Does Girl Scouts enrich your daughter’s life?

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Yes! I can not say enough to describe the value of girls scouts. Above and beyond the leadership program it teaches girls to care for others, to be respectful and mindful of their actions. Girl Scouting teaches basic human values.
Sometimes I look around and am saddened by the lack of basic human values and priorities that some of our young people have. Then I step back into my Girl Scout world and am comforted by all the young ladies I seeing living the Girl Scout law. I see how these young girls are going to make a big difference one day and how girl scouting took a major part in that role.
I found this article today on Disney Family.com about the benefits of girl scouting. I can only hope that my daughter continues to realize the value of Girl Scouting to achieve her Gold Award.

 http://family.go.com/parenting/pkg-teen/article-786714-the-benefits-of-being-a-girl-scout-t/

The Benefits of Being a Girl Scout

How Your Daughter Can Make a Difference By Being a Girl Scout
Not all teenagers are content to rest on their laurels. In fact, there are 13 who haven’t. Out of a pool of 250 applicants – who already won a Girl Scout Gold Award, no less – they earned the honor of being one of the National Young Women of Distinction, a recognition offered each year to Gold Award winners who show extraordinary leadership.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is presented each year to the top 5 or 6 percent of Girl Scouts ages 14 to 18, so to be in an even more elite category is clearly impressive. “Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and an external committee comprised of high-profile professional women selected [the honorees],” says Kathy Cloninger, CEO of GSUSA. “Each honoree has spent one to two years on a community service project that has far-reaching effects in her community and beyond.”

The 2007 National Young Women of Distinction were honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 12 during a celebration of the 95th anniversary year of Girl Scouting.

Two Shining Examples

Rebecca Schultz, 17, of Sunrise, Fla., is one of the Young Women of Distinction who will be at that ceremony. This high school student is seriously concerned with the deterioration of natural reefs along the coastal waterways. Under the direction of the Department of Environmental Resource Management, Schultz took action by constructing and deploying artificial reefs along the coast of Florida. Her awareness campaign includes an educational program for middle school and high school students.

Schultz says she had a lot of inspiration for her project, which started when she got her scuba certification and began going on many dives in the South Florida area. “It was then I noticed that many of the coral reefs were deteriorating,” she says. “I really wanted to do something about it.”

Schultz’s project has actually been taken up by the Marine Biology class at South Plantation High School. The middle schools will continue with the educational program as well as maintain the monitoring at the reef sites. This summer, Schultz will work with the teacher to help incorporate the project in her course. This fall, despite being at college, Schultz will be close enough to help with several of the outreach events.

When asked what she learned from her experience, Schultz says, “I have learned many skills. Time management, money management, people skills, an ability to give proper directions for things that need to be done and the strength and motivation to get a project up and moving are a few of them. They’re all a part of leadership.”

Schultz hopes that other teens will learn about the importance of their waterway environments and how we affect them without really thinking about it. “As we become more aware of our environment, hopefully we will work to preserve it,” she says. “It is important for everyone to know that even as one person, we can make a difference.”

The project began as a relatively small idea, to help provide for a stable environment for corals and other marine life, to clean up and maybe establish a small artificial reef. As time went on, Schultz says it was clear that community awareness was even more important. The project grew as more people and organizations became aware. “My one small voice has become many – one reef ball has become several dozen,” she says. “I hope that by seeing what I have been able to accomplish, the project will also give teens a little encouragement to come up with their own ideas to help the environment. Be creative, be flexible, it can be done!”

Another of the 13 honorees is Elizabeth Okrutny, 18, of Tipp City, Ohio. Knowing that the hometown police department was too small to employ a sketch artist, Okrutny saw a need to produce composite computerized drawings with minimum effort. After presenting her initial findings to the chief of police, Okrutny implemented a software solution, along with a training and reference guide. The Tipp City Police Department was able to put her tools to work in order to apprehend criminals.

Okrutny’s choice of a career in forensics and facial reconstruction led her to contact the police department to learn about needs they had that could be served by a Gold Award project. “Upon learning about the value of composite sketches to investigators and the time and cost obstacles that keep this tool beyond the reach of many police departments, I knew I could apply my art and computer skills to develop a means to make the ability to produce composite drawings possible for any law enforcement agency,” she says.

A Girl Scout Gold Award project is required to include a plan for its continuation or maintenance after the project is completed. An animated self-study class, quick reference document and training instructions document that Oktrutny developed will allow training to continue. Electronic versions are also available for other agencies. The teaching elements have been made available to Okrutny’s university, and she’ll be using resources to teach facial compositing to gifted high school students this summer.

“From doing my project, I know that I can do the career I’ve chosen and that it’s the right choice for me,” Okrutny says. “By pursuing something you’re interested in, you can have an impact on those around you that you might not have thought about. Work on things that interest you, but look around every once in a while to see what it does to everybody else.”

“The 2007 National Young Women of Distinction epitomize Girl Scouting as the world’s best leadership experience for girls,” Cloninger says. “By discovering, connecting and taking action, these inspiring teenagers are defining what it means to be a female leader in today’s global society.”

 

 

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Quinoa Chili

Quinoa-Chili

I haven’t made Quinoa Chile in a few months now but  seeing this recipe today reminded me of how well this went over in my house.

This recipe from http://damndelicious.net/ sounds delicious. One of the many ways of working on refining my life is by eating foods that have value. I believe that God gave us everything we need to heal ourselves. It’s our job to put all these wonderful ingredients he gave us together to create something yummy. This recipe meets the mark all the way around.

Quinoa Chili

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Nature in the Middle of the City.

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 I have to tell everyone about a great spot here in Orange County, the Environmental Nature Center. It’s a hidden gem in the middle of a residential neighborhood. This place is absolutely free (great for freegan’s like me). From the outside you would not think it’s as big as it is. They have an outstanding Butterfly house that is open between May 4 and September 26 2014.

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 This place is one of a our favorites. Inside their state of the art green building, they a have a nice little reading corner, an educational area, and a gift shop. Step outside and within a few steps your taking a stream side hike (that our 3 year can lead). Be sure to bring your lunch and something to drink. You can enjoy your lunch at one of the tables set up through the hiking trails.

They have Girl Scout and Boy Scout Badge programs available and they are very reasonable. There is such much learning to be done here. It’s big enough to give the kids a outdoor experience and small enough that they can enjoy themselves without getting tired and grumpy.  This is definitely one of my peaceful places and the girls love it.

http://encenter.org/

1601 E.16th St. Newport Beach, CA 92663

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Sharing my life message from my deepest hurts.

“Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts” – Rick Warren

This mornings message from our Pastor confirmed what I already knew. I wrote this post but had been holding back on releasing it because it’s painful. I know that my pain will help someone, someway, somehow. I am looking for ways to channel this hurt and to get my message across. I NEED everyone to understand that your actions can deeply affect other peoples lives. My topic: DRINKING AND DRIVING. I know some people will read it and think, this does not apply to me but it does.

We either have done it or know someone who has. Just because you’ve done something in the past doesn’t mean you can’t change it. You Can! You can help stop it. You can be the designated driver, you take away the keys. You can call 911 if you see someone driving erratically. Some people just keep doing it because they haven’t caught or the they think their past experience drinking and driving is funny.

Recently Jason Priestly was on the Chelsea Handler show and they gave each other a high-five while talking about their past drunk driving experiences. This is NOT funny! It’s not a laughing matter. This is nothing to be proud of. I will take my pastor’s message and run with it.

Here’s the post I’ve been holding back on:

Just about everyone knows my story. I lost my son because some man didn’t  have enough sense to know not to drink and drive. Furthermore, this man didn’t have fear of what would happen if he was caught drinking and driving. The main reason he didn’t fear: there were no repercussions for him.

This man had been “allegedly” caught drinking and driving more then twenty times – that’s right, that’s not a mistype – more then 20 times! He had the system figured out.  He gave different names, changed his name around ( first name as middle name and middle name  as first, etc, etc.)  He didn’t show up for court dates. They can’t convict you if you don’t show up to court.  Bench warrants didn’t scare him either. He had handfuls of warrants. He’s girlfriend wasn’t scared. She let him borrow her uninsured car on the night of the crash. The entire 6 years of the trial, I didn’t see any scared look or reaction from him at all. I never saw any compassion or regretful looks from this man. Believe me, I looked. As much as I hated looking at him, I looked for something that would indicate to me that he was sorry or regretful.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against someone having a drink but don’t drink and drive. I get so upset every time I see people on Facebook giving their friends the “heads up” of a DUI checkpoint. I immediately think “UNFRIEND” but than I get a hold of myself, I know I can’t reach people with my message if I “UNFRIEND” them. So please, If you think your friends are drinking and driving, let them get caught. Let them become afraid of the consequences prior to hurting or killing someone. You could save someone’s life.

This post and picture are from Tustin Police Department’s Facebook page

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On May 9, 2014, the Tustin Police Department Traffic Unit conducted a DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint on Irvine Blvd. west of Jamboree Rd. As a result, 923 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, 322 drivers were contacted and no DUI arrests was made. Officers issued eight citations for unlicensed drivers and various other California Vehicle Code violations.

The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive DUI patrols are conducted routinely.In California, this deadly crime led to 774 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 people are killed each year were killed from impaired driving. “Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed 3 lives and resulted in 51 injury crashes impacting members of our Tustin community,” said Sgt. Brian Greene.Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent. Nearly 90 percent of California drivers approve of DUI checkpoints.

DUI Checkpoints are placed in locations based on collision statistics and frequency of DUI arrests affording the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence. Locations are chosen with safety considerations for the officers and the public.

Funding for this checkpoint is provided to Tustin Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Drivers – Call 9-1-1’.

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It’s FPIES awareness week! What’s FPIES????

That is same exact question I asked my daughter-in-law. Our Grandson was finally diagnosed with FPIES – Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome when he was almost a year old. Before that it he was always sick, he couldn’t keep his food down, they had endless trips to the doctor and the hospital. Thank goodness they found a doctor who diagnosed him. With a very strict diet. They now have his condition under control.

FPIES

Here’s a description of FPIES from the FPIES Foundation

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) is a type of food allergy affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  Classic symptoms of FPIES include profound vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. These symptoms can lead to severe lethargy, change in body temperature and blood pressure. Unlike typical food allergies, symptoms may not be immediate and do not show up on standard allergy tests.  Furthermore, the negative allergy evaluation may delay the diagnosis and take the focus off the causative food.  Nonetheless, FPIES can present with severe symptoms following ingestion of a food trigger.

to learn more visit their website: http://fpiesfoundation.org/

Here’s my daughter-in-laws story:

http://cruzinmama.blog.com/2014/05/15/my-fpies-story/

 

 

 

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Nature as the Teacher

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I volunteer at our school garden and today was our scheduled garden day. Due to the extreme heat we are experiencing I had to cancel it. Even though I’ll put it back on the calender next week, I did this with a bit of regret. I know how much the children love it. It is the most gorgeous garden. For me, this is another way of reaching out and helping,  but also a way to get to know other parents. Another way of refining myself.

The entire school, class by class spends time in the garden each month. Each class has a team of parents that help the children who learn by planting, maintaining the garden and composting (they love composting). One of the most interesting things to me is that even the children who do not like to eat fruits or vegetables love going to the garden.  They love harvesting time and celebrate by having salad. Each Tuesday, we can buy some of the harvested fruits and vegetables along with baked goods, lemon pops and green juice, all made with things grown in the garden.

I’m kind of bragging about our school garden because it is truly a labor of love and definitely something to brag about.  This is a description of the garden in the Orange County Register “150 parents involved in the TMA organic Garden and Nature Center, which broke ground in 2008 and is the most extensive school garden in Orange County”.  I think it’s a great place for the children to learn. Next week I’ll write about our time in the garden. Until then, here’s the article that appeared in the Orange County Register.

 Nature as Teacher.

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For the love of a child.

Twice a week I attend an early learning preschool program with my youngest daughter. The program is run through an organization called “Think Together”.  Parents/Grandparents/Aunts attend with their child twice a week. One day you attend a parent component (workshop) while your children are in the other room learning and the other day you take an active roll in child’s education by assisting in all lessons, craft time, play time, carpet time, etc. I have seen tremendous growth in Ava since attending this program.

The program is planned and led by the director and the wonderful woman who facilitates the weekly parenting workshops (both of whom I just love). The “Teachers” are all volunteers through AmeriCorps (all of them are great!). Each Thursday, we are sent home with bag full of books to read to our children. Our children then draw a picture of their favorite book . On the following Tuesday, we share it. It is so amazing to see all of the children’s growth through their pictures. We then have our weekly parenting workshop that teach you parenting methods and exercises to try at home.

Some how, the weekly parent component classes have turned into so something special. The woman who facilitates the parent component has given the Moms a chance to not only learn and share parenting skills but also to share everything that is going on in our “Mom” lives. Our thoughts, struggles, proud moments and ideas. This has quickly become a place of growing but more important a room full very different women who have become friends. Some of us have become very close.

Today, we made sock puppets for our children. The sock puppet is to be used by our children or us to express feelings or to talk to each other; not as ourselves but as the puppet (I think this could work). The room was quite with all the busy moms/Grandma’s/Aunts working and sharing to create the perfect sock puppet to delight our children. I thought it was great, A room full of women brought together, creating sock puppets all for the love of a child. Amazing!

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http://www.thinktogether.org/early-learning/

http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s day is so bittersweet. I am so thankful for all that God has given me. Every single moment, good, bad, sad and everything in between. My beautiful children and grandson have brought me so much joy.

My husband and girls made me this really big and wonderful breakfast this morning. I’m feeling so blessed.

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I ‘m going to keep it short and sweet today but my son shared this awesome duo with me yesterday. I thought I’d pass it along to you. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.  Have a blessed Mother’s Day.

2 Cellos – Thunderstruck

 

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Girl Scout meeting #16 – Brownie Quest Take Action Project and Mother’s day gifts

 A huge part of refining my life is my involvement with Girl Scouts. I am the leader of the a Brownie troop with 11 awesome Brownies (we just had one girl quit Girl Scouts due to a conflict in her schedule). I also serve as the Registrar, GSI Liaison and Lead Organizer for my Service Unit. Girl Scouting has forced me to come out of shell. I was not shy before but after I lost my son, I withdrew. My circle was very tight. It has also given me the opportunity to meet some awesome women and completely inspiring girls. Girl Scouting does so much for a girl (and this Mom). Girl Scouting is another thing I do not want my girls to be without. 

 My Girl Scout troop has been very busy this year. Between running my troop and the positions I serve for in my service unit, I am a bit tired at this point in the year. My troop is currently working on their Take Action Project for their Brownie Quest Journey, so there is no slowing down now. At our meeting we planned how we would execute our Take Action Project to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Also, to honor our very special troop Mom’s (who are also awesome) the girls made cards and lip scrub. We put them in these sweet little jars I found at Michael’s (on sale with a coupon, of course).

The girls were having a great time making the cards so I adjusted the meeting and gave them more time to keep creating. These girls are so creative, one girl drew an amazing picture of a quail and another made this really cute pop up card. When I told the girls we were making a lip sugar scrub, they all looked a bit puzzled but they loved making the scrub. They enjoyed the freedom my co-leader and I gave them to fill and decorate the cute little jars. They also starting “testing” the scrub and saying that it tasted good.

It was a great meeting. Just within the last few meeting I have let the girls enjoy the moment a bit more by not being so strict with my time line. I have also learned to put a little less on the agenda. If we don’t cover that last badge requirements, it’s okay. We’ll get it next time. They all enjoyed the meeting and making these sweet little gifts for their Mom’s.

This is the basic outline of our meeting:

Pre-meeting: Mothers Day Cards

Opening: Flag, Promise and Law

Business:

  • In a Brownie ring discuss our upcoming tour of Ronald McDonald House
  • Discuss field trip to Mini Horse Camp

Exploration:

  • Read Chapter 4,5 & 6 of the girls book
  • Discuss our TAP

Craft: Mother’s Day Gifts & finish up Mother’s day cards/notes

Snack time

Closing/Badges/Friendship Circle

 

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My God given abilities are fantastic!

Ok, so in reading this mornings devotional it got me thinking(as it should). In Girl Scouts I am always telling my troop that we all have very different and very amazing abilities. Each one is different and when working together we can make a huge difference. Yet in my own life I sometimes feel it is necessary for me to learn how to do something that I am clearly not good at.

Let’s take braiding hair. I can not braid hair, even if my life depended on it. I’m always told how easy it is. Well, for me such a simple task is difficult…which bunch of hair did I just put over or was it under??? Okay, I think you get the picture.

But the reality is my girls are perfectly content with their unbraided hair. They thrive and survive all day long with their beautiful unbraided hair and I can do many other things that the other braiding mom’s just can not do. Maybe it’ll all make sense when I take the Knots and Latching class for my Girl Scout Troop but if that never happens, I’m okay with that.

Here’s the daily devotional that started these crazy thoughts of braiding hair.

Dailyhope

Your Abilities are God’s Map for your life
by Rick Warren
via: http://www.purposedriven.com/blogs/dailyhope/

“May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.” (Hebrews 13:21 NLT)
Once upon a time, there were some animals that wanted to start a school for animals. They decided the courses would include running, climbing, swimming, and flying. Then they decided that all of the animals should take all of the courses.
That’s where the problem started. The duck was better than his teacher at swimming, but he only made passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. So they made him drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his webbed feet to be badly worn, and his grade dropped to average in swimming. But everybody felt less threatened and more comfortable with that — except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of his class in running, but because of so much make-up work in swimming, he caught pneumonia and had to drop out of school. The squirrel showed outstanding ability in climbing, but he was extremely frustrated in flying class because the teacher insisted that he start from the ground up rather than the treetop down. He developed Charlie horses from over-extension, so he only got a “C” in climbing and a “D” in running. The eagle was the problem student and was disciplined for being a nonconformist. For instance, in climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but he insisted on flying to get there. Finally, because he refused to participate in swimming class, he was expelled.
The point is that God has designed specific animals to excel in specific areas, and he doesn’t expect them to do all the other things. When you expect everybody to fit in the same mold, all you’re going to get is frustration, discouragement, mediocrity, and failure. A duck is made to be a duck and not something else.
And you were made to be you. God has given you unique abilities, and he wants you to use them the way he intended.
Your abilities are the map to God’s will for your life. It points the direction. When you know what you’re good at, then you can know what God wants you to do with your life.

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Ideas to Get Your Family Outside!

I love being outdoors exploring nature and thankfully so do my girls. These are some great reminders of how easy it is to get outdoors and explore as a family. I am definitely looking at doing some geocaching with my family this summer (also a great way to be prepared to do this with my troop next year).

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My First Post!!!

Ok, so maybe not an actual post but a promise. I will get my blog to look better, lol. I will learn how to use this blog and how to design it.

So don’t be surprised when you look at my blog and its completely different. Soon people will be knocking at my door, waiting for me to help them with their blog. Hahaha, well I can dream.

Thanks for your patience while I grow,

Annette

 

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