Author Archives: Wendy Thomas

About Wendy Thomas

Wendy is a journalist, writer, blogger and teaches writing at Nashua Community College.

Lesson 1387 – Yellow cake

At a yard sale this weekend I found a treasure trove of old handwritten recipes. Oh sure, there were many recipes cut out from magazines (Robert Conrad’s potato casserole anyone?) but it was the ones written on those 1950’s – 1970 recipe cards (you know the ones with the little flower decorations in the upper left corner) that got my attention.

I have a few of my mother’s handwritten cards and I consider them to be among my most treasured possessions.  (Soon, I’ll be making those chocolate, peanut butter, rice Krispy cookies that I talked about at my mom’s funeral.)

It’s a lost art. Who writes down recipes anymore? It’s more like, if someone requests a recipe we send them the link to where they can find it, time just seems to fly a little faster these days. And even if we had the time to write down a recipe, who has the time to make it other than for a special occasion? Pizza hut to the rescue.

Well I have time (in between everything else I have to do.)

Think about it. When I grew up food was how you showed your creativity. While my mother did work (after the kids had gotten older) most women didn’t, they stayed at home and took care of the flock. Preparing food was how they nourished their families, while the recipes nourished their creativity. When received from a friend, most recipe cards began with “from the kitchen of..” Sharing recipes was the social network of its time.

My kids, who are the sons and daughters of this storyteller definitely know the potential of a good story (or two) when they see it. Helping me sort through the recipes on Saturday night and placing them into two binders, every single one of my kids knew what was coming.

What will we start with first? They asked me.

A small piece of paper fluttered out of the binder onto my lap. A recipe for “Yellow Cake.” Yellow cake? I thought you could just buy a mix for yellow cake, I didn’t think you had to do much to make it (especially when the first ingredient is a “yellow cake mix”) . But hey, I’m not one to take signs lightly.

“This is what we’ll make, “ I decreed holding the scrap above my head. Simple name, no instructions other than what to combine and yet apparently so remarkable that someone took the time to scribble it down.

I bring you “Yellow Cake”

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This makes a dense and very moist cake. I’ve heard from one reader that if refrigerated overnight it’s even better the second day. And while I thought the lemon flavor would be a little brighter, it sure lived up to its title of being a YELLOW cake  no false advertising here.

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Guess what my kids and I will be doing this summer?

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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 her 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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Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, Eggs, Everything Eggs, Food Savings, Personal, Recipes, The Family, The kids

Lesson 1386 – Blue eggs countdown

May 19th, 2016 – getting closer and closer.

I thought I saw some pipping yesterday, but now I think it was just some scratches on the egg.

The mama is *loving* the blueberries I leave out for her.

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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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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

Lesson 1385 – Hospice – a list for the caregiver

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A few days ago I made a list of things that would help and/or be useful to someone who is in a residential hospice. Now I’d like to look at a list for those giving care. I know that my situation was different, most people never stay longer than 2 weeks, but as you know my mother lasted 8 weeks at hospice before she died.

That was 8 weeks of me traveling down to stay with her four days out of the week (and there was one period where I was there for 9 days straight because I had spring break.)

I am forever glad that I was able to do this, but it took its toll on my body. You know when on the airplane they tell you to put your oxygen on first telling you that if you are in charge of someone, you can’t take care of them if you don’t take care of yourself – (and then every nurse repeats this story to you nearly every day at hospice?)

It’s true.

While with my mother, I sat for hours and hours and when it was time to eat, I would grab a quick lunch (which usually meant a sandwich and fries) and return to my sitting. At night I’d return to my hotel and well, you can probably figure out what I did – absolutely nothing. A day at hospice doesn’t exactly psych you up for a vigorous workout in the evening. Continue reading

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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

Lesson 1384 – 9 Life Lessons Presidential Candidates Have Taught the Presidential Selfie Girls

 

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Emma and Addy Nozell aka Presidential Selfie Girls

When my daughters, Addy and Emma Nozell, otherwise known as the Presidential Selfie Girls, decided to set a challenge to listen to and snap a photo with each of the Presidential candidates in New Hampshire, none of us knew it would be an experience so filled with positive life lessons.

Even if the girls didn’t completely agree with each of the candidates, they all had a valuable bit of life advice to pass on. Below are some of our favorites.

1. Lindsey Graham (R) – family matters – a lot

Lindsey Graham is a “go down to the bar and have a beer” kind of guy with a great sense of humor, He’s a born storyteller who artfully delivers jokes with the precision of the most accomplished comedian while still giving off an “aw shucks” kind of vibe. But under those jokes lies a deep well of pain. Graham’s mother died when he was 21 and then a year later his father died leaving him and his 13 year old sister orphans. It is a huge emotional and financial challenge for a young man to keep a family that has been so deeply damaged like that together.

Graham could have abandoned his sister and the family pool bar, but instead he stepped up to the plate, took over the business and made sure his sister was taken care of while he attended college and then law school. At one point he even adopted his sister so that she could receive his military benefits. Continue reading

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Filed under chicken care, New Hampshire, Personal, Politics in New Hampshire, Recipes, The Family, The kids

Lesson 1383 – Medicated mash or not?

 

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It’s chick season! My Facebook page is filled with all sorts of adorable chick photos (not that I’m complaining.)

I recently gave a chick workshop to some people who are interested in perhaps “trying chickens” (my advice? just bite the bullet and go for it.)

One way in which my workshops differ from others is that I suggest that all chicks receive medicated mash (baby food) until they are fully feathered and ready to live in the coop. Even if you want to grow “organic birds” I suggest medicated feed for those first few weeks.

Sorry, but it’s the microbiologist in me. I know what bacteria can do. Think about it. If you get chicks from a feed store they are typically housed in low tubs. Moms’ bring their young (sneezing) kids over to look at them. People pick them up (because they are so cute) and then return them to the tub (because they are not cute enough to keep.) Not only that but chicks are typically kept with many, many other chicks some of which may be weak and it’s the weaker ones that get sick. When one chick in a tub with hundreds gets sick, chances are many others will as well.

So I see medicated feed as a sort of insurance policy. Eat this for a few weeks just to make sure. Continue reading

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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

Lesson 1382 – Blue eggs countdown

I’ve been using this week to catch up on a lot of work that had been put aside for the past few months. I still have an article to write and a trip to the college for administration purposes before I can close up shop for the weekend.

Regardless of whether I’m ready or not, life goes on. Two days before my mother’s funeral, I got a call that our ordered chicks had arrived. I briefly thought about bringing them with us for the weekend to Connecticut but then figured the hotel probably wouldn’t be too excited about that. So I set them up in a trusty Tupperware box and found a chick sitter, who through the wonder that is Facebook, kept us connected to the newest members of our flock all weekend. Continue reading

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Lesson 1381 – Lyme Disease – everyone needs to know about it

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It’s spring and ticks are out. There is going to be a whole crop of new people (including many, many kids) who will be infected with Lyme disease. As the mom of 5 kids who have chronic Lyme disease and who is a chronic Lyme disease patient myself. I take educating others on Lyme disease very, very seriously.

My daughter who works at a local movie theater told me that when she was recently cleaning up after a movie, she found a tick crawling across the tile floor.

Yup, we live in New Hampshire where ticks thrive. You don’t even have to go outside to be exposed to them. *Everyone* needs to know about Lyme disease and co-infections.

Absolutely everyone. Continue reading

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Filed under Lyme Disease