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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fun on the Fourth.

Patriotic cookies.

We had a wonderful 4th of July this year. The weather was perfect, the food was perfect and oh heck, the people were perfect too.

Red, white and blue M&M cookies.

I'm very proud of the red, white and blue M&M cookies that I baked, so they deserve two photos. I think this recipe is going to be my go-to chocolate cookie recipe.

Patriotic shed.

Even our shed was decked out in red, white and blue.

Of course, our day wouldn't be complete without the annual fireworks display, courtesy of Uncle Craig. For some reason, the fireworks always bring the crazy.

Scott and Melissa

Our friends brought champagne poppers. No one was supervising the two Laurens, so they decided it would be fun to shoot them at people. Here is the result.

 Lauren x2 throwing snaps at Melissa.

 Here they are throwing snaps at Mel C while she danced.

  Melissa and Beth

Thankfully, she survived the onslaught of explosives.

Wacthing fireworks.

And the Laurens settled down to watch the fireworks.

 Cookie with the girls.

Unlike big brother Marcus, who is terrified by them, Cookie isn't phased one bit by fireworks, so she sat and enjoyed the show too.

Craig before.

Look at Craig in action - he's a master!

Craig after.

On second thought...



We've been doing this for at least five years now, and until this year, I could never get any decent photos of the fireworks. 

 Mark playing with sparklers.

 Pappy with sparklers.

Then we ended the night with sparkler fun!

Rainy day women.

Shell to Wee Lodge

At the end of June, our Girl Scout troop went on it's yearly camping trip. This time instead of going to a council organized camp event, we decided to go on our own as a troop to Camp Guyasuta. It's a campground owned by the Boy Scouts that's less than ten minutes from our house. So weren't being particularly adventurous for our maiden voyage. Nonetheless, it took months of planning, paperwork and packing to make it happen, and my co-leader and I had to attend an all day outdoor training in order to meet Girl Scout's requirements for camping.

Finally, the weekend arrived. The forecast? Heavy rain and thunderstorms. This was quite a downer since the majority of the activities that we had planned, like campfire cooking, archery, swimming and geocaching, were outdoor activities.

Like the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scout motto is, "Be prepared." Our troop motto for that weekend became, "Make the best of it." Well, we did more than make the best of it - we made a heck of a good time! With the exception of swimming, (Because there really was a torrential downpour most of the day Saturday) we actually got to do everything that we had planned. In fact, we had so much fun, Lauren said that she didn't want to leave!

When we arrived on Friday, the weather was still clear, so we were able to start with some campfire fun. First we made these awesome sit-a-cans:


A sit-a-can is basically a bucket with a lid that acts as both storage for your camping gear and your seat at the campfire. Speaking of campfires, since it rained most of the weekend, we were only able to make one campfire, and that was due to the tenacity of my co-leader who would not give up on getting our fire started even though we were dealing with very damp wood. Thanks to her efforts, we all got to enjoy campfire cones.

Making bandana pillows.

We woke up Saturday morning to lots and lots of rain. Thankfully, we rented a lodge with electricity, indoor bathrooms and a full kitchen. Not so lucky were the Boy Scouts that were tent camping on the grounds across from our lodge. I just noticed that you can see them sitting outside the window in this picture - lol.

So since swimming was out of the question, we did a craft - no-sew bandana pillows.

Bandana pillows.

They came out awesome, and the girls loved them.

Playing cards.

While we are on the topic of awesomeness, I have to take the time to brag about our girls. What you see in this photo is what makes me so happy and proud to be part of Girl Scouts. Everyone is included. Everyone is having fun. When the girls had down time, they would just breakout in a spontaneous game whether it was cards, hand clapping or just being goofy. As volunteers, we do all this work and planning to come up with fun things for them to do together, but leave them to their own devices and magic happens.

After a busy morning, it was time for our archery session. Big props to the Boy Scouts for having an indoor as well as an outdoor archery range!

By the time the afternoon rolled around, it actually cleared up enough for us to head out and do some geocaching.


The wellies that I had purchased for this trip were a very, very good investment.


After slipping and sliding through the muddy trails, the girls found a cache!

Geocache find!

We signed the log and exchanged one of the pins that we made for a mini magic trick kit.

Happy girls.

Here's girls posing in at the outdoor chapel.

Silly girls.

When I asked them to make silly faces, they were happy to oblige. There should be a badge for that!

And that wraps up another successful year of scouting. Here's to many more!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Meet Mr. Pancakes.

Meet Mr. Pancakes.

Time for a long overdue introduction. Meet Mr. Pancakes - he's a Syrian or "teddy bear" hamster. Lauren has been begging us for hamster for sometime now. We had been hesitant to give into her on this one because our inn is quite full here with the two dogs, a cat, several fish and chickens.  To convince us, she wrote an essay all about teddy bear hamsters and promised that she would take care of him all by herself and on top of that, wash dishes.

Cuddlin' with mama.

We have yet to see any dishes being washed, but Lauren has been a great mama to Mr. Pancakes.

 Littlest Bucco fan.

 And apparently he's a Pirates fan, so he fits right in with the rest of the Ross Family!