Monthly Archives: April 2015

Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Lynette McPherson!!!

Lynette McPherson (#6300) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning a Beginner Level Shopping Green Merit Badge!

“I reclaimed 3 pairs of my husband’s work jeans, made 3 garden aprons and 6 shopping bags.


This worked amazingly well! Not only did I use all of the jeans, but I cut off the belt loops, labels, and other smaller pockets for use in future projects. The reusable bags were made by opening the seam on the legs of the pants, sewing back together, adding a bottom, and cutting along the inseam for the handles.”

red eye

While red eyes are desirable in some cases …

say, in the world of the red-eyed tree frog,


tree frog by LiquidGhoul edited by Muhammad via Wikimedia Commons

they’re not very desirable in humans.

We’ve all seen those photos that make sweet little Sammy look like the spawn of the devil.


Most cameras now have built-in features to avoid the dreaded “red eye effect.” And if you do end up with red-eyed monsters when you’re snapping pics of your sweet darlings, you can always use a photo-editing program to fix it after the fact.

But you might be intrigued to find out, like I did, why that particular eerie effect happens in the first place …

When you take a photo of a person who’s looking directly at the camera, the flash reflects off the person’s retina, located at the back of the eye. Because the retina has many blood vessels, the camera picks up the red color.

Who knew?

But what about those scary animal eyes you see at night or even sometimes in a photo taken in the middle of the day? Sweet little pup all of a sudden turns into the Hound of the Baskervilles …

photo by Jazzjohnn via Wikimedia Commons

No, he’s not possessed … you’ve just picked up something called “eyeshine.” Many animals (especially those with good night vision) have a layer of tissue in their eyes called tapetum lucidum. It also reflects light back through the retina, which appears to make the animals’ eyes glow. Cats and dogs with blue eyes can reflect both eyeshine and red-eye.


photo by Una Smith via Wikimedia Commons

Thank goodness for Photoshop.



Yoga for Kids

Jodi the Yogi aims to set children on the path of a positive and healthy lifestyle through yoga. Her programs and videos, made for children 2-6, engage kids through song, dance, and movement with the help of her “bestie,” Downward the Dog. With original songs and age-appropriate interpretations of yoga sequences and postures, Jodi’s videos engages tiny tots while targeting gross motor skills and promoting social/emotional learning using humor, playfulness, and a sense of wonder.



Jodi and Downward the Dog are based in New York City, where they visit schools, teach classes, and even book parties and events, but you can get your little ones interested by watching her 8-minute video below. Then stay tuned for more videos on her website.





Some words are so complex and multifaceted that they deserve a day of special notoriety.

I know, I know—you’re already coming up with words like …


Silly girl.

While that is the longest non-technical term in the English language, it has only one meaning:

“The act of describing something as having little or no value.”

Hmmm … touché.

Anyway, a profusion of letters really isn’t the point here.

The word I’ve deemed worthy of today’s curtsy is …

(wait for it) …


No, dear, I’m not pulling your leg.

What you may not yet know about “mew” (myoo) is that it’s a master of deceptive simplicity. With just one syllable, mew manages to function as both noun and verb, and it has eight—count ’em, EIGHT—definitions.

A master, I tell you.

See for yourself:

Kitten mewing by Ron Whisky via Wikimedia Commons

1. Perhaps the most obvious meaning of mew is the high-pitched vocalization of a kitty cat (which is interchangeable as noun and verb).

Photo by Tatyana via Wikimedia Commons

2. It also denotes the cajoling call of a seagull as well as …

Photo by Tim Rains, Denali National Park and Preserve, via Wikimedia Commons

3. the bird itself (namely, the Mew Gull).

Photo by CheepShot via Wikimedia Commons

4. A “mew” or “mews” is a cage for hawks, commonly used during molting to keep birds relaxed and secure.

Photo by Christine Matthews via Wikimedia Commons

5. It also means to molt.

Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid via Wikimedia Commons

6. In the UK, it’s used in plural form (mews) to refer to stables with living quarters or a row of apartments converted from stables.

Photo by Shravans14 via Wikimedia Commons

7. Similarly, a mew can name a place where one retires or hides.

Photo by Ian Paterson via Wikimedia Commons

8. And finally, behaving strictly as a verb, mew can mean to confine.

There’s a lot about mew that you never knew, true?




Here’s a fun word …


Maybe it’s someone who has a great sense of fun?


Maybe it’s someone who makes a study of fun? (Now there’s a great job!)

Or maybe it’s someone who thinks their particular skill or hobby is just plain fun?


Irina Tchachina by Deerstop via Wikimedia Commons

I sure hope so, because a funambulist is …

a tightrope walker!

Circus poster for Sells Floto Circus showing tight-rope walker Mlle. Beeson prancing with a parasol.

Not only do funambulists have a sense of fun, they also have nerves of steel. For example, funambulist Jay Cochrane set a world record in 1998 when he walked a distance of 800 feet between the towers of the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas, 300 feet above the city known for fun, and he did it … blindfolded.

Get ready to be amazed by this very talented funambulist from Ukraine’s Got Talent:




Pampered Pets Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,346 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,010 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

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

For this week’s Outpost/Pampered Pets Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I took my love for Mr. Darcy even further.


Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. London: George Allen, 1894, via Wikimedia Commons.

No, not that Mr. Darcy, though I do love him, too. But no, it’s my Labradoodle, Mr. Darcy, who keeps my feet warm at night and who keeps my hearth and home protected (from slightly gusty evenings, small birds, the ringing of the doorbell, and postal carriers).


Photo by Searchtempo via Wikimedia Commons

After switching from his usual old, dry dog food—loaded with animal by-products, soy, grains, GMO corn, and enough additives to stop a train, so to speak—and supplementing with all-natural concoctions of my own, my furry friend was happy, healthy, glossy, full of energy, and (dare I say it) not making visitors’ eyes water with the strength of his manly flatulence.

And all the people said Amen.

Anyway, I wanted to share some of my favorite finds and recipes with my fellow pet-loving pals and earn my Intermediate Level badge to boot, so I got cracking with filling some gift baskets. I just know that my animal-adoring acquaintances will love all of these almost as much as their pooches, kitties, and pot-bellied piggies will!

Buckwheat and Mint Doggy Biscuits

1½ cups buckwheat flour
4 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 T fresh mint, finely chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T pure honey
1 egg, beaten
1-3 t water

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, stir buckwheat flour, parsley, and mint together until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and honey; pour into the flour and stir. Add egg and stir until well combined. Knead dough with hands to thoroughly mix the ingredients together. Add 1 t of water at a time to help the dough come together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to approx. ¼” thick. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutter. Bake for 15 minutes. Store biscuits in an airtight container in the fridge to keep fresh.


DIY Flea and Tick Spray

20 drops essential lemongrass oil and 20 drops essential eucalyptus oil
4 oz water

Combine in a spray bottle and shake well. Works well for people and horses, too!


Oatmeal Cinnamon Bun Pet Shampoo

1 cup oatmeal
½ cup baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1 qt warm water

Pulse oats in food processor until they’re a flour-like consistency. Stir in soda and cinnamon. Mix in water.


Dry Shampoo for Smelly Pooches

Mix one box baking soda with several drops of your favorite essential oil. Shake well. Apply liberally to Fido and brush through coat. Much better!


Pet Ear Wash Solution

Combine equal parts water and witch hazel (or apple cider vinegar), a little melted coconut oil, and a few drops of tea tree oil in a squirt bottle. Cleans pet’s ears, wards off infections, washes out foxtails, and makes them smell better, too.


Homemade Doggy Toothpaste

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t organic chicken or beef bouillon granules
  • 3 T baking soda
  • 6-7 mint leaves

Combine in food processor; store in fridge.