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Archive for December, 2009

Mmmm! The smell of fresh baked cookies is in the air.  Is there anything better than Christmas cookie time?  Over the last few weeks, friends have been making sugar cookies, rum balls, chocolate fudge, snicker doodles, persimmon spice cookies…the list goes on.  There is something about Christmas that pulls all of the bakers of the country out of the woodwork.  Even my youngest daughter took on the challenge this year and learned how to bake.

Kristine is 10, and started with simple chocolate chip cookies.  Once she had that mastered, I was apparently no longer needed in the kitchen.  She now pours over recipe books until she finds something interesting and “tweeks” it to make it her own.  I am not allowed to help at all.  Last week she found a chocolate cookie recipe that she adapted by adding crushed candy canes instead of white chocolate.  The cookies turned out soft and cake like with just a hint of peppemint.  While Kristine was disappointed in the outcome (she likes crunchy cookies), I ate half the plate.

It never ceases to amaze me how capable our children are if we simply give them the room to learn and grow.  The goal of Frontier Girls is to foster that independence and give the girls a place to expand their interests.   By 10 years old, kids are capable of doing just about anything an adult is, if they are given the time to practice and learn.  The deal I have with my daughter is that she is welcome to bake as long as she cleans up after herself.  It is wonderful to finish up a long day and have fresh baked cookies on the counter and a clean kitchen!

If you are looking for a quick, fun, last minute cookie project to do with your kids, try making reindeer cookies.  No cooking required!

Reindeer Cookies

You will need:

  • 1 package of Nutter Butter cookies
  • 1 tube of white frosting
  • brown M&Ms
  • red M&Ms
  • small pretzels (the twisted type, not the sticks)
  • wax paper.

Lay out your cookies on the wax paper leaving enough room to add antlers (the pretzels) on top.  Use the frosting to attach a pretzel to the top of the cookie.  Do the same with two brown M&Ms attached to the front of your cookie for eyes, and a red M&M for  a nose,  and you have a quick and easy reindeer cookie!  Yum!

 

(If you would like more extensive instructions for the cookies above, or ideas for other cookies, visit http://caffeineandaprayer.com/2008/12/16/reindeer-cookies-and-edible-wreaths/ .  In addition to some great cookie ideas, Caffeine and a Prayer does great mom style product and movie reviews and is especially good if you live in the D.C. area as she posts a variety of local activities as well.)

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In spite of my technological deficiencies, we finally have a Frontier Girls Facebook page up and running.  You can find it by putting “Frontier Girls” into the Facebook search box.  While only fans can read and post to our wall and see our pictures, this site is open to the public and anyone can become a fan.  Please keep this in mind when posting pictures and information on the Facebook page.    The Facebook page is designed to let all people involved in Frontier Girls interact and share their experiences, but please remember that others, outside the program, may also be viewing your posts. 

Feel free to let us know what great things you and your troop have been doing.   If you are working on a badge at home, post what activities you are working on, or pictures of your projects.  Other girls around the country may just get inspired to follow your lead.  If you have an inspirational quote or website you would like to share, post those too.

See you on Facebook!

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Tabitha Simicsak from CA troop #101 just came up with a new award for Frontier Girls, the Fruits of the Spirit Awards.  She thought we should offer a special award to all girls who earn the badges for each character trait in our creed.  Since our creed was taken from the fruits of the spirit listed in the Bible, we decided it was an appropriate name for the award.

Beginning in January, any girl who earns the following badges at a single level of Frontier Girls will earn her Fruits of the Spirit Award.

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control

Every time a girl advances to the next level of Frontier Girls, she will have the opportunity to re-earn the award by completing the badges again at her new level.  The award will be worn above the level ribbons beneath the level tab and will have a colored tab behind it to represent the level at which it was earned.

Beginning next September, earning the Fruits of the Spirit Award will also be a requirement of the Gem Awards for each level as well.

For making a substantial contribution to improving the Frontier Girls program for all of us, Tabitha has earned the “Bright Idea” award.  Thanks Tabitha!

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Every year my Frontier Girls troop rings bells for Salvation Army.  It is probably one of the easiest and most fun community service projects we perform.  The Salvation Army is one of the most well known and active charities in the U.S., as well as  around the world.  Just a few of the services they perform are missing persons, disaster relief, drug and alchohol rehabilitation, fighting human trafficking, youth camps, Christmas charities, and elderly services. 

This year I had so many girls wish to participate that we had to split into two groups.  The Otters and Dolphins (k-5 grades) rang bells last week in freezing cold temperatures while singing Christmas carols and handing out candy canes.  For us out here in the California Valley, being out in the low 30’s was quite a shock, but the girls were troopers and didn’t complain.  This week the Butterflies and Eagles (6-12 grades) came out in the rain for their turn.  With hot chocolate to finish off the evenings, everyone went home feeling warm in both body and spirit.

If you are looking for an easy way to help others this holiday season, consider spending a little of your time ringing bells for this worthy charity.  This year they have made it easier then ever.  Not only can you ring bells in the traditional way, like we did, but they have added programs to ring bells via the internet as well.  If you visit www.salvationarmy.org, you can set up your own virtual red bucket to email to family and friends.  To make it even more fun, if you have an iphone, you can download a bell ringing app and ring bells via your phone as well. 

Salvation Army

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Troop #109 shared a fantastic website called, “American Flag Wall of Shame” that depicts a variety of ways in which the Federal Flag code is violated everyday.  In working on the Our Flag badge, I divided my girls into teams and gave each a set of pictures from the site.  We then held a contest to see which team could come up with the most flag code violations.  Wow, did they learn their lessons well!  Having pictures to explain things really helped. Everywhere we go now they point out code violations that they see.

Last week when we were setting up for the Christmas parade, we had to transport our giant 17′ flag wrapped around the stand and then tucked down between the haybales.  When we arrived and the girls saw what we had done, they were appalled.  Placing the flag on the dirty truckbed and then letting it get covered with hay was a definite no-no.  When we were unable to put it up due to the wind, one of the parents suggested cutting “wind holes” in it for next year.  Cutting holes in an American Flag on purpose?  Never!  The girls quickly put the parent to rights and explained the violations involved.

I highly recommend you visit this site and share the photos with your girls.  You will be surprised by how much they get out of it.  At the bottom of the page is a link to a photo esssay entitled, “Tattered” that offers even more photos.

American Flag Wall of Shame: www.ushistory.org/betsy/wallofshame.htm

Tatterd:  http://www.sethbutler.com/tattered/

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Congratulations to Charlotte Duke of Texas troop #109 on earning the Butterfly level Gem Award, the Emerald Award.  The Gem Awards are the most difficult award to earn at each level of Frontier Girls.  It requires the girl to earn a minimum of one badge in each of the Areas of Discovery, her Life Skills Achievement Award, the Make A Difference Award, hold a leadership position within the troop and to memorize the Frontier Girls creed.

Like many of our members, Charlotte lives in a very rural community and was concerned that she might not be able to find a suitable project for her Make a Difference Award.  After much thought, she decided to take on a long distance challenge, and help out Frontier Girls by researching websites that would be helpful to girls earning badges.  One of the requirements of the Make A Difference Award is that you must lead a minimum of three people in your project and as a homeschooler in the middle of nowhere, that presented a bit of a problem.  Not to be daunted, Charlotte again contacted the Frontier Girls main office and had us forward a request to other Frontier Girls to give her a hand.  Several girls from California troop #101 rose to the occassion.

With three helpers now available, Charlotte divided our Areas of Discovery between the girls and they got to work.  She and her helpers have found a minimum of one website for each of the badges that were available at that time that can provide extra information and activities to Frontier Girls earning the badge. 

While this project is now complete, all websites are still being reviewed before being passed on to our members.  The first few have already gone out.  I received a wonderful email back from one excited family who looked up the site for the poultry badge and watched a chicken lay an egg!  As we complete this project, the website resources will be added to each badge at the end of the badge requirements and included in next year’s handbook.

Thanks Charlotte!

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In today’s society of instant gratification, it is more important than ever to teach your kids patience.  Children today are bombarded with sight, sound, color and a constant stream of input.  Video games, cell phones, computers and TVs fill their day with instantly accessible entertainment, communication, and information.  As their brains continue to process this information at faster and faster rates, they soon come to expect everything in life to come to them as quickly as a simple push of a button.

Unfortunately, as we all know, life does not exactly work that way.  For this reason we recently finished the Patience Badge.  I highly encourage you all to work on this badge with your own daughter, if not with your entire troop.  It is not a difficult badge to earn, but by making children focus on what it means to be patient, hopefully they will practice it more in their own lives.  Help them to realize that patience is something that can not only make their own lives more enjoyable, but also the lives of those around them.

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