Tag Archives: Thrifty Entertainment

March 24th and the Christmas tree is still up (’til midnight anyway)

Today is Griffin’s birthday. If you recall his birthday wish was to have the Christmas tree still up on his birthday.  (The Absolutely Perfect Birthday Wish)

We made it.

Even though it meant we had a Christmas tree up on New Years and Valentines’ Day and on St. Patrick’s Day and dangerously close to Easter… Continue reading


Filed under Birthday Parties, Holidays, The Family, The kids

Why so much emphasis on saving money? the kids made me do it.

Why do we work so hard at saving as many pennies as we can?

Well beside the most obvious answer that it just doesn’t make sense to me to spend more money than you need to … on anything. (I mean, just why would you?) We also save money where we can so that we can do things with and for our tribe of kids. I don’t care how much money you make, if you have 6 kids, it means you have to be careful with how your cash is allocated. (It also means that instead of buying new seat cushions, you learn to turn them over and pretend that you don’t know they have been destroyed by the dogs).

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DVD review – Get Lean While You Clean – Carolyn Barnes

Carolyn Barnes, a mother of two young children and who has designed a routine for getting exercise while cleaning the house sent me her Get lean while you clean DVD. She had responded to a request of mine for advice on getting exercise when it’s cold outside and I was intrigued by her approach.

I checked out her website and saw her suggestions for things like doing heel raises at the pharmacy and while shopping. It was great stuff that made a lot of sense. I agreed to check out her DVD. Continue reading

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Nashua Telegraph – College care packages don’t have to cost a fortune

Friday, January 15, 2010
College care packages don’t have to cost a fortune

by Wendy Thomas ◆ correspondent
When you have a college student in the family, there are times when you want to send him or her a care package, just a few things to let them know they are in your thoughts.
Many schools have services where, for a fee (usually a high one), you can get a prepared care package sent to your student. These boxes usually contain lots of candy, sweet snacks and toys – things that college students don’t especially need, especially around flu season or when preparing for finals. Continue reading

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Filed under College Costs, Simple Thrift Nashua Telegraph column, The kids

Project Chickens before the Eggs – Lesson 45 – warming the cockles

We’ve made it through the Holidays, no small feat when you have a tribe of kids. Santa managed to make everyone happy and mom and dad even got to read a book or two. We relaxed, we had food, we had guests, we had fun.

Now all we have to do is get through New Years… and this god-awful cold weather.

Each night we say a little prayer that this will not be the night that our chickens freeze their little beaks off. I mean I know that chickens are supposed to be hardy outdoor birds. I’ve read and been told this. I know this because it’s also my standard answer to the most often asked winter-chicken question.

What do you do with the chickens in the winter?

Chickens are supposed to be outdoor birds, I reply. They’re like the wild turkeys we have around town. Chickens were born with a natural down coat. Basically, you do nothing with chickens in the winter. They know how to survive on their own.

Except that we feel sorry for our semi-frozen birds and have made some provisions.

We keep a light on in the back. This is not for interrogation reasons, there will be no torture in our flock, instead it’s for the minimal amount of heat that we feel we should provide. We’ve been warned about over-heating our birds (which results in nothing less than SUNDAY DINNER) but a little bit of light on a cold and dreary night can’t possibly hurt.

We’ve also added warm food (which let’s face it, is ice cold by the time we get it to the coop but we try). All edible compost material (no meat or eggs thank you) goes out to the birds. A few days ago, Marc even mixed in a glass of un-drunk white wine to the mix and sent it out back.

Notice the cozy back-lit area of the coop

Not sure if that’s the kosher things to do with hens, but on a cold, windy night, perhaps that bit of wine came as a welcome respite warming the cockles of our little chicken’s souls.

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Project Chickens before the Eggs: Lesson 44 – Holiday Chicken Cheer

Our chicken coop has Christmas lights on it.

A bit 'o Holiday cheer

Now ask me if our house (as in where we live) has Christmas lights on it?

The answer is no.

The chickens not only have lights, but they have a red bow on the door and an evergreen wreath on the side. The kids are even planning on hanging a stocking out there to see if it gets filled on Christmas morning.

No, I told them, Santa has enough work tending to the children of the world, he’s not going to start throwing in presents for chickens.

There has also been some whispered talk of staying up until mid-night on Christmas Eve to see if the chickens talk. “There were chickens when Jesus was born right?”

You know, in all the nativity sets I’ve ever seen, there have been cows, lambs, and even a camel or two but I have never seen a chicken. I believe that chickens were originally at the stable (why wouldn’t they be right? Even people back then enjoyed a good scrambled egg or two) but when the roosters among them (and surely there were roosters as the venerable job of Chicken Sexer had yet to be invented) started their incessant crowing at 5:30 am no doubt waking up the Christ child as well as the exhausted Mary, I’m guessing that they were all invited to the Christmas feast the next day – thus effectively removing them from the Christmas tableau.

And in case you were wondering, Marc and I will be the only ones up at mid-night on Christmas Eve, just as we always are (6 kids remember?) and although a chicken stocking won’t be filled, I might quietly go out at mid-night to listen and sprinkle some feed for the chicken’s Christmas breakfast. Because you just never know.


Filed under Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Chicken Challenge, The Family, The kids, Uncategorized

What oh what to do with all that candy?

Halloween is over and the kids have come home with far too much candy. In an effort to preserve health we limit the candy intake to 1 piece a day. Even then it would take years to eat it all, so what do we do with all that candy?

The morning after Halloween, we collect all of the packages of plain M&M’s and we have M&M pancakes. Tasting more like giant chocolate chip cookies, these beauties can be frozen and used for breakfast for days to come. Continue reading

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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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2009 Fabulous Food Network Magazine Challenge – Teaching my kids to fish

June has been an incredibly busy month. We’ve had a High School Graduation, a TV crew here filming segments for a weekly news spot on WMUR (here is segment 1 and segment 2) and not one but two kids on mike johnston'scrutches (one a soccer injury and one a sprained ankle at his Graduation party).

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Simple Thrift June 19 – Nashua Telegraph – Father’s Day Does not have to break the bank

Wendy Thomas – Simple Thrift

Nashua Telegraph
Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Father’s wishes for Father’s Day gifts might surprise you

Father’s Day is coming up. We usually end up buying dads lots of things they don’t really need, such as “Grill Sergeant” shirts and Big Buddy Beer containers.

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