Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 14 - 2 Weeks Until Opening Day!

Two weeks and counting until opening day.  However, a lot of my food entries will be entered the Sunday through Wednesday prior to that.  And then all of the floriculture and horticulture will be much later into the second week.  Speaking of floriculture and horticulture - this is where I am beginning to wonder whether I will make my 100 entry goal or not.  I was planning on having some entries in these two areas but going out to my garden after the major storms two weeks ago just depresses me.  Looks like I should have some cucumbers both pickling and slicing.  I hope to have some beans still producing.  Other than that, not sure what I'll have.  This is why you never count chickens before they hatch as grandma used to say.

So, the focus turns back to food exhibits because this is where I'll have to make up the difference.  The boys and I splurged on some fondant tools today.  What fun!  We are working on Grandma and Grandpa Clark's 40th Anniversary cakes.  Clark loves cutting the fondant and using the new fondant tools.  He had to know what each one did (I don't even know what they all do).

Last night we had some friends over and Beth commented on some of the shapes we had cut out to set up yesterday.  We both liked utilizing old egg cartons to shape flowers - they work great.

I went to show her the butterflies that we had put in an old birthday card to set the shape and the card was empty.  I asked Alan if he knew where they went.  He mentioned Clark had been playing with it but I still couldn't find them anywhere on the counter.  This morning when Clark came out to the kitchen I asked if he knew where our butterflies went that we had made yesterday.  So honest and point blank; "they went in my tummy mommy!"  Well, mystery solved.  When asked if they tasted good he replied; "yeah, they were good - they're all in my tummy."  Can't fault that logic.

As I am writing tonight I am waiting for the cakes to bake.  I doubled the Golden Vanilla Cake recipe to see if that would work.  So far so good.  This way I should have enough cake for the family get together and some cupcakes to freeze to use for a couple different classes.  We also cut enough fondant flowers to decorate a cake for the Iowa State Fair as well as the one for the family.  I like it when one batch can serve double duty.

We went to town tonight to get some supper.  Afterwards Clark wanted to walk on campus.  It was such a beautiful night it was hard to deny the request.  So we went for a campus walk.  Grant and Clark both loved the fountain outside the Memorial Union and we could have probably stayed much longer than we did.  I mention this because this has become not just a blog regarding fair entries but a daily update of our lives for me to print out for the boys so they have a glimpse as to what went on when they were little.  This little stroll also reminded me that this is where extension stems from and back in the day fair's were showcases and educational platforms for what men and women did during the year.  A way to help other community members learn new techniques as well as show pride in their work and hopefully some winning ribbons. (Currently the songs from the musical "State Fair" are running through my head - who doesn't like the family's contribution to mother's fair winning mincemeat?  If right now you are saying you have never seen State Fair - you need to watch it!).  Side note from my husband - watch the Roy Rogers version rather than the remake.

Anyway I hope there has been some of those same ideals that have gone along with the blog.  And let's not forget the ISF theme this year "Non-Stop Fun."  This has been some fun ride and really it is only now just beginning!

Welcome to those of you joining the blog after reading Cheryl Tevis' article in Successful Farming!  I think the most fun about doing this whole thing has been the new and interesting people I have been able to meet and talk to along the way.  Let me just say my little self - motivational blog for this project has certainly snowballed but I love how many people have shown encouragement along the way.  No, I'm not a crazy women (although many would beg to differ) just a very goal-oriented, progress driven one.  As a person with an Agricultural Education degree I have enjoyed teaching my boys along the way and what they have learned and the skills they show me everyday are the happiest moments of all.

Now, I must go clean my mixer bowl and make frosting.

Day 15 - First 5 Entries Officially Submitted!

Today (Wednesday) we drove to the fairgrounds to submit the first of the 100 entries!  Five down; only 95 left to go!  Since I will not be in central Iowa on Saturday when the Fabric and Thread entries are due I made arrangements with the superintendent of the department to submit my entries today.  It is amazing what Clark remembers.  As we turned onto Corporate Woods Drive in Ankeny to take the back way in to the fairgrounds Clark asked me if we were going to the fair.  Wow!  He knows the way to the fair.  I told him we were but just to drop some items off and then go to the playground on the fair grounds.  He was happy with that.  Of course the first thing he wanted to do when we arrived was ride the Sky Glide.  I told him that would have to wait a couple of weeks.

Lots of activity at the fairgrounds in preparation for the big opening.  Kind of funny because by the day the fair actually opens to the public my entries will be slowing to a trickle.

Here are the five items that are officially entered.

Reversible Apron

Counted Cross Stitch Picture

Counted Cross Stitch Verse

Doll Garment complete with under garments.  Good thing I finally have a niece to start sewing doll clothes for!

Finally the bag I made.  I went a bit off pattern and added more pockets (can never have enough pockets). Can you believe at the auction last week I discovered trim in one of the fabric boxes I bought that actually matched the vintage fabric!  Wow- vintage fabric and trim! I love it!  My husband thinks it's too retro.  I have decided I don't care what his opinion is in this one instance.  I had a hard time entering it actually because it would be such a great bag to use during the fair.  I'll just have to use it next year.

I don't expect any ribbons since I know quite well what flaws there are to find but it will be fun to see them displayed and see what awesome pieces won the classes they are in so I can try to achieve that the next year.  Oh yes, I already have projects on the burner for Fabrics and Threads for next near.  I want to more closely explore the winning exhibits in some of those classes this year to better determine what is looked for by the judges.

So much fun - so much to do!

Day 15 - Tuesday's Blog

Somewhat reminiscent of my former 4H days I stayed up late finishing projects for the fair.  Actually, I don't remember too many late nights during fair days of old but found it funny I was working on projects until 1 am.  Somewhere around 11 pm I caught a second wind so decided to just double check everything over one more time and make sure the entries were as perfect as possible.  Touched up some paint on my one framed needlework piece, zig zag stitched seams and did some extra finishing work on my doll outfit, top stitched the top of my bag entry, and steamed the garments to get all the stubborn wrinkles out.

I have found a whole new appreciation for painter's tape in the craft room.  I used it to help lay out where I wanted to fussy cut my panels for my bag.  This sheared lots of time off of my measure and cut time.  Also found that it is a great way to clean up trimmed threads and small pieces of fabric quickly and efficiently off of my workspace - plus since those pieces are now all stuck to the tape no dropping them all over the floor on the way to the trash.

My other new found love - multi-colored thread.  It adds such a neat touch.  I have used it on the quilt and now on my handbag both with great results.

During the day my boys' decided that everything is more fun in a "tent."  We built a tent in Clark's room and pretty much never left it.

This is one very large crocheted blanket.  I believe it fits a king size bed.  One of those awesome auction finds.  This was something I found at one of the very first auctions I went to a long time ago.  It was an auction with lots of furniture and quilts.  The quilts were all selling for hundreds of dollars.  At the very end they sold off a trunk which I thought might make a nice side table or decorative piece.  So I purchased it.  When we went to pick it up it was extremely heavy.  We opened it up and discovered this piece and a hand pieced block quilt inside.  No one opened this particular trunk when setting up for the auction so ended up being an amazing find for us!  Now the boys think it makes an amazing tent.  Big enough they can actually stand up under it.

Grant's first ear of sweet corn!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 16 - No, Don't Come in Mommy!

That sentence used as a title today is my "red alert" that something bad has occurred and Clark doesn't want me to see it.  In today's case it was actually pretty cute.  When Clark and I went out to do chores I took him out to the garden to see the caterpillars.  We looked at caterpillars and little frogs and adult monarch butterflies and bees and lady bugs.  Then I suggested we go pick some flowers.  We headed to the gladiola patch and Clark exclaimed at all the pretty flowers.  They didn't look so pretty to mommy all knocked over and goose necked and ripped apart.  But they were colorful and Clark thought they were pretty.  So we picked some and Clark took his handful up to the house.  Meanwhile I picked some more and straightened what I could.  Didn't take long and I followed Clark into the house.  This is when I heard - No, mommy, no - don't come in mommy.  I immediately asked - why not?  Then he said, "I'm sorry, mommy."  I looked at the counter and there was water spilled across the top.  Then I saw the flowers and the little cup.  Clark had brought his flowers in and knowing they needed water climbed up to the sink, filled a small plastic cup and took it back to the counter to put his flowers in.  But, glads with their high center of gravity just don't sit well in little cups.  I just smiled, told him it was OK but thanked him for the apology and praised him for trying to keep the flowers watered.  We cleaned up and then headed downstairs to pick a more appropriate container.  I let Clark pick the new container and we went up to put our flowers together.  We put some in a vase but they had to be cut so short I decided to use some floral foam.  Clark thought this was cool and wanted to help.  Here is our resulting arrangement:

Yeah, OK - so it looks like a 3-year old put it together - well for what we had to work with and for all the help Clark gave I think it looks pretty good for a 3-year old.  Watch out - he could be some fair competition in the floral classes when he gets older!  That's if flowers still interest and enthrall him as much then as they do now!  All I have to say is Alan's mom would have LOVED this arrangement!  Cynthy liked lots of color and different flowers.

Processed the three-bean salad late this afternoon.  Made 9 pint jars.  That's not bad but I should probably plan to do some more since Clark already wanted one open for supper.

Worked on some sewing tonight.  Things are coming together - but now begins the second guessing myself of whether or not is high enough quality and noticing all the little imperfections.  We'll see how some of the items finish up and whether or not they are included.  Last night I decided I wasn't going to enter the quilt.  Actually the quilting looks good.  But, with having to take all of yesterday processing beans I didn't have the day (without work and husband watching kids) that I needed to finish it off the right way.  So rather than rushing I put that one aside.  However, I will finish it - I promised myself I would and Clark is rather excited to see the final product so that is pretty motivating.  This way if I use Clark's as practice the quilt top I have ready for Grant can be the show piece next year!  Well, that is if he doesn't wear it out before then.  Kind of sad to complete it for him and then not give it to him until after next year's fair.  Getting ahead of myself - one quilt at a time.  I will admit I am addicted to the whole quilting process.  Creating the top though is my favorite part and I've decided if I do a large quilt my poor little machine won't handle it so I may send it out to be quilted by someone with a longarm.

Speaking of machines - when I came home from the quilt store the other day with my walking foot I told my husband someday it would be nice to have a new machine.  He laughed.  And yes, to my family I know I have grandma's Bernina and it is a fine machine (although I need it tuned up) but wow you should see the new machines out there!  Anyway, I told him yeah - you should see the Husqvarna's they have at the quilt store - they're amazing.  He did a double take and asked if I said Husqvarna. Yep.  He's practically sold just on the name itself since if they make great chain saws how can they not make great sewing machines!  Ah, dreams - no, I don't plan to invest in a new machine anytime soon (after all I do have my little Singer and the much more fancy [if older] Bernina); but they sure are fun to look at.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 17 - Beans; Part II

Yep, beans!  Lots and lots of beans.  Green beans, yellow beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans.  Beans for processing, for 3-bean salad and for supper.  Grant badly wanted to help so after I measured out the yellow beans for the 3-bean salad I gave him the extra to play with.  He loved moving them between bowls.  He did try to eat one but quickly spit it back out making an awful "yucky" face.  Well, can't blame him - I'm not a fan of raw beans either.  He did however, gobble down the green beans we fixed for supper with one of our ham hocks and some onion.  He finished his and pointed at his daddy's plate to indicate he wanted more.

Here's Grant looking at the large quantity of green beans for canning.  We ended up with 12 quarts at the end of the day.  Even though the pressure canner still makes me nervous I will brave it for canned green beans.  Frozen green beans just don't taste right for some reason.  Only way to go for our family is canned.

Mmm - can't wait to pull these out this winter and savor the taste of summer.  We would like to do another 12 quarts before calling it good on beans for the season, but we'll see how it goes.  Currently, the pickled three bean salad is sitting in the fridge overnight.  I'll process tomorrow after they have time to sit and marinade.  While I was waiting for stove space; Clark saw the chopped celery for the 3-bean recipe and wanted to try some.  He started gobbling it down and then Grant wanted some.  Grant also thought the celery was good.  Alan suggested some ants on a log.  Clark thought this sounded funny.  We cut up some celery and spread it with peanut butter.  The boys put their ants on.  I still can't believe the one year old gobbled up the celery.  He did a pretty good job eating most of it.  He really liked the "ants" though and ate them by the fist fulls.

Here's Grant spreading the peanut butter out some more.  Clark is already in the process of eating his.

And Grant putting the ants on.  He was very adamant he would do it himself.  This is why I never assume my kids won't eat something.  My boys rarely turn down a veggie.   I consider myself extremely lucky that my boys don't have an issue with veggies!

Finally to end tonight's blog I thought I'd show you some photos of our caterpillars.  Every year I leave a certain area in the garden full of milkweed plants.  No, I don't propagate them but I also don't weed them out.  Why?  Because they harbor so many beneficial insects.  From adult monarchs to monarch caterpillars, lady bugs (the real ones not the asian beetles) and bees.  There was so much activity going on today on the plants. I find monarch caterpillars so pretty and regal.  So here are the two that are living on our milkweed (and chomping it down to the stem):

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 18 - Beans!

As you can see we are full of beans!  For those of you thinking that is just a sink full.  Yeah - it is, a deep basin sink full of beans.  These are the beans I picked a couple days ago and the beans Alan picked this morning.  Good man that my husband is he spent the day washing and snapping beans.  They should be ready to can tomorrow.  We are going to pressure can as many quarts as we can and try to do one batch of 3 bean salad.

Meanwhile - I had to get going on my quilt if I want to have it done on time.  Due to going home to celebrate my parent's 40th Wedding Anniversary next week I am going to miss Fabric and Threads entry day on Saturday.  I have it worked out to turn in my entries on Wednesday.  So, I need to get a move on!  We are super excited to go visit and celebrate with mom and dad!

Above is the quilt - sandwiched and basted.  Of course, when I went to start quilting I realized the walking foot I had is for a Singer but for a much older singer (maybe mom's that I used to have?) with a slanted bar rather than my straight bar.  Ran to town and found one relatively quickly.  I decided to do an all over grid on the quilt using the painter's tape technique to quilt the lines.  I found a great blog today that has helped me tremendously with both the stitching and for the binding -

I have to remember this is my first quilt and it won't be perfect and Clark will love it no matter how many little flaws it has.

Around supper time we took the boys to Gilbert to see the tractor show.  We told Clark that he needed to take a good nap if he wanted to go see tractors.  Clark woke up from nap and immediately said it was time to go see tractors!  He promptly went to get his shoes and hat so we could leave.  We packed up some chips and drinks and headed out.  We saw all of the tractors (there were a lot) - many of them twice.  After viewing tractors Clark declared it was time to eat so we bought some hot dogs and pork loin sandwiches and found a picnic table to enjoy our supper.

The boys were recognized by someone from their blog photos tonight!  They were recognized by last year's Tone's Cinnamon Roll Contest winner!  Nancy works with my mom on occasion and mom told her to check out the blog.  Last year I remember talking to her during the bread judging at the ISF and we both mentioned (somewhat joked) about ever winning the cinnamon roll contest.  When I heard she had one I had to call my mom and say, "Oh I sat next to the nicest lady at bread judging the other day and she won the cinnamon roll contest!"  Mom told me she knew her too and worked with her!  Small world.  But see how much fun the ISF can be and how one person can make such an impact on another or be an inspiration to someone else!  Nancy was certainly both of those!  Can't wait to see how she does this year on her entries!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 19 - Necessity IS the Mother of Invention

Today I worked on a bunch of sewing projects.  Alan had a vacation day and took the boys on a daddy - son day adventure.  Mainly to the library, ran a few errands and out to lunch at Hickory Park.  It was a very quiet morning.

Today was also a major learning curve for my quilting efforts.
A. Do not wash the batting prior to making the sandwich (even if a book tells you to).  This effort ruined my batting so I had to run to town and purchase some new batting.  This time I did pick enough though to finish both boys' quilts.  Lovely!

With my batting in hand and the boys in bed I went to make my quilt sandwich.
B.  Make sure you measure accurately to have enough backing fabric.  At this point I am beginning to think it was not meant to be.  But no!  This was the whole reason for my starting this challenge to begin with.  Often with sewing projects when I hit a snag the project ends up sitting in the sewing room until I decide I can conquer the issue.  I refuse to let this quilt become a dusty "in progress" project that might or might not be finished by the time Clark graduates.  (Worse it would probably be more like finished for a grandchild).  So, I ran downstairs (where it's much cooler anyway) and cut some fabric to add to the backing material.  However, while downstairs I realized I still had some strips left over from creating the rail fence blocks on the front.  Using the same technique I used two of those strips to create a sister effect on the back.  Amazingly it looks intentional and I think rather cute. Plus, it gives me an area now to use a permanent fabric pen and put a little dedication on the back (name, birth date, etc.).  I am just "sew" excited!

Backing fabric with strips sewed on bottom.
Which mimics the front of the quilt below.

Ah, tomorrow I should be able to actually put the sandwich together and baste it.  Will I actually get to the quilting?  Only time will tell.

Grant learned a new trick tonight.  He is now toddling around a little more each day.  Today he decided to try climbing.  Yes, he can now make it into the big chair all by himself.

My house will never be the same!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 20 - Polar Bears

"Little polar bears, all covered in fluff . . ." -excerpt from one of the boys' winter books (all I can think of when I make these cookies.)

I have to say these are so much easier to make when the indoor temperature is 60 rather than 80+.  So, today they spread a bit more than usual when I bake them in winter even after I put them in the freezer for several minutes before baking.  Oh well.

Here they are in the oven:

While they bake I make sure I have everything ready for when they come out since there is a lot to do while they're still warm.

I found the tweezers really help get the little mini chocolate chip eyes placed just right in a lot less time.

The first batch was ready when Clark woke up.  I thought this was a fun series of shots:

Yummy!  He was ready for supper so he could have "ONE with supper mommy!"

Also finished framing my cross stitch piece.  I recycled the frame.  The frame has a few imperfections which probably isn't the best for entering in the ISF but I thought the frame worked well for the picture and it was the perfect size.  Plus, I like to reuse and re-purpose so it works for me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Days 21 & 22

Sorry, by the end of the evening yesterday I was so tired blogging was the last thing on my mind.  Plus, I believe I have now contracted Clark's sickies - so, yay!

Yesterday the boys and I ran errands in town.  You would think going to Hobby Lobby with two little boys would be a chore but really they both like the store.  I think for Grant there are so many things and colors to look at he doesn't get too bored and Clark likes all types of crafty things.  Clark helped me pick out some picture mats to go around my cross stitch projects.  We also bought some frames to finish the projects off.  Then we went grocery shopping.  Stocked up on some King Arthur Flour on sale!  Saves on shipping.  Today we went out and I picked wax beans.  I think I have enough beans (green and yellow) to now process three bean salad.  This is one area where I break my rule of preserving something I can't stand to eat.  I may not like it but Clark devours the stuff and Alan and Grant both like it - so, I make it for them.

While at the department store yesterday, we found some block playsets on sale.  So after lunch we dug in and started to build the fire house.  Clark and Grant both enjoyed building with their play sets.

During nap I worked on putting together my frames.  Stretched one of the cross stitch pieces over foam board and matted it.  It looks so nice.  Now I just need to finish framing it.  I should just start cutting foam board for using as my bread display boards.  Cover it with freezer paper and that will make a nice sturdy presentation board.  Last year I used card board but with some of the heavier breads this doesn't hold up as well.  If you're entering breads and this is your first time DO NOT take them on paper plates!  Trust me - I know it says this is OK in the rules but really you will have much nicer presentation if you cover sturdy cardboard (or foam board - which is on sale at Hobby Lobby this week) with freezer paper (shiny side out) cut the size to just a 1/2" - 1" larger.  This goes for those of you in the cinnamon roll contest as well.  When you put the breads or rolls directly on paper the grease shows through and is not considered pretty presentation.  The freezer paper keeps the white look that is mandated and keeps the grease from seeping and looking messy.  So stock up on freezer paper, cardboard/foam board and masking tape - and invest in a good cutting tool if you don't have one.  It will make preparation for exhibit so much easier!

Since Clark and Grant both have some tummy troubles I didn't want to go outside in case they needed me so even though the garden needs attention I chose to stay inside and work on other things yesterday and today.  Today I spent nap time becoming familiar with my new work computer.  Going from 2003 to 2010 will take some getting used to.  But the new laptop is fantastic!

Once Alan was home yesterday (and after supper where Grant decided to smear himself with cake) we went out and put up the 2nd tree.  This tree was so much bigger and it has shifted out of the original hole slightly but we still tied it up and we'll hope for the best.  Our new line of trees is going to look odd if that one decides to die.  On my way home tonight I saw a neighbor finishing up planting some new trees.  I think we may have to do that ourselves this fall.

Tonight I went to an auction and found my teapot for the floral design class!  Hooray!  I also have some items that may work for a silk floral arrangement for the Creative Arts department.  And picked up some old dolls that I have plans for the 2011 ISF and sewing up some doll clothes for them.  The best buy though (and this has nothing to do with ISF) was a big old slate message board.  It's beautiful (and heavy) and I know right where to put it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 23 - Clean Up, Part II

I forgot to mention the most exciting news from yesterday - Grant took his first solo steps!  Just a couple but he's starting to use those legs on his own.  This morning he traveled between the chair and the couch all on his own!  He has also discovered curtain hide and seek.  Oh, my poor curtains.

Rainy morning so the boys and I worked on cleaning the kitchen and living room.  Aunt Sara stopped by on her way north to visit relatives.  She dropped off some more canning jars for me - yay!  Also, a great grain mill for the Kitchen Aid and from my cousin Lori one of great-grandma's teapots!  I can't express my thanks to Lori for such a wonderful and unexpected gift.  It's lovely with a rooster on one side and a rose on the other.  Now I can say I have a teapot.  However, I still don't know that I want to use it for the Iowa State Fair since I don't want to see it accidentally damaged.  Thank you, thank you!  It was nice to see Aunt Sara since I haven't seen her for a long time.  She does encourage me frequently via e-mail though so that is great!

The insurance agent came out in the afternoon.  We did get some for the barn and the roof of the house.  We are afraid the barn is not going to last.  On closer inspection one of the main supports on the north that holds up the haymow is ruined.  Not sure what we'll do with the barn but we should probably move all of the Christmas wreath rings that we have stored in there for the 2010 Christmas season.  Wouldn't be good if we lost that inventory.

After the insurance agent left Alan and I went out to try straightening the two trees that were blown over.  Our first priority was the Concolor since it isn't as prevalent in Iowa (such a pretty type of tree), plus it wasn't laid over as badly as the other.  Used a rope dad let us borrow and the tractor and straightened it up.  Then we dug four holes and set posts (which wasn't easy since the water table was only a few inches down).  Utilizing the skills we've gained setting Christmas trees in the Christmas tree shop at my parent's we wrapped rope around the tree and the posts (tent pole style) and secured the tree.  It is nice and straight.  The best part is if we have to tighten one side or the other in a couple of days it is no problem.  We'll have to work on the other tree tomorrow.

Clark enjoying playing in the mud!
And exploring the tractor!

Grant playing on the quilt while we worked.  

After working on the tree I went out and picked some beans.  Had to lift up each plant off the ground but picked three rows and have lots of beans.  I did notice while I was out there that some of my dahlias are beginning to look sick from all the rain and wet.  Poor things - not much I can do though.  Finally had to quit the garden when the mosquitoes kept going after my face and eyes.  Boy are those things nuts this year!

I do have some cookie dough I mixed up in the morning but never got back to sitting in the fridge.  Hopefully can get to that tomorrow.  They are some of the family's favorites.  In fact, when my husband came home and saw the recipe sitting out he wanted to know how many would be available for public consumption!  (Sigh) At least with cookies there are plenty to sample!  Silly as it sounds yesterday I asked my sister in law if she was up to co-hosting a Christmas cookie exchange again this year.  Since really if we host it in early November we should be thinking about a save the date going out sometime shortly after the ISF.  It was lots of fun (and yummy) last year - I would encourage anyone who wants to try one to do so!  The whole reason I brought it up last year was due to the cookie exchange class I entered during the 2009 ISF.  Also a very fun class - you get to bring a variety of Christmas cookies on a pretty Christmas platter!

Speaking of fun classes -- my mom forwarded this to me today (and yes, I have a very German recipe of my grandmothers that I plan to use).  So if you have a great German dessert recipe here's the class for you:

Ox Yoke Inn Celebrates 70th Anniversary with Dessert Competition at the Iowa State Fair

AMANA, Iowa -- Your dessert could be the Ox Yoke Inn's 70th Anniversary winner. Enter the Ox Yoke Inn's dessert competition at the 2010 Iowa State Fair and win a getaway package for two to the Amana Colonies and the opportunity to have your dessert served at the world famous Ox Yoke Inn.

The Ox Yoke Inn is seeking a delicious, eye-appealing dessert to become our featured recipe in celebration of the Ox Yoke Inn's 70th Anniversary, as Iowa's best loved family restaurant The recipe for your scrumptipus pie; cake, bar, kuchen or strude1 will be highlighted by the Ox Yoke Inn and may be added to our dessert tray during our anniversary celebration.

This contest, combining two of lowa's grand old traditions, the Iowa State Fair and the Ox Yoke Inn, honors Ox Yoke founders Lina and William Leichsenring, who loved to serve their guests delicious, homemade desserts. What better way to celebrate this Iowa tradition, than to offer an opportunity of a lifetime to one deserving cook?

For entry details check the Iowa State Fair website at under Competition, Premium Book, Food Department, Division 89. Judging will be Saturday, Aug. 14 at 11 a.m. at the Iowa State Fair, Elwell Family Food Center. Al1 entries should be brought to the Elwell Family Food Center on or before Aug. 14 by 10:45 a.m. If you have questions about the entry process or entry form, you may contact Arlette Hollister, State Fair Superintendent at 5-15-274-0275.

The first place winner will receive a Saturday night stay for two at the Guest House Motel in Amana, dinner for two at the Ox Yoke Inn and Sunday brunch for two at the Ox Yoke Inn. The second place winner will receive a $50 Ox Yoke Restaurants Gift Card. The third place winner will receive a $25 Ox Yoke Restaurants Gift Card.

Rules: The dessert should be a cake, pie, bar, kuchen or strudel. The recipe should be original, available to the public and not copyrighted. All recipes will remain the property of the Ox Yoke Inn, Inc. The winning recipe will be printed and distributed by the Ox Yoke Inn, for its own use and possibly to the media for publication.

Judges will use the following criteria: taste, appearance and eye appeal. The name of the dessert could include one of the following words or phrases: Ox Yoke, Ox Yoke Inn, Ox Yoke Inn Restaurants, 70th Anniversary, 70 Years of Serving the Best, Tradition, or An Amana Colonies Tradition Since 1940. Judges will consider ease of preparation, cost and availability of ingredients. The recipe must be relatively easy to prepare in large batches. It must be able to be portioned easily. It should not be a frozen dessert The dessert should not melt, crumble or fall apart easily. It must not require special equipment and/or utensils to prepare.

Check the Iowa State Fair Premium book for details on judging and rules at