Category: Small House Living

Living Large Takes a Rebel Heart

Maia aboard her family's sailboat. Photo by Diane Selkirk


Thanks to all of you who have been patiently waiting and watching for more posts here at Living Large.

I didn’t intend on taking such a long break, but my favorite saying since moving to Our Little House has been, “Life is something that happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

It was a long, cold winter here, as it was in much of the country. It was the roughest winter we’ve had since we moved here.

I’ll be posting more about that on Friday.

In the meantime, I’ve watched with interest (and sometimes shock) to the reactions to the story of Charlotte and Eric Kaufman, the sailing family that last week had to be rescued from their foundering sailboat, the Rebel Heart.

(If you haven’t heard the story, catch up here)


Life is a Journey

A Holiday Dinner at Fred & Rae's


The winds have literally been whipping over the plains and down to our Ozark Mountains in the past week, so I guess it’s appropriate that the figurative winds of change are also blowing on our mountain.

Expected changes are afoot, such as the light lingering longer before falling to shadows in the evening, but there are also some other changes in our little corner of the world.

Our neighbors put their house on the market a couple of months ago. When they told us beforehand, it was a quite unexpected move since they had been working on their Dream House for the past decade and expected to retire there.

They had looked for land for some time, as many do, after vacationing here and began building their home about ¾ of a mile down the road shortly after we finished construction on Our Little House.

Since we were all “weekenders” we had little interaction with them until we moved here nearly seven years ago.

The biggest thing we had in common was our hometown, we all moved here from Kansas City. It was good for us to have someone near us who understood the culture we had lived in all of our lives.

After we moved here, we enjoyed dinners at each other’s homes, including many holidays. I went down to let their dogs run when they wanted to take day trips, Rae taught me to can and we shopped in town together, particularly when my Baby Blazer was parked after my crash.


Grow More with Less Book Giveaway

In the winter, most of us cannot garden, but we can read about gardening and that’s almost as good!

Today, Vincent Simeone, author of Grow More With Less gives Living Largers some tips on building a sustainable garden.

Simeone says that sustainable gardening doesn’t have to lead to a massive garden overhaul. In his book, he makes sustainable gardening accessible to all. His theory is you should, “make your garden work for you. Make it give more than it takes.”

He suggests creating big projects mixed with plenty of smaller projects that give big rewards.


Russian Tea is a Taste of the Past


Russian Tea


“Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.” ~From the movie An Affair to Remember


I was sitting in Our Little House this weekend enjoying the warmth of the wood stove and looking out onto the 10.5 inches of snow when a craving from a long time past hit me.

Russian Tea. There was nothing that would make me happier than a nice, hot cup of Russian Tea.

I don’t remember if my mother received a jar as a gift or if she got the recipe, as she did so many ideas then from Country Living Magazine, but I do remember it was Christmas 1979 when I believe she first started making it.


Repurpose and Recycle Gifts From Your Home

Repurposed gifts can be something that has special meaning to the family


If part of your weekend plans includes trying to figure out what to buy your friends and loved ones for the holidays, you’re not alone.

According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 4 percent of shoppers are waiting until the last two weekends before Christmas to shop.

Like many people who’ve had a home for long time, there isn’t much we need and many things we would like (such as wonderful Bucket List trips) are out of financial range for people we know.

Shortly before my mother passed away, she began giving us the ultimate gifts that were much more appreciated than anything she could have ever bought: Antiques and family heirlooms.


Holiday Traditions and a Great Dip Recipe to Share

The Party Deck all Decked Out for Christmas!


Sometimes, I think I love all of the decorating and parties leading up to Christmas more than I do the holiday itself, especially as I’ve gotten older and we’ve lost so many we used to celebrate with.

This past weekend was all about the traditions my husband and I have built during our 27 years of marriage.

When I was a kid, we put our décor up around my birthday, towards the middle of the month. I think that tradition was a holdover from my mother’s German heritage, as her family didn’t decorate until the 24th. Our tree usually came down on New Year’s Day or the day I returned to school.

Dale’s family, on the other hand, always decorated Thanksgiving weekend. His step-mom was typically ready to take down her tree the moment we left their house on Christmas Day.


A Little House Divided Becomes One United with a Country

Politics were divided in our little house, but in November 1963 we were all united 


For many Americans of a certain age, today is a very emotional one. Almost no one alive on this date in 1963 could not tell you where they were when they heard the news that John F. Kennedy, president of the United States, had been shot.

I wasn’t yet born, but the anniversaries have always evoked the same sadness from me as it has many who were.

My mother was having one of her many coffee klatches with two of her best friends and neighbors who also lived on our street of little bungalows. She was pregnant with me, nearly 8 months along, when they saw the breaking news on the black and white television.

She told the story of how they watched in horror and disbelief, tears streaming down their faces.

Like many of us who felt the same shock on 9-11, they did not know what was happening to our country, whether the country was at war or what the future would hold for them or their children, or for the baby my mom was about to have.

The news was so devastating that it gave my mother premature contractions, something the doctors were able to stop until nearly a month later.

Perhaps my mother’s grief on that day passed to me genetically and became a permanent part of my DNA, but I’ve never been able to study, read or watch anything about this event without getting emotional.

However, that is not the only thing I took from that tragic day that I cannot even remember.