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    Thoughtworthy (Sugar-Free Mochas, AfterCast, and Finding Time to Read)

    December 9, 2016 by Brandy Vencel


    :: 1 ::

    Want an quick way to make a sugar-free mocha at home? It’s pretty simple, actually. It only requires three ingredients: coffee, heavy cream, and NuNaturals NuStevia Cocoa Syrup. You could also use half and half, but I do the cream because half and half bothers me. There is enough stevia in the syrup, so just add it to taste. I would experiment with the amount, but start small.

    I usually just drink plain coffee with cream and stevia, but now that it’s cold, I find myself wishing for more of a treat. This is my sugar-free solution!


    :: 2 ::

    aftercastI’ve spent some time this week prepping Season 1 of AfterCast. If you missed my announcement on Facebook, AfterCast is the soon-to-be audio companion (aka podcast) for this blog. I’d tell you more about it, but that would defeat the purpose of Episode 00. For now, I’ll just give you something to look forward to.


    :: 3 ::

    This article dovetailed nicely with my posting on Monday regarding finding time to read:

    The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.

    This reminds me of that place in On Free Will where Augustine:

    Ev.: … if knowledge can never be a bad thing.

    Aug.: It never can, unless by knowledge we mean knowledge gained by experience. Experience is not always a good thing, for we can experience punishments. But knowledge strictly and purely so called, because it is gained by reason and intelligence, cannot be evil.

    The reading of books can make us wise and help us avoid many pitfalls in life. I loved this from General Mattis:

    We have been fighting on this planet for 5000 years and we should take advantage of their experience. “Winging it” and filling body bags as we sort out what works reminds us of the moral dictates and the cost of incompetence in our profession.

    We might not be “filling body bags” when we try to wing it, but surely the past has much to teach all of us, no matter our walk of life.


    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2013:

    Teaching Means Being or Becoming

    What does teaching mean for the teacher? That’s what I was pondering.


    :: 5 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    :: 6 ::

    Answering your questions:

    • Question: How do you get so many read alouds accomplished with your kiddos? Are you reading 7 days a week and how long do you read?
      • Answer: We are sort of read aloud maniacs around here! We usually read a chapter after lunch. (Right now, we’re reading a Shakespeare play for our lunchtime selection, so I’m just reading one Scene at a time — it’s quite short.) We often, but not always, read a chapter (sometimes more) after dinner. When we don’t have Circle Time because it’s a day off from school, I usually read yet another chapter. I often read aloud once on a Saturday, but very rarely on Sundays. We also read aloud on long car rides when my husband drives. These are habits we built when the children were very little, so it’s never stressful for me — it’s just the way we live life. It’s quite amazing how much a family can read together, even if they only cover a couple chapters a week!


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  • Reply Diana December 10, 2016 at 5:54 am

    Hooray for AfterCast! Will this be a reading of written blog posts or more conversational? Inquiring minds!

  • Reply June December 9, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Do you do narration after family read aloud? Ask questions? Comments?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 9, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      I don’t. I only require narration after school books. We occasionally talk about them afterwards, which can be fun. But even that isn’t anything I structure — I guess I’d say that anything that happens when the reading is done happens organically. Of course, this means our Shakespeare isn’t a “real” lesson right now, but I’m okay with that. 🙂

  • Reply Tricia Fowler December 9, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    I have 7 kids including a 16, 14, and 12 year old. My husband and I have cell phones with Internet access but my kids do not. I just wanted to encourage other parents that it is possible. The their social interactions with other kids are almost entirely face to face. We find they are happy with that for the most part as they have very full lives.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 9, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Tricia, thank you for sharing! That is encouraging to hear as your oldest is a couple years older than mine. I have a question, if you are willing to answer it: what about when they start driving? Do you do or plan to do simple cells at that age? I know that car phones were invented right around the time I started driving. There was one in the car, but it was never “mine” and it was only so I could call if I had car trouble…

      • Reply Tricia Fowler December 10, 2016 at 5:25 am

        We were late getting my oldest into drivers Ed so she won’t be driving on her own until April so we haven’t had to make that decision yet. If she needs to drive long distances on occasion, I can see the hubby and I just letting her borrow ours in case of an emergency. But for little trips around our rural community I don’t see much need for a phone. I’ve only had one 8 years myself. My kids don’t have any contacts accumulated, little knowledge of the ways most kids use social media, and so many activities going on that fill up their time. Plus in about 2 years I can see my oldest being ready for appropriate use of a smart phone (actually I think she is now).

  • Reply Mama Rachael December 9, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    on the cellphone issue. Neither Hubby nor I have smartphones, we both have ‘dumb phones’. And when Little Man is at an age when we feel he ought to have the ‘on call’ access, he will get a simple dumb track phone, as simple as we can. Text only text messages and phone calls. That’s it. We feel pretty strongly about this, and we both remember the time before cell phones. We see how they are nice and helpful, but we see the ills also. And, really, very few people NEED a smart phone. We’ve found a few reasons why having a smart phone might be nice, but if we choose that, only 1 will have one, for now.

  • Reply Axon December 9, 2016 at 10:43 am

    What is your concern with DeVos? I would love to know your thoughts (or afterthoughts;)

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 9, 2016 at 10:55 am

      My concern with DeVos is her ties to Common Core. Her group actively worked *against* the anti-CommonCore group in Michigan. I know she put something up on her website saying that she was against CC, but in practice that has been far from true. She actively worked to promote it. In my opinion, this means her version of school choice could degenerate into choose-your-common-core-flavor instead of real, actual choice. Here’s an article with a bit about that. I hope I’m wrong!

      • Reply Hollie December 9, 2016 at 6:17 pm

        I didn’t know this about her. Thank you for sharing!

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