Living Large In Our Little House Blog

Who do you Have to Convince of Small Space Living?

The Belle Writer's Studio solved our issues regarding work space and privacy

In case you missed it, Kent started a conversation over on his Tiny House Blog last month about how to convince your spouse to live in a small space.

I didn’t have time to join in the discussion, but wanted to make a few points about living small and making it work for two people.

For us, there was no “convincing,” neither of us actually thought we would be staying in a 480-square foot space and if we had known what we know now, I doubt either of us would have made the move.

Truthfully, I told my aunt a few months after we got here, “I cannot live in this small of a house!”


Our Earth Day Challenge

JT, your name was drawn for the copy of The Muffin Tin Cookbook. Please email me at with your snail mail address by Wednesday, April 11 to claim your book!

Iris in front of The Belle Writer's Studio

Breaking a lifetime of habits isn’t always easy and this we have found true with breaking the habit of using paper towels.

Our mothers came from the era of all of these wonderful inventions that would make life more convenient: Paper towels, microwavable meals, dishwashers, processed foods, dryers, dryer sheets, etc.

Of course, no one ever explained what impact these things would have on the environment, if not our health.


Muffin Tin Cooking Makes Meals Fun

Today, I’m pleased to have Brette Sember, author of the newly released The Muffin Tin Cookbook, as well as The Parchment Paper Cookbook and The Organized Kitchen.  All of Brette’s books are fantastic and make great additions to small house kitchens, but today, she’s going to tell us what makes muffin tins great and why they’re for more than just muffins. She also gives away a couple of recipes. Read to the end, you have a chance to win one of these books!


Your muffin tins can do much more than just cupcakes and muffins! This versatile pan can be used to make entrees, appetizers, breakfasts, sides, breads, desserts, and much more. Forget big casserole dishes or baking pans – you can do it all in your muffin tin. If you’re living in a small space, you’ll find that you can make many dishes with just a six-cup muffin pan which is easy to store and doesn’t take up a lot of room in your cupboard.


Satisfying end to a Work Weekend at Our Little House

This past weekend was a work weekend at Our Little House. We started on that to-do list and Dale had a few unplanned projects, such as replacing that heating element in the hot water tank.

The serviceman came out last Monday, spent all of 10 minutes on it, declared the solved the problem without draining the tank and checking the element.

It worked till Wednesday and we couldn’t get them back out here until this Monday, so Dale did it himself.

So much for my praise of extended warranties. We’ve decided we will not purchase them anymore on things Dale can fix, which is quite a lot.

Everyone knows around here that the well water is extremely hard, making it hard on heating elements in hot water tanks. Dale decided if the “Yahoo” who came out here didn’t know that much, he didn’t want him back (besides, I was getting tired of not having enough hot water to even shower).

Now we know the tank is cleaned to Dale’s standards and it’s been properly fixed and everyone from here to Chicago (where the store is based) knows we’ll never shop at their store again.

Dale also got the new window air unit installed and we needed it. We’ve had three days now of near 90 degree or over temps and high humidity.

My main job this weekend – in addition to getting our paperwork ready for the tax accountant and organizing The Belle Writer’s Studio – was planting our deck garden.


It may Look Like a Tornado Hit but it was Only the Utility Company


For the most part, the county and utility companies pretty much leave us alone out here.

But like some tornadoes, we were given a warning they were coming this spring through fliers placed in our mailboxes.

It wasn’t a force of nature, but large tree trimming machines and brush hogs, sent by the utility companies.

They decided to claim their 15 feet of easement along the utility line routes, which of course, runs the nearly 2 miles from the blacktop along the road and right in front of our property.

My aunt, who was the first to run power lines down our road said she cried the first time they came in 1997 to install the lines.

“I said, ‘what have I done to this beautiful landscape,” my aunt remembers. “And then someone reminded me if we hadn’t done it, someone else would have.”

The road after the brush hog


In Recognition of Extended Warranties

The first of the week was warm, almost too warm here at Our Little House, but then the rains came and so did the cooler temps.

Yesterday, I went to get into the tub to take a hot bath, something that relaxes me and also warms me when I get chilled.

Only this one was not hot, it wasn’t even warm.

Really, there’s almost nothing worse than sitting in the buff in a tub filling with cold water.

On Tuesday night, the lights flickered during a storm and Dale later realized – when he went to take a hot shower – that the hot water heater breaker had tripped.

He reset the breaker and it heated up for his shower, so we thought it must have been due to the storm.

Apparently, it’s because the hot water tank wasn’t heating properly.


Shopping for a new Cooling Unit

I posted on our Living Large Facebook page yesterday that we were looking into buying a new air conditioning unit for Our Little House.

One of our community there wrote: “You don’t need air!”

She thought we are in Canada.

Nope. We do need air to survive these dreadfully hot and humid southern summers.

It’s hard to believe it is March 20 and we’re already thinking about air conditioning. There’s been a couple of days when I’ve thought about turning it on.