Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring, Meeting 4

Two band aids were given out today.  The first one was for my daughter, who decided it would be fun to pick a scab.  The second band aid was given out for a scrape on another girl.  Why is this so important you ask?  Because today, we used knives.  Yes, real knives.  Kitchen knives to be specific.  They were only paring knives, so they were small- just the right size for little Daisy hands.  And no, I am not crazy.

Last week began our set up for this week, when we began work on the Global Action badge.  Now, according to the Global Action badge description, for the Daisies, it says that you only have to complete one activity relating to the Millennium Development Goals, BUT, you can do more than one (which we will be doing).  Today we touched on ending hunger and poverty and disease prevention.  We knew that we would have extras, so we invited friends and family to enjoy our snack.  This also helped us touch on empowering girls, which we will get more into next week.

The most important part of today was explaining the rules of the kitchen.  It was also a little interactive for us.  The rules of the kitchen are:

1. No running or playing in the kitchen
2. Always wash your hands before starting
3. Hair needs to be tied up and out of the way
4. Make sure all surfaces you will be working on and everything you will be using (equipment, produce) is clean before starting
5. Before beginning, make sure you have all of your supplies (food and equipment)
6. Before starting work, make sure that all electrical equipment is working properly
7. Never use a dull knife
8. If a knife needs to be sharpened, ask an adult
9. When using a pan on the stove, make sure to keep the handle out of the way, over the counter or stove
10. Always use a hot pad or mitt when handling a hot pot or pan. Do not use a towel
11. Never leave a hot pot unattended
12. If there is a fire, put it out with a fire extinguisher. Do not try and use another liquid
13. If you must leave a knife on a cutting board, leave it in the middle of the cutting board, with the blade pointing away from you
14. Clean as you go
15. Leave your space cleaner than you found it

After we read rule number two, we all went and washed our hands (MDG preventing diseases).  After rule three, we also put on our aprons.  Everyone helped clean off the tables after rule four.  Rule five afforded us the chance to read our recipe so we knew what to do, and lay out all of our ingredients and materials.  We didn't need to use any electrical equipment, so rule six was more of a "so you know" type of thing.  Rule seven and eight were very important.  That was when we took the time out to teach basic knife safety.  All of the girls had the same reaction- our parents don't let us use knives!  My kid was the exception, because she has her own cutting board and knife at home that she uses to help me.  We taught them that knives should sit in the middle of the cutting board, with the blade away from them.  We also taught them how to properly hand a knife to someone else, and to always pay close attention when cutting.  The hardest part was getting the to be aware of where there fingers were when cutting.  But, like I said, no band aids there, since no once cut themselves, yay!

We took a break for a special presentation.  Two scouts from an older troop came in to give the girls a little environmental lesson.  They got to pick some trash and make some rain makers using recycled materials.  It was a perfect way to finish off using resources wisely.  Plus, they did an amazing job, and the girls had loads of fun.  

Back to the cutting boards!  The girls got to cut up green onions, cashews and a lime.  Due to time constraints, my awesome Co and I took care of the carrots, cilantro, avocado and cucumber.  One scout had a bad habit of cutting with the knife blade facing up.  Another was so petrified that she would get in trouble for even touching a knife!  It was a great lesson for them though.  Not many parents are like me, so many kids don't learn to use a kitchen knife until they are much older.  The key is making sure they know to be careful, pay attention, and not to play around.  

As for our sauce, I was unable to find tamarinds (everyone says they are not yet in season, but they are.  My guess is that they haven't made their way to this country yet), so we had to use a substitute.  We used lime juice and brown sugar.  It didn't taste quite the same, but was close enough.  My Co and I tested out the recipe the day before, just to make sure it was fine.  It was a huge hit with everyone!

Spring Rolls, Sauce Recipe

1 T lime juice
½ T brown sugar
1 T soy sauce
3 T honey
1 T mirin
1 T sesame oil
¼ t Tiger sauce
1 t turmeric
½ T chopped cilantro
2 T chopped cashews
2 stalks, green onion, chopped

1. Chop the green onions
2. Chop cashews
3. Chop cilantro
4. Juice a lime (if using a whole lime)
5. Mix ingredients in the order they are listed. Stir before you add the next ingredient
6. Use sauce for dipping, or pour over something, like a spring roll

Yes, the recipe might seem very literal, but remember that we gave this to a group of five and six year olds, so it had to be. We also explained the difference between T (tablespoon) and t (teaspoon). I grabbed one set of my measuring spoons that made this easier for them. The spring whisk threw them for a loop though, but it also opened them up to something new and different. The pink, sparkly spatula was a huge hit though.

For the spring rolls, we wrapped water chestnuts, bean sprouts, carrots, avocado, green onions, cashews, udon and marinated cucumbers (sliced cucumbers marinated in a little mirin, lemon juice and sesame oil) in bib lettuce. We held them in place with a toothpick. For those that wanted it, we put some of the sauce on them too. Overall though, it was a huge hit. AND, the best part, EVERYONE ATE THEM!!!! As we introduced certain ingredients, we made them try them too (I knew that none of them had any allergies, so they had no excuses!). We also emphasized that some things might look weird, but they tasted great. The udon was one of those "weird" things, but after trying it, they realized it was just fancy Asian noodles.

We had leftovers, and did not want to waste it. Everyone was sent home with something. We split up the rest of the carrots from the bunch, and gave out the cashews and green onions. We had no leftover sauce though. That stuff was a BIG hit. From there, we obeyed the final rule on the list and cleaned up everything, and returned everything to the way we found it, but left better than we found it!

So, the lesson learned here is yes, you can totally teach young kids how to use a kitchen knife, as long as you are careful and patient about it. And you can let the kids in the kitchen, but they need boundaries, rules, and then need to adhere to them at all times. I fully intend to take this lesson and expand upon it every year. Next year, I'm thinking we can bust out the mixer and make whipped cream, or the ice cream maker to make ice cream or frozen yogurt. Then as Brownies, we can perhaps step up to scrambled eggs and fritatas, and cakes or brownies as Juniors. But, the biggest thing out of today was opening them up to new foods and realizing the importance of not wasting food.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring, Meeting 3 and a Field Trip

Did you ever play in dirt as kid?  Well, I did.  My Mother made sure I was allowed too, especially when she was outside doing gardening.  I think that it gave me a certain level of appreciation for the outdoors, and especially for gardening.  The part about thinking worms are cool, well, I have no clue where that one came from (y'all who know me, know that I'm a little odd some days).

Today's meeting was about two things- using resources wisely and the financial literacy leaves.  Clover seemed like the perfect flower friend to visit since Earth day is Sunday (April 22).  We read her story from the guide book and then asked what are other ways we can use resources wisely.  We got some good answers too!  It played right in to our activity- making soda can pots.  We cut off the tops of used soda cans and finished it off with some tape.  The girls got the dirt in, but did not plant the seeds (because I forgot them!).  I did remember to bring the seeds to our field trip on Saturday though.  We continued talking about the importance of recycling, turning off lights and water and not wasting what we have.  We also talked about the importance of plants and how they too help the environment.  That was a little over their heads, but they kind of got it.

Next up was working on our financial literacy leaves.  Money counts is something our girls had done in school, to a certain extent.  If you read the material on the leaf, you'll see that a good part of it is learning the basics about money.  They all knew the coins and dollar bills, but 5s and 10s were a little new to them (it's also why we told our parents for our field trip to only send $1-2).  We did some more review and went over the questions and problems in the worksheet.  It went over well.  From there, we began work on our Making Choices leaf.  We started by deciding what snack/meal we wanted to make next week.  We gave our girls several options (all options that required no heat sources), and much to our surprise, they choose spring rolls!  Their shopping list included carrots, bean sprouts, green onion, avocado, tamarind, cilantro, rice paper, rice noodles, cashews and a few other things I have surely forgotten.  I know you're all thinking, how are they going to afford it?  Simple- we looked up general prices online so they knew how much they could afford, and the divvied up the shopping list amongst those attending to make it fair.

Our last tid bit for our meeting was part 2 of our super duper top secret project.  I cannot wait to tell you all what we've been working on!!!  And, the best part, this project is so awesome, yet cost almost nothing!

As for our field trip, it went over very well!  The people at the farmers market were very welcoming and even went out of their way for us.  One very awesome vendor even gave the girls a spice mix for free!  That saved them a few bucks of course, but was extremely nice too.  Unfortunately, we were not able to find tamarind at the farmers market, so that I will have to venture out to the store to get.  If I can't find it, we will be able to use lime juice and brown sugar as a substitute in our sauce next week.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring, Meeting 2

In case you missed it, I posted a little DIY for our new kaper chart.  Having it has made kapers go over much better!  I missed not having one.  Last week, we used my mini kaper chart (that fits right in my folder).  I figured that since it was the first meeting for most of the girls, having something smaller might be easier and less intimidating.  When the girls saw our new kaper chart this week, they all fell in love with it!  All of them were so excited to find out what their kaper for the day was.  My one uh oh was forgetting my good turn clips.  My chart has a leaf on it for us to display the good turn of the week.  Next week, I will remember that!

Our first activity was making a promise collage.  Last week we did the GS law flower, so this week was something reinforce everything we learned, and help the new girls learn the promise.  We laid out some old magazines and various craft supplies and let them loose.  My awesome Co and I sat and helped them cut out things from the magazine, and did a collage with them so they could see some good examples of things that represented the promise.  They cut out some awesome clips from the magazines that really represented the promise.  They also cut out some cute things to represent themselves.

Our next project is part one of a super duper top secret something.  Seriously.  I cannot tell you what it is today (since I know I have troop parents that read my blog)!  It's something fun though, and in a few weeks, I will be able to tell you all what it is, and post the how to.  The girls seem to be taking it seriously!  My Mother in law happened to call last night and my daughter even told her she couldn't talk about it!  I couldn't help but laugh, I mean how cute is that?

Next week, we'll be making soda can pots and working on the petals use resources wisely, and the leaf making choices.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our Kaper chart!

Let me start out by pointing out two things- first, this kaper chart cost me next to nothing.  I used supplies I had laying around the house.  Of the supplies that I had to buy, I spent less than $5.  Second, it did not take very long to make, and was very easy.  I hear people look at some of the things I have done and say things like I'm not that crafty.  Like I said on my foodie blog, I say your wrong!  Sometimes, being crafty means seeing an example of something and turning into your own work of art.

First up, my supplies list:
Poster board
Flower print out
Leaves print out
Clear contact paper (to "laminate" everything)
Kaper labels
Good turn labels
Clothes pins
Wooden dowel
Hot glue
Duct tape
Flower pot
Rocks (to use as a weight)
Green Easter grass

If you don't have anything of those, here's about how much you might spend:
Poster board, $1 for 2 at the Dollar Tree
Clear contact paper, $5 for 1 roll (you won't even put a dent in it!)
Clothes pins, $1.97 for a pack of 50 at Walmart (you'll have extras)
Wooden dowel, depends on where you go (I think my husband paid $2-$3 for a piece of scrap and didn't use it all)
Flower pot, depends on what you get (the one I got cost $4 a few years ago)
Easter grass, 48 cents per bag at Target (I bought 3 bags, but did not use all 3)

The rest would be miscellaneous items and can really vary in price.  However, at least now you have an idea on what it could cost if you need everything.  Plus, the extras you can use for other stuff.  I bought a fresh roll of contact paper back in August and I've just recently started to make a dent in it (I laminate so many things with it!).

And now, the how to.....

1.  Trace or print out your flower.  The one I used has 7 petals, and printed it out over two and a half sheets of paper (if I did three, it would not have fit on the poster board), then glued it to my poster board.
My flower outline:

2.  Do the same thing for your leaves.  Since my flower did not take up 100% of the poster, I had leftover room for my leaves.
My leaves outline:

3.  Color and label your chart (or you can print them out, like I did with my mini backup chart).  I tried to match mine closely to the Daisy petals.  I colored my leaves green and light green to cover those two colors, and used the remaining eight colors on my petals and center.  Obviously, royal blue (the "real" center) was left out, but that I covered later on with my dowel by coloring it blue.
My backup kaper chart (which conveniently fits in my folder):
For my back up, I simply printed it out over one sheet of paper, cut it out and laminated it.  That way, if I forget my chart or it's raining, or whatever other reason, I will always have that with me.

4.  Cut everything out.  To laminate it, simply measure it out over your contact paper.  If yours is the same size as mine, it should fit perfectly (you'll have to do a little twisting and turning, but it will fit.  If it doesn't, later on you can use scraps to cover any small spots).  Cut out your 2 pieces (one front, one back).  Carefully remove the back and lay it flat so you can put your flower on it.  I recommend putting the backside down first- the back doesn't have to be perfect, so this makes it easier to get the front looking good.  Repeat the process for the front side, but when you lay your top layer down, be careful as you lay it to avoid air bubbles (but those can easily be smoothed out later).  Once it is laminated, you'll need to cut off the excess.  Do not cut right up to your leaf, leave a little excess laminate to keep it "sealed."  Repeat this for your leaves.

5.  Once you have your flowers and leaves done, you'll want to glue or tape them to your dowel.  I did both.  I hot glued them, and reinforced them on their backsides with some duct tape.  Do not be afraid of the duct tape, it is your friend.  As for affixing the dowel to your pot, that depends on the type of materials your dowel and pot are (wood, plastic, terra cotta, ect.).  I had a wooden dowel and plastic pot.  I hot glued the dowel to the pot, put excess glue around the base when the initial glued had hardened, and then reinforced that with more duct tape.

6.  For the pot, you'll want to put something at the bottom to keep it weighted.  I used rocks.  I laid them in the bottom and put a loose layer of hot glue, just to keep them in place.  I topped that with my Easter grass to finish it off.

Ok, so maybe it is a little bulky, but it's fun!  For Daisy aged scouts, something like this is easy for them to see and pay attention to.  They'll always know to check it when they come in too.  On my kaper chart, I have one of my leaves listed as "good turn."  Each week, I can pin up our good turn for the week on it. That way, we'll never forget!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring, Meeting One

A month off of scouts was way too long for me!  I seriously felt like something was missing.  I know my daughter felt the same way, so she too was glad to be back yesterday.

We have a whole new troop, so it was time to start over again.  My daughter, even in her goofyness, helped introduce everything to our new scouts.  We did the usual beginning, but it took a while since we had to take the time out to teach it all.  They did well though!  After we got that out the way, we played a get to know you game.  The troop is small at the moment (most of the girls wanting to join are not joining until the fall), so the game we played went by quickly.  We played the get to know you game.  We asked them first to do a simple task- line up by height.  Then we asked the girls to line up by the month of their birth.  They were still in the same order, so we mixed it up and asked them to line up alphabetically by their favorite color.  Still in the same order, we asked them to line up by the day of their birth, and finally they switched their order, yay!

Remember the petals craft we did using toilet paper rolls?  We ended up doing that again (my daughter didn't seem to mind doing it again).  The one thing I changed was the size of the petals.  Last time, I cut the rolls in fourths, and it seemed a little too big for the girls.  This time, I cut the rolls in eighths, and it was much easier for the girls to handle.  We had a similar discussion about what each part of the law means.  We followed that up with a quick lesson about Juliette Gordon Low, snack time, and our closing circle.  The friendship squeeze took a couple tries to get, but after the first try, they pretty much got it.

All in all, despite having to start over again, things went smoothly!  We still have stragglers that are slowly coming in, and more girls are joining in the fall.  So come fall, we'll do some of this over again.  My idea for the fall is to make a light catcher instead of a TP flower.  There's several ways to do it.  Both methods use tissue paper, while one uses clear contact paper, and the other uses glue or modge podge along with wax paper.  I have time to play with it and figure out which would be the best for the girls to do.

Coming up next week, a tea party and collages!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A New Kaper Chart

With my new troop about to start up, I'm in need of a new kaper chart.  Like most things on the web, I have seen so many cute and wonderful ideas to base our new one on!

For those of you who don't know what a kaper chart is- it's like a task/chore assignment board.  It has things on it like who's helping pass out papers, picking out the song of the day, helping collect things, ect.  Like all cute things I find, I just have to figure out which way I want to go!

Example 1 Uses a big daisy.  Each petal has an assignment.  The girls names are listed on some cute butterflies that can be placed where need be for each meeting.

Example 2  Is pictured towards the bottom of this page.  It's simple, but very easy.  The chart uses a tri-fold board and the paper dolls from Making Friends.  It has slots to put the dolls in with its kapers.

Example 3  Is similar to the above, but instead of plain slots, it uses cute sleeping bags to spruce up the slots.

Example 4  Is listed a miniature example, but can be done in "full" size.  It has the kapers listed along the side with girls names on clothes pins.  

Example 5  Is an awesome example from the wonderful Crafster site.  This one uses the actual Daisy petals and also has its girls listed on cute butterflies.

Example 6  Is more of a straightforward idea, which might be better for older girls.

Example 7  I think is absolutely perfect as far as listing kapers geared towards Daisies.  It's also cute!

With Daisy aged scouts, you don't want hard assignments, but you do want to instill a sense of responsibility in them by using the kaper chart.  In a way, it covers "responsible for what I say and do" for the whole year.  Most of the Daisy themed charts above list things like take attendance, snacks helper, lead the pledge, help with clean up, help with specific tasks, and more.  Every troop is different, so it's a matter of figuring out what works best for your troop.  I personally do not advise using a kaper chart during your first meeting, unless you have an established troop.  Especially with this age scout, you need to have your first meeting (or even two) just to get a feel for what they are like, so you can make the proper kaper chart.  Before hand, you can at least do the basics to put it together, but hold off on the assignments.

As for what I'm thinking about doing for mine, something that looks like an actual daisy garden.  I found a cute project to display fake flowers, but also noticed in the tiny thumb nail, the flowers had writing on it (it had something to do with a bible passage, and unfortunately I couldn't make out the rest).  Knowing that we'll be doing the journey Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden, it seems like the perfect way for us to go this year.

The good news, my husband, like me, keeps scraps.  I went through his scraps pile in the garage and found several things I can use to make this.  I went through my own stuff and pulled out things to use for my project as well. It's going to take some fiddling, but hopefully come this weekend, I will have something new to show you all!