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Below are the Merit Badges that were approved today.

Congratulations Sisters!!

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

Debbie Fischer, #1582, Blessed in Colorado

Beginner Outpost / Farmgirl’s Best Friend

Beginner Make It Easy / Let’s Get Physical

Beginner Make It Easy / Relaxation

Krista Butters-Davis, #528, maryjanesniece

Beginner Each Other / Calligraphy

Expert Stitching & Crafting / UFOs

Hannah Frankowski, #6994, GinnyBelle

Intermediate Make It Easy / Relaxation

Denise Thompson, #43, levisgrammy

Beginner Stitching & Crafting / Embroidery

Tina VanDaam, #8431, TinaTina

Expert Stitching & Crafting / Quilling

Joanne Seruto, #7580, JoanneMS58

Beginner Stitching & Crafting / Sew Wonderful

Beginner Stitching & Crafting / Knitting

Beginner Stitching & Crafting / Cross-Stitch

Intermediate Stitching & Crafting / Cross-Stitch

Beginner Stitching & Crafting / Quilting

Heather Neeper, #4701, nndairy

Beginner Farm Kitchen / Kitchen Renegade

Intermediate Farm Kitchen / Kitchen Renegade

Expert Farm Kitchen / Kitchen Renegade

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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 Debbie Klann!

Debbie Klann (debbieklann #770) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning an Expert Level Carpe Cocoa Merit Badge!

“I already knew how to make ganache, so I found 2 different ganache recipes to make my truffles, one dark and one white chocolate. The 4 flavors I decided on were White Chocolate Cranberry Orange (my favorite); White Chocolate Peppermint, dipped in Dark Chocolate (reminiscent of a York peppermint patty); a Bailey’s truffle dipped in dark chocolate’ and a Crown Maple truffle, also dipped in dark chocolate.

I had heard that Starbucks offered chocolate drinks during the holidays. I think I will watch for them and try their version if they are offered again. I tried to make a Mexican version of hot chocolate, not overly sweet but had hints of cinnamon. I really liked it! I don’t think I will try the Aztec chocolate drink (chocolate mixed with grown maize) anytime in the near future!”

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wow Debbie, Your chocolate inventions sound delicious!! You came up with some very creative ideas.

  2. Barbara Criss says:

    Congrats Debbie—be proud of yourself—the best I can do is no bake chocolate cookies.

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Do You Know the Muffin Man? Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,504 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,886 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 Farm Kitchen/Do You Know the Muffin Man? Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Piper and I put up our muddy boots and got to talking.

Talking about? Muffins, of course. I mean, is there anything else in the wide, green world to talk about really? Right up there with Nancy Drew mystery stories, dresses with pockets, and whether or not one believes in ghosts, breakfast foods are really the go-to in any young girl’s conversational arsenal.

Perhaps Pooh and Piglet put it best:

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

“It’s the same thing,” he said.

But of course—and this is the really exciting part—muffins aren’t just for breakfast anymore. They belong to one of those remarkable food categories like eggs, apples with peanut butter, and granola bars: an excellent choice no matter the time of day. Midnight snack muffins? Um, yes please. Breakfast, second breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert? They can all be satiated with a muffin. They really are the perfect food …

“Aunty,” said Piper, “you’re getting that dreamy-eyed look again. Are you okay?”

“Just waxing poetical about muffins,” said I. “Top or bottom?”

“Top, of course!”

“What if you slice them from top to bottom instead of lopping off the top like most people do? Then each half would have half a top and half a bottom?”

Piper thought for a minute, then declared me a genius. (I know, I admit it humbly.)

Our next question was regarding our favorite flavors and it was such a long discussion we needed sustenance and lemonade, so we broke out the cookie jar while we deliberated. In the end, while we did choose current favorites, we realized our muffin knowledge was sadly lacking. Example: Piper had only ever had blueberry muffins and chocolate muffins, and I had been stuck in a lemon poppyseed rut for far too long. We had a feeling this badge was going to get us out of our comfort zone, and we were right!

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  1. Joan Hendrix says:

    I’ve been cutting my muffins vertically for years just so I get some top with each half! I would eat muffins every day if I could get away with it.
    Love ’em!

  2. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    Love the Pooh and Piglet reference. I could live on muffins. Being southern originally, corn muffins top my bucket list of must haves. I am now making mine from hand ground corn meal made from the greatest corn for baking of all, Floriani. It was a gift from a young ethno-botanist friend , who grew the corn and ground it by hand and so forth. I treasure it and its over the top corny flavor.

  3. Barbara Criss says:

    I love muffins—especially blueberry ones. My friends little boy called them moo-fins. I am afraid I picked up this bad habit and now my husband calls them moo-fins too. I need to bake more of them, but I truly hate to wash a muffin pan. You are right they are a great food.

  4. Savory – fits the bill for me. Feta and spinach and ham and cheddar both are great with soup or salad as a meal or as mini’s to go with cocktails!

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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 Joanna Vaughan!

Joanna Vaughan (JojoNH #566) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level of the Quilting Merit Badge!

“Learned how to sew the quilting squares together by hand. Using 2 1/2″ squares, I assembled the top to a table runner. The runner measures 31″ long by 15″ wide finished.

Learned an easy technique to add the batting and backing to the top. Learned which stitches would be best for the binding edge, and then decided on a tied top for finishing the quilting.

Since this was all done by hand, it took between 24-28 hours from start to finish.

I’m now obsessed!! I have always loved hand-sewing. Now, knowing how easy this was to do, I’m ready to tackle a larger project by hand as well. I could not be happier with the end result of my table runner!”

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  1. Barbara Criss says:

    This is really beautiful! The colors go together so well. You should be so proud of yourself. Keep doing more projects because obviously you have a talent for this. You go girl!

  2. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    Just lovely Joanna! All that hand work, amazing!

  3. Debbie Klann says:

    Joanna, that is lovely! I can’t believe that is only your first project…nice work! And I love that you are now hooked on quilting!

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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 Erin McBride!

Erin McBride (notathreatinsight, #3762) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning the Beginner Level of the Geography Merit Badge!

“I have a couple globes, and many maps of the world, and the United States.

Having worked as a trainer for an airline for 8 years, I have what I would consider more than a basic level of knowledge of national and world geography. One of the nice things about homeschooling is that when your kids learn something new, you have to learn it too. We are currently studying the United States, and have learned all of the capitals (I did know these already) along with their locations on the map of the U.S. Now we are learning geographical features, including mountain ranges, lakes, bays, rivers, trails, canals, deserts, and other prominent features, along with their locations.

YouTube is full of resources for learning more about geography in fun ways. We are using maps and songs to learn these features, which I would recommend to anyone of any age! It’s fun to learn and you gain valuable knowledge about the world you live in.

We also used this book to study cartography and map out the U.S. We all enjoy drawing, and this was a fun project to help us learn more about the geography of our country.”

erin-mcbride_geography-beginner2

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  1. Debbie Klann says:

    Congratulations, Erin!!! I didn’t know that you used to work for the airlines!

  2. Barbara Criss says:

    This makes me ashamed of my geography knowledge—I have felt for years that I need to study up on the subject. Especially world geography. Congrats to you and keep on learning.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    As a home educator to 3 children (boy, that was a while ago), I took a Christian Geography class offered by a friend who was a home educator. The class was offered to adults only. We used Arnold Guyot’s geography and she had us drawing continents, rivers, deserts, etc. because it’s more liable to stay in your memory; learned! It was wonderful learning the purposes of southern continents versus northern. I have all my maps outlined in colored pencil and my notes. Now that I’ve seen your article, I’m going to get my notebook and re-learn! It’s so exciting!

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photo-of-the-day

farm-romance_9285

  1. Barbara Criss says:

    I can smell this hyacinth. I have some blooming and it is such a delight to go outside and smell their sweet perfume. It always amazes me how far away you can smell them—they are the best smelling flower. That and peonies and lilacs.

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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 CJ Armstrong!

CJ Armstrong (ceejay48, #665) has received a certificate of achievement in Make It Easy for earning the Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert Levels of the Jewelry Making Merit Badge!

“BEGINNER: I’ve been making jewelry for about 10 years and have accumulated all manner of tools and supplies. I have quite a selection of beads, which include plastic, glass, wooden, metal, clay, ceramic, stone (semi-precious), etc. in every size and shape. I also have tiger tail, nylon, elastic, waxed cording, chains, memory wire and all kinds of pin backs, ear wires, jump rings, split rings, a variety of clasps, etc. Some of my favorite things to work with also include charms, ribbons, and even buttons.

I have already established that Celtic design jewelry is my favorite, but I also like simple designs using semi-precious stones. I used to have a lot of costume jewelry that I wore for work, but since retiring, I hardly wear any of that and gave most of it away. I had some pieces that were turquoise, made by Navajo silversmiths; most of that I gave to family members, except for a few favorite pieces. I do not try to replicate these pieces because I’m not native. But I still have all my Celtic-style jewelry, which I plan to keep and still wear and I’ve made some of my own Celtic-style pieces.

INTERMEDIATE: I am a self-taught jewelry maker, but learned quite a bit from my husband, who is a silversmith himself and has made a lot of jewelry as well. With what I learned from him, some printed material, and trial and error on my part, I became quite skilled at it and have made dozens of pieces in all kinds of styles and combinations of beads, wire, etc.

I like to buy a lot of my supplies from Fire Mountain Gems and have been able to learn a lot from the info they provide. I have made more than the required beaded and spiral-wired piece of jewelry

EXPERT: I have made bracelets, necklaces, earrings, cell-phone charms, keychains, zipper pulls, lanyards, pins/brooches, and stick pins, and have used beading/wire/charms to embellish papercraft projects such as cards, journals, and tags.

I have sold many pieces through the local farmers’ market and a variety of craft shows/bazaars. I have made custom orders for folks wanting a particular style or color and I have made many pieces for gifts, usually either a matching necklace and earrings or bracelet and earrings. The cards, journals, and tags were also sold through these venues. I have made matching sets for my daughter and we have matching breast-cancer awareness bracelets (more than one) and lanyards. The rings I have made were using elastic cording and beads.

The necklace and bracelet in the photo are a Celtic design set that I made for myself. The necklace uses waxed cord and a section of memory wire with the beads and charms. I have had a lot of fun making jewelry and it’s been nice to sell some pieces—that certainly is a compliment to me. Perhaps there is more of that in the future!!”

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  1. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    Congratulations CJ. I always enjoy your posts and comments on Raising Jane . Now you have shared some more of your interesting life and how artistic you are. I have done beaded jewelry all my life but I’m not that good at it , more like the hippy,dippy trippy stuff in my earlier days. I am very impressed with all that you have done and to sell your pieces shows you how good you really are!

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    Thank you Lisa! What a compliment! I’ve had to make a LOT of changes in my lifestyle due to health challenges and, just this week, had to make the decision to let go of jewelry making! Fortunately, I was able to pass all my supplies on to a farmgirl sister. Hope she has as much fun as I did.

    • Lisa Von Saunder says:

      I wish you well with your health challenges changing your lifestyle. I understand. I too am going through that and have had to cut way back on the physical work I will be doing for my seed business.
      Glad you were able to “pass it forward” to another Farmgirl sister, so thoughtful.

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Congratulations CJ! You made some beautiful jewelry and it sounds like you had a lot of fun too. It is always a plus to be able to sell some of your wares to share the wealth and recoup some of your investment. I am glad you have been having so much fun!

  4. terry steinmetz says:

    Lovely jewelry CJ.

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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 Joyce Hein!

Joyce Hein (GinghamGirl, #6071) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning an Expert Level My Fair Farmgirl Merit Badge!

“I have long wanted to make my own soap … and I finally did! Not only is it healthier, but it’s considerably cheaper and the bar lasts twice as long. I also made my own shampoo, conditioner, hair rinse, face wash, toner, face serum, and aftershave for hubby.

I realized that making soap can be used for many different things! I grate it for my laundry detergent (homemade now!), bubble bath for the kids, and some other recipes that I haven’t tried yet but are on my list, such as foaming hand wash. All health and beauty products in our home are now 100% natural and homemade. Although it may seem that initially it costs more as you need to buy supplies, in the long run you save a considerable amount as the supplies last quite a bit longer than buying one simple store-bought item. For Christmas, we gave only homemade goodies; the baskets included bath salts, soaps, and aftershave for the men.”

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  1. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    Good for you Joyce! Wow what a project your started ! Where did you get your recipes?

  2. Barbara Criss says:

    My friend makes soap to sell and I love it! I have been buying soap from her for several years and I am always thinking I will try making it myself. It looks like such fun. I have a book about how to make it so that is a small step toward beginning.

  3. Debbie Klann says:

    Congratulations, Joyce!! What kind of soap did you make?

  4. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wow, Joyce, What an achievement learning to make all of those personal care items!!

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Farmgirl’s Best Friend Merit Badge, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,504 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,886 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/Farmgirl’s Best Friend Beginner Level Merit Badge, I had to stifle my excitement a little bit. You see, I have a habit of falling in love with every four-legged creature that comes my way. Hold your horses, girl!

Note to self: no horses. Settle down, Janey.

The requirements were clear, so I gave myself a stern talking to, and committed to staying firmly within the lines:

  • If you’ve never owned a pet before, explore the reasons why. Are you allergic? Did your parents not enjoy pets? Have you always lived in an apartment, or worked too many hours to care for one?
  • If you have had pets, think back to your favorite one.
  • If you could pick a pet, what would you choose and why? Research your choice and see if their temperament/availability/cost sway you to another choice. Remember, not all pets are dogs and cats. If you’re allergic to dander, maybe consider a lizard or some backyard chickens.

Well, I’ve clearly owned a pet or two or seventeen before, so the first column I could skip over. Uh oh, adhering to the rules was already becoming a problem …

The second requirement was more applicable. I waltzed down memory lane with all my furry pals …

My first pony, Rainbow Dash. A bit on the squat side for my long gams, she nevertheless fulfilled my need to have adventures of the equine sort. Of course, she was busy with her own life, what with being one of the oh-so popular My Little Pony franchise stars.

Then there was my beloved dog, Spotty McSpot Spots. Fluffy as could be, with long ears, and his own collar, he was three times the size of Rainbow Dash so I could ride him merrily along as my own personal horse. Don’t you miss the Pound Puppies?

Toys aside, I had to say my favorite pet was my family cow. She was a great listener, not to mention she guarded the backyard from intruders and gave us yummy milk.

If I could pick a pet, what would I choose and why? Wouldn’t it be easier to list the type of pet I wouldn’t want and why? Cuz that list is short:

  1. A rattlesnake.
  2. There is no #2.

But after many moments of deep thought, and several slices of apple pie, I came up with an intriguing possibility: an octopus.

Eeek!

1896, The Illustrated Police News, via Wikimedia Commons

Wait, wait, hear me out!

Did you know these fascinating facts about octopuses? Octopi? (I looked it up: it’s octopuses. You’re welcome.)

  • They eat their own arms if they get bored. Yikes! That seems a little overly dramatic, even for me.
  • They’re considered the smartest animals in the world, and the closest things to aliens we have here on earth. They’ve even been seen using tools! An octopus with his own home improvement show? Yes, please.
  • They’ve been seen opening child-proof bottles in mere minutes if you hide their snacks inside. I mean, I’ve been known to do some crazy stuff to get to my favorite trail mix, too.
  • They can change their entire body color in three-tenths of a second, in order to camouflage themselves. And we’re not just talking one color: they can take on the appearance of just about anything near them.
  • They have sadly short life spans. Unfortunately, they only live a few years, with some species (those typically sold at pet stores) only living for about six months.

That last fact made me decide to keep researching different animals. I just get too attached to lose my new BFF in that short a time.

Maybe a tortoise?

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am also one of those folks who falls in love with animals……..except lizards, snakes, bugs and predatory fish. I am always looking for a little “buddy” to talk to and pet.. Big brown eyes and soft fur or feathers help a lot. However, I could easily fall in love with a dolphin too. The photo today of two of your sweet faced cows and a golden hen would be pals I would love to have.

    Speaking of cows, how is Miss Daisy?

    • MaryJane says:

      Miss Daisy is due in a couple of weeks, this time with a girl, little Buttercup (grandgirls picked out the name). She’s doing great! Everyone LOVES Miss Daisy–she’s A+ adorable.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh my, I hope this baby arrives safely!! The Grandgirls selected a very sweet name for a baby girl calf. Please post a photo when she gets here and tell her that her Aunt Winnie is very happy to meet her. that Daisy is just totes adorb!

  3. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    I was allowed to have any pet animal at all as long as it wasnt a dog ( my mother had a traumatic near death experience with one) and well I took FULL advantage of that for sure. I had my share of kittens/cats. I also had a pet groundhog, various snakes ( that I caught myself in the woods)lots of field mice and shrews, turtles ( even the giant ones we had in the Seychelles, look just like the ones in the galapogos islands , only not the same) crows ( which I taught to talk) a baby raccoon ( although not for long -too destructive)

    I had a ferret, rabbits, tons of tropical fish ( freshwater and saltwater) Gosh the list goes on and on. ( I did have dogs later on when no longer living at home) I wont count the farm animals.Yes I have had an animal filled life.

  4. Karlyne says:

    Wow! Octopus trivia I needed to know! Except the eating their own arms part…

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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 Kristy De Vuyst!

Kristy De Vuyst (#7419) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Homespun Christmas Merit Badge!

“I made dishcloths for all of my friends and family with a side of baking. My kids and I also decorated our tree with edibles. We made birdseed ornaments and dried oranges and apple slices to hang on the tree. We also strung popcorn for garland. When we took our tree down, they were all hung outside for the birds.

It was the most beautiful tree we have ever had and our friends and family loved their gifts!”

kristy-de-vuyst_homespun-christmas

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  1. Barbara Criss says:

    I absolutely love this tree! The edible ornaments are a great idea—the birds got to enjoy Christmas also. I think I will put up an outdoor tree just for the birds in 2018 and let them help me enjoy Christmas.

  2. Debbie Klann says:

    This is one of the prettiest trees that I have ever seen! And I love that you all worked together on it….what wonderful memories made!

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Kristy, this is the most beautiful idea and expression of love and joy! It was a tree that gave joy and treats to everyone this past Christmas season. Great job and inspiring to all of us!!

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