Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cadette: Book Artist

This was a girl-led badge. One of the girls gave us a supplies list and she led the badge.

This is how we earned the Book Artist badge.

1. Explore the art of bookbinding. 
She brought in 5 different books to look through and evaluate. She had a board book, paperback, hardback, Bible, and she brought in her Kindle for an electronic book. The girls talked about the similarities, differences, and which they liked the most, as well as the difficulties faced with a few formats (if you forget to charge the Kindle and you are right at the good part, you'll have to find a charger and/or wait.)

2. Get familiar with the insides of a book
She asked me to bring in a book they could take apart. I just happened to have an old textbook that I didn't care about. Taking apart this book was a little more difficult than we thought. We found the cover was glued with a glue that would have held an elephant in place. It took 2 of us to finally get the book to come apart. It was glued, stapled, and bound with string. The process gave us the ability to discuss the various techniques and why they were used (textbooks are used many years, passed around, not always the best care). We also found that each chapter was a book fold section and on the fold was printed the textbook name, chapter, and numerical order.

My only piece of advice when working with old books... well, maybe a few pieces... make sure it's something that you don't want, of little value, and be careful... rusty staples will send you to the ER for a tetanus shot! We were careful and no one was harmed.

3. Try out book artist techniques
We chose to do a sewn book. We looked up tutorials and made little journals using the Japanese book binding technique. It was pretty cool and didn't' take much time. Now, I was nice to the girls and have pre-punched their holes. So, there's that little secret for you. I have a Crop-A-Dile, so I cut the pieces of paper and a cardstock cover, used a binder clip to hold it together and punched them all together.

4. Focus on function
Next up, another book to make. I had leftover chipboard and library rings. So, I brought in scrapbook paper (as requested), cardstock, and chipboard covers. The girls put everything together, decorated their pages and covers, and used library rings to hold it all together. They were cute. This project did take a little time, but our meetings are almost 3 hours so it was fine.

5. Focus on style
This was a tweak and loose interpretation of this step... we made ornaments. Pretty simple.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Penguin Party Patch Program

Wow... that title is full of "P's", huh? It could almost my a tongue twister (as I try it out quietly while no one is around to make fun of me...).

The November 2016 BCG Patch brings us Penguin Party.

If you need an idea for a super cool winter party for your group, this is it. They will unscramble REAL penguin names, learn a little about penguins without realizing (more if you are super sneaky like that), and have a lot of fun. There are Penguin Poop cleanup races (who doesn't want to race with penguin poo??), nest building, fish stacking, and of course... snacks!

All the activity sheets you need are found in the FREE Program Guide. I've even included board titles for your game day, so you can build something similar to the Reindeer Games of 2015.

The patch is super cute, too. Three little penguins who look all innocent and sweet, but the stack of snowballs may give their mischief away.

Please come along and host a Penguin Party this season. Patches are guaranteed through  March 15, 2017. Currently, they are "on the shelf" and ready to be shipped to you within 48 hours, Mon-Fri.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The 2016 Cookie List - not really Girl Scout related...

Each year I make a TON of cookies and treats... now when I tell people I make a ton of cookies they think I'm exaggerating or they jokingly say "Right... like a 1000?". I laugh right back and say "typically end up with over 100 dozen of cookies, treats, etc." At that point, their mouth drops open.

Treats are packaged up in tins and sent to homes far and wide. If you make the "cut" for the tin list, you can be sure you are very special to our family. If you don't make the "cut", it's probably because I had my annual cookie overload meltdown and I drew the line on the number of tins I was going to try to fill. I'm sure I threw in a comment about not having any left for my ornament cookie jar and how that was NOT going to happen!

The first step in the Christmas Cookie Craze is to make a list of which cookies are going to be made. That is today's post.

Most of these recipes can be found in the FREE Share the Season patch Program Guide

1. Sugar Cookies (tried and true and never going to be taken off the list! My Grandma's recipe with my own tweaks)
2. Russian Tea Cakes (Yes... rolled in powdered sugar even though that is a complete mess and I hate a mess)
3. Buckeyes
4. Cake balls (Yes... even though I really hate the many many many steps it takes to make these blasted little balls)
5. Peanut Blossoms (because I love my husband and father-in-law)
6. White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels (love my husband...)
7. Italian Butter Cookies (again... love my husband)
8. Thumbprints (love love love the girl!)
9. Checkerboard Cookies (this is the one cookie I make for ME! LOVE this cookie)
10. Cashew Brittle
11. something new... potentially the chocolate sugar cookies with melted white chocolate and sprinkles... it's an idea I have brewing.

You will notice there is not ONE dropped cookie in the lot. There are several that have to be rolled, shaped, dipped, molded, etc. This is why I take off work for 2 days prior to a weekend. It's also why my husband understands that during Cookie Baking Days I do not cook dinner. I may make soup or a crockpot meal, but I don't stand at the stove. He isn't allowed to cook and be in my way, either. My girl says I tend to get a little "focused", which is code for slightly mean.

The oven fires up by 7am and will go until 5 or 6pm, depending on the day. I take the list and break it down on when each is done (I'll do a post later on about that), complete with when dough is made and chilled, baking temps and times, etc. It's a big deal. My organizational skills are put to the test.

It may sound like a ton of work (it is) and not much fun (but, it is), but here's the secret... I absolutely LOVE those days. Baking and nothing else. Plus, the house smells divine during and after. There is not a candle in the world that can match the smell of fresh baked cookies.

So... there's the scoop... Share the Season is all about this tradition in my family. One I really hope you will start with your group or family. Have fun. Make a mess. Crank up the music. Turn on the sappy movies. Dance in your fuzzy socks. Make some memories!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Anniversaries, Reflection, and Talent

This is the 200th post to the GirlScoutLeader101 blog.

Seven years ago I decided that maybe... just maybe... I should consider becoming a Troop Leader for my step-daughter's troop. It seems like it was just yesterday, yet a million years ago. She was so excited and I still hear that squeal on the phone when I asked her what she would think.

Seven years has brought a lot of ups and downs for my family, my job, and my personal self. It's been a time of great joy and great loss.

I never thought seven years ago I would have become the person I am now. I recently read a book by Brene Brown (The Art of Imperfection), which discussed many great topics, but the one I'll refer to here is the slash career. I hold various hats in my life. I'm not just a wife, stepmom, daughter, friend, computer programmer, or Girl Scout. I'm also the Volunteer Service Coordinator for the largest Service Unit in our Council. A database administrator at times. Network support and admin at time. Systems Analyst too often. Small business owner. Crafter of all things lovely. Indoors lover. Crazy cat lady (I only have 1 right now...). Healthy Eating failure most days. So, when I introduce myself and only give you the piece that I think you expect, I'm really short changing myself.

What does that have to do with the blog or Girl Scouts? So much... and maybe nothing at all.

As women, we often downplay our talents. We are our own worst critics. It's really hard to accept that compliment with grace and not feel as though you are bragging. If you've mastered that art, I give you great kudos. It's a struggle for me. I do receive several emails each week and comments on various online outlets stating how much I've helped and even at times "saved" new and experienced leaders. I'm truly humbled each time and it never ceases to amaze me that this little ol' blog reaches out to so many people. That doesn't even account for all the Pinterest followers and store customers that I've come in contact with over the past years. It's crazy to stop and think how many lives I touch and many without even knowing it.

So, today, I challenge you to look in the mirror and confidently say "I am enough. I'm doing the best I can. I don't need to compare myself to others. I only need to answer to myself and I know my heart is true."

Next, sit and write a list of all the talents you possess and what you offer the world on a daily basis. There is no talent too small. Read them and keep them close to your heart. I probably don't know you, but I'm confident you are amazing!

We must change our mindset in order to spark the flame for the next generation. Lead with passion. Lead with your heart. Lead by example.