Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's Fair Time!

This time of year always makes me want to open all the doors and windows, turn on the fan and start baking up a storm. That's because it's fair season, and as a 10-year 4-Her, I spent many hot summer weeks getting projects ready for the fair.

We lived in town, so we didn't have any animal projects, unless you count a photography project that involved our pet poodle. I think my mom was always grateful we didn't have animals on top of the eight kids, the dog and the various hamsters that occupied our house.

Instead, my sisters and I spent time laboring over latch hook, macrame (I know, I know, you thought that was a dead art. C'mon over. I'll make you a plant hanger.), cross stitch, garment construction, posters, flower arrangements, garden veggies (For some reason that always escaped me, all of your green beans or carrots or cucumbers had to be the same size. We rejected a lot of veggies!), canning, and art projects.

And boy, oh boy, did we bake! Yeast breads, quick breads, muffins, cookies, cut-up cakes, brownies...just thinking about it makes my waistband feel a bit tight. I can't even begin to calculate how much flour and sugar we must have used.

Of course, we were kids, so much of the crafting and baking took place under mild duress, but we never failed to complete a project. Yes, 4-H taught us many skills like cooking, sewing, and photography. It taught us that hard work is rewarded. But most importantly, it taught us how to see a project through from planning to completion. It taught us to become both learners and doers.

Thanks to my years in 4-H I am not afraid to try new things. Give me some good instructions and the right tools and stand back. 4-H taught me how to do my homework and figure things out for myself. And THAT'S a real life skill.

I've got my hands a little full this year, which is helping me resist the urge to bake an entire fair's worth of goodies. But I can't resist completely, so I've tried a few new recipes and made some extra treats in the last couple of weeks, including my new love, Oreo Brownies. I'll share some more prize-winning (at least in my house!) recipes in the coming weeks.

I figure we burn enough calories chasing kiddos to indulge a little bit!


monica said...

Love the fair time!! When I was younger, I would also enter things like my cross stitching and baked goods in the fair. I never belonged to a 4-H group but always wanted to and plan on getting my sons involved in it. Can't wai to see you receipes!

Kyleen said...

I still remember having to go in and have an "interview" with a 4-H judge while they sampled your baked goods. One year the girl sitting next to me told the judge she used a boxed mix for her muffins and I thought the judge was going to fall out of her chair as this was strictly taboo. Apparently now days they have a "fun with mixes" category. Wonder if Sandra Lee put that in a suggestion box somewhere. :)

Aunt Mary said...

You forgot to mention the tears, and dislike towards out mother who had to be the enforcer in order for us to get things ready for the fair. Other then that I guess it was a good experience! ~Mary