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April 30, 2010

Followers, Traffic, and the good stuff!

I've been simply AMAZED that in the last 15 months I've had over 8,000 visitors to Catholic Christian Homeschooling. That's an average of 20 visitors per day.

Lately, thanks to programs like statcounter, I know that most of visitors have been coming from google, blogger, and the blog Mommy and Me. Thank-you ALL for being followers, visiting, and coming back again and again to Catholic Christian Homeschooling. Yesterday DH and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.

April 28, 2010

Happy Meals Banned!

Well no they aren't really banned but Santa Clara County in CA wants to pass an ordinance that would prohibit restaurants from INCLUDING a toy in a high calorie meal. Under this ordinance ALL of McDonald's current Happy Meals choices (including those with apple dippers and milk) would no longer have a toy with the meal.

I think the pot is calling the kettle black! I believe this because USA Today reported last week that the group Mission Readiness is concern with what SCHOOL lunches (Lunch/Breakfast programs at public schools) are doing to our children. According the the USA Today report 30-50% of a child's daily calories are consumed AT school in a SCHOOL LUNCH!

Mission Readiness has PDF To Fat To Fight. It talks about wanting the junk food out of the SCHOOLS! It talks about wanting Congress to allow the US. department of agriculture to establish NEW nutrition guidelines that would remove HIGH-Calorie, LOW-Nutrition foods out of the SCHOOLS!

Besides health issues did you know that obesity is a national security threat?
The leading medical reason why so many young people are unqualified to serve: A fourth of adults in this age group — at least 9 million young men and women — are too heavy, according to military entry standards, the group says in its new report, Too Fat to Fight.

"When that many young adults can't fight because of their weight, it affects our national preparedness and national security," says retired rear admiral Jamie Barnett, a member of Mission: Readiness.
Look, I think it's stupid that a government wants to point the finger at McDonald, Burger King, Wendy's and all the rest when the meals they serve DAILY in  a school environment is just as BAD!! And I would argue that it's even worst then the fast food joints because it's DAILY!!! Fix the school lunches BEFORE you worry about what Ronald and the King are doing!

Has anyone seen Food Revolution? It's on Friday Nights on ABC. If you have missed it then you can watch them on Hulu.

Soccer Is Here!

Soccer season is here! Both Web-princess and Superstar are playing soccer. They are on the same team. The picture above of them playing was taken at practice last night. You may have noticed that Superstar is NOT wearing his AFOs. That's because the doctor told us NO AFOs for soccer.

Let me tell you this made me a little nervous seeing last night was the first running around he did WITHOUT his braces. However he did just fine!

Last week Web-princess celebrated her 8th birthday; It was a good birthday for her. Her friends came over, she had cake, what more could a little girl want! It was not a formal party, just a play date with her friends.

April 22, 2010

RE: Judy @ Benmakesten

I know many of you are followers of Judy @ Benmakesten or perhaps you follow many of her other sites like Homeschool Faith and Family Life. It's also possible that perhaps many of you are friends of her through THL.

Anyway, I'm sure that you may of noticed she is MIA! Well I can assure you that she's fine. Her computer just has a nasty virus and it is recovering! That is why she is MIA from the blogging, computer world.

I tried calling her on the phone today, but ended up with her answering machine. She DID return my call this evening, but I was out at the gym so I missed it. I'm hoping to touch base with her tomorrow over the phone.

She did leave me a voice message on my phone tonight and it basically said what I've wrote here: Everyone is doing well, it just her computer crashed due to a nasty virus. She lost everything and is hoping to be up and running again as soon as possible.

Hopefully I can actually talk with her tomorrow and get more details~

Pizza Hut Book-It for 2010-2011

Posting about Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading program earlier reminded me that enrollment for Pizza Hut Book-It 2010-2011 is NOW Open.

In addition I have also noticed that several of the bowling allies, for Kids Bowl Free, are now open for registration. There are still some that have not open up yet, So don't be too surprise if the bowling alley of your choice is still not open for registration.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

If your child reads 8 books they will earn 1 free book from Barnes & Noble. Please see Barnes & Nobles 2010 Summer Reading Program for more details.

Pictures of Mystery Rash

Superstar changed his mind about pictures. These pictures were taken at the beginning and in the middle of last week. He over all looks a lot better now. His ears are clear, most of his arm and legs are clear. His face is still rough looking but it's better too. (You can click on them to see bigger pictures)

April 19, 2010

Mystery Rash: Solved? We hope!

Superstar still has his rash, bumps, spots, whatever you want to call them. When they first appeared on April 9th, I felt as if it was chickenpox. Later that day I learned it was NOT chickenpox, but an unknown virus.

The following Wednesday we went back to the doctor's office. That doctor agreed with the previous diagnosis that it was a viral, unknown origin. However that doctor did give us a steroid cream for it. In addition Superstar has been given benadyrl 3 times a day and an oatmeal bath every night. We were told if he had not cleared up by Monday to see a dermatologist.

So here it is Monday and Superstar still has his rash. I wish I could post pictures here on the blog for you all, but I promise Superstar that I would not. The steroid cream did cause the rash to go "flat", seeing it was raised, but that was the only change to it.

The dermatologist today said it was NEVER an viral infection. That the rash on Superstar is an allergic reaction to a plant. What plant we do not know. It's been already 1.5 weeks and honest I don't remember what and where we have been. In addition there is real no way of knowing what plant unless we are fully aware of what he got himself into.

Let me tell you that has been so frustrating. We for the last 1.5 weeks have been home. We've gone NO WHERE! No church, No co-ops, No field trips, because we were under the impression that it was viral and because it was an unknown virus we didn't know if he was contagious or not. I didn't want to expose him to others, because I didn't want him to pass on the virus. Some virus you are no longer contagious once you break out, others you are still contagious until rash scabs over. So he just didn't know and was working on the side of caution "better save then sorry".

We were given a new stronger cream today to put on his rash and hopefully that will clear it up. At least we now know that we can be around people! This means tomorrow we are going to our homeschool co-op! Thank God!

April 16, 2010

Lexile: Reading Assessments

The state of Illinois is just one of the many states that is using Lexile as means to assess a child's reading level. Lexile is now apart of the I-SAT.

Learning this today made me wonder what is Lexile? Well the following 6 minute video will answer that!

So now that I know what Lexile is how do I find out what my child's Lexile score is? The only "affordable" resource I found for homeschoolers is Total Reader for those children 3rd-12th grade. (If you know of another resource to find out what your child's Lexile score is please share)

Total Reader is a web-based reading assessment program that gives out Lexile scores. It cost $39.95 for ONE child for ONE year. If you have more then one then you automaticaly get 10% off for each child. You can add up to 6 children. Once you have a Total Reader account you have unlimited access to the program. The more the child uses the program the more accurate is the Lexile score.

There was standard testing options that were comparable in price, however I felt it was best to use something that allowed us to gauge reading levels over time vs. a one time test.

Once you know your child's Lexile score you can use Total Readers recommended reading list or you can use Lexile.com book finder to help find books in your child's reading level.

Personally, I liked the Lexile.com book finder because not only does it filter books based on Lexile Score, but it's possible to filter the selection by topics and age range too. I can see the advantage of using that to select materials for your child.

  • First go to Lexile.com find books on the topic you want in your child's lexile range.
  • Second take that list of books to your local library (or look on your library's online catalog) to see if they have the book.
  • Third, check those books out!
I was browsing my library's online catalog, comparing what my library has to offer against the list I got from Lexile.com. Honestly, there are books that I never would have even consider for my kids. Why? Because they are located, shelved, in an area that I assumed to be younger then my children's reading level and/or are shelved in an area that I assumed to be above my children's reading level.

In addition it's possible to buy books at barnes and nobles website based on Lexile score. At the very least the whole idea of using Lexile score is interesting!

Kids Bowl FREE every day all summer long

With it being mid-April most of us are winding down our school years. We have just over 30 days left not counting Sundays or Saturdays. Seeing the school year is winding down many are looking to summer.

Do your kids like bowling? Are you wanting something they can do every day without breaking the bank? Well you can take them bowling EVERY day ALL summer long for FREE! Thanks to Kids Bowl Free.

If you registered for Summer 2009 then you WILL have to re-registered this year. If you weren't able to participate last year because a bowling alley was not near you then check out the list this year. There are MORE bowling allies this year then last year. As a matter of fact for me I have a choice of 6 local bowling allies where last year I only had 1. That's for this area...I can't promise the same in yours, but it's worth looking over the list of bowling allies.

In addition to the kids bowling free, a family pass that allows parents bowl too and be bought for ONE time fee of $25.  Not only that but you still will have to pay for the shoe rental, unless you have shoes of your own. What that rental fee is dependent on your local bowling alley.

Just to note: Registration is NOT open yet, but the site said it will be SOON!!! I imagine it will be within the next month, because Summer is fast approaching!

Once you find your bowling alley's page on Kids Bowl Free you can bookmark it. You can also find kids bowl free on Facebook or on Twitter @kidsbowlfree as a means to stay update on the latest development from Kids Bowl Free.

April 14, 2010

Rash is getting worst!

Superstar's rash/spots caused by what the doctor's feel to be an unknown virus has gotten worst. I wish I can post pictures, but I promised Superstar that I would not post them on the blog. His face, neck, ears, arms, hands, feet, and legs are covered. He has a handful on his back and tummy, but mostly it's on his face, neck, ears, arms, hands, feet, and legs.

I took him in to the doctor's office again today. We discussed the possibility that he was exposed to something environmental, and determined that was unlikely. I asked about bug bites, (maybe fleas seeing we have the dog) and that was ruled out.

I brought up the possibility of Rosella, and got told No, because Rosella is flat not raised. Pox: chickenpox, smallpox, things of that nature would be raised.  As a matter of fact the doctor, today, said that it effecting his arms, legs, head is characteristic of smallpox. That's one of the major differences between smallpox and chickenpox. The two are often confused, but smallpox effects mostly the arms, legs, head, where chickenpox effects mostly the torso (back/belly).
With that in mind the doctor said it was NOT smallpox or anything like that because Superstar is not sick. He has NO fever, NO vomiting, NO other signs of illness. As a matter of fact if it wasn't for the rash you wouldn't know he was sick. He also was NOT sick prior to the rash. He just woke up with it last Friday.

While at the doctor's office web-princess vomits all over me with the doctor in the room. The doctor, response: "Now isn't that interesting and did a quick scan to see if she had spots". He then said if she gets worst or develops spots to be sure to let them know."

Because it's viral there is nothing they can give him. However they did give me a steroid cream to put on his spots. Hoping it might help clear them up. If he's not cleared up by Monday then we have to see a dermatologist.

Nothing is worst then seeing your child covered in these spots and not knowing what they are or how to help treat them. I understand there is no medicine for a virus, but it would be nice to have a name to it. Naming it would give us an idea of how long it would take to clear up.

April 9, 2010

Update: Chickenpox??

So this morning I was sure that Superstar had chickenpox. However after seeing the PA AND the doctor it's clear it is not chickenpox. That is the only thing we are clear on!

It clearly is a viral infection that is causing the lesions on his body. However the doctor and PA do NOT know what virus it is. They can't even tell me if he's contagious. They said it's not any common childhood viral infection. Some virus you are no longer contagious once you get a skin rash, others you are still contagious for several days after the rash appears. 

His ears (besides the lesions) are clear, his lungs are clear, his throat is clear, no fever, everything else is normal.  I got told most likely it, the rash/lesions will get worst before it gets better. That if it starts to itch to give him some benedryl and to just montior him.

Even though is throat is clear he wants only smooth foods. I shared that with the PA AND the doctor. They said the perhaps there is a minor irritation but it looks clean. In addition if you ask him if he has a sore throat he will tell you NO. I know as his mom something isn't right when he overly comments on how smooth water is! Or is saying he wants something smooth to eat like soup, yogurt.

Web-princess said soup! Do you want grill cheese and tomato soup? Superstar No grill cheese but tomato soup sounds good. That right there is my clue something not right with his throat. This kid never turns down grill cheese.

They would only want to see him now if it doesn't start to clear up in a week or 2, or if he develops other symptoms like fever, sore throat, upset stomach, diarrhea, etc. I got told that most likely it would be okay to send him back to school on Monday. I mention to the PA then that we homeschool so I'm not worried about sending him back, I'm worried about being able to go on some field trips and stuff I have plan on Tuesday with our homeschool co-op.

The PA then did offer that if I needed to I could call her on Monday and go back in and have her look at him again if I was still worried about the possiblity of him being contagious on Tuesday. So I don't know!


I suspect that Superstar HAS chickenpox. At least that is what it looks like to me. I called our doctor's office this morning to get their input and they said to come in and have him look. (They don't think it can even be chickenpox because he did have the vaccine for it.) We'll know for sure in a few hours and I'll post an update then!
red spots everywhere: face, ears, legs, arms, hands, belly, back, etc
Most of them are just red spots but the ones on his face and ears are the worst. They look kinda pimply.

He really isn't running a fever now and to my knowledge he didn't have a fever before. However after talking to my mom this morning she said when we were kids and had it our fevers were low grade and we for the most part were still active wanting to go outside and stuff like that.
Part of my is dreading going in because of the last time we were at the doctors when he was sick.  The nurse then told me "You homeschool so how did he get sick?" I can almost hear it now "You homeschool so how did he get chickenpox?" (If they confirm that it is indeed chickenpox).

With comments like that I just want to repsond  with "Just because we homeschool doesn't mean we are hermits. We do go to the store, other dr offices, church, homeschooling co-ops, parks, etc. They do play sports and are around other kids. DUH!!!!"

Okay so I'm projecting what happen the last time around on this upcoming visit. I have never had issues at my normal doctor's office, so I'm sure we will be fine.  I just wish they would have said over the phone "Yep sound like chickenpox and do xyz, but I know they can't really do that anymore because of fear of being sued."

More to come later.....

April 7, 2010

Books, Books, and More Books!

I've decided to organized, catalog, and make a list of our books. Often the kids want certain books but we have a hard time finding them. They are all on our shelves, but they haven't been organized every well. Often Web-princess wants only the books that are "her reading level" and Superstar just wants certain titles.

So I removed all of the books off the shelves in our living room and put them on the floor. I have a program on my computer that allows me to enter in books. Once the books are entered I can print of a list of how I want them to be organized. I figured once I have a list I will just organized the shelves according to the list.

Superstar suggested that once I'm done I give them each a special place marker to use on the shelves so that they would know where to put the books back when they are done with them. He said, "Mom we already have the rule one book at a time, so if we had a bookmark for the shelf we could just put it in the book's place and when we are done put the book back". The paper list would help them to know where to look for the book, learn what books we have, and perhaps encourage them to read items that they may not even known we had.

I see that it can work, however it just getting there. I'm STILL entering books! I knew we had a lot, but I really didn't think it was THAT much! I have 2 bookshelves in our living room, but only 2 shelves on these bookshelves really hold our books. The program I'm using is counting the books as they are entered. I have already entered in 120 books and I think I have about that much left! UGH! So we have 200-300 books easy! I had no idea that those 2 shelves held that many books. (And to think we are always looking for more and picking them up here and there.)

I had no idea we had SO many books! I'll be thankful when this little project is over! I admit it's a huge undertaking and much more work then I thought it would be, but it will be so worth it when I'm done. I've already discovered that we had some science text books that I was NOT aware that we had; books that I can use the next coming weeks.

April 2, 2010

AFO adjustments

Yesterday Superstar had his AFOs adjusted to allow for his angle joint to move. He now has a hinge in the ankle joint. The hinge does limit his movement still. As he gets stronger the brace can be adjust to allow for more movement in the angle. The before the hinge picture is not the greatest. However I'm hoping you can see the difference.

BEFORE hinge:
 AFTER hinge:
The gap you are seeing in after shot on the ankle is because he is bending his knees. Bending his knees is causing the ankle joint to "bend" as well. He's using the ankle joint :) If he was to stand up straight then there would be no gap.

The hinge is what is allowing the ankle joint to move. before he really could not stand still and bend his knees because he didn't have that range of motion in his ankles.

Yes he walked and ran just fine. However when he was walking (and running) he kept his ankle at a 90 degree angle, now he can have a little bit more natural movement in the ankle. Personally I don't think he had a 'bad' gait for someone that could not move his ankle joint.

We are going to go this afternoon for ANOTHER adjustment. Adding the hinge also meant new thick stronger padding at the ankle on the inside. His right ankle has what looks like pressure sores started. I've got a band-aid on it to help give it some cushion and protection to the skin while we wait for our appointment this afternoon.

I imagine now that most likely an alteration to the AFO will also lead to going in once or twice for another adjustment. They fitted it and did several adjustments yesterday, we were there for 2 hours, but they just didn't get exactly right. It's okay! I don't mind, I'm just thankful that we got him in again this afternoon.

Oh and we are super excited! I was able to sign him up for 5 week soccer program! It will be 2 practices and 3 games starting at the end of April. They will not keep score, just timed games. 4 quarters 10 minutes each with a 5 minute 1/2 time between the 2nd and 3rd quarter. We also did not need to get special soccer shoes, regular tennis shoes. It's long enough for him to enjoy the game and learn if soccer is a sport he really wants to play. Seeing it's also a short season with just one game or practice per week, it will be enough not to burn him out. He'll have plenty of rest between the games/practices.

The Dr. told us no braces while playing soccer. So I had to get him shoes to wear without the braces yesterday. His shoes size WITH the braces is 5 boys/men. His shoe size WITHOUT the brace is a 2.5 boys. His braces make his shoe size 2.5 sizes bigger! That surprised me! I knew that his braces meant he was wearing bigger shoes, I didn't know it was that much bigger!!!
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