Katy ISD Closed Today, April 28th, Due To Overnight Flooding

p4280017

On the way to drop the kids off for school I noticed that the only place I saw flooding was Clay Road at Fry where a low place at the intersection was almost impassable.  Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to a deserted school with only a sign that said “School Closed”.  My kids and I did not notice this morning that the buses did not pass by the house.

We had a vicious thunderstorm last evening with high winds and pounding rains for a couple of hours.  I checked the weather because I worried that we were having a mini-hurricane.   The electricity flashed on and off about 12 times.  Each time I breathed a sigh of relief after the power was restored.  I don’t want to go without power for 17 days like we did during  Hurricane Ike last fall.

Today was an important day in Texas schools because this was supposed to be TAKs (state) testing day. Many schools in Houston are either closed or have delayed start times.  After watching several local news stations, looks to me that the delayed start time schools need to close completely due to the usual flooding areas of the city.  One bright side of the plentiful rain is that the drought is now over here.

My kids are in hog heaven because of their unexpected vacation day from school. It only took them 1 hour before they started their daily fighting.

We are very fortunate that I am able to be at home today with my kids. My husband is somewhere on the East coast. I am happy he is not stuck down here in his truck on some freeway. I am thankful that we are together and I am not stuck somewhere cross town in traffic.

We in Texas consider this one of our snow days since everything has come to a dead stop. The flooding is more due to the infrastructure of Houston than with the storm itself. After all Houston was built on a swamp so what can we expect to happen.

One thing that is really yucky is all of the big long cockroaches running around out on the sidewalk after being driven out of the storm drains. Yuck! The roaches were also crowded around our front door trying to piggy back on our backs into the warm house. We checked each others hair and backs after rushing through the front door.

My daughter took a picture of sky during rain storm last night.

My daughter took a picture of sky during rain storm last night.

Advertisements

TAKs Testing Begins On March 3rd For Katy ISD

The testing season is almost underway.  All kids need to relax and realize one day will not determine everything.  Make sure the kids get to sleep by 8:30-9:00.  It is a long stressful day for the kids but heaven for teachers.  Surprisingly,  all the students seem to get the importance of the TAKS test and are very quiet and orderly.  On the other hand it is sad one day has to mean so much for students in  Texas.

Namaste Parents!

First LEGO League Robotics Competition, January 10th, Go Girls Go!

Go LEGO Girl Go

Go LEGO Girl Go

My fabulous team of  sweet, smart girls  will be competing in the First LEGO League Meet on Saturday, January 10th.  I am so excited and tired.  The girls are ages 9-14 and they are happy to get the chance to compete as scientists.  We had a ton of fun and I am glad that my daughter made new friends.  The girls were in the drivers seat.  I was just a spotter directing them where to park.  (I think it would have been cool to name our team the Sara Conners or the Camerons–only you Terminator fans will enjoy the joke)

As a coach,  I am completely hands-off on Saturday.  What a big relief because I can be a parent again.  I really don’t consider myself a “coach”.  Just a mom who tried to learn robotics and encourage the girls to try something new in the world.

I do wish that I would have planned a sleep-over on Friday night.  I think it would have contributed to team bonding but this is the big return-to-school week and parents are tired.

A big thank you to the climatologist at HARC who took the time to visit with us and discuss climate change here in the Houston area.  An even bigger thanks to Girl Scouts of the San Jacinto Council.

Hopefully, public schools and non-profits will encourage participation (plus fund)  from student groups in the LEGO competition.  I don’t think the event is open to the public but there are tons of competition videos on Youtube.com.

It really is not about winning but working together on a goal.  Go Girls Go!

Girl Scout Troop Being Formed At Rhoads Elementary in Katy Texas

A Girl Scout troop is being formed at Rhoads Elementary in Katy, Texas.  The school is located on Clay Road next to Fry road.  There is not a lot of parent involvement in the school because of the demographic and because it is new.  If a business or company can help the school form more of a community, please contact the PTA and help us out.  There are so many students who would benefit from an after-school program.  These are kids from under middle-class families who need an outlet.

Please Obama.  Please make every school have an after-school enrichment program.  These kids should learning how to dance, sew, make art, skate, fix computers, gardening, learn other languages etc.

Katy, Texas is just like any Title I area.  The parents need help and the school needs help.

I would love to start an after school robotics program but I need help from area businesses and other parents.

All schools need after-school enrichment.  The education system needs to be over-hauled with technology….just my little opinion.

I plan to apply for a job in Obama’s cabinet as some type of educational aide.  Good luck to me and to the world.

Hurricane Ike and a Family In Katy Texas on Monday, September 15th

A miracle happened…..the temperature dropped to breezy and cool.  The heat is gone.  I can’t believe our luck.  The weather forecasters say that it tends to be hot and humid after Hurricanes.

My husband and kids slept in the borrowed RV last night.  I slept on the bottom floor with every window open in the house.

The kids see this little break as an adventure.  They cannot believe that they get to spend time on a mini-camping trip at home.  My kids do not notice the stinky smell coming from the refrigerator or that the Playstation stopped working last Friday.   Maybe we all need to stop noticing the “silly” stuff.

I would like to write that we got our electricity back and all is normal in the world.  Nope, we have no electricity today and I fear this may go on for quite some time.  As a family, we are closer because now we are forced to sit in one room together huddled around the battery-powered lamp.

We lost phone service sometime yesterday afternoon.  Also, the inverter stopped working around that time.  What that means is that we had no power to charge anything but we had the “power of love” (hokey-hokey).

Our neighbors across the street have electricity but on my side of the street we have no electricity.  It really kills the joy when you are sitting in your house listening to your refrigerator contents drip onto the floor.  Bye-bye blackberries picked over the summer in a field with my kids.

One of the neighbors with no electricity is very upset that not one of the neighbors with electricity has offered an electric cord.  I have thought the very same thoughts.  I am kind of sad about this non-neighborly behavior but maybe they would rather not hear about our 3-days without electricity. 

Today, we began our gas search.  Our first stop was Fry and Saums rd. where the line caused a backup all the way towards H-E-B.  We headed east toward the Grand Parkway and found several stations with bags over the pumps.  We then headed to Sealy, TX (located 40 miles from our house) where we pulled right into the Wal-mart and filled the tank until it burped.

Next stop, “Camping World” where we were able to purchase a 12 volt 800 watt inverter!!  “Camping World” has a large selection of generators that ranged from $1,000 to $4,000.  There were of couple of people buying generators who were preparing to head back to their homes in Galveston. If you are in need of a generator, hurry out to “Camping World” on I-10 west one exit after Katy Mills Mall and then u-turn onto the feeder.

As we drove home, I noticed that most of the major retailers are open once again.  The Home Depot is doing plenty of business judging by the traffic backup in the parking lots.  Wal-Mart is not fully stocked but you will find water and can goods.  No ice anywhere around Fry/I-10.  The best place to find ice is the HEB on the Grand Parkway and Fry Road.

There are still many fences on the ground.  There are many roofs with shingles missing down to the plywood.   I have heard from neighbors that some people had trees fall on roofs in the neighborhoods with mature trees.  I do not see any type of assistance trucks driving around Katy (not that I would know what they looked like) helping people remove debris.  I really don’t know if there are social service teams checking on people.

 From what I see Katy, TX fared pretty well if you are focusing on people lives in my opinion.  Some areas have no traffic signals.  Just dangling lights.  Many areas are still without power in Houston.

The people who are really affected by Ike are the ones in the southernmost parts of Houston.  There seems to be some type of conflict between FEMA and the Houston area.  FEMA was supposed to supply water, ice and meals but there was some type of delay in sending the trucks to the area.  I heard on KUHF radio that HEB stepped in and provided much needed ice and water.

Click here to read about the sad “Katrina-type” situation going on with the federal aid in the parts of Houston and also Galveston:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26695458/?GT1=43001

Please someone help those people who are without shelter. 

The 3-1-1  information lines in Houston are open again.  If you know of a loved one needing assistance with water, food, ice etc, please contact the 311 lines for assistance.  There are supposed to be several ice/water distribution points in Houston but none of the locations I heard about are located close to Katy.

Katy ISD schools will be closed on Tuesday as well as most schools in the area.

Thanks to all of you who have responded to my posts. 

 Thanks to all of you who send positive thoughts to those who ended up in worse shape than anyone could ever dream.  I wish the media would spend more time on Hurricane Ike so that families around the world can at least see what happened in the area.

At least the weather is cooler in a place where temps normally run 98 degrees this time of year.

Hope you are having a great and safe day wherever you are…..

Free Kids’ Computer Learning Game Called Woogi World

Woogi World Screen

Woogi World Screen

My son and daughter love this game and best of all the sign-up is free.  

Here is the link for Woogiworld.com: 

Woogi

WoogiWorld is a virtual world (pretend world) where  kids choose a little character who competes with other Woogis in their Woogi World.  Kids can build and decorate a house (woogiwam)  for their little Woogi.  Kids earn coins and buy stuff for the Woogi.

My kids love the interactive feature of the game-in other words-they  can  not only text message each other but also other new ‘woogi’ friends.  WoogiWorld is very much like another on-line game site out there for kids (you know the one that is run by the big “D” corporation) but with this one has more control.  My son got bored with Funkeys very quickly because the computer game does not give him the chance to play with other kids.  He had this little character alone on the planet and really could only run from the bad guys.

What makes Woogi safe:

1- Parents can o.k. their kids’ account set-up  and control the time of day plus the number of hours a day a kid can spend in Woogi World.  Nintendo DS are you listening?

2-Parents can see a history log of all chat messages exchanged between your kids and the other Woogis.  If I were you, I would check in from time to time to see who the kids are messaging.

3-Woogi has the safe word chat message feature-what that means is that if a kid tried to type a dirty word then the computer “spell checks” the entry and will not display the offensive words.  The site even filters out words that were never meant to be “dirty” but somehow became that way over time.

4-Kids have to go through an on-line Internet training about Internet safety before they can play and after the parents approve the kid account.  This Woogi character is on the screen ‘training’ the kids not to share home addresses, email addresses,  names, ages, favorites, dislikes.  In fact, whenever I am in the room I hear the little warnings  about what not to do as the kids are playing on Woogi World.   The voice is a little creepy but my son does remind me from time to time to not share our street address with anyone.

5-And best of all…Free EDUCATIONAL, EDUCATIONAL, EDUCATIONAL Games!(yes, I am shouting) This month Woogiworld.com will start a reading incentive program on the site called the WoogiReaders Club. 

My only little issue with Woogi World is that I find it very difficult to use the “play with your child” feature.  I, the parent, seem to click and click and nothing happens but my kids seem to understand everything (maybe I am getting old).   Also, like all game sites you do have to pay a montly fee to upgrade and add extra stuff but the basic “free” game is just fine.

Childcare And After/Before School Care In The Houston and Katy Area

Take Care Of Your Little Ones.  They Are So Precious.

Take Care Of Your Little Ones. They Are So Precious.

Texas schools start on August 25th.

Time for busy parents to make those difficult  and heart breaking decisions.  If only Mrs. Doubtfire and Nanny McPhee were real (sigh).

Here are some childcare options in the Houston and Katy area (I am not endorsing any of these options.  I am only gossiping.  Always click on the link for more info):

Collaborative For Children, an organization in Houston which provides  childcare search services and assists with early childhood resources.  Call them to speak to a CSR or search on the website:

1-888-833-6805 or 713/600-1234

http://www.initiativesforchildren.org/families/index.html

Craigslist (search with caution and care) :  http://houston.craigslist.org/kid/

Go to the Katy ISD Parents page for more childcare options:  http://www.katyisd.org/parents/parents.htm

Texas Department of Health and Family Services:

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission also has a website with a search page where you can input your zip code and find all licensed/registered childcare providers in the area:

https://www.211texas.org/211/search/childservices/childcare.do

Private:  word of mouth is also good.  A friend of mine is offering before/after school care for students who attend Rhoads Elementary in Katy, Texas.  Reply to this post with a comment and I will give you  additional information.  I will not publicize your contact information.

The YMCA provides before/after school care for elementary schools in the Katy ISD area.

Last year Katy ISD stopped sending flyers home in the Tuesday folders.   Many parents did not know that the YMCA offered before/after care at most schools was an option.

http://www.katyisd.org/files/parents/before_after_YMCA.pdf

Here is the fee schedule:

http://66.162.125.52/kenlay.aspx

The YMCA does not offer care at all Katy schools so please call them and check on where they offer services.  The fee for before and after care is $285 for members of the YMCA and $315 for non-members.

If the fees are a little expensive for you or if like me you have more than one child than please contact the YMCA and they will charge you a fee based on family income which may end up costing you less than the fees posted.  You will have to provide your tax forms and W-2s for verification.

Hope that helps.