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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

100 Casseroles!!!

A month ago we were sitting around as parents trying to think of a fundraiser that would help defray the cost for the contests we would attend this spring.  We would need to pay for one overnight stay in the Houston area for the WHEP contest at the rodeo, along with a four day trip to the State contest the next month.

So, I thought of a casserole sale.  We would ask our friends and family to order from a choice of four casseroles.  At the time I thought we would set a goal for 50 casseroles and hope for the best.  We would not give a price but ask for donations.  Last Friday, I had all orders in and found out that we had orders for over 100 casseroles!

After I got over my shock, I set about gathering what was needed to make that many casseroles, such as  ingredients, pans (2 sizes), equipment, and MY SANITY!!!!  LOL!  But even then it really did not seem too bad.  I had my list and went grocery shopping and gathered equipment.  All was good!

Today was set aside for everyone to come to my house for casserole assembly.  Yesterday, the boys and I worked to cook meat and create the main sauces.  Other ingredients were set up in neat little rows for easy access.  I had 3 stations set up: cooking, assembly, and finished product.  All was good!

This morning we began with little stress and we had the set up working well for us.  Although the counters were so full of supplies that the idea of having three stations was blown out the window!  We started with a traditional lasagna...we made it through half the number needed when we ran out of sauce.

No problem we set up another batch of sauce to simmer and started on the next casserole.  This one was an easy one, a family recipe called Shoestring Ole.  We had fun making these with a shout of "Ole!" after each completed casserole!  We were done with this portion of the fun by noon.

We got all the kids a lunch of hot dogs and chips thanks to Jim who worked the grill while we continued to assemble MORE casseroles.  This time we were working on Chicken Lasagna and Chicken Spaghetti (easy to work together because the same sauce base was used).  The chicken lasagna is a delicious recipe, unfortunately, it took us a long time to complete assembly.  We were not done by mid afternoon when some of our families had to leave.  Which was well past the time I thought we would be done!

So then there were 4!  Four families to put together the remaining pans of chicken lasagna and spaghetti!  Not to mention the remaining lasagnas.

Just about the time we were thinking we should take a much deserved break, in walks the ride for one of the members and of course he was ready to leave also after being in the kitchen all day.  However, we realized that we needed to make six more large lasagnas for them to take for delivery.  We quickly set to work to make these for him!

Once they were set and on their way, we were back in full swing and determined to finish the job.  We worked until almost 6pm when we ran out of some of our key ingredients.  We still had 20 casseroles to complete!  But, all was good (although it will be better tomorrow when we finish!). ;)

We were so tired!  We decided the best thing to do was regroup and gather final supplies and complete them tomorrow.  Not bad for our small group to finish more than 80 casseroles in one day.  And, you know, in spite of all the chaos we learned "to make the best better" by enjoying the time together.  We laughed and joked...the kids had time to play outside.  It was great fun and I would do it again in a heart beat...well, after my feet stop hurting from standing all day!  LOL!

Oh, and believe it or not in all of this casserole making we also were able to practice for our upcoming contest!  I set up a mock contest for the kids to practice in the afternoon.  They did a great job for a first attempt.  Hopefully we will have time to study again next week.

I cannot end this post without a BIG thank you to all of those who supported this fundraiser!  We are all so thankful for the families who ordered a casserole.  I hope you enjoy the meal we have prepared for you.  May it bring a blessing to you as you sit down to eat together!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Deep in the Heart

Who knew that when I started this blog I would one day be writing a movie review?  However, I should have known it was coming.  I was told two years ago that this movie about forgiveness and overcoming challenges in life was in the making.

Where was I two years ago?  Sitting in a room of nervous 4Hers and their parents waiting to hear which scholarships our children would be awarded by 4H.  I then found out that my daughter (Amanda) was chosen to receive the Wallrath Scholarship.  It was a generous scholarship.  She was so excited!  She was also invited to a luncheon with Mr. Wallrath and the other recipients.

I remember her being so impressed that she was able to sit with Mr. Wallrath and a movie producer.  They spoke to the group about a movie that would be made about Mr. Wallrath's life.  She was also given his book, "The Courage to Change Things I Can".  I read the book immediately and could not wait for the movie.

Fast forward two years, and here we are today!  The movie was not playing in our town so we had to wait an extra week to see it, but it was well worth it.  I will admit it was not the best movie I have ever seen, however, it was a moving story that showed how a person can seek forgiveness and redeem himself after making bad choices.

I took all of my children (ages 3-14 years old).  I am sure that my 3yo did not understand the movie but there was not anything in the story that would be offensive or scary in any way.  I think the producer of the film did a good job of showing the struggles of living with an alcoholic without showing too much.  I did have to explain some of the scenes (about drug abuse) to my 8yo but it was a good after-movie discussion.

Most of all, the story was about the importance of giving back to others, which Mr. Wallrath showed after his recovery and later success.  I also thought the producer did a great job of bringing in the idea that God was present in the life of Mr. Wallrath even before he realized he needed to change.

The only really disappointment we had was that there was more emphasis on FFA than 4H, especially at the end of the movie.  LOL!  Of course, we would want 4H to shine above all other organizations, right?  In spite of that, Mr. Wallrath has given us a humble example (sharing his flaws with his success) of how we should all try to "make the best better."

So, try to find a way to go see this awesome movie, Deep in the Heart, even if you have to drive a few extra miles to make it happen.  If the review is not incentive enough remember that Mr. Wallrath has said a percentage of the proceeds from the movie will go to help fund even more scholarships for 4H and FFA.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hide and Seek with Letters

I think the photography group had a lot of fun with my last assignment.  I asked them to find letters hidden in their environment to spell out their names.  When I gave this assignment a month ago, I had no idea how much fun it would be myself.  However, now we are seeing letters in everything!  The 4h members were very creative.  I don't think I will ever look at a crack in the sidewalk the same ever again!

Here are some of their amazing designs.  I wish I could share all of them!

Be the first to guess all the names correctly and post in the comments section will win their very own name collage created by our photography 4H members!

Also, if you are interested in getting more motivation to take these kinds of pictures, check out the website with nature letters and a second website for letters in architecture.

After sharing our name collages, our awesome photographers went out to take some pictures around our pond.  Lots of great pictures!  After seeing a few of the pictures, I knew what the next assignment would be...Take a picture that would tell a story without words.  Stay in touch as we look to see what they think of by our March meeting!

Another Parent's View of 4H Events

I was telling one of the moms how I wished I could be at all the events we do in our club.  Then you all would not get so bored hearing about what my kids are doing.  So, she volunteered to be a guest writer on my blog and tell about their weekend at an event in San Antonio.  Thank you Brenda for the following account:

Talking about 4-Hers doing their best in all circumstances - There was plenty of rain - NO FLASH FLOODS!!!!  We drove in heavy rain from Shepherd to San Antonio. Then we found out that Treyton and Caleb would be competing in a COW BARN for the San Antonio Food Challenge- YES...that is what I said!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

On Friday - the calf show was in the same arena where they had to prepare their food.  Then the hog show  was in the same barn.  All of this was going on where the boys would be cooking.  Lovely smells!  

Saturday morning - heavy rain and hail.  We tried to keep the boys, adults, boxes and hot plates dry with 3 umbrellas.  Mud puddles are fun when you have rubber boots not 4-H cowboy boots.  We had fun and laughed a lot.

Caleb got 4th place in the main dish category with his Parmesan Chicken Tortellini with Pesto.

  Treyton also got 4th place in the fruit & vegetable category with his Texas Mango Salsa.  

Then we were able to enjoy some of San Antonio's scenery.  We took the boys to the Alamo, Menger Hotel (cool designs throughout the motel, Roy Rogers suite, Teddy Roosevelt & Rough Riders artifacts), Drifted down on the River Walk - a cold trip but educational.  We remembered our photography assignment (more on this later this evening in a second post for the day!) while on our trip down the Guadalupe river - it is amazing where you can find the alphabet. 

Took a visit to the Bighorn Museum & Saloon. Neat things that boys just love - big animals, guns, and science projects - (water running up hill).  Then God blessed us with the most beautiful sun for our stroll down the streets of San Antonio.

On Sunday morn we slept in.  Leisurely ate breakfast.  You know 4-H leaders are always looking for some thing educational - visited a Whole Store Market.   WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We saw some interesting food products.  We learned about coucous.  You know some country people had never heard of some of these products.  The Puntch's bought some blue potatoes.  We know where they got some of the ideas for the Ag Product Id!  The boys saw leg of lamb, lamb chops, lamb grounded meat.  Numerous seafood items, different cuts of beef, pork and some pre-seasoned meat.  A long tour - 2 hours.  The Morgan's bought young coconuts (they were white in color), and  jicama. 

We started for home.  Beautiful scenery!  We saw the results from the heavy rain.  We took a few minutes to praise God for protecting us through our trip.

Brenda, it sounds like you all made the 'best better' by making the most of an already awesome 4h weekend. These are memories that you just don't want to forget!  Thanks again for sharing!

Friday, February 17, 2012

We Just Can't Get Enough...

So I get an early post in today because I had to tell you about what happened after the Youth Fair last night.

As if we were not completely exhausted yesterday, our club had our monthly meeting last night.  Now other clubs just cancelled their meeting if it was scheduled for Youth Fair week, but not our club.  We got together to share about the week.  We also had a Food Challenge demonstration.

So, the three teams came together again.  This time not to compete but to show the process of the contest.  They also would provide the club a nutritious snack at the end.

The teams were each given the same ingredients (various fruits and yogurt) but different clues so we would have a variety of snack choices.

The Hawaiian Bunch were given the clue: found on a stick.  So they created a dipping sauce with the yogurt and some of the fruit.  Then they found toothpicks to skewer the fruit (blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, bananas, grapes and kiwi).  They did a great job with only half their crew and a substitute chef joining them! Thank you Joseph!

Then our World War II Heroes were asked to toss their fruit.  So, they made a fruit salad.  Somehow they got their yogurt to firm up a little so it could be placed in the middle with the fruit surrounding it.  Very clever!

Then our Lone Star Cooking Team were told that their creation "went down smoothly."  So they made a fruit smoothie.  But I think this team needs to change their name to the Happy Face Crew!  Each time they practiced they created a smiley face with their ingredients to decorate.  Last night was no different as they added a kiwi smile to the top of the smoothie!  Very creative!

I can not end this post without talking about how much I love these kids and their parents.  A big thank you goes out to Myra and Brenda who worked so hard to come up with creative ideas for the kids to practice effectively.  Also, a thank you to James who heard the "Clean Up" call and did not go running but came right away to wash the dishes.  Also, to Joseph who came in soon after and did not leave until every dish was clean and dried.  To the adults, Jamie and Tracey, who stayed until everything was back in its place.  Furthermore, we had fun while we worked!  This is just another way our club shows how "to make the best better!"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Different Ending then Expected

Today's post was going to have a boring title of Youth Fair Part 3...but after what happened today, I wanted to lead this post in a different direction.

I posted a few days ago that sometimes when we go to contests, the prize won is the lesson learned.  Well, unfortunately, today Henry learned a hard lesson.

As I mentioned yesterday, Henry had entered a wooden washer game to the youth fair, along with a train photo.  Well, today we found out the results.

Now I want you to know that I am not going to make this a ranting post about how my son was done wrong.  I have to admit that I prayed a lot about what I would write.  And if I had written this post six hours ago, it might not have been so nice.  I guess that is part of "making the best better" but sometimes it is hard to know what that means.  As a parent, I have learned that the best thing to do is step back and think it through before opening my mouth (or in this case typing a blog).

So, what was the lesson learned?  As I told Henry tonight, sometimes life is not fair (no pun intended!).  And, sometimes the adults in our lives do not always make the right decisions.  No matter what the decision was in this case, or why it was made...the decision has been made.  The real test for us (Henry and his parents) is how we are going to handle that decision.  What choice are we going to make?  Are we going to make a bad choice because of someone else's bad decision?

We can also learn that we can persevere and be better for it.  Being a good sport sometimes means walking away proud for who we are.

Now don't get me wrong...we will work to make things better for the next time.  I have not spoken my last word on this situation.  We will stand up for what is right.  Unfortunately for Henry it will not affect this year, but we can hope that it will help the future for someone else.

So, Henry stood a little taller and will not go to auction tomorrow.  He has already placed a sign on his game to see if an individual will purchase his game.  But, this is where my proud parent smile comes in.  Henry did not let it get him down for long.  He is already planning for next year.  And he is thinking BIG...he wants to make a pool table.  Seriously!!  He has already had me look at plans.  So, watch out have not seen the last of Henry in these contests.  He will continue to persevere to "make the best better" in all that he does.

Also, this is the photo he entered in the contest.  He got a white ribbon but there were many others to choose from and hard to choose as there are no categories or theme for this contest.  All the photos are placed together in one group.  I would hate to be a judge trying to determine if a close up of a chicken was better than a landscape.  Oh how I wish I could talk to someone who makes these decisions!  Even my dear husband told me to join the board to help get things organized....he must have gotten a little crazy while overseas!  LOL!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Youth Fair Part 2

Oh my...what a morning!

Sean actually made his cookies last night and they turned out great!  We just had to get him up to drizzle them with chocolate this morning.

But, I guess I was a little stressed because I woke up around 4am wondering if there was something that needed to be done!  Then I went back to sleep and dreamt the craziest dreams about all the things that could go wrong. I could not even get out of the house because people kept coming to my door.  I kept telling them I had to leave to get to the youth fair but they all insisted they needed me to stay.  Crazy way to start out the day!  Thankfully, that was the most stressful part of the day.

Sean woke up with ease and finished his cookies.  We left with plenty of time to get there.  He even made it up the stairs without dropping his cookies!  Mission accomplished!  He did a great job presenting his coconut macaroons.  We had some good conversations with some of our friends to pass the time and then went up to hear the results.

Sean did not place but was given a white ribbon.  What I thought was awesome was that he did a great job of congratulating the others in the group.  He shook hands...gave high fives and hugs.  I was proud of him once again for being a good sport.

Joseph, one of the other members of our club, competed against him and won second place.  We were able to enjoy a sample of his cookies as we left.

Then we raced home to get finishing touches on Henry's entries for tomorrow's judging.  He entered a photo of a train in fine arts category.  He also entered a wooden washer game in woodworking.  We had to have the photo mounted on a matting board.  We also needed a photo book showing his wood work.  We got it all done just in time to get it to the show in the afternoon.

We will find out how he did tomorrow.  I will post pictures and an update in my part 3 to this week.

But the hard part is over and we survived the excitement.  I would also like to add that our little tag-a-long 4her was a real trooper...he never complained about sitting around in the cold waiting.  He just ate our friends out of snacks and played with who ever crossed his path.  He makes taking a little one to contests look easy! Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Youth Fair Part 1

Some might say that this is not a 4H related event; however, our members can only qualify for the youth fair if they attend 4H meetings regularly.  So, here I am to tell you about our day.

Thankfully, Henry made his cheesecake on Monday night so it could set.  All he would need to do is add a few finishing touches this morning.  He did a great job making a White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  Since he was being judged on Valentine's Day, he decorated the top with fresh raspberries shaped into a heart.  Then he had white chocolate shavings along the sides.

Edward entered in the Peewee division so I was able to help him through his recipe.  He made Blueberry Cream Puffs with fresh custard filling.  He really did a great job following the steps to create his masterpiece.  I did not need to help him very much other than reading the recipe.  This took most of the morning because there were several steps to the process and everything had to cool before filling the puffs.  We finished just in time to get everyone dressed nicely and everything out the door!

Of course then we played the hurry up and wait game!  LOL...what youth contest does not give us a lesson in patience?  The boys practiced what they would say to the judges.  I prayed for them to do well and tried to calm down from the morning excitement.

When they called everyone up to be judged, I was told I could watch Edward.  I thought it was so funny because Edward got so nervous that he forgot everything he practiced to say!!!  He fidgeted and got through the judging in less than a minute without saying much of anything!  Sweet boy!  We will need to work on presentation skills for next time!  But he did present his cream puffs and he was awarded a blue ribbon for his efforts.  I told him next year would not be so easy as he would be judged like the others next time.

Henry was one of the last to be judged.  That is what happens when your name is at the end of the alphabet.  He only had one other person competing in his age group, so he had a 50/50 chance of going to auction.  Although I was not allowed to staying the room when he was being judged, I could see him through the glass.  I could tell that he was having a good presentation but noticed he fed the judges wax paper from the bottom of the cheesecake and he did not have on his glove!  He confirmed this when he spoke to me later.  He said that not putting on the glove might be the deciding factor.  I think he knew at that point that he would need to try again another year.  He was right...he proudly walked away with second place!  However, I don't think he will ever forget to put on his glove and we will need to try harder to remove the wax paper from the bottom of the desert next year!  A hard lesson to learn.

Tonight Sean made his macaroons and we will decorate in the morning.  It will be an early morning as he needs to be at there by 8:30am.  I am sure he will be excited and wake up extra early! be continued tomorrow with Sean showing his Creamy Coconut Macaroons and Henry will also be entering his washer game and a photo.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Prize not Mentioned

Yesterday, I spoke about our Food Extravaganza.  Today, I realized what a toll it had on Sean.  Being the oldest it can be tough not doing as well as he had hoped.  In spite of his easygoing attitude yesterday, I realized he was in need of a little help today.  I first told him how proud I was of his hard work.  Then I gave him a little analogy that I thought I would share with all of you.

Going to a 4-H competition is kind of like going fishing.  You begin by gathering your equipment (in this case gathering information and experience).  Then you check to make sure everything is in working condition (practice and assess what needs improvement).  Then you go out and find that perfect spot to catch a fish (competition).

Sometimes when you go, you have many options and the fish are biting well.  On those days, you cast your line anywhere and get a catch (easy win without any effort).  Other days the chances are slim and you wonder if you will catch anything at all (days when you struggle).  On those days, you might even wonder why you tried at all.  So, you have to make a choice…are you going to give up and go home…or cast that line anyway.

Yesterday Sean chose to cast his line and try for the catch.  This was his first success.  He did not give up.  So now, he had another choice to make.  Was he going to bait his hook and cast deep or send out his line just to say he had gone fishing?  Sean chose to send out a line deep with his best bait.  He did his best and did not hold back in spite of his competition.  This was his next success.

Sometimes when we go fishing, we do not catch a single fish.  One might wonder why anyone would want to ‘waste’ the time.  Nevertheless, I have not met too many fishermen who would miss the chance to go out and enjoy the experience.  Sean took the chance, went out, and enjoyed the experience.  He learned from the experience, and he is a better person because of it.  This was his third success of the day!

If my children learn nothing else from 4-H, then they have gained the prize.  I have learned that as nice as it is to walk away with the ribbon or medal, the experience gained is just as important.  We can pray that our children always do well, but what I truly hope they will learn is that even in our failures there can be something gained.  It reminds me of Thomas Edison…he was asked why he continued to work when he failed so many times to produce the light bulb.  His answer was simple…I haven’t failed, I have learned 10,000 ways that do not work! 

So, to Sean and others who might not have done as well as they expected yesterday…I say cast out your lines again.  Never give up the joy of fishing!  There will be another day when the fish are biting and you catch the big one!  Yesterday, I hope you learned that it is not always the win that helps us to “make the best better!”

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Food Extravaganza!!!

Do you know what I love about 4H?  I love how days like today that are crazy busy with events are still enjoyable because I can share them with good friends!

We started out our day at 6am...Sean was making a fresh broccoli salad for the food show that would begin at 10am.  He had never been to a district food show so he was very nervous and wanted everything to be just right.  I was so proud of him as he got everything together and practiced his speech.  He is a senior so he had to give a 5 minute speech on his recipe along with all of the leadership and service opportunities related to the project.  This is what he said about his recipe:

"This is known as my fabulous Broccoli Salad  because it tastes great and it is packed full of nutrients.  To begin with the main ingredient—broccoli, which has 19 nutrients found in its dark green florets.  There are also mushrooms, onions and celery that fall into the vegetable category.  As you can see, there are also mandarin oranges and craisins to add a little fruity sweet and tart contrast to the dish.  I added a little bacon for some extra flavor and pecans from the protein group for a nice crunch as well.  I combined all of these with a light mayonnaise and vinegar dressing to bring it all together.  And what a serving of goodness you will enjoy with 175 calories for each 1 cup serving.  You will have gained vitamins A, C, D, E, K and several B complex vitamins, as well as iron, calcium, folic acid, and fiber.  Even that bacon adds important Vitamin B to the dish! 

Now, when I am not making this great salad, I like to spend time helping my community.  I like to go to the VA clinic and serve lunches to the veterans.  I also provide snacks for care packages that are sent to deployed soldiers.  And, on Wednesday evenings you will find me at the SFA student center serving spaghetti dinner to the college students! 

This fall our club hosted Dustin Ellerman at our club meeting and we invited the entire community to come listen to him.  My family decided to make this a community service opportunity.  We asked everyone to bring 5 cans of food as an admission price.  We collected over 500 items that were donated to the local homeless shelter.  At our county food show, I greeted the contestants and visitors as they entered the building." 

He said this speech a dozen or more times as we made our way to the contest and as he waited for his turn to present to the judges. Parents were not allowed in the judging area but I could beep through the blinds to see him.  He was obviously the youngest one in his category as I recognized the others from past years.  He would have tough competition, but I hoped he would enjoy the experience.

In the mean time, four of our other club members were also presenting to judges.  There was also a group of 14 who would be united into teams at the last minute to compete in a Texas Ag ID contest.  Sean would later join the group as well to compete in this contest.  The members were shown 20 products from Texas and asked to identify and then answer a question related to the product.  

Here are a few examples of the questions they would answer:

The parents all gathered around wishing we were the ones being tested as it was so hard to watch them all go into the rooms awaiting their fate.  We spent most of our morning holding our breath in anticipation. So glad I was not the only one there as we were able to talk and try to take our minds off the other.

We had staked our claim on a small area near the contest rooms early in the day.  I felt as if we had moved in as we had computer to allow younger siblings a chance to watch a movie.  We had our lunch in ice chests and  extra clothes to change into for the afternoon (oh yes...there is more!), not to mention the extra supplies to be mentioned later.  We even had a couch and chair to share between the group of us!  

Our children slowly emerged from their various rooms and we grabbed them up to hear details about how they presented.  Of course they all thought they had done the best job, so we continued to wait for the awards ceremony...and waited...and waited!  LOL...again so glad we were all together to share talk and food.  Katy (our resident artist) even drew portraits of the others on a chalkboard found in the hallway.

The award ceremony took place and the results were as follows:

Food Show
Tori-first place for her nutritious snack!
Taylor-third place for his fruit/vegetable recipe!
We also had Sean, Jaron and Becca compete from our club.  

Senior Team placed 4th
Intermediate Team placed 1st, with Henry placing 2nd as an individual

Sean said he was glad to see the others win.  One of the judges came up to me later and told me that he definitely knew his information but the others competing in his category had been doing this for years and he should feel like he did his best.  What a nice thing to say to a mother!  Sean did well and had a chance to speak in front of strangers and did not stumble...I am so proud!  That is why I like this contest so gives our children a chance to have an interview situation in a low key situation.  It will help them later in life, I am sure.

However, as I hinted at earlier...we were just getting started.

We rushed out of the award ceremony changing clothes as we headed to the next part of the extravaganza!  And grabbing up supply boxes full of kitchen utensils and such!  The afternoon would entail a contest known as Food Challenge.  In this contest, the members would work in teams with various ingredients to create an impromptu recipe and present it to the judges.  The team would work together to let the judges know about their creation, including preparation, nutrients, placement in food groups, safety, and cost.  They showed their team spirit in different ways.  The senior team (Treyton, Katy, Caleb, Justin, David) dressed up as WWII heroes.  The intermediate team (Henry, Brianna, Sarah, Becca, Tori) dressed in Lone Star aprons and wore jeans.  The mixed team (Sean, Naomi, Caitlin, Taylor , James) were known as the Hawaiian Bunch.

And yes, the parents again waited for the teams to go behind closed doors to compete.  They were the last going in to contest and the last to come out!  This time our wait was spent a little more leisurely as we had done all we could to help at this point.  We were sprawled in our area even taking up space on the floor as we talked about anything from new homes to past experiences.  And the younger ones got a little wilder in their play time and thought about how their lunch was not enough to make it until the day was done.  So, we began to think about enjoying dinner together!  

The teams were released from their rooms and we saw their creations...what fun to see the various adaptions to the same ingredients.  Our Intermediate team created a pizza salad.  It smelled great and the team considered eating it...It did look good but I really think they were just hungry!  

Then out came the Senior team  with a very interesting concoction made with jicama.  Never heard of it?  Neither had they but they did a great job of scooping out this starchy tuber to create a bowl.  They used this along with other ingredients to make a dip and then had other vegetables to dip.  I thought it was very creative!  

Finally, at long last...the mixed team emerged with....??  We don't know exactly...they dumped their creation before leaving the judging area. LOL!  Oh, to our disappointment we never saw what they made but the members were not impressed with their ingredients.  They were asked to use scallions, white grapes, soy milk, and almonds to make a dish that would "go down smoothly."  Can you believe that?  We actually found the recipe online when we got home (actually another parent found it).  They were supposed to make Smooth Grape Gazpacho.  And believe it or not that is what our group made but they would not even taste their own recipe!

So we waited a little longer and the results came in for this second round of fun:

Senior Team-placed 2nd
Intermediate-placed 5th
Mixed team did not place!  But once I saw what they were supposed to make and how close they had come...I could not have been prouder of them!  

We took lots of pictures and planned where we would celebrate with MORE food to end our Food Extravaganza.  We ended up at a local place to enjoy a sit down meal together before taking our weary crews back home to recover from the events of the day.  

It was a good day and I hope they all learned from the experience.  I love 4H...even on exhausting days like today.  Who could ask for anything more than a great day with friends...memories that will last a life time!  I know that it made a cold day in February a day to "make the best better!"