Monday, 24 December 2007


In answer to Jen's question, yes, we do pay rent. It's the norm over here in the UK, there was one unit in my district that didn't pay it till this year but now they do too.

Ours is high, at £8 an hour, but we are rather over a barrel as our meeting place is the only one round here, it's just houses. The churches nearby are in the next Guiding district so we couldn't move there.

But we spell it out to the parents and they understand where the subs are going. It means we need to find £350 a year just for our regular meetings, but we put the subs up in September to reflect that, and the parents have been fine about it, at £2 a week we are still far cheaper than most of the activities the girls participate in.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

All dressed up

I'm not going to name them, as I want to protect the girls, but here's the six girls that went on the Santa weekend, dressed in their finery for the Saturday night Christmas party.

Friday, 21 December 2007

End of year balance

Our Brownie accounts have a healthy end of year balance, so now we just have to allocate money for the year ahead and give the accounts to the DC to approve.

We do keep a bit in the account because our rent is so high, approx £350 (US$720) a year, and that's if they DON'T put it up in April. No way round that though, but it does mean we try to keep a balance a little larger than most units so we have a safety net if it goes up as much as it did in 2007.

There's £210 left to allocate though, we're going with £60 on Family Railcards (drastically reduces the amount it costs to travel by train with the girls) and hopefully a £150 subsidy for camp in July, that will go towards the cost of the three leaders going and the balance used to reduce the cost for the girls. No idea how much the weekend is going to cost yet, so we can't be sure how we'll use the money but we'll work it out once we do.

Thursday, 20 December 2007


Ooh, thought of something!

The Sikh Brownie WAS featured in the special leaflet on Sikhism, I'm very proud of her and can't wait to show the other girls.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Still gone fishing...but Hautbois was great!

Still consider me gone fishing, as we haven't resolved our home internet issues and I finish work for Christmas tomorrow so will be offline over Christmas unless things do get resolved.

But I had to pop in in my lunch break to tell you how fantastic the Santa weekend I took six Brownies on was.

It took us over FOUR hours to get there on Friday night, it's 146 miles and we'd hoped to do it in just over three hours. But Friday night traffic meant we had only travelled eight miles in the first hour...very demoralising with such a long drive ahead.
But we made it, thanks to my husband borrowing the TomTom from work, so at least we didn't have to stop to check the map.
The girls went off to sleep at a reasonable hour (about 11pm but as we hadn't got there till after 8, I was happy with that), but were awake at 5am! I went in and said: "It's 5am. I am VERY disappointed." Not a peep for over two hours after that! Couldn't believe it, actually managed to fall asleep again! If I'd known that worked instead of anger...

We went on a Santa train on Sat morning, met Santa and they all got a really good quality craft present. Then back for sausages and mash, and then crafts in the afternoon - they decorated bags, made snowglobes and cards and Hama bead things and loads more. An outdoor game, a party tea and party games after that.

They were all quiet, if not asleep not long after 10pm, and I actually woke them at 7.30am! Sunday we stripped and remade the beds for the next people, this took AGES! Finished off crafts, another outdoor game, then a Christmas lunch. After that there was just time for each group to put on a panto they had rehearsed over the weekend and we left just before 3pm and made it back in three hours.
I dropped off two girls and three suitcases (I'd taken an extra one as my car boot was bigger). First house where I left the suitcase and promised the Brownie was in the next car: thanks and a bottle of wine. Second house: thanks and a bottle of wine. Third house: nothing! A bottle of wine would have been lovely, but a thanks was kind of the least I was hoping for!
The girls all got to spend some money in the centre shop, and were also given a Brownie notebook and a gorgeous Santa weekend badge. Most of them had bought a Hautbois badge, so by the time you add the Christmas Fun badge I had bought for them already and three of the six completed their Brownie Holiday badge, there's a fair bit of stitching to be done!
Incidentally, two girls already had the holiday badge, and one completed most but as there was no food prep or washing up required of the girls this time, she could not get the badge. I counted the food prep and washing up from our sleepover in March for the other three as they had to do a lot then.
The sixth girl asked if she could pass by doing some food prep and washing up at home but I had to say no, there's a big difference between being part of prep and clear up for 20 at camp and doing it for four at home, I really do think that aspect has to be done on camp.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Snowflakes, cards and chocolate biscuits

Lots of fun at Brownies last night, I do wish I had remembered a Christmas carol CD, but there was so much chatter there wasn't really much need!

We made the 3D snowflake, they went down really well with the girls.
We made Christmas cards, letting the girls put whatever they wanted on, there were pens, crayons and stamper things with lots of Christmas items.
Then I gave them all a number from 1-17 (we had 5 girls off for various reasons) and they sat in a circle and I read a Christmas story. Every time there was a LEFT in the story they passed their number to the left, every time there was a RIGHT, they passed it to the right. That shuffled the numbers up nicely and then they lined up from 1-17 with the number they got and had a lucky dip (made up of bits and pieces we'd been given over the year: some Canada traders made with foam, some American Girl Scout pens and badges, and some UK badges to make up the numbers) and then they each got a Penguin biscuit. I confess I bought the biscuits cos they were on special and only after thought, oh, that's a Penguin! Should have bought a Lion bar...what would I buy for a Parrot, Otter and Monkey though?? So I left it and just let them have a Penguin each! There was enough to give one each to the two Guides that help and the Duke of Edinburgh girl.

There was also time to test two girls for badges: one for Science Investigator and one for World Culture. They had both worked really hard, done a lot more than the girls that did those badges as part of the pack in fact!

So that's it for regular meetings for 2007, all we have left this year is a trip to a Guiding activity centre for six girls. Also, the Guiders are going out for a meal next week, which should be nice, it's always so hectic when we have meetings, so it will be good to talk in more relaxed circumstances.

In moments of doubt...

this makes me never want to stop being a Brownie leader, got this email today from a dad:

Merry Christmas and a happy New year - If its not too early to say...A quick note to say really how fabulously well you run Brownies.You are so professional and kind and you make my daughter feel special always.How kind of you to text us ref the return times from legoland and yesterday that the children would exit from a different direction. [This was because it was howling down with rain and wind so I was letting the parents shelter in the foyer while they waited for the girls!] I think the brownies have the best leader in [our town, removed!] and long may you reign supreme !
Take care.

I don't do it to get thanks. But when I get them, it makes me feel fantastic!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Big enough for ya?

Just created a poster to go up at our last meeting tonight, on the gate where the girls come out:


In 95 Point text on a sheet of A3.
Am off to Kall Kwik in half an hour to laminate it!

Think THE MUM will get the message?

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Planning ahead...

You know how I said I'd never camp and we're going camping next July for a weekend?

Well, I've just committed to a second camp, a week-long one...though I do have till 2010 to prepare for it!

There's going to be an international camp to celebrate 100 years of Guiding, and it will be open to Guides and Senior Section (the section after Guides), plus leaders.

As my Brownie will be nearly 12 by then, she'll have been a Guide for a good while.

I emailed our Guide leader and she's keen, so I said sign the pair of us up!

2.5 years to prepare for it, even I can do this!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Ordered some badges

I ordered these badges for the girls who are going ice-skating and climbing next month - how cute are they?

And the pound is so good against the US$ and in this case the Canadian $ that they are an absolute bargain too!

Combined with a discount for newsletter subscribers, I snapped up 10 skating and 10 climbing badges plus shipping to the UK for a bargain CDN$25.20 - that's less than £13!

I did toy with getting some for the grown-ups who are going too, though we're not allowed to put them on our uniforms.
But although I always intend to sew these things on my badge blanket, I never seem to get round to it.
By the time I've sewn on my daughter's badges, last thing I want to do is do the same for me! So I was good and only bought for the girls.
The nice thing about the climbing one is it is different from the last one I got for them, so even the girls who have gone twice will be thrilled to get one.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Mastercard advert

Look - two Guides and a Brownie, the very first people to be reunited!

Though if the advert is true, they've been on a Guiding holiday to Toronto! That's one adventurous Guider! I do a lot with my girls but I'm not taking them across the Atlantic, that much I promise!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Girls Shout Out! Under ten and under pressure

This is interesting reading. It makes me worry about under tens, and the pressures they feel they are under. But it also makes me happy that we reach so many of them through Brownies and then Guides, and hopefully build up a bit of self-confidence and self-esteem in them so that they feel equipped to deal with some of these issues.

Girls Shout Out! Under ten and under pressure

When did December happen?

Time really is running away!
Just one more Brownies before Christmas, then we have a five week break, though during the break, I'll be off on a Santa weekend with one other Guider and six of our Brownies.

Feels a little flat after the fun of the show, but there will be lots of fun next meeting. And me and the other leaders are going out for a Chinese meal the week after, our Christmas do!
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