Living Large In Our Little House

Buy a Locally Farmed Free Roaming Turkey and it Benefits us All

When a friend posted on Facebook the other day about the recent controversy in New Jersey over gestation crates for pigs and her horror over the reality of factory farming, I thought, “How in the world can anyone not know about this?”

The post was a result of Jon Stewart’s reaction to NJ Gov. Chris Christie refusing to sign a bill passed by the state’s legislature to ban the diminutive crates, which keeps breeding pigs from being able to even turn around for most of their lives.

But then I remembered I didn’t always know these things. Like most Americans, I was happy pretending my meat originated in that plastic wrapped Styrofoam platter at the grocery store.

The fact is that unless you’re buying your meat – any of it – from local farmers who keep their animals on free range, you’re likely buying factory farmed meat.


Coming Soon: Living Large, the Book

Living Largers love books and that’s why I’m extra excited to announce that my book, Living Large in Our Little House: Thriving in 480-square feet with Six Dogs, a Husband and One Remote, And How You Can Too will be published by Reader’s Digest Books and distributed by Penguin in Fall 2015.

Living Large, the book, will have a lot of new tips on how to live well in a small space and emphasize that Living Large is a State of Mind, no matter where you live.

The book will also contain stories of other Living Largers. Kent Griswold at the Tiny House Blog is writing the foreword.

I’m very excited and a little nervous. I’ll be working hard for the next four months getting this out to the publisher so our community will have it by next fall.

Thanks to all of our Living Large community for your continued support and yes, the book will be released in e-book form as well!

Weeks Don’t Get Any Better Than This

Inside The Belle Writer’s Studio.

Well, for the most part.

Our beloved Kansas City Royals lost the World Series on Wednesday night. After a 29 year wait to see them in another Series, it came down to a very heartbreaking Game 7, bottom of the 9th, two out, man-stranded-on-3rd base-90 feet-away-from- the- tying-run-loss. I’m not a sports nut (and Dale doesn’t like sports at all, but even he didn’t resist the hometown enthusiasm for the Royals), my history with baseball goes back to my grandparents who were die-hard Cubby fans in Chicago (this should tell you something about how resilient my family is when it comes to losing).

My mom was even at a Kansas City A’s game (before the A’s were moved to Oakland) on opening day when she realized she was pregnant with me. I have a lot of great memories of Royals baseball with my family at Kauffman Stadium. This team reignited my love for it. A lot of good things happened in the city because of this team and for that, we are grateful.

On a better note, Living Large the book is a few more steps closer to reality. I hope to have an announcement about that very soon.

Finally, the week is ending with Halloween, which means two things at Our Little House. It is our traditional first pot of chili night, which goes back to when my mom would warm our bellies before we headed out trick or treating.


Gray Stove: A Company with a Good Wood Stove for Tiny Homes

We had a lovely Indian Summer weekend and it was made even more special because my good friend, a woman I call my soul sister, came and visited. Kathy and her husband came down Memorial Day weekend to help us kick off our summer of fun and it was great to have her back for probably one of the last truly warm weekends of the year.

It’s the end of October and soon we will be firing up our woodstove.

A company called Gray Stove was recently brought to my attention. They are a veteran owned company and make stoves custom to order, which includes little stoves for tiny homes.

When we built Our Little House, this stove wasn’t around, but if it had been, I would have definitely checked it out.

We try, when we can, to support American made and that this company is owned by talented veterans who have found a niche for their craft is great.

Check out their story here and if you’re in the market for a woodstove for a new tiny or a home you already own, check out their website.

Finding the Right Size to Live Large

Tammy and Logan's small winter bungalow in town


I know that some of our Living Large’s community also reads Tammy Strobel’s blog over at Rowdy Kittens. I’ve been following her and Logan’s adventures for years, before they even moved into their tiny on wheels three years ago.

Tammy shared some news on her blog this past week that they rented a small, 700-square foot bungalow in town rather than live in their tiny home for the winter.

As I have for several years, I admire Tammy’s honesty on her blog. I think sometimes that tiny house living looks “picture-perfect, romantic and glamorous,” as she says, but as she points out, living a “simpler” lifestyle in a tiny isn’t always that way. It has its good points and downsides, just like living anywhere.

Like Dale and I, it sounds as though Tammy and Logan had a hard time dealing with the terrible winter the country experienced last year. While our pipes didn’t freeze and we always had running water, we did have plenty of snow, which kept Dale home (and unpaid) from work for a day and me feeling a little trapped (I don’t do well driving on snow) sometimes for weeks on end. It wasn’t as bad as the year we had the ice storm, but it was pretty bad.


There is Reason to Report on the Small House Movement, or My Math is Better Than Your Math

Ah, here I am again, blogging about the tiny/small house movement in an effort to try to explain it to someone who obviously will never get it.

I ran across an article yesterday on Housing Wire, intelligently entitled, “Nope, Tiny Houses are not the Next Big Thing: Sorry man – size matters.”

In the article, author Trey Garrison lambasts journalists for not being good with numbers. He goes on with his argument that the media coverage on the tiny/small house movement is unwarranted because the statistics show that homes are, in fact, getting bigger.

He then goes on by taking barbs at tiny house dwellers as “a few hipsters and other assorted folks who make bad decisions.”


Finding Stuff we Forgot we Even Have

Cleaning the clutter from a home, garage, basement, attic or storage area has many benefits, including ridding our lives of the unnecessary.

Last week, I wrote about cleaning out our closets and the laundry/pantry area off our kitchen and just feeling like we had so much more space.

The other main benefit, of course, is finding things you don’t even remember you have.


We Have Added More Space at Our Little House

This is the top of the pantry/laundry room (see floorplan on this site). We store needed kitchen appliances and hang coats in this area.


Ha! Gotcha. No, we’re not abandoning small house living and didn’t add on, but when completely cleaning out pantries and closets, it does feel as though we’ve added space to Our Little House.

I am a terrible organizer and cleaning is the last thing I like to do. I do rotate the closets every season so we have in-season clothes, but quite honestly, I don’t think in the 17 years we lived in our other house, I ever actually completely cleaned out a closet until we moved. We had plenty of extra room and storage space, so we just kept adding to it.

That’s why living in a little house is good for people like me. There aren’t 2 extra bedroom closets, a country kitchen full of cabinet space and a huge storage closet under the stairs in which to pile what is mostly just unneeded crap.