Downsized Dining Tour

September 9, 2014 · 4 comments

First of all, thank you for not only the comments, but for the ones for my eyes only, and for the emails, and for snail mail. Sometimes I am really slow in responding, but, Lord willing, I will get there.


I’m not in the “nesting” stage yet but I sense it coming. I’m still hoping to get the house all put together before the baby comes, so I can just relax and enjoy the holidays. I’ve been working hard also to finish some online schoolwork; lots of reading, reports, exams. But, slowly, this house is coming together. And–praise God!–our other house is pending sale already to someone who loves it and, I feel, will take very good care of it.


Ready for a dining room tour? I enjoy sharing with you all; it keeps me going, one room at a time!


For reference, this was our dining room in the previous house. We had just put up the wood walls and it *finally* felt like what I was wanting. We also had a secondary dining area off the kitchen so in reality we had two large tables to use for ourselves and for guests. We also had a very large hutch built into the cabinetry with lots of doors and drawers. If you saw my last post on downsizing the kitchen, you saw where my “hutch” went.


dining room wall paneling


And here is our dining room today–only one table. Ironically, I got the walls I really wanted–all OVER the house :) Through the window there is the mudroom; you can see my baskets hanging off the ceiling (pics soon).




I was so worried the house buyer would want my big chalkboard. It is real slate, given to me by a previous schoolteacher knowing that I was leaving the profession to homeschool my children. My husband made the frame. He also built in the bookcases and that is where we store a lot of our homeschooling books and dictionaries and so forth.




Looking in the other direction, to the left is the hall and to the right is the living room (pics soon!).




Little houses get short tours :)


I’m finding myself sitting or lying down more. I finally pulled out my handwork projects and started picking at them when I needed a break from physical activity or academics. I’m hoping to make this into a fabric book of my favorite things. I also need to start getting busy preparing for the baby; I enjoy making all of the herb teas and baths and powders and so forth.




What a crazy season it has been for me. There are days I am still in unbelief, that we really sold our house, that we really moved, that we downsized at the same time as upsizing our family with another baby (our 8th) on the way. I am almost finished earning a certificate as a master herbalist, and a book cover is in the works for Present. That’s been a slow process, also a season of just planting and watering and waiting. I’ve been ignoring the noise of creating a big “platform”, pushing for email sign ups, taking on advertising. It’s not who I am. Instead I am just trusting that whatever I do and whomever I am will just either bless or annoy; like Jesus, I crave hot and cold and dislike lukewarm. Maybe I am entering a season of being ok with that, of letting expectations and perfections and regrets go with the wind. I hope that in my life, I will bare much fruit, and, at the end, die and fly away knowing that my God was glorified in some way by it all. I’m sure looking forward to seeing our good Lord face to face; aren’t you?




Thankful for the cross,


Downsized Kitchen Tour

September 1, 2014 · 11 comments

Welcome to my new, downsized home. Not everything is in place, not every box is unpacked, and certainly not every room is finished (or even able to be moved into yet). But I thought I’d share with you the progress we’ve made, and how we’re living at the moment.


Would you like to see my kitchen? For comparison, this is the kitchen I left behind.





And here is where we are now. I had to (actually wanted to) get rid of a lot of extra kitchen things: extra dishes, bakeware, seldom used appliances, and a crazy amount of plasticware that I never did really like having anyway.


The mudroom door is to the right of the fridge. The milk bucket on the floor was from Tom’s stepfather’s dairy farm. We’ve hung up our aprons, and the top of the fridge is for the popcorn maker, extra-large mixing bowls, and a crate for supplements and tinctures. The kids are really enjoying having a magnetic fridge for pictures and drawings and so forth. Someday I will trade out this fridge for something that is *all* fridge; I really don’t need the freezer at all but could really use a larger fridge. My chest freezer is in the mudroom (pictures coming soon).


downsized kitchen


To the left of the fridge are open shelves, and a beautiful cabinet that a friend had in his garage. He even found the countertop for me (LOVE). Someday I am going to put cast iron pulls on the drawers. Notice the walls and ceiling; there are cracks everywhere and I love the texture it gives. We don’t really have to worry about dust on the open shelves because we’re constantly using these plates and things. That’s one of the beauties of simplifying–everything is used, loved, and out in the open to see and enjoy.




Turning to the left, more open shelving, plus tucked in the corner an open bookshelf where I keep a basket for measuring tools, the cheese grater, glass bakeware, and other frequently used things. Someday I would love to remodel and incorporate favorite furniture into a seamless countertop. Don’t we all have “someday” projects?  I really like my sink (and yes, there are dishes in it). A sink skirt is due. I am on the hunt for a nice copper pendant to hang above the sink, but haven’t found one that I love yet.




To the left of the sink, we have the dish drainer. I haven’t missed the dishwasher at all. It’s just something else to maintain and fix and repair and replace. I don’t mind hand washing, and neither do the kids: it’s an opportunity to listen to our favorite shows and podcasts on the iPod in peace. On the left of that is Tom’s grandmother’s old kitchen fridge (LOVE), which I am using as a pantry. On top, there is a basket for coffee-making supplies, a basket of straws, hanging mugs, and of course my cookbooks. It may not look it, but I *did* downsize my cookbooks. The scale hanging to the left of all that…I actually use! You can see the living room from the kitchen opening…but I’ve blocked it to keep people from running through the kitchen. I like having the U-shape kitchen.




Ok, turning again. I have a metal red cart on wheels holding tools in crocks, a basket full of potholders, and on the bottom….water pictures and cups for kids. You can’t see them, but I also have jars of tea and a file full of cut-out recipes on that tray as well. The stove and oven work, but *someday* I will replace it for a larger oven with a see-through front and a bottom drawer that’s not broken. I hang all of my pots and pans (some are missing and either getting washed or holding soup in the fridge). All of my baking supplies and seasonings are on open shelves. I love that; it’s easy to see what I have and everything is easily accessible. The dark patch above is from a floor repair; it’s awaiting paint. Oh, and there’s no vent either…that will come *someday* as well.




Turning once again (my back is to the sink), there is a gorgeous table I found at a flea market. On it we keep our everyday utensils and a tray for salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar. There is a shelf I pulled out of the garage that I use for teas and sweeteners. On that table is also where I steep my herbal infusions for the day, and where I like to sit to plan meals or eat a snack or top with cases of produce to can. Underneath, there is a stool and a step-ladder and a basket I use for storing potatoes and other root veggies to eat for the week. I’m not sure about the floors, but I think they are original to the house that the previous owner (house owner #2) refinished. LOVE them. You can see a peek of our dining area (pictures to come!).




Around the corner is another shelf for goods and sauces for the table. The big jar of rosemary is from my old house, waiting for me to get to, to root and plant somewhere here.




There are a lot of things I like about my kitchen. I like the openness for sure. I appreciate that I have running water, a fridge, food to eat and knowledge of how to prepare them. I also like the pottery jars, some I don’t even use, but I enjoy looking at them. I really have an appreciation for handmade goods.




I like having my utensils out in the open; these are a mix of stainless and real silver. I don’t get why anyone would store their silver and not use them. I’ve never polished them (they look fine) and at my old house, I even ran them through the dishwasher without any issues. My guess is that just like using cast iron pans transfers iron into your food, eating from silver has some medicinal benefits as well. So stop storing them in dark drawers; use them!




I like hanging my pans. It bugged me to no end to have to open drawers and whatnot to dig out a pan when I needed it in my old kitchen. I’m so glad I have a spot to hang pans again!




I also like cookbooks. Sometimes I’ll try to make an entire week of meals out of just one cookbook, to stretch my cooking skills and to try something new. My latest endeavor was baked clams. I was so proud of myself that it worked! And it was GOOD!




Open shelves aren’t just for everyday dishes. They’re also for those “fancy” dishes. I’ve given up hiding my “good” things to use for “special occasions”. Every night I have my entire family sitting around the dining table IS a special occasion. Someday these children will be grown and gone and my table will be more empty. I’m currently very happy to have a ton of plates that we all use.




I like making room for items that have a family history. I don’t care that it’s *old* or *used* or whatever; it reflects our heritage and I like to honor that by keeping things that are either tangible (like this fridge) or emotional (like the memory of my YiaYia’s hot chocolate made with goat’s milk). I’m thankful I had a happy childhood, and want to honor my husband’s history as well.




A question I ponder a lot these days is how much space I really need. The side by the oven is plenty for a stirring spoon, a bowl of prepped vegetables, a pot lid. I don’t really miss the miles of counterspace I previously had, but it IS true that I have to clean more often now. Ask me in a year how I feel about that.




Things are quirky in this house, and many projects need to be done. I’d like to replace the single paned (and cracked) windows, but in the meantime, I’m very grateful for them, for the light they bring, the sweet summer breezes coming through the removable screens, the beautiful views they give.




Some people  focus on the cracks and projects to be done and challenges of living in a small house. Some people have nothing good to say at all. I choose to appreciate the opportunity and am hopeful that we can be happy here.




Downsizing Our Home, Upsizing Our Family: Part 3

August 19, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Well, so much for my pretty scene at the pond! Tom and I heard the *crack crack….craaaaack…..* and then, enormous branches came crashing down, smashing the little maple I was so looking forward to watching blaze with autumnal colors. Other branches around the property have come down, too. […]

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On Waiting…

July 31, 2014

A month in, and I’m finally to the point of settling into the bottom portion of the house. The upstairs is still in progress, but it’s a slow process. Little by little, as my neighbor reminds us.   I’m finally back into my art journal, and enjoying seeing all of my art supplies at hand […]

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On Being Present

July 22, 2014

I just had to share this video. How much do we depend on social media or the internet to connect or build a relationship with someone?     Most of the time, it seems using social media to build relationships is not really about building relationships at all. It’s simply a way to get out […]

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Sneak Downsizing Peeks #2

July 22, 2014

Slowly, slowly…slowly…it is coming together. Boxes are moving out of the house, and shelves are going up. I’m going to spare you the corners that still have stuff all over the floor waiting for more shelving and hooks, and share some more peeks with you. Oh, and the entire upstairs hasn’t even begun to get […]

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Sneak Downsizing Peeks

July 11, 2014

Discovering fruit already here on the land (cherries!)…   And harvesting foods grown here naturally…   Finding ways to make do with less counter space…   And choosing when and how to use our resources…   Creating vertical and horizontal places for storage…   And finally taking some time to rest…   Blessed.

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Downsizing Our Home…Upsizing Our Family…Part 2

July 9, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Good-bye Big House Over a week later, I *finally* have internet. I must say, though, the world didn’t come to an end without a connection. This past week has been STRESSFUL..I suppose I will be glad I didn’t have the internet distraction to make it worse. Lots and […]

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Downsizing Our Home…Upsizing Our Family

June 30, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Well, today’s the big MOVE! The big yellow rental van will be here in about two hours, along with a group of friends. Last night my husband and I recorded our last podcast in the primo studio, and talked about what we’re doing, and why. Hopefully you’ll get […]

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What If…(on Downsizing)

June 27, 2014

I have a large slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk next to my computer. I picked up the cake this afternoon from one of our local cafes, after I picked up the easy (read: conventional store-bought) meals to feed my family for the next few days. I’m sitting at the bar in […]

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Downsizing into the Bungalow

June 25, 2014

Work continues in the little 1951 bungalow. Tools are everywhere, dust is abundant, paint splotches are spotted on the floors and lots of people are using their time and tools to help us make the transition. It’s not a small thing, *just* time and tools. Most folks have to travel as we do, 45 minutes […]

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Downsizing Progress

June 14, 2014

What’s going on at the house(s)? Well, quite a bit.   Today in our current house, we were blessed with eight friends that showed up to form teams and cleaned all of the hundred-and-fifty-whatever windows we have. I made a taco lunch for everyone, and wished more than once I could grab a camera. But […]

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Look Up

June 12, 2014

In my mind, I am writing many blogs, updating progress as we go. In my mind, I am taking photographs, uploading and sharing them with you. In reality, however, I am burning out, rarely home, and very tired. I miss my routines, my quiet, my time to write and work on handwork. In the midst […]

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More Downsizing the Kitchen…and Closet

June 5, 2014

After spending some time yesterday in my new kitchen, I decided that what I had to do was come up with a plan. I did the same thing when we were building our current house, and I even labeled (on paper drawings) drawers and cabinets with *exactly* what was going to go where. Last night […]

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Downsizing the Kitchen

June 3, 2014

As many of you know, we are downsizing our living space from 3800 square feet (not including the basement and attic) to under 1700 (no basement nor attic). We’ve been wanting to podcast some of the craziness going on, but honestly we are falling asleep practically at supper time. Today we spent the day at […]

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What I’m Learning from Our Caterpillar Infestation

June 2, 2014

  It’s a caterpillar year here. That means there are caterpillars everywhere. On fruit trees. On alder trees. On porches. Climbing up screened windows. Hitching rides onto people. Crawling about indoors.   I can’t help but think of the frog infestation of the Old Testament. In gardens. In homes. In beds, ovens and–truly more so–everywhere. […]

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Leather Journals, Basketry, Weaving and More Beginner Art Journaling

May 26, 2014

Well, the vast majority of the packing is finished and boxes are piled into the garage. The basement is crazy overflowing with garage sale goods and now I am just waiting on other people: painters, window washers, carpet cleaners… There is nothing for me to do now but to wait during this lull before listing […]

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May 19, 2014

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 How’s your Bible reading going?   Seventeen years ago I was saved, and for the past fourteen I’ve been in my Bible pretty much daily. I credit the few years I spent […]

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Seeking Balance in Downsizing

May 12, 2014

Proverbs 30:8-9   Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.  That was the verse I attached to the photograph […]

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Why I Blog

May 8, 2014

  I once saw a t-shirt for writers that had written upon it, “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my next book.” As funny as that is, the truth of the matter is that writers do use–among other things–their experiences and worldviews, and yes, that means interactions with other people, to create […]

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Packing, Packing, Packing…

April 29, 2014

I am already tired of packing. And the more I pack, the more I wonder how I will ever fit it all into our smaller house, even as the garage sale pile grows ever higher. At this point, it’s going to take me hours just to get that sale pile out of my house! I […]

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Hard Marriages and Silent Wives

April 24, 2014

Another friend of mine is divorcing. It makes me sad. And it makes me sad when I go to weddings, too. I want to warn the couple: the chances are very, very (very) good that there will be a “for worse.”   But I’m also sad at how our faith community handles family breakdowns as […]

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Trying to Maintain Normalcy While Downsizing

April 21, 2014

I am decluttering and downsizing and packing away my belongings. One box, one room, one area at a time. Even as the garage sale pile grows bigger, even as the trips to send off donations gain frequency, I am still bewildered about how I am going to make this downsize work. I’ve taken measurements of […]

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Rehydrating Dehydrated Sourdough Starter

April 16, 2014

Well, so much for “zero doubts” in getting my dehydrated starter perky and going again. I said as much on my post on dehydrating the starter, and I figured after almost a year, it was time to raise the starter. I wasn’t successful.   This is what I began with, an airtight mason jar of […]

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Part Two: Upsize

April 15, 2014

In the midst of downsizing our living quarters, we’ll be upsizing our family. Yes, we are expecting baby #8.   I appreciated rereading Matthew 27 this past week. Jesus, the most innocent man ever, stood with dignified silence in the midst of false accusations, mocking, insults, and wrong assumptions. It gave me courage to relay […]

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Part One: Downsize

April 14, 2014

Well, I promised to share some news, so here goes. We are moving. Actually, downsizing. Actually, almost micro sizing, compared to where we’ve been. My current house is a with boxes everywhere and things collecting for garage sales, Goodwill, and Craig’s List.     This is very bittersweet for us. Bitter in that we […]

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First, You Take a Deep Breath…

April 5, 2014

…and that’s what I’m going to do for this week. Take a deep breath. Because before I share with you all the absolute craziness happening around here, I’m going to take a week off the net and hang out with a friend in the city. We plan to take a lot of art classes and […]

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Natural Face Care

April 1, 2014

My post on homemade face cream continues to be a favorite among my readers. Ironically, I very rarely make that face cream. Mostly, because I’m lazy   That’s not to say that I buy fancy facial products though. I just can’t spend that much for it, nor do I want all of the *interesting* ingredients […]

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An Alternative to Obamacare

March 30, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download   Rather than join the chorus to rant about Obamacare, I thought it might be more helpful to hear about an alternative. Join us as we talk with Jamie Pyles about Samaritan’s Ministries and hopefully answer any questions you may have about this organization.     If you decide […]

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Do You Know Affliction?

March 24, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download It’s great to get behind the microphones with my husband again! In this episode, I share about my new book, Present, coming out soon, and offer to you some encouragement regarding affliction. We’re not spared affliction in our lives, but in Christ, we are never alone within in […]

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Spring Planting

March 21, 2014

Well, it’s the first day of spring and I finally closed my eyes to the mess indoors and went outside. I’ve had starts by my kitchen windows, and because I’m getting tired of working around them, decided some of them could go outside. I put a bunch of kale seedlings out, and topped it with […]

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Tying Up Loose Ends

March 20, 2014

Tightening up and tying off the ends of my first woven silk scarf. It drapes beautifully, but I am ready to get out the cottons and make a good dozen (and non-finicky) kitchen towels.     My husband meets with the “potential house” owner this weekend. I suppose that will be another loose end to […]

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Retreat and Reboot

March 18, 2014

Six of my girlfriends and I went up to the mountains and spent a couple of nights in a log cabin. It was a nice retreat, a chance to spend time with one another and rest. We each brought an offering to share for a devotional, and then took turns praying for each other’s needs during […]

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Mission: Un-Organize My Home

March 5, 2014

There’s nothing quite like considering a massive downsize to make you rethink each and every thing you own. Many of us know the quote by William Morris, “…Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Well. Yes. Except that it all was useful and beautiful at one time. And some of […]

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Why I’ve Been Quiet

March 3, 2014

Oh, where oh where to begin…. This is going to be equal to about a dozen blog posts, but I’m going to just dump them all here. You can attend to the subtitles and read to your interest(s). MARRIAGE: Twenty-two years later, we’re still in the ebb and flow of relationship. That happens, doesn’t it? […]

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Marriage and the Art of Compromise

February 22, 2014

I was in the kitchen grinding some coffee recently and took a longer glance at my little set up. Hand grinder, coffee beans, electric grinder.     I prefer the hand grinder. It’s slow. It’s quiet. It grinds very fine and of course I think the flavor is better, too. It is something that forces […]

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More Sewn Bible Covers

February 12, 2014

It looks like we finally got a little bit of winter here in the Pacific Northwest, at least enough to snow us in and make a good excuse to spend extra time in the kitchen making pumpkin doughnuts. We live at the end of a long gravel road and without a spiffy 4×4 (we dream […]

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On Savoring the Things of God

January 29, 2014

Matthew 16:23   But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.   I’ve been parked in the book of Matthew for a bit, mainly because of Bible Study Fellowship. If […]

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“I Need to Go to the Store”

January 21, 2014

I say those words far, far too often. In my case, it’s about twice a week, which may or may not sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me. But for as many years as I’ve worked towards decreasing my dependence on the supermarket, here I still am. I find it not only […]

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I Didn’t Ask for This…

January 15, 2014

Matthew 14:22   And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship… CONSTRAIN, v.t. [L., to strain, to bind...] In a general sense, to strain; to press; to urge; to drive; to exert force, physical or moral, either in urging to action or in restraining it…. One of the risks of following Jesus is that sometimes […]

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On Goal(s) Setting

January 4, 2014

Isaiah 52:12   For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.  I love the beginning of a new year much as I love Mondays. Fresh starts. New days. Hope. In setting goals for the day or week or month […]

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How to Have the Christmas Spirit

December 23, 2013

It’s interesting, this time of year. So much music and movies and chatter about the Christmas spirit, about how to get it, and what the season is “really about” (depending on whom you ask). Sometimes I feel happy about all of the activity and lights and peppermint. Sometimes I just feel emotionally manipulated by holiday […]

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Simple Christmas Decorations

December 17, 2013

I’m a simple gal at heart, and I enjoy things that are natural, handmade, whimsical. Here is a little tour of some of the decorations around my home that fall into one or more of those categories.   Orange slices are easy to dry. I put the slices onto parchment and then slid them into […]

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I Wrote a Book! And More LOOMing Projects

December 9, 2013

If you’re on my email list (and you are, right?) you already know that I’ve written a book. If you’ve been with me a long while, you also know that A Happy Home was a blog I quit for a short season because I was so completely distracted by the internet and its siren call. […]

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The Other Side (of the Kitchen)

December 8, 2013

Not that anyone was waiting on the edge of their seats, but here is the other half of the kitchen decorated for Christmas. You can see where I started here.   I put little ornaments here and there on the shelves. And yes, those vanilla cocoa stirrers are yummy.     Then, I hung up […]

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How To Juggle Multiple Sourdough Starters

December 5, 2013

I’ve been feeling the need to update my post on whole wheat sourdough bread, mainly because baking with sourdough is far, far easier than the recipe I left there. And now that I’ve been at it for several years, I’ve also gotten to a nice rotation in juggling multiple sourdough starters. I get most of […]

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Advent as a Time of Rest

December 3, 2013

Is this a restful season for you? I was thinking of this as I was putting the kitchen gardens to bed for the winter. The garlic was long ago planted, and everything else has been either pulled up or pruned, and a nice thick layer of mulch put on top. It doesn’t feel like bracing […]

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Because We Need a Little Christmas…In the Kitchen

November 29, 2013

The bad news is that I’m having serious website issues so please excuse any mess while we try to fix mistakes we didn’t ourselves make to begin with but are sure to add to as we muck about in mires we are mostly clueless about. If you really want to know what’s going on, sign […]

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Scrappy Sewn Candy Canes

November 24, 2013

This sciatic injury has taken away some things I like to do…like pilates, like horse riding, like walks down my gravel road.  A month later, the pain is not keeping me up at night but I still have some nerve damage in my leg and foot, so I am finding less active things to do. […]

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Christmas Card Art: From Pinterest to Pin-ter-DO

November 20, 2013

I love how you can learn so many things on the internet. I think the trick is to not simply pop everything onto Pinterest for that nebulous “whenever” but to actually try your hand at some of the things that inspired you to pin them in the first place. Many thanks go to Christy Tomlinson […]

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