Living Large In Our Little House

R.I.P. Old Big Box

Congratulations, Jenna Ann Martin! You’re the winner of the first weekly drawing on Living Large in celebration of Earth Day. You’ve won a copy of Jodi Helmers “The Green Year.” Please email me at with your snail mail address by Tuesday at 5 p.m. Thank you everyone for participating and if you don’t have a copy of this book, it is a great resource for finding new ways to help the planet.

Our Old Big Box

I’ve never understood the thrill of destroying someone else’s property. Even when I was a teenager, I never vandalized anything. Perhaps it was the work ethic I was raised with and the fact that I began working as a babysitter when I was just 11 and got a “real” job at the local Tasty Queen when I was 14.

I understood how hard people had to work to have things.


Earth Day Everyday

It’s April already and would be a completely wonderful month if it weren’t for April 15th (for my American readers, anyway)!

I’ve planted the veggie garden up at my neighbors, the flowers and trees are beginning to bloom here in the Ozark Mountains (as are my allergies), but it’s all good, I love this time of year.

April is also the month of Earth Day, which falls on April 22nd this year. This designated day to bring awareness to the environmental issues we all face is 40 years old this year. There will be lots going on, some of which are listed at the Earth Day website.

In celebration here on Living Large, I’ll be doing a few more posts on the environment and also doing giveaways each week!


Reducing Waste

When I think about how I’ve changed since moving to The Little House 2 ½ years ago, it really kind of amazes me (and also disproves the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks). J

Before Dale started his new job, he was taking care of most of the household chores, and while doing dishes, he broke my carafe on my programmable 4-cup coffee maker.

I wouldn’t say I’m as die-hard of a coffee drinker as my mother, who would brew up to 4 full pots daily, but I do need my 4 cups in the morning and another small pot to keep me going in the afternoon.

Luckily, I have an older reserve coffee maker that I could use. The carafe on the older model wouldn’t fit my programmable pot and it is also much slower in the brew process. I admit that I’ve been spoiled by setting my coffee so that is already brewed when I wake up. Waiting 10 minutes for the older model to brew about killed me some mornings!


Plan? What is a plan?

I found that quote last week on the day that our life took another turn last week that we hadn’t planned.

It seems like our lives have been a series of twists and turns that we didn’t plan since our move 2 ½ years ago, something that in itself has been a little difficult for us, since we had previously spent a number of years with Dale on the same job, working the same hours, and living in a house we had owned for 17 years.

When we lived in the city, Dale had managed to work his way up to night supervisor at a company that he had worked at for 23 years. He’s always been a night person, preferring to even work the graveyard shift over days. I didn’t care for his evening shift that often had him staying 12 hours or more in the city, but that job paid provided for us for a long time.


To Enjoy Good Food, Good Conversation

Dale likes this table much better. Photo by Kevin Pieper

I love the tiny kitchen table we have in The Little House, but that wasn’t always the case. Scrounging for a small kitchen table was my first foray into second-hand shops when we built The Little House.

I found the perfect kitchen table that was well, less than perfect. It was one of those early 90s models with the fake wood glued on (although the fake wood was peeling off) and it caught my eye because it had two matching chairs with the fake wood bottoms and green backs.

My mom went with me to the thrift store and we didn’t think it was a bad purchase, but Dale hated the set, even when I bought a dark green tablecloth to cover its’ imperfections.


For Writing and Storage

Desk in house

People have asked me how to find furniture for such a small home. When we were building The Little House, we had planned on using it for weekends and vacations and eventually, a guesthouse. We needed something functional, but we wanted it to be cute as well.

We found two foutons that looked like they belonged in a cabin and fit our woodsy décor. We used one in the bedroom, where I was able to fold it up when not in use and use half the bedroom as an office. The one in the living room was eventually moved to The Belle Writer’s Studio and we took the one from the bedroom and placed it in the living room of The Little House so we could still sleep a guest there if need be.


The Perfect Sofa Table

Sofa Table

There wasn’t much to do on Saturday afternoon, it was a cold, rainy day and I felt like getting out of the house.

We went over to Harrison, Arkansas, ate at one of my favorite places, Neighbors Mill, and then headed over to Log Cabin Furniture where we bought our bed and my office furniture. While we don’t have room for anymore stuff, I still like to window shop. Last spring, we picked up one of my favorite and most functional pieces for The Little House, the sofa table shown above.


When Old Friends are New

We found we have more in common than our ancestry

We found we have more in common than our ancestry

Last weekend, we had guests at The Little House and it was awesome.

Mike’s mother, my Aunt Grace, was my mother’s best friend. His parents were also my Godparents, an honor in the Lutheran Church that is more than just symbolic.

We lived on the same block of post WWII bungalows and our dads worked for the same railroad. While the neighborhood was generally tight-knit, our families were even more so, vacationing and celebrating milestones with each other.

I even learned this weekend that our fathers hand-dug the basement together that created the addition to their little house.

After my maternal grandmother died when I was a baby, Mike’s Grandma Quinn became my grandma too. And there were the coffee klatches, Mom and Aunt Grace could sit smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee and talking all day (Mom often recounted this is where they learned President Kennedy was shot).

Mike is four years older than me and we were both mid-life babies. Truth be known, his birth was probably the inspiration my mother needed to have another child when her older three children were almost raised.