Category Archives: Craft

Bird Seed Cookies in Honor of St. Francis of Assisi

Since Saint Francis’ love and reverence of animals and nature,as illustrated in his Canticle to Brother Sun and Sister Moon, was so profound, we let it lead us in celebrating his life this year. On the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the children thought it would be wonderful for our animal friends to enjoy a lovely fall  treat of Bird Seed Cookies.

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Although these are not edible to humans, we sure did have a fun time making them for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

If you would like to treat your animal friends with a gift, too, first gather some flour, water, corn syrup and wild bird seeds.

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Add 3/4 of a cup of flour to a large mixing bowl.

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Slowly pour in 3 tablespoons of corn syrup. (Light or dark, doesn’t matter– The birds and squirrels will love either one just the same!)

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Then pour in 1/2 of a cup of water.

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Slowly mix the three together.

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(Of course it is always best when mixed by small hands that are willing to help!)

Once the flour, corn syrup and water have been mixed, toss in 4 cups of wild bird seeds
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and incorporate into the ‘batter’ thoroughly.
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The dough should  be very sticky and slightly loose.

With a foil  lined cookie sheet at hand, scoop out the dough into 1/4 cup mounds.

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Press gently so that the mounds are flattened out a bit. Take care not to flatten too much or the cookies will be too fragile to lift off of the foil later.

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Once the mounds have been carefully flattened, make a small circle in the middle by gently pushing the dough apart. This will result in a Tonsure shape in honor of Brother Francis!

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Once all of the dough has been shaped into Tonsures, you can either let the cookies dry out in the open air over night, or, like we did, place them in a warm oven for about 30 minutes, flipping gently halfway through.

Once your cookies are dry, thread a string of sisal through the middle of the Tonsure.

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This will allow your treats to be hung from trees and plants for the world’s creatures to enjoy!

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After all of your treats have been placed out for the creatures, be sure to sit back and watch as they enjoy their scrumptious treats!

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Celebrating Lent: Crown of Thorns

To help solidify the magnitude of Lent, and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, our family makes a simple salt dough Crown of Thorns to serve as a visual reminder of how our small Lenten sacrifices add up to a greater good. The toothpick ‘thorns’ are removed as each sacrifice/good deed is made throughout the Lenten season. Our family’s goal is to have all of the thorns removed by Easter Sunday.

Want to  make one for your family too?   Well, let’s make a Crown of Thorns together, shall we?

Let’s meet the cast in the troupe.

Flour, Salt, Cinnamon, and Toothpicks. Oh, and water. (He decided to sit this one out).

I choose to make this by hand instead of in a mixer. I’d rather clean up a small space than have to wipe down the whole kitchen. If you live on the edge, go ahead. Throw it all into the stand mixer bowl.

Start by adding three cups of flour to a large mixing bowl.

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Two.

Three.

Throw in about a cup of salt.

Now, let’s spice things up a bit. Throw in a cup of cinnamon.

Don’t leave out the cinnamon like other salt dough recipes. The cinnamon serves a purpose– It helps to make the Crown brown in appearance, and as an added bonus, it helps to make the house smell nice as it bakes.

Stir the three together.

It will look like dirty sand when you are done.

Now. Time to add the water. Start with a cup of water.

You can always add more. You can’t take away. I ended up needing a little over two cups.

Mix the dough.

Try with a rubber spatula, but you will eventually need to use your hands.

Knead the dough until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto the table.

And shape into a flat disk.

Since you need to braid the dough, divide into three equal pieces.

Roll out each piece into a snake like tube, trying to keep each piece about the same length.

Now take the three pieces and begin braiding them together just as you would a little girl’s pigtails.

After the pieces are braided,

bring them together in the shape of a circle to form the crown.

Place on a baking sheet or stone.

Take the toothpicks and break in half.

Stick each half into the dough randomly. These are the thorns. Half a stick makes it easier to remove as the sacrifices are made. (And no. Just because it is half a stick doesn’t mean you need to do only half the sacrifice!)

Bake in the oven at 200 degrees until the dough is completely dried out. This can take a while— Ours took 3 hours to dry.

And voilà!

You now have a Crown of Thorns.

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Still searching for ways to engage your children this Lenten season?

Take a peek here to find other ways we celebrate the Lenten season in our home.

 

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