Tag Archives: Family

Lesson 1574 – Easy appetizers for when you leave the nest

Some of my kids are beginning to leave the nest. One left this morning to move into his first apartment.

He’s an officer in the Army and so he’ll be getting a lot of good advice, but the one piece of advice *I* could give him was “the best thing you can do for your wallet and your health is to learn how to cook.”

All my kids have learned how to cook to a degree (at the very least they know how to follow a recipe.) There are about 4 meals that they can make without opening a cookbook.  But if you make the same four meals over and over, you’re going get bored and bored people start eating fast food or going out to restaurants just for a break. And that begins to impact your health and wallet.

I’ve been working on a family cookbook for some time, I keep adding to it when I find something that the kids should know.

This was added today.

Easy Appetizers for When Guests Come Over

When you want to have friends over always put out something to eat. It doesn’t have to be much and variety helps. This summer when we were on a family vacation, each night I’d put the following out on the back table so that everyone could relax with drinks and nibbles before dinner.

Trust me, it not only is impressive, but it’s also much appreciated to be able to “break bread” with good friends while conversing.

It helps to have a collection of small bowls ready to use. You can buy them anywhere or even use something like vintage custard cups (often found in thrift shops.) Keep them cleaned and stored between use for when you need them.

Basic Appetizers Continue reading

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Lesson 1573 – Another birthday *sigh*

It’s my birthday.

Another one.

Sigh.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that I even get to say “It’s my birthday” but, holy cow, those numbers are getting up there.

I’m now at the age I remember my grandmother was.

Yikes.

The other thing that’s difficult about my birthday is that it comes right after Christmas – when I got a lot of stuff, like 11 journals and 7 books, and 2 mugs. I’m kind of good for now. Continue reading

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Lesson 1572 – My dad’s shirt

This Christmas was a little rough.

Not only was I (and I still am) concerned about what’s going on in the political world – reduction of healthcare, tax scams, rolling back regulations intended to protect our environment, along with a President who could send my family’s military members into a nuclear war at any moment, all on top of managing the holidays.

The kids are older. They have jobs. They have mixed schedules. They’re tired. They let me know.

Planning family time becomes more difficult. The excitement of early childhood is gone and it’s been replaced with a semi-sense of adulthood, you know, I’m too mature to get excited about waking up early on Christmas morning – that sort of thing.

And then there was the realization that orphans, even adult orphans do not get to share Christmas with their parents.

Anyway. Continue reading

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Lesson 1500 – Forks over Knives

 

Oh hurrah for the optimism that is January. After doing a little bit of reading from the Forks over Knives cookbook given to me at Christmas, I decided to go full-on vegan with a plant-based diet this week. I sat down and explained what I was going to do with the kids and they (somewhat reluctantly, at least at first) agreed to go along with it. For the entire week, we are going to try our hardest to not eat any animal products.

Our first dish was Tofu Taco boats. The kids were a little squeamish about the tofu, but I got extra-firm and I pressed the water out of it and so when it was finally sauteed with onions, corn and spices it tasted fine. Continue reading

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Lesson 1499 – I’m one of those people

I wasn’t going to talk about this yet, but with all that is going on in Washington I feel like I have to.

Two years ago, because my mother was diagnosed with a very aggressive and rare type of skin cancer. I made an appointment with a dermatologist for a baseline examination. I figured – “Let’s see what my skin looks like now so that we can compare it to the future.”

All was well but because of my mother’s cancer I was put on a yearly schedule for checks.

This year, what I had thought was simply a mole on my face (that had been there for years but only recently started to look suspicious) was biopsied and it turned out to be cancerous.

Good news is that it’s basal cell cancer, bad news is that it’s a rare type of basal cell that acts like it’s malignant.

We have insurance. No problem right? Then let’s just go ahead take it out.

Except that because of the location (on the side of my nose) and because of the type of cancer, the Dermatologist surgeon told me that they will need to take a nickel-sized piece of full thickness skin out of my face. (Go ahead and hold a nickel up to the side of your nose and see what that will look like. I did, it’s not pretty.)

Because the hole will be so large, a plastic surgeon also needs to be involved.

Due to scheduling conflicts with the docs and changing of insurance, they are now saying that it looks like I’ll be having the surgery in March. Five months after the cancer was diagnosed.

And that’s with a good solid insurance plan and going to good doctors.

Because I’ll be going to two surgeons in two different facilities, this is going to cost us thousands of dollars out-of-pocket even with our insurance.

I’m fortunate. We can cover this.

If we didn’t have insurance, there would be no way (other than selling the house or taking the kids out of college – something I would never do) that we could afford the bills for two surgeons.

And who knows what is going to happen down the line? Once you have cancer, you tend to get it again.

Cancer is a pretty big pre-existing condition

If the current administration has its way, pre-existing conditions won’t be covered. People will have the option of going broke or living.

I am one of those people.

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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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Lesson 1498 – Crooked little house

 

One of my favorite things I picked up at a craft fair this holiday season is this little clay crooked house.

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I’ve since lost the contact information, but it was created by a young mom who makes them for fun. She has a message that she wants people to hear.

Each house is purposefully made crooked to remind us that while none of us are perfect, together as a family, we all combine our talents and contributions to create our own special homes.

This decoration will be finding a permanent spot in our family’s imperfect-yet-perfect little home.

 

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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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Lesson 1398 – Walking hand-in-hand

 

 

 

The weather is warm in New Hampshire and the summer schedule has started.  The camps and sports programs of my kids’ youth have been replaced with summer jobs which leave them coming and going, all on different schedules. Last night our new dog Dalai started barking at around 12:00. That dog never barks so we got up to investigate. Turns out we had forgotten that one kid was out for the night (in our defense he’s usually at college) and his knocking on his own front door alerted the dog to a possible intruder. See? Coming and going.

By the way, Good Girl, Dalai.

I’m also not spending two days of the week at the college for classes, although I am teaching on online class, I create the schedule for that. I’ve got time.

Our summer is wide open.

This of course, leaves complete days  just for writing (and trust me, I’ll be taking advantage of the time), but it also leaves days unstructured and if you’re a teen (or a mom who is sitting in front of a computer), you know that that can mean far too many hours spent on social media (OMG!) Sometimes you just have to create something to do. I have a fitbit and I just ordered one for Emma (our soul summer swim team member.) Our goal is to get 10K steps in every day. Which, I might add, is not that easy, especially if you go at high noon and come home a little dehydrated. Continue reading

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Lesson 1395 – This is why you should brush your teeth

Another year, another crown,*sigh* only 4 (or 5) left to go.

The other day at the dinner table our family was talking about how important it is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. (And yes, I still have some kids who go to bed without brushing – I know gross. It’s like going to bed without putting Chapstick on –  just not right.)

Anyway, during a lull in the THREE AND ONE HALF HOUR LONG APPOINTMENT this morning for my crown, I took a picture of my toothy grin and sent it to each of my kids reminding them that this was why they need to brush their teeth. Continue reading

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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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Lesson 1380 – Hospice – A list of what to bring

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I love lists. They are how I get through so much work every day. I’ve got some down time? Let’s see what’s on my list that needs to be done.

As anyone who has had a baby knows, there are plenty of lists of things to bring to the hospital – lollipops, tennis balls for back pain, and even baby nail clippers. You need a lot at the beginning of life.

And then there’s the end of life.

I haven’t seen too many lists about what you need to bring if you go into a residential hospice. But, as it turns out, there are a few things that can actually help the patient out. This is a list of items my mother who was ambulatory (initially she could walk down a hall and back) and lucid (at the beginning) really appreciated during her stay at hospice. Continue reading

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