Starry Night

FullSizeRender-1It’s Adventure Club day again and this time we are working on the ‘Starry Night’ badge. First, we learned about our galaxy, stars within it and a very special part of space…a nebula! This badge has two parts- learning/ craft and an evening with my telescope. Since that means staying up late, we are saving that part for Saturday night! In the mean time, we have this great craft that gave us a good idea of the beauty of a nebula!

The craft we decided on is a nebula jar!  So we headed off right away to the craft store to pick up our supplies. This is actually a really easy craft that requires only a few items and you end up with a colorful jar of puffy, starry nebula ‘clouds’.

The supplies needed to make this nebula jar are:

  1. 1 large Mason Jar
  2. Cotton (or loose batting)
  3. 2 or 3 colors of tempura paint
  4. Glitter
  5. Water
  6. Stirring stick (such as a wooden skewer/ kabob stick)

Now in full disclosure, we got this idea off of Pinterest but had a lovely Pinterest fail because the directions told us to shake the jar and when we did, everything blended into a dreary, brown mushy batting. So, we dumped it out and started over with this method instead, which works great:

Place some cotton (or batting) in the bottom of the jar. Squeeze some drops of tempura paint (a good squeeze or two) onto the cotton. Sprinkle in some glitter. Slowly fill 1/3 of the jar with water, pouring it directly on the paint. Using the stirring stick, poke at the cotton to move around the paint and let it absorb onto the cotton.

Repeat the process with another section of cotton. Squeeze some drops of another color of tempura paint and sprinkle in more glitter. Slowly add another 1/3 of water to the jar, pouring it directly on the paint, and carefully poke at the cotton to move around the paint and let that color absorb onto the cotton.

Repeat the process one final time with another color of tempura paint, filling the remaining unfilled part of the jar with water and stirring the cotton one final time.

 

Hopefully at the end, you’ll end up with something that looks a bit like this:

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A nebula: a nursery for baby stars!

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Tending the garden

Girl child and I have been working on a gardening badge for our Adventure Club. Rather than let her loose on an existing garden (my OCD cannot take it, sorry), we decided that she should plant her own little garden and tend to it all by herself.

IMG_9011Now these Adventure Club meetings are good for both her and me as we get quality time- just Momma and girl child. We decided that we needed to discuss plants in general and a good way to do that is while we waited for a freshly baked pizza at our local pizza joint.

Girl child has been studying about plants for school so she was impressively capable of telling me about the many parts of a plant. We talked about how a plant gets its food since it can’t just walk to the grocery store. She even knows the humongous name for this process. Quick pop quiz…do you know?? The answer’s at the bottom 🙂

She named things like leaves, petals, stamen, sepals, roots, anther and pollen. (This girl knows her plant parts!). We talked about what the roots do, how pollen is delivered, and how the leaves help with food production. Then, our food arrived and we just ate while we watched cowboys lasso cattle at a rodeo on a TV at the restaurant. There really is no better entertainment whilst eating pizza, am I right?

IMG_9012After dinner, we headed to the plant nursery to pick out a pot and some flowers. Girl child found a nice, big, purple pot! Next, we thought about how much light each plant needed, how much water and how big each plant would get. Girl child considered each plant carefully and, ever-mindful of her love of all things pink and purple, picked out three beauties- a snap dragon, a petunia and an african daisy. We set off for home to get them planted.

 

IMG_9017Girl child dawned her pink gloves and got started with her garden planting. Again, my OCD kicked in and I wanted to help her, but I sat on my hands and let her do the whole thing by herself. She was careful to put soil in the bottom and then she placed each plant exactly where she wanted them. Close, but not too close, to each other. Then she filled in the “between parts” with additional soil. Finally, she gave them a good drink of water and picked out where her garden would live…our front porch!

 

img_9095And when she was done, she was pleased as punch that she has her very own beautiful garden that she is now responsible for.

 

Teacups and Tenderness

We had our weekly Adventure Club meeting (read here about our Adventure Club!) and this week we are working on our Manners badge. I figured a great way to practice manners would be with a tea party!

IMG_8688From what we see in the world today, manners are hard to find. The fabric of our society has been bleached and torn to the point where people serve only themselves and not their fellow man. There is no love for others at large.

This is a hard concept to swallow when I look at my beautiful daughter all of seven years old, filled with hope and anticipation of the world she sees…one where people go to church, there is love in the home, laughter is scattered throughout the day and the evening brings sweet dreams in a warm bed. How do I prepare her for the gray, dull world without popping the bubble of her lovely picture of life?

As we pick out the tea cups, we talk about why we use manners. We don’t do it because it’s the rule. We do it because we want the best for others. We want to give them a hand to help, to support them, to encourage them, to honor them and to recognize them.

So we wait for the hostess of the tea party to pull out her chair before we sit as a way to show her we honor the hard work that went into putting the tea party together. We hold open a door for someone with hands full to recognize that person and to demonstrate that we value the importance of what that person is doing…even if what that person is doing is buying groceries for their own family. That’s important to them and therefore we honor that importance with helping by holding open the door for them.

The desire to use good manners must come from a genuine interest inside of us to want to help other people. We show them love by doing so. Saying ‘thank you’ isn’t just words. It shows the other person that we value what they did. Picking up something that someone else dropped is a way to reenforce the care we have towards others- though we may not know each other, we do look out for each other. We care for each other.

IMG_8684We talked a bit about this over the course of our tea party and I reminded girl child of scripture that says “…‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:40). We talked about who the “brothers” are in this passage. Brothers are everyone around you. Everyone you come in contact with.

So every time you smile at someone you’ve done it unto the Lord.
Every time you let someone have your chair on the bus, you’ve done it unto the Lord.
Every time you share your toy with a friend or sister, you’ve done it unto the Lord.
Every time you give your lunchtime apple to the hungry, homeless man on the street, you’ve done it unto the Lord.

Always do things for others knowing that you’ve done it unto the Lord. This will keep your heart and mind in the right place as you navigate through the gray, dull world. What you will see is light and hope in those small moments when a smile is exchanged.

Behold…the cupcake

I’ve started doing something with girl child that she’s really excited about. Actually, I’m excited about it, too. FullSizeRender.jpgWe have started the Adventure Club- a club where we do character building things and she earns badges for her sash that she can proudly wear. She can’t wait to start earning her badges and this evening, she got her first one for cooking.

At girl child’s request, we made cupcakes. Not just regular cupcakes, mind you, but cupcakes that are made with soda. The kids don’t drink soda ever so when she got to try a tiny bit of it, she was overwhelmed by the effervescence!

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Our evening began with a trip to the grocery store to grab our needed ingredients. Admittedly, the recipe is incredibly easy…cake mix and 12 ounces of soda. So our list was short with only the cake mix, soda and frosting needed.

But girl child got to preheat the oven, open the cake mix, pour it, measure the soda, pour it, use beaters and mix the batter, and prepare the cupcake cups.

Of course, after preparing the cupcake batter and IMG_8602sticking it in the oven to bake, there is the glorious task that belongs to the baker, who has selflessly spent time making such goodies for others, to lick the bowl of all of its yummy goodness. She loved this part of baking…who doesn’t?!

It was hard for me to resist “helping” here, but girl child earned the sole right to lick that bowl and we even learned about a spatula as well as its ability to effectively scrape every last morsel from the sides of the bowl so as not to waste any part of the batter.

Another important part of baking is cleaning up after yourself. Maybe not the best part, but girl child was very amenable to this task because it’s just part of being a baker. And it gave her something to do to pass the time until the cupcakes were finished baking. Soon enough, the timer beeped and the cupcakes cooled enough to frost.

There is nothing quite like sharing cupcakes you made with your family and watching everyone enjoy every last bite of the yummiest and most wonderful cupcakes proudly made by girl child.

Congratulations girl child on earning your first badge in our Adventure Club!