Category Archives: Traditions

Lesson 705 – Happy President’s Day (I think)

It’s President’s Day.

Happy day to all! I guess.

What I mean is I’m not sure how we’re supposed to celebrate the day.

Unlike other years, the kids are in school today. Marc has the day off from work but there’s no special way to spend it (other than going to Tractor Supply on a non-weekend day – which, for him, is pretty exciting.)

For me, it’s like any other day. I’ve got my butt in the chair and I’m writing articles that have deadlines (one blog post I got out this morning is over here.) Continue reading

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Lesson 703 – Happy Valentine’s Day

valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day – from our flock to yours.

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I write about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact me 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.

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Lesson 437 – the blizzard basket

I wrote about this recently on my facebook page. The Blizzard Basket is something we do every year and I can’t tell you how much the kids look forward to it. Often it falls on a “snow day” when school has been canceled making it just that much more of a celebration.
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It’s almost time to put out the blizzard basket (although as my daughter Addy reminds me I’m a bit too late this year, what with our recent Halloween blizzard). Basically, it’s a basket covered with holiday tea towels that is opened up on the first day of a snow storm large enough to keep us home.

We’ve done this since Spencer (our oldest) was little. The key is that it sits in a corner (usually under the Christmas tree), covered, and no one knows exactly when it will be opened (or what will be inside.) The anticipation is delicious. Continue reading

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Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, Chicken art, Chicken fun, Chicken things, Holidays, Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, Teaching kids, The Family, The kids, Traditions

Lesson 436 – gift making by way of chickens

Those who raise chickens tend to be rock solid, down to earth types. My kind of people. Which is why today I’m going to reach out to you. If we put our heads together I’m sure that we can come up with some wonderful ideas of how to use our chickens to make homemade gifts (and I’m not talking about a big pot of chicken soup here.)

As you know, the holidays are coming upon us (and if you didn’t know, just step foot in your local department store where the decorations will – literally – hit you on the head.) This year, as a family, we are going to try to shop locally and make many of the gifts for our friends, families, and teachers (and when you have 6 kids, there can be many, many teachers.) Continue reading

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Lesson 423 – Halloween is NOT gonna happen for the chickens

Well you know me, if there’s a way I can anthropomorphize (it’s an SAT word Logan, look it up) our chickens I do. For each of the holidays I like to adorn the coop with appropriate decorations, white lights and a wreath at Christmas, a little night before Christmas snack, and a whole lot of chick and egg decorations at Easter.

But not every holiday can be celebrated with our fine ladies.

Halloween is quickly arriving. The kids have decorated the house with the scary things we’re used to seeing every year.  I thought about what I could put in the hen house in order to get our girls into the holiday spirit.

Even after the discussion yesterday about feeding our chickens dead mice this winter, I think it would be too cruel (and gross) to put up this decoration. Although I’ve decided to give them the mice, I don’t have to like the idea.

And this one is too grim (if you know what I mean) for a species of animal that, for the most part, is bred to invite this guy to their last meal.

And if you squint your eyes a little bit, this one sort of looks like a large Osprey swooping down ready to take a member of your flock away. *shudder* Continue reading

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Lesson 281 – That thing on a turkey is just gross

People ask me all the time if I have turkeys or if I plan on ever getting a turkey. I suppose when one has chickens, one is assumed to be interested in all things fowl. (which if we’re going to be honest here, I kind of am – so no harm in the question).

Although I have thought about turkeys, in the same way I’ve thought about ducks and yes, even a peacock, the answer is no. The only domestic turkeys I’ve heard of and seen are those that are being raised to be “Thanksgiving Dinner”. In a major case of hypocrisy, I’m willing to eat turkey on Thanksgiving as long as it’s not one that I know personally.

And although turkeys must lay eggs (that is of course, how we get baby turkeys) I haven’t heard of anyone raising the roof about eating turkey eggs. I have to the contrary heard about the gastronomical delights of duck eggs which are supposed to be denser and fuller flavored than chicken eggs.

I’ve also heard that turkeys are the only birds that get ticks but I’m not sure if that’s true or if it’s just some bad news that is being spread around by the anti-turkey society. If this is true, one of the benefits of chickens is that they eat ticks, so if I had turkeys would the chickens eat the ticks off the turkeys?

I do know that domestic turkeys are not the brightest birds in the world, unlike their wild cousins who are sleeker, darker, and who have enough sense to literally get out of the rain, domestics are large, plump, and from what I saw this weekend when we went to a poultry farm – don’t know how to get down from the top of the hen house (although they somehow managed to get up).

A face only his mother could love

Continue reading

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Project Chickens before the Eggs – Lesson 225 – You can lead a chick to a manger …

See this little clay chicken?

Picasso's clay chicken

One of my kids made it a few years ago when they were into that modeling clay stage. This was before we had chickens (hence the somewhat abstract quality you see in the shape.)

Guess where it’s going next year.

See this other chicken? Continue reading

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Project Chickens before the Eggs – Lesson 213 – Nothing is permanent

(BTW feeling much better, thanks for the good wishes).

I attend a weekly Buddhist meditation session where for one hour we sit with our eyes open and meditate. Those who wish to can also participate in the walking meditation that starts about 30 minutes into the hour.

I do this, not because I am a Buddhist but because it is such good training for my brain to be still for one complete hour (that’s 60 verrrry long minutes in case you don’t know). The first few weeks were agonizing, seriously I couldn’t keep those voice in my brain quiet.

  • Emma needs construction paper for a project.
  • Griffin needs that paper signed for school.
  • What’s on the menu for dinner tomorrow?
  • I wonder if James Bond meditates?
  • Hmmm Daniel Craig…..

I am still not good at meditating but at least I’m not as fidgety as I once was. I have learned to sit and wait. That in itself is quite a skill. Continue reading

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Simple Thrift Column, Nashua Telegraph – December 09, 2009 – holiday memories

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thrifty holiday days

Wendy Thomas

For many families, money is tight this holiday season. There might be fewer gifts, but that doesn’t mean that the holiday spirit still can’t burn bright.

I asked my friends to share memories of times past when money had not been in abundance. For many, it was when they were newly married or when they had young children. For others, it’s now while being a college student and having to watch pennies.

In all cases, however, these friends fondly remember the times when they had to make do with what they had. Having to be creative and resourceful left them with happy, nostalgic memories of a time when the focus was on more than just store bought gifts. Enjoy these memories.

Favorite cereal as a treat

I stumbled on this idea several years ago when strapped for cash, but looking for “bulk” under the tree, and now it’s become a family tradition: I buy everyone’s favorite cereal (and I actually spring for name brand!) and wrap it. Presto: For about $10-$15, I have four large wrapped gifts to add to the thrill of Christmas. And sometimes more when I know family members or friends will be joining us for the holidays.

– DANA MYSKOWSKI, Concord

Decorating and caroling

Well, as a college student, I’m strapped for cash. But I still get the holiday joy by decorating with the dollar store’s supplies. And I take up any activities that the college offers. For example, this Saturday, I’m going to spread Christmas joy by caroling with the Sisters of Rivier.

– SPENCER NOZELL, Merrimack

The kindness of others

I had my first son when I was 18, and for his second Christmas, we were on a list for gifts from the YMCA. He got clothes and toys. I also bought all his other presents at a consignment store. It was a wonderful Christmas where I was so thankful for the generosity of strangers.

– LAURA PLOSS, Merrimack

Handmade ornaments

As a young 18-year-old newlywed, I made salt dough ornaments and paper chains for the tree. In later years, the children and I hung gingersnap cookies on a tree so unwanted, the Boy Scouts couldn’t sell it, so it was free. We called it our Christmas bush because it was completely round. Now Bob and I are two of the 200 people who spend $5 for a permit to cut a small balsam tree from the White Mountain National Forest (and no, no one is allowed to know our secret spot!). I am still making handmade ornaments, and that is usually my Christmas present to friends.

– HOPE MANSEAU, Canterbury Station

Yard sale fun

Every year in my extended family, one of us is always strapped for cash, so instead of buying for everyone, we made a list of all of the adults, and we rotate every year who we will buy for. The fun part is the guys only buy for the guys and the women only buy for the women. The men usually go for the tools or books, and they are thrilled with the opportunity to buy for another guy.

One year, we planned early, and the theme was “yard sale.” The item you bought has to be from a yard sale. The one constant rule was that you couldn’t spend more than $10.

People get so creative when they have to work under guidelines. It was so successful that we all voted to do it again and again. This has been a tradition for close to 20 years now.

– DEE AVERY, Merrimack

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The Fall Fairy – a favorite family tradition

I recently gave a talk to Merrimack Friends & Family which is a great service and social club for women and their families in Merrimack, NH. While talking about thrifty ways we have fun in our family, I told them that one way to add fun and memories into our lives is to have inexpensive but meaningful family traditions that the kids look forward to each year.

For example, in the fall the Fall Fairy visits our house.

The way you call the Fall Fairy to your house is to catch a falling leaf before it can touch the ground and lose its magic. This is done by taking the kids to the woods on a bright, fall afternoon and setting them lose to run and chase the falling leaves. If you don’t catch a leaf, the Fall Fairy doesn’t visit so even the teenagers are good heartedly involved in the chase.

Once you have the leaf you then place it under you pillow before you go to bed that evening.

The Fall Fairy is called with a beautiful fall leaf.

The Fall Fairy is called with a beautiful fall leaf.

During the night, the Fall Fairy comes and delivers a new warm pair of socks signaling that summer is over and colder weather is here.

Amazingly she matches the socks up with the kids’ personalities. The girls get brightly patterned socks, the boys get sports socks and our out-doors-loving guy gets hiking socks.

It’s a tradition we’ve had since the kids were very young, it doesn’t cost much but it’s something the kids look forward to each year and will pass on, I’m sure, when they have their own children.

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