Living Large In Our Little House Blog

Little House Floor Plan

We finally found the floor plan for The Little House and have posted it here for those of you who wanted to review it. Just click on the plan and it should enlarge for you.

Here’s my disclaimer: These are not plans drawn up by a professional architect. We did this at home using a computer program. My aunt had substantial construction experience and made them for us. If you use these plans, you do so at your own discretion.

There were issues trying to build a house from 300 miles away and it’s been six years, but the only issues I recall regarding the specs for this plan was an issue with the cabinets not fitting properly. I was told this was due to the sheetrock subs, who did not screw, but glued the sheetrock. Gluing doesn’t allow the sheetrock fit as tightly, causing a slight variance in the measurements, and when building a very small house, the tiniest of variances can cause problems.

Please comment if you have any other questions and I’ll do my best to answer.

Something Old, Something New in Holidays

Thank you so much for reading and entering the drawing for Jodi Helmer’s book, “The Green Year: 365 Small Things you can do to Make a Big Difference.” The winner of the random drawing is Becky! Congratulations, Becky! Please contact me via email at with your address. I would also like to thank Jodi Helmer, who made this giveaway possible. I recommend you get the book (there’s great deals online today!) it is truly one of the best books out there.

This was so much fun, I’ll be doing giveaways throughout the holiday season, so make sure you check back regularly!

Now, for today’s post:


I didn’t spend Friday trying to grab the latest deals on more stuff, nor will I spend Cyber Monday trying to find the greatest deals online. We used to do the mad shopping dash, but do very little holiday shopping now.

Still, this weekend was spent with some old traditions and with many new ones here at The Little House. When Dale and I had tons of family to spend to spend the holidays with and we usually had to eat more than one turkey dinner to make everyone happy, we decided that when our family was gone we would eat tacos on Thanksgiving. Since his family remains in KC, we’ve been doing just that for the past three years here at The Little House.


Black Friday Give Away a Signed Book

Green YearI hope all of my American readers didn’t eat too much yesterday and that you had a very Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

I promised a cool giveaway this week and waited until Black Friday so you would be in the mood for a real bargain. For me, nothing would put me in a better mood than winning a new, signed copy of a book!


We’re not the Begley’s

Plastics in the canOk, so if Monday’s post left you with the impression I’m the Queen of Green, I’m sorry for misleading you.

It’s true, I was ahead of the curve on the cloth bag initiative and that’s something for which I’m proud. It was simple, didn’t cost me anything but the initial cost of the bags, and it did save me some nickels on our grocery bills for the years we lived in KC, as stores there gave a nickel for every bag you used.

But we are far from being the Begley’s around here.


Baggin It

BagsBefore I get started on Monday’s post, I want to let my readers know that there will be another fun giveaway this week. Watch for it and learn how you can win something really cool!

Now, back to regularly scheduled programming:

Going to the grocery store is a chore I’ve always disliked. Making the list, getting all of the stuff on the list, paying for it (that really bites these days), and then getting it home and lugging it all in, sorting and putting away.

My mom and I did this errand together for most of my adult life, which made it a bit more fun.

Now though, all I have left of those outings are her cloth grocery bags. I’ve been using cloth bags for grocery shopping for 21 years, since one of the pushes to “go green” in the 1980s. My husband was working at a large landfill and was coming home telling me horrible stories about birds getting the plastic bags forever tangled around their feet or in their bills. Then there were the stories the landfill would fill up much faster than the middle of the 21st century, as they first thought.

One week while my mom and I were at the store, we saw cloth bags (the ones pictured) and decided to buy some. It is the easiest thing any of us can do to have less of an impact on the earth, with probably some of the most benefit.



Steve Boy ScoutI’ve been thinking a lot of my brother, Steve, lately. This month, my book club took on “No Immediate Threat: The story of an American Veteran,” the book I wrote about his struggles after the Vietnam War.

It was a pleasant surprise when they suggested they read and discuss the book close to Veteran’s Day.

It was especially poignant, as today is the 10th anniversary of his death.

I couldn’t be farther from where I was that cold night back in 1999 when my brother went to sleep for the last time.

I was a new reporter on the school beat for a local daily. My day timer shows that although it was a Saturday, I was busy working, covering a Boy Scouts event. When we learned of Steve’s death 14 months later, I looked at my calendar and actually remembered thinking of my brother while I was at that event the day he died, as he had also been a Boy Scout.

Vietnam changed the Boy Scout and athlete we knew. My brother returned a tormented soul.

In the years that have followed the aftermath of his death, The Little House has played an important part in helping me shed some of the emotional clutter, to find my own sense of peace.


Any Day is a Good Day When Books are Involved

FredWhen I return to my home city, the first place I usually hit, even before seeing family and friends, is a bookstore. I think probably the two things I miss most about being in a city, is being a part of a writing community and the wonder of bookstores. Kansas City has a very large writing community that seems to bond well.

There was always something going on there, from activities with the Kansas City Press Club and the Kansas City Writer’s Group to book launches, signings and readings at The Writer’s Place. There was also always some writer to get together with over lunch or dinner for a little one-on-one camaraderie and to bounce ideas off.

As for bookstores, I love them all, the big ones with coffee shops (and free wi-fi) and the small independents.