Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blue and Gold 2012

Well, for those of you who know, I was called to be a cubmaster of our local pack.  The annual Blue & Gold banquet was last night, and I was thrilled that the theme was Resourcefulness with a western theme.  There's just so much you can do inexpensively with a cowboy theme.

And we did.

Drumroll, please . . .

You may remember that I was part of a previous Blue andGold banquet that had a western theme.  So it was easy to re-use the invite idea of a cubs scout wanted "poster" : )

(Though I knew I wasn't going to make another cake from scratch.  And by scratch I mean making a cake pan from scratch and decorating the cooked cake.  The mix itself was good ole' Betty Crocker's handy work.)


Cub Scout "Wanted" Poster, complete with a picture of a cub scout.  : )
 And there it is.  All I added was a date and time to it for the email invites.  The hard copy invites were folded in half with this pic on the front, and then the boys wrote the date, time, and; place on the inside of the cards.

Front of room--open barn doors, with a slide projector screen up, as well as a small table for awards.
It's dark, but the right side wall has a "picture window" of a sunset
Once again, it's dark, but the back right wall has another "picture" window of the sunset, as does the back of the room.
Back right mural of sunset; you can see two tables in the distance that were set up as vest-decorating stations
Adjacent from the vest-making stations, also in the back, were the buffet tables.  Didn't think to take a pic that night when the food was actually on them. 

I wish I had taken a picture of the murals on the left.  Those "picture windows" both showed night skies.  Cool, right?  Our cub committee chair had made all those murals for a YSA stake activity a year earlier. 
It's hard to see, but if you look up at the front, under the projection screen, she also made these cool hay bales; they're those yellow stacked boxes.  She just covered boxes with yellow paper, used a little brown paint to make "hay" marks here and there, cut the edges of the paper to look like hay sticking out, and then tied twine around the hay "bundle" in two places.  So cute, and so inexpensive to make.

If you look at the picture above this one, you can see that in the middle of the room, facing the "stage" are two long tables.  We honored the cub scouts and let them sit there.
One of the wolf leaders even made them individual, personalized place mats.  It was their special night.

Pie tins, mason jars, napkins, and rootbeer pitchers (empty at the time of the picture-taking)

 I thought it would be so fun to eat out of pie tins and drink out of mason jars.  I gathered disposable pie tins, and between myself and a bear leader we provided 90ish pint mason jars (and some were the 8 oz ones for little siblings).  And guess what?  Not a single "cup" broke that night!  It probably helped that the cultural hall is carpeted....

The cub committee chair already had the red-and-white checkered tablecloths on a huge roll to go with her rockin' murals.  On the round tables she cut squares that made for a nice overlay.  I wish I had taken pictures of the centerpieces, which didn't come until that night.  The bears made them, and they alternated between campfires and quart mason jars with some beans and candles (candles that the boys made).  The flames of the campfires were yellow, red, and orange tissue paper coming up out of real sticks glued to real rocks in the form of a campfire.  They were so creative.

If you look back up at the pic above, you can see a little tag hanging off of the pitcher there.  It says "sarsaparilla," which is apparently how it is really spelled, and that's a sarsaparilla leaf/plant on the tag:
Sarsaparilla tags, pronounced "sasparilla" (Rootbeer tags)
That night we also had sticks of butter on the tables, with little signs next to them:
Axle Grease (butter)

Cub Scout Cowboy closeup; this is what I printed for the napkin rings.  Thank you to Rob for cutting 90 of these out since my hands were still recovering from cutting out a lot of paper bag vests.
I just love photoshop.  Getting to take the cub's hat off, create hair in its place, stick a new cowboy hat on, slap on a circle of barbed wire, feels creative to me even though I'm just merging existing pictures.  I did a LOT of photoshop for much of the artwork, often merging different artwork and even adding my own.  I don't know how I ever lived without a wacom tablet before.

I noticed during the evening that when kids (and adults!) slipped off their napkin rings, many of them ended up being worn as regular rings.  So they served dual purposes!

Wild West leather bound and western-imprinted books that I found at a local thrift shop for less than a dollar apiece.  Thought it would be fun to add them to the decor.  They added a nice touch.  If I ever get to the project I actually bought them for, I'll post pics.
When the kids walked in that night, there was a big chalkboard out in the foyer where I had written very quickly, "Howdy!"  I noticed that throughout the evening that little kids and big kids (including adults!) drew artwork on it, often western pictures.  It was a last-minute idea to use the chalkboard to block the hallway (we're always trying to keep scouts away from running around in the halls, which they are VERY prone to do), and it ended up doubling in purpose as well, keeping those little siblings' attention.

Vest station.  Plus you can see some of one of the picture windows up close there in the background.
Once the boys got in the room, we had two stations set up at back; one for putting together a cowboy ensemble, and the other to keep them occupied before and during the evenings' plans.  This is a pic of the vest station.  You can see the bandanas on the left, and then three piles of pre-cut paper bags (I do believe I may be getting carpal tunnel, which I could definitely tell after cutting out more than 20 of these).  Markers were set out so the boys could decorate them, and paper "sheriff" badges were also supplied along with glue.  If you look back up at the picture you can also see the red bandanas on the left, which the boys wore around their necks.

Paper bag vest close up.  It was COMPLETELY worth the effort to make them.  The boys and siblings decorated and wore them all evening.  I think they were one of the many "hits" of the night.
The sheriff badges.  I just cut a piece of yellow construction paper down to 81/2 x 11" and printed them off and cut them out.  Easy peasy, and another fun touch. And by easy peasy, I mean it most likely took me less than an hour to find clip art I liked, prep it in photoshop to my taste, copy a bunch of them on a page, print them all off, and cut them out.  It did take longer than that, even on this one little detail, but that's because I was getting interrupted while I was working on it.

Snake in the Hole bean bag toss
I picked up a pirate-themed toddler-sized bean bag board awhile ago (off of freecycle) that I used for Bryce's pirate-themed b-day party, and I just did it over with brown paper and some new western graphics, namely, snakes.  : ) 
Game name
It was Bryce's idea to have the "S" in snake actually BE a snake.  It was also his idea to have one of the beanbag holes be the "O" in Hole.  So creative, Bryce!  And I ended up finding a totally great graphic of that snake curled up in a circle.
I also drew (with a wacom tablet, not pen & paper) the snake that's coiled up.  I found a graphic that I liked, but it was a photograph of an embroidered patch.  So I just re-drew it.  It was my first time drawing something from scratch in photoshop.  'Course, I made an empty layer over the patch pic, traced over the outline, and then went in and free-handed the details.  But STILL!  Cool.  And why completely freehand when you can cheat?  Hehe.

Baby sock beanbags
 I didn't have any beanbags small enough (who knows what I used for Bryce's party), and somehow the idea came to me to use socks.  I didn't have time to sort through the boys' socks and pull out mismatches, which was kinda how the idea came to me, so I bought a package of baby socks, folded the edges down inside, and then stitched across the top once I had filled them with beans.  Jeffrey, Bryce, Nathan, Rob and I all sewed shut at least one bag; everyone wanted in on the action.  I think it was faster to do it by hand than find and unpack the sewing machine.  They looked so nifty!

The beanbag toss was another hit.  It was certainly more chaotic, because kids loved throwing those beanbags around, rather than trying to get them in the holes, but at the end of the night, they liked them so much that I asked all the scouts to help me put all my stuff back in my van (a very smart webelos leader's idea), and gave them each one to take home with them as a reward.  They went nuts.  And the cost?  I already had the beans, and 12 socks (6 pair) cost me about $4.  The excitement of the kids especially at the end of the night when I let them each take one home?  PRICELESS.  I'll just go buy another set of socks and let my boys sew them up again so that we have a set at home now.

The guests
 We pretty much used all the chairs, and we had 80 chairs set up, so we had a GREAT turnout.

We had skits inbetween a slideshow presentation, awards, and dinner.  This was one done by the webelos den.
I don't think Bryce stopped smiling the entire evening.  Looks like we did our job well.  And how do you like those chaps he's wearing?  I bought them at our local thrift shop months ago as we were working on Nathan's cowboy halloween costume, and they were too big for Nathan.  Cost?  $1.  They came unzipped a little at the bottom from Bryce running around, but they fit him just right, and he LOVED wearing them.

"Water!  We need Water!" they cried as they pulled themselves toward a water pitcher.
 Another skit, done by the Wolves and our one Bear.

The boys at their seats of honor
The boys, watching the slideshow of pictures of them over the last year

And now, for my favorite part.  The naming of the food.

So let it be written, so let it be done.
In no particular order:

Not your ordinary garden-variety snake.  These are ALL BEEF snakes.  So ironic! (Beef hotdogs)

Armadillo Guts (Chili for the snakes-in-a-blanket)

Bessie's very Frozen Bounty (Ice cream to go with the cobbler cookoff)

Cow Feed (Salad)

Cactus Juice (Water).  Which we served at the good ole' watering hole.  Nathan loved this so much that he's been asking me all day today for more cactus juice.  Hehe.

Hardtack (Biscuits).  Yes, I know hardtack is a sailor term.  But still fun to use for play cowboys.

Grubs (Chicken Nuggets).  My, don't these look--um--tasty?  Musta been, 'cuz the boys gobbled them up in about 5 minutes.

Hay (Grated Cheese).  To sprinkle on the snakes-in-a-blanket, of course.

Mississippi Mud (Mustard)

This isn't a cowboy term, but I searched and searched, and decided to pick this from a diner lingo website.  If you want ketchup on something, you say "paint it red."  For instance, for a burger you would say: Burn it (cook the meat), run it through the garden (add lettuce and pickles), pin a rose on it (a tomato), and paint it red (add ketchup).  Fun stuff!  That's where I got the mississippi mud as well.

Pickled Fish Eyes (Relish)

Roadkill (Cobbler).  One of my favorite food names.  One of our wolf den leaders won the cook-off.

Prairie Strawberries (Beans).  Or Billy-bob-beans.  But the former was an actual cowboy term for their beans.  Apparently, cow chips were also termed "prairie . . ."-- prairie coal.  Ew.

Snakes in a blanket (hot dogs).  The original.

We had a watering hole set up as well.  I loved the graphic I found of a pump.  It's a good thing, too, because I didn't like a single one of any of the other water pump clip art images I looked at.

All in all, it was a great evening.  I really think the boys loved it, and it's something they'll remember for a long time.  We just kept their favorite pack meeting the highlight of the year.  : )

Next to Pinewood Derby, of course.  Ahem.