Archive for the ‘American Heritage Girls’ Category

Luke’s Bear Scout group is blessed to have an art teacher as one of their leaders.  She’s a sweet lady too!  This teacher has to be one of the most creative people I have ever met, and she loves sharing her creativity with kids.  As an end-of-the-year activity, she wanted to do some clay pottery with the Cub Scouts, and she invited my American Heritage Trailblazers to join in on the fun–and I appreciate that!

She taught the kids how to make a heart-shaped pot using the coil technique.  My kids had never done anything like this, so they absolutely were thrilled with the whole process.  I think they were most impressed by how much the kiln firing changed both the clay and the glazes.  I kept telling them that the dull colors of the glaze would come out in bright colors, but they just didn’t grasp that until they saw it for themselves.

Brock also used these last few meetings to show Luke’s friends how to make his duct tape swords. Brock has refined his techniques a little bit, and his latest creations have come out really neat.  There is a Cub Scout day camp coming up in June that has a space theme.  Brock’s swords might just have to turn into light sabers with different colored duct tape!

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The girls have finished making their hats using loom knitting.  They were making this as part of the American Heritage Girls Textile Arts merit badge.  This really is a good project for girls–very easy to have success!  There are many things that can be made using the looms, and both of the girls are already talking about making more things.

Grandma helped Cosette make a pom-pom for the top of her hat.  It doesn’t show up in this picture very well, but it really does look cute.  Kara made her hat for a toddler in our church, so it was too small for her to model herself.

The girls did learn one neat thing about loom knitting: it’s great for conversation starters!  The girls have been taking their knitting with them when we need to wait (like at the dentist office or at my orchestra rehearsals). People are always curious about what they are doing and want to see what they are making.  My mom has experienced the same thing when she has taken her knitting as a time-filler.  So, a side benefit of this project is new friends!  🙂

We’re getting pretty close to finishing up the Bible Basics, Sign Language, and Textile Arts merit badges.  We just have a few more requirements to complete, and then we’ll be ready to start new subjects.  Who knows where we’ll head next–the girls always surprise me with what they want to tackle!

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The girls have really been enjoying working on the sign language merit badge for AHG.  We have learned the alphabet, colors, animals, numbers, and feelings.  We will finish up the badge by learning a song to sign at church.  We have started that, but have a ways to go before it will be ready.  Last night the girls wanted to make a video of themselves signing some of the things they have learned:


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Any Guesses????

Yesterday I tried out a new craft, and I think I like the result, although I do have ideas on how to improve it next time.  The girls are anxious to try it out for American Heritage Girls too.  Before I write an entry about how to make these neat coasters, I’d like to see if there are any guesses as to what these are made out of.  Any ideas?????  I’ll post more later!  🙂

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The slideshow for this entry includes a few pictures from the actual Pinewood Derby race. Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures this year because I had to leave early to go to orchestra practice.  😦  Dan was diligent, however, to keep close track of how our cars did, so I put the results in the slideshow as well.

I am going to post a video of one of the heats that Luke’s car raced in.  It only lasts about 4 seconds, so you have to watch quick!  His car is in lane 2 and came in 2nd on this particular race.


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Yes, I know:  it has been awhile since I have posted!  So, where have I been?  Well, the Prairie Family has been very busy for the last couple of weeks getting ready for the annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.  Usually it is earlier in the year than this, but because of logistical issues, our derby was held just this past Monday.  Even though Luke is our only Cub Scout, there are classes in the derby for Boy Scouts and other family members, so it has been our practice to have everyone make cars to enter.

Every year we try to improve our cars, and so our processes get more and more complex and time-consuming.  This year we ended up making eleven cars (yes, I know that is more cars than Prairie Family members!)  The reason we ended up with so many is because we kept having “issues” along the way that required modifications, starting over, etc.  Rather than wasting the failed cars (LOL!), we went ahead and finished them too.  We are planning to use pinewood cars in our VBS this summer, so having a few more for that doesn’t hurt anything!

So what “learning experiences” (i.e. problems) did we encounter this year?  Our biggest issues involved the weight of the cars.  The rules for the race require the cars to be 5.0 ounces or less, and for speed purposes, the closer to the 5.0 ounces the better.  In the past, we haven’t had problems with getting our cars to that weight, but for some unknown reason this year we struggled and struggled.  First they were too light, then too heavy.  We made adjustments to the bodies, but that is where we ended up having to shave off so much that we had to start over.

I also had problems with the paint jobs.  Again, for some random reason, sometimes the paint jobs crackle when the clear acrylic coat is added at the end.  I don’t know why this happens.  We use all of the same brands of primer, paint, and acrylic, and even though some paint works one year on one car, it randomly crackles on another car a different year.  The only solution to this is to sand the cars clear down to the bare wood and start over.  We had that happen to three cars this year, but with patience, we eventually got it all worked out.

Those of us who enjoy decorating had fun making our cars unique this year.  I discovered that we can make our own themed cars by making stickers using my handy-dandy Xyron machines.  Those silly machines have been so useful in a variety of projects–they are well worth the price of the machines and refills. Cosette wanted to make a purple crayon car this year, and since we didn’t really know how to do that, we made a practice crayon first before making the car that she entered.  That was a good thing to do.  We learned a lot on that first crayon car!

We spent more time lubricating and polishing this year to try to improve our speed.  I don’t know if these steps actually helped our speed or not, but I do know that it didn’t hurt anything!  Besides, I figured that having the kids go through these steps helped teach them about the craftsmanship involved in these silly little cars.

So, how did our cars do?  Stay tuned…  My next entry will show the finished cars and tell how they raced!


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Last night we had a very productive American Heritage Girls meeting and knocked out several requirements for the badges that we are working on. The girls started making their hat projects on the knitting looms, and they are catching right on!  Hopefully they will pick their looms up during the week so we can see real progress soon.

We love the Trailblazer program (the lone scouting approach to AHG) and are completely satisfied with it.  That being said, however, word is starting to spread about this wonderful organization, and I have families contact me regularly to inquire about what we are doing and if there is an organized troop in our area.  I always tell them that I have considered the troop approach, but haven’t gone much past that because it requires finding an organization willing to charter the troop as well as several families willing to send their girls (and volunteer to help!).  I also add that if they are truly interested in AHG, they could also apply to participate in the Trailblazer program, and that we could get our Trailblazers together for activities from time-to-time even without a troop. There hasn’t been any other families that I know of that have actually done that yet–I think the cost and responsibility of the program is the main deterrent. Many parents just think having a troop would be easier.  I had another serious family contact me this weekend, so I told them that I would at least get the materials on how to start a troop so that I can intelligently tell them about the requirements and the process to get started.

I know there would be advantages to having a troop.  It would give social/leadership opportunities for the girls, and there is no question that the skills, hobbies, and values of AHG would greatly benefit any girl that would participate.  It would be a wonderful opportunity for ministry.  That being said, it would require more organization, finances, leaders, etc., and I know from working with Cub Scouts that those things can be challenging.

On the other hand, we are completely happy as Trailblazers as well.  We enjoy participating in the organization and can still kind of “do our own thing,” which is nice too.  So, I am seeking God’s direction in this area.  I am willing to do what He wants–in His time and in His way.  If He wants a troop, I know He will open the appropriate doors.  If not, we will be content continuing on as Trailblazers. Either way, we are blessed to be part of this great organization!

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