August 29, 2012

25 Things About Books

1. I love to read.

2. I think my reading obsession started with the American girl books I got for Christmas in the third grade.

3. I can remember getting a few books for a gift as a child and having them all read by the end of Christmas day, forsaking all my other gifts.

4. If a book is good, I will stay awake until I finish it. Then I may have to start the first few chapters of a new book so I have something to look forward to and don't grieve over the loss as I sleep.

5. My favorite book of all time is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card ... for now.

6. I also really love my Bible.

7. I recently sold my library of books in trying to simplify my life. I haven't looked back. A few favorites are still around.

8. I never have overdue books at the library because I go at least once a week ... or more.

9. I found the Stephanie Plum books after seeing the movie One for the Money. I read all 18 main titles and all the between-the-numbers books in less than 3 weeks. They were really good and I would even wake my husband up laughing at them in the middle of the night. I have a fictitious crush on Ranger.

10. I love young adult fiction and children's fiction. As a former teacher, it was really easy to check books out of the school library. They are easy reading and fun.

11. I love "inspirational romance." My favorite christian book author is Lori Wick, but I read Robin Jones Gunn books all through my teenage years and she has a special place in my heart.

12. I also love Historical Fiction. Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice was my best friend's favorite book and she defeated cancer by heading on to heaven, so P&P is very important to me.

13. I like Science Fiction in most forms. I can handle aliens, zombies, and crazy abilities. Did I mention Ender's Game is my favorite book?

14. I love Fantasy. I would have been an elf had they been real. Eragon is one of my favorite books and it made the cut in my book purge.

15.I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I read Hunger Games and moved onto this list of 25 books to read if you love the Hunger Games. I've read 11 off this list so far and really loved Divergent and Matched. (I had already read City of Ember when it came out years ago, and it made the cut in my book purge.)

16. I don't like non-fiction. I have read a few that I loved, but not many. Most of those were Christian books or teachering books.

17. I don't dog ear my books and I get upset when a book is returned to me with creases.

18. My brother can read a paperback without bending the spine at all. I don't like to borrow his books because no matter how hard I try, I can't return them in the same condition. He says he understands and that I am not as good at reading books as he is.

19. I love that my library can get you any book from any library in the state. I have only run across two books that were not available in any way. The library system is a great thing.

20. When I my kids go to school, I would like to get a Media Specialist degree and be a librarian.

21. My daughter's favorite book is Purplelicious or The Gruffalo.

22. My son's favorite book is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

23. My husband loves to read about Mythology. He just finished the Percy Jackson series even though I gave it to him for Christmas several years ago.

24. The last book I read was Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick.

25. The book I am reading now is The Plot Thickens by a bunch of Mystery Writers. It's all short stories and I thought it would be a good way to introduce me to some new authors.

Any new book suggestions for me?

August 28, 2012

Wishing for Tiny Living

At the beginning of this year, our family started a quest toward a tiny life. We wanted a small house or apartment, simple living, and easier life. But, as usual, life got in the way. We own two houses. One of them was occupied and yet not bringing in money. When we got the house back, we realized that the work to get it rent-able or sell-able would be more than we could do in a short time, so we moved into it and rented out the house we had been living in. After being here for a few months and working to make it home (or even livable), it's time to decide if we want this to be our home for a while or time to get it ready to sell/rent again.

current home - 2000 sq ft

dream home - 874 sq ft

My dream of wanting a tiny home is still heavy in my thoughts and dreams, but getting there is not easy. My parents live nearby and have a few acres of land. If we built a tiny house there, we could save money on land and possibly live there with them while we build. But the problem with that is what to do with the house when we are ready to move on. I do have four brothers who could all live there and or rent it from us when we are ready to move.

We are not ready for total tiny living (no desire what-so-ever to compost a toilet!!!), so we would need to live on the grid. Also, there are ways around the housing codes, but living within the law is very important to us. So, where we live, we would have to own the land in order for us to get financing or my dad would have to get the financing and just let us "rent-to-own" from him. Getting family involved in finances is what got us back into our rental, and while I trust my dad more than most people on this earth, it's just a poor business plan.

Another option would be to move to an apartment. Unfortunately, there are no good options in good school zones and that is important for the coming school year.

The house we live in now is in a good school zone and has enough room for us to live. It is not a step toward tiny, but we are still trying to live simply and better. Who knows where we will end up.

While there are a lot of things still up in the air, knowing that God loves me wherever I live is enough for now. He is my provider and I trust Him with our lives. =)

August 4, 2012

Sometimes you just need a nudge in the right direction

I read a lot of blogs. I should create a blogroll and share all the awesome blogs I read, however, this blog is slow going and I am okay with that.

Today, I was going through my RSS feed and came across this post from The Year of Less. It is writing like this that reminds me what we set out to do. It reminds me that when I look at all I have and still want, I am not being a good steward of all God has blessed me with. 

Moving into our current home made me want to decorate the mess out of it to make up for all the things I don't like about it. However, decorating leads me to buying and spending. But, I want simple. I want less. How do you make a house into a beautiful home without filling it with stuff? I am trying to work through that right now. 

Thanks to Luke & Kelly for their actions and writing them down for us all to be inspired by.

July 31, 2012

Old Shutter Project

My parents had these old shutter doors in their basement.

It's really a rather sad story. When I was five, my parents bought land to build a house on it. They didn't have much money, but had huge dreams for their family of 6. They started building our house and quickly ran out of money. We lived in a partially finished house for many years. Two of the bedrooms in the house had odd shaped closets. The doors had to be custom ordered. When they came in, the numbers had been entered wrong and the doors were sideways! It was quite a blow to the budget to begin with and then to have to pay for them twice!! Let's just say - I was without closet doors for many years of my life (Now I would know to hang a curtain or get creative with something, but sadly there was not pinterest back then!)

I have been thinking about those 8 shutters down in the basement ever since I saw this on pinterest.

I took off two of the doors and the hardware turning them into closet doors . They are being painstakingly painted right now. (Any tips on painting shutters???? Anyone?)

After much consideration, I am going to use the shutters on this wall of my house.

It is at the end of a hallway right next to the kitchen. Stay tuned to see how the project comes out!

July 27, 2012

Update on Life's Adventures

For the past two months, our life has been a mess hectic. We had this awesome plan to switch houses. We owned two and were renting out our starter home. To save a little money we moved back to our starter home and are now renting out our 2nd home.

This was a great plan on paper. It has been a huge adjustment though. When we came to take possession of the home back from the tenants we were in for a huge surprise. All the painstaking work we had done to our first home was rendered pointless. The care that we put into any home we live in is not the same as what others do. Here are a before and after of one of the rooms we worked so hard on. It still mostly looks like this, but the grout on the floor was a much deeper shade of black beige and there is a large amount of finger nail polish on one of the walls!

When we were renters, it was like we owned the place. We kept it clean, we didn't break things, if something did break we fixed it or called the landlord to fix it (based on what kind of landlord we had at the time). We didn't just let the sink leak for who knows how long and let mold build up in the kitchen cabinets that now have to be replaced!!!! (Not to mention all the bleach in the world cannot make me store anything down there until the cabinets are replaced!)

However, we persevered and cleaned our little hearts out. We bleached all the tile and grout in the main living space, scrubbed the walls, had the carpets cleaned, fixed the ceiling fans and lights, and moved in. ALL WITHIN ONE WEEKEND! (I took some pictures, but they were on my phone and it died before I got them off.)

We have been here now for about 2 months and the house is starting to look like a home. The kids have huge bedrooms and stairs to help everyone get their exercise. We live much closer to where we play and our church.

A few things we don't like are the longer commute for Chad and the lack of a garage. Oh, and the ants! It's a fun game we play around here almost everyday... where are those little guys today? In the van, the kitchen, the bathroom, in the van again, coming in the front door, the back door, the side door? And bug spray that says it lasts for up to four weeks really needs to put more emphasis on the UP TO part!

However much this post sounds like complaining, I am really happy to be here in our old home. It is slowly becoming our new home and I am having a great time planning projects to make it better.

The only problem is, it's not very tiny. I started out this blog to document our progression as a family from living large to living tiny. I have a feeling we are headed for a blog of family and adventure more than tiny. Stay tuned to find out!

May 30, 2012


Our adventure continues! We are moving. Unfortunately, it is not to a tiny house. Boo. However, it is a step (back) in the right direction.

Background - We have two houses. When we were young and stupid (okay - a little over three years ago!) we bought our new house without selling our old one. We have rented it since then to family. The mortgage there is a bit cheaper than the one in the house we bought and have been living in since September of 2008. So, we are switching! We are moving back into our less expensive house and out of our can-pay-for-itself more expensive house.

(house we are moving to)
There are huge pros to moving back:

  • Closer to my family, friends, and church (savings on gas!)
  • Huge backyard
  • Less expensive
  • Closer to "town"
  • Large workshop (could be turned into a tiny house!!!)
  • Good school system (if we stay for more than a year when Emma Grace will start school)
  • Really close to the gym and pool
There are some major cons:
  • Farther drive for Chad to work
  • Yard maintenance
  • Farther from Chad's mom and sister
  • No garage
  • Older house = more fixing things
  • Children's rooms upstairs
All in all, I am sure this is a good move for us. With all the purging we have done, we have a lot less to move. It will be great for the kids to not have an extra 15 minutes in the car almost everywhere we go. 

Although this house is not a tiny one, it is smaller - by about 200 square feet! Okay, from 2100 to 1900 is really not down-sizing, but we do plan on getting this one ready to sell and finding something smaller soon!

Or you can see in the picture that workshop peeking around from the back - it's 20 x 20. Perfect size for our first tiny house! If only is was 24 x 24 to meet code for this county. =( 

May 22, 2012

To drink or not to drink...milk

Family Post!

My daughter Emma Grace is two and a half. She never really has liked milk. She drank toddler formula for almost a year after her first birthday. Even after that, getting her to drink milk was not easy.

My son Elliott is 16 months. He has not taken to milk either. We just took him off toddler formula recently.

A few changes have found their way to my house in the past few weeks. Lisa over at The Pennington Point has done a series on intentionally parenting your toddler. It has really helped me with parenting!

One way is to tell my children what to do and expect them to do it. Like drink their milk! Now, every morning, I give them a cup of milk and they have to drink it before they can have anything different to drink. I am sure some moms will think of this as common sense, but it hasn't been for me - until now. AND they drink it. They have no problem drinking it. It's like drinking milk has not been a struggle for the past two years.

Then, this past weekend I had a girls weekend with my college roommates. My roommate, Marlaina, just moved back from Tanzania, Africa. She had to pasteurize her own milk. Then she added a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon to make it taste good. I tried this with my kids and they both drank TWO cups of milk yesterday! The vanilla adds flavor, but no sugar or HFCS!

Did your little ones take to milk right away?