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!

 

Christmas Grab Bag Gift Exchange- Wampum Version

Our Christmas season kicks off tonight with our 4H Christmas party. It will the seventh one that we’ve hosted.

So – what exactly does a successful 4H Christmas party include?

Food – definitely food.

Seasonal is good. Lots of sugar is better.
PopcornTonight we have homemade caramel corn to hand out, mini sugar cookies and a big batch of elf food to share.

A craft is always a good idea – something they can do to keep their hands busy and take home with them. Angel girl has a Christmas tree craft ready to share.

And of course – you need a grab bag gift exchange.

That’s when things will start to get a little crazy.

Every member will need to bring a wrapped grab bag gift and then you will need to find a way to exchange them.

Sometimes we play Bingo – similar to my our White Elephant Bingo Gift Exchange at my family’s Remix every spring.

And other times – if I’m feeling very adventurous and brave – we play Wampum.

PresentsIt’s pretty simple and loved by kids of all ages.

All you need is a newspaper rolled up and taped together to make a club-like object that looks cool but doesn’t cause injury. We call it the Wampum stick. (Pretty creative – huh?!)

Choose one person to be It – everyone else puts their chairs in a circle and puts their wrapped gifts under their chair.

The person who is It can put their gift to the side.

Starting with the person who is It, go around the circle and have each person choose something from Christmas – Santa, shepherd, tinsel, lights, etc..

Everyone must choose something different.

Then give It the wampum stick. Choose one child to start things rolling by saying their Christmas item along with another one. For example: Tinsel likes snowman.

The person who is It must then try to wamp the person who is snowman with the wampum club (on the legs – of course!) before they say their Christmas item with another one – snowman likes star.

The game continues: star likes tinsel, tinsel likes manger, manger likes angels, etc… until It manages to wamp a person before they can finish.

If they wamp the person in time – that person goes to the center and becomes It while the previous It sits in their chair and starts the game with their item and another:  shepherd likes tinsel.

If they call the person who just called them – tinsel likes star, star likes tinsel – they become It.

And if they accidentally call the item of the person who is It – they automatically become It.

Things can get a little wild – depending on how much sugar you’ve served! 🙂

Then – when everyone is hot and sweaty and has moved into a different chair – you call the over and let them unwrap the gift under their chair they are sitting in.

Then I would highly recommend you send them home quickly with bags of homemade caramel corn, clean up the mess, grab a mug of hot chocolate with double whipped cream and curl up on the couch – thankful the 4H Christmas party is over for another year!

Kettle Corn

Kettle CornWhat do you serve a crew of hungry 4H kids who have just walked over a mile along the highway and through the ditches picking up trash for a community service project?

It needs to be cheap, portable, filling, and appeal to all ages.

How about kettle corn – bagged with peanuts, M&M’s and candy corn?!

Served with pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies and a juice box, these snack bags were a hit with my road crew this weekend!

And the left-over bags were so handy in throw in lunch boxes this morning!

Kettle Corn

1 tablespoon oil (we love coconut oil for popping corn)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup unpopped popcorn
salt to taste

Place in the oil and sugar in your popcorn popper. Add the popcorn and pop according to directions.

The sugar will melt with the oil and coat the popcorn as it pops. Toss the popped corn into a bowl and salt to taste. Let sit for a few minutes to cool before breaking it apart.

This stuff is fabulous when hot – and holds up well for 3-5 days depending on the humidity.

Let the kettle corn cool completely before you mix in the candy corn and M&M’s so there is no melting.

When we mixed in all the extras, they fell to the bottom of the bag leaving the popcorn on top – but no one seemed to mind. They just shook the bags until their favorites were on top.

Enjoy!

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. 🙂

Embracing the Craziness

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

I hope it’s true – ’cause a picture is about all I have time for!
4-HSo what’s going on?

My friend Kimmer’s here! And 2 of her kids. And Dagmar’s friend Lainers and a random nephew.

9 kids. At my house. Eating.

That’s the fun stuff.

Then there’s –

The county fair. 4H projects. Dead calf. Vet visit. Blown tire.  No rain. Stinky pigs.

But God is good.

And Kimmer and I picked up more chocolate last night. (sshh – don’t tell the kids or they’ll eat that, too!)

We’re loving the craziness and making some memories!