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    November 30, 2018 by Brandy Vencel


    :: 1 ::

    Turns out, reading a first aid book during Circle Time was a good idea! It never feels like Thanksgiving until I officially have a second degree burn. It’s what I do! This time, however, instead of bumbling around trying to take care of myself, the response from my children was astounding. We had read the burn chapter a week earlier, and they were chomping at the bits to use their newfound knowledge. One of them started running cold water to cool it down. Another ran to get the calendula gel. A third started searching around for “supplies” and a fourth pondered the freezer and whether I would need ice if the cold water didn’t cut it.

    I can honestly say this is the fastest healing burn I’ve had in years! I highly recommend calendula gel. It’s nice and cooling, just remember sometimes it needs to be diluted so as not to sting.

    The only downside is that my children now want to hurt themselves, just to see how it turns out. Yesterday, it was paper cuts. Maybe someone should get one on purpose to see if Staphysagria is really a good remedy for it? I’ve already informed them it’s dumb to get hurt on purpose just so they can practice what they are learning, but they still hope someone injures himself soon.


    :: 2 ::

    Need something new on your Christmas list? Just a reminder about Common Place Quarterly! I think it’s the perfect gift for a Charlotte Mason mama. ♥ I mean, people!! This is an EIGHTY PAGE Charlotte Mason magazine printed at collector’s edition quality levels. What’s not to adore?

    And, yes: they ship internationally!


    :: 3 ::

    I’m finishing up one of my big projects and so excited to share it with you! ♥ The first Deep Dive session will be in January. This is for Charlotte Mason Boot Camp alums only. We’ll be studying — taking a very deep dive into — Charlotte Mason’s two ways: the Way of the Will and the Way of the Reason. I really can’t wait for this session! It’s going to be so great! ♥

    Registration will open up at the end of December so stay tuned!


    :: 4 ::

    Have you downloaded and printed your winter Mother Culture Habit Tracker yet? If not, you better hurry! December starts tomorrow! (Can you believe it?) While it is never too late to start a good habit, there is something satisfying when you start at the beginning of the month.

    Just fill out this form to download yours:


    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2016:

    Children need to learn to read their school books for themselves. This is part of the act of learning — foraging ideas from pages they have to decipher on their own. With that said, we don’t want to just dump our children in the deep end, so here are some times on moving in the right direction.


    :: 6 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    • A Pact with a Thief, a Deal with the Devil: The Vatican’s Pending Agreement with China from The Public Discourse
      • I’m not Catholic. I fail to see why this is a good idea: “What we currently know of the agreement is that the Vatican will cede selection of bishops in China to the Communist Party. In exchange, the CCP will recognize the pope as the official head of the Catholic Church, and regular relations between the two states will be renewed.”
      • So let me get this straight, in exchange for recognition, an anti-Christian regime is going to choose bishops? Hmmm…
    • Students Want to Write Well; We Don’t Let Them from Los Angeles Review of Books
      • Please note: Calling the education budget an “austerity budget” in the state of California is LAUGHABLE. Plus, real education with real books isn’t really that costly.
      • With that said, decentralizing schools so that teachers can really teach and locals can really hold schools accountable sounds good to me. Plus, you all know I’d love to help kill the five-paragraph essay.
      • Personally, I think there’s a lot wrong with this article, but still some gems worth mining. The author ignores that most schools don’t read actual books (which would allow children to know what good writing even sound like) and many teachers can’t read at an adult level. The inability to write is part of the deeper problem of illiteracy run rampant.
    • The Steward of Middle-earth from The Weekly Standard
      • I had to stifle a little sob when I read this. It’s not everyday we witness the end of an era.
      • This is amazing: “‘Myth-making is normally done . . . by ancient peoples whose names we don’t know,’ Malcolm Guite says. ‘It’s just we happen to have the extraordinary example of a bloke suddenly appearing in the 20th century who became by himself the mythic equivalent of an entire people. And produced it all.'”
    • Ghost Voters from National Review
      • “California’s San Diego County earns the enchilada grande. Its 138 percent registration translates into 810,966 ghost voters. Los Angeles County’s 112 percent rate equals 707,475 over-registrations. Beyond the official data that it received, Judicial Watch reports that LA County employees ‘informed us that the total number of registered voters now stands at a number that is a whopping 144 percent of the total number of resident citizens of voting age.'” All told, California is a veritable haunted house, teeming with 1,736,556 ghost voters.
      • Please make it stop! Ugh. I don’t care — not ultimately — whether my state is “competitive in presidential elections.” No! I care that the elections are HONEST.


    :: 7 ::

    Finally, YES, AfterCast will be back soon. I’ve worked on it this week, actually. Make sure you’re subscribed in your favorite podcast player so you don’t miss the start of this new season!

    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

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

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  • Reply Lucila Feldman December 21, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Lol that your kids want to injure themselves now!

    I am a fan of first aid homeopathy too, but I never miss an opportunity to share another natural burns remedy that is at once simple AND revolutionarily effective.

    Grated raw potato.

    My husband burnt his hand on a hot lawnmower… we applied a bunch of grated raw potato held in place by a latex food handling glove. Cool, starchy relief was instant and the healing greatly hastened.

    So if you find yourself out of gel but in stock of potatoes next Thanksgiving, this is a magic trick you do not want to miss!

  • Reply Cecilia Capehart December 6, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for the Nemechek protocol information. I have a couple kids who could use this for sure (and so could my tired, sleep deprived, mother of one year old brain…). One child is high functioning autistic & one has some spd issues. As far as the China thing goes, it doesn’t make sense at all. I’m Catholic and not happy with that. We really do believe the Holy Spirit is in charge of the Church BUT obviously the pope has to have free will. It has never been a belief that the pope must make good decisions (or even moral ones). His teachings though, when under certain specific circumstances, we view as from God. This comes from Christ’s infamous words to Peter- ” I give you the keys…whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven…”

  • Reply Brandy Vencel December 3, 2018 at 9:53 am

    So, Erin and Allison, I have a question: is there anything that can be done if a Pope has gone off the rails? Or do you just have to wait and pray? I have wondered if there is any possible course of action once a man has become Pope…

    • Reply Rebecca December 4, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      If you’re interested in a good book…Pope Fiction.

      We pray and know that God is ultimately in control! There is a podcast by Pints with Aquinas with Patrick Coffin discussing our problems.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel December 5, 2018 at 9:52 am

        Pope Fiction! Ha! I LOVE the title.

        I listen to Pints with Aquinas, but I’ve been behind and skipped some to catch back up. That must be one I skipped! I’ll dig it up and listen. Thank you!

        And know that some of us Protestants are praying, too! ♥

        • Reply Rebecca December 6, 2018 at 7:06 am

          God is good and the Church has been through much worse! ❤️?

  • Reply Erin December 3, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Re 6a- Well I am Catholic, and I can tell you we are NOT happy. Totally at accord with you.

  • Reply Alison December 2, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Hey Brandy, I’m so glad your burn is better. I love that your kids are so enthusiastic, lol!
    I do have a very spacey teen I am going to go get her the DHA supplement. I am also really pleased that your husband recommends the NOW brand. I am always concerned about the quality of our supplements, but I really can’t afford some of the more expensive brands.
    I am Catholic, and this deal with China is insane. This pope is absolutely awful. I haven’t come across a single catholic, that knows their faith, that believes this is good for the Church in China. The amount of control China is asserting over it’s people is terrifying.

  • Reply Shanna December 1, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Already bought DHA and am reading the book within 30 minutes of reading your email. I keep terrifying myself by calling things the wrong word, like tonight I called the stepladder the flashlight.

    • Reply Julie Zilkie December 3, 2018 at 9:45 am

      This happens to me all the time! What in the world!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 3, 2018 at 9:51 am

      I was doing this a lot, too! And as a podcaster, you can imagine how fun that was. 😉 Now, I only do it when I’m really tired; this is a big way the DHA has helped me. 🙂

  • Reply Brenda December 1, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I’m intrigued by the Now brain health product you mentioned. I’ve been considering the Nemechek Protocol for my 16 yo daughter, who gets frustrated that she can’t remember things. (Trying to assess if much of the problem is poor study habits, or if there is a brain function issue going on, or a combination of the two?)
    Anyway, a couple questions – do you use these supplements in addition to the inulin powder, or can they be used alone? And are they huge pills? She has only just recently mastered swallowing a small capsule!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 3, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Hi Brenda! I think the Nemechek Protocol is great for teens, even when they are neurotypical. ♥ To answer your questions:

      1. We DO use the inulin powder, but yes, they can be used alone. I know, because I am only able to take a minuscule amount of it…half of the time, I just don’t take it. I have a big sensitivity to it. But I still think the DHA is helping me loads.
      2. The pills are quite large, yes. They are gel caps, so that helps, but still … it might be an issue. Dr. Nemechek does have a liquid brand he recommends: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omegas. We used this when our children were younger, and then I kind of forgot about it! (How I wish I’d continued.) It’s more expensive, but it’s a way to get started if the pill size is an issue.

      • Reply Brenda Faust December 3, 2018 at 11:07 am

        So did you just dose out a teaspoon of the liquid, or did you put it in something? I am not sure which she would balk at more, swallowing a huge gelcap or swallowing a spoonful of something terrible tasting! She is frustrated though, so might be able to try one of the options.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel December 3, 2018 at 11:41 am

          They always just took the liquid straight. It has a lemon flavor to it in an attempt to improve it, but yes still a bit gross. They chose to do it that way, though, because they didn’t like ruining other food they liked. 🙂

          • tess December 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

            Have you ladies ever heard of Barlean’s omega 3 swirl smoothies? I’m not familiar with the Nemechek protocol in particular, but I have loved Barlean’s as a company for years. I give my kids the high potency swirl, which has 1,500 mg of EPA/DHA per tablespoon. The ultra high potency comes in citrus swirl and key lime flavors, has a ridiculously great absorption rate, and is totally palatable even for people who HATE fish (my cousin is one of these).
            I’m not financially invested in this, I just have had great results with this company and thought you might be interested! One of the things that I love about Barlean’s is that their products actually taste good (hello, chocolate flavored greens– where were you all my life?).

          • Brenda December 3, 2018 at 5:12 pm

            Ok, one more question…do you think the liquid could be added to a smoothie?

  • Reply Lucy barr-hamilton November 30, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you so much for linking the article on Christopher Tolkien. I had no idea.

    On the myths of Narnia, have you read Planet Narnia, by Michael Ward? Such a great book and mind-blowing analysis of the (possible) secret of the chronicles!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 30, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      I have *not* read Planet Narnia. You have me intrigued. I’m putting it on my list! Thank you for the recommendation. ♥

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