Saturday, February 26, 2011

Working on Manners....

Today we were working on PHONE MANNERS.  This is part of the experiences for The Manners Try it, but as with many Try Its, it turned into a sounding board and learning opportunity for both Big and Little K's.
The practice sessions involve talking about phone manners, and what to say / do in each of the following situations.
  • An emergency call
  • Someone calls from work and wants to leave a message.
  • Grandma / Grandpa calls and wants to talk.

Now, my girls both did pretty well on the emergency one.  They knew our address.  They answered questions.   (Hooray!)

On the Work message, it turns out a) My children don't know my cell number (although they have the home phone memorized) and b) don't take messages quick enough to be of any use.
I told them to be polite, and ask the person if they can wait until Dad can get to the phone, or spell things for you. 

The one that really surprized me was the grandparent one.  Now my girls talk to their grandparents on the phone pretty regularly.  But they miss some subtleties... like asking questions back, and offering information more than "good", and offering a story.  We worked on this.  (Can't wait for the next real call to see if any of it stuck!)

We'll be putting some paper and a pen by the phone, and our cell numbers.  They are old enough now they should be able to take a simple message- the rest is just practice.  As with most try its, it was a great opportunity to bring up something we needed to talk about.

 Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Must be time to make Applesauce....Again!

Tonight DH was out at appointments, and I was tired from being (literally) sick all day (as opposed to just sick and tired....)
So the girls and I got into a discussion about apple juice. 
     Applejuice is not made from apples.

     It's not?

     No, it tastes totally different.  They might use some apples, but also sugar an salt and stuff.

     (Dragging Apple Juice from fridge)  Let's check on that...100% juice.  (From concentrate), water, Vitamin C.

      Must be the water....Hey, how do they get the juice out of the apples?

     (Avoiding the water comment and the whole "concentrated" thing... )
Well, you know how you can squeeze a lemon or an orange to get juice? It's like that, only apples are harder to squeeze.

     So they use a machine?

    Yes, and probably heat them.  Like when we make applesauce in the crockpot.. you know how the..

    What? We've never made applesauce in the crockpot!

    Now we have made applesauce in the crockpot AT LEAST 7 times. In addition, I've made it with my preschool class 3 years in a row, and they've made it in preschool at least twice.  We've also cooked apples in the oven, commented on how it was like making applesauce or pie filling.  
 **SIGH*** I guess the positive thing about some of the most impressive magic, is that you can repeat it again and again.  Like the film canister rocket on the deck this week.  Or the rockets in the park.   I'm reminded how you have to do some things over and over.  How the physical change is still magical, and how the same things are fun again, and again, AND AGAIN.

    So I  guess it's off to buy more apples.  Because childhood is fleeting, and apples are cheap.

Our Official Crock Pot Applesauce Recipe
(please note we have a LARGE crockpot...)

Peel, slice and chop apples to fill the crockpot 1/2 way.
Add 1-2 Tbsp of Cinnamon. (Start with 1)
Add 1/2 cup water or apple juice

Cook until apples start to get tender.  Mash down with a potato masher every once in a while.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
We mix apple varieties based on what's available. When making with a class, I just ask them to bring an apple and we use all of them.  A pampered chef apple peeler is GREAT if you are going to do this every year.

*Take pictures so you can prove that yes, they did make applesauce before...****

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ella of Frell

I've been reading the girls Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.  If you are only aquainted with the Anne Hathaway movie version of this tale, I'd highly recommend reading it. (Preferably outloud, to an 8 year old.)   The sweet romantic nature of this Cinderella story, along with Fairy magic, makes it perfect for your average second grader.

I used to use children's novels during transition times with my third graders.  I loved that look... the one when literature came alive, when they realize there is more than just the simple stories they read themselves.  I love the way the books would grab them, leave them begging for more.

Then came movies.  Now, don't get me wrong-- I'm a movie fan.  But when my favorite books started being butchered made into movies, I cringed.  Children would say, "I haven't read it, but I saw it."  (with Hollywood endings, of course)  Tuck Everlasting, The Indian in the Cupboard, and yes, Ella Enchanted.  Now, I have my own (almost) third grader-- it hit me.  Time has passed, she doesn't know these movies.  In fact, I let the girls watch the movie when we finish the book-- so they can talk about how it is different.  Frequently, they mention important details removed, and we talk about why they have to take them out of the movie.

Back to Ella Enchanted:  Some second graders can read this tale to themselves, but then you would miss out.  I started reading a chapter a night, but after much begging, our reading sessions have been longer and longer.  The tale is another take on Cinderella, but they won't recognize that until nearly the end.  Then the comparisons start. 

Now, as we approach the Happy Ever After-- the girls are already looking through the pile for what's next.  For me, I'll tell you-- the pages won't matter.  I'm looking forward to more snuggle time on the big couch.

Mary Kay loves to read outloud- especially to a willing audience.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shooting Rockets to the .....?

When I was a young girl in New Orleans, my brother used to shoot rockets (we won't talk about where... although I'm pretty sure the statue of limitations has worn off by now!)

For Christmas, he gifted my two girlies with rocket stuff of their own.  Two rockets, wadding, engines, a launch pad, a automatic ignition switch... the works.  

It has been KILLING them that we haven't been able to shoot them off.  Too windy, snowing, ...bad weather.  

Today was BEAUTIFUL.  Warm, 70's, sunny.  We (and hundreds of others) headed to the park.  We prepared the first rocket at one end of an open field.   10....9....8...7...6...5....4....3....2....1....

There it went with a  loud BOOM! Straight up in the air.  I was so impressed we were successful on the first try.  Then we realized.... HEY! Isn't that supposed to come down?  Nope.  Off sailed our little rocket into the sunset.  We chased it from Thrush park out past the woods behind Forest Vista Elementary, then lost site of it somewhere.

So if a rocket hit your car today.... it wasn't ours! 
We'll shoot again, but not until we are absolutely sure there is NO WIND.  What we thought was no wind..... well, not good enough.

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Make It, Eat It Try It for Brownies

Tonight we were working on the "Brownie Girls Scouts Through the Years" which requires making food or a snack from a certain decade.  While we were at it, I decided it might be a good night for Big K to cook up some requirements for her Make It, Eat It badge.

She had seen this one and wanted to help cook a meal, so it was right up her ally.

We started with the apples, since they needed the longest to cook.
TIPS for #1 Baked Apples:
  • Go ahead and core the apples all the way through.  They will cook better, and faster.
  • Use the smallest apples you can find.  If we cook this again, we might even try Granny Smiths- her favorite.
  • The marshmallows didn't really melt on the apples for us.  We had to put them in the microwave to melt them.
  • These were okay-- but not super exciting. . guessing they were going for healthy.
While the apples were cooking, she started the Sloppy Joes and some broccoli.
We made the fruit fizz and the fruit salad on a different day, but repeated the Fruit Fizz on this night as well.
TIPS for #2 Fruit Fun
  •  Fruit Fizz went over well.  This tastes a lot like birthday party/shower punch.
  •  It's possible to make it "by the glass" by cutting the measurements way down.
  • Add straws-- it makes everything more fun. 
  • Putting some of the juice in a smaller container will make it easier for them.
Tips for #2 Fruit Salad
  • Pampered Chef kids-safe knives are great for this.
  • Bananas are easy to cut, as are grapes. If using fruit with skins, make the first cut for them or remove the skin.
TIPS for #3 Sloppy Joes
  • We eat Sloppy Joes often at our house, so I thought this one would be a no-brainer. Not! Seriously, just get a real Sloppy Joe recipe. This one is bland, and just awful.  You want them to like cooking!  They won't even want to eat it!
  • Remember- long sleeves when browning beef. Just in case.
TIPS for #4  Growing Seeds
  • Certain seeds are quick growers.  Resist the tempatation to grow them indoors.  (Remember the sunflower seed from preschool?- Seeds grow better outdoors as soon as they sprout.)
  • Basil is a quick growing choice.  Radishes in the summer.
TIPS #5 Recipe Book
  • Have her write out recipes they learned together (friendship mix, s'mores)
  • They can sew the edges of several pages together for this book-- making it fit #3 of Stitch-it-together (this isn't double dipping because the focus of the other badge is the act of sewing the pages of a blank book.)
  • Have her write directions to a family favorite as you cook it.  Something she's seen you make before.
Tip #6 Brownie Soup
     Did it occur to anyone else out there that this is the "soup" version of 4-can casserole?  Giggled when I saw it.  I love the idea of leaving the ingredients open and using what's on hand.  It takes cooking to a new level.  Tonight, she cooked this up as her last requirement.  Her version had chicken stock, mexicorn, celery (I helped with the cutting...), black beans, the rice, tomatoes, potatoes, and she added a chicken breast that I microwaved for her.  To spice it up a bit, the tomatoes were the spicy kind.

Through the Years Brownie Try It

Today we were working on "Brownie Girl Scouts Through the Years" (It's a pointing down!)  This one is on the retired list, so if you are going to undertake it-- make sure you buy it first and set it aside.

#1 - Food.
We started by looking up possible snacks (#1) that Brownie Girl Scouts might have eaten in other decades. 
I was a little nervous when she chose the 1920's.  PLEASE pick fruit, PLEASE pick fruit... nope.

Cheese and crackers?  (Hmmm... maybe.)  Oops-- no cheese.  (But we have Velveeta!)  I made her research when Velveeta was invented.  (SHOCKING!)  It was in the made in the 1920's!  (late, but hey...).  Saltines I knew had been around forever, but she looked it up.  (1876).  So we had a snack.

Here's a list of easy snack foods we found from the 20's - some of these surprized me.
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches were a popular 1920's snack.  Doesn't get much easier than that!  (I have two girls who, for whatever reason... do not eat this, even though they have no allergies.)
Peanuts, molded jello salads, pickles.

Here's a list that might be helpful:

Food 1920's: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cream cheese sandwiches, pickles. Koolaid, jello, peanuts.  Invented in the 1920's - Kraft maccaroni and cheese, Velveeta, Peanut butter cups.

Food 1930's: kettle potato chips, popcorn, fritos, twinkies! Ritz crackers.

Food 1940's: m-n-m's, cheerios (called Cheerioats), tootsie rolls, cereal, yogurt, ice cream

Food 1950's: hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled cheese, potato chips, pretzels, rootbeer, lemonade, cola

Food 1960's:pizza, pop-tarts,Ruffles, Lucky Charms

Food 1970's: Guacamole,  Crackers, corn chips, back yard grilling, chocolate chip cookies, pop rocks, starbursts

#3 - Next, we needed Entertainment.  Since tv (and yes, Xbox) were out.  We turned again to an Internet search.  Card games were big, and Dominoes!   So I took this opportunity to break out the moes.  The girls had never played, so we started with just basic dominoes.   It was fun and reminded me it's about time they learned 42.

For those doing the 1930's-- game boards were invented.   The 1940's yo-yo's and marbles were big.  In the 1950's The Cat in the Hat was written and Barbie was invented.  The 1960's brought Nerf balls, cartoons such as the Flintstones. The 1970's - Try skateboarding, or disco dancing!

This link has a lot of good information -- some of it may be too hard for your Brownie to read herself.

This link  has a lesson plan for the try-it.  It trys to cover multiple decades.

#2 - Clothing. 
 For clothing, we are still in the 1920's, but it would be a lot easier to do the 1950's or 1960's.
For language use, the following was very helpful: .  Some of my favorties are "bees knees" and "dapper" - which meant a flapper's dad. Another (still in use some today) "you slay me".

#4 - Sing a Song
For the 1920's can I tell you how hard it was to NOT pick "He's in the Jailhouse Now." ..But settled on "Bye, Bye, Blackbird."

#6 - Service Project
It happens that this weekend is the boy scouts "Scouting for Food" drive.  Big K will help with this drive by collecting cans to donate to the drive.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Free Flowers from the Flower Cart

Is Valentine's Day really Monday?

If your Valentine's has been more about games and party favors lately, might want to forward this post to the sweetie. Chocolate will always melt a girl's heart, but these flowers might also help you get feel Lucky!
There's a very sweet florist in Coppell, that wants to help make your Valentine's Day special!

The folks over at The Flower Cart would like you to visit their website, so they are offering up a chance for some free Valentine flowers.
One very lucky reader will get free a $30 gift card from The Flower Cart! No strings attached! (Unless of course, you specifically order something with strings.... :-) ).

If you are in the Dallas area, stop in. They are an uplifting little place in Coppell on Sandy Lake Road, run by a flower's best friend, Steve.

If Mr. They-Keep-Me-in-Stitches is reading, I'm always a sucker for beautiful blooms in boxes. Steve would know what that's called. They also have some really gorgeous more traditional bouquets...
Go ahead with that Dallas florist delivery.

Ready to Play?
Couldn't be easier. Leave me a comment here with one of your very favorite Valentine's Day gifts or memories.
Want another entry? Link to this post on your facebook page. (Be sure to come back and comment you did this).
Send a tweet out to your friends...
I want to make sure you have time for that FTD delivery, so I'll close the contest at 7 PM on Thursday.
Go ahead, check out their Dallas Florist website and check out what you might want with your winnings!
The shop will send you the gift card directly, so I wanted to make sure you had plenty of time. So enter quickly!

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly. In case of bad weather or missed mail, I can't be held responsible. The Flower Cart is a great place, I'm sure your gift card will get there, but I need to keep this legal. The folks at The Flower Cart let me come over and try some flowers so I could review their shop.They did not require me to say anything positive about them, just mention who and where they were.  I can tell you I will  say positive things about them, because they are just the sort of local business I really hope makes it in Coppell. :-)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Retiring Try Its December 2010

The following Try Its were retired as of 2010. You can still finish them, if you have started. The stores are not able to order these, so quantities are limited.

Listening to the Past
People of the World
Citizen Near and Far
Space Explorer
Brownie Girl Scouts through the Years
Computer Smarts
Building Art
Creative Composing
Me and My Shadow
Point Click Go
Wave the Flag

Some of these are being replaced by updated patches, and don't forget the new JOURNEYS program is starting. If you are interested in finishing these try its, don't delay!

Try-Its that Point Down

Sometimes it seems like all the try its have to be sewn in the same direction. Here's a list of all the current try-its that can be sewn (ironed-on) with the point down. Those with a star can be either direction.

Colors and Shapes (any direction)
Movers (Looks good on side)
Around the World
Art to Wear
Brownie Girl Scout Around the World
Brownie Girl Scouts through the Years
Creative Composing
Earth is Our Home
Eat Right, Stay Healthy
Eco Explorer
Friends Are Fun
Her Story
Making Music
Me & My Shadow
Outdoor Adventurer
People of the World
Ready, Set, Go Camping
Safety Sense
Science in Action
Sounds of Music
Space Explorers*
Sports and Games*
Stitch it Together*
Water Everywhere

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Big K and Brownie Try Its

Like many little girls her age, Big K is in her first year of Brownies, having bridged up from Daisies last spring. She is a part of a really sweet troop of eight girls. They have two uber-fabulous leaders who work on lots of try-its with the girls.
Many of these I am not present for, so you won't find comments on those here... except of course my overflowing gratitude to these two tireless ladies!
To supplement what they do with their troop and help feed her interest in these activities, we've been working on some additional try-its at home. Some of these are from the try-it hand book, and some are Council's Own Try-its.
If you are not familiar with Council's own try-its, these are try-its designed by individual councils. ANY girls scout can earn them, however, and most councils are more than happy to share. Many of the topics are more in depth than those in the Try-it hand book, and there are many to chose from.
Some have on-line stores with the individual try-it requirements, as well as the try-its available for purchase on-line. Some, you have to call the store and order. Since most of these councils do charge a shipping/handling charge- it's helpful to purchase more than one at a time. Either for a group of girls, working on the same try-it, or wait until you have a few different try-its to order. That way, the cost per try-it is not as high.
Many times, we just choose a try-out that fits with what we are already foing that day. For example, the day we spent biking with the neighbors on the greenbelt, I pulled up the bicycling try-it requirements as well as the sports and games requirements. (Remember! No Double-Dipping!) The day we went skating, I googled Skating Try-it-- and found one. Several of the requirements could be met easily on that outing.
Future of Try-Its: You have probably heard by now that Girl Scouts are Rolling out their JOURNEYS in the fall of 2011. By 2012 all Girl Scouts should be in the new program. This means by the time she bridges to Juniors, we'll be in a whole new program! You can still earn and add try-its until then, as long as they are available. If there's one you really want to try, you might want to go ahead and buy it, set it aside. The council's own try-its, in particular, can't be reordered while they are making the switch. So get 'em while you can.
Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Say it Ain't Sew.... Jim and Diane are Retiring!

Ask them a sewing question, go ahead. Ask them a computer question, please. Go ahead ask them about their grandchildren--- and watch their face light up.

A truly great adventure into sewing that SO SADLY is ending this month. Over the years, whenever someone has asked about where and what to buy regarding sewing machines.... I have always directed them to the same place.

For a decade and a half, there is no other person I would trust to work on my machines.

Now, they are taking some much needed time, to enjoy life. I'm so sad!! (Only selfishly formyself, not for them.)

Over the years, I have come to think of them as family. If you haven't ever had the pleasure-- stop by this week. They are having a huge sale. Wish them congratulations and good luck, then quietly return to your car and sob. A Giant craft store could never take their place, the fact that they know your name when you walk in-- that they actually know how to sew and have years of experience on all things digitizing and sewing. There is no other pair like the Stutsmans. Jim and Diane-- you will be missed!

Mary Kay wasn't born cheap... but she got there pretty quickly.