Author Archives: Wendy Thomas

About Wendy Thomas

Wendy is a journalist, writer, blogger and the Tech Blog Manager at Constant Contact.

Lesson 1086 – Tiny Living in a Big House – Tiny step: Outgrown clothes basket

The power of tiny steps. If you don’t think that tiny steps make a difference when on a journey, listen to this story.

After I “tinified” the key rack and the side table, I found a basket of clothing just outside of my daughters’ bedroom. A tiny bit of a miracle in my estimation – my girls are voluntarily getting rid of stuff? Normally something like that might have stayed there (with everyone tripping over it) until I got around to “finding the time to go through it.” (hint, I almost never find the time to go through things like this.)

But you know what? The basket wasn’t that big, and besides, the casserole still had about 15 minutes to go (which meant that I *did* have the time), so I grabbed the clothes to do a quick sort. (Just making sure that they didn’t accidentally include their swim team bathing suit like they did one time – which then had to immediately be replaced – have you priced women’s race suits lately?) Within a few minutes, I had gone from this:

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To this:

Yes, I even gave the basket away because how many baskets does one family really need?

Yes, I even gave the basket away (after we found the handle) because how many baskets does one family really need?

And there was still time before the casserole was done.

The clothes were packed up and put in the car to be donated. A tiny (really tiny) step? you bet! But more stuff that we didn’t need has moved out of our big house and it feels good. We won’t get to the end of our journey today, and probably not even tomorrow, but be assured, we will eventually live tiny in a big house.

 

(yeah, I know our floors are trashed, it a combination of a very old house and a million scuffing feet – right now that’s the least of our worries, but someday…)

***
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 1085 – Tiny Living in a Big House – Tiny step: Side Table

As you know I work… and I have six kids who are all home for the summer. This doesn’t add up to a lot of time for me to do much more than basic food prep and upkeep around the house (pair that with a dishwasher that is perpetually broken, a dog, and a flock, and, yeah, we have stuff to do.)

The other day, spurred on by my success with the key rack, I decided to tackle a small table that has forever sat in the corner of our living room. I decided to see what I could to make the situation, well tinier. I mean a step in the right direction is a step in the right direction, right?

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First of all, that table was made by my brother when he was in High School. He gave to me as a birthday present one year. If the house were on fire, I’d grab that table, there was no question that it stayed.

The lamp however, was a different story. There is a couch located just off to the right of that table. It’s a convenient place for people to be on their laptops, which means that they typically have to use the electrical plug behind the couch, which means that they unplug the lamp, which means that nobody plugs it back in.

Without exaggerating, that lamp has been unplugged for at least the last 5 years. Obviously we don’t need it – out it went. Continue reading

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Lesson 1084 -NO CROW Collars – discussion

 

Yesterday when I put up information on the NO CROW collars, I had no idea of the kinds of opinions people would have on the matter. While most think that *if* this works, it would be great, there were a few who strongly disliked the idea.

But then I shouldn’t have been surprised, people tend to love and be protective of their flocks.

“It’s cruel.”
“If you don’t want to have roosters, you shouldn’t have roosters.”

And while I agree with that last comment on some level, (once again, roosters do not belong in a backyard flock where you have close neighbors) I also know that with our very first surprise rooster, Betty (“Bet he’s” a rooster) I would have tried anything if it meant we could keep her/him in our flock. We hadn’t planned on a rooster, but as so often happens when you have chicks, we ended up getting one.

I feel so strongly about the rooster situation that I taught myself how to cull a chicken so that not only could I put a sick or injured chicken down, but that I would also be available to locals who could not get rid of their roosters. When I teach my chicken classes, I always include a short segment on culling.

Do I like doing it? No. Will I continue to offer this service? Yes. We live near a river, a quick cull is far better than abandoning in the woods or throwing in the water. Sometimes people get desperate. Continue reading

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Lesson 1083 -NO CROW Collars (+ giveaway)

I don’t normally do “give-aways” on my blog. Nothing irritates me more than going to a blog and seeing a post that’s really an advertisement for an item. And if you want to get a chance in winning it, you need to:

  • Comment
  • Tweet
  • Put something on Facebook
  • Sign-up for the blog
  • Give up the rights of your first-born child

I know it’s a (cheap) way to generate traffic to your blog, but I’d just rather work on telling stories.

Having said that, guess what??? Today I’m offering a giveaway!!!!

Little background – I recently wrote an article in Backyard Poultry about ways to keep roosters quiet. One of the methods I wrote about was something called the NO CROW collar. The collar was a stiff band that went around the rooster’s neck preventing him from taking a deep breath.

It sounded like a great idea and so I included the information. Continue reading

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Lesson 1082 – Quotable Chicks

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

IMG_20140720_161623156_HDR“Every summer has its own story.” 

 

I know, I know, everyone says it so often these days, but I can’t help it.

I can’t believe that it’s the end of another week! My goodness it was just yesterday that Marc and I were at the fair walking around livestock and eating corn-on-the-cob. And now we are entering into yet *another* weekend (not complaining, mind you, just continually surprised at how fast time seems to be going.)

This weekend, I’ll be presenting on a writers’ panel at Bookstock which will be held in Woodstock, Vermont. I and two other writers from our blog – New Hampshire Writers Network – will be talking about the mechanics and growing pains of having and writing for a group blog, and how writing for a blog has helped our careers and/or writing.

I’ll be speaking from NHWN’s point of view, but I could also be talking from my Lessons Learned from the Flock point of view. Continue reading

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Lesson 1081 – Tiny Living in a Big House – Tiny step: Key Rack

As you’ve read, I am determined to live tiny in our big house. What this means is that we are going to get rid of things we don’t need, try to only keep the things that we do need, and organize what’s left.

The problem with living in a large house (with 6 kids) however, is that tasks like decluttering, purging, downsizing, and organizing can be incredibly overwhelming. Although I know I should gut the TV room, when I walk in and see all the DVD’s (and yes, even some VHS tapes), the books, and the stuff that has been dropped down by the kids and forgotten, my inclination is not to purge, my inclination is to turn away and run. It seems that no one wants to pick up or put things away (or move anything out) in our house because they’ve figured out that mom will eventually do it.

But after spending 8 hours in front of a computer writing, when I’m done for the day, picking up and sorting are not exactly the first things I put on my to-do list.

So for people like me, living tiny is going to have to happen using tiny steps.

Tiny Step: Key Rack Continue reading

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Lesson 1080 – The stories I tell

The first time I saw the movie “Big Fish”, I thought to myself, hey that’s me. I. tell. stories.

I have been telling stories my entire life and while most of them are true, if I want to be honest, I have to admit that some of them might be a little embellished (but definitely not exaggerated, I would never exaggerate in a million years.) My kids have heard all of my stories many times over.

There’s the one when I was young and the boy who lived down the street threw a fire-cracker at my feet trying to scare me. I stood my ground and told him that if that firecracker hurt me then my dad was going to sue his dad (his dad was a Congressman.) After the firecracker sputtered out (it was just a tiny one, even I could see that) he realized what could have been and he apologized. Continue reading

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Lesson 1079 – Tiny living, blue jean aprons and flowers

Today I have a post on Hari Kaur Benzin’s blog – Tiny House Family about Living Tiny in a Big House. As many of you know, I want nothing more than to live in a tiny house, there’s just something about a place you could call your own. (A writing room of her own, perhaps?) For now, though, I’ll just have to be content with learning how to live tiny in a big house.

If tiny living and tiny houses intrigue you, pop over there and take a look. Also, look at the picture I included with my post – I managed to get Amazing Lego Mama Hen inside the tiny house – oh tricky me.

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Fantastic Blue Jean Aprons!

I put this one up on my Facebook page, but I was so tickled with it, I thought I’d share it on my blog as well. We went to the Stratham fair this weekend where there was a section of New Hampshire Made products. One vendor the Skinny Towel and Washcloth company  had these incredible blue jean aprons. They had two varieties (jean fronts and backs.) The straps are strips made from jean legs that are threaded through rivets at each the side of the apron and are long enough to wrap around and tie in front (it’s best if you thread the ties through the belt loops to keep the apron from sagging.) There is very little sewing, in fact, it looks like they just cut the pants (long enough to cover the pockets) and then sewed it with a serger to finish it off. Each apron was $10 (I also purchased some of the skinny towels because, well, what another great idea.) Continue reading

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Lesson 1078 – Multi-hued eggs

A friend recently tagged me on this Facebook photo and wanted me to explain to her friend what was going on with this egg.

It looks funny but it's normal.

It looks funny but it’s normal.

The short answer is that nothing is going on, that’s a perfectly normal egg. Go ahead and use it.

The longer answer is that when you lay an egg roughly every other day for years, there are likely to be occasional “blips.” Especially in the beginning.

If you have chickens long enough, you’ll see misshapen eggs, lumpy eggs (calcium deposits), zombie eggs (shell-less eggs), fart eggs (starter eggs) and even eggs inside of eggs. Mistakes happen, not all of life is perfect and neither are some eggs. Everything is fine, as long as some of these problems don’t happen more than “once in a while” (for example, many zombie eggs might be an indication that your flock needs more calcium.) Continue reading

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Lesson 1077 – Quotable Chicks

 

Friday’s Quotes for the Chicks

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It’s five o’clock somewhere.” Jimmy Buffet

We only have so many chances for sparkling-fine summer days in our parts. When they do come, you can bet we take full advantage of each opportunity. This morning was filled with an outdoor swim meet (sun and water – best combination ever), followed by a visit to a local rib shack where we ate in the backyard at a picnic table, shaded by an umbrella, while listening to Jimmy Buffet music (with a cold beer or two in hand.)

Days like these are about as close as one can get to heaven on earth.

Meanwhile, those who couldn’t go with us, whether it was because of timing or work, stayed behind and pouted just a little bit.

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No worries, my little chicks. Summer has finally, finally come to New Hampshire. I’m sure we’ll have many more adventures in the bright sunny days to come and you’re more than welcome to join us when we do.

*****

 Be safe, go out in the sun, and I’ll see you all next week.

***
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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