More than just cookies

When I tell people I’m a Girl Scout leader, the first thing they ask is “Can I get some Thin Mints?” But Girl Scouting is SO much more than selling cookies.  The girls learn about all kinds of topics through badges – from cooking to camping, from government to jewelry.  They do community service projects, big and small.  Every few years our local Girl Scout Council chooses a big topic to focus on and offer programming about.  This year, it’s all about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  As you might have guessed, that is right up my alley.

They had Legos set up at each seat for the girls to play with while waiting for the day to begin.

Over the weekend my Girl Scout troop went to a STEM Day hosted at Harrisburg University. It was planned by a Senior Girl Scout as her Gold Award project. The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. I was so impressed with the quality of programming organized by a girl who’s still in high school! It was a full day of half-hour sessions about lots of different STEM fields including Physics, Chemistry, 3D printing, Forensics, Computer Programming and more. The sessions were led by students and teachers from the University whose majors were related to the session topics.

Top: The day’s schedule and a clay model of a hand the girls made when learning about 3D printing. Bottom: Watching a 3D printer do it’s thing. And directions for how to make a cake, to demonstrate how you have to plan before creating a computer program.

The girls had a blast. During the sessions they were engaged and asking great questions. At the end of each session, they wanted to know what was next. They wanted to know more about the topics and have access to the technology they saw and used during the sessions. But most importantly they heard over and over that they can and should consider further study of these fields and maybe someday working in them. And that they can thrive in these fields by bringing that special something that only they can bring to the table.

Top: Learning about Electricity with ballons and the Van Der Graph machine. Bottom: Doing a chemistry experiment with milk, food coloring and checking about the chemistry lab.

In addition to the great content in the workshops, the Harrisburg University facilities were impressive. The university occupies several upper floors in a building in downtown Harrisburg.  Everything was modern and new.  It was open and airy and there was great light.  There were inspirational quotes everywhere.  It *almost* made me want to go back to college to study something, anything, just to be able to spend more time in their awesome space.

Playing old school Pac Man, investigating a “crime scene”, and building robots.

These types of events are one of the reasons I continue to be involved in Girl Scouting. I know these girls have bright futures. Big dreams. Amazing ideas. And I want to make sure they have all the tools they need to accomplish those dreams and make those ideas happen.

My favorite quote we saw on the walls of Harrisburg University.

The work bag

So I’ve had a “real job” for the past 19 years (OMG, has it really been that long?)  On my way into the office, I always have my purse and a travel mug full of coffee. Most days, I also have a lunch bag containing breakfast and lunch.  On top of that, there’s often something else random I need to carry in – an umbrella because it’s raining, a box of tissues, Girl Scout cookies, etc.  I’m sure it’s usually quite a comical sight – me trying to carry it all, open doors and fish out my key fob for the office door.

Enter, the work bag.  A giant tote bag that most of those things can get crammed into and carried in from the parking lot. All in one bag.  I hosted a thirty-one party last month, and this was one of my hostess incentives.  It’s a Lakeside Tote with my initial monogrammed onto it.  And the bright summery colors make me smile every morning on my way to work. Perfection!

I don’t know how I missed out on this concept before. I’ve heard other people talk about their work bag and have noticed lots of female co-workers carrying their stuff in one. But for some reason I never had one before.  So glad I finally figured out this concept!

80’s Movie Night

The younger kiddo was at a sleepover last night so the older one and I decided to watch some movies.  I have a mental list of 80s movies I want to watch with her so I suggested a few titles. Eventually, we decided on a “double feature” of Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for last night. Uncle Grouchy even joined us – and he doesn’t usually join in our TV-watching  – so that was extra fun!

We picked up dinner at Neato Buritto (for us) and China Wok (for Uncle Grouchy) and settled in on the couch (note: Poppy Cotton in her favorite spot).  She didn’t have much to say about Pretty in Pink although we were highly entertained by the clothes and the hairstyles.  She was sad that Andie didn’t end up with Duckie in the end.  She thought Ferris Bueller was pretty funny.  She kept saying “He’s never going to get away with that” and “Why would he do that if he doesn’t want to get caught?”  In my opinion, the best part is that now she’ll get our “Bueller??? Bueller??” references when we’re trying to get someone’s attention.

So here’s our complete 80’s movie list – we have quite a few more to watch!

80’s Movie List

  • √ Pretty in Pink
  • √ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • √ Say Anything
  • √ The Goonies
  • √ ET
  • √ Gremlins
  • √ Back to the Future (all 3!)
  • √ The Princess Bride
  • Sixteen Candles
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Footloose
  • Stand By Me
  • Dirty Dancing
  • The NeverEnding Story
  • Karate Kid
  • Top Gun

I’m sure there are lots more good 80’s movies we should add to our list…So what are we missing?  Add to our list in the comments!

Always watching

Like I said in my “Hello World!” post last week, I’ve been considering starting a new blog for a while. My old one had bad links and wasn’t relevant to the things I wanted to write about.   A friend of mine recently started a blog with some of her friends and talking to her about their experiences  made me want even more to start blogging again. Hi Megan – thanks for the unintentional push!

So last weekend I decided to go for it: I set up my new blog, worked on getting it to look like I wanted and wrote my first post.  There were moments of frustration and grumbling when the template I just spent 2 hours customizing didn’t support something I wanted to do.  And when I broke down and changed the style sheet to fix it and the page still didn’t look how I wanted it to look.  Uncle Grouchy to the rescue with the advice to do a Hard Refresh to make the browser go get the new style sheet. Oops…sorry for the slip into technobabble.  Anyway, in addition to the frustration, there were lots of “aha” moments, where it did work and I got excited about it coming together.  And when I published my first post and I wondered “Will anyone even read this?”

No one sat here next to me, watching my every move. The girls would pass through the living room, briefly ask what I was working on, peek for a moment, and then move on. Even though they didn’t really seem to pay a lot of attention or have any interest (because what tween or teen really wants to read her mom’s blog about mom stuff?) apparently they noticed all the same.

My oldest daughter asked to start her own blog yesterday.  So we have been working on setting it up. And by “we” I mean I did a new WordPress install for her and gave her a 2 minute tour of how to do stuff. Then she want off and customized it and started writing her first post. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she creates.  She likes to do art. And write short stories. She has a really fun-to-read writing style. A little quirky and very conversational.  And she has good ideas. Great vocabulary due to reading mountains of books.  Smart kid that one. I’ll share if she decides to make it public.

With two girls at the ages of 11 and 14, we have lots of challenging moments around here.  Sometimes I feel like they don’t appreciate what I do or even notice me at all. It felt pretty cool for her to want to do something like me.  And it was a good reminder that even when they’re not really watching and listening…they are.

Sunday Soup

I love making a big pot of soup on Sunday afternoons. It warms the house up and makes it smell good too. Sometimes that’s what we have for dinner, other times it’s a supplement or second option. Either way, there are plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week. I store it in pint canning jars with plastic lids.  That’s the perfect amount for a lunchtime serving or a quick dinner for one when someone’s evening plans conflict with family dinner.

Today I made a vegetable beef soup following a recipe from the Gimme Some Oven blog. I followed the stovetop recipe, but I left out the celery and added about 3 cups of frozen mixed veggies. This is my favorite soup recipe lately – can’t wait for lunch tomorrow!

Saturday around the house

All week long, I’ve been anticipating this weekend. Two blessed days with nothing on the calendar, no where to take anyone and no errands to be done.  My Girl Scout troop sold all our remaining cookies with our cookie caravan on Thursday after school, so no need for a last minute booth sale.  We did our weekend Target run last night after my oldest daughter’s field hockey game. So two whole days of uninterrupted relaxation, right?

While I did lounge in my PJs till almost noon with coffee and the internet, the rest of the day has been full.  Not busy, just full.  And it was a great day.

Before lounge time began, we slept in.  I made cinnamon rolls and bacon and eggs for breakfast while Uncle Grouchy got ready for work. The working on Saturdays is one of the drawbacks of working at a bike shop…spring time means longer hours and more Saturdays in the shop. Makes for a lot of girls day Saturdays!

Bye bye Brownie and Junior stuff!

I spent the better part of the afternoon cleaning out my Girl Scout supplies. As we near the end of another year, I pretty much know what we’re going to use between now and then and what we can pass on. My troop will be bridging from Juniors to Cadettes soon, so I have lots of Junior supplies to pass on – as well as a bunch of Brownie stuff I never gave away!  I have 2 cookie boxes full of supplies, badges, pins and patches to take to our Community meeting next week.

While I was busy with my cleaning project, both girls invited friends over.  The older two baked a double batch of my banana bread recipe and made it into muffins. They gave some to the neighbors and snacked on some.  Then they went outside to make a fort in the backyard, complete with a handsewn flag. I love that at 14, they will still go play outside for the afternoon. The younger two also went outside and adventured around the yard – destroying a rotten stump and discovering all kids of creepy crawlers.

Then all 6 of us (can’t forget Poppy Cotton!) walked over to the school playground to hang out for a bit. Poppy had several long runs around the playground and is now napping contentedly on the ottoman.

After sending all the friends home, I made dinner for the family.  Since Uncle Grouchy worked all day it was the least I could do 🙂

I love that we got to enjoy some downtime today.  And that we spent some time outside in the fresh air.  And that I got some stuff done that’s been on my to-do list since last summer!  Here’s to another productive and full day tomorrow – it’s supposed to be rainy and cooler so maybe I can knock out a few more sorting projects!


Hello world!

Poppy Cotton (my dog) with snow on her nose.

Here goes.  I did this blogging thing several years ago.  I wrote about my daughters.  And posted pictures of them.  And wrote stories about the stuff they were doing.  My mom read it.  And maybe my mother-in-law.

That was fun, but now I use Facebook to share with them (and 382 of my closest friends).  Plus, now that they’re older (11 and 14), they don’t really want the play-by-play of their first day of school chronicled for all of the internet to read.  But I did enjoy the writing, the sharing of ideas and interests.

The title – just christie – that’s been rolling around in my head for a few years.  So much that I do is for other people. I work all day. I’m a wife.  I’m a mom. I’m a Girl Scout Leader.  I love those roles and they make me who I am.  I also know I need to focus on things that make me happy sometimes. That’s what this is all about – sharing topics that interest me.

With that said, here’s a rundown of some topics you might find here (in no particular order):

  • Product reviews
  • Girl Scout “stuff”
  • Photos of our beloved pet dog, Poppy Cotton
Poppy Cotton (my dog) with snow on her nose.
Oops, I couldn’t resist.  That was a few weeks ago during the big PA Blizzard of 2017.  She loves playing in the snow!

OK…back to my list.

  • Good books I’ve read
  • Craft projects
  • Favorite Recipes
  • Stories about my family
  • Lists of my favorite things – from books to wine and everything in between!

So thank you for stopping in. I hope you come back to visit often.

♥ just christie ♥

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