Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Table Talk, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,387 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,656 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Table Talk Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I gave Nora the job of setting her family’s table each night.*

This posed a couple of problems, the first being that they rarely sat down to dinner together. Between sports practices and late nights at the office and different hungry bellies, it just wasn’t happening enough to make setting a table worth it. I pictured their dining room table looking like something out of Miss Havisham’s house … great for a Halloween scene, but not so inspiring for family life.

So I took Mr. and Mrs. Nora’s Parents out back and gave them a stern talking to. They promised to rearrange their schedules to accommodate seven nights in a row of family dinner.

Nora and I got crackin’.

photo by Alexandra Constantin via Wikimedia Commons

First, we went through the kitchen, looking for little-used dishes. We figured this was a special week, so no holds barred! We got out the good stuff, that’s usually only reserved for holidays, plus some even perkier perks: things like cloth napkins (we attempted some fancy folding, but evidently we need a whole ‘nother merit badge for that), tablecloths, wine goblets for ice water, and even a nifty candlestick holder, complete with candles. Who doesn’t love a candlelit dinner, am I right? You know I am.

It turns out our little experiment was a big hit. The whole family loved the atmosphere so much that the seven days flew by and extended into nine. Nora got even more creative and began making homemade placecards and even menus. Then, she picked themes for her dining-room restaurant: barbeque night complete with a picnic style on the floor, Italian night with a checkered tablecloth and background opera music (reenacting the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp was a must), and a breakfast-for-dinner night where she required everyone to dress in pajamas for their pancake supper.

After the nine nights of feasting, they must have realized how sad I was to be missing out (I think they saw me peeking through the front window) and they let me in for night #10. Too bad it was Chinese night—I was nearly impaled by a chopstick. But, no matter.

Life went back to almost normal for Nora’s family, and family dinner nights aren’t every single night anymore, but they are a minimum of two nights per week now. Hey, that’s two nights for everyone to look forward to—and two nights I don’t have to set my own table. Voila!

*Note: To earn this Young Cultivator Badge, your youngster only has to set the table one night per week for a month. Nora and I just like overachieving.

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Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Cyrie Wilson!

Cyrie Wilson (Pixiedustdevil, #6941) has received certificates of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a Beginner and Intermediate Level Forage for Food Merit Badge!

“I went to my local extension office and asked if they had any resources about local edible plants. Sad to say they had no idea what I was talking about. So that was a bust. So I went online and found a little information.

I know that we have salmon berries, blackberries, plum trees, apple trees, cattails plants, and Oregon Myrtle Trees (leaves are used like bay leaves). I found quite a few berries and small fruits while working on my ‘Speak for the Trees’ badge last year. I waited to submit for this badge until it was time to collect myrtle leaves.

I’ve been collecting fruit and berries since I was old enough to play outside by myself. My grandma made berry buckets (old coffee cans and string). I swear we would eat 1/4 of our pickings and ALWAYS come home covered in poison oak. Good thing I’m more wary now.”

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Farmyard to Kitchen, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,387 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,656 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life  

For this week’s Garden Gate/Farmyard to Kitchen Beginner Level Merit Badge, I enlisted all of my eager beavers, the intrepid trio, the one-and-only (or is that three-and-only?) Andy, Nora, and Piper. Sometimes I split them up because it’s easier on my ears that way, but we decided to earn our Beginner Level badge all at once.

Like a pack of wolves family.

Knowledge was key in earning this first level: knowledge of dairy and eggs. I mean, doesn’t seem like rocket science, right? But you’d be surprised at how many city kids (especially) don’t really comprehend where food comes from.

So, we started with the basics.

“Eggs from chickens and milk from cows, Aunty,” they droned in unison, appearing bored with the topic already. “DUH. Everybody knows that.”

“Not so fast, my little Einsteins,” I replied, feeling that emotion you only feel when you know something someone else doesn’t and you’re getting ready to WHAM, drop the education hammer.

“Whatdya mean not so fast?” Nora asked. I could tell she was getting the feeling you only get when you’re about to clobbered with the education hammer. Or maybe she needed to go potty. Sometimes it’s hard to tell with these kids.

Anyway. Moo-ving right along. (Just a little bovine humor there. Eggscellent!)

“Well, not all eggs come from chickens. We can eat duck eggs, too. Or goose eggs. Or even ostrich eggs!” I only knew that last one from watching cooking shows on the telly, but I was secretly hoping they would insist on ostrich-egg shopping. I had a hankering for a custard pie the size of my dining room table.

“Ew!” was the unsurprising reply from the city kids.

“What’s so ‘ew’ about it? They’re not any different than the normal chicken eggs you eat every morning! I mean, think about it, whippersnappers, they all come from the south end of a north-bound fowl … okay, yeah, I get it. Ew. Okay, let’s talk about dairy then.”

“Milk comes from cows,” they said as one. I could tell from Piper’s face that she was getting that feeling that you only get when you are dodging the education hammer with all your might.

“But also from goats and sheep,” I reminded them. “And possibly yaks and yetis. I might have to look that last one up, though.” Yetis are a thing, right? No?

“And almonds, and walnuts, and hemp, and soy, and rice, and flax, and coconut!” Piped up Piper proudly.

“Er, no. Those aren’t milk. Not really.” I was beginning to see why just the conversation part was Step One in this particular badge.

“Oh, good,” said Andy in relief. I could tell he was getting that feeling that you only get when the proverbial knowledge hammer misses your noggin by an inch. “Cuz I REALLY didn’t want to milk an almond.” Or maybe by a foot and a half.

“Okaaaaaaay. Moooo-ve it to the kitchen, kids!”

I sent them home with a basket of organic eggs (chicken), and a gallon of fresh-from-the-cow cream-on-top milk.

Well, except for Andy. He stayed behind to milk some rice.

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Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Ginger Dawn Harman!

Ginger Dawn Harman (Ginger Dawn, #6451) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning an Intermediate Level Weather Merit Badge!

“April Showers Bring May Merit Badges!

On to Clouds. Now I am not talking about the computer cloud and how data is stored, but a less nerdy natural pastime. Yep. My head is in the clouds! Heck, Who doesn’t love lying in the grass looking at clouds and making up a story?

Clouds form when the invisible water vapor in the air condenses into visible water droplets or ice crystals. There is water around us all the time in the form of tiny gas particles, also known as water vapor. There are also tiny particles floating around in the air—such as salt and dust—these are called aerosols.

Here are the types of clouds.

My favorite is the Cumulonimbus! The thunderstorm cloud! This web link has some great photos!

This week and all day tomorrow will be Nimbostratus! Yep … Rain, rain, and more rain. I am not complaining! A great day to stay indoors and read a book and maybe play a game with the family!” Continue reading

Her-Story Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,387 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,656 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Each Other/Her-Story Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I got to pick another woman who was influential and powerful and inspiring (this time, living or dead) in my country. I had so many to choose from, it was hard to pick! It was like being in the line at the ice cream parlor … how to choose, how to choose? Which explains why I usually get three scoops. Which explains why my pants don’t button. Ahem.

But back to the badge, Madge!

I decided to go with someone I’d admired all my live-long days, and who I had originally thought of back during my Beginner Level badge earning: Audrey Hepburn.

Screenshot of William Holden and Audrey Hepburn from the trailer for the film w:en:Sabrina (1954 film) via Wikimedia Commons

After all, she seemed a practically perfect woman in every way (much like Mary Poppins, only, you know, real). She had style and grace, charm and wit, sure, but she did so much more!

screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the trailer for the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s via Wikimedia Commons

In particular order, here are the most amazing things I found out about my dear Audrey:

  • Audrey spoke fluently Dutch, Italian, Spanish, German, French, and English. I, myself, speak three languages: English, sarcasm, and whale.
  • She is one of the few people who are a true EGOT, winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards.
  • She was sent away to boarding school at the ripe old age of 5.
  • Once the Germans invaded the Netherlands where Audrey lived, she became a member of the Dutch Resistance, where she delivered messages and packages and performed in clandestine performances of ballet for fundraising.
  • During the Occupation, Audrey would make cakes and breads out of ground tulip bulbs. This affected her health and she developed anemia, and also had a hard time gaining weight for the rest of her life. She was told she would not be strong enough to continue with ballet dancing, and began to concentrate more on acting.
  • Despite her father being a Nazi sympathizer and having left their family when Audrey was a child, she reached out to him in the sixties and supported him financially until his death.
  • The dress she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is considered the most iconic dress of all time, and is the inspiration behind the term ‘little black dress.’
  • Cary Grant was quoted as saying, ‘All I want for Christmas is to be in another picture with Audrey Hepburn.’ Incidentally, I’ve been quoted as saying, ‘All I want for Christmas is Cary Grant.’
  • She was appointed Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF and United States President George H. W. Bush presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work with UNICEF.
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences posthumously awarded her the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her contribution to humanity, with her son accepting on her behalf. Grateful for her own good fortune after enduring the German occupation as a child, she dedicated the remainder of her life to helping impoverished children in the poorest nations. Though she had done work for UNICEF in the 1950s, starting in 1954 with radio presentations, this was a much higher level of dedication. Her family said that the thoughts of dying, helpless children consumed her for the rest of her life.
  • In 2002, at the United Nations Special Session on Children, UNICEF honored Hepburn’s legacy of humanitarian work by unveiling a statue, “The Spirit of Audrey”, at UNICEF’s New York headquarters. Her service for children is also recognized through the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Audrey Hepburn Society.

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Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Kari Workman!

Kari Workman (Kari22, #4322) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Bee Good to Your Mother Earth Merit Badge!

“I’ve been growing a vegetable garden for years and have always done so without chemicals. I have several seed starts ready to be planted after the snow goes away. For pest control, I try to pick off squash bugs and stay on top of weeds that get into the gardens. I’d like to start using some other types of control, all chemical-free, of course. I just finished reading Montrose: Life in a Garden and particularly enjoyed the bits and pieces about the cats and the day-to-day life in the garden. The illustrations were beautiful!

It turned out great. I love gardening and feeding my family fresh produce!”

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Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Big Kid Now, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,387 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,656 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Each Other/Big Kid Now Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Piper, Andy, Nora, and Yours Truly buckled down. When we earned our Beginner Level Merit Badge, we had checked out most of the Non-Fiction section of the local library, and now we were settling in for a long winter’s nap. I mean, a long afternoon of reading. Also, it’s fall. I really gotta work on my analogies.

Is there a badge for that?

We had so many books we spent an hour organizing them, which caused some issues. Pipes likes organizing things by color (you should see her nail polish collection), Nora recently learned how to alphabetize and wanted to show her skillz, and Andy, well, Andy is Andy and mostly he wants to do the opposite of what the girls want to do. He just wanted to stack his books up high and play a game of Jenga with them.

photo by Guma89 via Wikimedia Commons

I had to pull out my Auntie card and show ‘em I meant business. I mean, this was the easy part: finding a career they could really sink their teeth into. After that, the hard part came: putting together costumes for their said career and presenting it to their loved ones. I had stage fright already.

We spent some time looking through our tomes of inspiration and organizing them according to our own personal preferences. We also did some swapping between one another. Evidently, Andy lost interest in deep-sea diving for treasure and sunken ships because … well, sharks. But Nora decided sharks were merely misunderstood creatures and she snagged the book on deep-sea diving. Then Pipes decided she wasn’t interested in hair and cosmetology after all because fumes give her a headache, but Andy was kinda into the idea of styling coiffures. So, at the end of a day, they had chosen their professions (liable to change eleventy-seven times, plus four):

  • Piper decided there was nothing better in life than being a pastry chef. Which, honestly, who’s gonna argue with that kind of logic? Also, the fumes would be buttery, sugary, and delightful, so I thought she was really onto something. We fashioned her a chef’s hat and coat and to accompany her presentation, she made everyone homemade snickerdoodles.

photo by petempich via Wikimedia Commons

  • Nora decided she wanted to combine two of her loves: writing notes down in a notebook like a journalist, and traveling the world. The result? Travel writer! We had a little fun with her costume: we pulled together as many geographically diverse costume props we could come up with (like a French beret, an Indian sari, and Native American moccasins), and she had a blast.
  • Andy, after a shockingly long time of deliberation, came up with his dream career: he wanted more than anything to be a  … dad. We were all surprised he left off his dream of world domination, super spy, and rocket ship pilot, but we were pleased. Turns out he said, you could have ALL those things when you become a dad, because playing with your kids was a full time and important job. He dressed in his own dad’s clothes, which hung off him quite hilariously but got the job done. He ended his presentation with his claims that he would have so many kids they would always have a basketball team at the ready, and he only planned on having boys because girls have cooties. On a completely unrelated note, the position of Andy’s wife is currently open.

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farm-romance_2173

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Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Teresa Roberson!

Teresa Roberson (carolinacateyes, #7386) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a Beginner Level Plant It Forward Merit Badge!

“I wish I had taken a picture of my small but beautiful garden! I purposely planted more than I can use to give to the elderly lady next door. When I was raising my children on a limited income, she and her husband always gave me vegetables out of their garden. Now it is my turn to return the giving. I delivered extra zucchini and yellow crookneck squash to her yesterday. Next week, I will share the first of the tomatoes and soon there will be fresh corn, onions, and green beans.

Although I plan to can some of the extras out of my garden, I have to remember my next door neighbor, Ruby. She is a widow now in her late eighties and not in good health. After several strokes, she is unable to tend a garden. She is so very excited every time I share produce with her. She knows there will eventually be canned homemade vegetable soup for the winter. I prefer to give back to her; I know where my produce is going and she is in need this time of her life.”

photo-of-the-day

farm-romance_0955

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