Monday, October 29, 2012

Who knew?!?!?!

Who knew that the book, The Giver, by Lois Lowry had a sequel (and that there is a sequel to that!)?  It's called Messenger and it is SOOOO good!  I read half last night and have every intention of finishing it tonight!  I am back in my Hunger Games happy place. 

Who knew making a spooky Halloween dessert could be so easy and delicious?    Crush Oreos (the generic ones, of course...), layer some on the bottom of the cup, mix up chocolate pudding, pour into the cup, let set for a couple of minutes, drop in a gummy worm and then cover with more crushed oreos.  Gross, quick and delicious!

Who knew a free app on my Smart phone could be so addictive?!?!  Thanks, Neal.  Thanks, A LOT.  A certain blonde, 6th grade saxophonist in your middle school band has become a bit of an addict, too... It's replacing UnBlockMe, of which I've reached level 168. 

Have a great week, everyone!  Don't get too spooked!  It's all just make-believe ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Geocaching 101

Over the weekend, we were lucky enough to have my sister, Emily, visit!  She currently lives in Ohio, but that might as well be Abu-Dhabi...It's just too far away for our liking!
Anyway, she loves to spend time with her nieces and nephews, so a new adventure was in order.  I've heard the "big kids" at school talking about geocaching.  Geocaching is a up-and-coming hobby where you use GPS coordinates to find hidden treasure!  I signed up at a geocaching website, downloaded the app to my phone, and off we went. 

Here's how you geocache:
Step 1:  Find a cache in your area (through the app).
Step 2:  Get to the general vicinity.  (We drove to a parking lot of a church near a nature trail where the app told us 3 caches were hidden.) 
Step 3:  Pull up the app and turn on the compass (touch the screen to make the little cache thingy turn into coordinates).
Step 4:  Follow the compass and be on the look out for something out-of-the-ordinary!

We didn't find the first cache.

The second cache was hidden exactly where the GPS coordinates told us. It was under a tree but off the path, so we had to do a little work to find it!  The cache was an Igloo Thermos filled with stickers, little capsules, and other random stuff, as well as a log book, where we signed our name and dated it.  The cache had already been found once earlier in the day and once the day before.  I think we were the 7th people to find it.

The third cache was about a half of a mile further down the path.  It took some work for us to find it...   The boys found the spot first when they noticed that the weeds were trampled down.  We searched and searched and searched, but we couldn't find the cache.  We were ready to give up, but oldest son had cockle-burrs stuck to his socks, so he put one foot up on a log to pick them out of his sock.    The log was rotten and gave way under his foot, and LOW AND BEHOLD!!! THE CACHE!!!! This cache was an old ammunition box, filled with similar items.  We took a couple of stickers, signed our names and were generally on cloud nine because we were now 2 for 3 caches!! We were becoming real pros!!!

The fourth cache we went in search of was at the fair grounds.  (The girls were getting a little antsy by this point, so I took the girls to the play ground outside the fair grounds, and the boys and Aunt Em went in search of the cache.  They didn't find it, but after talking about it with one of my geocaching students, we think it may have been "muggled" after the most recent flea market.  (Muggled means thrown away by non-geocachers!)

If you are interested learning more about or trying geocaching, check out this link:

We had a LOT of fun geocaching and look forward to going to other towns and locations.  It's fun, exercise, and a learning experience for the whole family!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

An Update on Fergie and the Twins...

The fair was 2 months ago and I never updated everyone on the success of our younger son and his hereford twins! 

Here is a picture of us post-open-show-8:30am-on-day 3 of the fair...  If that isn't the epitome of chaos, I don't know what is...  I love this picture, though, because it's "the whole family", and Fergie and her twins were truly a family affair this summer!!!

This is a look at our journey to the fair:
In this picture, Simon is having a shower.  I'm not sure what older son is doing in the background...  Maybe shadow tag?
After their showers, we'd tie the calves up under this little tree to be out of the sun and dry off.  This is Junebug.  Isn't she so cute!!!!
And we walked... and walked... and walked... and walked...  We put lots of miles on those hooves every week!  It took a village to get this crew ready for the fair!

Finally it was fair week and all of our kids had a BLAST!!!   The twins didn't do all that well in the show ring. While they would have gotten high marks for their good behavior, the calves were marked down because a) they were young (and little), b) they were twins (and little), and c) the heifer calf actually got discounted for being a free marten (in bovine, when you have opposite sex twins, the females are sterile).  Fergie didn't do so hot herself; as the 4-H judge said, "She just was giving everything she had to feed her twins, but she will make a nice herd cow."

Most importantly, younger son had a BLAST showing off his herd!  Don't you love his face!  It's pure joy!    And this, by the way, is mama Fergie who is currently out to pasture and loving every minute of it! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

This WILL be on the test...

I am SOOOOO PUMPED!!! I can't wait for Tuesday to get here! (Monday is a school holiday, darn it!  Just kidding, I can't wait to play outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!)

This week I have the privilege of teaching "Optimization with Linear Programming" to my Algebra 2 students!!!

If you are not familiar with linear programming, here are the basics:  It's classic microeconomics where you look at a graph of a situation and use the vertices (the cross points of lines) of the feasible region (the shape that the crossed lines create) to determine what to do or what criteria to meet in order to maximize profit or minimize costs. 

What's totally cool about linear programming is that it's a relatively new area of study.  Leonid Kantorovich was the father of linear programming, and it dates back to 1939, during WWII.  He used linear programming to help the army plan expenditures and returns in order to reduce costs to the United States while increasing losses to the enemy.

These days, it's still used in business, big and small, and in all sectors, especially in considering production, transportation, and planning costs. 

So, here's the plan:
Tuesday:  We are going to do a hypothetical project where we look at whether or not it would be best to open the campus to seniors at lunch time in order to eliminate one of three lunch periods.  This will introduce my students to identifying the variables, considering the constraints, and graphing the variables to find the "feasible region". 

Tuesday night's homework:  My students will have to watch a short youtube video on the origins of linear programming and how to use the feasible region to find the optimum solution. 

Wednesday:  We will take notes on the process of using linear programming and then do an example involving a landscaping company where the employees either do shrub pruning or lawn mowing.  We will find the best use of the employees' time to maximize the profit for the company. 

So, I know you probably -at best- skimmed this post.  Only real math geeks get excited about this kind of thing.  But, the great thing about being a teacher is that I just might spark something in one of my students, and who knows what they might become or how they might change the world someday!?!?!  After all, someone was Leonid Kantorovich's math teacher somewhere along the way...

By the way, the test is on Friday and, yes, this will be on the test!