Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Gift for our Feathered Friends

I have been looking forward to today's Around the Manger book and activity for several days now because I knew it would be a favorite for the children. First we read "The Legend of the Birds" from Hark! A Christmas Sampler by Jane Yolen and Tomie de Paola. (This is a wonderful Christmas resource filled with stories, songs, and poetry.) "The Legend of the Birds" is a sweet story that tells how the different birds worked together to spread the good news of Christ's birth and of the ways in which they served the baby in the manger.
Afterwards we read Mouse and Mole and the Christmas Walk by Doug Cushman. (Mouse and Mole go for a wintry walk to find the perfect Christmas tree. Instead of chopping it down, they decorate it with special treats they make as Christmas gifts for the birds. We really enjoyed this book.) Then we put together some treats for the birds that visit our feeders. We spread pinecones with peanut butter, rolled them in birdseed, and tied a string to the top. We mixed up some suet balls for our woodpeckers (see recipe below). I also strung some cranberries and popcorn on a string, making two small garlands for the children to hang. Finally, we spread some stale bread with peanut butter and sprinkled some bird seed on top. We chose a little fir tree to decorate and (in the bitter cold and blowing wind) went outside and hung up our goodies. It was almost dark when we finished, so hopefully we'll see some visitors tomorrow morning. Here is the suet recipe and a photo of our finished present for the birds.

Piecrust Suet

Mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup shortening, 1/4 tsp. salt and just enough water to form a ball. There's no need to bake it. Just put the treat out near your seed feeders and watch it disappear. (At least that's what the recipe says! We've never made these, so we'll see if the birds think they're yummy - I'll update later.)

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