DIY Bird Feeder for Kids inspired by Americano

This DIY Bird Feeder for Kids is a fun and easy craft for kids to make. Once they hang it up they can enjoy the birds who come to eat from it and explore nature up close.

My kids love to be outside. Whether it be taking a walk, playing in the front yard or visiting the local wildlife trails, they are always able to spot the wildlife before me and enjoy pointing out the different birds and animals we have living around us.

For the past few mornings, we’ve been awoken by the wonderful sound of a neighborhood woodpecker. Upon discovering his location my son wakes up and asked if we could track him down. On our adventure to see what phone pole the woodpecker was pecking we started talking about birds. 

After hearing all the fun and wonderful things birds like to do and eat my son asked if we could make a bird feeder. So while I was at the local pet supply store picking up dog food later that day I grabbed a pound of bird feed and we got to work. It ended up being simpler than any of the crafts we’ve attempted so far.

Plus, it was the perfect tie-in to teaching the kids about the wildlife around us. Since all of my children are animal lovers, I knew they’d love the new movie Americanocoming out on DVD and Digital HD on June 13th. We were invited to the San Diego Zoo for a fun outing to meet the filmakers behind the movie and hear a little bit about how the movie came to life on the big screen. The kids got to meet some animals up close and explored the zoo to learn other fun facts.

Americano is an animated film about a Mexican parrot named Cuco (voice of Rico Rodriguez) who gets bored with his family’s bird circus and tries to change things up. But when Cuco’s acrobat father, Gayo, gets hurt, rival bully bird Martin swoops in to take over the show. So, Cuco does what he has to do and heads for Hollywood, hoping to learn daring action stunts from his favorite TV star, El Americano. 

My kids enjoyed the film and connected with Cuco’s story and his quest to meet his hero in person. They were so inspired that they asked to make some bird feeders so they could see their own local birds up close in our back yard. We used the same method we did years ago when the two oldest were little. Such a fun and easy craft! 

DIY Bird Feeder

What you’ll need:

  • bird seed 
  • canister or paper roll 
  • peanut butter 
  • string/twine 
  • sharp pointed tool 

What you do: 

1. Remove paper from canister to expose the cardboard. Remove lid and discard. Using sharp pointed tool, poke a hole in the bottom of the canister.

2. Cut about a yard of twine and string twine through canister. Tie off at the top.

3. Set out the peanut butter and seeds so that it’s easy for your child to assemble the bird feeder. Grab a plastic knife or spreader for the peanut butter and place the bird seed into a container or on a paper plate.

4. Let your child spread the peanut butter all over the canister sides. Be careful not to get covered in peanut butter by holding onto the inside of the canister on the open top.

5. Once the peanut butter is covering all of the canister, roll the canister into the seed. Place your (or your child’s) hand into the container to apply pressure. This will maximize the amount of seed that adheres to the canister.

6. Hang the bird feeder up on a sturdy hook or post and wait for some feathered friends!

Do your kids love to pick out the fun birds they see? 

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This craft was originally published on Apr 3, 2012

Smurfette’s Secret Succulent Fairy Garden

This secret succulent fairy garden would make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day or any other special occasion. Plus, it’s super easy to put together when you have the right tools!

A few weeks ago we were invited to a screening of Smurfs The Lost Village and boy did my kids love it! The movie took us through the story of Smurfette’s creation and her struggle with finding her unique talent. Since she was made out of clay and different from the other Smurfs, she grew sad and frustrated with her lack of being able to master one skill. 

As the story unfolds, she and a few Smurf friends head off on an adventure that brings her to realize who she really is and the power she holds inside. 

Well… my kids were quite inspired by the movie because as soon as we got home they wanted to create their own Smurf village in the back yard! The fun plants that came alive and the various creatures found along Smurfette’s journey were all they could talk about. 

So I pitched a fairy garden but instead of fairies, we used Smurfs! And how perfect did it turn out? Plus? It was so easy for the kids to make! 

Watch the video at the end of this post for more details! 

[Read more…]

Upcycled Container Gardens: Housing Your Herbs

Upcycled Container Gardens Housing Your Herbs

Around this house, we try to repurpose and upcycle as many things as we can. If it can’t be composted or turned into something else, we try to donate. So very rarely do we end up with things that go in the trash. This makes for a great assortment of containers to be used in the garden.

When we picked up our chicks I knew we’d need a little home for them until they were big enough to go straight into our coop. At 3 weeks old they’d need to stay warm indoors so I picked up a metal bucket at our local hardware store.

Since I knew I would only be using the bucket for a short period of time I already had it earmarked for a project I’d wanted to do for quite a while… a stand alone herb garden!

Growing Chicks
I’m not sure if you know this but chicks, like children, grow like weeds! Seriously.

I turned around for a second and these cute little baby chicks are almost chickens at 2 months! But we still have 4 more months until they’re actually laying eggs (so I’m told).

Upcycled Container Gardens - growing seedlings

With so many things growing in our raised beds (like the broccoli that’s sprouting from our DIY K-Cup Seed Starters) we didn’t have any more room for the herbs I love to have on hand for cooking.

So it just made sense to have a container garden on the patio. What’s a better green work of art than a container garden?

Our next step will be to build a stacked container garden to house the strawberries we’ll be planting soon! How awesome does that sound? It’s as simple as taking this idea and stacking a few smaller containers on top of one another. Then planting in each tier.

Upcycled Container Gardens - cleaning out the container

 

Because our tub housed the chicks, I wanted to make sure that I cleaned the container very well before putting the soil and plants inside.

While some might question why I would clean out the container first – don’t people buy chicken manure? – the chicken poo that may be on the container hasn’t been composted yet. And I don’t want any bacteria that may have been left in the container to contaminate my plants.

But more on composting chicken poo later! Lets get to this herb garden. First up – the chalkboard label.

Upcycled Container Gardens - DIY Chalkboard Label

 Upcycled Container Garden Chalkboard Label

What you’ll need:

  • 2 paper towels (can also use newspaper)
  • painters tape
  • chalkboard spray paint
  • metal container

What You Do:

1. Wipe down the area you wish to put the chalkboard paint on with an all purpose cleaner. Then rinse the container out with water and let dry.

2. Grab two paper towels and cut each in half (4 half sheets). Then cut one half sheet in half again. You’ll have 3 half sheets and 2 quarter sheets.

3. Using the painter’s tape and the paper towel pieces, create a square or rectangle space to spray paint the chalk onto.

4. Put extra paper towels under the container to protect the table underneath from paint.

5. Using the chalkboard spray paint, spray on two coats of chalkboard paint onto the container. Wait about 20 minutes in between each coat to allow them to dry.

6. Remove the paper towels and tape to reveal your chalkboard label. Write on it with chalk and display for all to see!

Upcycled Container Gardens - variety of herbs

Tips for Planting Herbs in a Container Garden

  1. Use good soil – find a soil that’s good for growing vegetables or use a good blend of soil and compost
  2. Depending on where you’re putting your container garden, consider the height each herb/plant gets and plant taller herbs in the back
  3. Plant what you know you already use now in the kitchen
  4. Make sure you are also giving your herbs vegetable food (found at any garden center)
  5. Place the container garden in a spot that will receive direct sunlight and make sure to water!

Upcycled Container Gardens with Chalkboard Label

What’s your favorite way to upcycle old containers?

Recycle Reduce Reuse with K-Cup Seed Starters

We’ve come up with a clever solution to a problem we had: K-Cup seed starters! Take those used k-cups and turn them into something useful. 

K-Cup Seed Starters - recycling in the garden

Over the years we’ve become more and more conscious of our environment and the impact we have on it. We cloth diaper, grow our own veggies, compost, and make an overall effort to reduce waste and excess.

Since we’ve upgraded from our Keurig Vue to the Keurig 2.0, the one thing I hate is that I can’t recycle the k-cups I use every day. And since I’m a big coffee drinker, I don’t have any way to reuse the k-cups. Until now! I’ve started getting creative with my k-cups and have come up with a list to reuse them in a useful way.

First up is in the garden. Now our garden has always been my pride and joy. I consider it a work of art that is ever changing. And since we just started up our new garden at the new house, I needed an excuse to show it off.

Green Work of Art in the Garden

How pretty are those little starter plants? Well, they started in our k-cups from seed! Truly a green work of art.

That’s right. K-cups are the perfect way to start seeds for the garden. Not only are they plentiful around here, but they have a built in drainage hole that doesn’t need to be added. How cool is that?

Here’s how you use them!

K-Cup Seed Starters Tutorial

K-Cup Seed Starters

What you’ll need: 

  • k-cup
  • seeds
  • trowel
  • soil (any good vegetable planting soil)
  • water

K-Cup Seed Starters - what you need

What you do: 

1. Remove the foil from the top of the k-cup.

2. Discard the coffee grounds to be used later in the garden or your compost bin.

3. Remove the filter from the k-cup and discard the plastic filter – you can compost the k-cup paper filter if you’d like.

4. Fill with soil about 3/4 of the way up.

5. Add 2-3 seeds and top with more dirt until filled.

6. Water daily and watch sprout!

Once your seedlings are big enough to transfer just pull out gently and move to a bigger pot or straight in your garden bed!

For a full in-depth tutorial, check out our video:

 

K-Cup Seed Starters - broccoli

How do you recycle, reduce, and reuse around your home?

Great Tips for Gardening With Kids

Gardening with Kids

We’re starting to plan what we’re going to plant in our raised bed for spring right now and can’t wait to get our hands dirty. One of the best parts about gardening, for me, is the fact that the kids get involved in every step from planning, planting, and growing.

Over the years of gardening with them I’ve come to find that gardening with kids isn’t as hard as it sounds. In fact, it can be quite fun! The bonding we do over our garden has deepend our relationship and has acted as a teaching tool for life lessons.

Below are some great tips for gardening with kids that you can use if you’re just starting or have been gardening with your kids for a while.  [Read more…]

DIY Fruit Juice Dyed Watermelon Windsock

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This #KoolOff shop featuring a DIY Fruit Juice Dyed Watermelon Windsock tutorial has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

DIY Fruit Juice Dyed Watermelon Windsock

We are in the midst of a heat wave and the only thing we can think about these days is summer. But since we’re still in spring we’re doing a bit of summer prep. While working on our garden the kids decided they wanted to plant watermelon this year so I headed to the store to pick up some watermelon seeds.

While we were shopping at Walmart I ended up in the fruit juice aisle – trying to kill two birds with one stone and getting everything off my list. I noticed the larger ready-to-drink Kool-Aid bottles and grabbed some Tropical Punch to help me cool off while I was gardening. [Read more…]



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