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1. We have officially made our plans for our next trip to Florida .... squeal!!! We haven't been since last Spring and are in desperate need of a trip. I worked out our school schedule for the remainder of the year to make sure we get in the appropriate number of hours. We can take about 10 days to go to Florida at the beginning of April and complete our school year by May 1st. My friend, Jodi, and her kids aren't going to be able to make the trip with us as we had hoped, but my mom is going with us (it is her house, after all) and I am just as happy about that. The kids won't be quite as entertained as when they take friends along, cause they are stuck with just each other, but it sure makes for an amazingly relaxing week for me. I can already feel the warm sun on my face. I am so giddy I could scream!

2. When reading By the Shores of Silver Creek this week, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, we came upon the lyrics to the song "Paddle Your Own Canoe". Here are the lyrics. (It's a good word, ya'll)

I've traveled about a bit in my time
And of troubles I've seen a few
But found it better in every clime
To paddle my own canoe.

My wants are few. I care not at all
If my debts are paid when due.
I drive away strife in the ocean of life
While I paddle my own canoe.

Then love your neighbor as yourself
As the world you go traveling through
And never sit down with a tear or a frown
But paddle your own canoe!

3. I have lost 3 pounds since December 30th. I am 8 pounds away from the weight I want to be at by this summer. I am feeling great eating (mostly) clean and exercising every day. There is nothing fancy to my weight loss and healthy lifestyle plan. I just track my calories, alternate fats and carbs (not overdoing either), eat lots of protein, and exercise 5 days a week.

4. Speaking of exercise. Last night I went to let Kyndal and Collin's dog Yadi out of his kennel to go to the restroom since they had been gone most of the day and wouldn't be home until late. I put him on his chain outside and turned around to grab their mail. When I looked back up he was running across their street. When he is loose, he doesn't care to be caught. And it definitely takes two people to accomplish it. I took off running and he took me on a chase through the neighborhood, finally ending up about three blocks away. A couple of times I lost him because it was dark outside and he would bolt through someone's back yard. I really thought I was just going to have to let him go. Finally a guy came out of his house and I asked him if he would help. Two more girls later and a leftover pork chop and we finally had him surrounded. And then all of a sudden he just sat and let me come pick him up like we hadn't been running through the neighborhood for the past 30 minutes. I wanted to strangle him but was, instead, bombarded by slobbery puppy kisses. And very relieved.

5. Today we are trying something new with our schooling. Fridays always seem to get the best of us. I have a plan, but with housework and needed trips to the grocery store, etc., we typically don't get to what we have planned. I really need this day to get some things done at home. Our weekends are always so busy with the kids' sports, and on Sundays I rest darn it! Our schooling style is for me to be involved in pretty much everything they do. They don't do a lot of true independent work. So from now on our Fridays will look like this:

  • We will finish any unfinished work from Monday-Thursday of that week.
  • We will do one writing assignment from WriteShop.
  • The kids have to read a total of one hour throughout the day, with freedom to choose how to break up that time.
  • The rest of the time they will get to choose what they are learning and take care of doing it themselves without my involvement. There are some parameters:
    • No video games or devices unless they are playing an approved educational game, i.e. Stack the States, Presidents vs. Aliens, etc.
    • They MAY play one total hour of Minecraft (I think all that building is intense planning and learning, just saying.)
    • Any videos watched must be educational and approved (and they can request videos about topics of interest that I can request from the library).
    • They can color, paint, create, build Legos (not just play with sets already put together), do stop motion videos, research interesting topics, do additional reading, play board games (especially games like Yahtzee, Scrabble, Chess, etc.), play outside (they don't get outside near enough), etc.
I would like to see the kids take more control of some of their learning, and I think this will be a neat way to accomplish that. Plus it will free me up to get some much-needed things done around the house before the weekend.

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