Brownie Hiker badge

Well I have to say, this one is pretty simple – we do a Fall Hike with all Girl Scouts in our area, it’s a family event and really laid back and fun! We arrived early so we could do certain requirements prior to starting our hike…

  1. Decide where to go
  2. Try out a hiking skill
  3. Pick the right gear
  4. Pack an energy snack
  5. Go on an hike & play a game

Step 1: Select a park with trails or Girl Scout camp to take a hike in – we choose a local public park

Step 2: We had maps printed out of the park prior to going, we learned how to look at the key and figure out where we were on the map several times during our hike

Step 3: The right gear – well anytime my troop plans ANYthing outdoors, it rains – so we discussed types of shoes you should and shouldn’t wear, clothes to wear, backpack or small bag to carry water, snack, small first aid kit, and extra gear if necessary. 

Step 4: A snack – so we had every girl sign up to bring an ingredient to make GORP (Good Ol Raisins & Peanuts) so we had all sorts of things like chex, pretzels, peanuts, mini marshmallows, dried fruit, mini chocolate chips/m&ms, and baggies to put it in. Obviously if you have any allergies omit items as needed. We had each girl dump the item she brought in a big bowl, then divided it into baggies to carry on the trail. We also discussed why some things are good to pack, nuts for protein, chocolate or marshmallows for sugar/energy…etc.

Step 5: We played iSpy or nature bingo…not sure what we called it. Basically each girl had a sheet with pictures of different things they may see, and they marked them off as they saw them. And of course if they did see something they were to share it by pointing it out to the rest of the troop so we could all enjoy. 

Now you are all official Hikers, and hopefully it doesn’t rain every time you go outside.

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Brownie Quest Journey

Brownie Quest Journey

This Journey we worked on slowly but surely…start to finish it took us 6 months to complete, mostly because we had to wait to do our service project – the winter here in Michigan was brutal!

The Discover Key: We did this along side the My Best Self badge by adding a few components…so while the girls were presenting their colored picture of themselves they also shared what special qualities or talents they have.

The Connect Key: The girls brought props if necessary to show the group their talent, we had everything from artwork/drawings, gymnastics, soccer ball handling, to violin playing. After the girls shared their talent we took a poll to see who else posses that talent/skill. We learned we have a lot of artists & gymnasts in our group. 

The Take Action Key: This one took a lot of brain storming – and many changes in our plans until we finally nailed the project we could execute and the girls actually agreed upon. We did this after cookie season, we had 72 boxes so 6 full cases of Girl Scout cookies donated. (Momma brag – 60 of the 72 were sold by my Boo!) We had to find who we wanted to donated all these cookies too, and who would take them (yes! this is MUCH harder than you would think).

  • We settled on a Fire Station to which one of our girls father is a fireman at and who had recently lost 2 men in a blaze, we gave them a case – the girls all made a card…happy cards, thanking them for their service – whatever else upbeat thoughts they wanted to express. (**side note- when doing community outreach projects, remind girls to sign ONLY their first names, not their lasts – kids are so use to being in school and writing first and last but for safety we should keep it secure). 
  • The remaining 60 boxes we were going to donate directly to our community social services, but then we learned about an even better way. In the Spring the local food bank, social services, and family aid have a “basket” contest. Basically local groups, organizations, businesses, or individuals create a “basket” for donation and then people voted with money on the “best.” The “baskets” and the money used in voting is all donated to the 3 organizations – which just amplifies the donation. We used our artist skills to create a “basket” which typically aren’t baskets but various other containers, the girls had a blast creating it! We didn’t win in our category…but we donated all our boxes of cookies, had fun, and raised a little extra money for charity. 

Celebration & Reflection Unlocking the Code to Leadership: We didn’t hold a huge celebration but we did talk about what we did, and even though we didn’t win how what we did helped so many people. 

Brownie Badge – My Best Self

We did this as our kick-off to Brownies badge – girls worked on some while we had a parent meeting.

Requirements:

  1. Get to know your body
  2. Eat & Play in a Healthy Way
  3. Find out how your body works
  4. Know what to do if something bugs you
  5. Meet a health helper

Here’s what we did to meet them…

Step 1: The girls colored pictures of themselves, with hair, skin & eye color, outfit in their favorite color – then the girls shared with everyone

Step 2: Try 3 different kinds of activities – skipping, jumping rope, and dribbling a basketball – we did as stations, and had the girls talk about what they liked and didn’t like, then they committed to doing one new activity 3 times for 20 min in 1 week.

Step 3: We discussed what a healthy body temperature is, and what it means when it is outside the normal range. We took each girls temp. and charted it on a graph

We had a line for 97.6*, 98.6* “average”, & 99.6* which are the upper and lower limits for “normal” then we looked at how close everyone was, and if anyone was outside the “normal” range.

Step 4: Create a “happy bag” with about 5 items that make you smile 🙂 we had brown lunch sacks and decorated them with pictures, the girls names, words…then when the girls got home they filled them with books, squishy squeezing balls, stuffed animals, pictures of happy times, or any other things they wanted.

Step 5: We had a school nurse visit our meeting, she spoke a bit about what nurses at school would do and then the girls got to ask questions. The nurse said her biggest thing she does is monitor head lice (ewww) she worked at elementary level. The girls then all shared their lice stories (eww eww!)

As a side note – isn’t it funny that lice is something pretty much everyone (at least girls) has lice at least once growing up…and if you have kids you dread the day – but the funny part is no one talks about it with other moms. Boo had lice like 4 or 5 times last spring/summer…totally gross but when you have hair to your waist you are high risk. We have learned the tricks of keeping lice at bay…besides all the things we were taught as kids don’t share hats, brushes, or hair accessories. We keep her hair back in braids, ponies, and hair spray – lice don’t like hair product and its hard for them to transfer when hair is tight to the head. 

And with that you have earned My Best Self

Dressing girls

My sister and I grew up in a traditional household, the two of us girls about 22 months apart in age (she’s older), and our parents. We never ever wanted to be mixed up, even with almost 2 years between us people often thought we could be twins. We made she we never ever dressed remotely similar, mostly because she was a “I don’t care girl – not really a tom boy” and I was very girly and pink and clean. The only time we dressed even somewhat alike was for family pictures, like once every 5 years!

Now fast forward to today…let’s first talk kids and ages 

#1 is my 9yo step-daughter who visits our home once a month
#2 is my Boo who is 7 – about 17 months younger than #1

#3 is my 4 yo step-daughter who lives with us 50%
#4 is my 3 yo step-daughter who also lives with us 50% – about 15 months younger than #2

3 & 4 live with their mom the other 50% of the time, she dresses them alike, partly for convenience but the other part for attention I think. When they are at our house, the wear clothes from our house, and I dress them as different as possible, they are two different little girls, and have 2 very different personalities.

Now here’s the funny part, #1 & Boo only see each other about once a month or so, they have become better friends then “sisters.” These two little girls want to dress as identical as possible. To me this is such a foreign concept as when I was growing up I did everything of the opposite. If one is in a skirt, you bet the other is going to find a skirt to wear, even if she has to pull it out of the dirty laundry :/ 

Well the one benefit of having 4 girls is that there are hand-me-downs galore, and since they are all girly princess girls, none of their clothes get “worn-out.” The other benefit of the girls being close in age is the older two and the younger two can basically share clothes. The older two wear the same exact size in clothes and shoes, its basically like having a double sized wardrobe. 

Maybe this is a girls dream….hmm

Brownies Year 1 Summary

We are just wrapping up our 1st year of Brownies…and boy were we busy!

We earned 2 journeys, 13 badges, and 1 Safety Pin…all in 9 months.

So in addition to my summer project of planning the remaining 1 journey & 14 badges (as our girls have set a goal “to earn them ALLLLL!”) I plan to do quick write ups of what badges we earned this year, and how we did it. Look us leaders have got to stick together, sharing ideas, borrowing and tweaking plans isn’t about stealing another’s plan but “using our resources wisely”

Here’s a quick preview of the badges we did this year, that I will post later details…

  • Brownie Quest Journey
  • Wonders of Water Journey
  • Brownie Safety Award Pin
  • Hiker Badge
  • My Best Self
  • Girl Scout Way
  • Fair Play
  • Money Manager
  • Making Games
  • Home Scientist
  • Snacks
  • Dancer
  • Senses
  • Meet my Customers
  • Household Elf
  • Letterboxer

I included my daughter’s vest…that I am so proud of because I actually sew her badges on just like my mom did for me.  and because it’s tradition & that iron on stuff doesn’t last!

Brownie Vest

photo 2

The dog…

Oh my oh my, so hubs has been bugging me about getting a puppy for a few weeks now, I undeniably say no! We have kids I reply…not now…I don’t have the time, money, or energy for a puppy…a puppy is like a baby…these are all the reasons I try giving to hubs.

He has been trying to talk the girls into the dog idea, Boo gives him the “responsibility speech” apparently she has heard this one from me far too often because it was dead on. It goes something like this “dad, a dog is a lot of responsibility, it takes up a lot of time and money, we just don’t have a lot of time or money to take care of a dog right now. ya know you have to walk it, and clean up poop. what are you going to do with him when we go on vacation?”

Hubs even said to me one night “what if I do one of those Facebook polls that if I get so many like I can get a dog?” I reply “I don’t care how many likes you get, none of those people will be taking care of it” So hubs modified version of this was posting a random pic of a “cute” puppy and telling people she doesn’t want one but should I bring home anyways…well of course his friends all reply with cheers of “yeah man” “aww cute get him” “if you don’t take him I will” “do it, that puppy is adorable” and best one of all “get it, YOU are the man you do and get what YOU want!” Oh lol…sorry buddy we don’t live in another country nor 1950, this is 2014 and women have a voice!

We both work full-time, outside our home so a puppy is quite a task – as it is I do all of the day to day for him and the 3 girls…the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, running around, pretty much everything except mowing the lawn. Just mornings alone would kill a normal person, getting myself and 3 little girls ready, lunches packed, breakfast made, homework checked, and out the door by 7:15am is like running a marathon on a daily basis. A puppy is just not on the radar. I told him getting a puppy without my mutual acceptance is like the male equivalent of a woman getting pregnant when a man doesn’t want a baby.

Well Friday afternoon what is hubs up to…picking up a puppy. AHHHHHH, I try not to show my dismay but I know he knows its there. He says but you’ll love it, yes you are right I will love the puppy, I mean its furry and cute that’s what it was put on earth to do, be cute. That doesn’t mean that I am happy about having another mouth to feed and worry about, clean up after.

 

Yes, Frankenstein is the newest member of our family…8weeks old, born 3/27/14, Lab – Austrailian Shephard mix

Frankenstein

Firefighter for a day

Boo was recently “fire fighter for a day”…pretty cool experience.

How you say? In the Fall at Boo’s elementary they do a “Fun Run” which is basically like a fun hour to play outside and be active. The kids collect donations for the Fun Run – similar to sponsoring a runner for the laps they run, or a flat donation for running in a charity race. This is the schools main fundraiser, hallelujah I don’t have to buy or sell “crap” to my friends and relatives! Most families just write a check, they set a goal of $50 – per child, or $70 – family, however they make it competitive…and anyone that knows me knows I LOVE to win. So class that earns the most wins a recess prize pack (not sure what this really is) but Boo’s class also won this. And then the top 4 earners win a “for a day” experience, Principal, Secretary, Fire Fighter, and Police Officer. Pretty cool huh?

Parents donate money, with little effort, and give away “free” prizes…the PTA has made this work in everyone’s favor.

So Boo was #3 at her school, with $270 in donations. Her good girl friend in her class was #4, and according to Boo, #1 was a boy “who was #1 every year,” and #2 was also a boy. Now this is where the wonderful magic starts…this is the great world in which we live…they get to choose in the order of which they placed. Here goes…

#1 – 3rd grade boy (who has been #1 for now the 4th year, and always selects Principal) he selects Principal – again

#2 – also a 3rd grade boy selects Secretary (of the school)

#3 – my Boo, 2nd grade girl selects Fire Fighter

#4 – 2nd grade girl selects by default, but was her second choice Police Officer

What a gender role reversal. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I was just quite surprised to learn the 2 boys choose traditional female roles, and the 2 girls choose traditional male roles. I actually think its pretty cool that either a we have evolved enough to not see a difference or b that these kids even at 8 or 9 years old are comfortable enough to choose roles that interest them instead of what they are “suppose” to choose.

This is only the start of raising strong women. She was also featured in our local paper about her day, and all the girls in her girl scout troop have told her how awesome it was! One mom told her “you’re famous?”

 Image

You’re FIRED…from a volunteer position

WOW, to be denied a volunteer position is pretty rough territory…

So for our local GS area I am the Brownie Troop Organizer in addition to my own Brownie troop. This job is pretty simple except in the Fall, when new girls need to be placed in troops, leaders need training, and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!

The next busy time is Spring/end of the school year, remember paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, well times that by about 10x more! Then helping with EOY financials, checking statues of troops continuation for the next year…and lastly if volunteers are continuing their wonderful service. But wait wait wait, what if you don’t want a volunteer to return…awkward!

Well apparently this is the week of awkward conversations for me…because I have to tell a leader she is no longer welcome, well that’s if I can get a hold of her. Why you ask? Let’s go with short and sweet, leader in control of finances writes a check and overdrafts account, is notified immediately, account remains overdrawn for 2 weeks and incurs $xx in NSF fees, all because she hadn’t deposited troop dues yet and wrote a bad check…was told she needed to reimburse the troop because it is the GIRLS money! 5 months and many emails later nothing…

You can’t take money from girl scouts and not be asked to leave…I think that’s worse than taking candy from a baby!

Someone like us

Over the weekend, we had a girl scout outing and I was driving one girl from our troop, her mother dropped her at our house once inside the girl began looking around. Now the last time I had schoolmates of Boo’s over the first girl to arrive entered our home and exclaimed “wow this place is small!” which at 6 or 7 years old is totally acceptable because in fact our home is small. So when this girl began turning her head to check out the place I was ready…and she said “wow your house is really cleaned compared to my house!” Oh my that is not what I was expecting…but it did make me chuckle. Since our home is small, we have to clean basically every minute plus one. I try really hard to organized and keep the clutter to a minimum but it’s endless! Now I’ve never been to this girls home, let a lone been inside, but I would imagine her house is all tidy, just  differently. She then told me she was moving soon, just a few blocks from us, apparently the home they are currently in is a rental, so I ask if it was bigger or small, she then said oh a bit small then our current one, about the same size as this one – speaking of our home. Ah, relief!

Why you ask is that relief? We live in a small town built on farming but grown up on white collar executives so incomes as well as homes range greatly. At my daughter’s school there are children that live in a mobile home or small apartment, all the way to three-quarters of a million dollar home. And luckily my daughter has friends throughout the scale. So when this little girl, was so similar to us, I felt like wow that is so wonderful to hear.

Speaking of the wide range of home sizes, on this girl scout outing we had another mom from our troop was there, now they live in an upper end home. We were talking about kids rooms and cleaning – normal mom “stuff” and she was saying her kids, she has 3- 14, 11, & 8, all have messy rooms, and no household skills ie laundry, doing dishes. I began to think…my kids don’t have messy rooms, because I help them clean them regularly – they are still young and need assistance. My girls can keep their rooms picked up pretty well, but typically on the weekends we re-sort the bins because by now toys are just shoved anywhere “mom won’t see.” That’s the great part of a tiny house…clutter and mess can’t hide very long. Now I can’t guarantee as they get older that this will still be the case, but for now it’s working, and hopefully they are being trained to do this on their own. Boo also helps do laundry…she’s bummed because I won’t let her start the washer yet but everything else she does. The little girl gets quite the work-out while switching the washer to the dryer, her routine is hop up on the washer get some clothes, jump down throw in dryer, hop back up on washer get more and she does this until she’s done. Never have I asked her to help with laundry, she just “LOVES” to do it. lol. I hope this one continues too!