Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Old Fashioned Christmas- Depression Era

Two Saturdays before Christmas, the Wood County Park District held an Old Fashioned Christmas Open House. There were 2 locations (very close together). 
One of them was the Carter Loomis Farm Park. They just received the property and buildings as a gift and are in the process of restoring it to a working 1930's farm. So when we walked in there, there was this lovely lady dressed in a 30's style dress and high healed shoes making cut out cookies. A tree sat in the corner decorated in Depression Era style decorations with a cast iron toy stove and a toy fire wagon with horses underneath it. My kids wanted to know why we no longer had cool toys like that :)
So more about the cookies. Each of the kids got to cut a few out. They had a little nutmeg in them and were super soft when they came warm out of the oven. Maryn was really enjoying them and wanted to copy the recipe down. She commented to the woman she liked them and asked what kind they were. 
Nice lady: "You like them? They're lard cookies."
Maryn: "Whats lard?"
Me: "Maybe you should finish it before I tell you."
What I should have taken a picture of is Maryn's face when I told lard was animal fat.

As you can see from the pictures, they were really trying to use all period materials for the baking. I love how the ingredients are in those big jars.
They had old fashioned games as well. The boys (Paul especially) was fascinated with the marbles and asked for some for Christmas. The girls and I tried to master tiddlywinks with very little success. We flipped a few pretty far and had to go find them.
One of my favorite things was a story they told kind of on the side. We mentioned we had already been to the schoolhouse and she said that the lady who left them them the farm, Lucy, grew up in that home and used to go to the one room schoolhouse. She would ice skate down the ditch during the winter to get there. One day, she fell through and needed up spending the day at a neighbors house getting warm and never went to school. Her mom had no idea until the teacher stopped by to find out where Lucy had been all day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Claw

Since the big kids were gone, Conner, Ashlyn and I decided to run to Kroger and get the Smurf Movie and some root beer and enjoy some time on my bed. Conner took with him 4 quarters.

Me: "Honey, what are you taking those for?"

Conner: "I've been watching You Tube and learning how to do claw machines. I want to win a plush."

Me: "Well, its your money and if you want to try that's fine. But understand that those things are really hard to win at. You have to be lucky and watching You Tube in order to try and win isn't really going to be helpful at all."

I stand corrected.

Manor House

So for FHE last Monday we went and visited the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve in Toledo. Every year they decorate it for Christmas and open for tours. We had never been before, but it was very cool. We all enjoyed it. Here are a few pics.
The master bath was filled with piggies! I think they called it "Oink the Halls".
So Cute!

A pig dressed up as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer sitting on the back of a toilet. How did they know my weakness?

This was kind of creepy at first. What's with the long dark tunnel? It's called "Alternate Delivery" and the little animals are helping with the gifts. We found it was a shooting range when it was actually a house.

Trains! There were neat little village pieces in the middle that sparkled and twinkled while the trains ran round and round.

It's official...

Yes, it's true. Maryn has lost her mind. Which is probably because she has also lost her head.
 See photographic proof below:

(Actually...the real story is that she is looking at fish in the pond at 577 Foundation. We took the girls there on our little weekend of adventure!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Best. Response. Ever.

When I dropped by the nativity festival today I was flipping through the comment cards. Each one asks how they heard about it, what they liked and what they would like to see.

To the last question, some little girl answered thus:

"A unicorn nativity made out of real crystals."

Does life get any better then that, I ask you?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'd like to lodge a formal complaint...

So tonight we went to our church's Nativity Festival. We went last night,  but we went again tonight because I was accompanying my friend Rachel and her mother Angela. They give a little Christmas recital as part of the festivities. They are both beautifully trained sopranos, and it was quite lovely. Afterwards, Rachel asked if I would like to go with her to use a groupon she got at a little hole in the wall pizza place downtown. I checked with the parentals and then gave the affirmative answer. I was enthusiastic. My parents were cooperative.

My kids were mad.

More specifically Maryn was mad. Now in fairness, Rachel and I also did a Biaggi's run last night after we rehearsed. I needed chocolate. It had been a long and stressful day. I need an hour without children or work. I make no apologies for a little self care. (Okay actually I do, because it mostly feels like selfishness instead of self care, but I'm working on it. Plus the cake was amazing.)

But I sensed this wasn't really about my absence. So I asked her why she was mad. Truth be told, is was more about me going somewhere that didn't include her. And it was about me going somewhere she wanted to go and didn't get to go.

What is it about being 11 years old that makes the entire world seem unfair?

Her day had been a list of complaints.

"Why don't WE have a real tree. I want a real tree. THEY have a real tree."
"And they have 2 trees. Why can't we have 2 trees?"
"They put their stockings on the fireplace. You put them on the shelf. They're supposed to go on the fireplace. Why don't we put them on the fireplace."
"You get to go places. I never get to go places. Why do you get to go places?"
"Hannah got one of those, why can't I have one of those?"
"Why can't we have pork for dinner? They have pork for dinner. You never make pork for dinner."

Finally, I stopped her.

"Look, if you're going to continue telling me everything that just isn't working for you like this, maybe you should write it down and submit it all at once a formal complaint."

She kind of laughed.

A friend pointed out that somehow in the eyes of kids that age anything different then what they have is bad. Somehow, someone else having something you don't have (even though you may have many other wonderful things), is perceived as unfair.

Okay, not just 11 year olds. I go there sometimes too. Okay, I go there a lot.

Maybe I should just confess straight out that I live there. I've pitched a tent and hunkered down for the long haul. But so often I feel justified in my complaints, because I complain about BIG things, not pizza and cake.

And yet...

Here is a quote from the latest church magazine. Elder Eyring said:

"So to be happy and to avoid misery, we must have a grateful heart. We have seen in our lives the connection between gratitude and happiness. All of us would like to feel gratitude, yet it is not easy to be consistently grateful in all things in the trials of life. Sickness, disappointment, and the loss of people we love come at times in our lives. Our sorrows can make it hard to see our blessings and to appreciate the blessings God has in store for us in the future.
It is a challenge to count our blessings because we have a tendency to take good things for granted."
I should probably reconsider accepting, or giving, any more formal complaints.

This is what I do...

Hello, my name is Chiara Cameron and I am a Volunteer Coordinator. I really like what I do. I also happen to be pretty good at it. Most people don't know what it means to be a volunteer coordinator, so allow me explain.

Depending on which agency you work for, that means different things.

For Hannah's Socks, it means I recruit volunteers, match them with the best opportunities for them, and then try and build relationships with them so they stay. That means coming with tasks and programs. It means learning more about your volunteers and investing a piece of yourself in them so they feel important and they invest in the agency and the mission. The key word for most VC's is "engage". We engage individuals.

For United Way, I take on more of a supportive roll for other agencies.  I do a little matching of individuals to opportunities, but mostly I work with the VC's in other agencies to help them create great programs so we feel good about sending volunteers their way. Sometimes, I also help groups come up with Days of Caring. I reach out to organizations I know have things to when I am contacted by a business or other organization who want to do a service project. I also maintain key volunteer relationships. Food Pantry Network is one (pretty much all of them are volunteers and coordinate volunteers) and the Office of Service Learning at BGSU is another. I really like being part of both of both of those. Relationships are a core value for me. Anyway, last night I tapped into the relationships I have with both of these groups to do something good. BGSU wanted to have a service project in honor of the inauguration of the new university president. The OSL reached out to me and asked for help planning a food drive and then connecting the food with the right recipients.

Last night we sorted and prepared about 1000 items that we divided between 3 pantries. People give weird stuff. Soba noodles? Seaweed wraps? Foil packaged jelly fish? Tapioca thats older then I am? A #10 can of hot fudge sauce? How is that practical for anyone in rural midwest Ohio?

After all I have learned about food pantries, here is my little bit of advice; whenever you give for a food drive, give food you would eat. Don't reach into your cupboard and just give them whatever you aren't using. Don't give stuff thats older then you kids. You are giving this food to people, not pigs. It will not help them if they will not eat it.

Okay, now the soapbox is officially tipped over and I am moving on :)

Anyway, another thing I do and love doing presentations and training. I love planning just the right thing. I love coming up with activities that have meaning and then leading the group through the processing and seeing their faces as the pieces come together and they reach their own conclusion. I love interacting with people. I love researching and learning more about the topic and subject. Did I mention that I love it?

I get to do a presentation next week on creating positive organizational cultures that support and maximize volunteers within that culture. Sounds riveting doesn't it? And yet I'm excited. The process of bringing it together was tedious but rewarding. I'll have to let you know how it turns out :)