Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Books & Reading, Home Education, Mother's Education, Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on Super Heroes, Iodine Breathing Treatments, Latin, and More

    April 17, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    Super Hero CupcakesLast weekend, Friend R. threw a super hero birthday party for her twin boys, who turned six. I got to help with the cupcakes! I love helping, because basically, she does all the work, and I show up and swirl some frosting on top. It’s loads of fun.

    These were super easy.

    We tinted normal buttercream frosting using Wilton gel tints: red red {hint: add a bit of cocoa powder to get the darker hue}, golden yellow, and royal blue. I piped it on using three different Wilton tips, and Friend R. topped them with sprinkles.

    Of course, we added the adorable comic signs on top for a finishing touch.


    :: 2 ::

    Captain AlaskaThe superhero party was a costume party. Translated, this means the children were supposed to dress up. This did not stop my husband from participating; he dressed up as Captain Alaska.


    He combined his trusty Alaska T-shirt with a red cape that he plundered from the children’s dress up clothing bin.

    “He tried out for Captain America,” I said, “and all the runners-up got their own states.”

    “I’m a regional hero,” he said proudly.


    :: 3 ::

    This week was a sick week for us. We still did lessons, but everyone kept leaving the room to blow their noses. On Tuesday night, Q-Age-Eight seemed like she was getting worse when she ought to have been getting better, so we went over to my folks’ house and did an iodine breathing treatment on their nebulizer. This is something that works oh. so. well. on our family. {Of course, you have to have access to a nebulizer!} To a saline base, we add a drop or two of Lugol’s 2% Iodine Solution. It knocks the infection right out, every time.

    Daughter Q. was headed in the right direction when she woke up the next morning. The cold had moved out of her lungs and into her nose where it belonged.

    I’ve gotten to where I use iodine a lot, now that I keep it on hand. For example, I had a cut that looked a bit infected last week, so I put a drop of iodine on it. Problem solved. It’s really quite a handy thing to keep in the medicine cabinet, I think.


    :: 4 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    • Spoiling the Egyptians: An Introduction to Resuscitating Paideia by Helena Sullivan
      • I’ll be honest and say I haven’t read this one yet. It looks great, and I’ve bookmarked it to read later today, when I should have more time.
    • How Plumbing {Not Vaccines} Eradicated Disease by Joel Edwards
      • I wish he’d kept vaccines out of the title — it makes it unnecessarily inflammatory, I think. I’m sharing it, however, because it’s a history of bathing and sanitation that was so. darn. fascinating. Did you know Boston outlawed bathing in 1845? That’s not really all that long ago! My own grandmother didn’t have plumbing as a child.
    • Can Claritin Help Cure Lyme Disease? from
      • As a survivor of chronic Lyme Disease who spent years and years under antibiotic treatment, the idea of a Claritin option is rather intriguing.


    :: 5 ::

    I’ve really been pondering what to do with A-Age-10 in regard to Latin. While I believe in setting the feast for all children and letting them take what they can, I really think that the combination of Visual Latin and Henle that I’ve done with my oldest would be best done by her at an older age — say junior high or high school. With that said, I don’t want to deny her the chance to learn Latin just because she’s different from her brother. I actually have a whole post brewing on the Latin issue, but for now I’ll just say that I remembered that I own Song School Latin, which I used with E-Age-12 once upon a time when he was just a little guy. I think it’ll be perfect for her, and I’m happy to see they have a second level to follow the first. My tentative plan for now is to do it during Circle Time and let Q-Age-Eight and O-Age-Six sit in on it. They will enjoy the little songs. Only Daughter A., however, will do the actual book work.


    :: 6 ::

    There is something to be said for reading multiple books on a common topic at the same time. I think Adler called it syntopical reading? I don’t know. That is just a vague recollection. Anyhow, in my personal reading — and I’m including my book clubs here — I’ve touched chapters from Parents and Children, Consider This, Left Back, Begin Hereand Nichomachean Ethics this week. And they have all come together in some truly amazing ways.

    What are you reading?


    :: 7 ::

    Answering your questions:

    • Question: How do I place my child{ren} in an AO year?
      • Answer: If you can’t tell, this is a composite question. {Because I’m sneaky like that. 😉 } I’ve gotten a number of these emails in the past week, and I haven’t been able to answer them — it’s been especially difficult because our internet was down or spotty about half the week. So. I really think the best place to ask questions like this is on the free AO Help Forum. You will get a lot of input from a lot of AO moms with experience. In the end, you’ll still have to make your own call, but these moms really can help you learn the kinds of things to think about when making that call.
    • Question: I feel sort of guilty every time I hear about habits. There are all of these things that would go so smoothly if I had simply started in the right direction when they were littler. But when they were littler I didn’t know that we would all be headed this direction now. So we have all these misspent preschool years to overcome. What now? Where do I begin?
      • Answer: We’ve talked about this here on the blog, as well as in the Newbie Tuesday newsletter. But I just thought I’d say once more what I’ve said before, because I learned it from some really wise people who are worth listening to. 🙂 Just begin. Don’t look back. What’s done is done. Choose core habits — habits that will have really broad impact on your days — and root habits — habits that are at the “bottom” of the stack of problem, that will pave the way for other better habits in the future. If you can work on one habit with all of your children, even better, because as a mother it’s hard to keep track and be diligent with different habits for different children.


    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Carol April 22, 2015 at 3:25 am

    Re syntopical reading – had a bit of synergy going recently while reading CM’s Volume 6, a book on Curie & a book on chemistry. It was really fascinating how all three books interconnected at times.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 22, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Ooh! That sounds like a fun intersection there! 🙂

  • Reply Sandy April 18, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Have you heard of nascent iodine? Or magnascent iodine? My nutritionist mentioned it but I don’t know anyone that has actually used it or can speak about it.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 21, 2015 at 7:24 am

      I only recently heard of nascent iodine and I’m sorry but I cannot speak to it. I’m a newbie on that subject. 🙂

  • Reply Heather April 18, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Iodine worked wonders on one of our hens when she got bitten by a hungry fox! Love the costume and cupcakes and looking forward to more on Latin!
    Heather in London

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Oh, your poor hen! Glad the iodine worked. 🙂

  • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog April 17, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Brandy, I was wondering….have you done any posts on CM’s motto “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life”? If so, could you point me in the right direction? Thanks!

    • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog April 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Okay, just totally ignore that question. I forgot out the 31 Days of CM series you did a couple of years ago. I just perused the intro. post of that series and guess what? I found several posts on this topic! 🙂

      • Reply Brandy Vencel April 21, 2015 at 8:54 pm

        Oh my. And I totally forgot about this question. I’m sorry! Word on the street is that dawn over at the ladydusk blog will eventually be exploring those topics in depth, by the way. 🙂

  • Reply Kelly April 17, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Captain Alaska and Super Homeschooler — y’all are so cute!

    When I was growing up everyone used iodine. It’s gotten ridiculously hard to find nowadays. Oh, and my parents (who were born in 1935 and 1940) didn’t have indoor toilets until they were five or ten years old. The did have running water, although in my daddy’s case it was a pump at the kitchen sink. Also, they had hot water — his grandmother’s wood-burning cookstove had a water tank built into it. They were pretty posh for that part of rural Arkansas during the depression. Their outhouse was a two-holer. 😉

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 17, 2015 at 11:32 am

      A two-holer outhouse. I AM DYING LAUGHING.

  • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog April 17, 2015 at 8:25 am

    The superhero cupcakes are really cute! I LOVE cupcakes! 🙂

    We’ve been using Song School Spanish with my first grader this year and she likes it. A number of the songs are pretty catchy and I’ve even caught myself singing them. LOL I’ve been trying to decide if we’ll move on with Spanish next year or if we’ll go ahead with Latin. I was going to look into Prima Latina, but I forgot about Song School Latin. It would definitely be a great first Latin introduction!

    Let’s see…what am I reading….Our Island Story, The Birth of Britain, and I’m getting ready to start reading How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. I’ve heard it is really good and so I thought it might be good to go ahead and read it before trying to do Shakespeare with my youngest. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 17, 2015 at 11:31 am

      You know, I have had How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare sitting on my reading stack for months now — possibly a year! I really need to get to it. My children aren’t getting any younger. I, too, have heard it is really good. 🙂

  • Reply Mystie April 17, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Ilse-age-seven has been asking if she gets to do Latin next year – mostly because she wants to do Headventure Land games. I figured I shouldn’t turn it down when she’s asking! So I got Song School for her. She and Knox-age-5 can listen to the songs and watch the videos and do Headventure Land, but we’ll see about the book work when it comes.

    Love the Captain Alaska costume. That’s awesome. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 17, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Yay for Song School! 🙂

      And also: Captain Alaksa. Yes. He is more fun than I am, I guess. I went as Super Homeschooler, meaning I looked like me, but more put together. 😉

      • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog April 17, 2015 at 8:27 am

        Brandy…super homeschooler….that’s funny! You sound like me. I’d be more inclined to not dress up too. My teenage daughter, on the other hand, she’d probably get a kick out of dressing up!

  • Reply Friend R April 17, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Oh, thanks for the tip on the saline +iodine. We do have a nebulizer (actually, we have two) and also have kids who are prone to chest colds. I’ll check with the Dr. Next time I am in, but I can see how the saline itself would be helpful to irritated throat and lungs. Just want to make sure we are treating our particular brand of cough the right way… As a new mom I had L near a steamy shower to help ease her cough and was later told, in that instance, it was the exact wrong thing to do.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 17, 2015 at 7:45 am

      Oh, goodness! That’s discouraging. 🙁 And you have TWO nebulizers? I would say that is awesome except I know that means you’ve had more than your own share of breathing issues. 🙁

      I will say that the iodine/saline combo causes a lot of coughing. I’ve done it before — because I had pneumonia but was too stubborn to take the antibiotics because I was pretty sure I was allergic to them — and it tickles the throat a whole big bunch. But it worked, so I can’t complain. It is soothing AFTER, not during, is all I’m saying. 🙂

  • Reply Gina April 17, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Regarding your post about the iodine breathing treatment. You mentioned the following: “To a saline base, we add a drop or two of Lugol’s 2% Iodine Solution. It knocks the infection right out, every time.” My question would be to what type/brand of saline base do you use? Thank you.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 17, 2015 at 6:06 am

      I probably should have said something like “check with your doctor before doing this.” Our doctor thinks this is great and uses it with his other patients after we proved how well it worked. 🙂

      They make special saline for inhalation. 🙂

      • Reply Gina April 17, 2015 at 7:11 am

        Thanks for the info. It always nice to have other options to discuss with physician. 🙂 Absolutely, “we will check with our doctor before doing this”.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel April 17, 2015 at 11:30 am


    Leave a Reply