Monday, January 21, 2013

FLL State Competition

This past Saturday J. and A. competed in the FLL State Competition.  In September, their team of seven was given the requirements for this year's challenge.  They had 3 months to design, build, and program their Lego robot to run through the obstacle course.  They have 2 1/2 minutes to complete as many tasks/score points as possible on said course.

Along with this challenge, they have to research and prototype a solution to a real world problem, which they then present to the judges. Finally, they had to show core values, and a code design review on their robot.  At regionals, they did well enough to qualify for state (yay Dynamos!!).

The state competition began early in the morning in Hillsboro, OR. 

Little J. operating the robot during run 2.

A. switching out robot attachments during run 2.

Waiting for score results.

Showing participation medals.  
Note: Little J's medal ribbon has already miraculously disintegrated.

The Dynamos had some unexpected struggles.  The main one was that one of the programs quit working for no understandable reason (all was running smoothly the previous Wed. when they did their final practice).  This affected the possible points they could have earned on the runs. The great thing was that everyone continued doing their best, soaking in the day long experience, and having a fun time.  

After talking with my boys about how things went, and what they wish for down the road, I was pleasantly surprised that to find they are more determined to continue with robotics.  They want to practice programming at home in the coming months, and have hopes of designing a robot that will meet this fall's challenge with ease.

I am looking forward to the exciting and cool things they will build.  They are indeed, Dynamos!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

strawberry refrig. oatmeal

In keeping with one of my goals to try out a new recipe every week, I tried out this recipe from This Chick Cooks for overnight fruit oatmeal.  It was really, really good, and really, really simple.  That combination makes it a perfect to go to breakfast for us.  Or snack, or lunch.  The kids inhaled it - so I have no pictures, but the site I got the recipe from has a gorgeous photo if you are visual like me.

The only difference between her recipe and mine was that I used honey Greek yogurt so didn't need to add the syrup/honey. 

Anyways, if you are looking for a twist on the regular - check it out - it's worth making!

Friday, January 11, 2013

meet Baby C!

Babies are abounding, and I couldn't be more delighted in the chance to hold the sweet little snuggies.  Our friend C. had a beautiful girl last week on Jan. 3rd.  Mom and baby (and dad!) are doing great.

simply gorgeous

A. came with me yesterday to visit and got to hold the baby as well.  He was charmed by her tiny fingernails and sounds she made.  I couldn't get over how alert and inquisitive she already is!  It was hard handing her back when it was time to go, but I'm sure I'll get more opportunities to snuggle her.

Now, I just need to hold our friend's dear baby boy who was born up north on Jan. 4th to be completely satisfied!  Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Duck eggs and cost of such

This past spring, we were given fertile duck eggs from our good friends the Ws, which we hatched and you can read about here or here if interested in reliving the good times.  We are raising Ancona Ducks, which are heirloom birds on the critical list, and are good egg layers.  And you know, we need more eggs around here!

So, the detail picky side of me has been tracking the cost of raising these ducks since I hatched them at the end of May, and I decided to calculate how much my duck eggs will cost, and what I need to charge to cover the costs.  

I got my first duck egg ever on Jan. 6, and I was ecstatic to find it!!!  And the cost up to this point for the egg?  A mere $144.13!  (labor not included)

Here is a picture of the gorgeous, highly valuable egg.
As this egg was far too valuable to part with - we ate
it!  Yes, we do eat rich indeed (only the finest
and all of that)!

The  next day I discovered a second egg, much to my delight.
This now brings the avg. cost of  my duck eggs down to $72.07.
Well, at this rate, they'll become so affordable that all the people
will be chomping at the bit to purchase them!

Size comparison: Chicken egg on Left, Duck egg on right.

The funny thing about these eggs, is that they didn't even come from the ducks we raised.  On Saturday, Jan. 5th, the Ws, who gave use the fertile eggs to hatch in the first place, gave us two adult females as they were trimming down their flock.  Both these ladies laid the eggs shown.  And after laying one on Sunday, and  on on Monday, they have decided to stop.  So, now I have 4 girls, and no one is laying (unless they are laying in their pond, which I'd have to go fishing for).  I have a feeling that my graph will be taking another upward jump until spring comes and starts pulling the numbers down.

As this chart only covers feed and egg, I would be neglectful if I didn't point out other benefits that we have received from the ducks:
  • the education of incubating/hatching ducklings and how they compare with chicks
  • the eating of slugs, bugs (and maybe dandelions? - Mr. W said after two years of having ducks, they are pretty much dandelion free), making my gardens healthier
  • the *ahem* fertilizer that they provide for above gardens
  • the sheer pleasure of watching their antics
I bet you all probably are dying to try out the extremely expensive and elusive treat! Well no worries, I'm sure as time goes on, you'll have a chance to join the exclusive "golden duck egg" club*.

*Note, avg. cost of eggs will vary depending on availability.  While you currently have a considerable chance of eating a $50+ duck egg at Fort Bale, the value may decrease as quantity of eggs goes up.  The quality, however, will remain superb.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

happy January!

I'd like to say Happy New Years, but that has already passed.  I'm very excited for 2013 and see lots of great opportunities ahead for our family.  I like the New Year tradition of reflecting on the previous year, and the coming year.  The family and I have been discussing our goals and so here they are:

My goals:
use my time more wisely - get more done
build a sun oven!!!
grow a kick ass mega garden
try a new recipe every week
continue being smug about my accomplishments (I know, I know - not much work for me in this one! )
continue on my journey to being more healthy

Big J's goals:
be diligent

Little J's goals:
drink as much water as Mom
quit popping neck and knuckle joints

A's goals:
earn enough money to buy a Wii U

From all of us at Fort Bale, we hope 2013 rocks for you, and we cheer you on in achieving your own desires for the new year!