Archive for the ‘American Heritage Girls’ Category

It has been a long time since I have posted anything about adoption, but it is a subject that still is, and always will be, dear to my heart.  Our lives wouldn’t be complete without the miracle and beauty of adoption, and I think about that every day.

Anyway, I was recently contacted by one of my former American Heritage Girls Trailblazer families who are  no longer Trailblazers because they have started a troop with AHG.  The reason they emailed me, though, wasn’t necessarily about AHG.  They wanted to let me know that they have recently committed to adopting two beautiful girls from Eastern Europe.  The mother is putting together an adoption handprint quilt for a giveaway in February that the family is using to benefit the girls waiting for them.  She remembered our sweet Kara and wondered if we would want to participate in this giveaway.  How cool is that?! Of course, I was quick to say yes!

So, she gave us instructions on how to prepare a handprint block for her quilt, and we got it all ready and mailed off to her.  Fortunately, we had a practice block before we did the real one because our first trial did not work out very well!  The second one came out much better, so that’s the one that we sent.  I always think Kara’s special hands make cute prints and art projects–don’t you agree?! 🙂

Kara enjoyed being a part of this project, and it was a good reminder for us all what a blessing adoption is.  It is worth every penny and every struggle that is part of the process.  I once read a statement that might sound strange to someone who has not adopted internationally, but I can certainly relate to:  people who think that money can’t buy happiness have never paid adoption fees!  I love this girl–forever!

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Luke Map Collage

Yes, we are still here! LOL!  I have written before that once we get into the routine of school, sometimes my blogging suffers.  It’s not that we aren’t doing anything; it’s just that we’re doing regular school stuff–not much that is blog-worthy!  🙂

So, school is plodding along, and we’re hitting it hard and heavy.  We just finished up our first quarter, and that means that we are heading into a busy, busy project season.  John and Brock are in the beginning stages of their science projects, and Cosette is in 7th grade, which is the year that the students plan a science project but don’t actually do the full display.  John is planning to do a complicated chemistry-type project involving clock and oscillating reactions and how the different variables affect the rates of reaction.  (I know, sounds rather confusing….)  Brock’s project has to do with the stability of towers on inclines, and Cosette is studying bilge keels and plans to test how different conditions affect their performance.  Pretty soon the planning stages will be over, and it will be time to carry out the experiments, analyze the results, and assemble those wonderful science project display boards.  Fun……  Sigh……..

Speaking of displays, Luke finished his 6th grade A Beka Academy geography project today!  Yea!!  This is always an interesting project.  It involves drawing a poster-sized map of a country that shows major geographical features, cities, natural resources, etc.  Fortunately, we have learned a few tricks over the years to make this go as smoothly as possible, and I think Luke’s map of Syria came out great!  He chose Syria when it was constantly in the news with its civil war a few weeks ago.  It was a good choice–we really didn’t know much about that country, and it gave us a chance to get an introduction to it.  It looks like a very interesting place!

John is enjoying the fact that he is a junior and that in a couple of years he will get the opportunity to pursue new things in new places.  He has been investigating colleges and thinking about majors.  Right now he seems most focused on math, science, and music, but he goes back and forth on specific areas.  And that’s ok at this point!  God will lead him along the way at the right time.  John has done a lot of good internet searching about different colleges and has learned a lot.  He has signed up for a couple of college-visitation days in a few weeks, and I know that God will use all of this to guide him to just the right place.

The girls have a couple of new activities this fall that they are really enjoying.  First of all, they are taking sewing lessons!  There is a lady in our church who designs patterns.  Her shop is called Lilac Lane.  She graciously offered to help the girls learn to sew, and the girls have been having a ball going to her house each week to work on their projects.  Currently they are making tote bags.  I have heard rumors that their next project will be a small quilt that will give them lots of practice sewing nice, straight lines.  So, this has been a wonderful thing for my girls–they have a good role model to look up to and admire in this sweet lady!  🙂 The girls and I have also been going to Stampin’ Up classes this fall.  A friend of mine recently became a demonstrator, so we have been going to her sessions to learn more about stamping/card making.  The girls really enjoy this and are good at it.  I’m not very good at it–but that’s ok too!

Of course, I am still keeping busy at the food bank.  We have had some food drives, and just the regular meetings, stocking the shelves, etc. keeps my calendar from being boring.  We are in full swing in preparing for the annual Christmas basket project.  Last year we gave out around 200 baskets, and it looks like we are on track for that many again this year.  Our food bank is trying to reorganize the project this year by dividing the responsibilities into committees, and hopefully that will go smoothly and not lay so much on one single person.  I am on the “contacts/volunteer” committee, which means I am responsible for lining up the volunteers for the assembling of the baskets and helping to coordinate the different organizations that participate in this project.  That will be a big job during November and early December, but it really is enjoyable and rewarding.

So, things are continuing on.  We are definitely in the “daily life” mode, but that’s a good mode to be in!

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This year we again participated in one of our favorite end-of-summer activities:  the annual Youth Outdoor Skills Day put on by the wildlife and parks department.  This is such a great event, and I am always astounded what the kids get to do for free each year.

There were five stations this year:  Orienteering, Muzzle Loading, Shotguns/Air Rifles, Trapping, and Archery.  This was the second year in a row for the orienteering, and this year I actually GOT IT!  For me it was kind of a gradual thing, but I can say that I really do understand using that crazy map and compass.  I don’t know if I could explain it to anyone else or not, but I was able to get it figured out that day at least!  LOL!

We were glad that they brought air rifles for some of the younger kids to shoot while the older ones shot clay pigeons with shot guns.  Those big guns are just too big and heavy for the younger kids–they literally get thrown around by them.  So this year a very kind gentleman took the younger kids aside to shoot targets with air rifles.  He even had a handgun that they got to try.  John and Brock enjoyed the shotguns–and they hit quite a few clay pigeons too.  Each year gets a little better.  Kara, Luke, and Cosette enjoyed the air rifles and had fun trying to knock around some pop cans.

We are always taken with the trapping sessions.  Trapping is just not something that you hear about every day–around here at least.  I guess there are some people who do it, and they can make money when they know what they are doing.  It really is interesting–I don’t know how you’d ever go about getting started doing something like that though!

The kids have always enjoyed messing around with archery.  The instructors this year were very hands-on and gave the kids a lot of attention and advice.

We only had one problem:  ALLERGIES!  Boy, something out in that field got our allergies stirred up.  The sad thing is, though, that it hasn’t stopped since!  Everyone is sneezing, coughing, wiping eyes, etc.  John says he can’t wait for the cold temperatures to come and wipe out whatever has gotten us all stirred up!

It was a very fun day, all-in-all.  It’s great to be able to go out and do these things from time-to-time in a safe and controlled situation.

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Week 3 Collage

The week of June 16-22 was another busy week for the Prairie Family!  We were running here and there, and I had to watch my schedule very closely to make sure I didn’t forget to take someone somewhere (or forget to pick them up!)

Luke and Kara were both involved with a KSU Kids-a-Cookin class. These sure have been neat classes for the kids over the years.  The classes focus on nutrition and eating healthy foods, and, of course, the kids get to try out some delicious recipes!  This year they made pancakes, smoothies, peach cobbler, tacos, and other yummy things.  Kara is always excited to try out the recipes at home, so this week she made the very easy Peach Crisp recipe from the class, and we all agreed that it is so simple that there is no reason at all to buy some frozen or box mix concoction to have a great dessert!

Our whole family had a rare treat when we got to meet with a missionary from Brazil along with her nephew who goes to church with us and who recently took a trip to Brazil to see the country and different ministries taking place there.  He had wanted to show us his slides for quite some time because the girls and I had been studying Brazil for a badge in AHG, and things fell together just right so his aunt herself was also able to join us!  The pictures were wonderful.  It is always eye-opening to get a first-hand report of what God is doing in other parts of the world and how we can be involved in it.

Cosette had a very special week.  She got to attend the first-ever Kids’ College at our local community college.  The college had decided to have this camp for middle-school aged kids to offer them learning opportunities in the areas of science, forensics, computers, leadership, music, and art.  She loved every minute of it, and she is such a social butterfly that it didn’t take long for her at all to make some new special friends.  She looked so grown-up walking into that college each day…..the time when that is where my kids will be is quickly approaching, and it’s a great adventure that we are looking forward to!  (I think if Cosette had her way about it, she’d just skip the rest of jr. high and high school and head right off to college, but that’s not going to happen!)  Anyway, she got some pretty neat pictures on her camera from her time at the Kids’ College, so I will get those edited and put into a slideshow for my next entry.

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egg Collage

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Piggie Collage

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Cosette, Kara, and I just finished our third year as American Heritage Girls Trailblazers.  What a great experience it has been!  Each of the girls will soon be receiving their respective level awards and moving on to the next levels.  Kara will be receiving her Sacagawea Award, and Cosette will be receiving her Lewis and Clark Award.  As part of the end of the levels, we have gone back and reviewed some of the things that we have done during the past three years, and it really is amazing when we start looking at it!

Both of the girls have earned several service stars.  Most have been from helping at the Genesis Food Bank, but they have also helped serve at several fund raisers for local groups, and have done volunteer work for church.

There have been many “special events” that we have enjoyed.  Some of have been with their brothers’ scout troops including a day trip to some museums, and marching in Veteran’s Day parades.  An annual special event that we have all come to anticipate is the Outdoor Skills Day put on by the Division of Wildlife and Parks.  There have also been concerts and special programs.

Cosette and Kara have each completed 9 merit badges:  7 C’s of History, Stick Shifts and Safety Belts, Music Performance, Fishing, Bible Basics, Sign Language, Computer Fun, Internet Adventure, World Heritage.  We are currently finishing a Photography badge and a Theater Badge–those will carry over into their new levels.

As we’ve been finishing up the World Heritage Badge, the girls have been studying the country of Brazil.  That has been quite an adventure!  It really is an interesting place, and we have all learned a lot.  We especially enjoyed cooking some Brazilian food, and Kara has really taken to making fabric yo-yo’s.

So, we are looking forward to continuing our time with American Heritage Girls.  We sure do appreciate their firm stand on moral issues.  We are currently in a state of transition with the boys’ involvement with Boy Scouts of America.  Hopefully there will be a group similar to AHG formed for boys where they can be taught to be responsible, morally strong young men.  I will post more about this as time goes on, I’m sure….

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Cosette and Kara are continuing to enjoy working on their Photography Merit Badge for American Heritage Girls.  This week, their assignment was to take a picture of their favorite place–a picture that tells a story of why they like that place.  After they had taken their pictures, the girls used Picmonkey to edit and enhance their pictures.

Kara’s favorite spot was her cozy bed.  She loves snuggling in the warm blankies with her favorite stuffed animals.  She has also recently discovered the simple pleasure of relaxing with a good book before going to sleep.  I must also add that Kara and Cosette have a lot of fun each night just being generally silly as they lay down for the night!  Here is Kara’s picture:


Cosette’s chosen favorite spot is the music room.  She spends a lot of time there each day practicing her instruments and just playing for her own enjoyment.  I’d say that this is a favorite spot of my own as well.  It’s a little musical haven when we can shut the door and just open up a favorite songbook to enjoy.  Here is Cosette’s picture:


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If I counted correctly, there are 37 cars in this picture.  Thirty-Seven Cars!  I guess we’ve made a few of these things over the years….

We have learned a few things about making Pinewood Derby Cars.  After all, I think we’ve made all of the mistakes at least once!  🙂  The cars that are mounted on the display boards were from our first year.  Wow, those were bad cars!  They literally jumped the track on every race they ran!  We had no idea what to do when we made those cars, but that year was a good learning year. By the next year, we had ordered some books and had read some websites about how to make Pinewood Derby cars that would actually get to the end of the track!  Each year we added new steps to improve our cars and learned new decorating techniques.  So, in our later years our cars did decently–not always winning, but consistently doing all right.

A few of the cars really stand out with good memories.  The first car in the top row with the lightning bolt on it was our first car that ran decently.  We decided it must be the lightning bolt sticker that made the difference on that one!  LOL! The 7th car on the top row is our Purple Bomb.  That crazy car is a random rocket! It makes no sense whatsoever, but that year we had an extra car body cut out that we decided to finish for fun.  We used some leftover paint, a few colorful stickers, and just stuck on some wheels.  This haphazard method worked out, though, because it has won official and unofficial races in several different settings.

John’s “paint splat” car (next to last car on the top row) is one of the cutest and most unique cars.  The gold car right in the middle of the picture with a flower sticker on the front was Cosette’s random winner.  That car flew in every race it ran.  The Cub Scouts couldn’t believe it–a girl’s car was the fastest car that year!   The most notable thing about Brock’s cars is that he doesn’t like decorations.  “After all,” he says, “they are racing, not entering a beauty contest!”  So, for Brock, it’s all about speed!  Luke had two winning cars–the junk food car and the igloo car on the front row.  I think my favorite car of Kara’s is the little brown car with the rainbow hearts.  She made it when she was four years old, and I think it is just a precious little racer!

So, now the Prairie Family cars will be put away.  Maybe they will come out for an occasional VBS or a legacy Pinewood race, but mostly they will be saved to hand down to another generation of racers someday.  We are considering looking into the “Big Boy” version of racing with the CO2 cars.  We’ll see, they just may join the growing collection in a year or so!

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