Category Archives: Challenges

Lesson 1140 – Keto diet and backyard chickens

It turns out that a Keto diet is a *very* good diet to be on if you have chickens (and want to make a thrifty dish or two. This one crustless quiche recipe uses 12 eggs (although to be fair it makes 12 servings so that’s really only one egg per serving.) Once made, I froze the leftovers and in the mornings I take one serving out, sprinkle more cheese on it and then heat it in the microwave.I think this is a terrific breakfast recipe for anyone, especially older kids who sometimes are so rushed they forget to eat something for breakfast.Here is the original recipe from I breathe I’m hungry.

It’s a low carb and gluten free breakfast casserole recipe that is hearty and easy to make!

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Filed under Challenges, Food Savings, Life Lessons, New Hampshire, Personal, Recipes, Simple Thrift Tips, The Family

Lesson 1131 – Real Soup in a Cup – A thrifty and healthy lunch

Several people pointed me to this news story that has made the rounds recently. Basically, it’s the lament (whining) of a 350 lb. woman on benefits (she lives in the U.K.) She currently receives about $32,000 year (includes public housing) and claims that she remains fat because the government is not giving her enough money to buy healthy food or to join a gym. If she only had more money, she claims, she would be able to lose weight.I’m not even sure where to start with this one.

First, if you look at her cupboard, you’ll soon realize that the woman wouldn’t know healthy food it came up and bit her on her substantial bum. Second, last time I looked, walking was free.

As a mother of 6, I have spent years figuring out how to feed my kids a healthy diet without breaking the bank. I’m all about saving money and I’ve written about it in newspaper and magazine columns and articles. I’ve even taken the SNAP challenge and did quite well on less than $35/week (and I also showed how I could *save* money while on SNAP.

My kids, deprived beings that they are, very rarely get grocery store cookies, cereals, or soda. They just don’t because none of us need that garbage. The other night we had a cake for a birthday celebration. We all enjoyed it because it was special. Cake is celebration food – it’s not something that should be eaten every day.

Some of my readers have asked me to write again about how I plan our weekly menu and then how I shop for it. (I routinely spend about $160 – $180/week to feed our family of 7 adults – that comes to about $26/week. And trust me, when money was *really* tight, I’ve fed everyone for less.)

I have a few other projects to finish up, but in the next few weeks, I will do just that. I’ll share our weekly menu (something I do every Sunday morning) and my shopping list. I’ll make the meals for the week and will show you exactly what we eat.

If one spends $180/week on food that comes to $9360 per year. That’s a far cry less than $32,000 (and remember, I’m feeding 7 adults (our youngest is 15) – the woman in the news article is feeding herself and two children.) With the money I could save on her benefits, I could probably afford to buy a second-hand bike which could provide even more exercise.

Until I do my menu sharing, to start things off, I’ll give you a quick money saving healthy recipe which I plan on using for the entire winter.

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Filed under Challenges, Food Savings, Life Lessons, New Hampshire, Personal, Recipes, Simple Thrift Tips, The Family

Lesson 334 – I am not a chicken (although at times I felt like one)

This weekend I proved to all that I am no chicken (even though I love the dears as members of our own family).

Not only did I participate in a local (greater Nashua YMCA/CPTE) triathlon but I finished it. Here is a photo of a very relieved me finishing the race.

For those of you who have not had the experience of doing a tri this is basically how one goes:

You stand on the dock getting ready to get in the water and you think to yourself “I can’t do this.”

Then the whistle blows and you start your swim and you think “Maybe I can.”

About halfway through the swim you think to yourself “I can’t do this.”

Then you see the swim finish line and you think “Maybe I can.”

You get on your bike while still trying to get your breath back from the swim. 16 miles are ahead of you, you think “I can’t do this.” Continue reading


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Challenges, Inspiration, Life Lessons, The Family

Lesson 330 – Seeing the boat

I’ve been having a little crisis of faith lately. No, not that type of faith, I’m all good in the “do unto others department.” What I’m struggling with is where to go and how to get there.

I’m considering taking a full time job. The economy had decimated my real field (Instructional Design) for the last few years but lately there have been some signs of a weak pulse. I’m starting to hear of some job openings. With two kids in college, a steadier income would be nice.

But what would that mean for the kids and the chickens? I have to admit, I’ve become comfortable writing about our adventures and the life lessons we’ve learned along the way. I had no idea that getting these chickens would be so, well, life-enhancing.

I’m not worried about the kids, they’re getting older. If there is one thing you learn how to be when you live in a large family it’s to be independent. The dishes will still get washed and the clothing will still get folded.

It’s the chickens for which I have concern.

I’ve met people, given workshops, written articles, all around a diverse flock of birds. I have a feeling that there is still a lot to be learned here if we are just calm enough to listen. Continue reading


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Challenges, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Personal

Project Chickens before the Eggs – Lesson 240 – A chick’s amazing potential

One good thing about all this sub-zero cold is that it is forcing me to stay in close proximity to my little overworked electric heater placed strategically by my writing desk. Even with long underwear on under my pants, two (count them two) sweatshirts on, and wool socks, I’m still cold. Keeping me virtually tethered by the glimmer of heat is a rather crude but effective method of keeping my butt to the chair.

I may not be too warm these days but I’m certainly cranking out the word counts.

But I can’t write all the time. Not to worry, it seems that there is always something to be done and/or found around my desk.

For example, the girls spent the weekend organizing all the earrings I had taken off when I discovered at my desk that the jangling was distracting me when writing and so tucked them in a little corner “out of the way”.

It turns out I have a lot of earrings. Who knew?

I’ve gone through old papers and have thrown out a lot of garbage that up until now, I hadn’t had the time to discover I truly didn’t need them.

It turns out I have a lot of unnecessary documentation. Who knew? Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Challenges, chicken care, Life Lessons, Project Chickens before the Eggs, Teaching kids, The Family, The kids

A bit of advice for anyone considering a tattoo

A bit of advice for all cool people out there considering tattoos.

I have a total of 4 tattoos. It’s not a big deal after you break down and get your first, I mean where’s the objection? I’m morally opposed to them? I think not.

This past winter after struggling with a surgery that had gone bad and spending too much time doing far too little, I decided to get a small tattoo on my back of my wrist to remind me of three character attributes I should always be aware of, Gratitude, Faith, and Grace.

My plan was when the pain returned (as it seems to a lot even today) when the walking got tough, I could look at my tattoo and remember that things could always be worse, I must be grateful for what I have. The tattoo would be in a spot where I could see it when I type, reminding me that (worst case scenario) even without legs, I would be able to have a job and write. Every day I don’t reach the bottom is nothing but gravy.

I got the initials “ GFG” inked into my skin forever. Continue reading


Filed under Challenges, Personal, The Family

Surviving a triathlon – even when they said you wouldn’t

Sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due.

Yesterday I participated in a sprint triathlon.

Let me just put it out there, it wasn’t pretty.

I wore a fat-kid-at-the-beach tee shirt during the swim, mostly because I didn’t have the right tri outfit. You’re just not going to find me in one of those hi-tech wet suits, I fear that once on, the darn thing would never come off.

Due to some shoulder problems, I did the breast-stroke for the entire 1/3 mile swim. I was looking throughout the previous waves and knew that I was the ONLY one doing breast-stroke but you know what? It was enough to get me around those buoys to the finish of the swim (and apparently it was enough to keep me ahead of the snapping turtles that had been spotted in the lake the day before – pretty strong incentive to swim as quickly as I possibly could) Continue reading


Filed under Challenges, New Hampshire, One Hour of Exercise a Day, One hour or die, Personal

One book in one month – Little Chicken final update – we have a manuscript

Some of you know that I am the great niece of E.B. White. The connection is by marriage and my relationship to him is only through a legal document but it’s still a pretty neat thing to be able to throw out at parties.

When I was younger and showed some writing talent, there was much talk of me being the next writer in the family. Apparently my family didn’t have a strong grasp on how genetics or more accurately THE LACK OF ANY GENETIC CONNECTION worked. There wasn’t too much pressure there for me to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest American writers.

I mention this because I will never be another E.B. White and I’m okay with that. There will never, ever be another E.B. White anywhere. Period. The man was God.

Fortunately I realized earlier in my life that I wasn’t cut out to be a pharmacist (enrolled for a few years in the program at UCONN) or a microbiologist, or even a computer tech writer. If I had followed through with those life paths, I would have been miserable.

Telling stories is what makes me happy.

It’s even why I went and got this tattoo. It’s Kokopelli, the storyteller. I wanted to be reminded always of what I was meant to do.

The Storyteller

And if telling stories about my chickens and children is what works then I’m going to go with it. After staying up until the cows came home (or at the very least, the chickens started clucking) I have finished a manuscript of my adventures and lessons learned with the chickens.

Is it a masterpiece? Nope.

Will it need adjustments? Oh most decidedly. I know of very few people who hit the nail on the head the first time.

But it’s done and the content is good and solid. There are some clever bits in it and if it needs to be massaged, that can be done. I think its got a chance, even in this publication shy environment.

After all, (and here’s where the family relationship pays off) if one of my relatives can write a book about a pig and a spider and still be seen as an accomplished writer, then I can write a book about a fowl flock and still hold my head up high.

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Filed under Challenges, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs

One hour or die – exercising 1 hour a day as recommended by the AMA – final update

It’s been almost two months now since I started moderately exercising every day. My son Griffin (who joined me halfway through) and I have learned a few things along the way:

  • It’s never the boyfriend who commits the murder – that’s too obvious
  • Those water bottle flavor packs that clearly dissolve keeping people from knowing you are cheating by drinking something sweetened are the bomb
  • While Griffin can work up a sweat that can bleed down to his belly button, my sweat stays as a sopping yoke around my chest stopped by my bra line. Yet one more difference between the boys and girls.

This past week I also read the book Younger Next Year for Women – Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge M.D. It was recommended to me by one of my Facebook friends. Finally, there is a document that gave me true and reasonable reasons to exercise (Basically exercise sets up “good” inflammation with then triggers repair of tissue which turns back the clock on your body.) It’s a fascinating and entertaining read that will get you up out of your seat by the end of the first few chapters.

I started exercising an hour a day because I was challenging the American Medical Association, I’ll continue because of that book. Continue reading

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One book in one month – Little Chicken Book Update – calling in the troops

As we all know life happens.

And it’s not that anything bad happened last week, it’s just that the soccer practices and games, the never ending gymnastics practices, the school events, my daily hour of exercise, and yes, my physical therapy appointments (as a result of my daily hour of exercise) took their toll on my available time.

Although I did write a blog post every day last week (sometimes 2 – I write for a few other blogs) and I managed to move out 4 articles and got some pitches accepted for future articles, I didn’t have much time to work on the Chicken manuscript. It’s a sad but true reality that the paid writing will always take priority. Baby needs a new pair of shoes.

The good news is that I was able to edit and finalize 4 chapters of the manuscript (actually 3 chapters and one Appendix).

The bad news is that I have 7 chapters to go before the end of the month deadline. I smell some late night coffee in my future. Continue reading

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