Living Large In Our Little House

The Lazy Dumping Spot

Every home has one: a dumping place we lay stuff down when we come in the house.

In our house in the city, it was the stairs, as the foyer was perched between one set going up and one going down in the split level house.

I also dumped mail on the kitchen table, and Dale put his stuff on a ledge in the family room.

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Three Huge Boxes and a Cedar Chest Down

Slowly, we are clearing the clutter

Dale and I took advantage of the great December weather (in the mid-upper 70s) this past weekend by staying on the continuous journey of cleaning the storage building of all of the stuff that was once part of our lives in the city, as well as the stuff that was part of my mother’s.

It was clothing boxes this past weekend. Unfortunately, some of the clothing was ruined from almost 5 years sitting in boxes. Mice and mildew got one box. Fortunately, I got some great stuff I had been wanting back and it almost feels as if I have a new wardrobe.

What else I didn’t want was bagged to give to charity.

While we only got through three huge boxes, it is a start and we began to make a plan for the rest that needs to go to free up our physical lives of the clutter, as well as freeing our minds of it.

Last month, we attended a wedding of a dear friend of the family. He is my Godmother’s grandson. His father and I grew up together and Dale and I also went to school with his mother.

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Christmas and Cookies Go Together

Today, we have a guest post from Brette Sember, author of the new book, Cookie: A Love Story: Fun Facts, Delicious Stories, Fascinating History, Tasty Recipes, and More. Brette also authored “The Organized Kitchen” and “The Muffin Tin Cookbook,” both excellent kitchen books for small house lovers. She has an excellent gift guide on her website, http://PuttingItAllontheTable.com pairing all of her books with other great gift ideas for the holidays.


For lots of people, it’s not Christmas without cookies. Our kids leave cookies out for Santa, we spend weeks baking and decorating our cookies, and there’s always a cookie plate at any party. The gingerbread man has become synonymous with Christmas. But how did cookies come to be such an important symbol of Christmas?

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Decorating a Small House for The Holidays

We typically put up our Christmas décor the Saturday following Thanksgiving. We did not make it this year. We spent too much time relaxing for the first three days of the holiday weekend.

When Sunday rolled around and it was 70 degrees that day, we decided it was the perfect time to run the gasoline out of the boat for the season. It was, but it was also more fun than cleaning before putting the decorations up.

As with anything in a little house, there is a trick to decorating for the holidays without it looking overdone or cluttered.

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Don’t Act Your Age

I’m a pretty serious person most of the time. Like many, I need to be.

I run my own business, I’m responsible for the care of six dogs on my own for most of the day, 10 acres with a house, studio and barns and I also take care of the family finances.

That’s all pretty serious stuff.

Two weeks ago, I went on a trip, not far away to Branson, Missouri, for work. The idea is to experience some of what the town has to offer so I can better write about it.

I signed up, along with two other writers on this trip, for a go-kart adventure one afternoon, something I used to love as a kid, but hadn’t done in a long time. Dale isn’t a go-kart adventure type of guy – he really isn’t into risk taking with much of anything – and even told me to be careful on “those things” before I left.

My go-kart days can be traced all the way back to when I was about 8, visiting my aunt (who now lives down the road) and cousins in the rural Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky.

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We all Lost on Labeling Initiative

I was very disappointed that Proposition 37 – the bill that would have required all Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) to be labeled– did not pass in California last week.

Why, you might ask, since we live in Arkansas.

It’s simple. Food companies likely wouldn’t have developed special packaging just for California and would have labeled all of their brands to the state’s standards.

Therefore, if we wanted to know if we were buying GMO food, we all lost last week.

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Election Day in the U.S.

Today, Americans exercise one of our greatest freedoms: The privilege to vote.

Don’t forget to cast your ballot today, Living Large community. If you don’t like who is on the ballot, remember you have the power to write someone in.

My parents were very informed voters; my dad never missed a newspaper each morning and my mom was a 24 hour news junkie before cable was even invented.

They instilled a civic responsibility for voting in me at an early age. My parents always went to vote when my dad got off work. I accompanied them up to my elementary school gymnasium and waited outside the little booths as they pulled the magic curtain, which reminded me of the Wizard of Oz.

Mom would always have a pot of something on, either chili or soup, so all she had to do was ladle it up into bowls when we got home.

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Food Memories

Making chili and cornbread

Halloween may seem like a strange holiday to have a food tradition, but there was one in my family.

My mom would always make a big pot of chili for us before we went out trick-or-treating with my dad.

“Something to warm your bellies,” she would always say.

When I grew up and my mother sold her house and no longer had small children or grandchildren to feed, I began carrying on the tradition.

I remember fondly those Halloweens so long ago, marching around my neighborhood in costume with a stomach full of my mom’s chili, but the ones from my adulthood are now much more vivid.

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