Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Grant's 4-H projects

We survived the 4-H fair judging today.  I decided it would be easier for me to highlight each of the boys work and results separately this year--so this is the first of three. .of course, in no particular order!!
This year's woodworking seemed to be easier.  J and G came up with the plans for the cedar picnic table themselves.  Grant enjoys that project and worked very independently on it. 
He chose to finish it in penofin to protect it. It really brought out the grain of the cedar wood.
Because, we plan to re-use the patio chairs that we have now, he just made one bench to go with the table.  It has been covered up in the shop, and I can't wait to get it on the deck next weekend!!  The judge thought he did ok too, cause he gave him a blue ribbon. I hope to post a picture of the table and bench in the next few weeks after they get situated to their new homes!
Rocketry was a new project for him this year, even though the boys have dabbled with hobby lobby rockets for the last couple years.  The requirements were that he had to build one from scratch or from a kit--but nothing in the kit could be prebuilt.  They have been flying rockets through the winter, and he didn't start this one until last week--as I realized the rocket he had been using had pre-formed fins and wasn't acceptable for the fair.  This one had a really hard paint pattern on it--again, not realized until too late!! Overall, he did a good job on it, though the paint job was less than perfect.  We flew it after Tristan's birthday party.  Luckily for us, it went straight up and came straight down--with no injury to the rocket.  Granny and Papa got to watch the launch too.  They are fun to watch!!  Blue ribbon placing too.

Cooking went well this year.  Last year, I was SOO stressed out while they cooked, that I thought I surely would die this year to have THREE kids to help.  But the older two are getting better and take much less work.  And Devin is a completely willing subject, and seems to be more fun to teach since I am not pulling his teeth out to be there!  We switched Grant's plans Monday, after Great Grandma Pat brought over some rhubarb.  She has a really good cake recipe for using it, and he opted to do that.  The cake was beautiful--and hopefully it tasted great too!! The bad thing about baking a cake is that there is no preview before the judge gets to try it!!  But he raced over to the food sale right after she gave him a purple ribbon, and paid $5 to bring it home again.  But it WAS pretty good!  He also made gingersnaps. They were supposed to be dipped in white chocolate, but he didn't want to "mess them up," and his dad agreed, so he didn't dip them.  They were good, and froze well.  We made them last week, and the afterthought was to freeze enough that we COULD use them for the fair, if they thawed nicely. .which they did! YEAH!  Another purple ribbon, and he thinks that he will take these on to the state fair, since they can only take one exhibit per kid.  His final recipe was for lemon muffins that had coconut in the batter and a lemon coconut glaze to put on the top--I loved them!  However, last night at 9:30, as Tristan was helping to clean the kitchen, he opened the microwave and said "Hey, whose butter is this?!"  AHA!! That missing butter was the reason that those lemon muffins weren't quite the same as they were last week.  They were heavier, but the glaze dripped down into the poked holes on the top and moistened them right back up.  Blue ribbon (we didn't tell the judge that he had forgotten the butter!!) 
This was his second year in photography.  He still needs to be directed to go out and shoot some pictures, but he usually goes out easily and looks at things from different angles.  We were just going to blow up 3, but couldn't decide--so we used 4 instead.  The picture of the wagon got a purple and will go on to the state fair. The other three got blues, and I'm not sure that the rose picture didn't get a state fair blue also--but my details are a little fuzzy. . You can imagine after 20 some entries to the fair by the 3 kids!!

This was the first year that I was co-chairmen of the 4-H food exhibits (the first of MANY I am sure!!) This gave me the opportunity to sit next to the judge and keep track of the exhibits and paperwork.  I learned a lot and found it to be quite interesting.  I was glad that other families have mishaps too!! Some had exhibits that were so horrible they had to leave them at home, some forgot their exhibits in the oven and totally over cooked them, and  many had never made their recipes before (something that we have done too!!) the fair.  We enjoyed a trip to the pool later this afternoon--which has become our after-fair tradition!

Grant has the personality that, if he can't do it perfectly and be the best at it, he doesn't want to do it at all.  He also struggles with humility!  Being of the competitive cloth, the fair is always the hardest for him to deal with--because his stuff isn't usually the best, it's just good!! (go figure--he doesn't like blue ribbons, because he WANTS purple ones!) Slowly, slowly--we are molding him and trying to shape that personality with these little lessons!! Somedays I don't know if it works or not. .but he is getting better about apologizing when he is advised to because his careless comments hurt feelings!! I'm a strong believer in the 4-H program--because of the strong life lessons that it provides to help them grow to be GREAT people!!

Devin's projects will be posted tomorrow sometime! Have a great week!


  1. I got to go up last night and see G's table. I thought it was beautiful. That wood looks amazing.
    I guess T dropped his cookies..the only thing he was carrying into the building! I guess some of the choc chips on top were doa's but he got a blue and sticker for them so I guess it didn't stand out. Fair time is so stressful they should give out GC's to the bar for the adults afterwards.

  2. I worked in an Extension office for a couple years and I must say it is refreshing to see your kids taking their projects seriously and working hard on them. It's sad to say, but some kids put little or no effort into their projects (their parents do most or all of the work on the project)It's depressing. You should be very proud of your kids- they did great!

  3. I must have got burnt out on all of the 4-H stuff that we did, because I can't even bring myself to suggest that my kids join 4-H. Plus, I think it is a little different in these big cities than what we grew up to. Glad you made it through another one. Tell Grant good job!


  4. I have a little boy that sounds just like Grant, so if you ever discover the key to handling disappointment well, please share! I can't wait to see that sounds just like what I would LOVE to have in my backyard!! Great Job Grant at the fair!!

  5. Thanks for sharing about Grant's projects - that was really interesting to read about, and glad he did well! Ha - C.R. and I did that one time - had blueberry muffin batter put in the pans ready to bake, and then found the melted butter in the microwave! We dumped the batter back in the bowl, added the butter, stirred it up, re-spooned it into the muffin tins, and there they went! I think they got a blue. LOL I wonder what the judges would think if they could see all that kind of thing. :) Glad you got to help, that sounds interesting. Looking forward to reading about the other projects, and seeing your cool deck table. :)