Monday, November 2, 2009

A walk around the Cottage/Living Simply

A peek out our kitchen window...

Our cottage has truly been a blessing, but I've become aware that it may seem a bit "cleaned up" or "perfect" here, and dear reader, that isn't the case! Our days filled with homeschooling are often boisterous and carefree, and not quite so scheduled! But whether we're quick to hop on our bikes to enjoy the sunset, or watch a beautiful movie on a sleepy, rainy day; we do invest time with each other!

I'm so blessed to have Visionary parents...the decisions my Father makes for our family direction is in our best interest, even if I don't see it at the time lol! They're quick to go to the Word for leading, and always challenge us (especially me) in different areas of our thinking, which I appreciate.
The reason we call our current home a Cottage, is because it's an endearment :)
Like the word "Darling", it isn't necessary, but shows affection.
Our cottage was built in 1940, and is very small; but we love it!
Although it needed loads of TLC, our family saw past the imperfections and we continually work toward making our tiny home cozy, judged on it's warmth and not square-footage.
December 2008
Kitchen wall

November 2009
It only took my Dad a few hours to build these shelves around the wall

December 2008

Part of the Kitchen counters/cabinets

November 2009
We love that these windows face the front of the Cottage! The canister on the chopping board is filled with vegetable scraps for the compost outside.

One of the Flylady tips my Mother uses for organizing is the "27 fling boogie". Everyone in the house collects 27 items each to give away to a good thrift store. It's a great way to de-clutter, and bless others in need! I'll confess this is so hard for me, as I have quite a bit of SecondHand Treasures that I love! I did end up giving away 27 items & a few extra blouses/skirts, as I have too many.
Would y'all be interested in a giveaway of some Treasures? :)

Making Pretzels together...

I think I've mentioned this before, but I now see the value of homeschooling and being together all day. As an older sibling, I learn to practice patience and other values that will benefit me in the future. As the eldest daughter, I'm continuing to learn true submission to my parents, and I'm so grateful for this time to grow so that I will be better prepared!


We all became interested in "Simple Living" a few years before moving into the cottage...we had always had a small garden, but desired to have a larger one. We shopped second-hand, My Mother sewed and used a clothesline, I made soaps, we did square-foot organic gardening and in the midst of suburbia we created a mini-homestead :) Now that we're out in the country, we have more room to have farm animals/garden/greenhouse etc.
"...The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm,
And the clouds are the dust of His feet." Nahum 1:3
Now's the time for fresh pecans!
Ahh, it's baking season! My favorite spread:

Honey Butter Recipe

4 TBsp (softened) Butter+ 1 TBsp Honey= 1/4 cup
or doubled:
1 Stick (softened) Butter+ 2 TBsp Honey= 1/2 cup
This is so delicious on Scones/Biscuits or even baked Sweet Potatoes!
. An Old-Fashioned scale to weigh ingredients...
This is such a fun kitchen item, it's accurate too!

An Open door...
We've had quite a few unexpected visits lately, and although its been a blessing, it does challenge me to be better prepared to recieve guests at any time! Here's what I want to have done:
*Frozen Meals
*Parlour always tidy
*Extra baked goods wrapped and put away
*Homemade tea concentrate for quick batches of Sweet tea


So much to do before the cold weather moves in...


Hos Bestemor said...

It seems as you live a wonderful life in your family! Here in Norway there are almost noone who are homeschooling. Even though our girls go to the ordinary school, we try to spend as much time together in the family as possible. I think everybody would be much more satisfied if they stayed more at home together and lived more simple. It's my believe that that's what the world needs more of: simple living!

Greetings and blessings from a Norwegian housewife :)

Tracy said...

I love your cottage kitchen! Your father did a wonderful job on those shelves. It looks so cozy!

Enjoyed learning more about your family. Can't wait to read/see more! :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Mia,
I love your HOME!!!! You all have done so very much to make it your own and cozy and beautiful!! The kitchen cabinets look like pine. In my first (shall i say favorite) home, that was my special cottage, my kitchen cabinets were pine. I dearly loved them!! They brought a sweet warmth to my kitchen, the whole house really.
Time is so incredibly precious. We can never spend to much time together with our loved ones. There seems to always be a challenge in this area. Something always waiting to take that time away. We must gaurd it!!! I am thankful your parents love and protect you and your families time together!!
Yes, i myself need that encouragement too, to have things in the freezer, how wonderful to be ready at all times for the special blessings God brings us :-)!! We have an open door policy too and i need to alway have somethin tasty, nourishing and refreshing to share in His name. We look so forward to this sat.!!!!!! with much love ~ ~tammyp

Christa said...

It's always a special treat to come visit your blog. We moved from California a year ago and we sold our country cottage. I miss it very much. There were a lot of memories that the Lord made for our family there. I'm hoping again, to have another that I can cozy up for my family. There is nothing like a cozy cottage!



Mary Ellen ~ Carolina Momma said...

Thank you Mia for sharing more about your life and your home. I'm touched by the manner in which you speak about your cottage. The love for your home comes through even in your written word! Far too often, I do not speak words of love for our home. I get frustrated by all the work that still needs to be done (and the lack of funds in which to do them). But God is prompting me to speak blessings over our home. And to see the beauty which it holds. Your post has also inspired me to do the same.


Mary Ellen

Trish said...

I love it, this post is probably one of my very favorites! It's lovely to make a house a home!


Anonymous said...

Wow Mia! Your cottage home is SO adorable! And you and your family are such an inspiration! I always love coming to your blog and reading what you have been doing and getting to actually SEE it through your WONDERFUL pictures!

And I would LOVE a giveaway of old treasures!! I have always loved 'old' things (clothing especially) and that's why I really enjoy your blog and am glad you blog and I'm glad I found your blog! :)

Sarah G. from MS

Riah said...

Ya'll have certainly put a lot of TLC into that house, and it really shows. It is very homey!

AJ said...

Hello Mia ~
What a beautiful post (once again). You are becoming quite the photographer. I admire your parents for their beliefs and strength. You and your family are so blessed. Yes, do cherish the times you have together as lives can change in an instant. Your cottage reminds me so much of the house I grew up in. A small house built by my dad in the country. And thank you for making me hungry for pretzels and sweet potatoes. *wink* :) Speaking of colder weather, do you (or your sister and mother) wear crocheted ponchos or sweaters throughout the day?

Hosanna said...

Great post. I love your family's cottage! You have really done wonders with it.
I enjoy simple living also; and though I have many things to learn, it is the process of learning by doing that makes it so much fun.:)

Hosanna said...

PS - a giveaway would be fun.:)

Paulina said...

It is my dream to live out in the country one day. What a beautiful cottage your family lives in! It seems so cozy and old-fashioned.

Laura said...

This is a gorgeous post!!!

Julian said...

ove the pics, and learning more. Beautiful cottage. Endearing term. Be interested in give away.
Thanks for sharing,

Lindsay said...

I really enjoyed the pictures of your cottage and the land that you and your family have, Mia!! Your place looks so beautiful, and I can definitely tell from your writing and photos that you and your family enjoy country living. ;) Thanks for another wonderful post!

~ Love and Blessings,

P.S. - I would love it if you had a giveaway; that sounds like a great idea! :)

Emily said...

I am, as always, inspired when I come to your blog. My husband and I have a dream to have a bit of land - to live more simple, to have more space to grow and enjoy the things we love. I always enjoy stopping by your blog to see that dreams do come true!! :)

The giveaway sounds wonderful!!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog...and Love it!

Does your family watch tv?

What's a typical evening for you?

Anonymous said...

mia lovely site be encouraged my question is how to stay warm and wear skirts/dresses i live in a very WINDY cold place i wear 2/3 layers of thermals and jeans over the top and still can be cold any ideas?

. said...

Such a beautiful kitchen. So inspiring.

...they call me mommy... said...

What a lovely, lovely post! :) I will have to try your Honey Butter...yum! I think it is just the thing to make with my dd for our next Girl's Get-Together with some scones or muffins!

I'm trying to be better about keeping things picked up around here that when a hospitality opportunity comes along, I don't resent it and am ready to focus on others & not myself and what my home looks like!
Great idea to bake some items ahead! :)


Miss Jen said...

Dearest Mia~ I loved
seeing your 'before' and 'after'
pictures!! I would be interested
indeed.... in a 'special giveaway'

Love~ Miss Jen

Sara said...

Thanks for sharing, Mia. Your posts and photos are always so inspiring.

The Sisters said...

Your home is very inviting and cozy. You have great decorating tastes! The honey butter looks so good!

The Sisters said...

Oh, Mia, you inspire me in each and every post! I love your cozy cottage, it is so warm and cozy. You have such great decorating skills. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures!

May God bless you and your family,
~Lydia Caroline~

Aunt B said...


I love your kitchen, your father did such a great job. He is a very talented man. You can be very proud of him.

Your mother has done an excellent job decorating your home. God bless you and your family.

Aunt B

Heather Simpson said...

I too, throughly enjoyed seeing the before and after pics.It is so fun to transform space and make it your own! I can tell you added all of your homey accents.We are awaiting our "Cottage". We live near the Big City and have looked and looked for affordable property in the country....for now we pray and we dream and try to teach my young ones contentment. There are seven of us in our 1300 square foot home...but we have learned how to love one another, share space, be considerate , be creative and reach out to our city folk neighbors.Thanks for sharing on your lovely Blog!
By His Grace,

Antonella said...

Hi Mia,
would you share your recipe for the Tea Concentrate and how do you use it?

I really love tea and discovering new ideas.
An italian housewife-to-be.

Anonymous said...

Wow...the transformation is really something! I had not seen the "before" pictures until now. Your cottage is definitely warm and cozy...very lovely.

Hope you are all well.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Mia!
I am catching up on your blog. I've been away from reading your Blog for sometime now, I really miss it! Eliza Jane and Maria keep me very busy, But I am going to make time to read your blog.
Anyway, I, too, live in a 900 Sq. Ft. cottage. It was an "ugly duckling" but it is transforming into a beautiful "swan"! I love your kitchen! Your Father did a great job making those open shelves!
We only have 4 rooms, but I find living in a small cottage is a true blessing! I hope we will see more of your before and after photos of your lovely cottage!
I am going to adopt that 27 fling, that is a great idea! I also think a 'special giveaway' would be so much fun!
Does your family buy home furnishings new or used? (Like curtians, furniture)
Many Blessings to you and your lovely family!
Rhonda From Northern Minnesota
Oh and also trying the honey butter, sounds so yummy!

Anonymous said...

i loved seeing your cottage! how inspiring!
thank you for your kind words on my blog ~smile~

Miriam said...

Hi Mia! I love your blog! I would be intrested in a treasure giveaway! :-) Keep up the good posts!!!
In Cjrist,

Anonymous said...

Dear Mia,
I was wondering if you might like to share your pretzel recipe with me... they really look delicious and I have been wanting to try my hand at them.Thank you! :)
I loved the pictures of your beautiful home...I have a little cottage too and when we bought it,it needed "loads of TLC" just like yours :) We have turned it into a lovely,cozy home now and I am glad that my parents could look beyond the exterior and see what it might become with work. I guess sometimes we must look at the potential of things rather than the present state of them :)

May the Lord bless you today!