Winter Weather and Outdoor Tablescape and Picnic for the Birds

by Trenda at Cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Seeing snow in East Texas is always an anticipated occasion, like a circus or carnival coming to town!  Everyone dashes to one of our two grocery stores and stocks up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace.

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So .. with a forecast of possible snow on Friday, there was expectation in the air as the temperatures hovered below 30 … and by afternoon, our hope of seeing some snow was rewarded when the first tiny flakes appeared!

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I wanted to make sure our “furry friends and feathered folks” had plenty to eat to keep themselves warm and I decided to set up a winter picnic for them with some extra special treats… birdseed ornaments!   I chose a recipe that Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributor submitted on Pinterest (click here for Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributot’s recipe for birdseed ornaments) During the entire process I was apprehensive that my ornaments wouldn’t slip out of their molds or remain intact and I was happily surprised when each of the ornament’s “held” their shape and slid out easily from my plastic cookie cutters (part of an extensive collection my dear daughter in law (DDIL)(:  gave me.

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Assorted ribbons and twine added to the birdseed ornaments …

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I love these “woodland” tags and thought they would add a little whimsy, hanging amongst the branches with my birdseed ornaments.  This is a free printable I downloaded from Decorator’s Notebook by Bethan John (click here for free printable woodland tags) They printed off beautifully and I made extra’s for package tie-on’s and other ideas, yet to come!

Free downloadable gift tags from Decorator's Notebook 14 designs

I also made some extra tags using a die-cut label maker and some rubber stamps that fit right in with my woodland/lakeside theme: a clump of oak leaves and acorns stamp, a single leaf stamp, and a bird nest with eggs stamp … the bird nest is my favorite!  I used a hole punch to make a hole in each tag and then slipped ribbons through the hole.  To add a little variety to my paper ornaments, I used several different ribbons and  either knotted the ends of the ribbon and slipped the labels over a branch or clipped them to my little fir tree, using mini-clothespins.

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Then I had the fun of creating my winter tablescape and putting out “picnic fare” for our birds and lakeside critters. (:  I covered our outdoor table with a Coleman blanket in a buffalo plaid in navy, khaki and forest green and placed a tall Fir tree (one of our Christmas decorations) in the center of the table … it worked great for hanging my birdseed ornaments and woodland/lakeside tags on!   A sweet little birdbath that Richard gave me (usually a part of our cottage decor inside) is filled with fresh water and I used chunky urns and “woodsy” platters to offer a buffet of different seeds and peanuts.

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A Hairy Woodpecker “heard it through the grapevine” that there were peanuts on the menu! (: A little Red-breasted Nuthatch, native to Ontario Canada perches on the side of a “new favorite”  … a rough blown-glass bowl, a special gift from our daughter’s boyfriend, that is  perfectly suited for Cottage Green with painted pine boughs and a “sprinkling” of snow.

img_0284Look how adorable my cookie cutter letters spelling B-I-R-D came out!  I loved how charming these letters looked all together so I just lined them all up on a forest green plate edged with leaves and acorns and set them out for the birdies to enjoy!

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A Cardinal surveys the winter buffet …

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The “piece de resistance?” … sunflower hearts!

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Today’s Menu …

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A House Finch awaits his turn “in pecking order” on the downspout …

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Well, we didn’t have any accumulation of snow, but we did enjoy our beautiful snow flurries … our whirling, twisting, dancing flakes and we enjoyed 3 cold winter days.  But 3 days is just enough … and we were ready for the return of our usual, mild Texas winter weather.  Happily, today’s temperature was in the mid 60’s and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday … it’s going to be in the 70’s!  Ahhh … now, that’s more like it!

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But next time there’s a chance of snow or snow flurries in the forecast for a little town on Cedar Creek Lake in East Texas, you can be sure that … everyone will once again dash to one of our two grocery stores and stock up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful  that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace. (;

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time with me today.  Please leave any comments or questions you may have, in the COMMENT section.

Cottage Green on the Lake … Labor Day Weekend on the shores of Cedar Creek Lake and 2 Favorite Picnic-Fare Recipes by Trenda 

By Friday afternoon our little town’s population began to increase with the number of people coming for their last summer outing at the lake. The waves began to bob as the lake slowly filled with bright, neon rafts, jet-skis, speed boats, and sailboats … and laughter could be heard from backyard decks and docks.
It was a quiet weekend for us, relatively speaking (what a pun!) with only our own dear little family coming to visit for Labor Day.

However, no matter how small the gathering, getting ready for “our gang” is always labor intensive … and after all, seemed apropos for Labor Day weekend! 😉

TO DO LIST:

Edging & weed-eating  … ✔️✔️

Lawn mowed … ✔️

Decks cleaned with blower … ✔️

Floats & Water Toys aired up … ✔️

Canoe checked for “sea-worthiness” … ✔️

 House cleaned … ✔️

Grocery shopping … ✔️ Menus Made … ✔️


BBQ BEANS made & crock pot filled … ✔️




Salad prepared … Teas made … all chilling in the refrigerator … ✔️✔️✔️



TIME FOR FAMILY & FUN! … ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ 


And afterwards … everyone is ready for dinner!
Below, I’ve included 2 of our family-favorite recipes!  Both are easy and delicious and we enjoyed both of these sides on our Labor Day picnic.

The first recipe is my own recipe for DELICIOUS BBQ BEANS.  We love the smoky flavor of the bacon that intensifies as it cooks in the  the crock pot and the enhanced layering of flavor that the bell pepper adds!  I also love that it is baking in the crock pot while I’m away or other dishes are being prepared, freeing up the grill and oven!

The second recipe I have included is Paula Deen’s Frito & Corn Salad.  This salad is so quick and easy to “put together” and so far, we have never had anyone who doesn’t love it!  Cold salads are always a favorite during our hot summer months and the spicy, crisp addition of the Fritoes adds just the right amount of crunch to the sweet flavor of the corn.


And … always a sweet ending to any celebration is our Sand Pail Ice Cream Dessert.  It is our family tradition that we have been enjoying and making together, since our chidren were small!  We still look forward and include making it together in our summertime traditions, every summer!

I’ll include pictures and instructions for that fun & easy treat … soon!

The last rays of the day …  ending another Labor Day.

From my cottage to your’s!  ~ Trenda