A Great Escape!

Oh April, how I love thee!

How did I bring in the new month?  With teepees and daffodils of course!


And a healthy dose of cards and board games with the family!

As you can see not everyone is thrilled with mandatory fun time in the Ray household.  Some of us… ahem… would rather be playing Minecraft because it is so much MORE COOL than playing Uno with mom.  But in all fairness, at her age everything is more fun than mom. Le sigh.

Life is exhausting!  Especially if you are a mom…  and a wife… and a Girl Scout leader…  and active in your church…  Like, really, REALLY exhausting!

Lucky for me, April is Volunteer appreciation month in Girl Scouts which can only mean one thing:  Volunteer Retreat!

I live and breath for the month of April.  Not only is it my birthday month but I know that come April I will be whisked away to a cabin in the (semi-isolated) woods.  I will be  surrounded by trees, moss, water, and animals galore!  Every night is dark and lovely.  The stars shine bright, and the lightning bugs, which are super hard to find in Central Florida nowadays, blink their lovely beckoning call- come!  Come to the woods!

So off to the woods I went!



Now this getaway is also special in another way.  Its a full weekend of nothing but Girl Scout traditions and crafts!!!  You get to select modules of craft tutorials led by other volunteers in the area.  My choices were: Calligraphy, Sparkling Juice and Paint Party, Card Making/Scrapbooking, Pool Time, and Button Trees.  Unfortunately, the instructor for the Calligraphy could not make the class.  But luckily, someone stepped in to teach the class some American Sign Language instead!  Also, it was freezing so I nixed the Pool Time and sat in on the cross stitching class instead.

Now this particular camp is a special one.  Mah-Kah-Wee (“Earth Maiden”) is a Girl Scout camp owned by the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council.  And it is beautiful!  No, I mean BEAUTIFUL!  Mah-Kah-Wee is everything you expect when you think of Florida.  A lovely lake is centered right in the middle, surrounded by trails, camp sites, cabins, lodges, pavilions, and buildings for activities.

Looks like a postcard, doesn’t it?

And there are these adorable little walkways going every which way.


My particular cabin was located in an area called Eagles Roost.  Its on the west side of the lake and takes for-frecking-ever to walk to the main lodge.  Not that I mind the walk.  I just didn’t like the walk with an arm full of crafting supplies!  I did manage to get away by myself at one point when I had to make an impromptu trip back to my cabin to change clothes.   Now, normally they stress the importance of the buddy system (where you walk around the camp two-by-two), but this was a special kind of circumstance and warranted an excursion onto the trails by my lonesome.  And, between you and I, I didn’t mind the peace and quiet not one bit.


Oh yes!  It is nice to getaway every now and then.  One of the bad things about going away to camp is that there is usually so much to do during the day that you seldom get to enjoy the solitude and quiet of just being in the woods.  But not I!  I was on a quest for dry pants and there was plenty to see on my little 20 minute journey to my cabin.


Full disclosure- I am a wonderer and I may or may not have gotten lost once or twice on this trip chasing sounds and quizzically examining mother nature.

The pinecones were ginormous!

But there’s really no where to go and growing up in the mountains of Kentucky has made me well versed in critters and plant-life.  And although we are secluded, we are surrounded by city life, with perfect cell service, so in the big scheme of things I felt incredibly safe venturing out on my own.

And my cabin was delightful!  Not only are they clean cabins with strong working air conditioners (important when you live in Florida), but the beds are comfortable!  Have you ever?

Eagles Roost
My cabin
Such clean rooms!  This is my bunk.

Best part of going to camp?  Making new friends and reconnecting with the old ones!

Vol retreat pic
My roomies!

Make new friends, but keep the old…

…one is silver and the other’s gold!

The Volunteer Retreats are also themed.  This year’s theme was A Journey Through Time and there were lots of Doctor Who references which was super exciting for me as a certifiably crazy Doctor Who fan.  The main lodge where we gathered for group time and meals was referred for the entirety of the trip as “The Tardis”.  Yay!

Yes, it IS bigger on the inside!
The main lodge, AKA, the Tardis

And now, for my favorite part- my crafts!!!  Look at all this crafty goodness!  Behold the bounty of my weekend!  Feast your eyes upon my craft-i-dom!

First up:  Sparkling Juice and Paint Party!

This class was actually led by my friend Kate, who is, as you might expect, throughly awesome!  I had personally never had this sparkling juice as I typically go for the slightly more adultier version.  But Girl Scouts has a strict no alcohol policy so, alas, sparkling juice it is.  But, surprisingly, it was unbelievably tasty!  I will be adding this to my shopping list permanently.

Now I am a horrible painter.  HOR. RI. BLE.  But Kate was so patient and is so good at what she does, that my painting actually kinda looks like a horse!  No one was more shocked than myself!

Are you ready to see?  Here goes!


Suck it art teacher who thought I might be better suited for a different hobby!  That sun makes me super happy.  Kate was instructing us on how to blend in, and I was failing miserably at it.  Happily that choppiness ended up being my favorite part.

Next up:  Card making!


Can you believe that these are made completely from scratch?  The designs are all stamps. Typically I hate using stamps because I just can’t figure out how to get the whole image to come out.  I always end up smearing the image or only half of it on paper.  I decided after this brilliant outcome of my class that it must be the materials that they were using.  I mean, you get what you pay for, right?  And these instructors were kind enough to allow me to take pictures of them!

Last, but certainly not least, button trees!  Now remember what I said about not being able to paint very well?  Yeah, well, I still couldn’t paint for my button tree class either.  Luckily, I have mad gluing and color palette skills.  So much so that when I got home my daughters fought over who got the button tree picture!  I remedied that situation by doing another, this time with flowers instead of buttons.  Check them both out!

And because the people in my button tree class were such lovely people, I have pictures of their projects as well, which they lovingly consented to my uploading for your viewing pleasure!

I also used some of my downtime to make a dreamcatcher for my littlest girl, since she was the only one left who did not have one.  I didn’t get a very good picture, but this will give you a good idea:


The purple is actually much brighter in person.  Using a crocheted dolly in the middle was a fabulous idea and one that I will be repeating in the future.  Now it just needs some more ribbon, feathers, and beads attached and dangling to give it a more bohemian look and she will be all set.  Now if only I could pry it from her hands to make some adjustments…

I learned not only from my instructors, but I carefully picked the brains of my friends to learn their crafts as well!  Just check out some of these projects!

Spray paint art:

Super cool, right?

Also, french message boards:


I will definitely be completing one of these projects soon!

Well, that is all my lovelies for today!  I’ll catch you later!



The Colourful Teacup


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