Handwashing Experiment

This would be a fun experiment for any group of kids over 3 years old.  It is an activity for the Girl Scout badge Let’s Get Cooking, combined with an activity I adapted from the Junior Girl Scout Handbook.  My troop did it two years ago at the beginning of our work on the badge.  It helped the girls understand why it’s so important to wash our hands before preparing food, and even the leaders were surprised at the results of different hand-cleaning methods.

There are two phases to be done on the first day, then follow-up a week later.  My troop was so interested in the results that we had two more weekly follow-ups to see how things progressed.  (Phase Two could be done by itself, if you aren’t able to follow up.) Read more…

Girl Scout Snack Management

UPDATE in 2015: This article is about what I did with my Girl Scout troop, but it applies to any children’s activity–and a lot of it also applies to adult activities where you might want to serve a snack!  (I’m no longer a Girl Scout leader, but I expect to go back to it someday.)  After reading about what did and didn’t work for me in snack management, visit Works-for-Me Wednesday to learn about what’s working for other people!

In my six years as a Girl Scout leader, we always had a snack during each troop meeting.  We met from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., so a few families fed their girls dinner before the meeting, but most families waited until after the meeting, and by the time they got home it might be later than their usual dinnertime . . . so we usually ate the snack early in the meeting to prevent girls from being hungry without spoiling their dinners.

We tried several different methods of snack supply: Read more…

It’s 2010, and I still don’t need a cell phone!

Until last month, I had been carrying a 135-minute phone card in my wallet since October 2000. I didn’t take it out because I’d used up the minutes. I took it out because the plastic is so old that it crumbled when I tried to transfer it to the new wallet I got for Christmas! That tells you how many times I have needed to call a number outside the area code where I was, when I was not able to use my home phone or someone else’s phone. It just isn’t that necessary!

I don’t have a cell phone, I don’t want a cell phone, and I get along really well without one! Read more…

The Bluest Blue

A year or so ago, my church‘s assistant pastor began a sermon by saying, “You may never have really noticed our stained-glass windows.”  My jaw dropped.  How could anyone not notice our stained-glass windows?!  They’re beautiful!  They’re very colorful, they depict a variety of Biblical characters and saints and symbols from obvious to obscure, and they have a lovely old-fashioned style.  I’ve spent many hours gazing at them.

Even if a person never gave much thought to what’s depicted in the stained glass, how could anyone fail to notice the colors? For several years I always sat near the St. Patrick window so I could soak in the jade green of his cloak and the velvety purple of his robe.  The wings of most of the angels, and the robe of St. John the Evangelist next to the pulpit, are a glowing ruby red.  And the blue! Many of the windows have backgrounds or borders of bright blue glass, a shade both intense and deep, the bluest blue there is!  I don’t see how anyone could spend one minute in that room during daylight and not notice that spectacular, brilliant, bluest blue!

Well.  Unless they were blind.  At first that was a brush-off sort of thought, which I was going to use to set aside my astonishment and focus on the main topic of the sermon.  But it turned out that I never did resume listening to the sermon (sorry, Jared) because that first sentence opened a door through which I was snowed under by layers and layers of gratitude: Read more…

Rambling Sprawl Estates

Due to the troubled economy on Mars, you’ve decided to break into the Earth pizza market. You’ve developed an assortment of brands that are nontoxic and nicely inconspicuous…you think. The next step is to test-market your wares in a controlled area where you can closely observe the results.

Thus, you have dispatched families of Martians to construct an Earth Suburb to attract humans. Each Martian family will then live in the suburb, masquerading as humans, and sell pizza to the Earthlings.

Your marketing division has developed a scheme for laying out and naming streets that’s guaranteed to produce a suburb with Earthling appeal.  Just find a flat surface, start building, and let the Earthlings move in and start buying pizzas! Read more…