Lesson 1420 – Easy summer dinners and burnt hands


I’ll own up to it, it was completely my fault.

Our summer schedule is, in actuality, not much of a schedule. All 5 kids at home this summer have jobs with 1 on a summer swim team and that means we are constantly coming and going. Throw Pokemon Go in to the mix (which takes me out on walks at the end of the day) and I’m lucky if I can get more than a few of us at a time sitting at the dinner table.

To combat this, I’ve been making a lot of one-pan dishes and casseroles that can be reheated and eaten when people come home after late shifts. When you’re kids get older, this becomes the new reality.

Last night I had planned a one-pan chicken, noodle vegetable dish. Marc had decided to go to the grocery store *right* before it was ready to be served, (I can’t tell you how many times he does that. At this point, it’s beyond coincidence and I think he’s trying to tell me something.)


Anyway, anticipating he’d be back soon, I stirred the cooked noodles into the vegetables and chicken, put a metal lid on and placed the pan on the other side of the stove away from the hot burner.

What I didn’t do was turn the burner I used off.

We serve ourselves from the kitchen and then take our food outside to the deck table. When we dished out the food, someone (guilty as charged) naturally put the lid off to the side, which in this case happened to be a burner that was still on. When you let a metal lid with an oven mitt draped on it sit on top of a hot burner, just take a guess at what happens.


Logan had left the dinner table  in the middle of the meal to get himself a glass of water (THANK GOD). All of the sudden he came running outside with fire in his hands.

“Well that’s kind of interesting,” a detached part of my brain observed.

He ran the fire over to the outdoor faucet and drenched his fire pile, which turned out to be my oven glove with water. (Fun fact, we all agreed that a burned oven mitt smells like toasted marshmallows.)

Marc went inside and *picked* up the metal lid which had been sitting on the hot burner with his hand. (In all fairness, you wouldn’t naturally expect a metal lid to be red hot.)

Marc then dropped the metal lid and ran to the sink to put his now blistering fingers under cold water.

Logan was holding ice on his burnt hand.

The house was filled with smoke, my new King Arthur oven mitt was destroyed, more than one person in our family needed burn ointment, and there would be no leftovers tonight. A rather dramatic end to an “easy summer dinner.”

“Soooo,” drawled Addy. “Anyone up for ice cream?”


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

Also, join Wendy 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.

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Lesson 1419 – Loud noises and a frightened little pup

This post has nothing to do with chickens, Lyme disease, my upcoming border-to-border New Hampshire walk, or even my kids.

It’s all about a small, frightened little dog.

And it’s also about asking for help.

This is Dalai (formally Dolly – she’s a Tibetan Spaniel so we renamed her Dalai-puppy – (get it?) – bonus points we still get to say “Well, Hello Dalai!”) We inherited her when my mother passed.

Sure she sneezes a lot, but she's as cute as a button.

Sure she sneezes a lot, but she’s as cute as a button.

Dalai is a charming, intelligent little pup, smart as a whip that one. The only trouble my mother ever had with her (puppy teething aside) was once in Virginia when a plow truck came by their house and the noise so frightened Dalai that she got spooked and ran. It took some time but she was finally found and returned to my parents. Dolly has spent the last few years living in a (very) quiet apartment and has had no issues. Continue reading


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Lesson 1418 – mailing postcards by email


A member of our flock; Trevor has been away for most of the summer. He spent a few weeks at Fort Knox doing basic training for the Army and now he’s at Fort Bragg participating in airborne training. While  he was able to get mail at Fort Knox, for whatever reason he’s not allowed to get mail at Fort Bragg.

When Trevor is away at these training sessions I usually send postcards with a drawing and a short note, nothing too complicated and hopefully nothing too embarrassing. I’d like to think that he enjoys getting these messages from home. We’re thinking about you buddy. Continue reading

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Lesson 1417 – Lions and Tigers and Bells, Oh My


In the words of my kids, I really need to take a “chill pill.”* So what’s got me so worked up?

The first two days of our Border to Border New Hampshire walk.

Although it’s likely that we’ll be dropping some weight along the way, we’ll be starting at our heaviest on the days when we’ll be walking the most.

22 miles for the first day, 26 for the second.

Not only that but we’ll be using packs that are at their heaviest (supplies will be fresh, unnecessary items won’t have been dropped yet.)

What we’re talking about is a lot of weight on feet and joints that are um, problematic to begin with. And we’re asking our bodies to carry this extra weight for a long distance.

Yup, I’m worried. I’m making list after list of what to bring and then crossing off what we *may* not need. A lot of what I’m packing is “just in case” stuff, because that’s what moms genetically do. We pack extra pairs of clothing in case someone spills something. We pack extra diapers for babies in case there’s a blow-out. We *always* pack more snacks than could ever be eaten because, well you know, a hungry child, even a potentially hungry child is just not a pretty sight.

And how can I survive 14 days without books and fun things? Granted I don’t need to carry 5 books but what if I finish one before I can pick up another? I mean, it could happen, right? Continue reading

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Lesson 1416 – The Old Man of the Mountain Endures

People who know me personally, know that I’ve worn a particular necklace for at least the last10 years (who can keep any more accurate time than that when you have six kids.) Marc got it as an anniversary gift from our “favorite jeweler” Fran Cooke (he’s made a few pieces for us over the years.) and it depicts New Hampshire’s famous rock formation called the “Old Man of the Mountain.”


The Old Man was famous largely because of statesman Daniel Webster, a New Hampshire native, who once wrote: “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”

Men, men, men, men (and a few women to boot.) Continue reading

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Lesson 1415 – Tips for taking care of your feet while on a looooong walk


Because like a Boy Scout, I want to always be prepared – I’ve been doing a bit of research on foot care when on a looooong walk. Here’s what I’ve come up with.



Tips for taking of your feet while on a looooong walk

Let’s face it your feet are going to be very important when you decide to go on a multi-day loooong walk. If your feet hurt or get injured best case is that you will have a horribly painful time and worst case, of course is that you’ll have to stop. Preparation on your feet should start weeks before your actual walk. Continue reading

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Lesson 1414 – Mom’s Garden


When my mother was in hospice, I would go around the building snapping pictures of flowers from the many arrangements found in rooms and hallways. I’d bring the photos back to my mom to show her while she was confined to her bed. We had a running joke that my photo collection was “mom’s virtual garden.”

I’ve always been taught that when you find a penny it means that someone in heaven is thinking about you. My mother is now gone, but I find myself drawn to taking photographs of flowers.  Perhaps it’s the colors, the beauty, or maybe I’m just adding to the virtual garden, but whatever the reason is, when I see flowers I think of my mom. And that’s not such a bad thing.

Please enjoy these as much as my mother would have. Continue reading


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