easy Peazy!”

Talk soon ~

Nancy

Who Doesn’t Like A Fruit Kabob?

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Want to be the “Hit of the Party?”  Come on ….. who doesn’t want to feel like Martha Stewart some of the time!  Taking these crowd pleasers  to the party they ask “Did you make these?”  You can proudly answer “Yes I did”. What is so hard about a fruit kabob you ask? It is so simply – it is easy peazy!

Having the all the ingredients is key. Browsing the grocery store this week I eyed those wooden skewers sitting on the shelf. They seemed to jump into the cart without a second glance. With all of the fruit in season, it is smooth sailing.

 Ingredients:  Strawberries, Kiwi, Grapes, Oranges, & Wooden Skewers (use any of your favorite fruits)

(You could jazz it up with 2 Bonus Items) Cheese Cubes & Fruit Dip!

How do you do it?

Wash and cut all fruit – remember to keep them chunky for the sticks. Start sticking – being careful to slide them on slowly.  Cut the wooden sticks in half if you want a smaller version or if they fit on your platter nicer.   Remember Kiddies love to help in the kitchen. This is a great little project to do with the kiddies when you are attending your family or friend party  this summer! 

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Fruit Dip Recipe: 8 oz. Creme Cheese 1/2 Cup marshmallow creme 2 Cups Frozen Whipped Topping 1/4 Unsweetened Pineapple Juice

(Mixy – Mixy and you are done.  Chill for 1 hour and arrange the skewers on a fancy platter with your dip in the middle).

 

 Chillax  –  SUMMER IS FINALLY HERE – Martha would be proud!

 

Talk soon ~

Nancy

Waiting for Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

They call it Liquid Gold” April is the month to celebrate everything Maple Syrup.   April 5th, 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Local Elmira Syrup Festival, and yes it is snowing!  In 2000 it set the Guiness World Records for the Largest 1 Day Maple Syrup Festival in the World, with 66, 529 people attending.

I remember going to the Festival with my Grandmother and brother on several occasions when we were young.  Oh those pancakes…… slathered with the rich tasty Ontario maple syrup.  Memories of walking along the closed off streets and sitting in the sunshine with thousands of people eating lots and lots of pancakes with maple syrup, butter and whipped cream.  Often it would be one of the first nice sunny days of the spring.

Or it would be like today,  “old man winter” still showing his face with the wind howling and huddling in a tent shivering eating the pancakes you waited an hour for in line.  I remember another time going to Elmira with my crazy neighbours, Patrick & Kevin with “My Matt” (pre-kiddlets days) .  Lots of giggling while we drove in the snow storm to eat pancakes with those big crowds.

Yesterday I was lunching with my friend Wes and casually mentioned I had been to a Maple Syrup Bush this week, with my daughter’s class.  I shared with him I had always wanted to ‘tap my own trees”.  Phone in hand, he quickly dialed the nearest Maple Syrup Making Town hardware store in St. Jacob’s.  Yes they had some supplies available.  It would only take 10 minutes from Waterloo, I was in luck!

I was told by the “sugar shack man” on the class trip the weather had delayed the season and they had just began to make the sryup.  He had only made the first batch that day.  I was confident there was still hope to tap some trees and hang buckets, perfect weather with cold nights and sunny days.

I always seem to do things last minute.  I guess I am not much of a planner.  However having purchased them I thought to myself “well I will have them for next year, and I will get a head start next year!  I had my eye on those glass leaf shaped bottles.  I was already designing my signature label for the bottles.  After all I was in the label business and they would make a lovely gift!

Here are my sugar bush tips from my class visit.  Sap runs from Sugar, Red, Silver Maple Trees (and maybe some other ones),  but not Pine trees.  I joked with my friend that we have a lot of Pine’s in the back.   He kind of stared at me, and said “you know you cannot tap Pine Trees?”  Depending on the diameter of the tree you can hang, 1, 2, 3 or more buckets.  It is best to check and collect buckets daily.   This Mom knows this fact from her rope game the kids played with the trees this past week.

Speaking of Mom’s I spoke with my Mother today and was all excited to tell her I had a pail for my Dad to put on their Maple.  She quickly responded “Not on my Tree!”.  Need I say more.  Maybe she will warm up to the fact when she sees the bucket.  After all shouldn’t everyone put tapping a maple tree on their “Bucket List”.

Sryup is made from boiling off the water and it turns to sugar.  My friend suggested I not boil my syrup in the house , he shared his childhood memories of the wall paper peeling off the walls from all the steam.  The house lingering with a sugar smell and messy syrup everywhere.  Ok, I would boil my syrup outside on the barbeque burner.  I already had a vision of the kids playing nicely, the sun shining and getting ready to treat the kids to the maple taffy on the snow (just like at the maple sugar bush this week.) Oh what a Mom I am, creating all these great memories, what are they going to think.  Definitely it will be a photo opportunity.

Ok so I purchased the supplies, listened to my friends tips, read some more literature and listened to my husband’s manly advice of his video watching in the morning.  I had a good idea what I was doing, since I saw “first hand” their demonstration in the cold, wet muddy bush.   Bundled up I took my buckets, drill, spiles, hammer, and lids out the trees, waving goodbye to my proud daughter Meaghan giving me a “thumbs up”, and a big smile saying she would see the syrup when she got home later.  Dad was taking them to the movies today and out for the day.

Drill….drill…..drill… yep ok I remembered to put the drill on an upward motion – done.  MMM… the video said syrup would flow.  Nothing, no “liquid gold” flowing.  I tapped some more trees, same thing no liquid.   I decided to attach the spiles and the buckets (easy peazy) and play the wait and see game.  “Maple trees why are you not flowing with your liquid gold?” Did I miss a step?  Where they Maple trees.  We live in a farm community and I am a “wanna be kinda of farmer”.  Every year I try to grow pumpkins and well, that is another story.  I am just waiting for my neighbours to drive by and shake their heads at us again.

Since I am cold and kind of cranky with not seeing instant results I going to take advantage of this quiet time in the house, make a couple pancakes and you guessed it,  put on some of the maple syrup I purchased this week.   Perhaps a coffee would be the perfect compliment to my brunch.

Enjoy the Day!   If you are not sure about doing something new, “Just DO IT!”, (like the Nike Ad).    I am looking at my buckets and they look rather festive and who knows it might take a few minutes (or hours, days) to get things flowing!   I will keep you updated.

(My New Update)  – Just found 1/4 full of sap in my bucket! (WOOT – WOOT) ….. Thanks Wes for having faith in me, and telling me to “check the buckets today – you will have some”.  He said it was too cold for it to flow yesterday and I will have some today at 1 or 2 in afternoon!  Now What is a girl to do with the sap?  That is another story.

 

REMEMBER JUST GO WITH THE FLOW!

 

Talk soon ~

 

Nancy

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming a Mompreneur!

 

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“We gain strength and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face….. We must do that which we think we cannot!” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

 

You are a Mom dreaming of starting your own business!  Congratulations …. and welcome to the world of self-employment!  Women make up a large percent of new business’s in Canada.  Perhaps like me you were 9 months pregnant and ready to go on a maternity leave,  your world was about to change.  You were told while on your last week of work in the “corporate world” that your company didn’t receive their funding and the contract would not be renewed.  Like so many people today you now find yourself unemployed.

What is a girl to do?  Well she re-invents herself of course.  Moms are wonderful at the act of multi-tasking, organizing and reinventing the wheel.  These are great skills necessary when you are becoming the person you have always dreamed you could be!  You are now in the new unknown territory of starting your new business.   I remember my business advisor Valerie giving me some sage advice.  She said, “Starting your own business is like having a baby”.  Well I could understand that analogy.  It is full of the unknown’s and also the highs and lows, but you would never want to give it up. 

I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit in me; I sold Avon at an early age.  I think I was 9 or 10 years old, when I  saw the Ad in the newspaper, “looking for Avon Lady in your area”.  My Mom told me the Avon lady called and came to our house just to meet me.  She told me I was the youngest Avon lady she had ever met!   I do remember in my later teens, selling Avon.  I took the plunge and ordered my sales kit and I  was in business.  I remember selling my products to my boyfriend at the time. He purchased the newest “man spray”,  just so I would make my quota for the month.

Ok so you are out of work, have a great business idea and maybe not a lot of money.  Now what?  Pull up your socks, say a few prayers and go for it.  Yes I say go for it, what have you got to lose?  Fear stops many people, from even getting to the  first step of taking the plunge of self-employement.  I guess it helps to have a passion, if you do all the better.  If not I suggest maybe it will grow on you. 

A business plan is great, supportive people, a niche market, confidence, some business savvy, and networking.  If you don’t have all of these, don’t worry you can “fake it till you make it”.  All of these skills can be learned too.  These sound like a lot of things in the beginning but I promise you, it will turn out.  If you just click your red shoes, you might just get your first sale.  Soon you will be getting so many sales you will have to hire your first staff member.

So put that idea into action.  Dig deep inside youself and utilize all those great resources available to women starting their own business’s.  There are business community centre’s, government funded programs, libaries, and networking groups just to name a few.

Don’t be afraid and surround yourself with positive, supportive people.  Who know’s you might find yourself creating the best life ever, and juggling the babies with the bacon!

 

Talk Soon ~

 

Nancy