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    Seven Quick Takes on Non-crafty Mom Solutions, The Stomach Flu that Won’t Quit, and More PRIZE PACKAGES!

    December 4, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    Most of you know that I am a non-crafty mom. I adore and admire crafty moms, but I am not one myself. Part of it is that I overthink. I get overwhelmed by the details. Also: the supplies we don’t already own. And so on and so forth. This is one of my weak spots. So. I’ve been thinking about this again, and might I suggest KITS? Kits are the most wonderful thing in the world for non-crafty moms because they’ve got All the Stuff, they come with instructions, and the really awesome ones also come with a storage container {am I the only one who freaks out about where to store All the Stuff once it’s purchased?}. See Exhibit A at right. Awesome, am I right?

    Here is a whole page of kits from the non-crafty mom’s best friend, Alex Toys.

    :: 2 ::

    This stomach flu is lasting an  e t e r n i t y. I thought we were done, and I also thought that A-Age-Ten had managed to escape this pox on our house. Turns out I was wrong on both counts. So far, only Siah has managed to stay well — but he only catches one cold per year, and he’s already had his allotment, so he’s good until January.

    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2012:

    Masterly Inactivity

    This post describes that one time when I let nature do the parenting for me..

    :: 5 ::

    Prize number five in the Afterthoughts 10th Blogoversary Celebration Giveaway Extravaganza is a package from Third Day Naturals. I’ve told you before that I think TDN products are basically awesome. Come January, you’ll get a chance to win some!

    tdn prize pack

    This amazing prize package includes 1 All-Natural Soap, 1 travel size Smooth as Silk Lotion, 1 Body Butter, and 1 Sugar Scrub, and the winner gets to choose the scents for each! The value of this package is over $34, and can I just say that it includes some of my favorite things? I’m adding the travel size lotions into stockings this year. ♥

    By the way, if you’re doing some Christmas shopping, Third Day Naturals is currently having a sale! Use the code TDNgift to get 15% off all orders until the end of 2015, and there is always free priority shipping on orders $35 and up.

    :: 6 ::

    Prize number six is one of my late elementary FAVES: Visual Latin! That’s right! Compass Classroom has generously donated the Visual Latin curriculum to one lucky winner! The winner can choose between downloading the files to a device of her choice, or using a code for streaming the classes via internet.

    My preferred route for Latin and Greek {which we haven’t done yet, so don’t hold me to it} is something like:

    Song School Latin OR I Speak LatinVisual LatinLingua Latina taught by Dwane Thomas → Athenaze Greek taught by Dwane Thomas

    My slower students won’t make it all the way to Greek, I don’t think, but this is my ideal route, so far. For the first 10 weeks or so, I was able to sit in on the Latin classes. Man, I wish I had two of me … so that one of me could keep up with Latin better!

    :: 7 ::

    Answering Your Questions:

    • Question: When should we start Nature Study? Latin? Grammar?
      • Answer: Students entered Charlotte Mason’s schools at age six, so that is when they began nature study. But at our house, our younger children were along for the ride many years before then, and it worked out fine. The difference, perhaps, is to not require anything until age six. So, for example, with little ones you could keep a nature journal, and they may or may not imitate you. In Charlotte Mason’s schools, Latin and Grammar {and real Shakespeare and Plutarch as well} began around fourth grade or age 10.

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  • Reply Mariel December 4, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Loved the links, especially the Presbyterian to the Teeth one. Also, I’m surprised the student in “Daycare” didn’t accuse the Corinthinans quoter of bullying 😉 As for the Alex kits, we’ve gotten several of them, and I really like how everything comes in one package. They are great for activities for kids’ parties.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 5, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      I had never thought of Alex kits for a party, but that is such a good idea, Mariel! ♥

  • Reply Melissa December 4, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Oooh, I am not a crafty mom either, though I think I’ve always aspired to be because I’ve actually collected too many supplies, but I hate messes. So, I don’t want to get them out and make a mess 🙁 Thankfully, our 12-year old crafty dd is now able to work her magic as well as clean it up 🙂

    BTW, you’ve almost got me talked in to trying Visual Latin 🙂

    Have a great weekend,

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Have you ever tried the free lessons for VL? That would help you make a decision, I think. I totally love it, but I also loved that I could test drive it with the free lessons before committing to the purchase! 🙂

  • Reply Andrea December 4, 2015 at 9:52 am

    So thankful for you and all your posts. But concealed weapon to protect your kids? Has the US come to this? This is not going on in other countries in the world. Mass shootings are a US thing as is mass gun ownership (other than shotgun and rifles). There is a correlation. And as the rest of the world looks on in pain and sorrow at what’s going on with guns in the US, many of us just do not get the “must have guns mentality”. On the bright side Americans, someone is now marketing bullet-proof mats for schools. If that’s your solution…..we continue to look helplessly on.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 4, 2015 at 10:21 am

      I know that we Americans are baffling to a lot of foreigners. 🙂 I’m not sure where you are, Andrea, so I can’t speak directly to it. I think some of this can be boiled down to an extreme DIY mindset. Why would I call the police when I can take care of myself? Honestly, to many Americans (but definitely not all), it is baffling that so many people in the world do not know how to defend themselves. Like Sir Walter Scott in Ivanhoe, we view the lack of the *right* to own a weapon as a sign of being a defeated people group.

      Years ago, I wrote a series called Understanding Guns in America. I know it won’t change your mind, but it might help you understand a bit about how we think, if you are interested. Here are the links:

      The Noise that Made the Redcoats Run
      Our Inherited Rights as Free Englishmen
      Natural Rights and Legal Rights
      James Madison’s Angel Problem
      On Amendments and Ratification
      Res Publica, the Nature of a Republic

      Guns, by the way, are not a solution in my opinion. To me, they are a recognition that there are bad people out there, and I may need to defend myself or my family once or twice in my lifetime. Also, they allow for the procurement of food in an emergency. Jesus is the solution — on He brings peace.

      • Reply Andrea December 4, 2015 at 5:42 pm

        I so appreciate your gracious response. And your blog full of truth, beauty and goodness is no place to debate gun laws. We live in Canada and half my family in US so I am somewhat familiar with the culture. I will read your series. Thanks for linking. Laws that worked 200 years ago for helping individuals defend themselves no longer work (imo) as the weapons available have vastly changed. Weapons were much “milder” historically. I guess that’s what I don’t get—the grasping desperately to what worked in the past. So many laws have changed over time ie. womens’ vote, abolition, being just two examples. Nations are dynamic; they change, adapt, transform to the needs of changing citizens. My main point is that we have plenty of crazy people in Canada (all the world over really) who shoot each other. But because it is so difficult to obtain any guns other than rifles and shotguns, mass shootings are extremely rare. Hunting guns are difficult to conceal and concealed weapons are illegal. btw(!) I am politically very Conservative so I get the independent mindset but to witness the slaughter of the innocent….some forms of independence are just not worth it. I apologize for going on…thank you in advance for your grace.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel December 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm

          No need to apologize, Andrea. I like hearing other people’s perspectives on the issue. 🙂

    • Reply Cassie W. December 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      This is a question and only a question. Is the mass shooting thing really just a US thing? I had never heard that before and frankly just shocked to hear that. Shootings seem to be a daily thing and I thought they occurred all over the world. I’m not trying to start any debate or anything but just a honest question.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel December 5, 2015 at 1:59 pm

        Well, some of the statistics are difficult to interpret, especially since there is also a debate over whether acts of war and/or terrorism should be counted as the same as, say, a kid shooting up a high school. For example, I wouldn’t count what happened this week here as a “mass shooting” — this was an act of war by someone who had sworn loyalty to the Islamic State.

        Back in June the Crime Prevention Research Center did an excellent stats post. Obviously, it’s out of date. A lot has happened since then, including the attacks in Paris and here in California. One thing I found interesting is that Russia has the lowest rate out of the US and Europe, but that seems to be because they use bombs instead?

      • Reply Andrea December 5, 2015 at 10:11 pm

        The US has 5% of the world’s population and 31% of the mass shootings in the world.

      • Reply Claire December 8, 2015 at 2:29 am

        Hi, I live, and grew up, in Tasmania, Australia. In 1996, when I was in high school, we had what was at the time, the world’s largest massacre by a lone gunman, at a popular tourist destination down south. I feel that having lived through that gives me a right to an opinion. The knee-jerk reaction of major national gun restrictions were not popular. They were introduced insensitively. But they worked. Nothing like that has ever happened again. We have no list of ‘good men with guns’ who have prevented mass shootings – because we have no threatened mass shootings. Not even terrorist ones that could be called an act of war. In nearly 20 years. Yes, our country is a lot smaller than America, but still – 19 years without a mass shooting. America has, according to the FB meme I just watched, had 355 this year. No one here would say, “Shootings seem to be a daily thing…”

        Why trust the police when you can do it yourself? Well, why go to the emergency department for a broken arm? Why have police in the first place? Why use my taxes to pay for their specialist training (in defusing the situation, etc) if I’m not going to make use of it when a situation is way out of my league? Gun crimes *should* be viewed as a specialist emergency. The fact that Americans apparently think it’s reasonable to view them the way I view an everyday cut or bruise for which they don’t even need the equivalent of first aid training – well, I guess that’s what leads to it *being* an everyday experience… Do you have any idea how horrific that list of stories about ‘good guys’ looks to the rest of us? I couldn’t finish it…

        Meanwhile, I can’t think of any way that Australians’ lives have grown to resemble those of the Saxons under the Normans in the last 19 years. It takes more than restrictions on the owning and use of weapons that no sane person should have invented in the first place to create an oppressed nation. You need another group with the desire to systematically oppress them. The fact that both involve restriction on weapons is merely a surface similarity. All that said, if you can see from the outside how Australians’ lives have become significantly less free, please tell (just as we look in on the US with bewilderment, I’m sure you look the same way on us at times!)

        In other news, craft kits are great for kids of crafty mums, too. My DD was given a couple for her seventh birthday recently, and they give wonderful direction and boundaries to her burgeoning craftiness without me having to mess up my stash! Plus she’s just very independent and doesn’t want Mum’s ideas 😉

  • Reply Anne White December 4, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Are the kits for you or for the progeny? My girls liked the Klutz books/kits that come with supplies–embroidery and tissue paper flowers were two good ones.

    For anyone looking for an interesting place to shop for offbeat/educational toys, Lee Valley Tools has some neat stuff like kaleidoscope kits and small gardening tools.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 4, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Well, initially I was thinking the kits just for the children, but I’m reconsidering — truly, I would like to learn as well, and I’m sure they wouldn’t take kindly to my using up their stuff. 😉 I didn’t realize that Klutz had an embroidery kit! We used their knot tying kit and really liked it.

      I have never heard of Lee Valley Tools — I’ll be checking it out! 🙂

  • Reply Ivy Mae December 4, 2015 at 2:54 am

    Love the “Good Guys with Guns” article–thanks for linking it!

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