Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category


Snoopy_learning-the-ropes-root-1495qxi2556_1470_1It is that time of year. Hallmark is now selling the new Keepsake Ornaments for this year’s Christmas season. That means there should be a new Beagle Scout Snoopy ornament if the company is continuing the series they began several years ago. I was in St. Cloud last Saturday afternoon so I decided to stop in the store and see if there was a new one that I needed to buy. There was!

This year’s ornament is called “learning The Ropes”. According to the Hallmark web page, “Square knots, slip knots,…the Beagle Scouts have Snoopy tied up in knots. They’re not trying to be “knotty,” though, they’re just learning the ropes! This ornament would be great for a Peanuts® fan, or anyone who has experience with Scouting.” The size of the piece is only 2.58″ W x 2.09″ H x 1.83″ D, which I believe is a bit smaller than previous year’s ornaments. The price is $14.95. I believe they are for sale in the stores only, and not available online.

I picked up two them. One to use on the tree and one to keep as part of my collection. I have done the same with each year’s piece. I am thinking I may have to set up a tree this Christmas season, put all eight of my Beagle Scout Snoopy ornaments on it, take a picture of it, and post it to this blog again to see if you can find them all.

The store also had several 2013 Lego Yoda ornaments on sale for 80% off. I picked up a three of those since they were less then $4.00 each. I may place one in the tree with the Snoopy ornaments just to mess you up a bit in this year’s tree picture. The others may end up as presents for someone this holiday season.

Here is the Hallmark website page if you want to check out this year’s Beagle Scout Snoopy ornament: http://shop.hallmark.com/christmas/christmas-ornaments/learning-the-ropes-1495QXI2556.html#prefn1=characters&prefv1=Peanuts®&start=1

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    2014flags2The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 will be doing it again this summer. I believe this is the fifth time they will be doing it. The Scouts have fun and the people in the community enjoy it. What am I talking about? The Boy Scouts will once again be handing out small U.S.A. flags along the parade route before the parade begins in Melrose on June 28th.

    We ordered this year’s “made in America” flags from the United States Flag Store. The ones we chose are the 4″ x 6″ stick flags that they currently have on sale for only $0.17 each. They are manufactured at the factory in Pennsylvania, printed in bright colors on cotton fabric, and securely stapled to a 10 inch natural wooden stick. We ordered these last year and people along the route really liked them. They can be found at
    http://www.united-states-flag.com/usa-stick-flag-4×6-no-tip.html

    When we first started doing this project several years ago we bought the cheapest flags we could find which were made out of plastic. Unfortunately, they were not made in the U.S.A. and by the third year people started refusing to take a flag because they were not American made. They had a good point, but we had a limited budget. So, do we buy American made and order half of number of flags, or do we keep ordering the ones not made in America?

    Thankfully, when we were ready to purchase flags last year, the United States Flag Store ran a sale just at the right time. We could order the quantity of flags we wanted and stay in budget. The Scouts handed out all 1500 flags before the parade. Unfortunately, the flags did not say “made in America” on them, so when people asked the Scouts had to tell them they were made in Pennsylvania.

    The flags for this year’s parade arrived last week, another 1500 of them, paid for once again by Melrose VFW Post 7050. I checked them out and once again they are not stamped that they are made in America. They are great flags, but I really wish they were stamped. It would be nice for people to know they were made here in the U.S.A. without having to ask about it.

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      Boys Life poster picIf case you do not know it yet, today, May 4th, is Star Wars day. That means it is time to say, May the fourth be with you! Yes, it is a bit of a silly pun, but it is a fun silly pun. The folks at Boys Life Magazine have decided to have a spot of fun with Star Wars day by creating their own poster to celebrate the new holiday. What is your favorite part of the design? Is it Pedro the burro as Luke Skywalker? Or could it be Pee Wee and Westly as the two droids? How about the Death Star depicted as a glazed donut? I do not think I would care for the alfalfa shake, even with the cherry on top.

      The poster can be downloaded at http://boyslife.org/poster/  .

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        scout greeting cardsThe season is a’ coming. Soon, sons and daughters will be buying greeting cards to give or to send to their mothers and fathers as the months of May and June come near. Hallmark sales will once again go through the roof.

        I was a little surprised when I visited the Scout Shop this week before the Scenic District roundtable. I noticed they had Scouting themed Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards. I did not pick one up to look at it closely because I was running out of time but I thought it would be a nice touch for families that are really into the Scouting program.

        I do have to admit though that it was not the cards that caught my attention. In fact, I looked right pass them the first time. What caught my gaze were the patches that were laying on the counter in front of the cards. They were special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day patches. By the card and get the patch for free, a different one for each parent.

        I thought the front of the Father’s Day patch was pretty cool. It shows dad opening his shirt like Superman, revealing the Scout logo on his tee shirt instead of the Superman S.

        Almost makes me wish I was a father so I could receive one in June.

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          christmasscoutsMerry Christmas everyone! It is time for my favorite Scouting themed Christmas story – The Christmas Scout.

          In spite of the fun and laughter, 13-year-old Frank Wilson was not happy. It was true he had received all the presents he wanted. And he enjoyed the traditional Christmas Eve reunions with relatives for the purpose of exchanging gifts and good wishes. But, Frank was not happy because this was his first Christmas without his brother, Steve, who during the year, had been killed by a reckless driver.

          Frank missed his brother and the close companionship they had together. Frank said good-bye to his relatives and explained to his parents that he was leaving a little early to see a friend; and from there he could walk home. Since it was cold outside, Frank put on his new plaid jacket. It was his FAVORITE gift. He placed the other presents on his new sled. Then Frank headed out, hoping to find the patrol leader of his Boy Scout troop. Frank always felt understood by him. Though rich in wisdom, he lived in the Flats, the section of town where most of the poor lived, and his patrol leader did odd jobs to help support his family.

          To Frank’s disappointment, his friend was not at home. As Frank hiked down the street toward home, he caught glimpses of trees and decorations in many of the small houses. Then, through one front window, he glimpsed a shabby room with limp stockings hanging over an empty fireplace. A woman was seated nearby . . . weeping. The stockings reminded him of the way he and his brother had always hung theirs side by side. The next morning, they would be bursting with presents.

          A sudden thought struck Frank : he had not done his ‘good deed’ for the day. Before the impulse passed, he knocked on the door. ‘Yes?’ the sad voice of the woman asked. ‘May I come in?’ asked Frank. ‘You are very welcome,’ she said, seeing his sled full of gifts, and assuming he was making a collection, ‘but I have no food or gifts for you. I have nothing for my own children.’

          ‘That’s not why I am here,’ Frank replied. ‘Please choose whatever presents you would like for your children from the sled.’

          ‘Why, God bless you!’ the amazed woman answered gratefully. She selected some candies, a game, the toy airplane and a puzzle. When she took the Scout flashlight, Frank almost cried out. Finally, the stockings were full.

          ‘Won’t you tell me your name?’ she asked, as Frank was leaving.

          ‘Just call me the Christmas Scout,’ he replied.

          The visit left Frank touched, and with an unexpected flicker of joy in his heart. He understood that his sorrow was not the only sorrow in the world. Before he left the Flats, he had given away the remainder of his gifts. The plaid jacket had gone to a shivering boy.

          Now Frank trudged homeward, cold and uneasy. How could he explain to his parents that he had given his presents away? ‘Where are your presents, son?’ asked his father as Frank entered the house.

          Frank answered, ‘I gave them away.’

          ‘The airplane from Aunt Susan? Your coat from Grandma? Your flashlight? We thought you were happy with your gifts.’

          ‘I was very happy,’ the boy answered quietly.

          ‘But Frank, how could you be so impulsive?’ his mother asked. ‘How will we explain to the relatives who spent so much time and gave so much love shopping for you?’

          His father was firm. ‘You made your choice, Frank. We cannot afford any more presents.’

          With his brother gone, and his family disappointed in him, Frank suddenly felt dreadfully alone. He had not expected a reward for his generosity, for he knew that a good deed always should be its own reward. It would be tarnished otherwise. So he did not want his gifts back; however he wondered if he would ever again truly recapture joy in his life. He thought he had this evening, but it had been fleeting. Frank thought of his brother, and sobbed himself to sleep.

          The next morning, he came downstairs to find his parents listening to Christmas music on the radio. Then the announcer spoke: ‘Merry Christmas, everybody! The nicest Christmas story we have this morning comes from the Flats. A crippled boy down there has a new sled this morning, another youngster has a fine plaid jacket, and several families report that their children were made happy last night by gifts from a teenage boy who simply called himself the Christmas Scout. No one could identify him, but the children of the Flats claim that the Christmas Scout was a personal representative of old Santa Claus himself.’

          Frank felt his father’s arms go around his shoulders, and he saw his mother smiling through her tears. ‘Why didn’t you tell us? We didn’t understand. We are so proud of you, son.’

          The carols came over the air again filling the room with music: ‘. . .Praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on Earth.’

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            Scouting Village 2013It is finished. I have set up my Scouting Village for the 2013 Christmas season. What do you think of it?

            The village fills a 2.5 foor by 3.5 foot sheet of plywood. It contains the 2012 and 2013 collection pieces. Except for the Trading Post, that is. But at least I have two Ranger Cabins. ( I am still a little upset with myself over that.) I also bought two lighted tents because a campsite is just not a troop campsite with only one tent. I set the church higher than the rest because it is a smaller scale. I thought it might help it look further away and more in proportion to the rest of the scene. The campsite is across the river from base camp because I do not think a troop would want to camp next to the busiest part of camp.

            The “snow” was picked up at a hobby store. The blue river is simply felt paper. The scene contains two sets of the trees from the Scouting Village collection. The rest of the trees came from my Dept. 56 Dickensville collection. I think the trees really add to the looks of the campsite. I also found a little wood pile which fits well with the Boy Scout cutting wood for the evening fire.

            Have you set up your Scouting Village yet? How does it look? Send a picture or two to me and I will feature it in a post to this blog.
            Click on the pictures to see the scene in more detail.

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            I wonder what pieces will be added to the village next year. I bet I will need a bigger sheet of plywood.

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              I screwed up. I took out all my Scouting Village pieces this afternoon to set them up for Christmas. I was kind of excited because not only was I able to get all of this year’s pieces but my local Scout Shop was able to find the piece I missed from last year, the lighted Ranger’s Cabin. I thought I would be able to set up the whole collection!

              I was wrong.

              I discovered that I now own two Ranger’s Cabins. I was not missing the cabin. I was missing last year’s Trading Post! Arrrrrggggg! I should have looked in the cabinet one more time before I had the Scout Shop find me the piece I thought I was missing. I am rather upset with myself. I thought I would be able to post a picture to this blog featuring both year’s collections.

              I took a quick look on eBay and did not like what I found. People are selling the $12.99 Trading Post for $75.00 as a starting bid. The cheapest bidding I found was for $40.00, but there are three days left in the auction so I know where that is going. One seller posted a Trading Post as a “buy it now” purchase of $129.00. Sorry, but I am not interested in paying that much for one piece. This are not Dept. 56 Village pieces, you know.

              Well, I guess my Scouting village will have two Ranger’s Cabins. I will have to pretend that one is used as a trading post.

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                Boy Scouts disc golfI have been giving the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 a small Christmas present each year for 30 years. It is not a very big present, just something to make the season a little more fun, and to give the Scouts a little something to look forward to during our troop Christmas party. Gifts in the past have included balls, fire starters, water bottles, and small lunch coolers. It is easier to find things these years with a small troop. It was tough finding something when we had forty members in the troop. Have you ever tried to find 40 of something in a store? You should see the look on a checkout person’s face when you bring two shopping carts full of red four-square balls to the counter.

                This year I had to push my gift giving up a couple months, to last night’s troop meeting. You see, the gift is something the Scouts can use at this weekend’s troop outing. On Saturday, the troop will be traveling to three different cities to play one of their favorite games, disc golf. Many of the Scouts did not own a disc made for the game so that became this year’s Christmas gift from me.

                I came up with the idea when I noticed on the scoutstuff.com website that there was a closeout going on of the leftover 2013 National Jamboree merchandise. Disc golf discs were going for 50% off the regular price which brought to price down to $4.98 per disc. That is the cheapest price I have ever seen on discs. And they were discs made by Innova, one of the main manufacturers of supplies for the sport, so they were not some cheap unknown brand name discs. I ordered three sets for myself and one midrange disc for each of the Scouts.

                The Boy Scouts seemed to like the gift. There was various colors to chose from so instead of having a free-for-all and stampede to see who would get what color I started with the newest member of the troop and worked my way up to the Scout with the longest membership. Seniority did not count this time. I also told the boys to write their names on their discs in case that get lost on the course, and so that we know whose disc is whose when we play a game.

                Saturday is the big tournament day. The troop will start at the Albany disc golf course, move to St. Joseph for the second game, and end at Riverside Park in St. Cloud. It is going to be a long day. There is going to be a lot of throws. And I would bet there is going to be a lot of very tired Boy Scouts crawling into their sleeping bags Saturday night.

                Does your troop play disc golf?

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