Monday, July 18, 2011

The Fair Has Come. . .And Gone

Today feels like the first day of summer vacation. We have survived ball games through the month of June and the county fair that has taken the priority through the month of July. It is fun to watch the kids get excited about their interests and get involved in them, even developing new interests along the way. They were really blessed with great ratings, good advice, and positive feedback this year.
Of course, the highlight for their mom was the baking! And they did it well this year. We found out that things go better when there is only one cook and one supervisor in the kitchen at a time. The older boys are getting very independent, but I still like to be RIGHT there to listen to what they are doing, and ask questions to make sure they are doing things right. Grant started his muffins before I got home from work, and didn't melt the butter, instead worked in cool butter to his recipe. .NO GOOD! (tasted fine, appearance was not nice and texture was just plain weird)
Our kitchen was a hodgepodge of 4 varieties of muffins (including the messed up ones. .I made him do them over--mean mom!), pans of bar cookies with the middles cut out and a bundt cake (also affectionately referred to as the "butt cake").
Devin got the Reserve Champion ribbon of level 1 cooks on his Dijon Ham Muffins (the same recipe none of the boys wanted to try because it was going to be NASTY!!) I will hope to post the recipe one of these days because they were SOO good!! He also got to sell them at the premium auction Saturday night. .and made more than one little boy should. .but he was pretty happy about it. I might add here, that my sweet, accident prone 8 year old tripped on the bleachers about 10 minutes before he was supposed to auction his food and split his nose open, bled like a stuck pig all over his clothing, and caused his face to swell so badly between his eyes that he looked like a being from another planet!! (I later used medical glue to close the gash. .but even today, his swelling really makes his eyes and forehead look deformed and he is pretty concerned as to when it will look normal again)
Just one nasty angle of the kitchen when we were through with our 6 hour baking marathon last Tuesday!
He also got a state fair blue (equivalent to a purple) ribbon on the multi colored bars you see in the picture at the top. Grant made some maple muffins (twice) which received a state fair blue ribbon (on the ammended batch) and an apricot bar cookie that received Grand Champion in the level 2 class. .and Reserve Champion (2nd place) of all the baked food items in all levels submitted. He got to auction them off Saturday night as well. The boys decided that they may pool part of their money together and buy a new tube for the boat next week when we are at Grand Lake. Tristan made some chocolate cookie muffins which got a blue and a milk chocolate bundt cake which earned a SF blue. Looks like the two older ones will bake again in September to take their food products to the state fair.
Aside from foods, Tristan scaled back this year to 3 projects. His photos didn't do as well as he would have liked. .reason being the camera he borrowed to take some photos had the resolution set to a lower level, so they didn't blow up as nice as they might have. Those photos earned red ribbons. He also had two photos that received blue ratings
This being one of those. We will probably send it to the state fair as part of a contest put on by the Kansas wheat commission.
ID ing the new specimens at our geology trip
He also got Reserve Champion on his geology exhibit. This year he had to pull out 15 older specimens in order to replace 15 new ones. He can only have 2 boxes with 60 specimen total. That was a little bit hard for him to decide! He will get to send it on to the State Fair in a few months.
Grant did well with his photos, earning a couple SF blues (now he will have to decide which to send to the State Fair) a blue and a red ribbon. He tried electricity as a project this year, not doing much with it until about a month ago. I found a couple of project plans on the internet; one for a simple circuit switch that turns on a small light (above) and one for a simple motor (which ultimately had some issues and didn't make the fair this year). The judge asked him tons of questions and he really enjoyed talking to her about his project. I think he found out he knew more than he thought. He got the grand champion. .that being said. .it was the only electricity exhibit there :-)
His other new project, horticulture, turned out to be a real treat for him too! Tuesday evening, he, Devin and I went out to the garden to see what we could find to send. We found enough yukon gold and red potatoes to make 2 exhibit plates; one of each (they have to be relatively the same size, which was the hardest thing to accomplish without digging them all up). We also soaked the soup out of the carrots and harvested all of them. I knew from taste testing earlier pickings that the carrots were very bitter (from the heat?? or lack of water??). But we didn't really care how they tasted. They were an experiment for starters, and we were just tickled to find that they grew into REAL carrots. The seeds were from a colored carrot mixture and I didn't even expect them to even germinate after I read that we needed to keep them evenly moist for 3 weeks!)
He was like a kid in a candy store cleaning up and sorting through all of those carrots. Some of them tasted alright, but most were still very bitter. We saw firsthand what happens when you don't thin them out enough. We had a lot of carrots that looked like lady's legs attached to a "pelvis" of one carrot splitting into 2 roots forming the legs. .and yes, we even found a few sets of men legs with extra attachments forming a 3rd root. .if my testoneronic kids didn't laugh out loud to see THOSE veggies! Admittedly, so did I. .maybe it was the heat. .or stress. .or delirium??
He got blue ribbons on both plates of carrots (5 yellow ones, and 5 orange ones). He also went out on his own Wednesday morning and clipped a sunflower and a coneflower to enter. He got Grand Champ flower on the sunflower, and Reserve Champ on the cone flower (and there were a few more than two flowers to choose from!)
Devin answered a lot of questions from this judge on all of his projects. .as she was the one judging most of them. He got a blue on his cedar bluebird house, and reserve champion on this little side table (I have some super cute photos of him making it, and hope to post on it separately later). I was helping the food judge all morning by marking on cards and repackaging their food after judging, so my kids were on their own to listen to the judges. I did get to hear Dev talk to the judge about his wood projects. He couldn't see that I was behind him listening, and his answers to her questions just made me smile. One of the questions that she asked was why he had cut angles on the floor of the birdhouse. .the answer she was looking for was that this provided drainage for the bird. He, on the other hand, wrinkled up his freckled nose and got a confused look in his baby blues and replied slowly, "Well, because that is what the instructions said!" His other cute remark was in answering her question as to what type of saw he used to cut his wood. She wondered if it was electric and he said "No, it is the one where you push the little button and then pull the handle down (an electric table saw!) Guess we better do a little more explaining as we construct :-) His photos did ok. He got a reserve champion of the level 1 class with a photo of wheat stalks. He also got a couple of red ribbons and another blue on the remainder of his pictures. Despite not being enrolled in the geology project this year, he ended up adding to his 4-H box from last year, since he went to the trouble of going on the state trip and IDing the specimens. He got a blue ribbon on his open class exhibit, and a stern lecture about needing to be in geology again next year.
Devin's highlight of the fair was NOT his awesome muffins. .but his rocket! I had overlooked getting him a rocket to put together this year. .and actually had a friend who was going to Hobby Lobby pick one up for us, sight unseen (and she has NEVER bought a rocket before. .thanks Kendy!) He put it together by himself under the advisement of Grant and his dad.
The rockets must be launched before the fair (and if they survive, can be entered) and include a short story and photos. I learned how to arrange and print photos in Word with the story (it's always a good day when I can learn something new. .especially if it is related to a computer!) And he was pleased to get a Grand Champion on that too.

The fair is a lot of fun to me. First of all, it brings back good memories from my childhood. But I most enjoy watching the kids take pride in their projects and showing their interest in the projects of their friends. More than once I heard kids explaining what THEY did to their friends, or to any other interested party that might have asked! We sure enjoyed a busy week, but it was fun to attend the carnival games and the livestock auction; and even better. .a great time catching up with friends enjoying the same events we were!
Support your local 4-Her's. . .
They're busy "making the best better!"
Happy Monday. .and thanks for dropping by!


  1. It was fun to see all the projects - looks like your boys did great! I was really glad to get to see you a bit there at the fair! :)

  2. Love the fair, glad it's over! ;)

  3. Oh my gosh. So much going on with your boys and the fair. It sounds like it was fun and maybe they learned a few things too. Nice to hear how they're doing.

  4. wow, I am very impressed! I can't believe your boys did all of that! It's great that they had so much interest to do all that they did! How the heck do you keep all of this stuff straight??? very cool!

  5. That does bring back great memories. I loved Fair week. Have a great week.


  6. Oh my goodness! Your children are so busy! You are so lucky to have such good kids. Says a lot about the parenting. You should feel very proud of your kids.
    In a world of computers and games it is so cool your kids are creating such wonderful projects! Exercise that brain! And enjoying it!!
    And on top of that they cook!! Wow!
    Your local 4-H is really doing a great job.
    I am so impressed with your commitment to your family and working full time.
    Your children are going to have great memories thanks to you.
    You go girl!