Archive for the ‘Caravan’ Category


On Tuesday of this past week, my Caravan girls joined Luke’s Wolf Cub Scout den on a field trip to our local fire station.  This was a special treat because our town got a brand new fire station only a few months ago.  So, it was interesting to see this new, spacious, up-to-date facility.   The kids were all really impressed with the fire trucks.  Luke especially enjoyed seeing the jaws of life tools that they had on board one of the rescue vehicles.

It’s been fun helping with Luke’s Wolf den this year, and I am thankful that the other leader not only allows my girls to tag along since Dan and I are both involved in leadership, but she actually allows them to participate in many ways.  This has been a great blessing for the girls as they are getting to know other kids in our community.

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A couple of weeks ago, the girls helped me to make Wagon Wheel Chili as part of Caravan.  I based what we did on a recipe in Taste of Home’s Fun Food on p. 88.  It was so easy and yummy!  We also made “Mini Subs” to go with the chili, and those were also a big hit.  Mini Subs are simply sandwiches made on hot dog buns with favorite sub sandwich toppings.  Here is a Smilebox of the chili recipe:

Click to play this Smilebox recipe: Wagon Wheel Chili
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This week the girls and I started back with our weekly Caravan meetings.  We had taken off most of the summer, but since the boys are getting back into scouts, it was time for the girls to start up again too.

We still have a couple of badges to earn from our first book, and then we will be beginning the Quester handbooks.  The merit badges for this level look like a lot of fun:  camping, field trip, environment, the Bible, stewardship, missions, bike safety, crafts, God made me, cooking, flag, music, Child of the King, party planning, and good sport.

I always personalize our program by adding in extra activities.  This year we are going to do some of the requirements for the Fun for the Family program published by the Boy Scouts of America.  This is a neat curriculum for the whole family that contains “a series of activities and requirements designed to strengthen families and to develop good character skills among family members.”  The activities are divided into five categories, and there are both badges and pins that the girls can earn.  This program can actually be used for several years, so depending on how it goes, we might just keep with it for awhile.

This week we looked through some of the suggested activities for the “Shaping Your Family Identity” badge for the Family Fun program, and the girls picked out which ones they would like to do this year.  The first one is going to be a lot of fun.  We are going to make a “Name Book.”  This book will have separate pages for each member of our family that tells about the meaning of their names and other special things about each one.  We will work on the cover for the next meeting.  I have found some interesting things about our family name, and even this site where we can design our own family Coat of Arms.  So, this project will take us a few weeks, but it will be fun.

I also do cooking activities quite often for Caravan, and this week was no exception.  This week I adapted a recipe out of a Taste of Home magazine for a dessert quesadilla that was quite easy and yummy.  In fact, I wonder if it might work for a camping recipe….  Anyway, I will post a Smilebox of the recipe.  There are no specific amounts for the ingredients since it is all done to taste.

As a side note:  it looks like this year I will be helping with Luke’s Wolf Scout group.  It should be interesting because I will need to take the girls with me when we go.  I am working with a great lady, though, so I think it will go well.  I’m sure there will be posts about that in the future.

Click to play this Smilebox recipe: Caravan Quesadillas
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I haven’t been very consistent writing entries about what the girls are doing in Caravan, but they have completed a lot of merit badges.  We still have three more to go in this level, so we will continue working on them during the summer.

Our latest badge about birds was really fun.  We looked up a variety of birds on the internet, and the girls really enjoyed hearing the sound samples that are on many sites.  We made a yummy “bird nest” snack with rice crispie treats and jelly beans.  This week we made a couple of projects for the birds using pinecones.  The first was a pinecone feeder using peanut butter and bird seed.  Cosette called the other project a “bird nester.”  It is something we had read about in one of the A Beka readers.  It is basically a pine cone with pieces of yarn stuck into it.  The birds pick out the yarn, and it is fun to find nests with that yarn in them around the neighborhood.  So, we are on the lookout for some pretty, colorful nests!  🙂

Our next badge is about manners, and we are continuing with our cooking lessons.  Those cooking activities are a hit with everyone, but they sure do get hectic sometimes!

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Kitchen Helpers




A couple of times per month or more the girls have continued to help me make things in the kitchen.  They have gotten pretty good at slicing and chopping, so today I decided to have them help me make some beef and vegetable soup from scratch.  I must say that their soup came out very good, and when they help to make recipes themselves, they are often more willing to try new things.

I know that I haven’t been blogging as much lately.  The main reason for that is that we are just really in a routine time of year.  Our days are spent doing school, and not many blog-worthy events are happening in our household!  As the weather begins to warm up, our activities will increase.  So hopefully this blog will be more active soon.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Soup Helpers
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Caravan Update

The girls are continuing to enjoy our weekly Caravan meetings.  They have completed several of the badges.  In fact, I think we only have 5 left for this level.

We have been doing a simple sewing unit. Cosette and Kara have each tried their hand at stitching cloth using a real needle and thread. They have discovered that getting those little stitches to be even is more of a challenge than it looks!  I found this cute Valentine project that I thought kind of fit this unit, and the girls were proud of the results.

Next week we are going to try to make a simple pin cushion.  This will be their first “real” project using their hand stitching with fabric. Hopefully they will turn out all right.

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The girls are continuing to enjoy our weekly Caravan meetings.  We are currently working on the Art merit badge.  Last night we used food coloring in water to experiment with mixing colors.  Such a simple activity always brings about a “wow” response!

The highlights of our meetings remain the cooking sessions.  Last night we made the Aut-yum Leaves recipe from Family Fun Magazine.  I did not have an appropriate leaf cookie cutter, so we used a heart cookie cutter and called them Sweet Hearts.  🙂

We tried a couple of different fillings.  The chocolate chips and peanut butter chips worked well.  The recipe listed a marshmallow option that sounded good, so we made a couple like that.  The marshmallows basically disappeared!  I don’t know if they melted and became part of the crust or what, but all that was left inside was air!

Anyway, if you are looking for a fun cooking activity to do with your kids, check out the recipe on Family Fun.  The results are yummy and go great with a big glass of milk!

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We are continuing to enjoy our weekly Caravan meetings.  The girls have now completed the requirements for their rank pin, the “I Believe” badge, the Personal Care merit badge, and the Sports/Fitness merit badge.  We began the safety merit badge today by discussing safety rules for electricity, fire and poisons.

All of the kids love participating in the cooking lessons.  Today’s lesson was teaching them how to make scrambled eggs.  Now, I must admit that I was a little hesitant about letting the kids crack eggs and cook them with an electric skillet, but it really did work out just fine!  Even Kara was able to crack the eggs with no problems, and the skillet worked all right too (with supervision, of course).

Next week we will try French toast.  Since we will probably be eating breakfast for supper again that evening, I will let the kids make the eggs too.  I really think that they will be able to pretty much do it on their own!  I am proud of them!

Click to play Scrambled Eggs
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This afternoon the girls received two awards in Caravan:  their Hunter rank pins and the Personal Care merit badge.  We have really been enjoying Caravan–the lessons are so easy to plan and have fun activities.  We have talked quite a bit about the food groups as part of the Personal Care unit, so we reviewed that today by pasting pictures of various foods in their respective groups.  The girls quickly realized that many foods could actually go in several groups, so that led to good discussions.

I have been supplementing the Caravan curriculum with some basic cooking lessons from the book Home Economics for Home Schoolers, Level 1.  This has definitely been a hit–not only for the girls but for the boys as well.  Last week we worked on peeling carrots and potatoes.  All of the kids used the peelers, and then the older kids cut the carrots into sticks using sharp knives.  I thought they did a pretty good job!

This week I showed the kids how to measure dry ingredients, and we mixed up cinnamon sugar to put on toast.  Each of the kids took turns using the toaster, spreading on the butter, and putting on the cinnamon sugar.  And, they all thought the toast was very yummy!  Several of the kids have already told me that they plan on making themselves cinnamon toast for breakfast tomorrow!

So, I think Caravan is a hit!  I am really glad that the kids are enjoying it.

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Today’s Homeschool Memoirs assignment is entitled, “Something New.”  For it, we are to describe something new that we are using for our homeschools this year.

As far as our homeschool curriculum is concerned, we are in our 7th year of using Abeka Academy DVD program 1.  We have been very satisfied with this curriculum and have followed it closely.  Our kids have always done well academically (scoring at the 95th percentile or above on annual standardized testing) and spiritually, and we have really seen no need to supplement or change.  Of course, our organizational methods change from year to year, but overall we have seen success in consistency.

I am, however, trying a new “extracurricular” activity with my girls this year.  My boys are actively involved in Boy Scouts, and we want similar fun learning and growing activities for our girls.  We are not comfortable with Girl Scouts because of the liberal views of the national organization as well as their support of agendas with which we do not agree.

So, this year we have begun a Scouting program called Caravan with the girls.  So far this is going very well.  Like Boy Scouts, it has a series of merit badges that the girls will be earning as they explore new hobbies and areas of study, and they are really enjoying it.  The merit badges that they will be earning this year are Sports and Fitness, Personal Care, Safety, Family, Manners, Friends, Art, Pets, Money, Prayer, Our Church, My Bible, Botany, Birds, and Recycling.  There are several levels to Caravan’s program, and the badge’s topics and requirements increase in difficulty with each level.

I enjoy crafts, so I am incorporating fun crafts into Caravan.  I am using some kits from The Creative Girls Club, and I will also be using other simple crafts as I see fit.


My girls have also expressed an interest in learning to cook and do some basic sewing, so I searched around for a good resource for those activities to also incorporate into Caravan.  I found a nice series called Home Economics for Home Schoolers published by Pearables.  We have just begun these lessons, but the girls are very excited to be cooking “real” food (i.e. food to eat for supper!).  The lessons are well planned, simple, and enjoyable.  I purchased all three volumes in this series, and I know that they will be getting a lot of use!

So, I guess we are pretty traditional and consistent in our homeschooling curriculum choice, but it is accomplishing our goals:  to prepare our children academically and spiritually for whatever God may have planned for them.  Scouting and Caravan are enjoyable activities that have benefits as well.  I think we are off to a very good year!

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