Wednesday, June 28, 2017

52 Questions in 52 Weeks Challenge - Week 1

I ran across this challenge about a year ago and thought it was a marvelous idea... A year later... I never started it. Better late than never, right?

The whole idea is to tell your own story by answering one question a week. People that love ancestry love finding diaries, journals, and letters, because they tell about everyday life. Not just the big stuff, but the every day little stuff.

So... be prepared... I'm going to start blogging 1 question per week. If you have a blog and want to join me, please link in the comments. I'd love to follow your journey, too.

Week 1: What is your full name? Explain why your parents gave you that name

Lora Ann Brinkman (Fredrich)

The story goes... my Dad didn't want me to have a long first name, as he felt it was cruel to do that to a child who had to learn how to spell their name. I find this a little funny, because apparently my Dad didn't think I'd be too intelligent or something. Ha!

My Mom wanted to name me Loralea after someone she knew, but Dad convinced her to shorten it to Lora. "lea" would have also been a tribute to my older sister, Leatta", but they were overruled.

My middle name comes from a lady my parents went to church with. My mom promised her if I was born on her birthday (March 6) she would give me the same middle name as her, Ann. Well, I was born on her birthday, so that is the middle name I received.

My maiden name is Fredrich. It's a derivative of Friedrick, which is German. When my great-grandparents immigrated to the US, as with many people, their spelling or their surname was changed. My Grandma often told me it was because my Great Grandpa didn't want to be associated with a side of the family that still spelled their name "the old way", but I seriously doubt that story. She also told me an entire branch of the family was disowned because the  man married an American Indian. They weren't what I consider "high-society", so I just don't know if I should buy the stories... but, maybe.

Nonetheless, that is my name and I hope I live up to the expectation of my ancestors.

Monday, June 26, 2017

5 ways to keep your scouts interested

My troop typically doesn't meet over the Summer months. We meet during the school year and then when school ends, scouts ends.. until the next Fall.

This year we are doing something new. We are going to get together to complete a Journey in a Day. Senior Journey Mission: Sisterhood. A couple reasons for this.
1) They are BUSY!!! My girls are going into High School and I am full aware that our meeting frequency will be drastically different. Two of the girls are in Marching Band (you should see that schedule!). Two are in cheer. All have multiple clubs and things they do besides scouts.
2) The older they get, the harder it gets to keep them interested in scouting. They are torn in a million different directions. I'm chuckling to myself here a tad, because I realize this is only the beginning of our young women having to make choices and feeling pulled in different ways. It doesn't get any easier, does it? What's worse is that a lot of times it's our own gender criticizing the  most... stop that, okay? 

If you want to keep them in scouts, you have to keep them interested. Here are the 5 ways I hope to keep my scouts interested through their Senior year in High School. 

1. Keep it easy
The first thing we need to realize is, scouting is only one option they have. ONE of many. Scouting is awesome because you don't have to practice every day like sports. You don't have to take expensive trips. You don't have to have a set in stone schedule. We can be flexible and we should be. 

This is their Freshman year. I hope to meet with them one time a month. The theme of the month will be different and they will be setting that schedule and theme for the year at our first meeting this Fall. If they miss a meeting, it isn't the end of the world. Do I want them there? Absolutely! But, keep perspective and understand they are beginning their transition into the "real world" where schedules get tricky. Choices have to be made. You can't be in two places at once, no matter how hard we wish we could.

You want to keep them in scouts? Keep it easy! 

2. Keep it fun
They are in school all day long. Scouting should be fun. You can learn through playing at any age. Don't forget that. Get them outside as much as possible. Get them laughing and playing. Yes. Playing. We're not jump roping and hopscotching, but you can and if your girls want to do that... do it. But, find ways to let them let loose and have a good time. 

If they feel like they are going to sit and stare at a book for the whole meeting, they aren't going to want to be there... and let's be honest... I don't want to be there either. 

My girls got on a Sculpey clay kick for a while. Each meeting their plans included making something out of clay. They loved it. They were tying it in with their badge, so let's do it. The one thing we did this past year that was requested time and time again... Uno and Spot It. They would plan their badge work to get done early, so they could play games. Game time would erupt in laughter and memories. Time well spent. 

It doesn't have to be about earning a badge all the time. Promise. Life skills where they are learning how to let themselves be silly and relieve stress... those are skills that will pay off time and time again. 

Keep it fun to keep them in. 

3. Keep it girl-led
Starting with their 7th grade year, the girls started planning all of their meetings. My co-leader and I helped them come of with ideas when they didn't like the suggested activities. WI have helped them organize thoughts by giving them a sheet for planning. It also helps me know what supplies they are requesting. 

I'm sure we have all heard "if you want a child to eat something new, have them help prepare it." Well, that mindset transcends into scouts. You want them to stick around? Make sure they are involved with the planning and decisions. You are more likely to show up if you take ownership in the activity. 

Yes, I do plan the large things for them, such as the Journey in a Day programs. But, they still give me direction. I listen to what they like and don't like. I pay attention to what they have really enjoyed and the stuff they could do without. In fact, they asked me to put the day program together for them. They still enjoy being able to show up and participate without all the prep. I'm fine with that, because I still like to feel needed. 

Girl-led doesn't mean they have to do all of it. Girl-led means they give input and set the direction and make decisions together. Remember, these girls are BUSY. Don't pile "one more thing" on them all the time. They'll choose to leave, if you don't help them out. Plus, let's be honest, they are entering into a world where they will have so many things dumped on them... cut them a little slack. Prepare them, but don't overwhelm them!

Follow their lead. If they want and ask for your help, then that is still girl-led!

4. Keep it low-stress
As they enter High School, they enter a new world. They are immediately expected to start thinking about college, career, and life choices. Not to mention all the scholarships and advanced placement classes students are just expected to do. It's a lot different than when I was a High School Freshman. They also have to think about how to make themselves most interesting to perspective colleges. No more is it just about the grades and the course work. It's about the extracurricular activities and volunteer work. They have a lot to think about. For the most part, college isn't an option... it's a requirement.

When it comes to scouting, keep it low stress. Work with them and ask them what works. Ask how you can help relieve the stress of their every day life. Encourage them to keep that line of communication open as their lives change. Don't pressure them to do everything and be at everything. Remind them you want them there, but you also understand. 

5. Keep it engaging
Let me tell you something brutally honest... if you are bored at a meeting, so are they! Help them plan activities that inspire and motivate. I don't know about you, but I have enough things I "have" to do that aren't fun. When it comes to scouts, it needs to be engaging.

Bring in some patch programs to learn some life skills where they have something to show for it. If they like cooking, check out Share the Season. Do they love singing? Complete Just Sing. Are they artsy? Ask them about Handmade Treasures.

Want to know my summer plan? This is the bare bones list: 

This is what I'm hoping to do...
  • Journey in a Day meeting over the summer (July; planned)
  • Dinner and Movie night (August; before school starts)
  • Mailed note card to just check in
  • Convention trip (October; planned)
  • and...I gave them an option of a Summer Patch Program to help them have a little fun

Sunday, June 25, 2017

52 Weeks Challenge

I love the world wide web (most of the time). It's a happy little place where you can connect with others and find that people really aren't that different. We all want the same basic things as we travel along.

I ran across this challenge on Family Search to answer 1 question a week. Instead of being overwhelmed to document you whole big ol' life, you take it one question at a time. They are in their 2nd year now, but I'm playing catch up, I suppose.

My goal is to post a blog entry... 1 per week... to answer 1 question. In the process, I hope you are able to see we are so much alike and yet unique and lovely in our own ways.

If you'd like to join me, I'd love to link to to you! I'll add your blog link right here.  If you'd like to be added, either comment below or email me: Lora@BCGPatches.com

Are you in? Jump in at any time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Senior Journey - Mission: Sisterhood Journey in a Day

This has been a labor of love. I am hosting a Journey in a Day program for my brand new Seniors this July. They have expressed the need for Journey in a Day events and not a semester of meetings for a journey. They want to do other things, too.


I spent a number of hours developing a plan. I used a few other references (namely the Turnkey from GSCNC) and the Leader book to pick and choose ideas. Then, I brought in my own twist to make it a little more "fun". At least, I think it's  more fun.

What to expect:
The Journey in a Day program I put together is a 9 hour program, but you aren't just doing the journey during that time. There is also time for lunch, afternoon snack/ceremony, and dinner. Plus some game time, craft time, and chill time.

There are 20 activities in all and I have tried to use time wisely, yet not rush through the more important items.

I am planning this for a group of 6. If you are hosting this for a larger group, I suggest you break the activities down and set up stations or turn it into an overnight activity to make sure you have enough time to get through everything. You could also cut things out, if you want.

The Take Action project is not completed with this journey in a day program. The girls will discuss what to do and a plan will need to made to make that happen.  I typically try to encourage them to keep perspective and not lasso the moon for a Take Action on a journey. Lasso the moon for your Gold Award, instead. The plan is to encourage them to set up a Movie day and invite other troops and people and do some SWAPs and dinner and watch a movie or something. Expand your network and keep it realistic. Our troop does a service project every month, so believe me... we're expanding the network and reaching out all the time.

This is the good part... it's probably easier for you to just download the information and read through it and think it out. Lots of information in there and all the activity cards you need are included. You just need to add some basic supplies and girls. I even included a Supplies List for you by activity so you know what you need.

In the resources library there are two files: 
  • Mission-sisterhood-journey-in-a-day-program.pdf - This is your one stop shop. It's 27 pages including the Overview, explanation, time chart, activity list, activity cards, and more. I've included blank cards, too. It's a PDF and you can't edit it. I spent a lot of time putting these together and I don't want to provide any of the cards in editable format. 
  • Mission-Sisterhood-Journey-In-A-Day-Planning-Blog.docx - Speaking of editable format... The program activity chart would be very helpful to you if you could fill in names and change the times, rearrange activities, etc, right? So, that's the one piece I'll provide in Word. I don't have plans to provide it in any other format. It's included in the big ol' PDF, so if Word doesn't work for you, you can use the PDF and make it work. 
I'll try to remember to add some pictures after the event is held. If I don't, don't stone me... remind me, though. Our event is going to be help July 22, 2017.

I have a post on planning a journey in a day program, if you want more tips and tricks. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cricut Quick-Look Sheets



This is loosely related to Girl Scout world. If you don' think you can use this for anything scouting related (which I'm sure you can!), please skip over and enjoy your day!


When I first became a Girl Scout Leader (I feel like this would make a great tune), I was also a paper
crafter. I love scrapbooking, cardmaking, stamping, home decor projects, and all the like. My amazing, awesome, totally supportive husband bought me a Cricut Expression for Christmas or my birthday or something... it's been like 10 years, okay? I still have it. I still love it. I do not want a Cricut Air. You know why? I hate the idea that I have to design everything on my laptop or tablet. This coming from a highly techie gal. I want to plug in the cartridges and set the size and press cut and be done with it already. So, yeah.



Anyway, this past week I splurged on a little item for myself and I am over the moon happy. This will give you insight into my personality and Type A-ness. I bought... wait for it... a laminator!!! You know why? Because of this project!!

I saw a post somewhere (I don't remember where, because... well... I hop around the internet faster than a bunny on Jolt soda; if you don't know what Jolt soda is, then you are most definitely not my age). The post showcased a binder of Cricut cartridge images used to quickly flip and decide what font you want to use. Oh... it spoke to me. It spoke to me loud and clear to the point I was conviced I MUST make one.

So, I spent about 3 hours googling (yeah took some time, but hey I am not a quitter!) to find all the images for my 23 cartridges. At least all the ones I could find. 137 pages in total... holy smokes, right? Don't ask me for links to where I found them, because oh my oh my... I was deep in the lost directory world of many sites...

I put all the images into Word with headings on each page and uploaded my happy little file to Staples and had them printed. The laminator arrived. The binder was waiting. The sheets were laminated and hole punched. I can't even tell you the level of "OH MY GOODNESS" my little heart was screaming at the gloriousness (yes, I know that isn't a word... chill) of it all.

Then, came the problem... tabs... regular page dividers don't work because the lamination sheets are wider than the dividers. Back to Google I went and WOO HOO a solution. Then, I tweaked that idea a bit and did my own thing.

Here is the breakdown:
* 137 sheets printed by Staples in color; I didn't do double-sided because it was $12 more... ridiculous, I know.
* 70 laminator sheets
* 46 labels printed and punches with an adorable scallop punch
* e6000


  1. I sandwiched the image sheets back to back in the laminator pockets and laminated
  2. Hole punched the sheets for the binder
  3. Put them in alpha order in the binder, because what other logical way is there???
  4. Made a cover sheet for the front of the binder and a spine label, because why wouldn't I?
  5. Printed out 2 sets of the 23 cartridge names on purple cardstock (yes, I know they sell tabs.. this is cuter)
  6. Punched the 46 scallops for tabs 
  7. Glued them back to back so the cartridge names were on both side of the tab
  8. Laminated those sweet little tabbies
  9. Tried to punch them out with a larger oval and that didn't work... boooo... so I cut them out
  10. Separated the bottom of the laminated punch oval tabs
  11. Put a little e600 between the loosed punch tabbies and slid onto the appropriate sheets

I probably spent a good 6 hours doing all this, but it's so cute and I know I'm going to use it every time I use my cricut.

I also found out that at least 2 of the cartridges I own have things on them that I didn't even know existed! Did you know Robotz has a FONT?!?!?!

My Quick-Sheets are not meant to replace the books. They are to help me quickly flip and glance at fonts and not have to go through all the books every single time. It helps narrow it down and then if it's a special cut that I can't figure out from the overlay, I can always grab the book.
Like I said... this isn't really scouting related, but it makes me really happy and thinking of all the ways I can use my laminator and my cricut... WOO HOO!!!!

Also, the little tab idea could be used for so many things... ooooohhhh... I love organized things!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fur Babies Patch Program

Patches are guaranteed available through November 15, 2017 and then while supplies last.

Do you or your group love animals? Do you have pets in your midst? Are those "pets" really just part of the family? Then, check out the June 2017 release from BCGPatches.com

Life wouldn’t be complete without our Fur Babies. For most of us, fur babies are our first experience at caring for another living being and going through all the ups and downs that come with being a caregiver. Whether you have a dog, cat, gerbil, hamster, or non-furry animal in your life, use this patch program to show them how much you love them and learn more about taking care of them. 

By completing 4 suggested activities, you can learn more, do more, and give more to the ones that give so much love to us. 


Order the Patch
$2/each (inc shipping), 2 1/2" x 2 1/2", fully embroidered, sew on

Download the FREE Guide
includes some tasty treats and fun gifts for your fur baby!






Need ideas? Check out the Pinterest Board - BCG Patches: Fur Babies




Meet my fur babies! Newman Alexander and Fast Eddie. :)
Their very own Instagram account!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Plan a Journey in a Day (with planning secrets)

I have hosted several Journey in a Day workshops for my troop and I have attended one that was hosted by our Council. My girls have always preferred this method over spending six months on the same thing for 3 patches that really look like one patch. It's a lot of work for not a lot of bling.

Today, I plan to share a few secrets on planning with you. I have developed a journey in a day plan a couple times and I go through the process the same way. Once you break it down, it's easy to do. Promise!

Step 1: 

Choose the journey. Let the girls guide you on which journey they want to earn. I will tell you that some are easier than others to complete in a day workshop, but all of them can be done with planning. Planning is the key!

Note: Sometimes the Take Action is the same day and sometimes it's a "homework" project and sometimes it's a planned service day. It depends on what the girl's decided to do. But, you should be able to get through all the activities in one day.

Step 2: 

Get the Leader Guidebook and Girl Book for the journey. Yes. Both! No. Do not try to do a journey without the leader guide. Even if you follow someone else's plan, without the leader book a lot of things will not make sense and you'll pull your hair out wondering why you didn't cough up the few extra dollars and follow my advice.

Step 3: 

Use my worksheet for planning and breaking it down. You can download it for free!

Yes. It's in the store as a freebie. Yes. You need to fill in your information. Yes. You will thank me. No. I won't share your email or information with anyone else under the sun!

Step 4: 

Look at the badges to be earned for the selected journey. This is where the biggest secret comes in and one that most of us don't know until you READ the Leader's Guide (another reason for getting the Leader's Guide). 

There are 3 badges in a journey. Three. For each badge, you only have to do so many things. The leader's guide tells you how many activities you need to complete. My experience has been 3-4 for each badge. Yes. Do the math. That's about 9-12 things TOTAL. It's not 3 per session with 12 sessions. It isn't 36 activities. It's like 9-12... repeat that with me and let it sink in... 9 to 12 activities TOTAL. Uh huh. You're welcome. That seems much more doable, doesn't it?

Step 5: 

Break down each badge individually. Select the 3-4 activities you know you can complete without the eye rolls of young ladies. This is the pattern I typically try to go with... something educational, something fun, something hands on, and something memorable.

What does that mean?

  • Something educational: A video, a short story, a relevant science or news article
  • Something fun: You will not make it through the day without FUN... a game, a crazy activity to make them move, a goofy story or science experiment
  • Something hands on: My group is crafty, so if there are not crafts there are not smiles. We learn and remember by DOING... so one of the activities should be something they have to touch, do, create.
  • Something memorable: If you only need 3, then be sneaky and bring this in on one of the other activities. Maybe the craft is something of substance that they can take with them or the game ended with belly laughs and they'll talk about it for years. Create a memory for them. At the least, take photos!! 


Step 6: 

Choose your adults. Let's be honest. We all have adults that help with our troop. Some of them are not cut out for this. Some of them are. Be selective. Journey's completed in a day are fast moving, concentrated, intense blocks of time. I don't say that to discourage you from doing it. I say that to make sure you aren't continually having to explain and do everything. Get the adults that you KNOW can handle this. I have done a workshop with 2 other adults and 1 other adult. Both worked well. You assign out to them what you know they can handle. If you have a great adult that is willing to help, but you know that they can't glue 2 pieces of paper together without needing to call the paramedics... don't put them over any crafts! Use their strengths for everyone's sanity.

Step 7: 

Divvy out the activities and assign the roles to people. At this point, you need to decide if you want to get all the supplies or if you want to tell people to get their own for the activities they are doing. I'm pretty Type A, so I default to "I'll take care of all the supply gathering". Plus, then I know what we have and can reuse things here and there.

Step 8: 

Make a box for the event. Yes. It's going to take a little more work, but it's going to save you SO MUCH TIME the day of the event when you are trying to manage activities, girls, food, and everything else.

I use gallon ziploc bags and a plastic tote. you could also use file folders, but I'll explain why bags are the bomb in a second.

I have one bag that are "day supplies". It contains pencils, pens, tape, markers, notebook paper, a copy of the plan, the leader guide and girl guide. This is the first bag in my tote.

I also have a plastic ziploc for EACH activity. So, if we are doing 9 activities, I have 10 bags. 9 activity bags and 1 "day supplies" bag.

In the activity bags, I place anything specific to the activity. Remember that worksheet I told you to go grab? Yeah... print an extra one and cut that baby apart by rows in the table and put the correct table strip in the bag so you know you have them all covered and so on the day of the event, you know what you are looking at. Also in the bag, Craft supplies (unless they are too big to fit and if so, I have a note in the bag saying where they are), activity sheet/instructions, and I label the bag "Activity 1: 10:00-10:15am". This tells me which activity it is, what time we need to start and the amount of time I have estimated. It helps the day of to stay on track and make sure all is completed in a timely fashion.

Note: If you are dividing the event into stations, then make multiple boxes. One for each station with their activities IN ORDER and numbered with the overall event activity and times.

Step 9: 

Double and triple check everything. 

Step 10: 

Hold the event and earn that journey!!

**************************************************************************

Helpful Advice: 

  • Don't forget to build in some breaks. I tend to do a break every 1 1/2 hours for older girls, every 1 hour for little girls. OR use that fun game activity AS your break. With my older girls, I let them know if we stay focused until break time and we are ahead of schedule, they get to decide whether to take a longer break or end early for the day. Sometimes, they decide to skip the afternoon break and then we have time for a short movie or another game or craft. 
  • Don't get overwhelmed. Remember. 9-12 activities. It isn't that much. Really!
  • Presentation is EVERYTHING. Do NOT present this to your girl's in a negative fashion. Be positive. Be excited. Be "in it to win it". Be the cheerleader they need to conquer a journey. 
  • Keep it fun!
  • Make sure you have food. Fun food! Something they can help prepare or a surprise afternoon delivery or sweet treat. 
  • Enjoy your time with your group. You are making a difference. 


Monday, June 5, 2017

Patch Quilt: A long time coming

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that once upon a time I was trying to collect all of the Girl Scout Council patches. Well, I got them all! Woo hoo!! This is a lot of work and was sometimes a lot harder than it sounds. When thinking back to those awesome people that helped me with trades, trips to their council shops because the shops wouldn't ship out of state??, and the groups I stalked for months... I feel blessed and connected to my Girl Scout sisters all around the world. Yes. World. Because I have a few patches from England, Switzerland, Australia, and others. Crazy awesome!

This past week, I drew up my plan, cut out all the pieces, and start sewing it together. It's far from done, but it's well on it's way.

It's a multiple step project. I will be putting the quilt top together, then having it quilted (I don't do that), and then ironing on the patches. I plan to use Heat N Bond or maybe Badge Magic.. there are a ton of patches, so Heat N Bond sounds like a wiser choice.

If there are quilters out there who have any suggestions or tips on the best way to get 120 patches onto a quilt, I'd be thrilled to hear from you.