The fair is upon us, and I hear rumor that parents are freaking out. How can that possibly be? Lol. I have been every year since birth and even though I only have nieces and nephews showing, I still have to plan accordingly.
My husband always asks why families show when all he hears is the bickering between us. I have learned over the years that Every. Single. Family. Argues. During. Fair. Every. One. And yes, it may seem not worth it in that moment, but it is. One of my favorite sayings is that you don’t see 4-Hers failing at life. You just don’t. So there’s that little nugget to hold onto when you go to the bathroom just to escape the family and avoid screaming in their faces that you need a drink and why can’t they scoop the crap just once!
Anyway, that being said, I hear that it’s sometimes a struggle to be prepared for fair week. Lol. Nah…you don’t say!
So here are a few helpful Bolton Carley tips to Fair Week – take ‘em or leave ‘em, no worries here, I’ll be in the barn having a Mountain Dew:
*Have totes ready pre-fair. Even if by pre-fair, you mean midnight the day before. I would recommend totes for each day of the fair or by activity if that works better for you. Pack everything in you will need for that day or event. If you need to use some of those things prior to then, make a checklist for the top of the tote that reminds you to grab those items before you walk out the door. Also, keep post-it notes next to your door at home and put them on the glass to remind you not to leave for the day without those small forgotten items. And Ziploc bags are your friend – to put on the static projects, to put wet clothes in, and food that you want to keep!
*Have a tote for clothes to be worn at fair. This is where you mooch all the 4-H t-shirts you can from cousins, siblings, etc. that are too old for 4-H or have outgrown them. And if you don’t have family to steal from, ask on Facebook or Swap. Load up! And then, you may laugh at me in the moment, but seriously – put a laundry basket in your car for all dirty laundry so you know what is dirty and what’s clean and can be re-washed if necessary for another day. Plus, your dirty stuff doesn’t get on the clean! Those wet, dirty socks seem to attract clean t-shirts!
*Speaking of clothes, don’t forget the belt and safety pins to pin your number on. Everyone forgets those. Plus, extra shoes. Ones to get wet when washing and then let dry while you wear the others. Socks, too. You can never have enough clean socks with you! And check your boots now. If they are too small, you still have time to ask on Swap or if you have a smaller kid – hit Pink & Green in CB, they have lots of used boots and he’s a Carson boy! Support local. If you’re not from Pott Co., find a local resale shop or hit Orschleins for good deals.
*Also in your clean clothes tote, pack a few towels. In an emergency, you might have to shower there or clean up after washing next to a Freddy that soaks you…accidentally…of course. And don’t forget to pack extra clothes for you. Yes, you worry so much about your kids, you forget about you!
*Pack food and drinks. Now, I am a huge advocate for taking a check and setting up an account at the 4-H Food Stand so that you don’t have to go find cash every time you want something, you can just swing by and grab what you need or want when you are on the run between events. That being said, I also like to have snacks in the barn for family bonding time. We like to have a cooler of everyone’s fave drinks and not just one type – you should only drink so many Pepsis. Gotta have those Gatorades, too. Or if your family likes tea or kool-aid that you can’t buy in the store (like I love lime kool-aid, yes, feel free to laugh at me), fill those empty water bottles with everyone’s faves and be sure to have lots of water! You can never have enough water bottles at fair. Plus, you don’t want to have to make a million convenience store runs – they add up! As for food, we usually try to have salty and sweet, but chocolate melts in the ungodly heat that always coincides with fair! So I stick to cookies instead of candy bars. I also like to take chips like Pringles and Lays because they come in a canister you can put the lid back on and you don’t have to have a chip clip and they don’t get smashed. But we do keep chip clips in our showbox. They are always worth having close by! Don’t forget the fly spray, marker, stapler, and hose for the showbox! They always get left at home!
*Cards. You should have cards to play when the day gets long. Yes, I know everyone just sits on their phones and plays their electronic devices, but more friendships have been built out of boredom on a game of cards than you can possibly imagine! Go old-school for your kids’ sake. You won’t regret it. And don’t be afraid to ask all the other kids to come join you. We always have multiple packs for war or BS. If you think that’s too boring, have a selfie competition in your barn and a time limit, see who can come up with the best photo or bring your tailgating cornhole game from home.
*Gas up the car. I know it sounds dumb, but it’s the little things that take time that can kick you off schedule. Have that done ahead.
*Make sure you have chairs. Sitting is necessary. Lol.
*Sleep. The number one recommendation I can make to you going into, and during, fair is to get as much sleep as possible. Your kid won’t, so that means you need to so one of you handles things properly and without disaster.
*Don’t forget this is your chance for family bonding. Fair never goes as planned. Tears happen, but 20 years from now, I hope they remember the water fight you had or the kid they met or just sitting in the barn with you. Big picture goals – 4-Hers don’t fail at life.
I have plenty more, but I’ve already been too wordy – where was that when I had to write a record book? Lol.
Happy Fair Week!
Other tips you’d like to share? Comments you’d like to make? Or questions you have for me to still answer? Happy to hear them.
I don’t know about you, but I love a parade! Seriously. What’s not to love? Cool cars, fancy floats, free stuff flying through the air at you! Oh yeah! We need more parades in the world. Parades make people happy. Why do you think Disney throws one every night? Lol.
There are a lot of plusses for everyone. My kid loves seeing everything bright and moving, and, of course, running for candy. Business owners should love them because people are front and center and I truly think there’s no better form of advertising! And I love them because people are happy and celebrating and flying toilet paper or koozies come at me – I’m in! Pretty much rockstar, in my opinion.
I really wanted to do a float or maybe a cow or a tractor or something to sway more readers to my blog this year at the 4th of July parade in Oakland. I did that once for a 4-H project for my dad’s farm – we actually had one of my heifers on a parade float one year – needless to say, she was damn tame and a good sport. Looking back, I can’t really believe we did it. Still a proud moment!
So I really did want to do a float because I love when people participate and contribute. Not only does it sound fun, but I mean it when I say it’s the best advertising! However, my husband convinced me that maybe this was the year to watch my kid run for candy and get paid to take pictures of the parade instead, but I’ll be ready for next year! So since I’m not going to, I’m gonna encourage the rest of you to! Lol. There’s still time – a golf cart, a hayrack, an inflatable dinosaur costume, or even a fainting goat would be fun. There’s money to be made! No entry fee and they’re paying 3 places in each category. Come on!
Need inspiration? I loved P’Nut’s Plumbing throwing toilet paper. Hysterical! I loved the big, round haybale painted into a pig last year at the Carson Rodeo parade. I loved the giant eagle float Tammi Shellburg did one year for Oakland. And, one year, the swimming pool used water guns and pool noodles for a float. Yes, people remember this stuff!
But if that’s not your wheelhouse or if you have nothing to promote (Do those people exist?), please just show up! I love 4th of July in Oakland because I see people I never get to see otherwise! And I love community and people talking to each other and liking each other and making this a fabulous place to live. Check out the list of stuff to do – there really is something for everyone! Golf, pancakes, trivia, a parade, fireworks, and more – so worth showing up for!
I mean it. These are the days we moved home for. I want our daughter to know this life. I want her to see the good people balancing work and life and fun, and I want her to know there’s no place like home…because, there really isn’t…
Happy 4th of July week, everybody!
So I kinda think this is a pretty huge deal! If you’ve been anywhere around ag, you know it’s a big deal. Impact Hill is having the Peterson Farm Brothers here next Friday night! If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, I should know who that is, but I can’t place them” then head to YouTube. They hit the scene when they did a parody of “I’m Sexy and I Know It” and have done 13 since! I kinda think of them as the the Weird Al Yankovics of the farming world. Lol.
First of all, they crack me up. Who doesn’t love farm boys (and their sister) attempting to rap a little and sing while wearing boots and driving tractors??? Are you kidding me? That is rockstar! Second of all, I love the way they manage to use social media to get the word out about farming, and agriculture, in general. That’s another important thing to me. Third, they not only do the parodies, but they blog, do farm tours, and vlog. And fourth, they are good Midwestern boys from Kansas with family values! Woo-hoo to that!
So, beyond the fact that I adore the Peterson Farm Bros. and what they are trying to accomplish, I also am a huge advocate for Impact Hill. They actually got a share grant from Farm Bureau to hold the event to raise money for their non-profit. I would love to see all of us pack the house on the 29th to not only have a great time but to raise money for a good cause. Tickets are $25/person and you even score a BBQ dinner out of it from Buck Snort (and talk about people that are so generous!!) at 6pm! Plus, there’s happy hour starting at 5:30 with a cash bar so good times are definitely to be had!
Tickets can be purchased at the East Pott. Co Farm Bureau, The Buck Snort, or online at squareup.com/store/impact-hill.
If you can’t make it, buy tickets for your parents, friends, or family. Let’s make this a great night not only for Impact Hill, but for our community, as well! You won’t be sorry!
Concert takes place at 501 Oakland Ave. Oakland, Iowa
Kate Spade killed herself. So did a really large number of others last week. It makes me sad. Kate Spade created an empire, and yet, she still wasn’t good enough in her own head. If that doesn’t show that mental health issues are real, then add it to Robin Williams, Heath Ledger, and Anthony Bourdain. Denial is common, but not a solution.
My brain has a hard time wrapping itself around the idea that Kate Spade didn’t see her own success. Perhaps that’s because my brain works properly (well, most of the time). Chemical imbalances distort your view. What a sad reality that is to everyone who surrounds the person, as much as the person themselves.
I’ve thought about it because I have a history of depression and because there are mental health issues in my family background, as well. I, luckily, have learned the keys to pushing myself back out of the darkness, but I was blessed with the right chemicals to make that happen.
I have known amazing, talented, brilliant people in my life who have struggled with mental health issues repeatedly. I worked with a large number of people over the years that took medication for things ranging from anxiety to depression. I was always shocked when I learned it, but I have tried in my older years to never be judgmental about it. It happens to soooo many people. Situational or otherwise, life is not always kind, or at least we don’t perceive it to be.
Perhaps if we slept enough, lived enough, and appreciated enough, it would be better for all of us. Those things will not correct a chemical imbalance, but they will help to alleviate stress and mental demands on the rest of us. I have come to learn that even though we value work greatly in our country, it doesn’t always value us.
Ten years ago, I missed a funeral because I believed I was needed at work more than at the funeral. My mistake was thinking that. Not because I was needed at the funeral but because I needed it. It was a mistake I try to keep with me when I make decisions about life, family, and work.
It was often brought up that you could easily be replaced in the work environment I worked in. It felt awful to hear but was way more accurate than I care to consider. I was easily and quickly replaced.
At the end of the day, I continue to believe that we must re-focus our priorities regularly. We must again realize that other people matter, that our families matter, that relaxation is necessary, that perfection is unattainable, that victories and holidays should be celebrated, and the only one with enough time to judge us is our own self because everyone else is too busy judging themselves, too. Keeping up with the Jones is not necessary. The Facebook Effect is real. Sixty hour work weeks are not good for our souls. And I will continue to cheer for those that make it look easy when I know it is not easy for anyone.
For today, I simply ask that if you need help, go get it. If you are stressed, over-worked, worried, and facing battles that seem too great, call someone. Do not text. And if you have no one to call, find a place to volunteer or leave a gift for someone who you know needs it more than you. For we continue to judge ourselves against those that we believe have more, do better, and make it look easy instead of all the people that think that of us.
No one has their proverbial $#!+ together all the time. It’s why there’s wine, good books, Target, and 50-year friendships in the world. So, go, find your bliss today in a coffee, a cone, the Oscar Mayer b-o-l-o-g-n-a song (because, truly, it makes you feel good) or a lawn chair on the deck for 5 minutes of peace or happiness in this noisy world. And, as always, remember to love the ones you’re with.
RIP Kate. You did it better than you realized.
Thoughts? Comments? Please only positive.
So I know it’s kinda last minute, but that’s what makes it great – you might not have plans and need them! The Grist Mill will be presenting the musical, Sister Act in Macedonia this weekend! The musical is based on the movie with Whoopie Goldberg, involves a witness protection scenario where Delores, a night club entertainer, hides as a very unlikely nun at a convent. She teaches song and the joy of life to the other nuns while dodging bad guys in a feel-good story with songs I happen to love. I also happen to have a niece that shall remain nameless (or not, Kyra Martens) who loved to watch Sister Act when she was a kid. It’s just fun!
The cast will include Sara Mathews, a stand-out in the same musical last year in Glenwood, as Delores. Other notable names to the Grist Mill include Karla Keener as Mother Superior, Stacia Thompson as Sister Mary Lazarus, the old, feisty choral director, and Mark Raney as Pablo, the thug. After acting in The Odd Couple, Vince Baker will switch gears to that of the musical director for this performance. Cast members will take on rapping and breakdancing in addition to old-school church hymns. Eileen Adickes swears the “choreography will be wonderful” and “audiences will like to see us strut our stuff in nun’s habits.”
Additional cast members include: Hannah Beebe – Sister Mary Robert, Deanna Fender – Backup Singer Michelle and Sister Mary Patrick, Heather Myers – Backup Singer Tina and choir nun, B.C. Thompson – Monsignor O’Hara, Vince Baker – Curtis Jackson, mobster, Bret Baker – Detective Eddie Souther, Eric Duhachek – TJ, a thug, Richard Fleming – Joey, a thug, Clarence Waddell – Ernie, a thug; and the Pope, Jan Waddell – Sister Mary Martin of Tours, Eileen Adickes – Sister Mary Theresa, Sue Duhachek – choir nun, Nancy Raney – choir nun, Sara Hudgell – choir nun, and Angie Beebe – choir nun. Angie Beebe will also direct and Claudia Baker will accompany.
Tickets are $15/adult and only $5 for students. There are 3 performances – Tonight – June 8 at 7:30, (Saturday) June 9 at 7:30 or (Sunday afternoon) June 10 at 2:30 held at the McCready Theater. You can call for seats 712-486-2216 or check out the website, www.gristmillfinearts.com.
The Grist Mill productions are part of a full weekend in Macedonia sans The Back 40. The Painted Camel will offer an art collection to peruse prior to Friday’s performance and offer drinks and snacks at their annual open house prior to the other 2 performances. The Pioneer Museum and Stempel Bird Museum will also be open ahead of the shows for viewing pleasure. A chicken dinner and rubber duck race fundraiser take place on Sunday before the matinee performance so be sure to check them out!
It’s gonna be a nice weekend and lots of fun! Support local!
What do Jimmy Fallon and I have in common today? We are thanking teachers! It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week and today, Tuesday, is specifically Teacher Appreciation Day. There are the token few places like Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, and Cane’s that put out some free food for the occasion, but most simply go about their business.
Teaching is an underrated profession. I’ve heard all the comments – like “you get summers off” and “those who can’t do, teach.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. I would tell you that only those that truly care decide to teach. It sure isn’t for the money, the fame, the frequent bathroom breaks, and the clean-cut, rockstar students that fill your classroom every hour.
As a teacher, I remember a time at the beginning of my career when the clock in my classroom didn’t work (shocking). My students chipped in and for Christmas, they bought me a new one. I still have it. It’s nothing special. It was nothing expensive, but it was thoughtful. Every time I look at it, I think about that set of kids now in their 30’s. The craziest part is that those middle schoolers grow up. I get the privilege of saying one of my students is a principal in the district I taught in. One is working on Space X. One is an advocate for autism. Many of them have spouses, kids, and jobs I am impressed by.
However, I must admit the greatest teacher appreciation day I ever had was the day I left. My LF family gave me a send-off I will never forget. I was blessed to work with amazing people, but I have to say, it is sad that, for most, the day you leave is the day you hear the best words.
When I think about education, I get pretty feisty and revved up. Until you’ve spent a day in a classroom, you can’t know the job of a teacher, and one day is just a glimpse. But I think of my teachers growing up, and I was so lucky. I’m friends with a few now as a grown adult, and even the ones I don’t have contact with now, still taught me skills I use every day. I can name every single one of them. Some of you probably can, too.
I was super happy to see that 2 Riverside teachers were awarded the Charles A. Lakin Award for Education this week. Amanda Brandon, the 5-12 band teacher, and Brock Johnson, the elementary PE and computers teacher were awarded $10,000 each with $2500 going to their school districts. Charles and his wife were from Emerson and believed in the power of a teacher. He said he wouldn’t have been successful in the world without one of his teachers. Thank you, Charles A. Lakin, for understanding the world.
The world is a hard place. It’s not for the weak or the awkward or the nerds until they find education, and it shows them the world is theirs if they see it with an enlightened perspective. School may not be for everyone, but teachers are. Every day, thousands of teachers go to work. They parent. They teach. They lead by example. They wipe tears. They answer the hard questions. They steer kids. They goal-set. They handle bathroom issues. They provide support. They give love. They listen. They do their job.
On my hardest days as a parent, I think about a teacher with 25 of mine in a room, and I guarantee you every teacher my child has will be given gift cards, alcohol, or the thing of their liking. Especially the middle school teachers and high school teachers of which she will have many, simply because it’s the right thing to do.
The other day I asked my teacher friends on Facebook about the best gifts they were ever given. Not one told me of luxury items, but they did tell me about handmade pencil holders, scarves, and plants. All were about the thoughtful gift. So I ask that you take time to say “thank you” this week or the last week of school to every teacher your child sees and simply be “thoughtful” in it, or send a note to one who made their mark on your life.
Let me do my disclaimer and say I am sure I forgot someone, but I haven’t had a chance to look yet! Oops.
Thank you, Mrs. Von Weihe, for working with me when I was shy, quiet, and not reading a lot yet.
Thank you, Mrs. Young, for pulling my teeth when I was too chicken.
Thank you, Mrs. Bjustrom, for letting me teach the class how to write in cursive.
Thank you, Mrs. Schmidt, for teaching me my multiplication tables.
Thank you, Mrs. Hummel, for teaching me not to bite my fingernails and that life isn’t fair. You have to help the struggling ones even when they don’t deserve it.
Thank you, Mrs. Clark, for never taking things as seriously as I did.
Thank you, Mrs. Merle, for teaching me all I could possibly ever need to know about medieval times and to never take the lord’s name in vain.
Thank you, Mr. Clark, for teaching me to do foil art and how to knit.
Thank you, Mrs. Kunze, for loving your library and expecting us to follow rules.
Thank you, Mr. Vesley, for teaching me to drive, even if I backed up better than I went forward.
Thank you, Mrs. White, for loving your job and offering hands-on methods. You still don’t look a day over 50!
Thank you, Mrs. Smith, for being passionate about saying “angel” correctly and for letting us sing the “It Starts with an A…Aardvark” song. I can still sing it!
Thank you, Mrs. Peterson, for teaching me journalism and how much fun you can have as a teacher.
Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for my French lessons one summer and knowing everything is better with food.
Thank you, Mr. Miller, for helping me to understand the zero is important in some math.
Thank you, Mr. Hynek, for helping me see that a good teacher needs to be watching everything closely.
Thank you, Mr. Hembry for forcing me into golf. It was a great decision.
Thank you, Mr. Strickland, for teaching me that a student will always work hard for a teacher who expects them to work hard (I used that a lot in my teaching career), and maybe that stuff about the World Wars, too. J
Thank you, Mrs. Grosvenor, for teaching me about the psychology of other people and that a halfway-smart man is not enough, even if his jeans are long enough. I’m glad we see things more similarly these days.
Thank you, Mrs. Casey, for giving me freedom even when you knew I’d take advantage of it because I would still get the work done.
Thank you, Mr. Thompson (sorry, I can’t do it). Thank you, Marv, for showing me that you don’t have to be athletic to like PE and to play hard.
Thank you, Mrs. McCowen, for teaching me letters can be numbers so that I can still do an equation.
Thank you, Ms. Stamper, for making me stick it out through proofs, oh, and for becoming my sister-in-law. Lol
Thank you, Mr. Ernst, for helping me realize that sometimes you have to stand up for the underdog, even when they won’t be an underdog in the right circumstances.
Thank you, Mr. Allen, for teaching me to type. I literally use that skill Every. Single. Day.
Thank you, Mr. Harris for teaching me the difference between stalactites and stalagmites, to tuck and roll when I got off the bus, and that there are advantages to coming from a long-line of overachievers.
Thank you, Mr. Sick, for letting us do collaborative learning. And yes, I know you’re sick every day of your life. J
And, finally, thank you, Mrs. Strickland, for embracing my love of the inappropriate and my passion for writing and for still choosing to be on my path to whatever lies ahead.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week and Miss You LFers!