Monthly Archives: November 2016



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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 … Rebecca Alvarez!!!

Rebecca Alvarez (TinyChinaCows, #7224) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a Beginner Level Speak for the Trees Merit Badge!

“I’ve had this National Geographic Field Guide to the Trees of North America on my bookshelf for a while, so when I read the requirements for the “Speak for the Trees” badge, I snatched the book from the shelf and headed outside. I live in an apartment complex, but we have many different trees that need identifying! I identified the three required for this badge, but I’m certainly going be taking more tree-finding walks while the weather is nice!

I had lots of fun identifying our trees! The first one outside my building has peeling bark that looks like it’s been painted in watercolors and tosses these fuzzy spheres at us every year. It’s an American Sycamore, native to the Eastern U.S. (I took a photo, included below.) Another nearby tree turned out to be a Crepe Myrtle. It showers the sidewalk with flowers every year and is native to Japan and China.

Finally, it turns out that we actually have two different species of oak trees pelting us with acorns lately. One is Live Oak, native to our area and festooned with Spanish Moss. The other seems to be a Laurel Oak, which, according to my book, is a hybrid and is frequently used in Florida landscapes. On my next walk, I’m going to try to identify some of the palm trees we have around here.”


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Who Let the Cow In?

Ah, geez …

Wait, before I go on, let me throw out this disclaimer:

If you’re allergic to cuteness (or cows), cut your losses and get outta here while you still can.

Still there?

I knew you’d risk it.

You will be duly rewarded with smiles …

The video below chronicles what happened when Pennsylvania farm mom Billie Jo Decker discovered an unexpected house guest hanging out with her 5-year-old daughter, Breanna. Be sure to keep watching to the halfway point and beyond if you can stand the sweetness:

In a YouTube update a couple of months ago, Billie Jo admitted that Izzy the Cow has secured a pretty solid place in the family. “Izzy has turned into quite the spoiled cow. She is literally like dealing with a 2-year-old child throwing tantrums,” she said. “If she is not in the mood to share my company, well, let’s just say she MOOOOOOVES it out of the way. She is a very jealous cow and doesn’t like to share Mom’s attention.”

Izzy is a bit big for house visits now (she makes an appearance in this video). Hmmm … maybe Breanna needs a mini Jersey?



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Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Big Kid Now, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,200 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,226 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 Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I wrangled Piper, Andy, and Nora to earn their badges together. Birds of a feather flock together like peas in a pod. Or something to that effect.

Anyway, this badge was all about daydreaming towards the future and answering the ever immortal and infamous question that the under-18 crowd gets asked twenty-eleven times in their short life spans:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon, July 20, 1969, via Wikimedia Commons

Now, this seemingly innocuous query can cause panic, anxiety, and hives in young adults of the teenage variety (and some of the just-graduated college age group as well), but these particular whippersnappers found it intriguing.

Especially when I assured them that the sky was the limit (after all, who doesn’t want to be an astronaut?).

It really got their gray matter working overtime. Piper was coming up with career notions as fast as she could write them down with her trusty hot-pink quill pen, Nora firmly stuck to her #1 choice, but Andy was … well, surprisingly thoughtful.

I mean, you could have knocked me over with Pipe’s hot-pink quill pen. He was really stewing and brewing and weighing his options. It was like he was … was … thinking. Anyone who knows and loves a preteen boy knows this is rare indeed: like seeing a unicorn on your way to the market or something.

I say this in love.

But ‘tis true.

Then he *gasp* wanted to go the library to research his Top Ten Career Paths. I couldn’t say no to that request. (Though I was still filled with apprehension after our last trip there. Would there be a photo of me with a red line crossed through? Would I be banned for shouting, spilling my coffee, and losing half the children I had arrived with? It’s not easy being Auntie, I tell you.)

photo by Wpcpey via Wikimedia Commons

We set off like a herd of turtles and made our way to the Non-Fiction Kid’s Section—where none of us had actually been before. It was a whole new world there, chickadees! I always thought Non-Fiction was a bit on the borrrrrring side myself, but once again, I have changed my wicked ways.

I settled down with a biography of Julia Child while the three ankle-biters perused. Each of us had brought our own reusable shopping bag, both for ease of transport and also to cut down on the squabbling. Well, actually Nora brought a suitcase on wheels, but the librarian didn’t even bat an eye. Sometimes I think librarians have seen things that would make a lesser gal squirm in shock. They’re like the unsung heroes and ninjas of the literature world. Also, if the zombie apocalypse happens, I’m heading to the library, post haste.

The book about Julia was making me super hungry. I was having a hard time focusing on our assignment, but luckily the kids were doing well. The Non-Fiction section was pretty picked over by the time we were done with it and I kinda hoped there weren’t any other Young Cultivators eager to earn this specific badge today (or in the next two weeks, since that’s how long we had our books for).

On our way home, we had to drive-through for tacos because … well, Julia.

Want to see what the trio of intrepid daydreamers checked out?

Stay tuned!

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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 … Brenda White!!!

Brenda White (#6769) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a Beginner Level Languages/Culture Merit Badge!

“My daughter who is now 29, was diagnosed at 20 months with a severe to profound hearing loss. She started wearing hearing aids at 2 years of age. I have learned a lot about deaf culture and sign language. My daughter was raised in a educational setting called total communication. She reads lips (which isn’t taught but is something she just can do), signs, and speaks. My family started learning sign language when our daughter was about 2 1/2 years old.

My education has turned out well! She now lives in Washington D.C. and is a chef. We Facetime often using sign and speaking. I communicate well with her deaf friends and have been accepted into their community.”



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