Tag Archives: Girl Scouts

Weekend Hodgepodge—Hidden Falls Edition

I sit here swigging on green tea and Gatorade, recovering after a weekend making sure the little ones in my Girl Scout troops were drinking enough water, yet forgetting to drink enough myself. Despite neglecting to properly hydrate, I had a fantastic weekend at Camp Hidden Falls with 5 Daisies, 5 Brownies, 8 Juniors, and 8 Seniors. It was bright, sunny, and warm, with minimal tears or injuries.

Camp Hidden Falls

Camp Hidden Falls

Girls on Dock

The first night, just the Seniors came along. They quickly found their favorite hangout location on this dock at Sunset Lake.


Our first night’s accommodations were in a nice cabin just past the lake. We slept in these bunks. I got the top bunk, allowing me to feel tall for once in my life! We spent the evening snacking, talking, tie dying, playing games and making crafts- A laid back night before the arrival of the younger girls Saturday morning.


Saturday morning, we took a nice hike to the ranger’s station to pick up the young girls as they got dropped off at camp. Ferns are one of my favorite woodland landscape elements.


This turtle ducked his head in just as we passed by.

Hidden Falls

While we waited for the rest of the girls to arrive, the punctual scouts visited Hidden Falls, a quaint bridal veil waterfall not far from the camp entrance.


Near the falls, we saw these dandelion-like flowers with pretty rust colored edges.

Lake View Tent Site

We hauled our gear to the Lake View tent site, where all of the girls would spend Saturday night.

Two-Seater Latrine

The latrines were unlike what I was used to- Behind each large door was two seats with a partial divider wall … Awkward.

Buttermilk Falls

After a quick lunch and a discussion of Leave No Trace principles, we hiked out to Buttermilk Falls, completing a scavenger hunt along the way.


The girls had a great time exploring the falls, stream, and surrounding woodland.


The girls saw lots of critters, including toads, snakes, racoons, and millipedes. Fortunately, despite the presence of bears in camp, we didn’t cross paths with any of them.


These irises grew along the path back to our unit.

Board Game

After the hike, the girls made Sharpie tie dyed bandana (Sharpie markers & rubbing alcohol) and played this game the Seniors developed. After rolling dice to move along the game board, the girls had to find a corresponding number card hidden in the surrounding area.

Rock Doll

A symbol on the back of the number told the Seniors which task to have the girls perform before moving on. Tasks included creating dolls out of natural objects (pictured here), making toilet paper dresses, solving puzzles, hula hooping, etc.


While the girls played their game, I took a moment to check out the lake shore, and discovered these gorgeous Columbine blooms.

Campfire Cooking

After playing games, the girls got to work preparing dinner. The Juniors built the fire and made soup, the Daisies made baked potatoes, the Brownies made salad, and the Seniors made spinach and rice casserole.

Pot of Gold Soup

Pot of Gold Soup was tomato soup, loaded with nuggets of cheese wrapped in biscuit dough.

Spinach Rice Dutch Oven Casserole

The dutch oven casserole contained spinach, mushrooms, rice, cheese, and eggs. It was a big hit!

By the time we finished dinner, the sun had set, so we washed our dishes by flashlight and toasted marshmallows for smores before loading “smelly” items into the bear box and putting the younger girls to bed. Then, once the young ones were sound asleep, myself and another leader took the Seniors to the dock for some midnight stargazing. We saw shooting stars!

Sunset Lake

Sunday morning, the girls had “Jungle Breakfast” (where their bag of cereal and fruit is hidden in the woods), and we said goodbye to the beautiful lake. By 11am, we headed home to check for ticks, shower, nap, rehydrate, and get ready for the week (and another camping trip next weekend!)

This One’s for the Dogs

I am a Girl Scout leader, helping lead four troops of girls from Kindergarten-12th grade. This is my 20th year as a Girl Scout, and I can’t even begin to express how important the people I’ve encountered through the program have been in my life. I can only hope that the girls I lead will get something as valuable out of GS as I have myself.

The Brownie troop I lead has been working on a Journey project all year. I won’t get into how I feel about these new sorts of programs in scouts, but lets just say I am not a huge fan. Despite my personal opinions about the program, I wanted to give the girls the opportunity to earn the award that goes along with it. The final step of the project involves taking action within the community. The girls decided to reach out to Last Chance Ranch, a local animal and equine rescue.

The girls made dog and horse treats to bring to the shelter, plus, they donated $100 of their cookie money to the organization. After the original batch of 300 dog treats went moldy before we got to deliver them, I called Bone Appetit Bakery for advice. The dog treat baker was extremely helpful and gave me tips to perfect the recipe I had found online, allowing the treats to stay fresh for months. So, for all of you puppy parents out there, here’s a recipe for some natural peanut butter treats your dog is sure to enjoy!

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
Makes 3-4 dozen treats (1-2″ diameter)




  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (all-natural or organic)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Whisk together oil, peanut butter, and water.
  3. Gradually add flour, stirring until a stiff dough is formed.
  4. Knead dough into smooth ball.
  5. Roll dough to 1/4″ thick and use cookie cutters to cut out treats, placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to 200 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes.
  8. Turn off oven, crack open door, and allow treats to sit in oven for 2 hours, or overnight.
  9. Store treats in airtight container.
Dog Treats

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Weekend Hodgepodge

Camping. Ah, sleeping outside, waking to the birds chirping and the sun beaming through the tent flaps, cooking over a camp fire … Or not!

Each winter, my co-leaders and I take our high school Girl Scout troop on a winter “camping” trip where they have no responsibilities with younger girls, no strict agenda, and indoor sleeping quarters. Basically, it’s a sleepover in the woods (with no hot water and latrines instead of toilets!), and it’s a ton of fun for the girls and the leaders.

Camp Mountain House

Friday evening, I headed up to Camp Mountain House to have a non-camping weekend with the gals!

Pine Cabin

We stayed in Pine Cabin, a cozy one-room building decorated with preserved leaves and mounted snake skins.

Friday night was full of giggling, a group trip to the grocery store and a chili pepper pinata. We crashed around midnight in order to get up for a full day on Saturday.

This particular weekend trip was exceptionally posh as the girls decided to earn their “Dinner Party” badge. It was the most sophistication my mess kit has ever seen!

Chick Pancake

Saturday morning began with some creativity as the girls fulfilled a badge requirement by experimenting with different garnishes and shapes for some fluffy pancakes. This little chick accompanied a menagerie of other pancake figures.

Breakfast Taco

I turned my pancake into a breakfast taco of sorts with granola, yogurt and berries.



After breakfast, some of the girls helped one of the adults on the trip with some Bigfoot "evidence" for a mock-umentary she is making. It was pretty hilarious.

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

What should have been a pretty simple lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup became a little more exciting when a misunderstanding led to the addition of sweetened coffee creamer in the tomato soup. Luckily, a bit of improv (lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, etc) salvaged the soup, leading to rave camper reviews!

Girls Cooking

After an afternoon spent playing hide & seek in the woods, the girls began preparing the menu they planned for their dinner party. I was really impressed with the choices they made- The recipes were fairly healthy, included lots of veggies and fresh foods and really showcased different cultures!

They started with this punch, the classic concoction of Hawaiian Punch, ginger ale & sherbet.

Mandarin Orange & Pecan Spinach Salad

Appetizer, Group 1: Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Candied Pecans & Honey Poppyseed Dressing

Appetizer, Group 2: Lentil Soup

Appetizer, Group 2: Lentil Soup

Appetizer, Group 3: Filipino Lumpias filled with fresh vegetables

Appetizer, Group 3: Filipino Lumpias filled with fresh vegetables

Entree, Group 1: Farfalle with Lemon, Walnuts & Basil

Entree, Group 1: Farfalle with Lemon, Walnuts & Basil


Entree, Group 2: Indian Rajma (red kidney bean curry) with Cucumber Raita over Basmati Rice

Entree, Group 2: Indian Rajma (red kidney bean curry) with Cucumber Raita over Basmati Rice

Entree, Group 3: Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles

Entree, Group 3: Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles

Somehow, I missed taking a picture of the first group’s dessert: Fresh Fruit with Chocolate Fondue

Dessert, Group 2: Kheer (Indian rice pudding with cardamom & almonds)

Dessert, Group 2: Kheer (Indian rice pudding with cardamom & almonds)

Dessert, Group 3: Apple Cobbler

Dessert, Group 3: Apple Cobbler

After setting up one heck of a dish washing line, we collapsed in food comas for one more night in the cabin. Clearly, we really roughed it this weekend!

T-Shirt Rag Rug

Throughout the weekend, I used spare time to put together this rag rug from some discarded t-shirts. It's currently matching our 1960s aqua & black bathroom!

Trader Joes

Unable to settle in at home after a weekend in the woods, Kevin and I headed down route 309 to Trader Joes with a gift card in hand. We treated ourselves to a few organic goodies (like steamed pork buns!) and headed home to make some tasty homemade mac & cheese for dinner.

Tober is Bagged

Finally, home for the evening, we settled in and hung out with Tober (who loved the Trade Joes bags!) in the kitchen. What a fun and food filled weekend!

Weekend Hodgepodge

Well, I’m a couple of days later than I planned to be posting this, but better late than never! This past weekend revolved primarily around two things: Girl Scout cookies and a new furry friend!

As some of my readers know, I help lead four Girl Scout troops, ranging from the youngest level, Daisies, to the oldest level, Ambassadors. All four of the troops have established goals for what they’d like to earn enough money to accomplish. The younger girls’ goals include camping trips, a community garden, an animal shelter visit, and putting on a concert. The high school girls would like to camp, film a PSA about women in the media, host a gallery show of photos they have taken, and save for a trip next year to Disney to take part in the educational behind the scenes program. Pretty decent goals for kids to have, if you ask me!

The biggest fundraiser the girls run each year is the cookie sale. This year, our troops were lucky enough to get a bunch of booth sale slots on the opening weekend of the sale. Unfortunately, it was COLD and on Saturday, snow deterred many prospective customers. Regardless, we spent Thursday & Friday nights, Saturday 9am-9pm, and Sunday afternoon selling cookies throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Look for tables like these to help support Girl Scouts in your area!

Just before the cookie sale began, there was a bunch of press about Girl Scouts, focusing on a video created by a scout who was urging a boycott on cookies. You can read about and watch the video here. While I always support girls speaking their minds about what they believe in, I also try to instill the values of acceptance and understanding. So needless to say, I was pretty upset to see this video. However, I was thrilled to see the responses that began popping up in support of Girl Scouts for their commitment to acceptance of all girls. In fact, many people have been committing to buy extra cookies this year to demonstrate their support!

So, in case you need more of a reason to buy cookies than helping local girls achieve some worthy goals, think about showing your support for a greater principle of acceptance. If neither of those things strike your fancy, think about the fact that Girl Scouts now offer several vegan cookie varieties. If none of those reasons have you rushing to buy cookies, think about how delicious they taste (They are the only processed cookie I’ve purchased in years!). And finally, if you still don’t want any cookies for yourself, think about donating some money to send cookies to soldiers overseas through the Cookies From Home program.

There’s my shameless plug for Girl Scout cookies.

Aside from cookies, some other delicious food came into my life this weekend: a Pure Sprouts all-local bin!

Pure Sprouts Bin

whole wheat bread, purple & orange carrots, rutabagas, cabbages, microgreens, cremini mushrooms, sunchokes, ricotta cheese, ground beef, eggs

Since cookie sales occupied much of my weekend, I was so grateful to be able to order this bin and have some fresh ingredients for the week!

Saturday night ended with a trip to Your Welcome Inn, a local dive, with a friend of mine I hadn’t spent time with in a little while. I love a good dive bar, but I’ve got to say I don’t love them quite as much since I’ve quit smoking. It was good to hang in the dark South Side bar again, though, catching up with friends!

Sunday also began with good food … our traditional Jumbars breakfast!

Jumbars Omelette

I had the omelette of the week with cheddar, grits, smoked bacon and caramelized onions.

Jumbars SOS

Kevin had Jumbars SOS with mushrooms and spinach.

Finally, the most exciting thing of the whole weekend happened while we were eating breakfast! I got a text message from a foster parent from the East Coast Maine Coon Rescue informing me that a set of adopters had backed out and one of the cats we were interested in was now available! I called my co-leaders to see if they’d be willing to cover the start of our booth sale without me and we hopped in the car to head to New Jersey for a feline meet & greet.

This is who we came home with …


Introducing, Tober!

Tober was found on the streets in South Carolina. He was taken to an animal shelter with an 86% euthanasia rate. ECMCR seeks out Maine Coon cats in situations like these, then brings them to foster homes until they can be adopted.

Tober is a 2 year old male. Right now, he weighs 10 lbs., and he will likely double in size within the next 1-3 years! We’ve only had a few days with him so far, and he has a bit of a cold, so he’s not as energetic as he will be, but he’s got some great traits:

  1. He sleeps in the bathroom sink.
  2. He follows us everywhere.
  3. He has a tiny, refined mew for his size!
  4. He dreams about running and moves his legs accordingly.
  5. He can already stand for his treats.

So, Tober was the big event this weekend. We’re so excited to get to know him and have him as part of our lives! I’m sure you’ll see pictures in the future. 🙂

Weekend Hodgepodge: Long Weekend!

I left the valley again this weekend, this time for a girl’s weekend in Ocean City, MD at a Girl Scout adult event called “Sharing by the Sea.” It’s way more fun than the title makes it seem. About 100 women from the eastern part of the country gather at a hotel right on the beach for workshops, beach bumming and good times. This year, the theme was “Making the World a Better Place,” so we raised several hundred dollars for the Juliette Low Fund, a scholarship fund and a local food bank. We also held a food drive for the food bank, and several workshops focused on charitable acts.

In true stereotypical girls on the town fashion, our long weekend away began with a shopping trip at the Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth, DE. I generally find some holiday gifts at the outlets, but rarely get anything for myself. This time around, however, I lucked out and scored some great deals (which I didn’t photograph before I hung them up)!


We arrived in OCMD just around sunset, catching this beautiful glimpse along the road. (Thanks for taking this while I drove, Sue!)

Salty Dog

After hauling in our loads of craft supplies, we headed for the Salty Dog, a locals pub near the hotel.

Crabby Fries

I justified these crabby fries (fries, crab, cheese, Old Bay) for dinner by thinking of the dish as a crabcake platter minus the fried breading and roll. Healthier, right? Plus, thanks to a fridge in the room, I had some for breakfast the next day, too!

Opening Ceremony

We all gathered the first evening for a candlelight opening ceremony, passing the flame from all points of the compass.

SBTS Sticker

The committee ordered these cool SBTS bumper stickers for each of us. I have never been so tempted to destroy my paint job.


For some reason, I morphed into a grown-up all of a sudden and now enjoy getting up to watch the sunrise on vacation. This was the view off the balcony of my hotel room.

Workshop Crafts

Our morning workshops taught us several new skills, including how to make survival bracelets from paracord, fashion bracelets from soda tabs and heavy duty bags or envelopes out of flimsy grocery store bags.

Wind Lines Beach

After crafting all morning, a group of us walked the entire boardwalk. The strong wind made these cool lines in sand in addition to making our cheeks rosy.

9/11 Memorial

I found my first MD geocache at this firefighters/9-11 memorial along the boards.


Lunch consisted of more french fries (wish I would have remembered we were doing this when I ordered the dinner fries!) and subs. My co-leader & I shared this tasty cup from a boardwalk classic.

Lifesaving Museum

I logged a geocache at this museum with a friend on the trip.

Body Builders

Walking back toward the hotel, we spotted an arcade full of vintage games and decor. It was slightly creepy, slightly cool and so NOT where I would ever let a child play.


The old school arcade also had these funhouse mirrors, so I enjoyed feeling tall for once.


After the creepy arcade, we headed for a more modern location with ski ball. We blew through lots of quarters here and had a blast. I ended up with black and blue knuckles from unjamming the balls in my lane.


We cashed in our 300-some tickets for a variety of novelties to bring back to our Girl Scout troops at home.


After walking just under 5 miles, we were pretty hungry, so we drove around until we ran across Waterman's, directly across the bridge from the city. I had this excellent grilled salmon with Thai chili sauce and roasted red potatoes.


Arriving back at the hotel, we entered the ballroom to find a bagpiper serenading a woman who celebrated her 50th birthday on that weekend. He was quite talented, but I have to say that bagpipes always make me think of funerals…

Silly Sister

Saturday night was spent enjoying a silent auction and the silly sister white elephant gift exchange. One woman received this truly terrifying mask. I lucked out, walking away with a color-coded set of chop and scoop cutting boards!


Sunday morning, the wind had died down, so I went for a beach walk before closing ceremony. Pardon me if this photo is gross, but I came across this dead fish laying on the sand and was intrigued by it. Anyone know what kind it is?

Finally, we all gathered one last time for a business meeting and closing ceremony. I especially appreciated the sentiment of the closing:

The Knot Closing

As the Girl Scouts of the USA approaches its 100th anniversary, I invite each of us to take a moment to think about Juliette Low (our founder) and those women who helped her in the beginning. Consider the society and lifestyle of 100 years ago. Women had no right to vote, they had to defeat obstacles for higher education, having a career meant struggling every step of the way, and even when a woman married, she became Mrs. John Wonderful—and she lost her own identity. In spite of the world they lived in, these women pushed on to build a program to teach young girls that anything is possible with courage, confidence and character. They DID NOT let worlds like MAY NOT and DO NOT stop them or the girls they led.

Now nearly 100 years later, we—today’s women—take for granted the struggles they endured and all the hurdles they conquered for those first Girl Scouts. We have allowed ourselves to become complacent in today’s world…

I would like to call upon the spirit of the women of our past and ask them to inspire us to untie the KNOTS that are in our minds, hearts and lives. To give us courage to remove the HAVE NOTS, the CANNOTS and the DO NOTS. Give us the courage to erase the WILL NOTS, MAY NOTS and MIGHT NOTS that may have found a home with us.

Ask them to give us the character to release the COULD NOTS, WOULD NOTS and SHOULD NOTS that obstruct our lives or the girls we lead. And please give us the confidence to remove from our minds, our hearts and our lives all the AM NOTS that we allow to hold us back, especially the thought, ” I AM NOT good enough.”

Let us rediscover the strength of our founders, re-connect and embrace their strength as we continue to take action leading girls into our second 100 years. Ad let us remember … The only NOTS we should allow are the KNOTS we tie with rope.

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