Wednesday, February 12, 2014

4-H Crafts for Grown Ups

See this?

Right away, let me assure you I did not come up with this idea.  I first saw this monster Valentine box idea on Pinterest a long time ago, and it has since mated and reproduced and made many, many monster babies.  Also?  I did not think that analogy through.

Backing off of the reproductive practices of monster boxes and onto the advent of Valentine boxes:  If you have school-age children, you know that it is not longer enough to send your child to school with a plain old Valentine.  They must now have a small treat with their standard Valentine (something that was only reserved for the over-achievers when I was young), half of their classmates' Valentines won't even be those cheap, perforated, store-bought numbers; they will be beautifully crafted, hand-made creations you'll feel guilty about throwing away (oh, but you'll still do it), and you will be expected to create some kind of receptacle for all those gorgeous Valentines and treats and other guilt-inspiring doodads ("guilt" because I don't generally do those things).

Enter the Valentine box.

Somehow, when you see those amazing Valentine boxes on Pinterest, you believe that it's just that: something that that one mom on Pinterest does, while the rest of us are content to wrap old Kleenex boxes in butcher paper and hand our kid a crayon to decorate it (this was my actual plan, FYI).  Then you walk into your kid's preschool and see glittering castle Valentine boxes and Lego Valentine boxes and boxes that are covered in real chicken feathers (don't even ask).  At this point you realize that your slacker parenting methods aren't going to work this time.

I know how this all works, okay?  I was in 4-H.  I competed in the fair every summer and won my share of ribbons.  (And not those lame reds or, God forbid, white ribbons, just so we're clear)  I can lose sleep and cry real tears over meaningless crafts with the best of them, making these Valentine boxes right up my alley.

Still, it's been a long time since I was in 4-H, and there are no ribbons on the line here (soccer moms prefer to deal in guilt and shame), so I find myself veering toward the ideas on Pinterest with key words like "Under 10 Minutes!" and "So easy I was able to do it in the middle of the daily ten-mile run!"  Unfortunately, Pinterest moms are dirty, dirty liars, as this box took me approximately one and a half episodes of Doctor Who to complete (although, to be fair, one of the episodes was Angels Take Manhattan which I absolutely recommend if you want to have a panic attack every time you see a statue for the rest of your natural life- it may or may not have slowed me down a teensy bit), and involved around half a roll of tape.

It also seemed really plain when I was done, so I twisted up and added some random sparkly pipe cleaners to the top.  I thought this jazzed it up nicely enough, until our children woke up and saw it this morning.

Adelaide's verdict was "It's funny," but Atticus looked at it, smiled, then turned to me and asked, "Why did you make my Valentine box look like Ms. Hollie?"

Ms. Hollie is one of Atticus's preschool teachers.  She is not red.  She does not have the shape of a Kleenex box.  She does not have blue eyes, nor does she have three eyes, nor does she have lazy or wandering eyes.  She does not have a gaping maw of nightmare teeth.  So I asked, "What do you mean, Bud?"

"It looks like Ms. Hollie.  You know," he gestured to the top of his head, "crazy hair."

Ah.  Ms. Hollie does have a head full of curly, corkscrewy hair.

This all gave me an idea for a terrific new reality show:  The 4-H'ers of [Washington, Cowley, Story, whatever] County, where you follow young 4-H kids as they get ready for the fair.  The tears!  The drama!  The animal excrement!  The sewing machine-induced injuries!  And- plot twist!- all the 4-H judges are preschoolers.

Makes about as much sense as anything that's on tv now.


  1. I love that Valentine box!

    The over-the-top Valentines just about drove me nuts when my kids were in elem school. I refused to cave in and give candy, although i did try to find fun valentines, like ones with a little puzzle on it (lame, I know, but I had to stick to my principles).

    I am a city girl, so I don't know 4-H. The idea of the judges being preschoolers is awesome! "I am giving this valentine box a blue ribbon because it looks just like my teacher." I would say that we would watch such a TV show, but we cancelled network TV last year. We watch Star Trek and Doctor Who on netflix. I am up to the 2008 season, and I think those angel statues are the creepiest thing EVER.

  2. I can't wait to watch that show.

    The fair according to Grandma Curry: I hated my kids, my kids hated me, I hated Stanley, Stanley hated me, we thought about divorce and by the time the fair was over we couldn't wait to do it again!

    Good times, good times...

  3. Oh yes, the valentine boxes. Yours looks better than any we did for Emma. Emma's best friend is one year younger and was making one at our house last weekend (because she's still in elementary school). When her mom came to pick her up, she said "great monster box!" M looked at her mom in disgust, since it was supposed to be a horse :-)

    In Emma's middle school class, the kids had to write "nice notes". They were sent home with a couple of sheets of paper with everyone's names printed (40 students in her class, since there are three teachers), and she had to write something nice to each one of them. Then they get sliced and diced and handed out. Boy, it was HARD to come up with nice notes for a couple of them! But I thought overall it was a good exercise.

  4. LOL Love that we think alike. Except I am an over-achiever mom who thinks to buy a couple sheets of heart sticker for my kiddos to stick on the paper-covered Kleenex box.

    Fortunately for my kiddos, Daddy decided to get in on the box-decorating this year and they produced a rocket ship. :)


Studies show that that people who leave comments are kind, intelligent, generous, creative, and have really nice hair.