A Note from the Founder – New Staff Addition!
by Kerry Cordy
Say a big welcome to Emma Brookes who will soon be filling and shipping all orders. Emma was one of the founding members of the very first Frontier Girls troop back in 2007 and it is with great excitement that I welcome her back to the program. All grown up and married now, this cutie who was the face of Frontier Girls for many years has come full circle. Her ready smile, huge heart and adventurous spirit make her a wonderful addition to the Curiosity Untamed staff.
New Badges Added
Did You Know?
In the Middle Ages, pepper was so valuable that it was often used as currency. Black peppercorns were often used to pay rents and taxes as coins were scarce and unlike silver, peppercorns could not be debased.
Since the Spice badge was just added to the website, August is the perfect month to make some spice sugars so that they will be full of flavor by fall. Making spiced sugar is quite simple, and it adds a delightful twist to your usual sweeteners. Here’s a basic recipe for making spiced sugar and some ideas on what you can use it in:
- Granulated sugar
- Aromatic spices of your choice (e.g., cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla beans, dried orange or lemon peels)
- Air tight container
- Choose your spices: Select the spices you want to use for infusing the sugar. Cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg are popular choices, but you can get creative and experiment with other spices like cardamom, allspice, or ginger.
- Prepare the spices: If you’re using larger spices like cinnamon sticks or dried citrus peels, you might want to crush them into smaller pieces to release more flavor. You can use a mortar and pestle or place the spices in a sealed plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
- Combine sugar and spices: In a clean, dry jar or airtight container, mix the granulated sugar with your chosen spices. You can adjust the spice-to-sugar ratio based on your preference for the intensity of flavor.
- Infuse the sugar: Seal the jar or container and let the sugar sit with the spices for at least a few days to a week. The longer it sits, the more pronounced the spiced flavor will become. Shake or stir the container occasionally to help evenly distribute the spices.
- Strain (optional): If you prefer a smoother sugar without larger spice pieces, you can strain the spiced sugar through a fine mesh strainer to remove the solid spices before using.
What to put spiced sugar in:
- Coffee or Tea: Add a spoonful of spiced sugar to your morning coffee or tea for a warm and aromatic twist.
- Baked Goods: Use spiced sugar in place of regular sugar in your favorite baking recipes. It can add a delightful spiced flavor to cookies, cakes, muffins, and more.
- Sprinkle on Fresh Fruits: Sprinkle spiced sugar over fresh fruits like sliced apples, pears, or berries for a naturally sweet and spiced treat.
- Cereal or Oatmeal: Enhance your breakfast by mixing spiced sugar into your cereal or oatmeal.
- Homemade Spiced Syrups: Use spiced sugar as a base for making flavored syrups to drizzle over pancakes, waffles, or desserts.
The possibilities are endless, so feel free to get creative with how you use your homemade spiced sugar!
August Activities for Curious Minds
- Fresh Food: Visit a farmers market or farm to pick out fresh fruits and vegetables. Try something you have never tasted before and learn about how it grows.
- Nature Scavenger Hunt: Head out into the great outdoors and challenge yourself to find items like leaves, rocks, feathers, and animal tracks. Use a field guide or a nature app to identify the objects you find and learn more about the world around you.
- Science Experiments: Dive into the world of science by conducting fun experiments at home. Create a volcano eruption with baking soda and vinegar, make homemade slime, or explore the wonders of static electricity. Remember to follow safety guidelines and involve an adult when necessary.
- Book Club: Start a book club with friends or family members. Choose a book to read together and schedule weekly discussions to share your thoughts and insights. Reading is a fantastic way to expand your knowledge and explore new worlds from the comfort of your own home.
- Journaling: Document your summer adventures in a journal. Write about your experiences, the skills you developed, and the memories you created. Add drawings, photographs, or even pressed flowers to make your journal truly unique.
Body Doubling, an ADHD Technique
Last month, while mentoring my ADHD adult nephew in his goal to pursue higher education, my daughter, who is also ADHD, introduced me to body doubling. It has been a game changer! If you have a child with ADHD, or even just a kid who struggles to focus for certain tasks, read on.
According to Medical News Today, “ADHD body doubling is a practice in which a person with ADHD works on and completes potentially frustrating tasks alongside another person. This other person is the “body double” for the person with ADHD. The body double’s job is to help anchor the person with ADHD to the present moment and task, reducing the risk of distraction.”
How Does Body Doubling Work?
The concept of body doubling is simple yet effective. By working alongside another person, you create an atmosphere of shared accountability and mutual support. Here’s how you can make the most of body doubling with your child:
- Be Their Buddy: Explain to your child that you are going to be their work buddy and do your own work right next to them while they do theirs. Use the time to make schedules for the rest of the week, meal plan, or do anything else that “looks” like school work next to your child.
- Set a Timeframe: Determine a specific timeframe during which you’ll both work together. It can be as short as 15 minutes or extend to longer periods based on your needs and preferences.
- Eliminate Distractions: Find a quiet and comfortable workspace, free from distractions that could hinder your focus.
- Share Your Goals: Communicate your individual goals and tasks to your child as well as outline what you expect from them. This helps create a sense of shared purpose and accountability. You get to celebrate your own achievements as well as theirs.
- Get to Work: Start working on your respective tasks while being physically present with your child. Remember to avoid excessive chatting or interruptions during the designated work period. Save that as a reward during breaks.
Benefits of Body Doubling:
- Increased Focus: The presence of someone working alongside your child can help minimize distractions and keep them focused on their task. It adds an element of structure and accountability to their work environment.
- Enhanced Productivity: Knowing that someone else is working diligently alongside can motivate kids to stay on track. It creates a positive peer pressure that can boost productivity levels.
- Support and Encouragement: Body doubling provides a supportive space where you can share challenges with your child, let them seek advice, and celebrate achievements together. It fosters a sense of camaraderie and helps combat feelings of isolation that can sometimes arise during long work sessions.
- Breaking Work into Manageable Chunks: By working in short, focused bursts, body doubling can help you break down complex or overwhelming tasks into more manageable parts. Set a time limit with scheduled breaks and stick to it.
- Building Discipline and Consistency: Engaging in regular body doubling sessions can cultivate discipline and consistency in your child’s school routine. Over time, it can help develop strong work habits that contribute to long-term success.
Next time you see your child struggling to concentrate or feeling unmotivated, consider giving body doubling a try. Grab your kid, set your goals, and let the power of shared focus propel you towards success!
Working one of the new Spice badges? How about making a spice scented sachet. These delightful little sachets can be filled with a combination of aromatic spices, making them perfect for adding a refreshing scent to your home, car, or even as gifts for friends and family. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make them:
Materials you’ll need:
- Two Fabric rectangles of the same size (cotton or muslin works well) – various colors/patterns if desired. Size depends on how large you want you sachet, but 3’x4′ works well.
- Needle and thread or a sewing machine
- Pinking shears
- A mix of dried aromatic spices (e.g., rose petals, cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, dried lemon or orange peels, etc.)
- Ribbons or twine
- Embellishments like buttons, beads, or small fabric flowers (optional)
- Take the two fabric rectangles (with the decorated sides facing inward) and stitch three sides together with a 1/2″ seam using a needle and thread or sewing machine. Leave one side open, so you can fill the sachet. Trim all edges with the pinking shears to avoid fraying.
- In a bowl, mix your dried aromatic spices to create a delightful blend. Consider using a mix of lavender, rose petals, chamomile, and a hint of cinnamon or other spices you enjoy. Experiment to find a combination that appeals to you.
- Stuff the sachets: Carefully fill the fabric pouches with your spice blend. Be generous but leave enough room to close the sachet easily.
- Once your sachets are filled, use ribbon or twine to tie it closed.
- Add embellishments (optional): If you want to add extra charm to your sachets, you can glue on buttons, beads, or fabric flowers.
Your spice-scented summer sachets are now ready to use or gift! Place them in your closets, drawers, or anywhere you’d like to enjoy their lovely fragrance. You can also hang them near a window or use them as car air fresheners.
Remember to refresh the scent over time by gently squeezing the sachets to release more aroma from the spices. Happy crafting and enjoy the scents of summer!
That’s all for this month’s edition of the Curiosity Untamed newsletter. Remember, learning is a lifelong adventure, and every day is an opportunity to keep your curiosity untamed!