Looking for Something?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ginger-bird house

By Jennifer

My extended family has a holiday tradition of decorating gingerbread houses at grandma's with all of the cousins. It's always a fun -- if messy -- afternoon of visiting as we whip up royal icing and add pounds of candy to the big wooden houses my father-in-law built for annual use. Oh, the candy. The colorful, beautiful, teeth-wrecking, tantrum-inducing candy. I hate having so much candy around. I hate having to monitor my children's candy consumption once we bring our finished house home. Sure I love to gather with relatives, but the candy is one part of this tradition I could do without. 

But how do you do gingerbread houses otherwise?

You make a bird feeder, that's how. 

While cousins dabbled in sugar, my children and I used popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, sunflower seeds, crackers, dried fruit and a colorful variety of bird seed. The best part is most of my materials were already in my pantry and I didn't have to shell out a lot of money. I experimented with two types of mortar: vegetable shortening and peanut butter, both mixed with equal parts cornmeal. The cornmeal makes the mixture easier to spread. It also makes the peanut butter safer for birds to consume. (Ever got peanut butter stuck on the roof of your mouth? Try that with a beak!) I preferred the shortening, but the fact that my peanut butter variety was crunchy may have been a factor in why it was clumpier and harder to use.

I placed our finished house on our sheltered patio where we could see it from the window. Within a half hour, this is what it looked like:

The peanuts in the shell were a clear favorite. We have since remodeled that side of the house with more.

As mentioned my gingerbread house here is wood, but this bird feeder idea could be used with crackers, stale bread or even empty cardboard boxes. As long as it won't be placed where rain or snow will make it wet and soggy, the house base can be made out of anything. 

I thought the candy-less house would be a hard sell for my children, but they loved it, too. My 4-year-old son enjoys watching the birds eat what he helped create. We're making this type of gingerbread house a new tradition.

How do you like to feed the birds?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Early Christmas Present

Life isn't fair. I hate this saying, but had to use it when my kids whined and complained that I got to open one of my Christmas presents BEFORE Christmas. I HAD to, it was a living thing and could die or be seriously damaged if I didn't open it. It was no consolation to the kids, and I still haven't heard the end of it. But, it was worth it, I love my cute little citrus trees!

The climate here in Utah isn't optimal for citrus trees, so I chose to get dwarf trees that I will be able to plant in a large pot. In the spring I will harden them off and let them be outside, in the fall we will bring them back into the house.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas

Reenacting the Nativity is our favorite Christmas tradition each year. Enjoy. 

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Backyard Farming Gift Guide

We want to wish you all a happy holidays. As we try to teach our children, we stress the importance of giving and serving rather than receiving. Here are a few ideas for what to give your favorite backyard farmer. Today's ideas revolve around garden statues. We do not own these things, nor are we getting paid for showing them. We just think they are cool. Click on the names to see where they are sold.


Terra Cotta Pot Man (make it yourself)

Zombie Garden Statue (my favorite)

 Which one would you choose?


Sunday, December 11, 2011


We hope you are having a peaceful Sunday and find some serenity this Christmas season. Isn't this greenhouse bedroom overlooking a lake dreamy? I think I could forget about all the holiday hustle and bustle if I had a room like this. 


Friday, December 9, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Like many of you, while others may be spring cleaning their homes, I have other plans. My spring consists of planing my garden, tilling the earth, starting seeds, transplanting plants, cleaning out the chicken coop, fixing hoses, etc.  It isn't until fall when the garden has been harvested and is hibernating, and the chickens are cozy and hunkering down for the cold weather, that I finally get the spring cleaning itch.

I got my hands on a label maker, and Whoa Nellie, I've gone crazy. The kids have started asking if they need to be labeled. If you don't have a label maker, I highly suggest one. Just check out some of the areas I have been cleaning and organizing.

When do you get your spring cleaning done?  


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Essential Oils Webinar-Tonight 7:00pm

Don't forget, our Free Essential Oils Webinar will be tonight at 7:00 pm Mountain Time.

Click here to pre-register.