Sunday, August 13, 2017

100 Blue Ribbons!!! When Losing Becomes Winning.


We did it!! 
...and we did it in style!!


One hundred first-place blue ribbons won!!

What does winning 100 first-place blue ribbons
 feel like??

It feels like...
... earning recognition for doing the ordinary,
extraordinarily well.

... a goal achieved... 
and a relief to not be stuck at 99 blue ribbons...
(I was really worried that would be the case...
needing just one more win
 and heading off to the Ohio State Fair to try to get it... 
Oh, the irony of not reaching 100...I thought about that 
possibility more than once...it was a little too real)

It feels like another fantastic fair season is in the books...
Visits with long-time fair friends that feel like family and the addition 
of new friends...met just this year.

It feels like hot humid summers (10 years of them)
 with my then little kiddos in tow...

It feels like 10 years of tweaking recipes, 
learning from seasoned judges and culinary experts...

It feels like 10 summers of enormous sink-loads of dishes...

100 blue ribbon feels like a celebration of 10 years of hard work, 
dedication, sharing, teaching and learning.


Winning feels wonderful...


But to tell you the truth... 
all the times I didn't win a blue ribbon...

(and there were plenty of times I brought home
 a handful of red, white, and yellow ribbons)...

The times I came up just a little bit short... 
those were the days I learned the most about what it takes to win.


Losing... 
Yes... losing and sometimes
 not even placing... 
drove me to be better.

The bakers that out-baked me... 
they helped me to win 100 blue ribbons.
Every loss, every red, second-place ribbon created a
renewed determination in me to succeed.

I could never have achieved this lofty 100-ribbon goal 
without the hard work and 
excellence of every competitor along the way...
I had to work for it...

The other bakers... they didn't come to lose.
The competition was showing up at every event, 
bringing their best... and giving it their all.
I kept that in mind every time I turned the oven on.

I have always said this about winning:  
To win is a thrill, it is... 
but to be a good winner requires grace and humble heart ...
Losing requires even more grace.
 In fact, losing requires more of you... it requires you to let go of 
what might have been, to reevaluate and to learn from mistakes... 
and, if done properly and done enough times...
you end up getting more in return.

Being a good loser...that's a talent. 
 If you do it right... you'll become a better winner.

Losing helped me to reach my goal.  
Losing has made me a better baker, 
a better student, and better teacher.

Truly, a useful skill to have in life:  
Become a gracious winner and likewise... 
choose to be a gracious loser...
while this losing-bit is a sometimes an unenviable task, 
it will only help you to become better competitor, 
and ultimately a better person in the long run.

If you can find the lesson in the loss or 
the many losses (whatever the case may be)
you'll achieve more than you could imagine.


Here I am 10 years ago... (wow)
this was my first blue ribbon wining cake and my 
first ever Best of Show cake...
(I know...how lucky to win big right out of the gate)

In 2007, I entered one cake... (frankly it's all I could manage with two little ones)
I held my children's tiny hands, they were only 2 and 4 1/2 at the time.
We made our way slowly, as we walked through the grassy field 
turned parking lot of our county fair. 
We let our special cake ride in the stroller ...

 (Here they are at the fair in 2007 --it was so hot)


(I was so proud of this cake...
--the first cake from scratch I had ever attempted.
I wasn't sure if the three of us could get it safely into the Art Hall...
so I snapped this photo of it... just in case it didn't make it... 
We'd have proof it was a good looking cake.)

Here they are after we entered our cake... full of energy...
ready to have some fun at the fair...

 I had no idea what that one entry would be the start of....
In 2007, I could not have dreamed a big enough dream to
encompass all the good things that have come from taking
that single chance...
--and this chance was on
 a from-scratch cake, I had never baked before.

After that big win, I was hooked.
Later... a big win at the Ohio State Fair...
a first place and Best of Show peach pie.

and a few more after that...

A national win...
 Speaking engagements...
 A blog with a blue ribbon name!!
 Opportunities to share great award-winning recipes!!




and finally...during my 10th fair season...
Win 98 and 99...so close...
It was for a yeast coffee cake and buttermilk biscuits!!

Look at how the kids have grown since 2007...


and here she is...

Win 100!!
It was at the Ohio State Fair, 2017...
in the Single Crust Division
(winning against 17 other beautiful single crust entries)
 my personal favorite... pecan pie.


I must say that the most inspiring win this year 
had very little to do with me...and everything to do with my son.

Will has been entering the fair, since being old enough to finger-paint.  
After finger-painting he moved on to cookies... and graduated to pie-making...

For about 5 years now, 
Will has made a pie and entered it in
 the Jr. Division of the fair.

It's his triple-berry pie... he has varied the berries from year to year... 
but by and large it has been the same pie.  

He has had some huge success, winning first place a few times...

 but the elusive Best of Show ribbon, 
the ribbon he wanted to win so badly... 
it escaped him every year.
He tried and tried...and came so close year after year.
His own sister every ousted him with a banana bread she made
one year.
(That was a lesson in winning and losing
 and grace none of us will ever forget)

Will got better with each year and 
his pie-making skills improved...
...and this year...

This year was Will's year!

For as long as I live, I will never forget the look on his face...
seeing the Best of Show ribbon becoming his. 
 He certainly earned it... I loved watching every moment of his success...


This big goal of reaching 100 blue ribbons...
I feel like we did it together.
You, the blog readers, my family and friends...
everyone helped to encourage me and 
...this win belongs to us.

To you...my sweet readers of this blog... 
I thank you from the bottom of my blue-ribbon heart 
for reading along and sharing this journey with me. 
 I love hearing from you and
 I love that these special recipes live on... 

I love seeing all cakes and cookies that have earned a top spots
become part of your birthday celebrations...even weddings...
 and your
 very own fair entries!!

Nothing means more, than receiving emails with photos 
of new bakers holding pies and cakes...
seeing the joy and happiness in accomplishing 
baked-from-scratch deliciousness... 
Seeing your success never gets old... 
and it inspires me to keep sharing award-winning recipes.

I am so grateful for you and your readership.

To my family...and friends and neighbors,
my taste-testers... the fair-goers...auction pie buyers,
the dish washers...the dish dryers...
the good sports that support their crazy mama and wife
and daughter and friend through it all...

Thank you.

I love you and appreciate you so very much.
Your unwavering support...from the very first blue ribbon...
to the speaking engagements, teaching opportunities,
to the very first live TV recipe segment...
all the way to today... 
I truly could not have done this great big wonderful 
thing without you...nor would I have wanted to.

Life is so much better shared with the ones you love...
just like pie... it's for sharing....
that's what makes it taste all the sweeter.

That's why I share the recipes...

There is joy in sharing...

***
I'm sure you want to know everything that won...
and I want to share all the details with you!!
I am pulling it together 
to give you all a very thorough run-down, including a new
award-winning recipe!!

This 2017 season I needed 12 wins to reach 100 
blue ribbons...and I am happy to report
 13 blue ribbons were won...
So we are at 101 blue ribbon wins.  Whew!!!

Thank you again for stopping by the blog 
I am so happy that you do!!

xo

Karri




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