Sunday, 2 December 2007

Christmas Comes Early for our Feathered Friends

The temperature has certainly taken a nosedive in our neck of the woods. With a wind chill reading of minus 12 degrees Celsius, it’s just a tad too frosty for Chi-Chi and Muffy to spend too much time outdoors today. No doubt we are not the only ones feeling the effects of the falling mercury. Our feathered friends are braving the frigid winds in an effort to fill their tummies and fatten up for the long winter ahead. Nestled comfortably in our toasty house, I felt a wee bit guilty watching the little chickadees dutifully pecking away for their breakfast.

With the whole family suffering a mild case of cabin fever, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get the little ones involved in an activity to both pass some time, and celebrate the winter season that has descended upon us. My tiny backyard birds provided me with the inspiration I was looking for!

I’ve spent the last couple of evenings working on my Christmas list. In an effort to avoid the malls and big box stores this holiday season, I’ve decided to hand make a number of gifts. Why not enlist the services of my talented, eager and willing children to help out in the gift making process? Flipping through various craft and project books, I came across several recipes for bird treats. After a quick glance in the pantry, I was able to assemble enough ingredients to create a revised version of the various recipes I’d seen.

My bird treat recipe is simple, quick and easy. Despite the fact I had a 2 ½ year old in the kitchen, the mess was minimal.

2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
3 cups boiling water
1 cup shortening
½ cup chunky peanut butter (no salt)
3/4 cup black oil sunflower seeds
1/4 cup thistle seed
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup Red River cereal
1/2 cup dried cranberries

I cooked the oats for approximately 2 minutes. After letting it cool to a lukewarm temperature, I brought the pot over to Chi-Chi to work with. He gleefully dumped in the rest of the ingredients and stirred them well. Once the mixture was fully cooled, the real fun began! Chi-Chi delighted in working with this “bird seed play dough”. He skillfully formed patties and cookies and placed them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. We popped them in the freezer and in no time they were frozen solid. It didn’t take long for our crew of chickadees to sniff out this tasty new treat. They have been enthusiastically gobbling it up all afternoon.

Not only was this a fun activity for Chi-Chi, but it also helped Mommy cross off a few items on her Christmas list. These yummy bird cakes will be a great gift for the nature lovers on my list. Not only are they easy on the gift-giving budget, they are eco-friendly and fully biodegradable! Of course, they were also made with love by the hands of my 2 year old, which makes them particularly special. He will be thrilled to pass these out to his loved ones - a gift that truly comes from his dear little heart!


nurturedmom said...

Adorable. What a great idea! I only have half the ingredients on hand, but with the number of finches and chickadees at my feeder each morning, I will be picking up the rest of the ingredients and offer up a holiday treat for the birds too :)

Great post!

nurturedmom said...

I was telling my mom about this recipe, and as soon as I said "it has Red River Cereal in it", she stopped and said, "Oh my gosh, I haven't heard that name in years, my father used to eat Red River Cereal every morning..." It brought back some nice childhood memories for her that she had totally forgotten. Thank You :)
Merry Christmas!