Cook Kits

Every year, my Older Troop evolves their cooking methods and cooking gear, trying out new techniques and new things to make.  To prep for their 2015 campout, they learned how to make vagabond stoves and buddy burners using the traditional #10 can (acquired from the local elementary school for free!) and tuna cans.

In 2016, my Co-Leader and I had a great idea to make a “cook kit” for the girls, so they could take home their own stove (instead of me storing them in my garage) to be ready for the next campout.


Here’s a picture of one of our cook kits next to one of our old #10 can vagabond stoves.  The girls managed to abscond with all of the smaller stoves we made for the 2016 campout.  However, they looked just like their bigger cousin, only using a 28 oz. tomato can  instead.  As you may be able to tell in the picture, our buddy burners this year were made out of cat food cans, so as to fit in the smaller stove.

We spent one meeting prepping the cook kit contents in stations, with help from the parents that were spending the night at camp with us.

Station 1 – First Aid Kit

IMG_7029Their first aid kits were made from Altoid tins, covered in white duct tape and a red electrical tape cross on the top.  Inside, we gave them wipes and cotton swabs for cleaning a wound, antibiotic ointment, bandaids and larger bandage.  While the girls assembled the first aid kits, our camping First Aider talked to them about treating burns: clean the wound, cool the wound with water or ice, and cover the wound.

Station 2 – Buddy Burners

My Co-Leader and I precut the cardboard strips for this project (cookie cases to the rescue!!) because we had the girls cut them last year.  Not only did it take forever, but they whined and tried to get out of it, because even in seventh grade, they just don’t really have the hand strength for it not to hurt a lot to cut the cardboard.  So, all they had to do was roll the cardboard strips around a birthday candle tightly and insert the roll into the cat food can.  Then they took it over to the propane stove, where my Co-Leader was melting and pouring wax.

Station 3 – Vagabond Stove

Here, we had the dad who was coming camping with us.  Working with the tin snips made him happy. He cut the doors using the shears, and watched as the girls punched the holes using the church keys.

Station 4 – Menu planning and testing

This was my station.  We had a full vagabond stove set up roaring (heating chili for Frito Pie, I think) to show the girls who had just joined our troop how it works.  They also got to vote on which meal choices they wanted at this station.

Can Decoration – At Camp

When we actually went to camp, we wanted to surprise the girls with their finished cook kits.  So, we got the 1/2 gallon paint cans from The Container Store, and some beautiful mehndi inspired bandanas, and some hotpads.  And duct tape. 🙂  One of the activities at camp was to decorate their paint can with duct tape, and label it with their name.  Then by the end of the weekend it had been used, filled, and didn’t come back to my garage!

The girls’ final cook kits contained:

  • 28 oz. vagabond stove
  • 2 cat can buddy burners
  • bandana (to hold back their hair, or to wear bandit style if the fire gets really smoky)
  • hair elastics (for the girls with long hair)
  • potholder
  • first aid kit

Sit-Upons, Version 3.0


You might think that Sit-Upons are so ho-hum.  I mean, it’s a great way to teach a Daisy how to “sew” by lacing through pre-punched holes, but really?  Does anyone use them? I don’t know about using them, but I know that the girls love making them.  And as they get Older, they like making cooler versions.

Here’s a link to a well done tutorial on your basic Sit-Upon.  Version 1.0, if you will.  Make New Friends has a tutorial for what I like to think of as Version 1.1: a faster, easier version that can actually be completed during a meeting, without taking the WHOLE MEETING.  I like the Version 1.1 using reusable grocery bags and duct tape.  The best part of Version 1.1? They’re much easier to carry, because the bag has a handle already integrated in it.

IMG_7022When my daughter’s Troop were Cadettes, my Co-Leader and I came up with what we liked to call Version 2.0 Sit-Upons.  You take you basic Sit-Upon: a piece of vinyl tablecloth, wrapped around a piece of 1″ foam, secured with duct tape.  But, you clip one corner of the foam, and then cut an “X” into that corner of the tablecloth wrapper; so that you have a flat corner to your Sit-Upon.  Then you get our your hammer and grommeting tool!  Pop a big old grommet in that corner, and you have an easy way to attach your Sit-Upon to your belt, your trail bag, your backpack, whatever.

IMG_7023Now that they are Seniors/Cadettes.  We are going with Version 3.0.  The bucket version.  A friend of ours has a lot of cats.  A LOT.  And therefore goes through a LOT of cat litter.  Enough that we were able to acquire 20 buckets from her at no cost. Not only are these way cheaper than buying paint buckets at the local home improvement store, but we also liked the fact that they are square, rather than round: easier to cut the supplies to fit.  Vinyl tablecloths should be purchased seasonally, as in right after a particular holiday season so that they are 60-90% off.  I picked up these nice pastel plaid ones at Joann’s after Easter.  And if you are a Troop Leader without a good stock of duct tape, then your craft box is low on supplies! 😉

Sit-Upons, Ver. 3.0

Supplies per sit-upon:


  •  1 bucket, kitty litter or paint
  • cardboard, cookie boxes work great
  • 2″ foam, or thicker or thinner depending on your budget
  • vinyl, flannel backed table cloth
  • clear packing tape
  • duct tape
  • construction adhesive
  • paper towels
  • cleaner

The first thing you are going to want to do is cut your foam, cardboard, and tablecloth to size.  Your cardboard should exactly fit the top of the lid, making sure to leave room around the edge for opening and sealing the bucket.  Your foam can either be the same size as the cardboard, or even a little bigger.  The tablecloth should be the size of your cardboard, plus 2x the thickness of your foam, plus 3-4″ to pull around to the bottom.  Our cardboard was 8″ square, with the corners trimmed to fit the box.  The foam was also 8″ square, no trimming necessary.  Our pieces of tablecloth were 15″ square (8″ + 2×2″ + 3″). You can pre-cut all of this stuff as we did, or not.  If you are going to be doing a lot of stuff at the meeting, definitely pre-cut.  If you are going to be doing this with Daisies or Brownies, definitely pre-cut.

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Step 1: You are going to place the tablecloth with the vinyl (pretty) side face down.  Then center the foam on the tablecloth, and place the cardboard on top.

Step 2: Using packing tape, tape down the four edges of the tablecloth to the cardboard, making sure to keep it taut.  Then pull the excess fabric in the corners down, and tape to the cardboard (see the picture).  Your cushion is complete!

Step 3: Run a line of construction adhesive along the edge of the lid and in the center.  This part should be done by and adult, or a careful Older Girl.  Please be careful with construction adhesive, it is seriously goopy, and hard to get off of things.  Notice the flattened cardboard box we are using as a work surface so that none of it got on anything important?

Step 4: Center the cushion on the bucket lid, vinyl (pretty) side up, and set down carefully onto the construction adhesive.  Once it is placed correctly, squish it down to get maximum coverage.

IMG_7024At this point, caution the girls against slamming their elbow into the cushion, or stomping it with their foot, because they will then get a big hole in the tablecloth which they will then have to patch up.  Yes.  Even your high school girls.

Business Card Management

So one of the points of going to Conventions and Conferences, regardless of what kind, is to make connections. I think the bloggers have figured out a great way to manage those connections, as far as physical items go.  Every blogger comes to a conference prepared with a stack of their own business cards, a one hole punch, and a binder ring.  Then, as they receive business cards from their new besties at Conference, they punch a hole in one end and slide it onto the binder ring, maybe making a few notes about the person on their card.

I think this is brilliant.  Like a portable, cheap rolodex.  Cathe Holden made a great tutorial on how to do this, which inspired me to make the following little tutorial:

materials – business card sized cardstock, Post-It tabs, washi tape, hole punch (doesn’t have to be as cute as mine).   Not pictured: binder ring, scissors, pen
printed dividers
printed dividers – I printed a set of 8 business cards using Avery Design and Print online.
attach tab to front
attach tab to front – I love these tabs!
label tab
label tab – you can also write on the tabs themselves, but you can only use ballpoint pens, I think.  The felt tip Flair pens I was using smeared, so I used my handy dandy labeler.
cover back with washi tape
cover back with washi tape
punch hole
punch hole
covers, pre-made dividers, blank dividers
covers (2 business cards washi-taped together), pre-made dividers, blank dividers (notice I cut the tabs in half to make finding a particular section easier)
finished book
finished book – just thread everything onto a binder ring

I know that the vendors will all have business cards.  I know that some of the ladies I meet will have business cards.  Business cards are kind of like upscale SWAPs.  🙂

I have already started looking into make some business cards for myself.  Cool ones, not boring business-y ones.  But not too “out there” either.  Ones that will say, “I’m a Girl Scout Leader,  I work with girls AND adults,  I have a sense of humor, and I get things done.”

I think I have decided to go with Jukebox.  I got one of their sample packs sent to me, and the cards are really nice quality.  I have read very good reviews concerning their quality and customer service.  Normally for my more artsy business cards, I use Moo because I love the ability to have 50 different cards in a pack of 50 cards.  But that pack of 50 cards costs $15 even if it’s all the same design.  With Jukebox, I get 500 cards for $53.  The same order at Moo would cost over $100.  And 500 cards does seem like an awful lot to me, but I figure I’ll give away 100 at Conference, maybe another 50 every year during recruiting to new leaders in my Community, and after I’m no longer in my current position with my Community, they will be SWAP fodder. 🙂

samples from Jukebox

Do YOU have a Girl Scout business card?