Category: Small House Living

Ghost Hunting Away from Our Little House

View from 4th Floor Balcony at The 1886 Crescent Hotel

This weekend, we had the opportunity to go to Eureka Springs, about a two-hour drive from Our Little House. Dale and I have been there several times and my parents always vacationed there when I was a kid.

I was on assignment from three different publications to write about haunted hotels. I love these types of assignments. I’m fascinated by history (especially American Victorian Era) and by the paranormal, so these assignments are truly fun for me.

I’m also a chicken, so Dale gets the job of being my protector on all night ghost hunts and is also tasked with taking notes of our surroundings while I shoot the camera.

Until this weekend, I would say the most fascinating assignment we had ever been on was staying the night at Jesse James’ boyhood home in Kearney, Missouri. I was there as a reporter for the Associated Press to write about one of those paranormal investigations. Unfortunately, the only thing we experienced were raccoons in the attic, which led to an unworldly smell.

Reportedly, one of the most haunted (some would argue THE most haunted) hotel is the spectacular 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, where we stayed Saturday night.

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Living Large Tip of the Week: Remembering those Cloth Bags

We've been using the same cloth bags for two decades

I’ve blogged that converting to cloth grocery bags is one of the easiest ways to help the environment. In over 20 years of using cloth bags, we’ve calculated that we’ve saved over 10,000 plastic bags from being produced and thrown into the landfill.

Cloth bags also helps you reduce clutter/trash that you bring into your home and it could save you money at the grocery store as many stores gives you at least .05 cents for every bag.

When I blogged about this before, readers lamented that they have tried to convert to cloth bags, but they cannot remember to bring them each trip.

Here’s some tips on remembering your cloth bags:

  • Keep them in your car under the seat where they will be out of the way, yet still visible when you go to grab your purse.
  • When making your grocery list, write”cloth bags” at the top of your list as the first item each week until grabbing them becomes a habit.
  • If you clip coupons, use some scrap bits of recycled paper, making “coupons” for your cloth bags. Keep them with your coupons until this easy way to save money becomes second nature. .25-.50 cents a week may not seem like a lot until it adds up to $13-$26 per year!
  • If you shop with someone else, remind each other about your bags. This could be a fun game to play with your children and a way to help teach them about saving our planet.

This post is part of the Patchwork Living Blogging Bee over at Attainable Sustainable.

Do you use any other methods to remember your cloth bags?

We’re Closed at Our Little House

 

We finally closed on our home refi yesterday.

You might recall I wrote back in February that we began trying to refinance our house. Moving to a smaller house does release many people from a mortgage all together, but the recession set us back, as it has many people.

Little did we know, that even with near-perfect credit and stable job histories, how discriminatory banks are against little homes.

We sought a refinance, not only because of the lower interest rates, but to get us off the Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMS) we were on for Our Little House and The Belle Writer’s Studio.

ARMS can be costly and dangerous. If you cannot get them paid off, you continually have to renew them, costing more closing costs each time. Also, if interest rates rise, you may suddenly find yourself priced out of your home.

We also didn’t feel like we were making headway in our goal to be debt free within 7 years.

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Wheels and Memories on the Road

I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but I lost part of my freedom last November when I crashed my 1988 Baby Blazer on a slick mountain road.

I’ve always enjoyed driving and the independence it gives me. My mother, mother in law and one of my sisters in law have never drove, relying instead on their husbands. That’s something that would have driven me (!) insane.

Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt in the crash and the motor was not damaged, but the extensive damage to the exterior left me without wheels.

I didn’t know at the time I would be without my own wheels – something I had not experienced since I was 16 – for 9 full months.

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There’s Always the Fall

“Sorry we didn’t get down to see you this summer,” our good friend, Mike told me on a recent phone conversation. Mike was my “Godbrother” growing up and our mothers were best friends. They usually make a couple of trips down, but they’ve been busy this year purchasing and remodeling their lake home, which they will use in retirement.

“It’s ok, the only thing we could have done was sit inside anyway,” I told him, “Maybe you can get down here this fall.”

And so this summer goes, I think after this prolonged heat – it reached 114 degrees in our area yesterday – we’re all ready for fall.

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The No Kids Allowed Movement

 

Headlines scream, The No Kids Allowed Movement is Spreading!

The subject seemed to pop up everywhere last week, from newscasts, to blogs and social media.

Ironically, my week started last week a little on this theme. Last Sunday, while Dale and I were enjoying a breakfast at our favorite country café, we heard someone do something that took us both aback.

As a large group of family members sat squeezed into this small eatery, a child, probably age 4 or 5 began to whine. An older man (presumably grandpa) leaned over and said quietly, but in a firm voice, “You’re going to stop that because no one else in here wants to listen to that while they eat.”

No threatening with violence, jerking him up and storming out of the place or threat of a “time out.” Everyone in the cozy café enjoyed their meals, including Mom and Dad.

It was a refreshing thing to see a parent/grandparent actually parent. The boy obviously knew grandpa meant business. More importantly, the boy knew what was expected of him in a restaurant.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw that happen.

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Zen Doggy

My week has gotten away from me and I have a ton of work to finish before the end of the month. I thought you might enjoy contemplating “Zen Doggy,” today before taking a browse through my 7 favorite Living Large Links post from Tuesday (read the comments too as there were two posts readers liked as well!)

I’ll be back on Tuesday with more news from Our Little House!

Paging….Mat…..you need to claim your audio book at fivecoat@ozarkmountains.com

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My Best of List for Living Large

Mat, you’re the winner of the audio book, Ozark Mountains Fishing Stories,” by Rolland Love! Please email me at fivecoat@ozarkmountains.com with your snail mail address by the end of this week.
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I was tagged by our friend over at Frugal Kiwi in The Seven Links circle going around blogs that began at Tripbase.

Here are my choices for the “Best of” Living Large:

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