I have moved to a new blog: Nikki's Thoughts On


Posting on this blog may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

January 30, 2010

Kids Say: The Darnest Things!

Today installment is from Superstar!

He was running around in a funny over exaggerated way. Most of us are moms here so that doesn't need more explanation, or at least I hope not! LOL

As he was running he was singing in a funny voice:

"You can't catch me I'm the (his name)-Man! Not the gingerbread man, but the (his name)-Man! "

He repeated that a few times! The whole thing was hilarious especially seeing he was being over exaggerated with his arms, legs, and voice!

January 29, 2010

Using Goodwill!

Earlier today I was reminded that once again it's possible to find great deals @ Goodwill (second hand, thrift store)! I watched a lovely video made by Jennifer Schmidt @ Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and was reminded how not only could I find much needed clothing for a reasonable price but if I take a minute or two to look at other things I might find some other cool or useful stuff.

I know what Jennifer means about the "rich people's" store. NOT all Goodwill stores are equal. I will drive to the one because it's in the "richer" part of town. Being in the "richer" part of town it's selection tends to be better.

We all got some much needed clothing and the kids got 2 new books today at 50 cents each. We borrow a lot from the library but it also is nice to have books of your own. When we were looking around at other things Web-princess spotted a globe. She said look Mom it's a globe we can use it for school. I looked it over. It's in great shape, but I noticed all the different seams didn't line up correctly. I pointed the errors out to the kids but they said "Mom for $3 that's okay! It doesn't have to be prefect."

I thought for a moment and said okay. Besides it has a nice little drawer under it. I thought, to myself, that's the perfect hide away for DH's keys, wallet, and phone. He tends to leave them on our school shelf in the living room, but I get annoyed because I feel like it should only be for school items. However with our small house I don't get too bend out of shape, because I think where else would he leave them? (For the record he has always left them in some place in the living room). My thought told me the globe will help, despite the seams not line up, to show were things are in world and DH gets a official place for his keys, wallet, and phone.

I showed it to DH when he got home. He thought it was odd it didn't line up right. I explain that I knew that before I bought it. I explained that I wasn't really going to use it for its accuracy and that I would use it in conjugation with our very accurate world map poster. I figured between both items the kids would get a better understand on where things are in the world. I also explain to him I thought it would the prefect hideaway for his keys, wallet, and phone.

As I was putting things away I noticed the label and original price tag on the underside of the globe. It was something I did not noticed before. It states on the label that this "antique" globe is for decoration and not recommended for educational proposes. I figured as much already just by observing how things didn't line up right at the seams, but I already had a plan for its use.

As for the original price! Well it was $50! I was shock! I can't believe that someone paid $50 for it! It's cute and I'm glad that I got it today for $3.

The drawer is open on this! I was trying to show how it's just the right size to hold DH's wallet, keys, and phone. It's primary pink, but I think that's because it's "antique" globe. LOL!!

January 26, 2010

Day 26: Update on Superstar

Superstar has had his braces (AFO) for the last 26 days. It's been almost 10 weeks since his surgery. He over all is doing fantastic!

Last Thursday he walked all day while we were at the Museum of Science and Industry. Last Saturday we had Religious Education Classes at our Church. He climbed up and down the stairs several times there just fine and even played tag on the playground with the other boys. Saturday Evening we went to a birthday party that had more boys, more running, and more stair climbing. Towards the end of Saturday Evening he was saying he was hurting. DH noticed he was rubbing his leg near his knees.

Saturday night when we got home we realized that Superstar developed pressure sores from his braces (AFO). The sores where at top where the braces (AFO) meet the legs just under the knees. By the time we realized he had pressure sores they were nearly at stage 2. He had sores on BOTH legs. His right leg was worst then the left leg.

So we kept him home Sunday from Church. That way he could spend the whole day resting WITHOUT his braces (AFO). I'm not happy that he missed Church, but we felt it was best. His skin needed a brake from the braces. We also put some triple antibiotic on it and Sunday night he took a bath in Epsom Salt. By Monday morning it was nearly gone and today there is no true visible sign of pressure sores.

However, we did tell the orthopedic surgeon today about the sores when we saw him for the scheduled follow up. The orthopedic surgeon said that happened because superstar is skinny and he doesn't have much natural padding (fat) around his knees. The brace (AFO) and bone are rubbing against each other in those spots where Superstar had the pressure sores. He told us that we need to call the appliance place that made Superstar's braces and have an adjustment made to reduce the rubbing.

On a positive note the orthopedic surgeon is very pleased with Superstar's recovery! He said that Superstar is doing great! Actually, he said that Superstar is a LOT BETTER then he was anticipating. He is extremely pleased and surprised to see range of motion Superstar has now in his ankles. Again he said this was better then he was anticipating. Our next follow up is at the end of March.

January 25, 2010

Extracting DNA from our cheeks

We learned how to extracted DNA from our cheeks while at the Museum of Science and Industry last week. This was fun to watch so we've decided to try this at home.

You'll need:
  1. Dawn Dish Soap (I'm sure that any dish soap will work, but Dawn [original] was highly recommend.)
  2. Salt
  3. Rubbing Alcohol (70%)
  4. cups (one for each child)
  5. water
  6. test tubes (one for each child)

Prep Work:
REFRIGERATE the (Dawn) Dish Soup and FREEZE the Rubbing Alcohol. The rubbing alcohol doesn't actually freeze, it will still be a liquid after being in the freezer. The dish soap will also be still be pour able after being in the refrigerator. We were told that we would receive better results when the dish soup as been REFRIGERATED and the Rubbing Alcohol as been "FROZEN".

The other thing that is important to know in prepping for this experiment is that you can NOT eat or drink for 2 hours prior to extracting the DNA. Not eating or drinking for at least 2 hours also helps produce better results.

FYI: The test tubes we are using came out of our microscope kit. When we were done we did look at the DNA under the microscope. It did give us a close up view of DNA, but did NOT allow us to actually see the DNA helix. The DNA helix can only be observed by a photograph taken through x-ray crystallography. That is beyond what our little home Kitchen-Science Lab can do!

Doing the Experiment:
  • pour about 4 heaping spoon full of salt with about 1 cup of water and mix.

  • pour small amount of this salt water solution into a cup (about 1-2 ml)

  • Now swish this salt solution in your mouth for about 1 minute. When you are done spit it back into the cup.

  • Transfer some of the spit from the cup into the test tube. (We are using 10 ml test tubes so we put about 2-3 ml of spit into the test tube. So in other words about 1/4-1/2 full of spit)
  • Add about 4-5 drops of dawn dish soap into the test tube with the spit.

  • Now for about 2 minutes mix the dish soap and spit in a back and forth motion.

  • Now fill the rest of the test tube with the rubbing Alcohol

  • Now for about 2 minutes do the same back and forth motion as you did earlier.

  • You should then start to see what looks like little strings of pasta in the test tube. This is your DNA.

It should clump together, but it also might be individual strains floating about. You may have to hold them near a light to see the stains, especially if they do not clump together. The pictures of the DNA in the tubes did not turn out the best.

Web-princess' DNA clumped together nicely, where Superstar's did not. DH observed that Web-princess test tube was a little bit more blue in color then Superstars so we think it's possible that Web-princess' had a bit more dish soap then Superstars.

Seeing it was hard to capture the DNA in stills I made a video. I hope you can see Web-princess' DNA floating around in the test tube in the video above. I tried to do a video of Superstar's DNA but because it did not clump together like Web-princess I couldn't get it in the video. When I move the test tube back and forth you can hopefully see this small whitish thing floating about. That is Web-princess' DNA.

Web-princess and Superstar had a blast doing this and now we hope that you will too! If you decided to do this experiment at home please share your results with us! We would like to see what you get!

January 22, 2010

A Coal Miner!

At the Museum of Science and Industry we learned what it was like to be a coal miner! We did have to wait at the stairs for our guide, the coal miner, to come and lead the way through the mine. Thankfully it wasn't a long wait!

When our guide came we climbed the rest of the stairs and waited for the elevator to take us down into the mine. As we got off the elevator we seen coal bins full of coal. The bins were dumping the coal onto a conveyor belt that took the coal up to the surface. 

We  learned about how they use to use canaries to detect methane. Today  they use a davy lamps (which have a flame) or computerized monitors to detect methane. Most of the world still use davy lamps because it's cheaper then the computerized monitors.

Using a device such as a davy lamp increase the chances of a fire starting. If you catch on fire while IN a coal mine you MUST NOT stop, drop, and roll. Doing so will start the whole place on fire, because it's a coal mine. The coal miner explained that if a miner does catch on fire that they have to "take it like a man" and walk up to 2 miles or more to the nearest water pit and jump in!

After this discussion we got to ride the coal train. The coal train took us on a 2 minute ride through the coal mine tunnels. It was neat to be in the coal train and ride through the tunnels. I tried to take pictures while inside the coal train.

You can see the coal miner driving the train. I was disappointed the many of the pictures while in the coal train didn't turn out. It was just to dark. After our train ride we were taken to the active mining area. In the active mining area we got to see some of the machines that are use to remove the coal such as the drill and the conveyor belt that dumped the coal into the bins we seen earlier.

After the coal miner explained how these things worked he told us to plug our ears! After our ears were plugged the machines were turned on! They were loud!! The coal miner explained that because of the noise levels of these machines many miner end up deaf in a few short years. I believe it after hearing those machines go!

There was a door way that said Miner Only! We wanted to go back in there and see what the miners where up too, because we could hear them talking. However we were not allowed in because we were not miners!

However we were lead down on foot through another tunnel in the opposite direction. While in this tunnel we could hear the water and other things in the mine. It was really cool. At the other end of the tunnel we were shown another machine that is used for mining. This machine is used only once, because it buries itself.

The coal miner explained how this machine works before turning it on. It was NOT as loud as the previous machines, but I don't think it is healthy to be near that much noise all the time. I was amazed to learn that once it got to the end they would just leave it and go get a new machine. New machines are not cheap! They cost MILLIONS of dollars!

Then we were lead out of the coal mine. On the way out we learn that Illinois is a big mining state. Most of the state has coal under it! We learned that Illinois has about 300 years of coal mining left and that sweet-in-low and tooth paste are just some of the by-products of coal!

Superstar Climbing

Yesterday we went to the Museum of Science and Industry! I mention earlier that superstar climbed a rock wall. I wanted to share a picture of him doing this! I'm just amazed at how well he is doing. He's only has had his braces since New Years and it seems as if nothing is slowing him down. I'm so thankful that he is recovering nicely from surgery.

January 21, 2010

Museum Of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry is a MUST see if you are in the Chicago Area! Not only that but go on a FREE day! (You do have to pay $16 for parking per car. So car pool and reduce the cost).

We had so much fun and didn't even get to see everything. We got there shortly after it open and stayed until close! As a matter of fact they turned the lights off on us! Okay not all the lights, but it was clear it was closing time, TVs shut down, exhibits that made noise stopped, and bathrooms and other areas started to get roped off.

Here of some of the highlights we did:

  • climbed a rock wall (Superstar did this too!)
  • Played video games
  • saw a real submarine and got to drive one via simulation.
  • explored an airplane
  • watched model trains
  • played with water
  • visited a circus
  • visited outer-space
AND SO MUCH MORE! Plus there was so much MORE that we did NOT get to see or do (like dissect a cow's eye) because we ran out of time! Everything we did was apart of the general admission and today was a FREE day so the only cost for us today was the parking. We car pooled so I only had to pay 1/2 of the parking. $8. I surely got my money worth today!

So if you are in Chicago you MUST go to the Museum of Science and Industry especially if it's a FREE day!! FYI: The cow's eye was also apart of the general admission.

January 15, 2010

Multisensory Reading Approach

As many of you know few months ago in the midst of dealing with Superstar's ITW Web-Princess was diagnosis with convergence insufficiency. We have been given some at home therapy options, but I also have to find a way to reach her in regards to reading. Knowing what is wrong and the therapy to strengthen her muscles is only 1/2 of the battle. The other 1/2 is find ways to teach her and bridge that gap.

Can I just say the children librarian we have is AWESOME? I feel so bless to be able to go in and just talk to her. I shared with her what was going on and I how I'm thinking about taking on an Multisensory Reading Approach with Web-princess. It's the same approach that is often taken with children that have dyslexia.

I know that convergence insufficiency is not dyslexia, but after some research I feel that the multisensory approach would be good for Web-Princess. That way she is learning from her other senses when it comes to reading and not just her vision. I was sharing this with the librarian and she could see the benefit as well and was helping me put together somethings. It's so awesome to have a lady that can just walk around the library and pull books without the use of the catalog. She knows what's in the children section like the back of her hand.

I also recently learned about "Sound Out Chapter Books". To my delight 6 of the titles were listed in the online card catalog, but they did NOT show a library and they did NOT have a call number. I showed this to the beloved librarian. She thought it was odd and did some looking on HER computer.

She learned that they were at the library a few towns away and that they were bought by that library through a Project Read Grant. She was confident that we could do inter-library exchange on project read material so she put a request on some of the books for me.  (Although there is still a question if it would actually go through because they are project read material.)

I'm hoping that we can get the books. I'm hoping the fact they are chapter books will be a big boost to Web-princess's ego! Not only that but because they are still decodable books I'm confident that they won't be above her reading abilities. I told our librarian that I'm interested in these because with Web-Princess being almost 8 I need to move pass "Mat sat." "Mat sat on a hat". I need to give her material that will have some more substance and story line to it, but not be above her abilities.

What's really cool is when we were looking up the books the librarian said when they get here (assuming the request is granted) I would like to look at them and learn more about the series and also get your input on them.  That made me excited! Perhaps our library will get some or different titles then the other library has.... (wishful thinking, but it was delight to see the librarian's interest in this books)

I still have a lot to learn about the Multisensory Reading Approach. If you are using this type of approach with your children Please share!! What are you doing? What are you using? How long per day? I would really love to hear from you!!  I'm still learning about this approach because it's not familiar to me; so any input, advice, ideas would be greatly appreciated.

January 13, 2010

Lesson Plans: Workboxes

It seems the latest craze in the homeschooling community is Sue Patrick's Workbox System. I have NOT tried this system, nor do I feel I have the space needed! It's seems that the physical aspect of this system requires you to have boxes for each subject. You place your child's work into each "workbox".

It's the child's job to complete each task in each box. At the end of the day the parent is required to set up the boxes for the next day work. It's suppose to help the child stay on task and encourage them etc. I'm SURE there is MORE to the system, but I at least seem to have the physical aspects of it down, from reviewing what other homeschoolers are doing. I've seen many share what's in the box over the course of the last few months.

I KNOW that there is value in a child being able to see what's coming up and what is going to happen. I've noticed with my own homeschool journey my kids do much better when they KNOW what's going on or what they have to do today!

I don't have space to set up workboxes even if I wanted too.  The physical space that it demands is above and beyond what my house can handle. It also would require me to set things up daily and to be honest that's even more then I want to do.

I know I haven't been posting my lesson plans like I have wanted. Honestly it's just not a grove I'm into yet! However I have made a lesson plan template that I use with the kids that have greatly help me with planning, grading, and help them see what's excepted from them each day.

Each child gets a their own lesson sheet per week and they get posted on the refrigerator. The preview of the template does not do it justice. If you were to download it you will see that each subject is it's own box with a smaller box next to it. (As seen in this picture below)

The picture is just a partial picture of the document. However it shows how each subject is it's own box with a smaller box next to it.

Over the weekend I fill out 2 lesson plan sheets one for Superstar and one for Web-Princess. Seeing we do some of our work "together" the top half of the lesson plans shows the together work and the bottom half, after the word child, shows the individual work.

When I write out the lesson plans I will often just write down the page numbers, seeing the kids KNOW what book is their grammar book, math book, etc. As they finish the work they put an X in the smaller box next to each subject. This help because like with the workboxes they can see what is needed to be done and what is done! Having it posted on our refrigerator allows daddy to SEE what we've done too.

This helps with grading because I take the lesson plan sheets and grade the work that was done. (They are plans and sometimes things don't go as plan). I then can also use it to make up the new plan because I know where we left off.

On the together work section of the lesson plans I do have some abbreviation that might needs some explaining.
You may notice that I have science in the together section and the individual section. This is because I do both with the kids. I have something I do together and some things I do individually. This is what works for US!

You may also notice that Tuesdays are pretty empty! That's because that is the day we typically are with our co-op so we don't much "book work" that day.

As for the template that was made in a word processor program. If you are proficient in using a word processor or spreadsheet program then I'm sure you could make a lesson plan sheet that is more tailored for your homeschooling needs.

January 11, 2010

Should students be allowed to use calculators?

I was reading the most recent newsletter from currclick I thought it was interesting that out of the other over 500 families pulled there was a pretty much even split over the use of calculators.

In my own house we haven't use calculators to much but on occasion it's called for, just mainly because I want to introduce them to calculators and some of the functions available. What's your stance on calculators? Yay or Nay

January 7, 2010

Judy's Son Needs Prayers

Dear Readers!

I know that many of you follow Judy @ Benmakesten as well! (Or one her other sites such as Daily Blessings, Thankful Woman or Homeschool Faith and Family Life). Anyway I know many of you follow her as well so....

Her son fell down the stairs yesterday. They feared that he may have had a concussion so they were closely monitoring him and his condition.  When it became clear that he was not improving they took him to the ER.

He had a CT scan done and there appears to be NO visible cracks or bleeding! That is a very good thing, however he still is suffering from a concussion. He's home and they have to routinely wake him and ask him simple questions. Not only that but his diet has been restricted to liquids only.

Thanks for keeping her son in your prayers! I know Judy and her family would be thankful to have the extra prayers right now!

Recorded Classes: Giveaway!

Earlier this week I made a post about Homeschool Connections' Record Classes Subscription Service. I just learned that Homeschool Connections is doing a giveaway. Please see Homeschool Connections' Site for a change to win the giveaway. The giveaway is ONE YEAR FREE!

Forts and little girls

Web-princess is very much that little girl that like to have hair pretties and dresses, but she is also a bit of a tomboy and enjoy using her "woman muscles". (Her words!)

To the untrained eye the above may look like a pile of sticks, but to Web-princess this is a fort that she spent almost an hour working on this afternoon. First it had to be dragged from all the way from the back of the backyard to the front of the backyard near our kitchen door. Then it needed to be painted (she used the poster paint we had out to paint the snow). Then some other sticks needed to be gather to make the finish product that you see here.

She told me to not let daddy move it because it's the most awesome fort ever! And it was hard work using those "Woman Muscles". In my daughter's and some times son's opinion woman muscles are stronger then men muscles. (Our son has been known to say things like: "Come on Mom! You can do it! Be stronger then a MAN, be a WOMAN!)

Although Superstar has his moments Web-princess is the one that keeps us in stitches the most. Just last night she read a story to Daddy and prior to reading they had a little conversation. It  went something like this.
Web-Princess: Are you excited? (She was asking if Daddy was excited about her reading.)
Daddy: Yes
Web-Princess: Well stay tuned!
Yes we have to stay tuned when it comes to her because you just never know!

ART: Painting Snow and Snow Angels

Today for ART we painted snow (or at least tried too). Web-princess had much more fun trying and doing this then Superstar.

I don't know if Superstar was pushing the paint brush too hard into the snow or if he thought the paint would cover the snow like it would on paper or what, but very quickly turn into Grumpy about this project and refuse to participate. For the paints we just used some poster paint I had on hand.
Although before his mood totally sour I did catch him making a snow angel. Regardless of his sour mood it was still cool to seem him outside "IN" the snow. Especially seeing a few weeks ago he was unable to go outside in the snow due to the casts he had on his feet.

January 6, 2010

Laminating Heaven!

Today I was able to pick up a Laminator and I'm in heaven. A few months ago I had bought Phonics Games but have been reluctant to use it, because I didn't have a laminator until today.

It's so cool to be able to have a laminator now! I've laminated the games so now they are more durable and ready to play. I've also have laminated a times table that I was able to print off for free. This is nice because the times table is now also more durable and will last longer now. What else could I laminate?? LOL

January 3, 2010

Recorded Catholic Web Classes

On our homeschooling help page one of the sites I have listed is Homeschool Connections. Homeschool Connections provides Webinars and Online Classes for homeschoolers, especially Catholic Homeschoolers.

I have been blessed with being able to attend some of the live webinars for mothers via my computer screen. The online classes are above my kid's age range, but they have always looked like they would be of something of interest.

Homeschool Connections just recently announced that they will be offering MONTHLY subscriptions for $30 a month. These MONTHLY subscriptions will give you UNLIMITED access to recordings of the pass classes along with the resources for those classes. Not only is it UNLIMITED access, but because they are recordings you can take the classes anytime.

Here is just an example of the classes that you will have UNLIMITED access to:
  • Literature: Beowulf and Christ with Henry Russell, Ph. D.
  • Literature: Macbeth: The Catholic Shakespeare with Henry Russell, Ph. D.
  • Government: Democracy, Government, and Citizenship with Ed Rivet, M.P.A.
  • Theology: Christian Anthropology with Monica Ashour, M.T.S.
  • Science: Blood in Sickness and In Health with Kris Correira, P.A.
  • Economics: Principles of Economics and Catholic Perspective with David Harris, Ph. D. 
Still NOT sure? Well the FIRST 7 days cost $1! And you can cancel at anytime! If my kids were older I would be trying the first days out. For a $1 what do I really have to loose?

Have more Questions? What ages are the classes geared for? How much credit are they worth? And MORE. Then please visit Homeschool Connections FAQ.

EDIT: Thanks Maureen Wittmann, (Author and one of the founders of Homeschool Connections) for visiting the my blog and offering up the correction for my post. I erroneously stated the first month was $1, but Maureen came by and stated that it's really just the FIRST 7 days. In her comment below she suggested that you mark your calendar so you can remember to cancel before your trail is up if the subscription is not a fit for your family. Mea Culpa!

January 2, 2010

Other Bloggers

Here at Catholic Christian Homeschooling I like to promote other bloggers as much as possible. Sometimes those efforts are "unseen" seeing I like to try to minimize what is on the screen as much as possible.

People like buttons! Did you know that Catholic Christian Homeschooling has a button?
We do. You can grab our button.
Did you know that Catholic Christian Homeschooling has a list of OTHER bloggers' Buttons?
We do you can view OTHER bloggers' Buttons.
Not every blog has a button. Did you know that Catholic Christian Homeschooling has a list of OTHER bloggers?
You can view the list of OTHER bloggers.
We also here at Catholic Christian Homeschooling like to show our LOVE to our followers! Did you know we have a followers' blogroll?
You can view the followers' blogroll.
Sometimes I find things that I feel that are of interest. When that I happens I like to share them.
Around The Web
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...