Category: Small House Living

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.


A Girlfriend’s Getaway at Big Cedar Lodge

Last weekend was my annual Slumber Party weekend with my friends from my hometown. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since we reunited here at Campbell Town after I last saw them at our high school graduation 27 years prior.

I wrote last year about how we laugh – a lot – and a part of us feels like we’re young again when we’re together.

Each year, we do something a little different to celebrate our annual reunion.

This year, we met in Branson, Missouri at The Branson Landing, where we had lunch, did a little shopping at some of the fantastic stores (Yankee Candle, of course!) and headed out to the fabulous cabin resort, Big Cedar Lodge, where we planned to kick back in a two bedroom cabin for our girlfriend’s getaway.

Big Cedar is just eight miles away from Branson, located on 3,000 acres.


A Place of My Own

The Belle Writer's Studio dressed up for Halloween

It’s fall. Time for apple and pumpkin spiced everything, the beauty of the leaves changing colors, warm days and cool nights, Halloween (at least here in America) and changing the clocks back.

It’s also time for me to take comfort in my writer’s studio on Sunday mornings.

I love my husband, but I’m not a morning person, at least in the sense that I don’t like a lot of noise around me or people yacking while I’m trying to enjoy my first coffee.


Fall in Photos at Our Little House

This lizard was pretty, with his blue tail, but he was running fast, probably trying to get everything done before the onset of cold weather!


The leaves haven’t started changing much yet here at Our Little House, but we know autumn will be here soon. Our weather got into the 40s at night over the weekend, making for some pretty chilly mornings.

We took a drive into the Buffalo River Valley territory over the weekend, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elk near Ponca with no luck. The Buffalo River National Park is closed, of course, so we didn’t get a chance to hike any of the trails there.

I did take some nice photos around there and around Our Little House.



Beginning the Week with a Cold at Our Little House

The Labor Day holiday weekend in the U.S. is over and kids are back to school. That means it will not be long before parents are struggling with the cold and flu season.

We already are at Our Little House.

We went to Branson for lunch with friends on Saturday and then went and did our weekly grocery shopping.

On Sunday morning, my husband woke up with a sore throat.

The only problem is that he did not tell me.


Stayin’ Alive in August

In a way, it’s a miracle that I’m even writing about gardening in August.

Typically, at this time of the year, everything is burnt to a crisp and done.

This has not been a typical year, however. We had snow in May, delaying our planting and then a cool, very wet end of July and first of August.

I haven’t had the bounty of tomatoes and peppers for which I had such high hopes in May.