Archive | December, 2012

The Flashback- Best of 2012

17 Dec

Just for fun, I thought I would share the best of 2012 for Penny Lane Writes. These are the posts that were most enjoyed and the links that were most used. This is what the wisdom of the stats tells me was most interesting from the mind of Penny Lane this past year.


Most Popular Posts:

1) Not Back to School Hop- Classrooms

2) Not Back to School- Curriculum

3) Not Back to School- Day in the Life

4) The Week Before Vacation

5) HMJ- 9/7/12

6) Not Back to School- Photo Week

7) Last Week Before School

8) Our Weird Week

9) Still on Summer Vacation

10) The Birthday Week


Best Day for the Blog: August 6, 2012


Most Popular Book Reviews:

1) Cruel Harvest by Fran Elizabeth Grubb

2) The Love & Respect Experience by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

3) God Loves Broken People by Sheila Walsh

4) Journey to Almighty by Tina Klinesmith

5) Surving in America by Paul Andrulis


Top Visiting Countries:

1) United States

2) Canada

3) United Kingdom

4) Australia

5) Denmark


Most Popular Clicks:

1) Jimmies Collage

2) All in One Homeschool

3) Garden of Praise

4) Have Fun Teaching

5) Simply Charlotte Mason

6) Math on the Level

7) Free Homeschooling 101

8) Kathy’s Cluttered Mind

9) Paul Andrulis

10) Notebooking Pages




Explaining Pain & Sorrow to my Child

15 Dec

Yesterday my daughter spent the day with her grandparents. While she doesn’t watch TV at home during the weekdays, she does watch it when she is at her grandparents, so she saw the news of what happened in CT. She saw the scenes displayed by the news, she saw the pain and sorrow that so many people went through.

When she came home later that evening she had many questions. I prepared myself for speaking of things I wish I didn’t have to, and told her to let me know what she wa thinking about.

Her first question:

Why did all those kids coming out of the school have blood on them?

Hearing this question made me tear up. I explained to my little 8 year old daughter that these children, many of whom are even younger than her, had been in the same rooms as the children who were shot. I had to explain to her that these children had to watch these horrible scenes play out in front of them. Then I cried thinking of the images that would be forever stuck in their minds.

My husband assures me that it was not bad to cry in front of her about this, but doing so meant I had to explain my thoughts to her. I told her we needed to pray for these children and for the families that lost people. I told her that was the best thing we could do.

Her second question:

Why were people covering the kid’s eyes when they were coming out of the building?

I explained to her that people were trying to keep these little children from having to see more of the scene than they already had. I hate that she saw any parts of this scene. I wish I could have kept her from the need of these questions.

She has a heart that yearns to help others. Her questions come from this desire, and she told me how much she cried while watching all of this on the television screen.

Her last question:

What happened to the guy that did this?

Somehow she missed this part of the news. I hated having to answer this question. What should I tell her? Should I tell her he killed himself? I decided to just tell her that he ended up dying as well. I really don’t want to open up a conversation about suicide with someone who should get to stay innocent as long as possible.

I just have to say though, I am angry. I am angry that this guy’s actions managed to put a black spot in my daughter’s life. I am angry that the news channels do not think about who might be watching as they display graphic scenes. I am also a little angry that the television wasn’t turned off when these things started being displayed. I am angry that there is now so many children who have to deal with something they should never have to deal with. I am angry that there are parents out there now who have to grieve for the loss of their children.

Saying this, I know it does no good to be angry. I just have to continue to pray, and hope that those who are grieving today will allow God to show them comfort. I have to let my child know she is able to come to me with her questions, and I have to pray that she will not be too affected by what she saw.

Did any other parents out there end up having a conversation like this? Let me know how you handled it.

HMJ- It Finally Feels Like December!

14 Dec


  • In my life this week…

This week I am excited because it finally feels like December. It has been warm up until this week, and since I like cold much more than hot I am very happy about the change in weather.

Another good thing about this week is that I (think) I now have all my Christmas shopping done. We cut way down on the amount of gifts we bought this year, but I think the kids will still be happy. I also took the chance to get some of the materials I’ve been wanting for homeschooling while I did the other shopping. The best part about it is that I was able to do most of my shopping online (yes I’m one of those).

  • In our homeschool this week…

This week we had a breakthrough. For the past month Danger Girl and I have been struggling. She has developed an attitude that grates at my nerves. She didn’t want to do anything during school, and would complain and whine if I told her to do even the smallest chore around the house.

I have been frustrated during this time, to the point where I was ready to give back all the gifts I purchased for her. This week though, she managed to get over whatever the problem was (I never could get her to give me a reason), and we got through school and chores without all the problems Halleluiah!

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

I actually got this idea from Aussie Pumpkin Patch. I didn’t do exactly the same thing, but the idea is to make a list of all the audio and e-books you have on your devices. I made a list to print out that has a list of each book or audio that I have along with a brief description of it. I broke them up into different cattegories to make it easier to find as well.

Her idea looked like a great one, and I hope it will help me keep better track of what all I have.

  • I am inspired by…

This is our first year to do a Jesse Tree. I have been looking at some of the ideas on other blogs, and I am inspired by the creativity of other moms out there. I hope to be able to do more next year, but as it was a lst minute decision to do this, ours is very mundane. I have bookmarked many posts though.

(Free Homeschool Deals has some great links to freebies for doing a Jesse Tree by the way)

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

We have plans to go the Chinese Lantern Festival soon. I will take pictures and post when we do.

Last week Danger Girl went on a field trip with a friend of mine to visit art museums. She had a very good time and drew many baby Jesus’.

Gracie Art Adventure 2

There is a really funny story about someone asking if my daughter is either Kenyan or Peruvian. Figure that one out.

  • My favorite thing this week was…

I would have to say my favorite thing was the cooler weather!

  • What’s working/not working for us…

We are trying something new that my daughter is really enjoying. We started a mommy daughter journal where we write back and forth to each other every day. This is really helping her with her writing practice.

  • I’m reading…

I just finished reading Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller. (You can read my review under the books tab)

Now I am reading Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola. I have been wanting to read this for a while, so I am excited to start it.

  • I’m cooking…

Next week Danger Girl and I will be making cookies and candy. My husband is very excited about this. Our favorites: Peanut Butter cookies, Sugar cookies, fudge and bark candy.

  • I’m grateful for…

I am grateful for the ability to purchase the Christmas gifts I had planned on buying. This also includes being thankful for my husband who has worked hard to make sure we could.

  • I’m praying for…

There are a couple of families I know who have lost loved ones in the last 2 weeks. I am praying for them as it is very hard to lose someone, especially during the holidays.

  • A photo to share…

Gracie art adventure

another picture from the art adventure

Delightful Handwriting Review

11 Dec

I was recently asked by someone who had seen that we were using Delightful Handwriting in our homescool, what I thought of this curriculum. Since I sat down to write a review for this new reader, I decided I would go ahead and share my thoughts here for anyone else who might be interested in these materials.

Delightful Handwriting is a resource provided by Simply Charlotte Mason. This resource comes with a teachers manual and student copybook. Both of these resources are sold separately, but they are reasonably priced as either a printed version or an e-book download. The student copybook can be purchased either for the D’Nealian style or Zane Bloser, depending on how you want your student to learn.

The teacher’s manual starts out with words from Charlotte Mason’ writings on teaching handwriting, so if you have never read the Charlotte Mason series, this is a great resource for seeing exactly what she says on the matter. Each lesson is a short 15-20 minute lesson, and is spelled out for you in the manual. You can adapt the lessons to your needs however.

The lessons start out with children drawing the letters in sand or rice, and progress to them drawing the letters learned into their copybook. The copybook has examples of each letter drawn for the child to trace until they get used to the movement, then plenty of space for them to practice. As the lessons progress, the child goes from drawing uppercase then lowercase letters. Then the child moves on to writing words then copying passages. The teacher’s manual gives helpful hints in the margins for ways to adapt the lessons to your needs or encouragement. There is also space for you to make your own notes in these margins.

I purchased the copybook with D’Nealian style, and that was the problem we had in our house. My daughter did not feel comfortable with this style and because of this was fighting me on the use of the book. At the time we were struggling in another area of our homeschool, and because of this I let the handwriting drop until we could come back to it.

For my part as the parent, I like the way the manual is set up for lessons, and I like the room supplied in the copybook. If you have a child that does not do well with the details, I would recommend using the Zane Bloser writing style, which is what I should have done. Besides this detail, my daughter actually enjoyed some of the letter drawing activities that led up to using the copybook, and the use of repetition in method is always a good thing for children.

I would definitely recommend this material to anyone wanting to begin the writing skills process. I hope this review gives you a good idea of Delightful Handwriting materials. You can also go to the Simply Charlotte Mason website to download a free sample of the materials to help you decide if the materials would work for your family.

Review: Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza

8 Dec

I decided to review this book because I had read Dan Miller’s book “No More Dreaded Mondays”, and I had been very motivated by it. I received this book with the same expectation of motivation, and I was not disappointed. Dan Miller and his son discuss how to incorporate what you are passionate about into what you do for a living. They raise many thought provoking questions throughout to make you think about what you are doing with your life, and what you really want to be doing. They also present many real life stories from their lives as well as others on how to live what you are passionate about.

The stories are inspiring, and you feel like the opportunities presented are obtainable. Mr. Miller and his son also give some great suggestions for how to incorporate their ideas into your life so you can start living the life you really want to live. They push you to quit living in a rut and really take a chance on yourself. They also debunk the myth that Christians should not desire making profit or that Christians can’t do good while making a profit. It is almost impossible to read “Wisdom Meets Passion” without doing some soul searching and re-evaluating your priorities. If you are looking for the push to change your direction or start over, then this book would be perfect for you.


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.”