Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Visit to the County Fair

Remember when we made our list of things to do this summer? Two things on that list were to enter at least one canned good into the DuPage County Fair and to attend the fair. We accomplished both of those this week. (I actually put my entries into the competition at the end of June, but I saw the results of the competition Thursday.) I not only entered one canned good; I entered two canned goods and three photographs.

The results are in. And, I can now say I'm an award-winning canner! My bumbleberry jam came in second place in its class. I was most excited about this, since that jam seems to be the big favorite among my friends and family (yes, Kathy, I know the peach jam also is awesome - maybe I'll enter it next year).

My sweet beets came in first place! But, since they were the only entry in their class, I'm not sure that really counts as a true win. Frankly, I'm not even sure the judges opened the jar since it wasn't necessary to taste them. Better for me if they didn't open it, since I may get the sealed jar back to enjoy. Ron says a win is a win, no matter how it comes. Isn't he sweet?

The last nice surprise was that one of my photo entries - two or more individuals - took fourth place. A lot of photographs were entered in this class, so it was especially nice for my picture to be recognized. We spent a lot of time looking at all the pictures entered. Annalee was especially excited to look at all the pictures. Maybe next year, when she's 8 years old, she'll enter some of her own pictures.

I'm still partial to an individual portrait I submitted, of a Chinese woman in a park. I took it in Yunnan, China.

We hung out with the swines and the goats later. We even got to see judging for the female goats based on their mammaries. All the goats had full udders and looked plenty ready for milking. Interesting, to say the least.

I'll leave you with this happy photo of Annalee coming out of the fun house. Maybe you'll see it entered into next year's fair photo competition.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Joys of Michigan

Last Saturday we not only went blueberry picking, but we spent time with friends at their home on Lake Michigan.

The lake was warmer than I've ever experienced it in my life. We all played in the water a lot; Annalee spent about four hours swimming around. (She slept really well Saturday night, too!)

We collected rocks and built sand piles that somewhat resembled a sand castle. And, Zelda even napped on the beach.

I got to put my Campfire Girl skills to use building a fire in the fire pit for marshmallow roasting. I just love that I can build a fire; I think it's a good skill to have in one's repertoire. That, and being able to roast a perfect marshmallow. Which I can.

I made my own s'mores with gluten- and dairy-free chocolate chip cookies. Wish I could have one right about now!

Zelda and Miss Jane enjoyed some homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream, too.

It was a perfect day from start to finish. A perfect summer day with wonderful friends, wonderful family.

If She's Pickin', She's....

I took the girls blueberry picking last Saturday in Michigan with our friends. It was a beautiful, hot day, and the blueberry bushes were loaded and lush. We ate our way through a couple rows and ended up picking about three pounds of blueberries. Like strawberry picking, Zelda twice dumped her bucket of berries out on the ground - much to my dismay.

Also like strawberry picking, Zelda decided she would squat and 'pee in the bush.' I'm pretty certain I can say this is 'a thing' now. I think she has made a perfectly reasonable association between berry picking and peeing. I know this because she had just gone 15 minutes before at our friends' house when she decided she needed to go in the bushes. Yes, it's definitely a thing.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Skills Revisited

Remember my being so proud of the new skills I taught my daughters? Well, apparently, I failed to teach Zelda how to show discretion in utilizing that skill.

When we came home yesterday after the Wednesday morning movie, the girls went next door to play with our neighbors while I fixed lunch. When I went to get them to come in, I see Zelda with her pants pulled down doing a half-squat - in the middle of the neighbors side yard! Then, the girls all tell me that this was the second time she was doing that (why Annalee didn't bring her home after the first time I'll never know).

So, I picked Zelda up - wet pants and all 'cause she didn't squat over far enough - and brought her in. That's when I began the discussion about when we 'pee in the woods' and when we use indoor plumbing. Let's hope today is a better day...