Thursday, June 30, 2011


What a fun day we had!  We were very, very lucky to have Athena (Brittnee's mom's friend) invite us over for the day so the girls could earn their Horse Riding badge.

Athena, not only owns 6 horses but she also teaching riding.  She was joined by her mom and the two of them spent all days working with the girls and making sure they met all their requirements for the badge.

The girls were given a quick lesson in safety and how to act around the horses. 

The girls broke up into teams.  Some got to have hands on lessons first and some learned things like what the different parts of the animal is called, how they are marked and how to tie knots so the horse doesn't run away.

Here, Tuppence is learning how to attach the reins on the horse.

They learned how to check the hoofs and make sure there is nothing that needs to be removed or that the horse has any injuries before going to ride.

Learning the proper way to brush a horse was taught also. 

The girls just adored the horses.  Each had her favorite but all agreed that every horse they saw was just darling.
The girls even enjoyed reading about the horses and then looking at the real horses to see what they learned in person.

Of course, the best part of the day was getting to actually get on the horse and ride around.

Some were a little scared at first.  After all, a horse is very big.  But, before the day was over, all fears were gone.

I loved watching the girls when they didn't think anyone was looking.  They were really enjoying spending time with the horses.  They were all so gentle with them.

I have really noticed how much "my" girls are growing this year.  It seems like when I don't see them for a few days they have shot up another inch or so. 

Yet, as I saw them next to the horses, they seemed so much smaller.  It reminded me they were still young girls.  So, seeing how well they were acting around the horses made me realize once again, how blessed I am to have such a good troop.

We could not have asked for prettier day.  The weather was warm but not so hot we couldn't stand it.  There were several trees around for us to sit under.  The sky was blue and clear.

The location was so pretty.

The horses were so sweet and easy going with the girls.  You could tell they have been very well taken care of and loved a lot.

There were so many smiles!
The girls only wished they could have ridden longer...though I am not sure if any amount of time would have been long enough.

In order to thank the horses for such a great time, we brought carrots and apples. 

I'm not sure enjoyed them more, the horses or the girls.  They loved feeding the horses and having them take the carrots and apples right out of their hands.

The girls found out that horses use their lips to get the food and as long as they kept their hand flat, their fingers did not get bit.

They all tried feeding the horses.   Even though it was a little scary at first.  I'm sure those mouths and teeth look super big to little girls.

Just as we thought our fun was over and it was time to go home, we were invited to go with Athena to her stables and see all the other horses and her goat.

She was having some of the horses get shoed and thought the girls would like to see how that is done.

Of course the girls jumped at the opportunity!

It was nice being able to visit with the other horses.  The girls got to learn a lot while there. 

They learned how several of the horses were rescued.  They were either abused, retired race horses or young.

They learned about different ailments and injuries the horses could get and how to take care of them.

Don't you just love the little white heart on this horse?  She is so pretty and well behaved.  She had cancer but is now doing well. 

The girls got to see where the horses sleep, what they eat and about the cost of owning a horse.  They also heard about all the hard work a horse is.  Cleaning up after them, making sure they get feed twice a day, have fresh water at all times.  How to keep flies from their eyes and lots of other information.

They liked watching how the shoes were taken off so new ones could be put on.  They also each got to take a horse shoe home and learned how many think a horse shoe hung up can bring you luck.

I was very impressed with how much the girls learned in one day. 

They learned how to take care of the horse before you saddle up by brushing them from top to bottom and how to check their hoofs.  They learned how to put a saddle on and take it off by themselves.  How to hitch a horse and the different kinds of saddles as well as all the different tack.

They learned how to mount and dismount a horse, turn a horse, make it walk forward and turn around and lead it around the arena.

On the way home, I quizzed the girls about the horse anatomy and tack.  They really must have been listening because they were able to answer all the questions correctly.

We are all very grateful to Athena and her mother for such a wonderful day and great memories!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Geocaching.  Have you heard of it before?  Do you know what it is all about? 
Several of the girls from our Troop found out today.
We started out early in the morning and drove to Black Star Canyon.  There we were going to meet up with a friend of mine and her husband.  They have three boys and are very active in Boy Scouts.

Since they go Geocaching often, I had asked if they would join us and show us just how this all works.  They were kind enough to join us and show us all the ins and outs.

It was a beautiful morning.  Sadly, Jesse and Elizabeth were unable to join us.  Perhaps next time we go they can make it.

We hung out at the entrance to Black Star Canyon to wait for the others to join us.  We only had about a 10 minute wait until they pulled up.

The girls all got a lesson about what a GPS is and how it works. 

We then punched in the location of where we were and within seconds several locations of hidden treasures popped up.

So we started to follow the signal.

Our first spot turned out to not have anything there.  Or at least, we couldn't find it.  So, we moved on to the next location.

There we searched for several minutes and then it was spotted.  A little gray container next to some rocks under a tree.

Can you see it?  Look closely.  It's hard to find, but, it's there.

The container was a tiny one.  It turned out to be a pill bottle wrapped in duct tape. 

We opened it up to find a small log inside.  The log is for anyone who finds the container to write down who and when it was found.
Normally, the containers are bigger then this one.  We believe something may have happened to the original container and it was replaced with this one.  We think that because you can get hints about the location and looks of the container.

The hint told us the container was bigger then what we found.

We were excited to dump out the contents to see what little treasures we found.  Inside were two erasers.  One a pumpkin and one a butterfly.

When you find your treasures, you have the option to take one if you put something else back of equal or greater value.  Or you can just put it back the way you found it.

Since we didn't bring anything to exchange it with, we just put the container back where we found it and left it for the next treasure hunters to find it.

We were shown some "coins" you can purchase.  These are called Geo Coins.  They can be left as replacement treasures if you want to take something you like.  These coins are all different and fun to collect. 

If you are lucky, you may find one left in one the containers you find.  Some of the coins can be registered on line and you can track where the coin goes.

Here the girls are learning about the different type of Geo coins that can be purchased or found.

After a few questions, the group decided they wanted to go search for more treasures. 

So, we hiked on as we followed the GPS.  With each step we got closer and closer to our next hidden treasure.

In only a few minutes, we were at our next location.

Searching like experts now, the girls searched under bushes, moved rocks and asked what hints were given.

This time the container was much, much bigger and easier to find then the last one.

The excitement built as they opened up the container and searched inside to see what was in there.

Wow!  What a find!  There were all sorts of different things in this one.  There were some small toys, a rubber bracelet, a ring, small animal figures and several other things. 

Again, we didn't take any.  We just put the container back where we found it and decided to go search for a few more.

We didn't have any luck on the next two we looked for.  Either we couldn't find them because they were hidden in hard to find containers or they had been moved/taken. 

We were there a few hours and it was starting to get hot so, we decided it was time to head back to our cars.  After all, we had walked a few miles into the trails. 

Everyone had fun and the girls all said they wanted to not only go again, but, they wanted to make their own container up and hide it for others.

So, just what is Geocaching?  It's a modern day scavenger hunt.  It's a great way to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise while having fun at the same time.  It's a fun way to spend time with friends and family and not spend a lot of money. 

We also learned it's great to have friends who are willing to share new and thrilling outings with you.  Thank you Trish and Jason!  We had a wonderful time.

Basically we learned that Geocaching is FUN!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Animazonia Wildlife Foundation

We drove out to Perris to visit the Animazonia Wildlife Foundation.   We had no real idea what to expect but thought we would be seeing some large cats such as lions, tigers and so on.  Little did we know we would find so much more on our adventure out that morning.

When we first got there, we were told the girls could play around on the trampoline for awhile as we were waiting for another troop to show up.

It was a pretty location.  Even though we were still pretty close to the city, it was if we were out in the woods. 

I loved the Tepee they had.

Once the other girls got there (they were a Daisy troop), we started off to explore the area.  They showed us their big fire pit that they have for the people who spend the night there.

They do have camping and some other Girl Scouts have actually camped there before.  How fun it would be to hear and see the animals at night and first thing in the morning.

This was the only lion they had there. I was a bit surprised they didn't have more large cats there. The web page showed several large cats that included tigers, lions and so on. But, we found out that sadly, those animals had died from old age.

We did get to get pretty close to the lion. But, because they are wild animals no one was allowed to pet them. Even the staff that takes care of them take great measures to stay safe and they do not pet them.

One of the lions favorite things is to enjoy a "blood ball". It's basically a froze Popsicle made out of blood. YUCK!

We saw this strange looking dog house there. Not sure what it was for but it looked interesting.

We then walked over to the small pond area. The girls got to feed the Koi fish in there.

Four of the girls were working on getting their Wildlife Badge.  This was important for them to earn so they could get their Bronze Award. 

They had a few sheets of paper with questions on them that needed to be completed so they had to listen closely and ask questions so they could fill out the forms.

We spent a little time at the pond, watching the fish come up to the surface and open their mouths wide as they gulped down the food the girls tossed in.

Once the girls got all their questions answered and the fish were full, it was time to move on.

We went over to meet Magic.  He was a beautiful black leopard.  He showed us some of the tricks he learned.  He has been trained to respond to a clicker that the staff will click and have him do things.

He too, loved the blood ball he was given.

The girls got several of their questions answered while we were watching Magic. So, what better place to fill out their paperwork but on Michelle.

What a good Co-leader. She puts her whole body into helping these girls out.

After watching Magic, we were taken over to a garden area. The girls and even the parents, got to hold and smell a Passion flower.

These flowers are so pretty but even up close, they look fake. Almost like they are made of plastic.

Even though they were very pretty, they didn't have much of a smell at all.

The girls all got to see how they could plant a big garden in a small place.  There were a lot of different veggies growing here.

We were shown how to plant a whole salad in a bag of soil. As long as the plants get water, sun and gets picked often, these plants can all remain in the bag of soil for the whole season.

The girls got to try different types of lettuce.  Some they liked a lot.

Some, they didn't care for.

They all enjoyed being able to sample the different types though.  I don't think any of them knew about all the different flavors lettuce actually came in.
The girls were all so well behaved. It's always such a pleasure to see them with such good manners and listening to what they are being told about.

This really is a great group of girls!

They got to interact with the big dog that is living there. They also were shown how they trained him to lay down, sit and come when called.

It was then time to take a break and have lunch. We had a lot of laughs at lunch time.

Everyone talked about what they saw so far and everyone was having a good time sharing what they brought for lunch.

Once lunch was finished, we got learn about reptiles.  This was a big surprise because no one thought we would be seeing anything but big cats.

When the girls first saw the big snake that was brought out, some were not to thrilled about even going near it.

Slowly, one by one, they started to touch it.  Of course, not near the head at all. 

Trinity has been around snakes a lot as her Dad has owned a few.  So, she was not scared of them at all and was the first to step up and hold it and put it around her neck. 

After seeing Trinity hold the snake, the others stepped up one by one to hold the snake and let it go around their neck too.

Some of the girls still did not want to hold it or put it around their neck though.
No one had to hold the snake or even touch it if they didn't want to. However, I was happy to see all the girls faced their fears and at least touched the snake.

We then moved on to learning about turtles. 
We first met a little turtle that was two years old.
The girls all got to take turns holding the turtle. They felt his legs and shell.
Then they got to see how big the turtle will grow in a few more years.  The bigger turtle was a lot bigger and to heavy to pick up more then just a little bit.
Tuppence seemed to really enjoy the turtles.

Elizabeth was holding the turtle when she got a first hand lesson on how turtles can NOT be potty trained.  But, she was a real trooper and kept holding him, until he was finished and then she passed him to the next girl.
Tuppence learned something important enough to add it to her paperwork.

Good going Tuppence!

One thing I really love about being the leader of our Troop is, I get to witness friendships growing closer and closer.

So, we had fun watching the big cats, playing with the dog, checking out a garden, conquering fears of snakes and holding turtles.

What could be next?

How about lizards! The girls loved the lizards. They all wanted to give them kisses.

Well, not all girls wanted to kiss them. Some just pretended to.

Some preferred to have the lizards just give them a kiss on the cheek.

Some preferred neither.

I can't say I blame you Tuppence.

It was then time to try their hands at Archery!

Ready... Aim...

Some of the girls have tried archery before.  So getting another lesson was a nice refresher.

Some have never tried their hand at it.  But, sure did enjoy doing it for the first time.

Some have done archery many times before.  It's always nice to have a Dad that works at an archery place.

Each girl got to try several times before having to hand off the bow and arrow to the next girl.  If hey wanted they could get back in line and have several more tries.

I think they all did a great job! Most of the time they hit the target and some even got very close to a bulls eye.

Some of the times though, the arrow didn't want to cooperate and it wouldn't go near the target.
By the time everyone finished up doing archery, it was pretty close to the time to go home.

Some of the girls wanted to color a little bit.  While the other girls ran over to get a few more jumps on the trampoline.
We all had a great day. Four of the girls earned their Wildlife Badge and all of the girls had a blast.

We started off thinking we were going to see lots of big cats and while we were a little bit disappointed that there were not more big cats there, we were thrilled that we got to see a whole lot more then we were expecting.

To be honest, most of the girls said the best part of the day was the snakes and lizards.

But a few, really loved the big cats.

All in all, we had a wonderful day. All of the staff was very nice and made the day a great one for the girls.

Everyone was happy we went there.