Sunday, August 26, 2012

I got your goat!

When we were at the fair a few weeks ago, a 4-Her from our club, Emylie,  asked our oldest son to help her show her Dairy goats. Oldest son was happy to oblige.  After all, a 1300 pound steer was a piece of cake, how hard could a 30 pound goat be?
So, after doning the requisite white jeans and white shirt (white jeans on loan from another fellow 4-Her who shows Diary cattle), oldest son headed to the goat tent for a quick lesson in goat-showing.

The things he learned about showing goats were: 1. you always have to be repositioning yourself around the goat as you travel around the ring so that the judge has a clear, full view of the goat at all times, and 2. when you bring the goat to a stop, you have to manually adjust how the goat is standing by moving their feet with your hands.  (With steers you get to use a long stick with a hook on the end.)
But, oldest son looked like a seasoned pro and the goat he was showing won grand champion! 
It's just more evidence that you just never know what will happen next!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Watch out 1st grade!

Our older daughter (number 3 in the lineup), has a whole new look going into 1st grade this week!  Not that there was anything wrong with her previous look:
  She's got glam!

2 years old

She's out-doorsy!
3 years old

She's a nature lover!

5 years  old

But now she has a new set of specs and an adorable new haircut to go with it! 

Watch out 1st grade, here she comes!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Rocket Shelf!

In addition to his beef projects and an aerospace project (a.k.a. rockets), our younger son decided to try his hand at woodworking in 4-H this summer.   In June, he and I put together 2 model rockets.  He also has a third model rocket that came with the rocket launch pad he got for his birthday.  So, when deciding what to build for a woodworking project, we came up with the idea to build a shelf to display his rockets. 
We took a family trip to Menards (yay!) to buy some lumber.  Then dad helped him cut the shelf board down to size. 
  Dad helped him drill some holes for attaching the side parts to the shelf (I'm sure there is a technical name for these...), as well as some holes for dowl rods for the rockets to sit on for display. 
Mom shared her high school woodworking skills:  how to sand, varnish, and polyurethane for the best finish possible.
And, Viola!  A fantastic shelf to display his rockets and ribbons on!  He received a blue ribbon on General Projects Judging Day, and his judge commented on his original and purposeful design.  It's hard to tell from this picture, but he and dad also screwed 3 hooks on the bottom of the shelf for displaying his ribbons from all his projects. 

The red rocket in the middle is the rocket that younger son took to G.P.J.D. for judging and launching.  He also got a blue ribbon for this, but the launch was quite a sight, I guess.  The rocket did a nice corkskrew as it came nearly crashing to the ground.  The parachute did come out and all was well in the end, phew!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate.

We are down to less than two weeks until school starts (2 1/2 weeks for the kids) and that means it's time to get my life back in order! I'm dragging my butt out of bed by 7am, I'm cleaning those nooks and crannies that get neglegted, and I'm mentally preparing to give my own life and all my free time up for the next 9 months. Part of the mental preparation part is my attempt to streamline "Daly" life. This school year, I am going to DELEGATE, DELEGATE, and DELEGATE!!!! I often have the kids help me around the house and in the past I've used a piece of notebook paper where I write up a chart with the kids' names and chores, then put checkmarks to show who-did-what,  but this is just too messy and I get lazy putting the checks on the chart.  Also, the kids are always whining, "I had to unload the dishwasher yesterday!" or, "It's not my turn to feed the dog!" 

If you're a mom, you can relate:  I don't care who did it yesterday or whose turn it is.  Just DO WHAT I ASKED YOU TO DO!!!

So, I had a creative streak a few days ago and made this fancy new system. 
Notice there are only 4 chores, but that's o.k. with me.  They are a.) the main things I need help with on a daily basis and b.) the things that everyone is capable of doing.  The chores are: unloading the dishwasher (I refuse to do this again until the day AFTER I drop child number 4 off at college), taking the garbage out and Clorox-wiping down the bathrooms a couple of times a week, help with assembling lunches on school days (5 this year, 6 when Dave's in the field), and the pet chores.  I put magnets on the back of the name strips so each week we can swap jobs. 
  Simple, right? 
Now, if only I could bring myself to tackle the SIDE of the fridge... 
I don't even know where to start. There are at least 3 layers of junk under each magnet!

 Do you pay allowances?  What chores do you have your kids do?  Any words of wisdom? 

P.S.  My sister-in-law used a "demerit" system when her kids were younger to encourage responsibility.  I find that I don't really punish laziness effectively enough, other than yelling and being crabby.  I'm not great about paying allowances because I never have cash to spare, but I do toss the kids a buck or two when they need it (like the upcoming fair or school (Scholastic) book sales, etc.).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Math Behind the Crops: Part 2

For two weeks earlier this summer, I attended a workshop where we attempted to come up with a curriculum that would take the new Common Core Math Standards and align these standards with the math that's used in manufacturing, health science fields, construction and architecture, agriculture, etc..  We had the opportunity to tour different places in Winnebago and Boone counties.  I toured two manufacturing companies, the Winnebago landfill, the Hulsebus Chiropractic Clinic,the Boone County Farm Bureau, as well as an elevator in Boone County.  All of our visits were VERY interesting, and the people who gave us the tours were very enthusiastic to work with us.  They all stressed the importance of our future generations having a solid math background because math is used EVERYWHERE!
While I didn't neccessarily learn a lot at the Boone County Farm Bureau, I did have fun seeing the inner workings of a grain elevator.  I also greatly appreciated the way the nice lady at the Farm Bureau de-bunked a lot of common ag-related myths to the other members of my group who aren't as "ag-savy" as I consider myself to be. 

The aforementioned nice lady at the Farm Bureau talked to us about grain sales and especially selling grain on the "futures market".  If you're not familiar with the futures market, it works like this:  basically, you watch the market forecasts for the upcoming harvest season and then, based on what you think your projected harvest totals (in bushels) will be, you sell your future crop.  There's a lot more to it, like the "basis", but in general, it's all about gambling that you're going to have a crop and that you'll be able to deliver your crop in the month you sold for.

The day we toured the Farm Bureau and grain elevator, we did the following activity, which I think is part of the "Ag in the Classroom" curriculum that is used in some schools. 

(This website will take you to the printable worksheet, choose "Futures Farming".)
For me, I don't know how much teaching I could do with it, the math is pretty basic.  I think that my high school students would enjoy it, though; perhaps I'll use it on one of those "blow off" days right before Thanksgiving or spring break. 

In a previous post I talked about how our oldest son is taking the "corn" 4-H project.  We sat around the kitchen table the other night and did the "Futures Farming" activity and talked with the boys more about all of the different way we sell our crops.  It was a fun and yummy activity, and most importantly, we all learned something!