Lesson 1177 – The LOVE Teddy Bear

 

When one of my sons was in third grade, the teacher instituted a ticket system. If you did your work and behaved well, you would earn a ticket. Each Friday the kids were allowed to “spend” their tickets at the class store where they could buy pencils, small toys, and even a piece of candy.

My son earned his tickets but wouldn’t spend them.

Thinking that he didn’t understand the concept, his teacher explained that tickets were like money and he could “trade” them in for treats.

My son still wouldn’t spend his tickets.

At home I also tried to explain how it worked. “Sweetheart,” I told him, “this is a reward for being good, you can choose what you want from the store.”

Nothing.

We gave up, maybe he just didn’t “get” how money worked. From the start of school until December, that kid did not spend one ticket. Not one. No toys, no pencils, no candy.

But then on a Friday in early December when he had accrued 85 tickets, he finally went to the class store and he bought his first item.

It was a teddy bear holding a heart over its head that said LOVE.

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When he first saw that bear on the table at the class store in September he hatched a plan. He figured out how many tickets he would need and he saved his tickets to buy the teddy bear for me as a Christmas present because he knew I would love it.

And I do. Oh, I so love my baby bear.

Since then – 9 years ago, it wouldn’t be a complete Christmas tree without my LOVE Teddy Bear sitting in its branches reminding me of what tiny miracles children can be.

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1176 – Life from hardship

We’ve had snow and now we don’t – for the most part. (But there was a lot of snow when I drove to Vermont yesterday so it’s not far away.)

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Vermont yesterday

Soon after we had our falcon attack this past fall, I rolled our used Halloween pumpkin under a bush the juvies had started to huddle beneath each day as a way to hide from the neighborhood predator. I figured, under the bush, they could peck at it in leisure and safety.

That falcon really changed the behavior of our flock, it’s rare to see any member randomly roaming the yard anymore, they all either hover near an overhang or hide under a bush and won’t dare come out unless a human caretaker is present.

Which means that the pumpkin, which was whole (we just stuck arms and legs into it) has seen much action. This is all that currently remains of our Halloween pumpkin:

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Heavy snow is in the forecast for this weekend. The flock doesn’t like being out on ice and so days (upon days) of being cooped up loom in the immediate future. With the snows, the remains of the pumpkin will become mush, eventually returning its nutrients to the ground.

Who knows, perhaps after the thaw a seed will take root – the start of a new pumpkin – reminding us all that life can spring from hardship – even when evils like falcons abound.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1175 – Home for the Holidays

In just a bit, I get to leave one chick who had some teeth pulled yesterday (and who is doing fine although he passed on the Shepard’s pie for dinner last night – gasp – and instead had soup and a smoothie) in order to get another chick in Vermont so he can be home with us for the holidays.

That’s one aspect of what a mama hen does all the time. Send and retrieve. It’s her job. Have you ever seen a new group of chicks introduced into an existing flock? They hang around and explore together as a group, all under the watchful eye of the mama. The chicks will constantly test boundaries, the neighbor’s yard, the street, all in an effort to see where their mama’s world ends and where theirs begins.

When the mama hen has decided that enough is enough, she corrals them back into the safety of the coop (often with the assistance of the flock’s rooster) with a –

“Just what were you thinking?” and sometimes a simple,

“Really?”

But the mama also rejoices when she see the chicks applying the lessons they’ve been taught –

“My class ends at 12, how about picking me up at 2 when I’ll be all packed?”

Instead of, “Be here at 12 and I’ll come down when I’m ready.”

Or “I had to take something in the night for pain, I wrote when I took it down on the meds paper.”

Teach and teach, push and pull – the constant jobs of the mama.

The reward? A mama who can *begin* to relax by trusting her chicks will continue to make the right choices. Along with a houseful of flock members all truly looking forward to spending time with the family during this season of togetherness and being grateful.

 

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

 

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1174 – A mama hen’s job

Ready and waiting

Ready and waiting

One of my chicks is going to have his wisdom teeth pulled today.

I’ll be the one who drives him to the clinic where it will be done and I’ll be the one who pretends to read a book while he is away in a tiny room, blissfully unaware that people are cutting and pulling parts of his mouth away.

I’ll hover over him when he gets out of surgery and knowing him, he’ll be annoyed that I’m there.

“Oh, mom,” he’ll say in that voice he’s used so many times before, “I’m fine.”

I know he’ll be fine.

I know he’ll be fine as I adjust the pillows on the couch in front of the TV so that he can drain downward – a trick that helps with nausea.

I know he’ll be fine as I find a warm wool blanket to tuck around him in order to keep warm reducing stress on his body. Continue reading

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Lesson 1173 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

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Remember that most fairy tales were written by men – Jaime Morrison Curtis

As I go through the stores this holiday season, I can’t help but notice all things Frozen. Frozen toys, dinnerware, clothing, bedding, and even earmuffs. All I can say is “Thank God my girls are older.”

Don’t get me wrong, I saw Frozen and I, along with the rest of the world, loved the music (although to be honest, I am *very* tired of “Let it Go”), but here’s the thing – news flash, fairy tale princesses do not reflect reality.

For example, the ice princess becomes provocatively sexy once she comes into her power (watch the video clip of Let it Go and you’ll see what I mean, apparently one develops a svelte figure and an incredible cat walk once you come into your own.)

And the other princess gets rescued by a boy (even though until that point, she had looked like an earnest, although a bit ditzy, heroine.) Continue reading

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Lesson 1172 – Tiny Living in a Big House – Tiny step: Holiday Battles

I started a post yesterday and then I got called away with a meeting, then a project was returned that needed immediate edits, then the kids came home from school, and then all the afternoon driving began. In short, the day got away from me.

So today I’ll put up two posts.

This first post is about living tiny in a big house.

The holidays are not kind to people who tend to collect things. Our basement is filled with tons of decorations from years past – important when the kids were little, but that are now simply waiting for me to find the time to send them off to a new home.

Of course, I would never get rid of the items that hold favorite childhood memories like the plate, cup and letter to Santa we use for his cookies.

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But I have started to go through things like boxes and boxes of ornaments. The ones with meaning stay, the ones that were simply given or collected along the way (like the 1998 CVS Snowman?) we have decided to re-home.

Here’s the problem though, my kids have inherited my “give everything meaning” philosophy. Our tree is one of those very old artificial trees. We got it when we first moved into a home from a condo. While it’s served its purpose, we (I) am getting tired of digging it out each year and then spending what seems like days matching the individual branches to the correctly colored levels.

We all agree that a new tree is in our future.

But one of my sons has called “dibs” on this Christmas tree. He wants it for when he has his own home. As the one who couldn’t bear to see the tree come down each year, it’s his, he claims. A charming thought but it means that we will need to store this tree somewhere in our house for the next few years. While we store a new one.

Hardly the idea of tiny living.

And then we have the jokesters. A son (actually, it’s the very same Christmas tree guy) thought it would be funny to decorate our then bare tree with a giant porch candy cane ornament. Funny. We left it on the tree for a few days until we could get it properly decorated. Once that happened, I put the candy cane in the give-away box.

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The beer can is actually an ornament from the Budweiser Brewery in our town.

 

The next day it was back on the tree. Three times I have tried to get rid of the candy cane and three times it has returned to the tree. “It’s now a part of our history,” I’ve been told.

It is me, fighting against a storm composed of 7 other forces.

Even if your desire is to live tiny, you still have to learn to pick your battles. From the basement I moved out two boxes of no longer used lawn ornaments … and the candy cane on the tree remains.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1171 – Coffee and Chickens

As a writer, you know that I like me some coffee. If I could, I would probably start a coffee I.V. first thing in the morning (interestingly enough though, I rarely drink coffee after 11 a.m.)

I like coffee and I like it hot. Very hot – which is why I always have to grab one of those cardboard sleeves (and then feel guilty about throwing it away because I always forget to save it.)

A friend on Facebook let us know that her friend was making and selling sock puppet monkey drink sleeves to raise money for her church. Sock puppet monkey sleeves? This would solve my problem and they’d be too cute to lose track of.

adorbs n'est pas?

adorbs n’est pas?

I ordered a few. Continue reading

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