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    Mother's Education, Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on Cake Decorating, Podcasts, Reading, and More!

    February 27, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    Today is cake decorating day! We’re having a small gathering for Daughter A.’s tenth birthday tomorrow afternoon subsequent to tennis lessons, and I like to decorate the cake a day in advance. It’s always a fun day, and I’m trying a new technique for the top. I’ll share pictures next week!


    :: 2 ::

    What I will tell you now is that it pays to have a multi-day plan so that cake decorating doesn’t cause too much stress during a school week. One aspect of Daughter A.’s cake is chocolate trees made from melted chocolate wafers that will go around the outside of the cake. I made those on Wednesday. We baked the cake on Thursday. And decorating is today. We serve the cake tomorrow. Doing steps along the way keeps it from getting too crazy.


    :: 3 ::

    What’s in your podcast app? I’ve been enjoying listening again lately. It gets me motivated to do chores if I tell myself I can listen {oh, and also tell myself I can’t listen if I’m sitting down}. Here’s what I’ve listened to lately:


    :: 4 ::

    A-Age-Ten was finally allowed to breed her rabbit this past weekend. She’s been dying to do this, but we made her wait until the weather had warmed up enough. We didn’t want dead babies out there from too-cold nights (because our rabbits live outside). I overheard her telling her siblings that she is now “in the rabbit business.” We will see how well they sell, but she is excited about trying to keep the babies well-handled so that they make better pets. Her last doe died in pregnancy, but this one is proven — we bought her after she had already had a successful pregnancy — so we have higher hopes this time.

    If any of you are local and interested in having a pet rabbit, let me know. Babies are due around March 21st.


    :: 5 ::

    This week’s link collection:


    :: 6 ::

    Siah and I are reading What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile. It’s required reading for those pursuing membership at our church, and it’s a great book in its own right.

    I also went on a homeopathy reading binge. All this talk about having a well-balanced reading list, and I fell off the wagon big time and specialized almost all of this month. I need to stop because it’s becoming a Problem. So far, I’ve read The Homeopathic Treatment of Children, Joette Calabrese’s little {free} booklet on cell salts, The Solution, and Homeopathic Medicine at Home is sitting here staring at me from my desk, tempting me to overindulge even more.

    Also in the health vein, I’m reading Move Your DNA and trying to figure out how to integrate this into our drill times. I think I’m going to make a loop schedule.

    One good thing about a habit of reading aloud to my family, and pre-reading the Year Seven school books, is that it keeps me from becoming completely myopic.


    :: 7 ::

    Answering your questions:

    • Question: I was looking for you Stupendous Sunday Selections. Are they under the Assigned Reading headline?
      • Answer: I’ve discontinued the SSS posts. I know, I know. Some of you loved them. But there were some technical difficulties when I moved to WordPress, and I just decided to switch the formatting. So first, yes, they are in the Assigned Readings in the sidebar. Then I also choose a few of my favorites and incorporate them into Seven Quick Takes. I’m sorry they completely disappeared for a while! I just wasn’t sure what to do at first.
    • Question: Are you familiar with the My Father’s World curriculum? I get their catalog and have spent months looking at their curriculum and how it is organized. Do you mind commenting on the curriculum, if you’re familiar with it?
      • Answer: I wouldn’t mind commenting on it if I was familiar with it, but unfortunately I am not. I have a couple real-life friends that really like it, but to be honest I have never even flipped through it. So I can’t help. 🙁
    • Question: I see you have a Pianophonics link as something you use. I am planning to start home teaching music next year and I would love some info on that program. The website is intriguing, but it is hard to tell how it is set up, how far it goes, and whether it teaches any theory or just note reading… Anyway, decision time soon, would you care to stick in a brief review? Thanks.
      • Answer: Pianophonics is weak on theory, it’s true. That is the one weakness I see. As someone who can play piano, but had no clue how to teach it, Pianophonics has been a lifesaver for me. You can read a review I wrote of it here. We are still using it. We still love it. My oldest is almost done with it, and the girls are still at the beginning. I plan to start my littlest guy after his eighth birthday.

    Let’s see. This weeks’ answers get a helpfulness score of only 33%. Hmmm…


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  • Reply Rebekah February 10, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you for the podcast ideas! Do you know of any cake decorators podcasts?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 18, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      I don’t! I have never heard of a cake decorating podcast, but I would be very interested if you found one.

      Or maybe you ought to start one. 🙂

  • Reply Catie February 27, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I’m so glad you mentioned PianoPhonics in this post. I’ve seen it in your sidebar before but didn’t think much of it. But after reading your review, I think we’ll do it too. I’m not sure if I’m going to buy it now and hold on to it for a few years or just wait to purchase it. I’ve had some musical training and am hoping it’s enough to teach piano with this program.

    I’m in the middle of The Solution and I (we–I’m reading most of it out loud to my husband) LOVE it. Thanks so much for the recommendation! Move Your DNA looks interesting too. I’ve seen her blog, but haven’t delved too much into any of that. There’s NOT ENOUGH TIME in my days! ;o)

    I miss SSS, too, but I guess adding to your 7QT will suffice. 😉 *sniff*

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 28, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Do you listen to podcasts, Catie? If so, the author of Move Your DNA has one called Katie Says that you might like. I listened to it for a long time, and it gives you an idea of the sort of things that would be in the book. Think of it as a taste test. 🙂

      Isn’t The Solution fascinating? I plan to spend some time looking at her footnotes and seeing what I think. I want to get Dr. Golden’s book, as I think it explains the research she is quoting there. But: not enough time. I hear you on that one!

      • Reply Catie March 1, 2015 at 6:22 am

        I do listen to podcasts. 🙂 I love it when you share the ones you’re listening to. Thanks for recommending Katy Says! I knew she had a blog but am not familiar with her podcast.

        I wanted to mention, too, that ‘What Is a Healthy Church Member?’ looks like a good book, but I imagine it might only be *really* good and useful if there was a church group study on it. What a good idea to have people read it before becoming members. 🙂

  • Reply Julie February 27, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I recently read Alignment Matters and Move your DNA by Katy Bowman, and have incorporated them into our Circle Time. We were already doing Swedish Drill, so I just replaced that with 10 different stretches of Katy’s, and we choose five or six each time, holding them for 2 minutes a piece. In spirit of the book, I have started sitting on the floor as much as I can while I am leading CT. When I read out loud to them, we also hold some stretches while I read. It has been wonderful! I loved her book, and I feel, at age 40, that I read it at such a good time, as this body is not getting any more lithe with each passing year. Thanks again for the recommendations and articles; I always enjoy perusing them!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 27, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Okay, that was sort of what I was envisioning, so I am very glad to hear it is working for you. I need to get this broken toe healed so I can get back to moving…You make me excited to get started on the stretches!

    • Reply Hollie February 28, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Love these ideas!! Thank you for sharing!

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