Filling the Space in Our Hearts

Driveway in snow 2010

Before I get to this morning’s post, I wanted to show you photos of the real snow we got yesterday. The Christmas Eve dusting was nothing compared to this snow, which measured 4 inches and it is still snowing this morning. This would be a good day for Dale to be retired and not have to brave the roads to work.

House with snow 2010

Now for today’s post…

We entertained in The Little House on New Year’s Eve, not because I really wanted to, but our neighbors have us down to their house quite often and my mom taught me it was nice to reciprocate. Besides, Rae, our friend and neighbor told me it was time. “We’re coming down to your house next time we’re down,” she said. They still live in the city and are down at least twice a month.

I suggested they come down for dinner on New Year’s Eve, but I also reminded her there’s a lot more room at their house.

“You know we don’t care about that,” she said. I know they don’t mind the small space, but at our house, it’s a bit tight and I think everyone must feel as if they’re in an airplane seat when they’re trying to eat. Our small drop leaf kitchen table is just 21 inches wide without the leaves and 42 inches long. As well, it’s pretty hard to cook when there’s extra people in the house. Cooking in front of others makes me a bit nervous, even when I have plenty of space.

Photo Courtesy of Mother Earth News, by Kevin Pieper

Photo Courtesy of Mother Earth News, by Kevin Pieper

It isn’t as if we don’t carry our weight with the food when we go to their house. We always try to take drinks and our share of the meal, and sometimes I prepare the entire meal and just take it down the road.

In the nice weather months, it’s not a problem and I love entertaining outside. The party deck offers ample space for everyone to move around.

At Fred and Rae’s, we can have drinks and appetizers at the bar, move to the dining room table to eat and then move to the living area and sit in front of the fire. At The Little House, we huddle at the small kitchen table for appetizers and dinner and then move to the sofa and chair on the other side of the room. Oftentimes, it is too hot, as we cannot control the heat from the wood burning stove as you can on a thermostat. If the oven is going, it creates even more heat.

So, I told her to dress cool. I baked the dessert early in the day and fixed a dish that is low fuss. I laid out everything I would need, as once the leafs are up on the small table, there’s no getting out of the kitchen (that’s why there’s no photos of our gathering, I had left the camera in the bedroom!) and allowed the fire to die down a bit in the wood burner.

It was….perfect.

We ate my homemade guacamole for appetizers and had drinks. I served pot roast with vegetables and rolls, and a low sugar chocolate cake for dessert. The bowl of vegetables fit on the table and I served the meat and cake from the kitchen counter. Afterward, we moved across the room and enjoyed a movie.

You can see from this photo that appeared with our story in Mother Earth News that there isn’t a lot of physical space, but what counts is that our hearts are filled when friends and family gather.

What do you enjoy or not, about entertaining in your home?

Recipe for Pot Roast

3-4 pound beef chuck roast


1 tbsp minced garlic

1tbsp fresh ground pepper

1 large onion (2 slices and the rest diced)

1 sm. bag petite carrots

7-8 large potatoes (cut in small chunks)

3 celery stalks

2 cans golden mushroom soup

Sear both sides of the beef roast in a large pot, putting ½ each of the garlic and pepper on each side. Pour in enough water so that it comes half way up on roast. Add both cans of soup and stir. Add diced onion and place the two slices of onion on top of the roast. Cover and simmer for two hours. Add carrots, diced onion, potatoes and celery. Cover and continue to cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours more, or until vegetables are tender. Remove roast from pan, allow to rest for 5-10 minutes (be careful, your roast should be falling apart tender at this point!) Serve with vegetables and use liquid to pour over meat and potatoes.

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21 Responses

  1. By far the most concise and up to date information I found on this topic. Sure glad that I navigated to your page by accident. I’ll be subscribing to your feed so that I can get the latest updates. Appreciate all the information here

  2. Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner

  3. Sandra says:

    We are hibernating here in East TN. Have the wood stove stuffed and going. Plan on working on my braided rugs. Hubby is making hiking sticks. We are looking forward to moving to Bull Shoals Lake. Our cabin plans are 30 x 50 w/loft. One bathroom. Everyone keeps telling us that is strange. We say hold it or pee off the porch when visiting LOL! we have 2 baths now and never use the claw foot tub. We want to be mostly off the grid and plan to grow most of our own veggies. Say a pray everyone we want to sell our place here and move to where family resides in N. Arkansas. So glad I found your website. It’s great

  4. Mickie McCalll says:

    I live in a very small space also and found that having the furniture built to serve many uses is vital. For instance, The footboard of the bed is built to face out and is the closet with space in the bottom for linens, blankets & towels. Also the headboard stores the books, photos, etc. with a reading (night) light built in. The dish drainer is above the sink and is a 3 tier so water drains into the sink below and the dishes are stored in a very small space. The Kitchen and bath are both outside. This works since I live in a warm climate (Ecuador). Cubbies everywhere are great for shoes, clothes, meds, hair supplies and other grooming aids. The shower is built with lots of “tiny” shelves to set things on and even to hang towels and clothes on. Even a built-in seat for dressing. The wall outside is great for everything.

    • Very cool, Mickie! It sounds as if you planned it all out very well. We don’t have as many built ins as I would like, but I would like to remedy that someday.
      Welcome to Living Large, please come by again! 🙂

  5. Patricia says:

    My husband and I are also looking forward to a move to the woods. Our hopes include a timberframe with the soaring ceilings. Your blog has challenged me to seek a smaller footprint, but I can’t see giving up the ‘head room’. This will be a fun endeavor to try to design as small and efficient a plan as you have without wasting space!

  6. merry lloyd says:

    Your home is charming; we downsized, but NOT to that extreme and are always in the midst of a remodeling project of one kind or another; currently its moving our kitchen to a new location in the house (but that means no “interruption of services” which my husband loves!!). I think you need a crock pot in your little home…cuts way down on the heat and frees more time for your wonderful writing. Thank you for giving us the grand tour!

  7. Ken Fish says:

    Hey Kerri,

    The get together on New Year’s Eve with the neighbors was just the type we would have enjoyed, never did like big parties. We will have to try the beef stew too! It made me think back to our RVing days where several friends in the campground would have to gather inside the camper because of bad weather. It was even more crowded than in the Little House, I sometimes believe it was more enjoyable. We sure do miss those days and I’ll bet that you and Dale will look back to December 31, 2009 and think…….you know Dale (Kerri), I enjoyed it!

    Happy New Year to everyone reading this from NC.


    • You’re right, Ken, we’re more of small, intimate gathering type of people. While remembering New Year Eve’s of the past with our neighbors, we realized we’ve only went to one big party one year. It was fun, but I prefer a quiet dinner out with Dale, as we have done many years, or with a few good friends.

  8. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    I love seeing the snow in your pictures. I’m glad no snow here in E. Texas. We rarely get snow, usually it’s ice which is far worse. In the early 80’s I lived in Northern Nevada. After moving from Dallas, I found it way too cold for my liking, the winters lasted far too long and that shoveling snow it not my idea of winter sports. So when I moved back to Texas I decided I didn’t want to live farther north then the Red River. As you can tell, I’m not much of a winter person.

    Stay warm!

    • I’m definitely not a winter person either! It’s not supposed to get this cold here! Watching Wheel of Fortune the other night, we saw someone win a ski trip to Canada. While I would love to see Canada, cold and snow is NOT my idea of a vacation. I told Dale it would be my luck to win something like that. 🙂

  9. Enjoyed your post and I read your article and looked at all the photos on Mother Earth’s website.It was very informative and Kevin Pieper took some nice shots to add to Campbell Town History.

    Sometimes, I wish I had more space then my 1,250.
    But, it is a good thing I don’t. because I continue to get rid of things to make the house easier to care for. Therefore, I will find more time to do what I love to do. I find “things” can make me a prisoner caring for them. I don’t like things stored. If I can’t see it, I forget what I have. If I can’t remember what I have I don’t need it.

    I would love to see a book on “Living large in our Little House.” It would be a great book for people who are thinking of down sizing and living a simple more rewarding life.

    I took some sunrise and snow photos. It is so cold!

  10. MarthaandMe says:

    Pot roast sounds so good right now. It’s so cold, i am in the mood for warm, filling foods.

    By the way, I got a subscription to Mother Earth News for Christmas and got the Dec/Jan issue with your article about your house in it! I loved seeing the photos. It was a great piece. I still don’t know how you do it!

  11. V Schoenwald says:

    I think that your home rocks. It is absolutly the most adorable, space that I have every seen. So you have to step on toes and feet, just adds to the atmosphere! New game of twister, only toes and feet.
    Love your blog, you and Dale are darlings.
    A few months ago, we have 30 in of snow in Oct in Nebr, when I got up, I could not get the front and back doors of my trailer open at all, I had to chip the snow away from my doors with a very large scary knife…
    Take care and enjoy the snow and your home.

    • Thanks, Vicki. I should print your comment and post it on the fridge. When we get a bit anxious in the small space this winter, we can re-read it! 🙂 I’ve always said I would never want to live anywhere that is any colder and this week, we’re even wishing we had went further south. Thank you for being a loyal visitor to Living Large!