the best county fair entry ever

Want a zany idea for your next county fair entry? Read on…

This world has become increasingly unrecognizable with its constant drama, stressors, and problems. As such, I started a new series a few weeks ago with some humor posts to take us away, even for a brief moment, from the seriousness of recent days.

A few weeks ago, I shared a silly blog post from the past about my experience driving “the big truck” while my SUV was in the shop. I followed it up with a goofy post about how a mom can be a successful tooth fairy.

This week, I’m digging once again into the momlife archives. Several years ago when my girls were younger, life seemed easier, more laid-back, and the world in which we lived was a kinder one.

Next week, join me for our regularly-scheduled blog posts, where I’ll be discussing how we can overcome joy zappers. Future momlife posts will be sprinkled in amongst my regular faith-based and writing posts.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the best county fair entry ever.


Our family loves to enter things in the county fair. Each year, my daughters gather homemade goodies, artwork, sewing projects, and drawings and see what ribbons they can earn for their time, effort, and creativity.

I decided to do something a bit unusual this year…

Unbeknownst to him, last year as a surprise, I entered my husband’s amazing steel cutout of an elk. I had been so impressed with what he had created out of a piece of steel, that I just knew the judges would be impressed too. Imagine his shock when we were walking through the exhibit hall and he saw his project on the table with a blue ribbon –the elk was an incredible work of art. Large and polished to a sheen, it’s metal glowed against the woodworking projects that surrounded it. Lon took one look at it and exclaimed, “That looks like that elk cutout I made. Hey, wait, that is the elk cutout I made!”

Not to be outdone by entering the elk project, this year I decided to take a little different route. Yes, this year’s county fair entry would definitely be one-of-a-kind.

One day, Lon decided to take a picture of his foot wearing his size 13, beatup tennis shoe, as though it was some shoe model for decrepit, needing-to-be-retired footwear. Wondering what I would enter in the fair that year, I found my answer when I discovered this picture on our digital camera.

Wasting no time, I rushed to the store and had the photo enlarged to a 5x7and printed it off. Then, finding a reasonably-priced plastic frame, I displayed this lovely piece of “art”. Buffing the glass of the frame to a sheen, the shoe picture was ready to enter in our county fair.

Wouldn’t Lon be so surprised when he saw his picture, one likely taken out of boredom, proudly displayed on the exhibit center wall amongst numerous other quality pieces of photography?

In today’s world, just look around and you’ll see so many varieties of “art”. I just knew this would be a hit at the fair with the judges and the attendees of the fair alike. So, with the framed shoe picture awaiting its artistic debut, my daughters and I entered the door of the exhibit hall with our box full of entries.

I choked back a snicker. It was very difficult not to laugh while unloading the entries. After all, I had to play this cool so my quest would be successful.

I gingerly unloaded the mound of fair entries. Framed photos of mountain scenes and animals, pictures the girls had drawn, and homemade baked goods soon graced the table.

I saved the best for last and did my best to keep a stoic expression. No easy task for someone who is noticing the very real effect of having permanent laugh lines. But I digress…

The entry coordinator reached for another entry card, likely assuming my next entry would be more of the same of the other dozen or so entries.

But when I placed the framed photo on the table, time seemed to stand still. I pasted on my best “isn’t this an amazing entry?” face.

I watched the entry coordinator’s face as she filled out the entry card for the shoe picture. I began to snort, chalking it up to something in my throat. I struggled to maintain my composure and keep my laughter under control. After all, who really enters a photo of a beat up tennis shoe in the local fair?

And moreover, who acts like they are super proud of such an entry?

The woman looked up at me, then back down at the shoe picture, then back up at me, and finally one last time at the shoe picture. She picked up the frame and with a look of concern mixed with disgust, added it to the pile of entered fair projects.

I somehow hoped she’d be a little more appreciative of this fine piece of art.

The following day when our family went to see what ribbons we had been awarded, the girls, sworn to secrecy, and me still attempting to be nonchalant about the whole ordeal, led Lon around the exhibit hall. The girls pointed out their pictures, and when we finally came to one in particular, Lon stopped and stared. “Pen, is that? No, it can’t be…Pen!”

I thought I would die of laughter. Then Lon began to laugh and together we gazed at the unlikely winner of a high-placing ribbon.

The moral of the story? In a world so full of busyness, it’s good to take some time out to truly laugh at the sillier side of life. God gave us the ability to laugh and the ability to take joy in even the most mundane things – even a framed picture of a tennis shoe.



Before you go, check out these other posts…

the importance of avoiding false teaching

training for the mom olympics

you might be a writer if…(10 ways to know)

leaving a godly legacy

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

28 verses for uncertain times

Movie Monday: Duma

Momlife Part 2 “Adventures of the Tooth Fairy”

We live in a different world these days. Stressors that were never stressors a year ago are now commonplace.

Last week, I shared a silly blog post from the past about my experience driving “the big truck” while my SUV was in the shop. This week, I’m discussing the very real problems of being a tooth fairy.

Because we all need a break from the craziness that has enveloped us at every turn, I decided to reach back into the past and dig into the archives of momlife stories of yesterday. Several years ago when my girls were younger, life seemed easier, more laidback, and the world in which we live was a kinder one.

So, over the next several weeks, I’ll share with you some of those momlife memories – ones I wouldn’t trade for the world and ones, some of which, I’m sure you can identify with. Which begs to ask the question…how can a mom be a successful tooth fairy?


Doodle lost a tooth the other day and was thrilled that it didn’t roll down the heater vent like the last tooth, bringing a whole new meaning to “losing a tooth”. All of this losing teeth stuff reminded me of a few adventures experienced by a certain Tooth Fairy…

Once upon a time there lived a mom who doubled as a tooth fairy. She didn’t have wings and she couldn’t fly, and she was larger than the imagined “teeny-tiny Tinkerbell-like fairy”. She didn’t carry a wand and she didn’t have a stash of rolled coins at her tooth fairy cottage.

But she was a devoted, conscientious, and most-of-the-time reliable sort.

Take, for instance, last week when Doodle lost a tooth and the Tooth Fairy actually slept through the night and forgot to pay a visit. Doodle was disappointed when her tooth was still in the tooth jar and there was no money.

I’m sad to admit, this wasn’t the first time this happened. It first happened to Sunshine and she was sure to tell everyone at school the next day (note: before I homeschooled, my girls attended a small private Christian school during their elementary years) the sad tale of woe of how the Tooth Fairy had forgotten her. She seemed not to be convinced when I told her my lame excuse that the Tooth Fairy was so busy that she ran out of time since so many other children had lost teeth on the same night.

Or that the tooth fairy had taken the night off.

Or that the tooth fairy had lost her own tooth and was preoccupied.

None of these excuses worked. The following evening, she wrote the Tooth Fairy a letter about the incident, complete with an artist’s rendition of what the Tooth Fairy looked like.

Or another adventure…one night, I stumbled through the dark at 2:00 a.m. in a frenzy, thinking there were only four hours left until dawn’s daylight and I (once again) nearly forgot again to trade money for a tooth. I reached groggily into my wallet in hopes that there was actually some money in there. I grabbed out a handful of coins, deposited them into a plastic baggie and made the trade. (Hint to first time Tooth Fairies, if you place the coins in a baggie, it makes less noise and therefore doesn’t arouse suspicion in your child).

In the morning, I found out that if my children keep losing teeth, I’m going to have to take up a fund. Sunshine burst out of her room and exuberantly said, “Mom! Guess what?! The Tooth Fairy brought me $4!”

I gasped. The going rate at our house is $1, yet Sunshine had ended up with $4 and it wasn’t even a “special” tooth. In the dark, I hadn’t been paying attention that the coins I’d withdrawn from my wallet were not pennies, but quarters and dimes.

Last week, between my two kids, they lost three teeth in one week. I was running out of change and was desperate, so I did the only logical thing a Tooth Fairy can do. I zipped out to the garage at midnight and found a pile of pennies on Lon’s workbench. I scooped them up into a plastic baggie and made the trade.

The next morning, Doodle had a strange look on her face. “Mom?” She asked, “Does the Tooth Fairy work with wood?”

“What?” I asked. This for sure topped the Tooth Fairy questions.

“Does the Tooth Fairy work with wood? See, I found this wood chip in the baggie with the money.”

Apparently, a wood chip had slipped in from Lon’s workbench. An added bonus, although not too thrilling for kids.

So what about all those questions about this amazing little fairy? “Mom, what does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth?”

“How does she lift the tooth when she’s so small?”

“Why does she want teeth? Isn’t that kind of weird?”

“Where does she get the money?”

“How does she decide how much to give?”

“Why are some teeth worth more than others?”

“What does she look like?”

“Is she married?”

“Is there only one or is there a family of Tooth Fairies?”

And finally, “When I’m a ‘big woman’ (the term my girls use for female adults): can I meet the Tooth Fairy?” Depending on the day and whether or not I’m feeling creative, I can usually answer those questions with some degree of creative success.

Speaking of teeth, Sunshine wins the award for the most interesting ways of losing teeth. She’s pulled out a few herself, let me pull out one, and let Lon pull out one. Those are all typical ways.

Now for the atypical – she lost one tooth when she was wrestling Lon and bounced into his rock hard abs. Her tooth fell out immediately. She yanked three teeth at school of her own, plus yanked out a couple of other classmates’ teeth (with their patient and enduring permission, of course). I see dentistry in her future and a life of ease and luxury for Lon and I in our older years.

She’s lost a few biting into food, and finally, she pulled one at the dentist’s office while awaiting a teeth-cleaning appointment.

Doodle’s only lost four teeth, so I’m sure there will be some adventures of losing teeth in her future too.

Phew! Who knew that being a Tooth Fairy could be so interesting?

But isn’t it great to know that whether we are having a Tooth Fairy Adventure, settling sibling squabbles, or changing our 178th poopy diaper, God is there to help us every step of the way? He has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us, no matter what.

He gave us the blessing of our children and will equip us to raise them. What an awesome God we serve!

Before you go, check out these other posts:

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

the video camera is always on, part 2

8 things I want my daughters to know

28 verses for uncertain times

you might be a writer if…10 ways to know

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

5 ways to be happier

Momlife, part 1 “The Big Truck”

Life is super serious these days. Worries we never thought we’d ever have overwhelm us as we struggle in the midst of an ever-shifting culture. A culture that’s changing…and not for the better.

We all need a break from the craziness that has enveloped us at every turn. So I decided to reach back into the past and dig into the archives of momlife stories of yesterday. Several years ago when my girls were younger, life seemed easier, more laidback, and the world in which we live was a kinder one.

In those days, things that are commonplace as of the past year were completely unheard of a little over a decade ago. We had a little more freedom, a little less chaos, and a whole lot more compassion for others. People were more honest and toilet paper, lumber, and common sense were plentiful.

So, over the next several weeks, I’ll share with you some of those momlife memories – ones I wouldn’t trade for the world and ones, some of which, I’m sure you can identify with. We’ll start off our new series with a question…

What happens when an innocent mom of two with a serious depth perception problem has to drive the big truck while her SUV is being repaired?

Enjoy…and I hope it not only brings a smile to your face, but gives you a moment of escape in these crazy times.


Once upon a time in a land not so far away…

Our SUV wouldn’t start last week. Praise the Lord it decided to conk in the garage and not on the road somewhere or at the grocery store full of kids and groceries.

So, needless to say, I spent last week driving our big pickup truck.

My husband’s diesel, his pride and joy, became my mode of transportation. Not only is it high off the ground, but it’s also LONG. This isn’t a problem for most, but for me – a person with a severe depth perception problem – this is a concern! Let me give you some background information…

I have hit three vehicles. Yes, three. Now, this might not sound too concerning until I admit that these were PARKED vehicles. Yep, they weren’t moving. I was, but they weren’t.

The first victim was when my husband, Lon, and I were dating. I had a sweet souped up old-fashioned antique 1971 Chevy Malibu that was a classic long before I drove it. He was driving his dad’s little orange Nissan pickup, nicknamed “The Puke”. He parked behind my car when he came over for a visit one evening. I didn’t realize his dad’s truck was behind me.

You can probably see where this going…

I backed up and heard a slight crunch. I didn’t see any damage, so I didn’t think anything about it until later when Lon asked if I knew anything about the green bit of paint on the front of the The Puke.

Oops.

Now, I’m a firm believer in honesty in relationships – especially those with whom you might someday marry.

So I came clean.

All these years later, I’m thankful for the forgiveness they showed me when Lon’s dad’s orange Nissan suddenly became multi-colored.

Secondly, I hit a vehicle at the bank while trying to parallel park in my black Ford T-bird about four years later. I should have known better. I was the one in Drivers Ed in high school who hit the orange cones while practicing to parallel park.

Good grief. Of course, it had to happen during rush hour. Hopefully no one else saw that old station wagon drive itself forward a few inches.

Good news, though. I don’t parallel park anymore. It’s just too difficult when objects are closer than they appear.

And then, the saddest of all. I was backing our Ford T-Bird out of our driveway and didn’t realize my green Malibu was still parked at the curb in front of our house the same year. I backed the T-Bird out and smucked the Malibu. Ouch. Two more dents. Fortunately they were VERY small dents that could be popped out.

So with this background information, you can see my apprehension at driving the big truck. This is why I normally drive a mid-size SUV with a hefty grill guard. This is also why I wear glasses when I drive. And why my girls wear protective gear.

And why it’s important for my passengers to wear seatbelts.

And why, when I’m driving the big truck, vehicles on the road in our small town part ways to allow me to pass peacefully down the middle of the road.

So on my first day of driving the big truck, my children loaded, I rode the elevator up to the driver’s side door and climbed in. As I backed the truck out of the driveway, I didn’t realize a minor detail in the way.

Okay, so it wasn’t that minor. It was a large green garbage can ready and prepared for the trash truck to empty it since it was garbage day.

“What was that noise?” I asked. (It’s hard to hear anything over a diesel).

A gasp arose from the back seat.

“Uh, Mommy, you just ran over the garbage can,” Sunshine, my oldest, told me.

“What?!” I exclaimed.

Surely not. I had checked my mirrors – had done everything right that that old Driver’s Ed instructor had taught me over a decade ago.

But sure enough, I backed up further and saw the proof. The tire tracks on the green garbage can were unmistakable. The worst part of all? It was our neighbor’s garbage can!

Thankfully, our neighbor is a forgiving soul.

And thankfully garbage cans can be replaced.

And doubly thankful for God’s mercy in all things, big and small.

So, there you have it, my experience driving the big truck. A memory forever embedded in my mind and the reason why my husband won’t buy me that big new Chevy truck I’ve been eyeballing at the dealership. The one that I can barely see over the dashboard with an attached step ladder.

But he has offered to buy me a smart car. To which I say emphatically – no thanks!!!!!

Oh, and a teeny disclaimer: the pictured truck at the beginning of this post isn’t our actual truck. Ours has a grill guard. 🙂


Before you go, check out these other posts:

training for the mom olympics

you might be a homeschool mom if…(15 clues)

the great toilet paper caper

kids write the funniest things

what’s in a name?

15 verses for strength in challenging times

10 Bible verses to start off your day

10 ways to help your kids choose good role models

Movie Monday: Fearless Faith