Over the course of the holidays, I struggled to decide what the children would give to their teachers for Christmas. Last year I didn't do a single thing, as I was totally wrapped up in my own little drama. This year I really wanted to make an effort.
I really want to buy the wooden birdhouses at the dollar/craft stores and stick bird seed on them, and then shrink wrap, but my wallet was already screaming and giving all of Haley's teachers (she has nine at the school and two at the center!) plus bus drivers and assistants (five including Eli's driver), I was getting close to shelling out $20 just for the houses alone.
Another problem is the fact that most birdseed feeders involve peanut butter. Both of the girl's classrooms have a strict no peanut butter rule. So after a little research (and a lot of convincing myself) I settled for taking a leap of faith and omitted the peanut butter from a recipe which included coconut oil.
Coconut oil, for those who don't know, looks like white shortening, but has a grainy consistency. At first I attempted to use half oil, and half birdseed of equal measurements. Basically you melt the oil and mix the birdseed in. The problem, as it turned out to be is birdseed is very heavy, and you will wind up with oil on the top. I just kept adding birdseed when I saw more oil.
We tried shaping by placing foil sheets around the edge of each cookie cutter. It worked for the most part, but I wanted something faster so I settled for muffin tins after the first try (The thought has occur ed to me that next time I will use my silicone jello shapes, as they will be more decorative).
Once you fill up the holes part way I put a looped ribbon in the center and layer more seed mixture on top, keeping the ribbon in the center, and upright. Once filled, leave in the freezer for 20 mins. Then just like jello, run hot water on the bottom of the pan, and pull the feeders out!
The oil doesn't firm up right away, so you can easily let this cool til kids can safely handle it. The end result, was cheap, I spent $10 and was able to give all teachers a gift. These are meant for outside feeders during the wintertime, as heat will melt the oil. I plan to make more for valentines day, now that I have the silicone jello mold idea.