Sunday, August 10, 2008

Laura Ingalls Wilder Day

If I haven't already mentioned this, I am a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan -- huge. And to my utter delight, my older daughter has caught Laura fever too! It started with her reading the "My First Little House" books when she was younger (my friend Christine -- also a huge Laura fan -- gave her one when she was born, I believe!) and then started watching some of the Little House shows that we have on dvd. Just this past week she started reading "Little House in the Big Woods" the first book in the Little House series (both of my girls have the complete box set -- I'm definitely starting them early!). They are such wonderful books (I enjoyed the tv series too, but the books are what I truly love!) and I have read them over and over since I was a little girl -- in fact, I have been reading them again this week! If you have a daughter, I highly recommend getting her these books -- and if you have a son, he would probably enjoy "Farmer Boy" which was written by Laura, about her husband Almanzo's years growing up on his family farm in NY state.

My friend Christine and I were SO excited to hear about the first ever "Laura Ingalls Wilder Day" to be held at the Genesee Country Village which is about 45 minutes from our house. As soon as we saw this on their schedule (6 months ago?) we knew we had to go with our girls. My older daughter was very excited and she specifically asked if she could get dressed up like Laura for the occasion. WELL! Go dressed up in clothing matching the theme of the day? Of course! I found this wonderful woman on the internet who makes beautiful pioneer dresses (if you are ever in the market for one, let me know - I will gladly share her contact info!) and I ordered outfits for both of my girls. Christine also ordered an outfit for her daughter -- we thought we were showing great restraint NOT having dresses made up for ourselves (there were moms there who were in costume...)! In fact, Christine's husband Will was mocking us recently and told her that we "were a step away from the people at the Star Trek conventions!" The dresses were a big hit, and our girls were asked to be in the Fashion Promenade in the Town Square -- we felt quite honored, but truly it ran for 2-1/2 hours and this poor man stood there taking cards with names, ages, towns, and the Ingalls character each child was dressed as, and to his credit he mustered up quite a bit of enthusiasm for each child who went through -- in spite of the fact that almost all of them were "portraying Laura Ingalls." But I thought it was nice the way they did it -- there was not a long line, your child got their little moment of stardom (Christine's daughter got two moments, because she was very upset that she had forgotten to bow on stage -- the security guard was nice enough to let her go up a second time!), each child got a certificate with their name on it commemorating being in the promenade, and then a professional photographer took their picture in front of a little wagon. Very cute!

My husband had to work, but Grandpa and Gramby were nice enough to tag along for the day and help me out with the girls (especially the littlest one -- she's cute, but FAST!). In preparing for our big event, we went back and forth about buying lunch there, and bringing something with us. My older daughter settled that by requesting that we eat "Olden Day Food." Again with the theme -- love her! I knew from my books that they ate a lot of bread and butter and cheese for lunch so we picked up a loaf of fresh baked "Farmstyle Bread" -- looked just like Ma Ingalls would have baked. We brought American cheese (only kind my girls will eat) and some cheddar, and of course butter (didn't have time to make it myself -- just brought a stick!). In one book they mention eating hardboiled eggs and "salt and pepper in paper to dip the eggs in". So, I packed hardboiled eggs and I cut up a brown paper lunch bag and folded it up with salt and pepper inside. We also brought cut up apples, carrots, corn muffins and sugar cookies. We had a very nice picnic on the lawn of the Town Square and I thought it was sweet that my girl was interested in the authenticity of spending the day like Laura Ingalls, right down to the clothes and food!

The Genesee Country Village put on a wonderful day with lots of activities for families and children to participate in -- we made rag dolls, watched ice cream being made, kneaded dough, made corn husk dolls, pounded designs into tin ornaments, and my girl also was excited to try doing laundry on the old washboard (I'm sure the novelty would wear off it was for more than one day...)! We even listened to stories told by a Laura Ingalls impersonator, who at the end of her performance gave away prizes to anyone who cuold answer her questions right. Her first question was, "If Laura was born in 1867 and died in 1957, how old was she when she died?" And my girl shot her hand up in the air before anyone else did -- not because she can do the math that quickly in her head (she's bright, but she's only 7-1/2!), but she had just been reading one of her books that morning and had just told me that Laura was 90 years old when she died! So, she had the correct answer and she was rewarded with a fresh baked loaf of bread! She was very excited and we were very proud of her!

It was a great day and we have lots of wonderful memories from it -- including getting to meet Allison Arngrim who played Nellie Oleson on the tv series. I was able to get her autograph on both of my girls' "On the Banks of Plum Creek" books which is the book that first mentions Nellie Oleson. When we were standing back in line waiting, Allison caught a glimpse of my littlest one in costume and she said, "Oh look! It's Baby Carrie!" And then after we left, she was commenting to the people who were with her, how sweet "the little, little girl was." She said, "When I gave her her book, she said, 'Thank you very much!' So cute!" Yeah, that just made this Little House fan's day -- let me tell you!

No comments: