Day 7 – today’s post – making a bird bath

Do you like how I did that?  I listed Day 6 as yesterday’s post and Day 7 as today’s post.  Here’s a secret – they were both written today.  Hee Hee Hee – Shhh, don’t tell.

So my wise and wonderful friend from the other day who recommended to me to change my name also had some other great ideas.  Here is what this person said,

“Think of things that will benefit others and incorporate your stories and funny anecdotes into them. Once you capture your audience, you can talk more about whatever you want to.”

I took that to mean – “While I appreciate knowing how many diapers you change, noses you wipe and dryers you repair – give me something a wee bit more helpful.”

So here is one that I got from the Berks County Heritage Center in Reading, PA.

My Mother-In-Law and I went to a workshop put on by the Berks County Heritage Center.

Workshop Name:  “Create a Hanging Bird Bath”
Workshop Description: “Using natural vines and branches, Barbara Mills will lead participants in creating a simple birdbath using a tray and wire to hang in their yard.”

The idea came from a book that Ms. Mills had.  It was an older book about creating things around the yard to make decorations.  I don’t remember the name of the book – sorry.  But since I went to the workshop and learned how to make the birdbath I can tell you how to do it too.  🙂

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic Tray – These are called planter saucers if you are looking them up online. 
  • Wire – You can play with this a bit, we used a pretty copper wire, but if you want it to blend in more you can use a green floral wire.  Make sure whatever you use won’t rust.
  • Natural materials – While sticks and flowers can work – the best thing to use here is vines, or the really tall flowers with flexible stems.  The reason is because you are going to be making a circle and you want it to stay together.  Some vines that work nicely are Ivy and grape vine.


The first thing you need to do it make 4 holes in your saucer.  (This why it needs to be plastic)  Ms. Mills was wonderful enough to have this step completed for us, so I can’t tell you exactly how to do it, but I can tell you the tips she gave us.

  1. If you can careful you can use a piece of hot wire to melt a hole through the plastic.
  2. You can try a drill, but they do tend to slip off the edge.
  3. Make sure you drill the holes towards the top of the saucer – if you don’t it isn’t going to work very well for a bird bath, because the water will leak out the holes.  🙂  (My tip: If you are going to use it as a feeder station, then putting the holes a bit lower will allow for rain drainage.)

(Not the best drawing, but you get the idea)

After you have your holes made in the saucer, set it aside for a minute and start work on your natural materials.  What you want to do it make a loop about the same size as the base of the saucer.  This is where it is best to have flexible foliage.  Basically make it into a loop and then wind the ends in to tie it all together.  After you have your initial circle you can continue to weave pieces into it – including fresh flowers.

Next cut your pieces of wire.  You will want four pieces that are the same length – the length depends on where you are going to hang it, but at least 18 – 24 inches long.

Thread a piece of wire through each hole and twist it so that it stays on the saucer.

Flip the saucer over and reaching through the center of your woven wreath, then turn your saucer over while spreading the pieces of wire out to the edges.  Lift your four pieces of wire up so that they “pin” the wreath to the bottom of the saucer.

Twist the four wires together at the top and then make a loop for hanging.

Last step, hang it in your yard and fill with water.  Since this is made of natural materials it will wilt and turn brown, but you can continue to add new flowers or allow it to dry and go with the dried flower look.

I didn’t take pictures while I was making this which is why I don’t have pictures for each step so feel free to ask if you have questions.  I will try to make another one sometime and put in pictures.

Here is a shot of the finished project hanging in my backyard.

Gotta post now – I have 6 mins left until midnight!  🙂

Day 5 – I’m changing my name

Sorry kids – I don’t answer to mom anymore.  Nope – that’s not it either, and if you don’t get it right then I can’t respond.  Oh wait – that’s not what I meant.  After hearing from a very wise and wonderful person I started thinking about my blog name, “How We School – Homeschool” and wondering, does it really fit?  Actually this wise and wonderful person pointed out that it didn’t really fit because I talk about all sorts of things rather than just homeschooling.  It was also pointed out to me that I need to check spelling and grammar – I’ll get to that in another post.  🙂

Anyway this wise and wonderful person said I really liked your other blog (the private, super-secret one) because that has a good name.  Not that this person didn’t like this blog, they just didn’t like the name of the blog.  My other blog (kind of like – “Pork, the other white meat”) is named Spaghetti and Goofballs.  The Spaghetti part is because of our Italian heritage and the goofballs part – well, if you have read any of these posts, the reasoning behind that is abundantly clear.

So after long deliberation (this morning) I decided that this wise and wonderful person was right – I need a new name.

The original reason for How We School is so that I could use the initials HWS.  Why do you want to use those initials?  Thanks for asking – I’ll explain – you see when we moved to PA I lost my personalized Virginia Tech license plate – some crazy law about you can’t have a license plate from a state other than the one you live in.  My personalized plate was 7YRPLN and it was a Hokie plate.  The plate explained that it took me 7 years to get through school as I was on the 7 Year Plan.  The reason it took seven years are varied, but the major ones are jobs, marriage and a baby boy.  Anyway – back to HWS – after to moving to PA and losing my plate the new one starts with the initials HWS.  (Getting a license plate in PA is hard enough without trying to get a personalized one so it wasn’t worth it at the time.)  In an attempt to make the HWS mean something I decided to have my blog web address contain the letters – hws.  After chatting with some friends another wise and wonderful person (not the same wise and wonderful person) came up with “How We School” and while that fits really well for my “personalized” plate, it doesn’t really work for my blog.

So the new name – I wanted it to be something fun, something that would work for the varied posts that I have and something that was easy to remember (that way I don’t forget).  My first thought was Peanut Butter and Jams – it works with the kids theme and there are plenty of things around here that need cleaning up.  I was all ready to set this up as my new blog when I thought – hmmmmmm – I wonder what would I find if I Google “Peanut Butter and Jams” – there were lots of various things, most of which have to do with music and some of which looked a bit questionable – so OK not that.

Next idea was just a random thought – “Hey, I could call it Chock Full of Nuts” – after all it is very fitting for our family, but it is kind of trademarked.

Here are a few of the other ones that I have thought of –

  • Help, I’m trapped in Pennsylvania! (I am actually starting to adjust to being in Pennsylvania, so that isn’t quite right.)
  • Rebel in a Yankee World (referring, of course, to the fact that we moved from Virginia (a southern state) to Pennsylvania (a northern state))
  • Homeschooler on the Edge (the acronym for that one isn’t quite appropriate – I have kids that read this, but I don’t have to use an acronym)
  • Bean there, want to do that (goes along with a food theme)
  • Crooker Homeschool (this is actually the name of our homeschool)
  • Surf and Turf (except that we are currently living in a landlocked state)
  • French Fried Spaghetti (we are actually part Italian and part French)
  • Italian Noodles (Italian and a little crazy)
  • Homeschool Lasagna (it means that all the different layers of life fit together to make our homeschool work)
  • Lasagna Lifestyle (again a layer thing – sort of like from Shrek)

I’m still thinking – when I figure it out, I will let you know.  Until then, feel free to toss out suggestions or vote for your favorite.  Who knows, in the end I may just use Crooker Homeschool.

Until tomorrow –


Day 3 – Playing Monoply – a 3-year old version

So my little bug wanted to play Monopoly.  Bug is 3 – monopoly takes years to play if one of the players is 3.  But he REALLY wanted to play and he said pretty please.  So we played Monopoly – a three year old version.

How do you play Monopoly?  Well – you can find the Official Rules from WikiBooks here Monopoly Official Rules.  The rules include the preparation of each player recieving $1500 in various denominations, what happens when you roll doubles, if you have to go to jail, building properties and it even includes a board layout where it tells you the cost, mortgage value and values based on houses and hotels.

Image from ""

With a three year old the initial setup would take longer – so what do you do when they really want to play and say “pretty please”?  You play the three year old version.

Quite simply you ignore the properties, the money and the houses.  You let them pick their piece (and sometimes your piece), then you roll the dice.  (Depending on counting skills use one or two dice.)  After someone rolls, state the numbers on each die – the say something profound like – 2 plus 3 equals 5 – after that count out the spaces.  They can move their own piece (with your help counting spaces when necessary) and they can help you move your piece too.

The beauty of this is if you want to let them win (assuming they don’t beat your pants off to start with) and you get around the board first, say – let’s keep going – if you want to be done, say we reached the end – Yeah I/You win!  Good Game – that was fun.

After we finished playing, my little bug was happy, we played the game, he won, we worked on numbers, we worked on sportsmanship, we worked on cleaning up when we were done – we had fun!