Our church had its 5th Annual Chili Cook-Off today. We usually do more of a "fall festival" with board games and such in the evening, to give people a wholesome alternative to going trick-or-treating, but since this year it fell on a Sunday, we just did the chili cook-off after the morning service and had church tonight as usual.
All in all, we had an attendance of 66 in the morning service, with a total of 11 chilis entered. Solomon was the only one in our family to make one, and he got 5th place - which I thought was really good considering that he has never before cooked an entire "entree" from scratch by himself. Two of the judges were from our family, but neither of them awarded him any votes, so I know it was impartial. Miriam in particular loved her big brother's chili - she had three bowlfuls of it for lunch, and two more for dinner, and kept telling him how good it was.
We always have a panel of five judges - the pastor (my husband), plus four other judges who are randomly drawn from a pool of names of those who did not bring a chili. The chilis are assigned random numbers, and are served to the judges out of paper cups labeled with those numbers (that way if other family members are on the judges' panel, they will not recognize their own slow cooker and automatically vote for their relative who entered it). The judges award 3 points to their first choice, 2 points to their second choice, and 1 point to their third choice.
Prizes are only awarded to the top 3 winners. Our first prize, as usual, was a $50 gift certificate to Honeybaked Ham, and it was won by the same person who won it last year! One of his daughters took second place. Must be something in the family.
Other than the chilis, our church members also put away huge amounts of hot dogs, corn muffins and saltines, spiced cider, and pumpkin spice cake. I am always amazed at how quickly food disappears at church events like this, and especially at how much single young men can put away. My guess is that with their usual bachelor fare, they have to "fill the hump" when real food is served! :)
Anyway, it was fun. Our next big church activity is the watchnight service on New Year's Eve.
This afternoon, I was still in a fall-like mood (the 90+ degrees outside notwithstanding), so Solomon and I made apple dumplings while the other kids were napping. We served them with homemade caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream - yum!
It's hard to believe another week has already passed. In fact, it's hard to believe that this year is coming to a close - seems that it just started. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up in the next few weeks before the baby comes. As long as (s)he waits until after Thanksgiving to arrive, I should be able to get it all done. Nothing big, mostly just homeschooling, decorating for Christmas, making gifts for the kids, some other crafts like making advent calendars for everyone, precooking and freezing about two weeks' worth of meals, and getting some stuff ready for the home birth and the new baby. Hm, now that I wrote it all out, the list seems longer than it did in my head... :)
Have a wonderful week with your family!