Monthly Archives: May 2017

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 … 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.”



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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 … Dana Manchan!!!

Dana Manchan (tevschic, #562) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a Beginner & Intermediate Level Families Forever Merit Badge!

“My children and I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling together as part of our homeschool day. Also, we started playing board games during our weekly Family Home Evenings. Some of the games included Operation, Mouse Trap, and Monopoly. Our favorite was a game called Camp which tests our knowledge of plants and wildlife as we move around the board trying to get back to the “campfire.”

This was a very fun merit badge to work on. I had forgotten how much fun our family has when we play games together. We will definitely hold on to this tradition!

I typed up a chart to keep track of our TV viewing habits for one week, did some extraordinary math to figure out what 20% less would be (the new goal was 47 hours and 40 minutes), and then tracked our habits for the next week.

I grew up on TV, so it was no surprise to me that in the first week, we had watched almost 59 hours, but seeing that number was a slap in the face. So, the next week, we spent a little more time reading or playing outside, and reduced the number to 45.5 hours. We already were careful about what types of shows we watch, so we didn’t adjust anything about what we watched; we just watched less.”

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Wacky Words

For most of us, the process of learning English happened at a time of life when we weren’t as inclined to question the rationale behind unreasonable (and sometimes ridiculous) spellings.

But, consider the task of trying your tongue at English as an outsider, whether tourist or immigrant.

Here’s a simple sentence to put it in perspective:

“I would like to buy a certain fruit for my recipe.”

Easy for you to read, right?

Now, read through it as someone who may know the basic RULES of English, but doesn’t yet grasp the commonly accepted American notion of tossing all of those rules out the window …

“I wooled like to bu-yee a kertane froo-it for my re-sipe.”

Something like that, anyway.

photo by Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons

While it’s tough not to chuckle, you can see how utterly frustrating it must be to decipher the everyday dialog we take for granted.

“While there are clear trends in words non-native speakers mispronounce (due to irregularities in English spelling), words that are in principle hard to pronounce depend much more heavily on each individual speaker’s linguistic background,” explains Czech linguist and mathematician Jakub Marian, author of Most Common Mistakes in English. “Words containing an ‘h’ (as in ‘hello’) are difficult to pronounce for native speakers of romance languages and Russian, since there is no ‘h’-sound in their mother tongues. Words containing a ‘th’-sound (either as in ‘think’ or as in that’) are hard for almost everybody apart from Spaniards and Greeks, whose languages are two of the few that contain those sounds.”

Now that your word wheels are spinning with this new perspective, try a few more words that Marian and many others deem difficult for non-native speakers:

  • Anemone
  • Colonel
  • Comfortable
  • Drawer
  • Fruit
  • Height
  • Isthmus
  • Lettuce
  • Recipe
  • Rural
  • Sixth
  • Squirrel

P.S. Allow me to punctuate this post with a poem called “The Chaos” by Gerard Nolst Trenité in 1922. It brilliantly boasts hundreds of peculiar English pronunciations.

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Energize Me, 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 Cleaning Up/Energize Me Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Andy and I went on a tour of his house, pen and paper at the ready. We were List-maker Extraordinaires already, and now we were putting our skillz to good use: counting everything around the house that uses energy, how our food is kept cold, how the car starts, even how we need and collect energy and keep warm ourselves.

We started off by counting the things that plug in. In five minutes, we had run out of fingers and toes to keep track of our counting, and had to rely on tally marks in our notebook. Guess how many things we found plugged in (not counting other things that use electricity but weren’t plugged in at the moment, like the blender in the cupboard or the hair dryer in the bathroom)?


It was fairly shocking. Get it? Shocking? Hahaha, just a little electricity humor for ya. Back to the show. Ahem.

Next, we lovingly gave the hardworking refrigerator a hug (and snacked on some cheese slices to keep our own energy levels up) and lowered the thermostat a degree for conservations sake. Then we flipped over to the next page of our notebook and began noticing and counting the lightbulbs in the house.

Guess how many? No, really, go ahead and guess. I’ll wait.

If you said 32, you would be frighteningly good at this. Or perhaps your electrician wired your house as well as Andy’s. Of course, eight of those were in the dining room chandelier, but still. That’s a lot of bulbs! Then we remembered the garage … more bulbs, not to mention the electric garage door opener and the two cars themselves.

I was starting to get a bit bummed out at the carbon footprint we were leaving, so we ate some more cheese while we lowered the thermostat one more degree. We turned the topic of discussion to our own energy levels and degrees of warm fuzzies.

What do we need, as people, to keep our energy up?

Jane’s List of Must Haves for Healthy Energy Levels:

  • Coffee and/or tea. Preferably organic and fresh. Hot in the winter, icy cold in the summer.
  • A good slice of sharp Cheddar.
  • A hand-knit sweater.
  • A high protein and fiber breakfast.
  • Snacks.
  • Brisk walks in the cool air.
  • A seaside trip each year.
  • Snowball fights.
  • Pets.
  • Walking instead of driving when possible.
  • Writing letters to friends.
  • Holiday traditions.
  • Good books.
  • Baking bread.
  • Hobbies.
  • Occasional naps (I like mine on Sundays).
  • Fresh air.
  • Dates with Mr. Wonderful.


Andy’s Must Haves for High Energy Levels:

  • Soccer practices.
  • Lots of sleep.
  • Smoothies with fresh fruit and honey and whipped cream.
  • Headstands.
  • Somersaults.
  • Spaghetti with meatballs at least once per week.
  • Pizza with extra cheese.
  • Trail mix.
  • Ninja practice.
  • Bugging and pestering little sisters.
  • Homework.
  • Bedtime stories.
  • Kick the can, basketball, and street hockey with neighbor kids.
  • Climbing trees.
  • Fort building.
  • Arm wrestling.
  • More spaghetti and meatballs.
  • Midnight snacks.

This wasn’t part of the badge earning, but we decided to swap lists for the next week.

After all, who couldn’t use a bit more somersaulting and headstands in their lives?

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