I am .

I'm going to Vegas.

It's not my ideal vision of a grand vacation, but you know what?  I am really excited.  Not because it's Vegas though, but because I'm getting away with my husband!  He is after all, number one in my life after God and we deserve some time together. Needless to say, I'm also wrapped up in guilt at the thought of leaving the kids for several days - but they will be well taken care of by very loving people whom we trust - so I'm trying desperately NOT to let my 'mother brain' take over my 'I gotta get away with you NOW brain'!

We can do/afford Vegas because my husband is attending a conference there.  Now before you go and say, "well what kind of vacation is that if your husband is going to be at a conference half the days?" let me remind you I am a stay-at- home, homeschool mom who wants to be is a writer!!!!  This is a dream! 

Not only am I going to be able to spend the weekend with him uninterrupted, but I get to spend several days curled up in a hotel room by myself with a book, paper and lots of sharpened pencils and my computer to just READ READ READ and WRITE WRITE WRITE !  AND  I get to spend the evenings with the man of my dreams!  It doesn't get better than that.... I'll TAKE IT!  (although a nice sandy beach on a tropical island or a cabin deep in the woods might be a better selection for next time-just a little hint and a wink to that sweet man).

And if that isn't enough - that man of my dreams is fulfilling a childhood dream as well.  He's bought us tickets to go see Donny and Marie Osmond while we are there.  Wow!  I know, some of you may think - "Really?" - But yeah....  I totally fell in love with Donny and Marie Osmond back in 1976.  I was in second grade.  I LOVED that show.  I still remember the pure excitement I had in just receiving a Donny and Marie T-shirt for Christmas one year....and the horrors of it turning green in the wash....  🙁    I actually met Marie Osmond and her brother Jay - in a Pizza Hut of all places in Provo Utah (I actually lived in Heber City Utah for a couple of years as a child).  I was thrilled to get her autograph (Jays too although at the time I had no idea who he was...lol).  I lost the autograph.  🙁   And I never got the chance to see the show live though I lived rather close.  But now I DO get to see them!!!!  I'm so excited.  And so appreciative because I know only my husband would really get that this makes me so happy and love me enough to do it!  (Love you sweetheart!!)

I'm not sure what else we'll do in Vegas.  We're not the gambling type but we may go wild and spend $10 on a slot machine.  LOL

We are considering renting a car and going to see the Hoover Dam .

As I searched Bing and Google for a picture I could share, I noticed the bridge and now I'm thinking, "Do I have to cross THAT thing??"..... yikes.  My older kids, if they know about this, are probably taking bets on whether I'll chicken out or not....  yeah - my kids - they love to remind me how far up we are when I'm going over a bridge - they apparently like the color of snow white on my skin.....   what love.

I'm not sure what else we will do in the Vegas area or where we will eat!  Not only do we need to find Paleo, but remember, we can't do the artificial stuff and I'm nervous that some restaurants may understand Paleo but that doesn't mean they won't add any artificial stuff that would cause reactions....  but it's Vegas, right?  Surely we can at least find a nice steak and a baked potato and plain salad if nothing else, right?  Are their Chipotle's out there?  I know there's a Whole Foods...several in fact, in the city.  So we will find something!  But if any of my Paleo readers have been there and want to give hints, I'm all ears!

Well, it's time to start thinking about what to pack - clothes and also food for the plane.  If I recall - we can do snacks as long as they are wrapped in store-bought wrappers....like RX bars, beef jerky, Lara bars.... because I'm sure we can't eat what's on the plane and it will be a long journey (6 hours plus a layover...somewhere?)

I'll be sure to post all about the trip when it happens!




Too many times as an evaluator for homeschool students, I see children who HATE to write.   I can't imagine hating to write but I think I understand where it comes from.  Too many times educators and parents put sooo much emphasis on the spelling, grammar, and punctuation that the creativity and fun is lost. I've been guilty of this myself.  I guess I had too many years of public schooling in my system and add that to the worry of being the only one now responsible for my children's ability to learn to write well... well even the creative writer in me buckled under pressure to conform to how writing "should be taught."

I've tried at various times to incorporate creative writing just for fun into our homeschooling though.  It just hasn't always lasted as it does take time and along with anything else fun and relaxing, I'm guilty of worrying about future SAT scores and setting it to the side.  But in the back of my mind I'm thinking...I should write it... a writing curriculum that teaches all that important stuff, sure, but focuses on the creative fun aspects of writing. Maybe one day I will...

One way I've approached it with my kids is to do fun writing exercises they enjoy.

My son, just the other day, asked, "Hey how come we don't do those neat writing things anymore?"  I'm guilty.  My first thought... 'and just how am I going to fit that in the schedule??'  but realized later, 'where there's a will, there must be a way.'   So I'm hoping next week to restart those.  Even if we manage just once a week it will be good for him and good for me.

This is the exercise we will start with.  If I recall correctly, it's his favorite.  It's called Stop 'N Shop and I got it out of A Writer's Notebook by Caroline Sharp. With this exercise you imagine you are working as a check-out clerk in a convenience or grocery store.  A customer wanders up to the register with about 5 items.  Tell their story....   The book suggests coming up with ten character profiles first (29-year-old woman, sixty-four year old widower, etc).  My son and I skip that.  We just randomly list our items.  Then we decide what kind of person might buy those things and why.  Here is a sample from some time ago:

The List ( we take turns- one of us comes up with 2 items and the other 3)

  • pickles
  • peaches
  • granola bar
  • yogurt
  • milk

The Story (we usually time ourselves with 5 minutes)

This healthy young lady is on her way to yoga class.  She has grabbed some granola bars and yogurt for her breakfast before class.  She'll have peaches and milk after class.  The pickles are a snack she likes to have at night while she's reading.  She's weird tha way and knows it's a healthier choice than chips or cookies.  After class, she will go to the library where she works.  She likes working there amidst all the books and likes recommending her favorites to others.

It's not a prize-winning paragraph, but it's a fun way to be creative.  My son and I share one another's stories after we are done writing.  Sometimes these stories can be really funny.  And guess what else?  We DON'T check for spelling, grammar or punctuation.  We just have fun because writing SHOULD be fun.  I'm looking forward to starting this exercise again.