How to make a jumprope!

Because of the lack of information on the internet I had to figure it out for myself.

Here are the steps to making a jumprope with the 4 pronged rope maker that I have.

Step one:  Find the rope maker in the garage!summer2013 001  Mine has 4 hooks in a square on one frame and 4 hooks all connected in the middle on the other side.  Both sides have handles/can turn.

summer2013 002

Step 2:  Cut your string/yarn/twine.  I used macrame rope — or whatever it is called.  I’m sure you can use any kind of rope/yarn/string you want.  The thickness of the string will determine the thickness of your final rope product.  You need to cut them plenty long.  Our rule of thumb used to be (when camping at Lycopodia) from “Bob” to the wall… of course that means nothing to you and only is significant to girls that have camped there… or we often cut the strings “2 picnic tables long.”  I cut my practice one double the length of my counter and that wasn’t quite long enough.  Better to be longer than shorter when making a jumprope if you want to be able to jump properly.  So… your rope needs to be 16-20 feet long per hook between the 2 ends.  So… in my case using only 2 colors each color should have been 32 feet long since I just looped it and came back with it.  Does that make sense?  If you use only 1 color it would be 4 x 16 feet long.

Step 3:  Make loop knots in each end of the string.  I’m sure this knot has a name but I don’t remember what it is called and the brief web search I completed did not show that knot at all.  summer2013 003

Step 4:  Attached the loop knots to the hooks on the square side.summer2013 004

Step 5:  Pull the strings straight and don’t let them twist.summer2013 005

Step 6:  Attach them to the hooks on the round side.  In this case I looped it in the middle.  If you were using 4 colors there would be loop knots on each hook here.  If you were using 1 color you would bring it down and back and down and back – looping on both ends.

summer2013 006

Step 7:  Turn the handle on the square end.  This will tighten up the individual strands of string.  Do not let the stings get twisted around each other in this process.

summer2013 007

see how they start to get tighter and tighter?

summer2013 008  Continue turning the handle until the strands are very tightly twisted and it becomes hard to hold the ends/stands and keep the tension on the strings.

Step 8:  Now… hold the square end and start turning the handle on the other end. This will twist all the strands together.  summer2013 009

This will get harder and harder.  You will need someone strong holding each end while you turn it.  You want to turn it until it pulls and pulls.  And then you want to turn it some more.  You want it twisted super-duper tight!  Tighter than you think.  We thought it was tight enough and it really wasn’t.  We should have turned it for a while longer.  You  can scoot the frames towards each other gradually but don’t let the rope start to twist up on itself or buckle.summer2013 010

Step 9:  When you think you have it tight enough and cannot turn it anymore nor hold the ends.  Find the middle and gently pull it so it starts to twist back on itself.  summer2013 011

Step 10:  Pull from the middle while your friends walk in with the ends until it is all twisted on itself.summer2013 012

Step 11:  Remove it from the frames and cut all the loops.  Use a small piece of string to wrap around all the loose ends and tie them tight.

Step 12:  (the fun step)  Take it outside and with a match/lighter/buddy burner melt the loose ends so they don’t unravel and ruin all your hard work.summer2013 013

If you calculated correctly, you will now have a jump rope – or if it is too short, you will just have a rope to use to tie up your sleeping bag, your back pack, your sister…. and it will be in fun colors and you will have made it!!!


Camping Preparations

Have you ever prepared to camping with me???  Oh my goodness!!  I had a fellow Girl Scout Leader that told me she had a dream (…”I had a dream”…??)  that she was camping with me and I wouldn’t let her pack the supplies up to go home because they had to be packed and loaded a certain way.  Well, DUH!    Learned that at my father’s knee.

So… I’m preparing to take the scouts camping this weekend and have begun the loading.  Unfortunately we are camping at the campsite that provides you with NOTHING!  So, ALL the totes have to go.  The totes full of dishes for eating, the totes full of dishes for cooking.  OH yeah… and the large pot for heating water because this campsite doesn’t provide you with hot water to wash your dishes.  BLAH!

I have the tote full of craft supplies and the toaster (no toaster at this campsite).  I have the tote full of cleaning and paper supplies (TP, paper towels, napkins, cups, etc.).  I have the box of song books… can’t go camping without your songbooks.  I am not taking the Lumme sticks this time (sorry girls).  I have the fire bucket, the water pot, and the dutch oven for cooking our lasagna for dinner.

I still need to go to the grocery store to get some of the food items (going shortly).  Then I will have a box of dry goods and tomorrow I will add 1-2 coolers of refrigerated foods.

We are planning to make jump ropes so I have all those supplies ready to load.  Since I have trouble remembering how to make them (and my mother can’t find the Boy Scout book she had the instructions in), I will be doing a trial run tonight and will photograph and blog about it so I will be able to find the instructions later and maybe someone else will be helped by them.

I will have my backpack and  my Girl Scout bag with permission slips, health forms, and badge books.   I will have 2 first aid kits as well – a hiking one and a cabin one.

I can’t forget the camera, extra batteries, phone charger and laptop (because we are doing our musician badge and we need to listen to national anthems that I have downloaded – not because we are going to surf the ‘net).

Of course, I will still have to leave room in the minivan for sleeping bags (just mine and Esther’s) and our clothing.  I will be able to carry only 2 girls with me.

It is  a big production.  I could probably eliminate some items out of some totes for this campout, but if I did that, they wouldn’t get put away right, so it is just better to take it all since the totes are packed and ready to go.

Be warned that the weather could be iffy since I will be camping – it is either a gift or a curse that I have inherited from my mother.   🙂


The Real Photos

So, today’s hike didn’t go quite as nicely as yesterdays.  The kids were squirrely and ready to go home.    However, I did take photos of the real plants and trees that I mentioned yesterday.   🙂


IMG_0940bees in the catalpa tree

IMG_0939the catalpa tree

IMG_0943the pokeberries

IMG_0944 a scotch pine and a maple holding each other up

IMG_0945jewelweed and more jewelweed IMG_0953

IMG_0946 cherry tree

IMG_0949woodpeckers have attacked this pine tree

IMG_0950Woodland Sunflower


IMG_0952 ladysthumb

IMG_0954Autumn olives

IMG_0955blue-stemmed goldenrod

Apparently I missed taking a photo of all the snakeroot.


Nature Hike

I had the pleasure of leading a nature hike at Camp Wanake this morning for a 6th grade camp (I get to do it again tomorrow).  I had 17 kids, 2 teen counselors, and 1 adult with the group.  I was told that yesterday, the leader of the nature trail hike completed the hike and 2 other activities in 1.5 hours and had to kill time for half an hour.   Well… I wasn’t going to do the one activity (micro habitats – or something like that) because I didn’t want to.  I thought it sounded boring and not something my 6th grade scouts would enjoy, so 6th grade students at camp probably wouldn’t either.    I knew that just walking the nature trail took me an hour and 15 minutes over the weekend, so I wasn’t worried about filling the time because there would be plenty to talk about on the way.

I did the hike like I generally do a hike with my scouts.   Point out interesting things, trees, plants, etc.  and then further down the trail when we see it again, quiz them to see if they remember what it was called.

We started the hike at the big Catalpa tree – checking out the the huge leaves, the funny finger-like seed pods, and the fabulous nest of bees that have been living in that tree for decades. catalpa20speciosa20fruits

From there we started on the trail up towards Vesper Hill.  I pointed out the pokeberries that are right by the God is Nigh sign.  Talked about how it is poisonous… how the native americans and pioneers used it for a clothing dye… how they even cooked the berries into pies but that isn’t recommended because they are toxic.  pokeberry

Further up the trail past the scotch pines, I point out the fuzzy vines (my scouts know exactly what those are!!!) pivine

WhiteSnakeroot_04094and then some white flowering plants.  The white flowering plants are white snakeroot, also a poisonous plant!!  Mainly poisonous when eaten by livestock (cows) and then it makes their milk toxic and humans can get “milk sickness” from drinking the milk.  Not so much a problem these days but still shouldn’t eat that plant.  At this point, the kids are certain that anything and everything they touch will be poisonous.  LOL!  I told them, just don’t eat anything you find in the woods!!

Finally we get to a plant that they can touch… Jewelweed/Touch-me-not!  The seed pods were in great popping mode and we had fun with that.jewelweed

We talked about the black walnuts and how they would stain your hands if they opened them up.  We talked about erosion.  We looked at the damage from the summer wind storm.  Talked about how a forest is a living, changing, growing organism.  Saw tree roots from a tree toppled by the wind.  Saw some fabulous cherry wood (again as a result of storm damage).   Looked at decaying logs and talked about how the forest needs the decomposition to provide nutrients for the next generation of trees/plants.  There was a quick hum of “circle of life” by the one counselor and a reminder that one could eat the bugs in the decaying log like Timon, Pumba, and Simba did.   🙂

We looked at tulip tree leaves (my favorite tree, just ask my scouts)tulip-poplar-leaves

and sassafras tree leaves (we found all the different shapes).sassafras We talked about the things you can make with sassafras – tea & root beer mainly.  We talked about the importance of sassafras to camp counselors for fire starting – especially for 1 match fires.

We looked at Knoll Pond and examined the cattails.  Noted that while there are plenty of poisonous plants, cattails aren’t one of them and they can be eaten like celery, or you could make cattail pancakes.

We were impressed by the naturalists who took the time to bring unusual plants to circle Knoll Pond to provide food and shelter for the winter for the animals.  Like the Autumn Olive bushes (the berries weren’t as ripe as this photo)autumnOlive

and the Bald Cypress trees.  Neither of those plants being native to Ohio makes them extra special to be seen at Wanake.  We also looked at Lycopocium (ground moss) which is one of my favorite plants too.  It is rare and getting close to being protected (may be protected in some areas) because of the encroachment of humans.


Our hike took us full circle, with me quizzing them and giving them “bonus points” along the way.  They aren’t sure what the bonus points are for….  LOL!  I told them to tell their science teacher something they learned about nature on the hike and maybe she would give them some.

We ended up back at the frog pond where they captured a few frogs to play with.  No one was willing to kiss any.   😦

Then we made frog cookies.frogcookie

When we arrived at the frog pond, there was only 15 minutes left of the 2 hours.  So they didn’t have too much time to play and make their cute snack.  I think they had a decent hike.  I kept them talking and learning and earning “bonus points” for almost 2 hours.  It was a nice hike and a nice group of kids.   Hopefully the ones on Friday will be as fun.   😉

Aren’t we glad that my biology degree and that wildflower college class come in handy occasionally??

****none of the photos are of the actual plants we looked at today, I didn’t want to drag my camera along while I was in “teacher” mode.  They are all thanks to the search-ability of the internet.****

First Aid

Busy, Busy, Busy… that is what life is like now that school is back in session and work has geared up again.  But it also means there is more of a routine and schedule and that I like.



Since I am a First Aid and CPR instructor for Red Cross (if you ever need certified give me a call) I decided that my 6th grade scouts are old enough to get their First Aid certification.  So, we started working on that this week at scouts.  They did great!  Next week we will try and finish it.  Not sure we will get it all done in one more week, but we’ll try.  The second session is the fun one where we get to bandage each other.   🙂


We also have to check our FA kits because we are going camping at the end of this month.  We are camping early and often this year.   😉    We will be working on our “Dirt and Mud” badge at this campout.  I’m sure I will have great photos to share with that one.


I told the girls that in 2 years when we have to renew our FA, I will train them in CPR then.   That should be fun!  LOL!  I just didn’t think they are quite old enough for that now.

Miner’s Chicken

Yesterday on Facebook I mentioned that I served my family Miner’s Chicken in the crockpot.  Here is the recipe.


5 lbs mixed chicken pieces.  I just used boneless chicken – usually breasts and probably only 2 lbs.  This time I used the precooked chicken diced tenderloins from Market Day to skip step 1.

5 oz Worcestershire Sauce

1 TBS garlic powder

Large onion – chopped

8oz French dressing

12 or 16 oz jar of APPLE jelly

3 cups minute rice (though in the crock pot, next time I will use long cooking rice, because the rice got really mushy after 8 hours)

2 cups water

salt & pepper to taste


dutch-ovenBrown the chicken and onions.  Put them on the bottom of the dutch oven (or whatever cooking dish/crockpot you are using if not doing it on the fire).  Mix everything else together and pour over the chicken.   Cook for 6-8 hours on low in crock pot, 20 minutes or so if in the fire – however long it takes for the rice and chicken to be done in the oven.   If you think you need to add more water for the rice to absorb, do so.  The original recipe only calls for 1 cup, but that is not enough for the rice to cook properly.


Looking at my recipe it is officially titled “Miner’s Rescue Chicken” and has a story about a boy scout being rescued and eating this every night to ensure safety.  I’m not sure I could eat this every night, but it is tasty and great for campouts.


My girl scouts made this at a campout once and my co-leader had a friend who was camping with his boy scouts.  She sent him a photo because it was so yummy and impressive.  The boys were eating broasted chicken from the grocery store and the girls were cooking awesome meals on the fire!  Go Girls!!   🙂





I have now called and talked to 4 different doctor’s offices.  I got 3 children scheduled with the new family physician – hope they are good.  They came recommended by a friend.   The 2 needing sports physicals won’t like it that the appointment is actually at 7am on a day we have a 2 hour delay start.  Sorry… that is the only time I could get you in.

Child #1 has to fast for her appointment because she is now an adult and they will do blood test.  Probably cholesterol and stuff.  After she is done at that dr. she gets the pleasure of going to the oral surgeon for a consultation to have her wisdom teeth removed.  She is so wise she doesn’t need them.   🙂

Then I had to call the neurologist (she hates the neurologist) and cancel that appointment because since she is at school the one we scheduled won’t work anyways.    We are hoping that the family dr. will help her more than the neurologists have after almost 4 years and only “treating the symptoms” and not giving us any real help in resolving her issues.

I then called the orthodontist to see if I can make the next appointment since Grandma will be doing that run this afternoon, but no.  So I’ll call them back tomorrow.

This is just a calm morning at home taking care of family business before I start out for the day with a Market Day sale, then rush home to get the samples to go to a Market Day open house.


Thank goodness for the Grandma Taxi!  She is picking up at school(children #2 and #3) and taking to the orthodontist (child #4).  Of course that is all after she does her own volunteer work this morning and then visits her older sister in the hospital at noon.

Anyone have a spare car, child #2 could have dealt with some of this herself if we had a car.   😛