I Survived Cookies!

Okay, I wasn’t even cookie manager, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. And I totally failed at the pre-sale thing, but let me tell you, a month and half of manning the cookie booth every weekend? That can wear you down. Let me check my math…2-21, 2-28, 3-21, 3-22, 3-28…okay, so it wasn’t a month and a half every weekend, and my husband even took her to the second, but three times in two weeks makes it feel like a month!

cookie booth for web

My daughter thought so, too, and was pretty much done this weekend. Too much, too close, I think. If it had been spread out more throughout the month, I think she would have kept up the enthusiasm. As it is, we’re both glad to be done. However, she did really enjoy the experience and is excited to do it again next year complete with sign making and decorations.

So what did I learn?

  1. Pre-sales may or may not be important, depending on your daughter’s goals. She still sold over two-hundred boxes.
  2. Two-hundred boxes may sound like a lot, and it is, but these cookies sell.
  3. Troop prep really shouldn’t wait until cookie information is everywhere and the packets are being handed out. A leader should be on the ball and start cookie prep and planning at the beginning of the year, at least if you want to add badge work or booth decoration. It needs to be on the calendar early! Time flies.
  4. I don’t want to be cookie manager! I didn’t want to before, but now I really don’t want to.
  5. I love this simplified, one page size order form (MiniOrderCard) that I found on Southern Alabama’s Council website. This is great for passing around an office or potentially sorting orders by location (office, Sunday School, dance class, etc.) Of course, if you don’t use ABC Bakery the card won’t have the correct cookie selection listed, but the website has other cookie sales resources that might be useful.
  6. Keeping track of booth sales for the cookie manager’s benefit is easier if you use graphics instead of words. Even adults find pictures faster than words, so for girls, having each cookie visible on the sheet instead of listed makes the whole process a lot smoother. I edited up my own graphic to use:d6552669ecf7f16202008310e8cc875a
  7. And then promptly forgot to print out a new sheet our second booth slot. So, not having any ink for our home printer, I grabbed the unused pre-order form and some post-its, clipped it nutrition fact side up to a clipboard, slapped a post-it over the facts/under each picture, and viola: sales record. (Just be sure to label each post-it before you pull it off so the cookie manager can tell which note goes with which cookie.)
  8. Just because one Brownie can only stand to stay behind the table and man the money box for 5 minutes before she abandons it to talk to people doesn’t mean she’ll like the idea of not taking turns (even if the other girl present is really uncomfortable being in front of the table).
  9. On a related note, division of tasks can be confusing and lead to mild drama at this age group. One handles the money and the other sells, right? So “why is the girl at the money box calling out to people as they walk past?” “That’s my job.” “It’s confusing if we’re both talking to people.”
  10. Upon arrival, it is best to make one or two cases loaded with a few boxes of each cookie and the money box the first things unloaded, because people will inevitably want to buy while you’re setting up and all is mass confusion.
  11. It needs to be clear that one girl handles money at a time, and that girl should only deal with one customer at a time. Otherwise, overwhelming confusion is a real possibility.

And that’s about it for our cookie journey this year.

 

WoW: Brownies SHARE Water on the Wonders of Water Journey

Our final meeting on the WoW journey did not end up being the final meeting on our Snacks or Household Elf badges, but that’s okay, the girls really seemed to enjoy our project.

We made our sweet snack before beginning the project. I had intended to do sweet and savory together, but I decided that was pushing things and I’d loose the girls long before we ever got through. I actually had all seven there, and I barely kept them all involved around a single recipe for one snack. All in all, good call to put off savory.

We made crescent roll cinnamon twists, which I found here, and the girls all seemed to enjoy them. It was simple, quick, but there was enough to do in one recipe that they all got to help.

While they were cooking, we moved on to our projected.

We collected quite a bit of reusable trash to use as materials, and each girl designed a 12″ x 12″ sign (a white scrapbook page) about why water is important. Each girl came up with her own focus and used markers and glue to put the sign together. I sent them all out on a mission to find somewhere willing to display their sign at least until March 22, World Water Day, to share what they’ve learned with the community and get as many people as possible thinking about the importance of water.

2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (2) you need water to take a short shower or bath 2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (3) recycle and keep water clean by not polluting water. other people don't have water 2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (4) one bucket for...

our cadette

our cadette

2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (7) recycle 2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (8) recycle use less water 2015-3-16 troop 10460 wow journey (9) keep your animal's water clean

 

The final piece of the Household Elf badge was making a homemade air freshener, which I had the materials for, should have been an easy, five to ten minute activity (depending on how many times I had to get their attention), but we just didn’t have time. We’ll work it in later.

World Thinking Day and a “Council’s Own” Badge

In San Jacinto Council, we have a Passport to International Adventure badge the girls can earn by learning about Girl Scouting around the world, and participating in World Thinking Day is one of the requirements, so I combined the two events for the girls.

international adventure        world thinking day

There were four required activities for the Council’s Own badge for all levels, and several optional activities for the girls to choose from depending on their level. Brownies only need to choose one more, and since one of the electives was “select and learn about one country in WAGGGS,” that’s the option we did since the information used in that activity supplied the contents of our booth at the Thinking Day event.

We started by learning about WAGGGS and the World Centers, the Juliet Low World Friendship Fund, and the purpose and history of World Thinking Day, then we learned about India and what scouting is like for girls there. We then used the information about India to put together a poster for our booth. I only had three of my girls at the meeting, so this part actually went rather smoothly. Had we had all the girls, we would have actually played one of the games we learned about, but alas…these things happen.wagggs pin

For all this info collecting, I put it together before the meeting, printed stuff out, and brought it with me. If I had planned ahead well enough, like a more experienced leader probably would have, I would have mentioned all this several meetings ago and had the girls looking for the information, maybe split it up and have them teach each other the different parts, maybe have them each find their favorite part of each section to share, but either way (and probably let them have some say in which way it was) they would have had more to do with the planning of it like they’re supposed to. Ah well, live and learn, right? I’m still working on figuring out this whole game…

I did have five out of seven show up to the World Thinking Day event, so they learned about India and helped host the booth, earning the World Thinking Day badge. I made a little hand out with the requirements for the Passport to International Adventure badge in case they wanted to earn it at home and receive it along with the three that had been a the meeting.

For our booth, we had our poster and we had coloring sheets. We used the outline of a hand for girls to practice henna designs, and we had a mandala coloring sheet and a rangoli coloring sheet. I actually added the mandala and rangoli after my daughter had a rather difficult time accepting a craft that only used the color brown the way henna does. She just can’t handle such an appalling lack of color, so we added some color to our activity.

For our passport stamp, I wasn’t going to go out and buy something India related, so I used an exacto knife to cut a wheel design out of a foam craft sheet (to match the wheel in the center of the Indian flag) glued it to a wooden spool I had in my odds and ends drawer.

2015-2-27 world thinking day for blog

I don’t have permission to share pics of my girls, so I used the online editor pixlr to add elf faces (which I cropped out of the finger puppet activity on girlscouts.org).

PS, even I find this dry and I was there and had all the fun. I’m new to blogging, don’t really intend to make anything big of it either, but if anyone who reads this has any suggestions on how to make this more enjoyable or friendly or welcoming or encouraging, please please please leave me a comment or a message. I’m just literally outlining what we did. I don’t know how to make it cute or funny or even know if that’s necessary. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, hope this helps somehow.

New Year, New Troop

So, a few changes were made. My co-leader for the Daisy troop decided her family just does not have the time or resources to stay in girl scouts. It was the best decision for them, and didn’t really affect us all that much anyway, since she was going to stay with the Daisies while I moved up with our only Brownie.

Recruitment didn’t go as well as some of us were hoping, and we didn’t get any new second grade Brownies, much less any with a mom willing to be my new co-leader. We did, however, have an existing second grade Brownie troop in need of a co-leader as one of theirs had just moved. They needed a leader, we needed a troop, so it worked out perfectly for everyone.5-9_PP_make-a-book_492x369

We had our first meeting together on Monday, and I think it went well. Two of the girls weren’t able to make it, but we had five there.

I started with a Brownie circle and introductions before going through some of the Girl Guide. We reviewed the promise and law,talked about how Brownies are all over the world, and I read them the Brownie story. Then we talked about what Brownies do. My co-leader and I had already purchased all the skill badge packs, and I had gone through them, along with the legacy badges, sorting out those that would make for good, complete meeting programs; those that would work best as independent, at home projects reported on to the troop; those that would make good field trips; and those that would be best split between meeting and independent work. So, after explaining badges and journeys to the girls, I let the choose what they wanted to start with. They were REALLY excited about getting to make decisions for the troop instead of just coming to meetings, so I think that’s going to work out well. We had one girl who wanted to do a journey, and three that wanted to do a badge. So, we decided to start with one badge and then do a journey, and that decision had everyone happy. So, next meeting, we’ll be earning the Games badge.

Choosing a troop crest a bit of an ordeal, but no one cried or got mad, so I consider it a success.

My co-leader’s oldest daughter, a Cadette, was there as well, and she was a real blessing. She played games with the girls and helped with the snack, and I really look forward to working with her as well. I think it’s going to be a good year, and I look forward to getting to know my girls better.

The End of Year Awards Ceremony

Well, I completed most of my objectives. My kindergarten Daisies completed two journeys, and my daughter, my only first grader, completed the third. My kindergarten Daisies earned their first financial literacy leaf: money counts, and my completed the other. She also earned her first aid pin and one my promise, my faith pin. Everyone earned all their petals as well as the global action badge. We didn’t form in time for World Thinking Day or cookie sales. Not bad for a troop that formed in February, if I do say so. The only thing I didn’t get done my daughter’s second my promise, my faith pin. (I know, one promise-faith pin/financial leaf a  year, but she was a Daisy last year, they just didn’t have a troop for her and didn’t want to multi-level a troop for one kid, I guess, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything for her to fit them in.)

It was such a nice day, even in a Texan August, that we decided to have the ceremony outside. We started the awards ceremony with the presentation my daughter needed to do in order to complete the promise-faith pin.

My Promise, My Faith

My Promise, My Faith

She had chosen “Make the World a Better Place” as the line of the law to explore, and she decided that the fruit of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 teach us how our faith makes us people who want to make the world a better place, and, at the very least, better people make a better world. She talked to her children’s pastor about it, and I found as many quotes from women on the subject as I could, so she could pick out the ones she liked. She chose:

“You have two hands: one for helping yourself and one for helping others.” -Audrey Hepburn

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; it is all that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

and

“Do not wait for leaders. Do it yourself; person to person.” -Mother Teresa

She made a poster for each quote, the Bible verses, and fifth one for the who concept. (I used stencils for the letters for her except for the fifth one, and she colored/decorated them.)

After her presentation, I gave her the awards she had earned independently, and kind of told the other girls about them since they will probably be earning them this year.

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After that, our leader presented all the girls with the badges they had earned together.

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Then it was time for my baby to bridge. She had attended a recruitment rally in the spring that followed a presentation the community had made at our local public preschool, and then she accepted an invitation from a bridging troop of third grade Brownies in May. Our community has a neat little bridge we were able to use.

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It was a simple ceremony, like most of what we’ve done, but she loved it.

Bridging to Brownies

Bridging to Brownies

Now we’re in hiatus until our start of year community meeting and rally. Hopefully I’ll get some sweet, dedicated second graders to join my little girl in Brownies. If not, multi-troop meetings it is. There’s another tiny Brownie troop, three third graders, that would join my second grader and two first graders if none of us get any more, or if we each only get one or two. Wouldn’t be terrible, since we plan and doing a significant amount of activities together anyway. We just have to wait and see.

Between the Earth and Sky: Session Three

For our third and final session, we made a poster about how ‘YOU’ can protect our wildlife as our take action project, earning the girls their Clover Award. Together, with a bit of guidance, the girls came up with 1. visit local parks, 2. mind your weeds and seeds: stay on paths and don’t pick unknown wildflowers, 3. reduce, reuse, recycle, 4. conserve water and energy, 5. don’t bother wild animals, 6. garden with native plants, 7. keep the outdoors clean, and 8. learn more at worldwildlife.org, nps.gov, and tpwd.state.tx.us

I had printed off several pictures of endangered species found in our area of the country, including plants, as well as the state park and national forest nearby. (I don’t actually have a color printer at home, and I didn’t want to get photo prints, so I used Picasa to make collages of the pictures I wanted, about 4 to a page, and printed them at the library.) I did the lettering, but the girls had creative control of the layout and helped glue things in place. My daughter asked our local children’s librarian if we could display it at the library, and now we’re just waiting to see it hung.

take action: protect our wildlife

I don’t know how well this project would work with a larger group of girls, what with everyone needing to work together for a single coherent poster and all that, but it worked well for us and took about an hour and a half to put together. I think it looks very good, if I do say so myself.

Update: Finally getting around to adding pics of the library display:

I got the dimensions wrong, so our wonderful children’s librarian used one of her display boards to show it off in the reading area.

my daughter showing off a display she’s very proud of

Making the World a Better Place, one Daisy at a time

This week, we didn’t work on any new petals, but we began our Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden take-action project. Given our troop’s limited resources, crunched time frame, and generally overwhelmed leaders, we decided to keep it simple. The girls decided last week to plant daisies, care for them until they begin to grow, and then gift them to people who could use something to brighten their world.

We got some bio-degradable pots from the Dollar Tree, some potting soil, and a pack of Shasta Daisy seeds. Since our pots don’t have holes in the bottom to drain excess water, we layered some rocks under the soil to help keep the girls from overwatering the plants, and after planting, I did my best to demonstrate how much water they need, what the soil should look/feel like. Fortunately, I think our girls have parents who can help keep an eye on them. They’ll care for the flowers for five weeks, until we’re done with the rest of the petals, and then they’ll find someone to give them to before our end of journey garden party in order to earn their honey bee badge.

After planting our seeds, we went inside and added Rosie to our garden mural.

Rosie was easy to prep, taking less than 1 episode of Gilmore Girls (sharing with the last bit of Clover prep.)

I took a break from my Gilmore Girls marathon long enough to dip 7 coffee filters in about a cup of water, in which I had mixed a few drops of pink food coloring, and wring them out. I then turned on closed captions so I could restart the show while blow drying the filters. Once they were dry, I cut them in half, folded each half in half, and cut large scallops into the folded edges. Then I cut lengths of green ribbon, the kind with loops on the edge because (as my daughter noticed very quickly) they look like thorns, and three smallish leaves from green card stock.

rosie prep

The girls bunched/pleated two lengths of folded coffee filter along a piece of tape, leaving half of it exposed, and then rolled them tightly to make the flower. They then squished the flower as flattish as it would go and glued it in place before adding the ribbon and placing the leaves. They had a harder time gathering the coffee filters than I thought they would, but with only a few girls, helping them out wasn’t a big deal. Glueing the roses to the poster board proved to be more of a problem and messier than I foresaw from my mock-up, so keep that in mind if you use my idea. Maybe not use something so 3D for a mural, but securing the tape to the top of a drinking straw would make this a good Mother’s-day craft.

rosie mock upOnce their roses were in their gardens, we cleaned up and they received their Rosie petals for their flower charts before we closed.