Archive | August, 2012

HMJ 8/31/12

31 Aug

  • In my life this week…

This week I have been making plans for Danger Girls upcoming birthday. She decided she wants to go to the zoo for her party, so we had to decide what would be the best day for this, who would be invited, what time we would go, and what to do as far as feeding the guests (I have no intention of buying expensive food at the zoo for her guests).

We also got Danger Girl’s new bed this week. It will have to wait until this weekend for daddy to set it up for her, but she is already excited. I will take pictures once we get it set up so you can see the excitement instead of just hearing about it.

The bed, not yet unpacked

  • In our homeschool this week…

This week has gone pretty well. We had one melt down day because I wouldn’t let her make a stream in the backyard. Yes that is the real reason. We had a discussion about the consequences if we have another episode like this, and she seems to be taking me at my word.

Danger Girl is keeping a field guide of her own for the birds we see around the yard, and so far we have seen a cardinal, a mourning dove, a sparrow (not exactly sure what kind) and a mocking bird. We have a small bird feeder on our front porch, so it was interesting to watch the mourning dove try to eat from it.

Imagine a Mourning Dove trying to sit on this

We are learning about wings right now, so Danger Girl did an activity to give her an idea of how the bird’s wings can work like a parachute, see below:

We also did plenty of reading. It is so awesome for me to see how much better she is doing. She is actually reading pretty well now. It is funny how we went from sounding words out to, one day out of the blue she was actually reading.

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This weekend we are going to pick up my step-daughter for a visit. I think there is also a plan to stop at our favorite Chinese food place in the area where she lives. We are all very excited about both. We didn’t get to see my step-daughters for most of the summer because of their vacation plans, so it will be nice to see her. We also decided not to eat out for the month of August, so that will be a big treat as well.

  • My favorite thing this week was…

Danger Girl and I played Clue this week along with her stuffed cheerleader dinosaur “Lil Angel”. That was a very interesting game. (I wish I had thought to take a picture to share. You will just have to imagine this one for yourself)

If we go get Chinese food though, that will become my favorite thing this week. Almost nothing beats good Chinese food.

  • What’s working/not working for us…

So far our schedule seems to be working pretty well for us. Thursday we did some reading from “Alice in Numberland” for math instead of our normal worksheets, and Danger Girl seemed to really enjoy that.

I think the game-day Friday is also working real well for us. Anytime Danger Girl can play a game she is happy.

  • Questions/thoughts I have…

I am learning that the internet can be a great friend to the homeschooling mom. There were a few books I did not purchase to go along with the curriculum we have this year, and I am learning to supplement with materials online.

My question is: what websites would others recommend for good history information?

  • Things I’m working on…

As I mentioned earlier, we are working on the upcoming birthday party. Luckily we have been saving up for this so I am prepared.

I am also working on a couple of interviews with authors for the blog, so hopefully you will see those soon.

  • I’m reading…

I finished “Cruel Harvest” this week. You can see the review here.

Now I am reading “Journey to Almighty” by Tina Klinesmith, as well as “Who is God” by David L. Jemison. And of course I am still working on “The Total Woman” by Marabel Morgan.

Danger Girl and I are currently reading “Searching for Dragons” from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, as well as “Alice in Wonderland”.

  • I’m grateful for…

I have a wonderful husband who gladly does what he can to take care of his family. I am very grateful for my husband!

  • I’m praying for…

My husband’s uncle died this week, so I am praying for the family. I am also praying for a couple of people who are having difficulty finding a job.

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

I stumbled across a new (to me) website with homeschool materials. It looks like it could be a great resource, so I thought I would share: Newbee Homeschooler.

Linkin Park- Breaking the Habit

(I couldn’t help it, I had to share another great song)


Have a great weekend!

Meet Danger Girl

30 Aug

Since I often post about Danger Girl and all her antics, I thought I would give you a chance to learn a little more about this crazy child of mine; so I interviewed her which she found extremely ammusing.


Interview with Danger Girl:

1) What is your favorite subject in school?

DG- reading

A very interesting book

(I really thought her answer here would be science, so it just goes to show a mommy doesn’t always know her child as well as she thought)

2) What is your least favorite subject?

DG- math, it’s too hard


(She is actually pretty good at math, but apparently being good at something doesn’t mean you like it)

3) What is your favorite activity?

DG- art

(once again I don’t know my child very well. I thought she would say jumping since I constantly have to tell her to quit jumping on all the furniture)

4) What is your least favorite activity?

DG- sitting still

(finally one I actually got right)

5) What is your favorite food?

DG- french fries

6) What is your least favorite food?

DG- hamburger helper

(a kid who doesn’t like hamburger helper? Who knew)

7) What is your favorite book?

DG- Cimorene

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons

(for those who are wondering, this would be the Enchanted Forest Chronicles)

8) What is your favorite movie?

DG- Pochahontas

9) What is your favorite TV show?

DG- Danny Phantom

10) What do you want to be when you grow up?

DG- a doctor. I also want to be in the army.

(her jobs are down. She used to have at least five jobs she wanted when she grew up because she wanted to be rich)

11) What do you like about doing school at home?

DG- I get to have fun

12) What do you not like about doing school at home?

DG- school is hard

13) What is your favorite song?

DG- I hate that stupid old pickup truck you never let me drive

(translation: Picture to Burn by Taylor Swift)



So there are some random facts for you about Danger Girl. I hope you enjoyed some of her answers as much as I did, and I hope it gives you some idea about the almost 8 year old behind the name. What questions do you think I should have added to the list?

Cruel Harvest by Fran Elizabeth Grubb

28 Aug


Cruel Harvest is an account of Mrs. Grubb’s childhood with an abusive father and a migrant lifestyle. She paints a picture for the reader of what her life was like living with a man who tormented her and her family, and what it was like to watch her family fall apart. You also get the chance to see glimpses of her attempt to bring her family back together in adulthood. Through all the trials of her life, you can see that Mrs. Grubb holds on to God and does not allow bitterness to overcome her.

It was hard to put this book down once I started to read it because I couldn’t wait to see the happy ending to such a tragic childhood. You can’t help but get a sense of what this woman went through as you read her words. The abuse and degradation that she overcome is an encouragement as you see that she did not allow her childhood to defeat her. I like how she uses her meetings with lost family members to tell the stories of her childhood and move the book along. This is not a self-pity story, but rather a story of perseverance and faith. You can’t help but take stock of your own life and walk with God when you read about this woman’s faith and ability to let go of bitterness. I would not recommend this book if you are easily upset, but I do think this is a book well worth reading.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Winner Has Been Chosen

27 Aug

We have a winner for the copy of “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”.

And the winner is:


Heather from Townsend House.

I have sent an email to inform Heather that she is the winner. Please contact me within the next 72 hours with your address so I can send your prize.

Congratulations to Heather. I hope this book will prove to be useful to you and your family.

Not Back to School: Day in the Life

27 Aug

This week at the Not Back to School blog hop is day in the life week. This is your chance to see what a day in our homeschool life looks like.

I usually wake up around 6 am so I have a little alone time to work on my own projects and get set up for the day. Danger Girl is usually up around 7:30 herself. She has not yet learned the joys of sleeping in 🙂

Sometime between 8 – 8:30 am we begin our school day with a prayer. I have Danger Girl say a prayer on her own, then I follow up with my own. I really want to teach her the importance of speaking to God on a regular basis. Then it is time for Bible reading and memory verse work. On Monday and Wednesday we do hymn study as well during this worship time. Starting the school day this way really helps set the tone and keep us focused.

After our worship time, we dive right into math. I have found that doing math first thing helps us get through it better as she is still pretty focused at this time. We do our Math Mammoth worksheets through most of the week until Friday when we have a game day (this is Danger Girl’s favorite day). We also occasionally throw in some reading from living books.

After math it is time for Latin on Monday and Wednesday. We listen to the lesson on our Prima Latina CD then practice reading the words she has learned from the workbook.

After Latin we do science. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday we read one of our books (right now it is Among the Pond People) and on Tuesday and Thursday we read and do the experiments from Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.

After science we normally have a 15-20 minute break to give Danger Girl a chance to get some of the wiggles out of her. Then it is time for spelling. She copies the spelling words through the week, and on Friday we have a spelling test to see how she is doing with her spelling.

After spelling it is time for either artist study, composer study, poetry study or Shakespeare study depending on what day it is. On Friday we take time to read from the book “If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do” during this time. This seems to be one of her favorites.

Next is history/geography time. We do the lessons from “Joshua-Malachi and Ancient Greece”. This usually includes reading the Bible account or one of our books about Ancient Greece.

Usually around this time we do lunch which also gives Danger Girl another wiggle break.

After lunch it is time for her to read to me, and for us to work on our reading flashcards. On Friday we do game day for reading instead, and she gets to play one of the games from “Happy Phonics” which is another one of her favorites. After she reads, we have our read-aloud time, then school is over and she gets to pursue her own activities for the day.

Occaionally we have a “life skills” day where I have her help me cook or clean. We are also beginning to learn how to sew and Danger Girl wants to learn how to knit as well.


So that is what our homeschool day looks like for the most part. I know everyone does things differently, so I look forward to reading about other homeschool parent’s daily schedules.

If you are interested in checking out what other homeschool days look like, check out the Not Back to School Blog Hop and see for yourself. Good luck to all those who are getting started with their school journeys this year!

Give-Away Reminder: Ends August 26

25 Aug

Don’t forget tomorrow, August 26, is the last day to sign up to win a copy of “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”.


If you have a new or struggling reader (or if you know someone who does) then you will want to participate. This book is highly recommended by many. Just click on the link above to find out how you can participate.

HMJ- 8/24/12

24 Aug


  • In my life this week…

This week has been uneventful for the most part. Probably the most exciting thing to happen was the purchase of Danger Girl’s new bed. We have been saving for some time now to get her a bed, as her current one is just not working anymore. I let her pick out what she wanted (within reason), and after saving up, she is excited to know that her new bed will be delivered within the next week. She chose a loft bed with a futon underneath. I managed to spend less than $300 for all of this which made me very happy.

  • In our homeschool this week…

We have been moving along quite nicely in our homeschooling. Danger Girl is doing very well in math which makes her very happy. What she seems most excited about is science though. She has started her own bird observation notebook, and I can find her at the window watching the birds stop by the feeder on a regular basis. So far she has seen several mocking birds and one cardinal.

We did decide to put the handwriting curriculum aside for now. She was getting way too frustrated with it, and I decided we would find another way to work on her handwriting for the time being.

  • I am inspired by…

I like to look at some of the things others are doing in their homeschool, to see if any ideas might fit in with our lives. I have been particularly inspired by some of the nature study ideas I have seen out there. I think I may have to plan more trips to the state park so we can get out and do some nature hikes.

  • My favorite thing this week was…

Probably the best thing about this week was the excitement on Danger Girl’s face when we purchased her new bed. I can’t wait to see how excited she is when it actually gets here.

  • What’s working/not working for us…

Our handwriting curriculum was not working for us. It is my fault, I tried to do D’Nealian style, and I should have just worked on print with her. I have put the book aside, and we will just work on it together. Danger Girl’s biggest problem with handwriting is trying to write certain letters backwards, so this will be my focus for right now.

  • Things I’m working on…

I still have a give-away going until August 26 for a copy of “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”. Check it out under the give-away and resources tab.

I am also working on a couple of reviews for blog tours I will be hosting here. One of there blog tours will include a give-away of the book being reviewed, so stay tuned.

  • I’m reading…

I just finished reading “Wrecked” by Jeff Goins, and I will have a review up for this book soon.

Now I am reading “Cruel Harvest” by Fran Elizabeth Grubb and “Journey to Almighty” by Tina Klinesmith.

I am also still working on “The Total Woman” by Marabel Morgan

  • I’m grateful for…

We are working on mending relationships with certain people. This has been on our prayer list for some time, and I am so grateful to see these thing start to work out.

  • I’m praying for…

The relationships that are getting better, still need a lot of work, so I am continuing to pray about this.

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey (Really liking this song lately)

What Makes a Book a Good Book

22 Aug

I honestly haven’t done any writing so far this week. I can come up with at least 100 excuses for why not, but it all boils down to I let myself get distracted.

If you want to hear the excuses, I have some good ones:

1) I had to get caught up on house cleaning after being sick for over a week.

2) We just started back to school, so I have to keep up with what we need for the week.

3) I need time to evaluate where my story is going before I start writing again.


There are some good excuses right? But I have gotten off point.

As I have been procrastinating and trying to will myself to get started, I have been thinking. You can find so many blogs, books, pamphlets, etc telling you how to be a writer. You can find so many resources out there telling you how to promote and sell your stories, or what not to do, or even what to do in a book.

Most of these resources come from other writers or publishers. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great resources out there. With all the information you can find though, sometimes you (or I at least) can become distracted. Yes, it is important to know how to break up your paragraphs or how to effectively use dialogue. I think it is equally important to know what makes a good book though.

My question is, what do you think makes a good book? What types of stories do you like to read? What makes your favorite books your favorite?

For me, a good book is one that makes you feel like you are really there, seeing the story unfold. A good book gives you enough detail to really see what is happening around you, but not so much that you are bogged down. I also think a good book tells someone’s story. I like to hear more about the person than just what moves the plot from one scene to another. People’s stories are what really draw me into a book.

I also think some humor is important, even in a non-humorous book. Humor can break into a really dark moment, and if done properly, will not take away from what was happening. Humor can keep a particularly heavy scene from just weighing you down.

As an example of what I think makes a good book, one of my favorites is “Pride & Prejudice”.

As I thought on these things that I like to find in a book, I realized I was failing in some of these things in my own story. I have been so worried about getting enough detail in my story, I have been failing at getting the right kind of details. I guess one good thing about procrastinating is that I got time to do #3 in my list of top excuses. 🙂

So now that I have shared some of my criteria for a good book, What makes a book good for you?

Not Back to School-Photo Week

20 Aug

This week, as part of the Not Back to School blog hop, I am sharing our back to school photos. Danger Girl loves to get her picture taken, so this was a fun one for her.


I told her to pose however she wanted to. This was her chosen pose:

Ready to face the world!

She has recently become a book lover (mommy is so proud). Since she has the new found interest in reading, I had to get a couple pictures of her doing just that:

A very interesting book

Of course, when I have her just stand still for a picture, that proves to be the hardest pose of all

So there is my Danger Girl, ready to conquer the world, or at least the 2nd grade.


(By the way, I have a give-away going on right now! If you are interested, check it out here. This is a book highly recommended by many)


My First Give-Away Ends August 26

18 Aug

I mentioned in a post yesterday that I would have a give-away that would go up today. So what am I giving away?

This is a resource for those with beginning or struggling readers. I have seen many great reviews from other parents that have used

I purchased this for Danger Girl, but then we ended up not using it, so rather than let this great resource collect dust, I decided I would give it away to someone who could get use out of it.

How do you enter for a chance to win “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Well, I was going to use Rafflecopter, but I am having technical difficulties. Instead we will do it the old fashioned way.

Mandatory entry: Follow this blog

Another entry: Leave a relevant comment on one of the posts on this blog

Another entry: Follow me on Twitter @pennyslayne1

Last entry: Tweet about the give-away

Just leave a comment below letting me know which of these entry opportunities you took part in. Make sure you leave me your email address as well so I have a way to contact you when you win.

The give-away ends August 26, so get in there and start entering! I will pick a winner, by secret methods :), and whoever wins will hear from me within 48 hours after being chosen.