Monthly Archives: May 2017



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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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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 … 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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Today’s Recipe: Strawberry-Lemon Cheesecake Mousse w/Candied Cashew Crust



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Wistful for Wisteria

“Ah, wisteria … my favorite. I had one when I was young and newly married and living in a very old house. Since then, I only long for another,” Beverly (Bee Haven Maven) wistfully writes. “I have a picture in my mind of an arbor with wisteria on either side and a great old wooden porch swing hanging beneath. My peaceful dream is only interrupted by the buzzing of bees around my head—they really love the blossoms. Perhaps this will be another project for another year…”

Photo by Ink Flo via Pixabay

I feel certain that Bev is not the only one feeling wistful for wisteria this time of year. They are truly lovely, but not easily grown on a whim. Cultivating these divine vines requires time and patience (like, years’ worth). So, if you’re planning a planting, prepare for a two- to three-year process of hurry-up-and-wait.

Photo by Carlotta Silvestrini via Pixabay

Another consideration before shopping for seeds: only two varieties of wisteria are native to the U.S. This fact matters because the Asian varieties (Wisteria sinensis and Wisteria floribunda) are considered invasive, noxious weeds that will aggressively spread and displace native vegetation.

“Consider growing the less invasive American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), which grows in Zones 5 to 9. The vine grows 25 to 30 feet long with shiny, dark-green leaves and large, drooping lilac or purple-blue flower clusters, which appear after the plant has leafed out. However, note that the flowers are unscented, unlike the Asian Wisteria,” advises the Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Another native American is Wisteria macrostachya (Zones 4 to 9) or Kentucky wisteria. This late-season bloomer is native to the southeastern U.S. and bears unscented bluish-purple flowers after growing only two to three years, making it the quickest wisteria to bloom.”

Rather than wait for wisteria to bloom, take a (virtual) vacation to Kawachi Fuji Garden in Kitakyushu, Japan. This gorgeous garden boasts over 100 flowering wisteria plants from 20 different species. The voluminous vines create Kawachi Fuji’s famous wisteria tunnel.

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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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