Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Garden Project Update~

What a wonderful day to work on our Garden Project! The girls showed up with enthusiasm and energy as the first task was to take the stepping stones we made (three weeks ago) out of the molds. What beautiful, creative work the girls did in the stepping stones! ...they will be a nice focal point to the garden.

Next, our task was to remove some newly laid sod. The school had recently installed a sprinkler system on the side of the school that our garden project is on. We knew the plan was to lay sod, but thought we would have our garden area down before the sod. Since the weather and mud kept us from our project, the sod guys got to their sod before we got to our garden, and laid right over the top of our location (they didn't know to leave it open). That's OK, the girls put on their gloves and began to work, work, work- relocating sod!

In the process of lifting the sod, the girls discovered a habitat of BUGS!
And, just like girls, some giggled, some screamed and some wanted the bugs as new pets.

Because we have such a large troop and a small garden area not meant for 24+ people to work in, we took turns making a "side walk chalk garden" as an additional activity.

The girls began to dig some holes for the shrubs...

The girls worked hard and we are very proud of them. The Junior Girl Scouts will work this week to get this project to a place of being ready for the whole troop to place the bench in it's place of honor (center focal point) at our next troop meeting. We will also sprinkle some "Forget-me-not" seeds around the back side of the bench in hopes they root and bloom, in memory of Mr. McMath.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Actually, if you're talking to a London Girl Scout, it's~
Special Whatchamacallits

To be exact, it's~

Somewhere ... SWAPS for short.

Thank you Junior GS Leader, Stephanie for initiating this fun Girl Scout tradition, for all your organization and all the effort you've poured into these projects for all levels of our girls these past number of weeks! They are enjoying making their SWAPS during a time at every troop meeting in preparation for our upcoming Camping Slumber Party!

What fun they'll have to adorn their new colorful baseball caps with their SWAPS the night of our slumber party as we share in a number of Girl Scout activities and traditions.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL THE GIRL SCOUT LEADERS (Stephanie, Novia, Lisa, and Kristi) for your hearts of service this year on behalf of these sweet girls!
THANK YOU PARENTS for your participation as well as allowing your girls to be a part of the Girl Scout experience.

The Making of Stepping Stones

As part of our Garden Project to honor our former Superintendent, Mr. McMath, as well as give the staff and students of London ISD a special area, the girls suggested making stepping stones for our garden area.

Troop Leaders Teri and Lisa pre-mixed the cement prior to the girls' arrival to the troop meeting and all the supplies were ready to go for the girls to grease their stepping stone form form, help fill it with concrete, pat it down with a hand float, tap the sides with a wooden spoon to get air bubbles out, and the fun part, DECORATE! The girls had fun picking out a variety of glass half marbles, glass shapes, colored stone, and ceramic tile pieces to create their own personal masterpiece that will be a part of London for years.

This would be a fun family project to do at home! Have your Girl Scout be in charge of teaching the rest of the family how they made their stepping stone. Full instructions on how we made our stepping stones below.

"How to MAKE A STEPPING STONE" instructions~ (what we did)
a mold (found at The Dollar Tree... a round plastic 8" tortilla holder!)
petroleum jelly
hardware mesh (we used the small 1/2 " mesh, pre-cut into approximately 4" x 4" square)
"Quickrete" concrete (80 lb bag made SIX, 8" x approx. 2" deep stepping stones)
old container (for scooping concrete)
Wooden spoon (we bought a 4 pack at The Dollar Tree since we go through them)
(optional) something to protect your work surface if not on the ground
wheel barrow (or something to mix concrete in)
hoe or appropriate sized shovel to mix concrete
items to decorate or embellish your stepping stone (we used glass items bought at The Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby, and on-line)
For person mixing concrete (or any persons close by):
dust mask
protective eye wear
gloves when working with concrete (if any gets on bare skin, wash immediately with warm, soapy water.)
Water Hose and Water close by!
  1. The first thing you should do is to protect your work surface and yourself. Lay down some newspaper, plastic sheeting, or an old tablecloth or shower curtain. Weather permitting, you can make these outside! Always wear eye protection and rubber gloves...
  2. Mix you concrete in a wheel barrow according to instructions. Be careful not to put too much water in your mix. When mixed, your concrete should have the consistency of brownie batter.
  3. Set your mold on your work surface. Apply a liberal layer of petroleum jelly to sides and bottom (cooking spray can work too).
  4. Start scooping concrete into the mold. Fill the mold about half full and smooth it down. Lay your cut piece of screening or hardware cloth into the mold and then finish scooping the cement into the mold until full. The hardware cloth (mesh) will help the stone keep from cracking over time.
  5. Tap sides of mold with wooden spoon to release any possible air bubbles.
  6. Smooth top of concrete with hand float (we actually had a concrete hand float, but you can use the back side of your wooden spoon.). By tapping the top of the concrete with the float and moving it in circular motion, you will work the gravel down and bring access water up. (this is good)
  7. Now you can start decorating your stone. Be creative! If you make a mistake, you can simply remove the items, flatten out the top with the side of a craft stick or spoon, tap the sides to smooth, and start over again! If you want to do a hand print or write a message in your stone, leave your stepping stone alone to set up for 30 to 60 minutes before you make your hand prints or other prints in the cement.
  8. Your stepping stone must now sit for 2 - 3 days without being disturbed - do not move it. If the weather outside is hot, lightly spray your stone down with a water hose several times over the 2-3 days to help it cure better. Once it is dry, you can gently pop it out of the mold. Voila!
  9. Now, you can finish decorating it if you are planning on doing any painting. You can seal the top of your stepping stone with a clear acrylic sealer if you paint it.
  10. IF YOU PAINT (which we did not do as a troop), you'll need to put you stone under cover and let your stepping stone sit for another week before putting it outside.

IMPORTANT: Wash all concrete materials and supplies OUTSIDE. NEVER WASH SUPPLIES WHERE IT WILL GO DOWN PLUMBING. The concrete will harden in the pipes... not a good thing!

When you place the stepping stones outside in their desired location, they should not be raised above ground more than about 1/2-inch so people don't trip on them and also so the stone doesn't break.

Photos of each Girl Scout with her stepping stone she crated for the school Garden Project will be posted in the near future.

Cost of this project: approximately $3.00 per stepping stone (depending on materials used for embellishment)

Garden Project~ Planter Style!

Over the past number of weeks our troop has been working on the topic of our Garden Project. So far, we not yet even got into our garden space! Mostly side tracked because of rainy weather, but still moving forward, none the less. We wanted to be complete by now, but have enjoyed the distractions. We have all our materials, minus the plants and are ready to go (next week- FOR SURE!)

At any rate, no worries. The troop meeting last month we were going to get going on our garden area with preparation and planting, it was raining so we planted flowers in the school planters located at the two entrances instead... SIX PLANTERS in all!

The girls did a wonderful job! We definately have some "green thumbs" in our troop! Each Girl Scout parent should be very proud of their girl, making a difference in beautifying the school by filling the planters with pretty flowers.

The flowers, potting soil, and mulch were all purchased with money the girls earned through their 2010 cookie sales profits.
London Girl Scouts ROCK!