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Monday, January 23, 2012

Long Overdue

Just as the title says, this new post is long overdue.  The family and I got back from our vacation and fell back into routine just in time for the holidays.  Then I got sick after the new year and I am just starting to feel human again!  YAY!  Actually, I was sick during the entire time we were on vacation but that was because I was having morning sickness.  I know not really 4H news but it will affect the way I continue the remainder of this 4H year and probably the next so I thought I would tell you all now.  Besides, I don't want to think I got fat over the holidays when I start showing you pictures!  LOL!  Then after that stage of fun was over I REALLY got sick!  So needless to say, I have an excuse for not sending out my usual zany posts about 4H.

Now with all that said, I must say that does not mean we have not had 4H events!  Thankfully, my dear husband came home in time to help me with projects.  And the Christmas break sure helped me out also.  So, now that I am back I wanted to give the highlights of the last month.  This will get me back on track I won't leave any of the events out.  This blog was intended to help me keep track of our 4H year after all!  So let's do the time warp thing and zip back a few weeks to the second week of December!

 The family and I arrived home as scheduled and we enjoyed a day of rest before our first ever Computer Science project meeting.  Michael is our computer guru so I begged him to take this on.  He is only home for a short time so we are fully taking advantage of his expertise.  The first meting (December 13) Michael talked to the 4Hers about the basics of the computer.  We had a good group of 4Hers attending so it made it more interesting for everyone to share what they knew and Michael was able to guide those in error in the right direction.  He is great at this and doesn't even realize it!  So we had the first meeting to see how it would all work and then made our plans to meet again after the holidays.  We have now met two other times with the joy of taking a computer apart on one occasion.  We now have 5 regulars who attend meetings but others are welcome at anytime.  We are hoping to have the group do a power point presentation of all they have learned for a meeting before the end of the year.

 Then, our club met on December 15th at a local nursing home.  We sang carols in the dining room and then wandered from hall to hall singing carols and passing out Christmas cards.  What a wonderful way to spread some cheer.  It was meant to be a community outreach and service opportunity, but I think we were touched by their remarks to us more than we could ever imagine.  It was just a good experience for everyone.  I hope that we are able to work more with the nursing homes.  The elderly need us to show them we care and we learn so much from them in return.

After the holidays, we began another new project.  This was relates to our efforts in Wildlife. This project is called Wildlife Habitat Education Program (in further postings will be called WHEP)  Last fall when I  posted all the animals and plants, this was an FFA contest that 4H was allowed to participate.  However, this new project is strictly a 4H project and it shows.  The material is much easier and direct to the subject.  There are also divisions for ages, so the younger 4Hers do not compete with the older members.  The information becomes progressively more challenging for the different age groups.  We have really enjoyed learning a new approach to wildlife and are looking forward to a contest in March.  I will post more on this when we begin work on specific animals next week.  We have had a great advantage as Katie's grandmother has generously taken the time to create lessons for us.  I am so thankful for her help!

Sean attended the County Council meeting.   He is very excited because next month he is in charge of taking snacks for the is very important for a teenage boy!  He is doing such a great job of getting the information to the club...he takes his job very seriously.

Speaking of food...We also began practicing for the Food Challenge that will take place next month.  If you have never heard of this contest, it is probably because it is a recent addition to what we now call "Food Extravaganza."  Just as it sounds, we try to place as many food & nutrition related contests all on one day.  I am sure someone higher up thought this was a great idea.  When I post on it later you will see that it is quite exhausting!  In the Food Challenge, the 4Hers are given a list of food and a clue to the recipe they are supposed to create.  They are in teams of 3-5 members and they must make their creation and then present it to a group of judges.  They must also present themselves to the judges as a group, know the cost per serving, nutritional value and preparation including safety.  The entire groups must work together to present (no slackers in this contest).  They are also judged on their creativity.  It is also a good idea to try to match the original recipe but not necessary.

We had our monthly photography meeting at the park this month.  We learned about taking nature shots and headed out into the park to try our skills.  It was a fun way to spend a nice Texas winter day!  The overcast weather made for some great shots.  We also showed off some great train pictures which was the assignment given to the group last month.  This was to encourage the members to enter the District and State contest at the end of the month.  Looking forward to seeing how the judges like their artwork.

Last week we ended with our monthly club meeting.  It was a short one, which was nice since I was feeling so sick.  The boys did a great job presenting project reports.  Katie also gave a great presentation about free gifts to be given out to better everyone.  Henry followed this up with a game we call, "Kindness Bingo."  The free gifts found on the board included:  smile, helping someone, bringing snacks, etc.  The person with a bingo was awarded with a prize.  The members seemed to enjoy going around giving free gifts to all who remained at the CEO.

So as you can see, we enjoyed another month of 4H.  We are looking forward to what this new year brings.  There are many contests to prepare for in the next two months.  I am back and ready to share our further adventures to "make the best better!"