Friday, July 20, 2012

Birthday weekends are for the brave and creative

I was so honored when my niece C, ranked her "Birthday Weekend" up with her vacation to Disney World. 

Little J and C both asked to go Rock Climbing for their Birthday Weekend. They also wanted to go on a creek walk and ride a horse. The creek walk got nixed because of the scary stories about snakes in the creek and the horse ride got nixed because of the heat. 

With the temps up in the 100s, our typical Birthday Weekend traditions did not happen. I usually keep the TV off all weekend and we play outside as much as possible. 

Here's what we did instead:

Tried a new restaurant.

Spent 5 hours at the Children's Museum and could have stayed another 5 and never get bored.

Braved the heat only long enough to walk from the museum to the car. 

Played in the sprinkler in the shade for a very short amount of time.

Spent a relaxing afternoon with no agenda, watching movies, having a picnic on the living room floor, playing with the dog and taking a little rest.
because we had an important task ahead of us for the evening.

We had rocks to climb!

As we were all starting to fall asleep on the first night of our "weekend" C says "I love Birthday Weekends."

The next day, after getting out of the bath, Little J wraps himself in a towel and with his sweet smile says "This smells like you Aunt A!"

I'm so glad to have the opportunity to spend these special times with them and fill a treasure chest of memories. I'm looking forward to more adventures with these three.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's a love hate relationship

Today is the first day of the M-P 4-H Show and I'm not there. It has been hard to keep my nose out of the details of the plans for that Show.

I know the crew in M-P have the passion and skills to pull it all together. They understand that the Big picture is to plan a great event for the 4-Hers. I'm praying for all of my M-P peeps and the new Coordinator and her summer assistant: strength, wisdom, peace, and a cool breeze.

Back in May I was at a graduation party and heard the news that they were tearing down the old 4-H Food stand at the fairgrounds.

The old food stand was my least favorite part of the Show. I tried to keep my hateful feelings about that building to myself - but there was one other person who I discussed it with freely. The Fair Board President had the same feelings for that building as I did. We commonly joked about ways that it could mysteriously fall down: big truck backs into it, a small fire, a strong wind.

This building had been on the fairgrounds since the 40s(?) if not longer. Lots of tradition and fun summer memories wrapped up in that building my many people in the county. Neither of us ever wanted to deal with the challenges of getting our boards to agree to take it down.

In a stressful series of events, several years ago, I decided to stop using the building and move the food stand to a different location for the 4-H Show.

Two years later, the fair board finally decided to free up some prime land on the fairgrounds and take down the little cramped building. And I had to see it for myself.

This was taken after the walls had already been taken down....
And the roof....
and the appliances, sink, counters, pie safe, grill, vent....

There are many 4-Hers and volunteers who may understand the love hate relationship I have with this building. Then again, most of them had no idea of what it took to get the food stand ready each year. So maybe there aren't many who know there were parts of it I hated.

I spent two summers working with groups of teens painting the building and the pavillion. It used to be the mint green color. We painted it silver.

Love the teamwork it took to get the job done. Hated the long hot hours painting.

Each summer, I was responsible for coordinating a Food Stand cleaning night. After being "closed" up for  10 months, that building was always disgusting!!! 

I'm going to have to give that part of the food stand a double hate rating. I can't think of one thing to write down for the Love part of it. Sorry.

But I will add many more things to the double love category:
the life skills that the 4-Hers learned while working the food stand
the fact that so many 4-Hers truly love to work in the food stand
the homemade pies that everyone brings to sell in the food stand
the opportunity to serve other while working in the food stand

As you can see, none of those things have anything to do with the actual building. Those wonderful things are still happening in their new location. Yea!!!

So I said goodbye to the old food stand building. I must admit, I was a tiny bit sad to see it go. I had a lot of time and sweat invested in it. But then I remembered, I wasn't investing it in the building, I was investing it in the people.

Goodbye old food stand. May only the happy memories and wonderful life skills remain in all of the hearts of all the 4-Hers who passed thru your narrow aisles and lifted your heavy windows and cleaned your dirty refrigerators.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Fun Ideas

For Kids: Give them a collection of items from the recycling bin, a pair of scissors and a roll of tape (or glue). Then give them the freedom to make whatever they want. Some of my favorite items: empty box, toilet paper roll, paper towel roll, newspapers, old cards, slick paper from junk mail, egg cartons, plastic bottle caps. 

For the adventuresome: Go to a tire repair shop and buy a truck or wagon tire tube. Find a nice gentle creak and float down the creek. 

For the outgoing: Think of someone or a a group of someones who you have admired and invite them over for tea. Invite them to bring a sweet treat to share and the recipe. Send everyone home with copies of the recipe.

For the bargain hunter: Find a Family Video or go to the library and rent free kids movies. Then take the time to sit and watch them.

For the person with a servant's heart: Contact your local 4-H office and ask them where they need your help at the 4-H Show and volunteer. If you aren't sure who to call in your area, send me a comment and I'll either recruit you for myself or track down the office in your area.

Happy Tuesday