Can NOT leave out Girl Scouts

     Okay, so if any of you have children in Girl Scouts, you know that it's not necessarily free.  However, on the application, there is a super important box for parents who need it to be.  Girl Scouts of America provides financial assistance to any child who can't afford the membership fee.  And of course, sometimes there are dues and if your troop requires it (thankfully ours do not) there are the uniforms.  There is also time invested in cookie sales, etc throughout the year and the gas involved in that.  But let's look at the pay-out.
     This was the only year that Punk got to be in Girl Scouts.  other years I didn't have a working vehicle at the time of sign-ups.  But this year ALONE:
     1.  She went on a hike through trails at the local lake and had a picnic.  Almost did it twice, but the black flies were ridiculous.
     2.  Went to an old-fashioned sock hop, sisters included.  It was a super fun time for them.
     3.  Spent the night with her mom (me) at the Museum of Science in Boston.  Granted, this one did cost me some money because we weren't a part of the previous fund-raising efforts.  I believe it cost us $83 to go to Boston from Maine and spend the night.  HUGE savings and well worth it.  I also brought spending money, which was optional.  We totally could have brought our own food and skipped the souvenirs and it still would have been amazing.
     4.  She went to a local art museum.
      5. Then she went to Sweet Frog for Ice cream afterward.
      6.  She participated in at-site cookie sales, helping her to gain confidence and interact in a healthy way with the general public.  This is huge because all of my kids are pretty shy in most situations.  Plus, it was 80's themed, so that's awesome in itself.  Who doesn't love a good costume party outside of Walmart?
     7.  Received coupons for free kids cones at the local ice cream shop for all of the kids in the house!  We used this in combination with the store's Dollar Days Mini Golf to get a super cheap fun time out this week.
     8.  Received a free family pass to the local lake.  This runs you $45 if you buy it yourself, so it was a huge blessing to have full year access to the lake.  We may or may not plan to go at lunch time because there is a free lunch program at the lake all summer long for anyone under 18.
     9.  Got to ride in a limo to a salon where she got her hair and nails done.  That day they also went to McDonald's, a local park, and had a photo shoot with yours truly.  It was a great day for them.
     10.  Learned recipes for organic smoothies from the lady at the local farmer's market and energy bites.
     11.  She painted art to hang in the house.
     12.  She planted herbs.
     13.  She made her own hula hoop (no photo for this one... her sisters lost her hoop).
     Other opportunities that she missed were making teacher's brunch (completely forgot about this one when the day came) and this awesome Frozen themed event.  It says $3, but it was free due to being sponsored by a local company... or something like that.  We didn't make it because our van went into a ditch on the way.  Darn ice patch.
     So even if we did pay the $15 membership fee, it would have paid for itself many, many times over, as you can see.  Luckily for us, we were able to get financial assistance.  So if you have a daughter, I highly recommend Girl Scouts, as it is a low cost/free way to get kids involved in lots of ways and in lots of areas.

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Alphabet Photo Tour!

     The concept of this free summer activity is a pretty simple one, but it can be altered to be more difficult or more fun.  The idea is that you get a camera and find items that start with each letter of the alphabet and take a photo of each.  This can be made more difficult by making it a competition between 2 or more groups of people to finish first.  It could also be made more fun by making it a scavenger hunt on the go and finding these things around town.
     We chose to do it in our yard over Memorial Day Weekend a couple years ago and some of them were a little hard to find.  Here's what we got:
Airplane ride-on toy
Bouncy Ball
Clouds, of course
Easter bucket
Junk pile
Lawn chair
Quench... it's a stretch
Rainbow.  Do ya see it!?
"X" marks the spot.  Totally cheated on this one

     Alas, no "Z".  I intended at the time to get a photo of Boog after he feel asleep, for "Zzzzz", but didn't for some reason. When we play again, we will set a time limit.  Each photo will be worth 1 point and each photo that depicts a double letter word, such as "bouncy ball", "green grass", or "elephant ear" will be worth 2 points.  And any 3+ letter photos, like "rusty red roof" would be worth 5.  We might also split into teams or do it in a store or something to shake it up.  I think the game has a lot of potential to be fun, especially if prizes are involved.  Free prizes, of course... like getting to choose what movie to watch that night.
     Have you ever done an alphabet themed scavenger hunt?  How did you play it?  Any ideas for shaking this up some?

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