A Super Soup Supper

It started with a random comment at a 4H meeting.

The swing set at the park in our small rural community was in sad state and the baby swing was broken.

“We should take it on as a 4H project!” they said.

Great idea! But we’re a very small club. We would need to raise some money.

The easiest fund-raiser for a club of six kids? A soup supper.

 

Excitement built as we set a date, planned a menu and and printed hand-outs.

The kids made posters and the leaders and the moms (all five of us) started baking, cutting veggies, and making soup.

The food started arriving early on the night of the supper.

And so did the community.

Lots of them.

On a raw March evening with the skies threatening snow, we packed the tables in our community hall.

Moms dished the soups, but our 4H kids were a part of everything else – keeping veggie plates filled, plating desserts, pouring drinks, busing tables, washing dishes.

And they were excited! You could see it in their eyes. This was big. Way bigger than we imagined.

Half way through we started adding to the soups to stretch them.

And still they came.

A cross section of community. Retired couples, young families, grandparents with grandchildren.

All there for the kids. For the park. For the future.

Some even brought desserts to add to our offerings.

The tables were never empty and our donation box was filling up.

When the last guest buttoned up and headed out in the cold and those now exhausted kids had helped clean up, we opened up the donation box and counted the money.

Their excitement was infectious as the pile of bills added up!

And up and up.

The total surpassing our expectations by many, many dollars.

This went way way beyond just a new baby swing and some fresh paint!

This could get memorial trees for our two 4H members killed in a car accident last summer!

This could get a handicapped swing!

The ideas were flying as we turned out the lights and headed home.

Exhausted but exhilarated.

Those six kids learned some very valuable lessons that night.

About having an idea and how to make it happen.

About working hard and serving others.

And about community and what can happen when we work together.

It was a pretty super soup supper!

 

Photo Finish

Can I be a proud momma for just a minute? Again.

(I know – I know – it’s two weeks in a row – but it is really exciting!)

Angel Girl's prize photo

Angel Girl got a blue ribbon at the state fair. 🙂

The blue ribbon itself isn’t what I most proud of – she’s gotten those before. But this ribbon is in photography.

Her passion. Something she”s been working very hard on.

Last year none of her photos made it past the stiff competition at the County Fair.

But her judge was wonderful. He spent a lot of time looking at her pictures and gave her some very construction criticism.

And then he told her that she had a natural gift for photography – the artistic  eye needed to find the great shots. All of the other aspects of getting a good picture can be learned – but the ability to see the shot is a gift.

And Angel Girl has it.

(Why do those words make me want to cry – even a year later?)

She soaked up the encouragement, studied the criticisms, and took thousands of pictures over the next year.

And one was chosen for the State Fair.

And got a blue ribbon.

And I just had to share it. 🙂

County Fair 2011

It’s that time of year again.

The time of year when my kitchen looks like a war zone but smells heavenly.
Rolls

When oven space is a hot commodity and that recipe that we’ve made a million times together without failing – fails.

Cookies

When my table is covered with entry tags and project write ups and we’re scrambling to find the 4H t-shirts.
PhotosWhen a year’s worth of work is condensed into a few paragraphs and pictures.

When this mama is weary – but proud.

It’s time for the county fair and today is 4H judging.

Fasten your seat belts – here we go!

4H Judging at the County Fair

The County Fair.

The very words put fear and trembling into the hearts of 4H moms.

It’s marked in red on my calendar.

D -Day.

This year we have all five children in 4H. That means a grand total of 19 projects and all of those projects are due at the same time on the same day.

In a perfect world my diligent children would have been working on projects all year – on their own – with little assistance.

My world isn’t perfect.

We worked on projects the week before the fair like our lives depended on it.  (For some of my children – it did!)

Despite the stress and the rush, each child was completed on time even if we did had to use duct tape. 🙂

Judging went very well. Very, very well.

Six projects were chosen for the State Fair.

One was an Outstanding Junior exhibit.

And all the rest were blue ribbons – except Buddy’s – he still a Clover Kid and only gets a rainbow participation ribbon.

And now it’s over for another year.

We’ll take a couple of days to rest up and savor the moment.

Maybe by then I will have all my brain cells back…

And Then It’s Over for Another Year…

It’s all over.

It was a l-o-n-g day of 4H judging at the County Fair, but it’s all over now.

And I’m a proud momma.

The kids did well.

4 projects are going to the State Fair.

2 projects are Outstanding Junior exhibits.

7 projects got a blue ribbon and one project got a red ribbon.

But most importantly, the kids did a great job exhibiting, had good attitudes and showed maturity (at least for one afternoon!)

I am beyond tired.

My brain feels numb.

But it’s all over for another year.

(She sighs a happy sigh)