Catapults and Cub Scouts

One Hundred Fifty Cub Scouts Making Catapults!  We call this fun?  Actually we do call this fun.  It was a blast.  My husband V was asked to help with a Regional Cub Scout Merit Badge on Engineering.  V is a Chemical Engineer and we were doing mechanical engineering but Cub scouts are not picky.

The theme for this event was a Medieval Court including building a CASTLE.  So all the leaders had crowns on.My fearless leader had a crown on too, ON a hard hat.

My husband immediately turned to me and asked for my HELP.  This is the usual course of events.  So I was there and I had a crown – a sparkly TIARA 🙂 but V got the credit and the photo opp.  One of the Adults with a scout troop works with V and took the photos for their company news letter.  But hey a girl’s gotta complain about something.

When V asked me to help I was totally THERE.  He wanted to have the boys make catapults.  No way I was going to miss that. So I sent him to our favorite website that I gave him a membership to for his birthday, instructables.com,  where he found a great, easy catapult.  click HERE to see catapult instructions.

Each troop rotated through the 6 engineering activity stations.  At ours V started by giving an intro., a catapult demo using our BIG catapult, and a demonstration on the benefits of using pulleys.  For the pully demo. V would have the 2 largest fathers hold on to one end of the rope with a single pully and have the smallest scout pull against them.  No luck.  Then he would switch the fathers and the scout to a rope that passed through several pulleys – a block and tackle.  Woo Hoo!  The fathers were no match for the scout.  EVERYONE got to try. 😀

scouts to the right, scouts to the left, and not a leader in sight

After that they came to me and our Explorer scout assistant, E , to make their catapults.  As they moved up the line they gathered their supplies, base, wood block, tongue depressor, plastic spoon, and clothespin.  E and I would hot glue the parts together as fast as we could so the boys could move on to the next engineering station on time.  WHEW!

At the end, (drama), we ran out of supplies!  We had not been told of the increase in registration.  We had 30 extra sets of pieces but still ran short of tongue depressors.  First I gave out all of our demo catapults.  Then I tried glueing the spoon directly on to the clothespin.  But the catapult needs the extra leverage provided by lengthening the clothespin with the tongue depressor.  😦   What to do???

Then I, yes that would be moi, the non engineer, came up with the brilliant, amazeing, tremendous, stupendous, marvelous, (I could go on), answer.  I quickly cannibalized a clothes pin.  I glued the two wooden pieces where the tongue depressor was supposed to go so that their ends overlapped a little.  Then I added the spoon.  Voila – Victory.  And that my friends is how I erned my degree as an honorary mechanical engineer.

We were unable to stay for the part where the scouts all built a Castle together using parts that each troop had been assigned to bring.  But we left our big display catapult, built last July 4th, for them to use to bombard the castle.  To see my family using the catapult we loaned for the castle atack click HERE

One Hundred Eighty-plus Cub Scouts with Catapults?  FUN!

Prevent January Doldrums-Bake these EASY Snowmen Cookies

Snowmen are not just for Christmas, let the gang down gently by baking these fancy cookies that are ready to decorate in just 35 minutes.

Time Table

Mix dough using Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix-15 minutes.

Shape first 10 cookies – 10 minutes

Bake first batch/shape second 10 cookies-10 minutes.

Bake second batch/mix frosting-10 minutes

Now you have time and energy left to decorate the cookies.

What you will need

Cookie Dough – bowl, cookie mix, 1/3 stick butter, 1 Tablespoon flour, 1 egg

Quick and Yummy Frosting, 1 cup whipping cream, powdered sugar, salt

(cream cheese frosting or butter cream frosting are good too but take a bit longer. My favorite frosting is made with Clotted Cream instead of butter and is as quick as the cream and sugar.  I make my own clotted cream since my daughter who lives in England has gotten me addicted to it.  It is expensive to buy here but I developed my own easy recipe for making it.  Click HERE for the Clotted Cream Blog.

Cookie sheets, spoons, butter knives, spatula,( and the items I forgot to put in the picture),thin pretzel sticks, white sprinkles, red pull apart licorice, mini M+M’s or mini chocolate chips.  I got my Mini M+M’s from the stocking stuffer treat area at Walmart.  Albertson’s told me I could buy a pound of them from their bakery.

Mix up the dough using the recipe for rolled cookies ( I used the drop cookie recipe plus 1 T flour but the cookies spread too much)

Take one full teaspoon of dough for the bottom ball of the snowman.  I make all 10 at the same time so they are close to the same size.  This helps them bake evenly.

Gently press out dough ball into flat circle.  The cookie will have a more defined snowman shape if each circle is slightly wider than it is tall.

Take one full teaspoon of dough, roll it and pull it into the middle and top balls.

Gently press out dough balls so that they overlap just a bit.  Bake 7-10 minutes at 350

When the last batch of cookies are baking, mix powdered sugar and a pinch of salt into 1 cup of heavy cream.  I never measure the sugar, I just keep adding a spoonful till the frosting is how I like it.

Allow second batch of cookies to cool while frosting the first 10 cookies.

Frost cookies and decorate.  I pull the licorice apart in double strands for the scarves.  I also give each snowman blue, green or brown eyes.  I make sure have enough orange ones for noses.  Use the rest of the colors as wanted.  I break 1/4 of the end off of each pretzel stick for the arms,  1/2 seems too short, a whole one seems too long.

Have fun!