The other day, I was cleaning out our pantry and was saddened by how many items had become stale. I always feel incredibly guilty about throwing out food, so I wanted to find a way to re-purpose it.
While I was pondering over what I could do, a handsome cardinal landed on our fence. I was so excited because cardinals always remind me of my father. My sister and I like to say that whenever a cardinal is near, it’s our Dad stopping by to say hello. For some reason, our Dad really liked birds, and cardinals were his favorites. (He liked them so much that he used to decorate an outdoor Christmas tree “just for the birds” each winter.)
Anyway, with the cardinal staring into our kitchen, I realized it was my father saying – “Well Neener, how about you feed it to the birds?” Aha! So, now that I knew what to do with it, I needed to decide how to give it to our feathered little friends.
If I just tossed it out onto the lawn, my two fur-kids, Birdy and Libby, would inhale all of it as soon as they went outside. So, I decided to round up some of the falling pine cones in our yard and make Pine cone Bird Feeders. What a great way to recycle our stale cereal and fruit/nut mixes!
This craft is very easy to do, but younger kids will need help. The pine cones can be a bit prickly and the peanut butter can be a bit slippery. We were also very happy that we did this outdoors: it’s lots of fun getting very messy with this one!
Leftover cereal (we used stale Cheerios)
Leftover dry goods that birds can eat (we used a stale fruit/nut mix)
Gather all of the ingredients into one central location. Pour stale cereal and nuts into a large bowl that is wide enough to roll the pine cones in.
Tie a long piece of twine around the pine cones and knot tightly.
Using a spatula, slather a large amount of peanut butter all around the pine cones. Make sure to coat them well – the stickier the pine cones are, the easier it will be to get the food items to stick to them.
Roll your pine cone in the cereal and nuts mixture. Use your hands to lightly pack the goodies into the peanut butter.
Get someone tall to help you tie the bird feeders to the tree branches. (I used my husband.)
Sit back, admire your handiwork, and watch the birds (or squirrels) enjoy their new buffet!