Christmas Tree Bird Feeder – Upcycling is for the Birds

Are you feeling a little blue at the prospect of taking down your Christmas tree and hiding away all hints of our Saviour’s birth until next year?  Would you keep it up a little longer if you thought you could get away with it?

After Christmas Tree Tree

How about an upcycled, repurposed Christmas tree this year?

Take that dying mass of branches and needles outside and give it new life with strung popcorn, O cereals, and cranberries (if you can find them).  This is a great way to use up your leftover cranberries, but you can also use raisins, Craisins or other dried fruit.   Get out the peanut butter and bird seed to slather on pinecones, then hang them on the tree with pretty ribbon.   Hanging apple and orange slices are treats for our flying friends as well.

Here’s a great recipe for no-cook birdseed ornaments that you can make with cookie cutters – so cute!  http://www.intimateweddings.com/blog/birdseed-wedding-favor-hearts-easy-and-inexpensive-diy/  (The author used them for wedding favors, but they’d work great for any occasion.)

For the ornament pin (for all you Pinterest fans) go to http://pinterest.com/pin/234961305530756821/.

You’ll discover birds in your neck of the woods (assuming you’re not too far north) you didn’t even know existed.  If you do happen to live somewhere without birds in the winter, wait until spring and do this on one of your in-the-ground trees.

Just thinking about this “living” tree gets me back in the holiday spirit.

This idea came from a book, The After-Christmas Tree by Linda Wagner Tyler, I just happened to grab at the library, since one of Noah’s target words is “tree.”

After Christmas Tree cover

Many blessings for 2013; may you keep Christ in your heart the whole year through.

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Using U-Tube Videos to Teach Numbers

If you’ve spent much time here, you probably have figured out I spend a lot of time digging up free resources for home-schooling and working on language skills.  Noah (6 with DS) and I started out on U-Tube today, and I found a bunch of fun and free counting and number videos.  You know me – what’s mine is yours.

Here’s a cute little ditty – cartoon numbers with faces dancing around to the tune of 10 Little Indians. This has just enough repetition and covers number names as well as spellings.  Putting faces to characters like letters and numbers is a well-known technique in special ed circles.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9Yt1PqQiw
Here’s a rendition of “There were 10 in the Bed.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqF0ev8UOB4&feature=player_detailpage

“Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4L6e0mwbGXw

Here’s Sean the Train with a 4-minute video focused on counting 1-10:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1V4q60isaAg

A number song with an ocean theme – ships, children and fish “In the Big Blue Sea” are counted.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jxzZMw89qY

A banjo-playing hotdog counts 1 to 10 vertically and then horizontally to a funky beat.  It’ll grab your kids’ attention.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM3TjUNbO24

A high-quality but simple sing-along with a school theme that will have you humming in no time.  Memorizing songs is another proven technique in special ed.  Numbers appear first on the chalkboard then on desks, books and a hopscotch and the spellings also are given.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3zaC5onBvM

I’ve seen whole (expensive) writing programs based on this concept that you get for free from Harry Kindergarten at U-Tube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3zaC5onBvM.  A little music, a short rhyme and a video model that takes you through the writing process from 0 to 9.