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    Thoughtworthy (and Don’t Miss the Giveaway)

    December 2, 2016 by Brandy Vencel


    :: 1 ::

    Last week, my mother-in-law was here for an almost week-long visit. It was one of her best visits ever, greatly helped by the fact that none of the children were recovering from a cold (nor coming down with one) for the duration of her stay. We try to plan one extra special day when she is here, and this year we decided to take her over to our favorite stomping grounds in Pismo Beach and Avila Bay. This turned out to be an excellent choice as all the traffic in California was moving north and south over Thanksgiving week — and none to the east and west! We made it there in record time, easily found parking, and generally had a good time.


    The butterflies are monarchs, if you couldn’t tell. They winter in Mexico and on the California coast — if you are ever near Pismo Beach between November and about March, it’s worth your time to drop by the monarch grove. The trees are just covered — it’s beautiful and amazing.

    In Avila Bay, there is an estuary, and it’s a great place to go bird watching. Here we have an egret, a blue heron, and a bunch of cormorants searching for their dinner. He’s not in the photo, but they are competing with a sea lion. You don’t see those in the estuary all the time — they only come in when the tide is rising and this part of San Luis Obispo Creek becomes salty. We saw him catch a fish, which was fun!

    The boardwalk photo at the top right has two of my children looking out over Pismo Beach toward the pier. The pier in Avila is too damaged from a recent storm, so if we want to walk a pier, we usually go to Pismo Beach.

    Can you tell I love this place?

    :: 2 ::

    Today is the beginning of a week long giveaway!! That’s right. Once again, Third Day Naturals is giving one lucky Afterthoughts reader a gift basket valued at around $50! This includes 2 soaps, 1 lip balm, 1 sugar scrub, 1 healthy jelly, 1 lotion stick, and 1 body butter. Here’s a picture (not of everything, but you get the idea) to whet your appetite:


    I use these personally and I absolutely love them (my favorites are the lotions and lip balms). These products are so pure, you could pretty much eat them (though I wouldn’t recommend it). Plus, I like supporting not just a small business, but a small business owned by a fellow Charlotte Mason homeschooler.

    You can use the form below to enter to win. Please note that there are two mandatory entries, but there are also optional entries, some of which can be done daily for the duration of the giveaway (each time it counts as one entry).

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Winners will be contacted via email. Winners must reply to the email by the deadline given in the email or a new winner will be chosen. If you want to make a purchase right now, just head on over to Third Day Naturals and use the coupon code AT20 to get 20% off from now until the end of the year.

    Disclaimer: Afterthoughts is a paid affiliate of Third Day Naturals.

    :: 3 ::

    I have said a couple time about myself that “I am now the old lady at the park” and some have asked me what I meant because I’m not that old. So I thought I’d quickly explain. It’s true. I’m not that old. But my children are getting big, and the result is that young moms who see us at the park during normal school hours now accost me and ask me questions about homeschooling. I am reading, but they do not take the hint.

    That was a joke.

    Anyhow, I remember doing this. I was in my late 20s and had all these questions about homeschooling — would my children really turn out okay?? — and I would corner women at the park in the middle of the school day with older children and ask them questions. I guess this is the homeschooling circle of life? It made me chuckle.

    :: 4 ::

    Our evening Messiah Advent study is going well again this year. We used The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader last year, and that’s what we are doing again. Before that, we used Cindy Rollins’ free Messiah Advent devotional guide, which you can get over on her blog for free.

    Folks have asked me which I like best.

    Well, I like them both!

    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2013:

    The Living Page: A Review

    I forgot I did this review in December! I adored Laurie Bestvater’s book, The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason, and there were ideas in it that transcended all the details — I have applied the principles I gleaned from it to more than notebooking, truth be told. If you ever wonder about all the Charlotte Mason notebooks you see mentioned in various places — about what age to start them and how to do them — this book is for you.

    :: 6 ::

    The final Scholé Sisters podcast of the season is out today:

    This one was so much fun, I’ve been calling it an EPICsode. Ha.

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  • Reply Amber Vanderpol December 2, 2016 at 11:57 am

    If you are ever interested in reading more about what Handel is doing in the Messiah – the music, the Scripture, the history of the piece – you might want to take a look at Handel’s Messiah by Calvin R. Stapert. ( The first part of the book is about Handel, how he composed the Messiah, and the musical traditions and forms of the day. The second part goes into depth, section by section, about the Messiah. He breaks it down into 22 sections, which works nicely for an Advent or Advent and Christmas study.

    We’re only 4 sections in, but we’re all enjoying it and finding it very helpful in listening more carefully and with more interest. In the evening after the two youngest are in bed, we listen to a part of the Messiah, read the commentary out loud, discuss a little (different people sharing what we want to listen for this time), listen to the part of the Messiah again, and then discuss a little.

    Hard to believe The Living Page was out that many years ago! I think it is definitely time for a revisit. I’m sure there are areas of keeping where we can improve!

    (And the Wonder Balm and Insect Repellant that Third Day Naturals has are wonderful!!)

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Amber! Thank you for the Messiah link! It looks wonderful — and I love that it can work for Advent. I was wondering what we were going to do next year because I don’t think I want to do the same thing again for a third year. This might just be the ticket. 🙂

      And I KNOW about The Living Page. I was shocked at how many years it has been. What a blessing this book is! I think it will be time for me to revisit soon, too. 🙂

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