Sunday, February 28, 2010

All in one beach mat and tote bag

While Spark was at his basketball tournament Dancer was at 4-H Sewing Camp. One of the projects was this cute beach tote/mat. The instructions are so simple.

Materials needed are:

A large bath towel.
A matching hand towel, the length should equal the width of the bath towel.
1 1/2 yards of 1" webbing for the handle
Matching thread

Lay the hand towel on one end of the bath towel. Sew along each side and the bottom side of the hand towel. Cut the webbing in half and sew one on the hand towel and one on the bath towel. Done. If you want a pocket on it use a matching wash cloth and sew on either the hand towel or the bath towel.
To make it into a tote bag roll the bath towel up from the side that doesn't have any sewing and flip the bag part of the towel over the rolled up part.
We got the bath towel for $3.99, the hand towel for $1.99 and the webbing for $.79 a yard. The whole project cost a mere $7.00.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Basketball is over for 3rd grade

Spark had is last basketball tournament. The team has had a record of not being able to win their first game, and therefore, they get put on the wrong side of the bracket to win a first through third place. They ended up with two wins and one loss. Spark was disappointed they didn't win a medal and it was the last day they would be playing. Both of those things together were enough for a sad boy with tears on the way home. All in all he did a great job and tried his hardest and that is what we told him counts more than winning a medal.

Winter swimming is a treat

Grandpa came up from Arkansas for a few days to see Grandma, she is staying with Dad's brother for the winter for an array of reasons, and they stayed in a hotel while he was here. Our schedules didn't mesh together very well this time he was here but we did get a couple of hours in with them. A nice thing about homeschooling is that we don't have to work around a typical school day. Spark had a great time splashing in the pool. Dancer took this picture and thought it looked like he had a heart around his head. He had such a good time that Grandma had to get a towel out to put her feet on because the deck was all wet. There is a balcony that over looks the pool where Dancer took advantage of a new angel to take pictures from.

After we went to the big library downtown. We don't go to that one very often unless Dad is with us because we need to walk through the not so friendly people who usually hang around in front of it and tell people what they think of them as they walk through. The parking lot there is also goofy. Instead of just being a big open lot there are dividers to make roads through it. We were just about to the car and for some reason Spark dashes across one of the roads towards our car just as a car is coming around a corner. I screamed, he jumped back and the car slammed on it's brakes. He was just a few feet from being hit. I get in the car and try to recover from the mild heart attack I am having and he gets in the backseat and pulls out his DS to play a game. He and I must have very different views of death. Dad gave him a good lecture, which I hope he heard and took to heart. I am sure I will have a few more gray hairs from that incident.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Watch your tone with me

Dancer had a crossword puzzle which she was suppose to use her vocabulary words from several previous chapters for the answers. She has some hard vocabulary words so I was going over them with her to refresh them in her memory and make the crossword less frustrating. We got to the word inflection. To explain to her what the word meant I told her that Nikki, our dog, was very good at understanding inflection. "Here watch" I said. In my sweetest little voice I said "Here Nikki, little cutie, come here Nikki". Nikki jumped up, started her tail wagging and came running over. She got about half way to us and in a low angry voice I said "Nikki, come here." She stopped and flattened right out on the floor with her tail down. I showed Dancer what inflection meant but I felt terrible for confusing the dog and making her sink into the carpet like that. Nikki got lots of hugs and an extra dog treat. I should probably go pet her again right now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meet Spark

This was the For Better or Worse comic strip today. It is hard to see but it says "But what exactly does non-linear thinker mean?" It shows all the kids art work and each of Michael's projects are very different from what the rest of the class did. When they all made cute little animals with four legs, Michael made a snake. Pictures of birds showed standing up birds, Michael's was a bird laying on his back with an X for an eye to show he was dead. The pages they made of the alphabet showed all the kids with neat lines of letters and Michael's was a huge A with all the other letters around it.
If I went to parent/teacher conference I wouldn't be surprised if I heard the same thing from the teacher. I love him that way. He makes us think. He makes us laugh. He makes us shake our heads sometimes. I pray he never changes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Don't you, forget about me

Some times food from the garden, and other items, get put away at harvest time and the seem to slip from memory. Out of site, out of mind in the back of the pantry. Today I was looking for something in the cool store room, in the basement, where we have things like canned goods, onions, squash potatoes and the like. I came across this 1/2 bag of potatoes that were picked last fall. It looks like they got tired of waiting and decided to come looking for us.
If it was nicer weather out I would plant these in the garden and reward them for their initiative. Unfortunately, it will be 6 to 8 weeks before that can happen.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Shatter-pated means disordered or wandering in intellect.

We were watching The Monkey's Uncle last week and heard the word and then the show was on again tonight and Dancer listened carefully for the word so we could get it correct. A man called someone shatter-pated. We looked it up and found the meaning. They also could have said shatter-brained. We knew what it meant from the context of the show but we should have heard the word and had the actual definition click. We have been reading Robin Hood in Old English and they are always hitting someone, or getting hit, on their pate aka top of their head. I always find it so interesting that when you read something new then it seems like it pops up everywhere after that. It is kind of like a new friend. You meet someone and then when you are out shopping, or wherever, you run into them. I always think, 'how many times did we see you before and not know who you were?'

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend Whirlwind

The weekend was just nonstop from Friday to Sunday.
Our church showed the movie "The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry." Don't miss this movie if you get a chance to see it. I was part of the group that did the preplanning and therefore was part of the set up, working the event and the take down. Since it was the first time the movie was to be shown in our state we did a red carpet premiere theme. There was a dinner before hand, which was like a concession area of a movie theater. We had a doorman who was wearing a top hat, tails, white gloves and spats. Once he opened the door for the people to go into the entry way of the church they were on the red carpet like they were movie stars. There were kids yelling for autographs, cameras flashing and peacemakers (body guards) to keep back the crazy fans. Once they were in the sanctuary where the movie was shown the youth band played and they could win VIP tickets to sit in the front rows and get a prize. We showed the movie both Friday and Saturday night. It was a success, we had over 250 people which is a lot for our little town. So Friday was set up for the movie, the movie and clean for the next night.

Saturday Spark had a basketball tournament early in the morning about an hour from our house so we were up at the crack of dawn and on the road. His team won three game and lost two. When he was done playing they had a chance to get third place and medal depending on who won the last game. Since a medal could be in his future we stayed and watched the game. The wrong team won for them to take third so they were fourth overall. The teams went into over time and then sudden death to have a winner. A pretty big deal for a third grade team. We didn't get home until almost 4:00 and then had to be at church at 4:15. That gave us enough time to change and jump back in the car.

Another showing of the movie and then we had to take down all the decorations and put everything back in the church so it would be ready to go for Sunday morning. It was quite late by the time we got home and then we had to go out and do chores.
Sunday morning we had an early appointment to have our taxes done. It is about a 40 minute drive to get to the accountant so we were up and out of here by 7:20. We let the kids sleep in so Dad and I went out to breakfast all by ourselves after the appoinment. That is a rare occurrence for the two of us to do anything alone.
When we got back home about 10:30 I flopped in to bed and fell asleep instantly. I woke up at 1:00 and flew out of bed because we had our 4-H Valentine, bowling, pizza party at 2:00 and no one had gotten me up. Dancer and I still needed showers and we needed to leave no later than 1:40 to be there on time so it was a crazy half hour. The bowling alley we went to didn't have automatic score keepers so the kids got a quick lesson in how to keep a bowling score sheet. Spark had the high game for everyone who bowled, 121 points, so he won a prize. There was also a prize for the low score, that game was 5 points bowled by a kindergartner. She was pretty happy with her score when she realized it won her a box of DOTS candy. They also got a pencil if they rolled a strike and Spark got one of those too. The kids exchanged Valentine's so there was plenty of candy to go around.
Grandma came by to watch the bowling and brought us a hotdish for supper. Bless her heart, it was much appreciated because we got home 15 minutes before we needed to get Dad up for work. There was enough that I sent some with him to work and didn't have to make him lunch either. I was more than happy to get home and just sit down!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Popcorn recipe

This is a moist popcorn recipe so it should be eaten in a few hours of making it. This was not a problem for us, it was gone before it barely got cold. This would be good served as an ice cream topping.

Peanut Butter Popcorn

2 quarts popped popcorn
4 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
4-6 tbsp. milk

Put peanut butter and corn syrup in heavy pot and heat until peanut butter is melted. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute and then add milk. Cook for 30 more seconds and remove from heat. Pour over popcorn and stir to coat.

Toffee popcorn recipe

Toffee popcorn

2 quarts popcorn
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk or cream

Melt butter, syrup and sugar in heavy pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add milk/cream stirring all the time. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat when just when it boils. Add to popped popcorn. Stir until coated. Good warm or cold.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Plowed Roads Only

We have recently had some larger snow events in "our neck of the woods" as well as some windy weather causing drifting and poor driving. Areas of the east coast have had record breaking snow amounts. We all watched the news in amazement as "front end loaders are needed to clear parking lots of snow that may not melt for days" (insert tongue in cheek). In many part of the country, including our back yard, snow that falls in November is still on the ground in April.

At any rate the snowy scenes had me reminiscing this and that about snow days as a kid. Whenever there was going to be measurable snow fall we kids would bound out of bed to check the TV or radio to see if school would be late or called off. In retrospect it seemed silly to get up early to see if you can sleep in.

It would be important to monitor the reports continuously in case " two hours late" became "classes and evening activities cancelled". Now cancellation a cause to celebrate but even more important no one wanted to walk a half mile for the bus, wait 40 minute wondering if it went in the ditch only to have a neighbor drive by and quip "Why didn't ya hear, classes are cancelled".

Another odd snow day happening was having school cancelled early. The school administration would want us all at school to garner their state funding. If we were already there and the weather got worse we would go back home about 1:00 PM. On occasion school was two hours late and closed early. This meant a frozen wait for the bus followed by hazardous ride to school, two twenty minute classes, regular lunch period then wait for the buses to come back for another perilous ride home.

There was one other school delay addendum, an asterisk if you will, that I especially looked forward to: Plowed roads only. My family lived a ways out of town, so far in fact that the sun set between my house and town. Why I was 12 or 13 years old before I found out my name wasn't "Git wood"...well, you get the idea. The important point was if I woke to a feeble little blizzard, one that only required bulldozers and Chinook cargo helicopters to clear the parking lots, as long as I heard that sweet phrase "plowed roads only" I could return to bed and enjoy a bonus vacation day, made by God.

It's a no go

Spark had his last swimming class and he didn't pass. We are still as proud as proud could be. Other weeks I sit in the lobby and chat with friends, it is my only grown up conversation of the week, but today we sat in the pool area to watch him. He has made incredible progress! In August he had never put his head under water and now he is doing the crawl stroke with rhythmic breathing. To pass the class he has to be able to do it for 25 yards which he just isn't quite there yet.

As I was walking out of the pool area I looked at the swimming bulletin board. The regular fee schedule was up and it showed that the cost of six private lessons of a half hour each was $180. The homeschool price during gym class is $20 and the lessons are 45 minutes. He was the only one in his level this session so he had private lesson by default for only $20. Once in a while good things fall into our laps.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Look who's knocking

It's Eeyore! Dancer brought him up on the deck and had him knocking on the window. It was worth his while, I gave him a gum drop and some apple cores.

Date Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

This is sort of a recipe I found in a cookbook but thought that changing a few of the ingredients would make it better. And it did. Well, it probably did because I didn't try the original recipe to compare to this one. The way the kids were eating them I will call these really good.

Date Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup dates
Chop the dates really fine, or put them in your food chopper or processor for a minute or so.
Mix together the dry ingredients. Cream sugar and butter, add in egg and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Drop by tablespoons a few inches apart as these spread out to a thin cookie.
Bake at 350 degrees until brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on parchment paper. These cookies are thin and crispy.
When cookies are cooled put a bit of the minced dates on half of the cookies and top with the other half of the cookies to make a sandwich.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Proverbs and a Psalm

For the last few months we have been reading a chapter in the book of Proverbs everyday. Since there are 31 chapters we read the one that goes with the corresponding date, so today we read Proverbs 16. If we miss a day we just skip it and go on to the date that it is on the calendar. These readings, however, have become a very special time of the day for us and we don't miss very often. Our usual time to read them, although not always, is right before the kids go to bed.

This has really been a blessing for us as it has opened the way for us to talk with the kids about things that we want to talk to them about but don't often come up in conversation. For example, many proverbs deal with things they haven't come up against yet and we have the luxury of discussing them before it is a "what were you thinking when you did that" conversation and they are on the defense instead of openly listening with nothing hanging over our heads.

Some of the chapters are hard to talk about with them at the ages they are. Proverbs 5 and 6 are about adultery, a difficult topic to talk about with a nine year old. We muddle through it the best we can on his level of understanding.

As we read the kids will say "oh, I remember that one" or even to my pleasant surprise "that verse is just like the verse about ________." and they will be able to pull a verse out of another chapter and apply it to the one we are reading with great accuracy. After we finish reading the chapter we will pick out a verse or two we want to touch on, be it one we think important or something that has been happening the last month, either in our home, community or the news, and we want to bring it to their attention. We also ask what verse they liked and why. Again, I am often pleasantly surprised by their insight and understanding of the verses.

There has also been a huge shift in behavior since we started this, in both the kids and myself. It is so easy to forget the lessons of Proverbs when we don't read them daily. One time when Dancer was with a friend, the friend corrected Dancer about something but the friend was wrong. Dancer said to me later that she let it go and didn't argue with her because it was just something petty and we shouldn't argue with others just to show ourselves right. Another time, when we were at an event, two of her friends were going to go out to sit in a car and listen to music. She wouldn't go with them because following them could be the wrong path. The other girls didn't get to go out anyway when their mother heard what they had in mind.

Do I now expect that the kids will always be wise and make the right choices? No, I know that they have free will and there is always temptation lurking around every corner. I do hope that from the back of their minds they will able to bring these lessons forward and apply them so they can avoid a lot of the hardships in life that come from making poor choices and it protects them a little from those things. I also hope the same for myself. It has become glaringly clear that I have lots of areas that need improvement in my life and my actions. I share this with the kids as well, that learning to follow God is a life long journey and that everyone has areas that they struggle with over and over and over with. I also share with them the areas in which I don't want to change but know that I need to to be pleasing to God.

New this month we added reading a Psalm every day. The kids take turns picking a number and then we read the Psalm that is the number they choose. Today they choose the last Psalm and it was so happy I will share it here.

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;

vv praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

vv praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

vv praise him with the harp and lyre.

praise him with tambourine and dancing,

vv praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

vvpraise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise

the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Girl has a wrench and she knows how to use it

Since our tread mill is broken, and we have yet to find someone to fix it, we went ahead and bought an exercise bike. Dancer and Dad spent a good portion of the evening putting it together.
They were successful! Everything is in the right places, there were no left over parts and it works.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Grandma's Hot Black Bean and Rice Dip Recipe

Grandma called today to say she was coming to visit and bringing dinner. We welcomed her right over!

She came with gifts, valentines, other surprises and a scrumptious dinner. She made a hot black bean and rice dip which is a main dish. Oh, so good. She also brought the recipe, which we will for sure be making ourselves, so I will share it here.

Hot Black Bean and Rice Dip

3/4 C. brown or white rice
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can Mexicorn drained or just regular corn if you don't want it so spicy
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chilies
1 C. salsa
1 C. sour cream
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
pepper to taste
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 can black olives
1 C. shredded Mexican cheese

Cook the rice according to the package.

Combine beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, cheddar cheese, pepper and rice. Put in baking dish.

Sprinkle with the onions and olives.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese and back 5 - 10 minutes longer. Allow to stand before serving so it sets up.

We had this with tortilla chips, shredded lettuce and guacamole. We didn't know what Grandma was bringing and when I pulled the avocados out of the fridge to make the guacamole she said I can't believe you just have avocado in the fridge. A kitchen is not a kitchen with an avocado waiting to made into guacamole. That is a staple around here, we all just love, love, love it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Homemade black berry syrup

We were so fortunate to get 16 six ounce containers of beautiful, big, sweet black berries at a grocery store that was closing them out. Only $5.00 for all of them, about 30 cents a pack! That is an incredible, unbelievable price. They are right at the end of their ripeness so they need to be used in the next couple of days. This morning Dad made two of the containers into black berry syrup.

He put them in a bowl with a little bit of water and microwaved until the berries were plump. Then he put them in a pot with a bit of sugar and cooked them until they reduced into a syrup. I can not even describe how good it was. We ladled it generously over pancakes and savored every bite. Dancer took a picture of her plate. Oh, I wish we ate like this every morning!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The X Rated Mall

Spark and I logged a few walking miles tonight at the mall while Dancer was at dance rehearsal. This is just not the best moral option for us. Those store fronts are X-rated.

A couple of years ago Victoria Secrets had a poster of a woman lounging, well not how I lounge but that is the best word I can think of here, in her new purchase from this store. When we walked by the store I diverted the kids eyes to the other side of the hallway. I called the mall office and was told that the stores can put whatever they want in their windows and they have no control over it. Really? They had just put in a big playground and family bathrooms hoping to attract families but they have no control over the rest of the mall?

Fast forward to now and the Victoria Secret poster would just blend in with all the other store fronts. If these mannequins were real people it would be like we were walking down the red light district. Who is buying these clothes? If you are a parent buying them for you daughters, stop it. If you are buying them for yourself, good grief you are better than that. If your kids are dressing like that because their friends do, get them some new friends and have a talk about self respect and dignity. If the only way my daughter could make friends is by wearing shrink wrap and having something hanging out then she doesn't need any friends.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Perilous snow

Day after day of the snow blowing over the same side of the house and we ended up with this.... this..... this snow thing hanging off the edge of the roof. A snow eave you might call it. Spark has had his eye on it for the last few days and this afternoon he just couldn't take it anymore. He went out to the barn and came back with a hoe which he lifted above his head and started randomly whacking at the snow.
. First he knocked off all the snow parts which I worried was going to land on his head where the snow would then start slowly melting down his back and he would for sure be howling. Thankfully that didn't happen.

Next he just had to get those icicles down. Thankfully he didn't take an eye out when they fell like shattered glass.

I went back in the house thinking he was all done. I hear this thumping on the side of the house so I poke my head back out the door to see him swinging at the few little icicles left on the gutter. Each time he took a swing the hoe bumped on the side of the house. Thankfully he didn't take out a window. Guess what his farmers' market money this summer would have been spent on if that had been the case?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stop using the guinea pig for a football

"Stop using the guinea pig for a football and go to sleep." Sounds like something that I would say to Spark, but it was directed at Dad. He came home this morning and instead of going to bed so he can work again tonight, he was throwing a stuffed guinea pig around like a football.

The kids were sitting at the table starting their work and they were both just laughing when I came out of the bedroom at the fact that I would have occasion to say such a statement to Dad!

Monday, February 8, 2010

School is cancelled - ha ha ha

For the fourth straight day, snow has been falling quietly in little tiny flakes from the sky. This morning the snow has taken a change and is blowing sideways with great force as it descends from the sky. Schools all around us have been cancelled, except the school district we are in it is only two hours late. I would guess they will get the kids to school and send them home early which will be enough for them to get funding for half a day. That is neither here nor there for us though. We don't have snow days! Our kids are so lucky they can just go as usual! The kids are so excited! NOT!! No, it will be math, Latin, and history for us today. Now if it was one of the first wonderful days of spring we would be out of here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bread in a Bag Recipe

This makes two cute little loaves of bread.

Bread in a Bag Recipe

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 package rapid rise yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

1 cup very warm water (125 degrees F)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

1. Combine one cup all purpose flour, yeast, sugar, dry milk and salt in a 1 gallon zipper freezer bag.
2. Seal bag. Squeeze upper part of the bag to force out air and then seal the bag.
3. Shake and work the bag with fingers to blend ingredients.
4. Carefully add hot water and oil to dry ingredients in the bag.
5. Add whole wheat flour. Reseal bag and mix ingredients.
6. Gradually add remaining cup of all purpose flour to bag. Reseal and mix with fingers.
7. Work the dough until it is stiff and pulls away from the sides of the bag.
9. Knead dough 2 to 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
10. Cover dough with a moist cloth or towel; let dough stand for 10 minutes.
11. Divide dough in half.
12. Roll each piece of dough into a rectangle, 6 inch by 32 inch.
13. Roll up from narrow end to form loaf. Pinch edges and end to seal.
14. Spray mini loaf pan with cooking spray. Place dough in pan with seam side down.
15. Cover loaves with cloth and place in a warm place; let dough rise until doubled.
16. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until top is golden brown and loaf sound hollow.
17. Remove from pans and rub top of loaves with butter.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spark rides an escalator

Spark rides an escalator, big deal right. Well, it is a big deal because he has been deathly afraid of them his whole life. Every time we go by one he wants to ride it and then at the last minute he just can't get himself to step on. He either takes the stairs, or an elevator if there is one, to get to the floor he is going to. On Tuesday when we were at the mall he tried so hard to get himself to ride one. He was able to go up but just couldn't take the step on to go down. Going up that one time has been the most success he has had so far with the scary beasts. Tonight, while Dancer was at Dance, he and I swung by the mall to get in a little walking. We went by a store with an escalator and he wanted to try again. He rode right up and then went over to the down escalator and ..... stepped on!!!!! He did it twice! For good measure he even rode on in another store!!!! I cheered both times and gave him a high five, I didn't care who was watching or what they might have thought, I was proud of him.

Bacon lettuce and tomato salad

Our favorite salad. You can probably guess the ingredient list - bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Diced the tomatoes and chop the bacon. The tomatoes can be mixed with mayo or another favorite dressing. I am a purist, I like the mayo. All the goodness with out the bread.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Natural Selection: Elephants in Sri Lanka

Dancer is studying genetics in science. We were discussing how more and more Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka are becoming "tuskless". In a typical population of this species about 1/2 of the male elephants have tusks (females are without tusks). It is thought that lack of tusks is caused by a single recessive gene.
In the "wild" scenario tusks are an advantage for the males. Tusks are useful when foraging for food as well as for fighting other males for mates. The tusk gene makes a more successful individual.

In Sri Lanka, political unrest and instability make poaching elephant tusks for the illegal ivory trade a lucrative business. In this environment, tuskless males and females are ignored by the poachers. This makes the tuskless gene an advantage. In Sri Lanka today around 90% of male elephants are "tuskless" instead of the 50-50 mix that occurs normally.

To illustrate how this happened we did this experiment with jelly beans. Red jelly beans represent "tuskless" elephants an the white ones are "tusked" elephants. More red than white jelly beans are needed for experiment.

Twenty beans of each color are placed in a paper bag. The kids took turns being a poacher and pulling a bean out of the bag without looking.
If a white jelly bean is pulled out it is eaten by the poacher. Red jelly beans are replaced along with two more red jelly beans to represent the offspring that would eventually result.

We did this for three seasons of six poachings each. Below see the change in percentages after each season.

---------- - Start --- Season 1 --- Season 2 --- Season 3

Tusked ---- 50% -- --- 39% ----- 31% ----- -- 23%

Tuskless --- 50% -- --- 61% -- --- 69% -- ---- 77%

The "elephant" herd after poaching. Many more red tuskless elephants than white tusked elephants.

In 1900 there were about 20,000 elephants in Sri Lanka, today there are less than 3500.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Plan B - Wii Fit Plus

You may have noticed a mileage counter on the right side of the blog. This counts miles walked in our families current fitness challenge. The new challenge has just started, unfortunately the treadmill has just stopped. The machine is too large to move out of the house assembled and is pretty heavy too. I doubt we can get it serviced for a price that won't make me wince with pain. What we need are some other ways to work towards the goal.

Today we walked at a shopping mall. One nice thing about this is we can all do it simultaneously. A drawback is that it takes a lot of trips around the mall to make a mile. The mall also 20 miles away.

Tomorrow we we will try using the Wii Fit and a pedometer to get some distance in. Unfortunately, it won't be nice enough to walk or bike outside for at least two months. Wish us luck.