Category: Small House Living

Our Midlife Crisis

Kansas City


I wrote “Life is a Journey” before my break in January not knowing we too, were unconsciously entering a psychological change in our own lives.

As I’ve written more than once, this winter was a little brutal on us here at Our Little House, not just with the cold, ice and snow or the multiple sprangs of wrists and ankles or bruised elbows and tailbones from falling in said conditions (because dogs still have to do their business and work has to be done no matter the weather).

Last year, we missed a lot of happenings with our loved ones back in our hometown. We try to make it back for as many landmark birthdays, anniversaries, showers and weddings as possible, but sometimes we can’t make them all.

Add in a good friend who had a heart attack last year, another who had to get a pace maker, the loss of Dale’s mother (while we made several trips to KC to be with her in her last weeks, we were not there when she actually passed, something I think my husband regrets), the death of a former neighbor, my godfather, a couple of former classmates and the arrival of the decade of my 50s and we have the making of a mid-life crisis.


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.