Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Season of Simplicity, Week One

What a week!
It's truly been a blessing, I hope you enjoy a peek into the Cottage :)
During this week, the only electricity we used was for the Refrigerator and a few small space heaters. PS) We don't have central heating, lol!
It was a great experience for the family!
Mother started Scrap booking...

My sister playing the piano...

(we went without radio/tapes/Cd's, so this was extremely hard for my sister and I as we *love* music! We compromised by playing instruments, singing together, and writing songs!)

~There's a curtain that covers the computer area, so I didn't think about Blogging as much...out of sight, out of mind!! :)

Natural decorations...


Here I am journaling in the parlour...
My sister preparing a dessert...

Washed green beans

It was fun to snap the beans in the parlour while talking to my Mother and went much faster!

My sister writing in her journal...

After dinner, my sister and I put on a "concert" for the family...playing a few songs each before dessert was served.

My Dad showed me the correct way to level/work the ground
before laying down mulch...

The mulch was from a tree stump we're removing...I couldn't wait to put that out on the future garden area.

Caught up on my baking...

I made soda bread to serve garnished with egg salad
and fresh lettuce from the garden.

While I finished up the bread and my sister made cookies, my Mother read aloud to us.
She made a large batch to save some for later...

My brother worked with my Dad to seal in the back porch...
It's being set up as shelter for the animals on cold nights

Playing cards...
A parable come to life:

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps." Matthew 25:1-4

We ran out of oil! It was a great time to make reference to that scripture of always being prepared! We (thankfully) have more oil now, but it was so convicting to realize, that without oil or sufficient candles, we're stuck!! :)

It was so beautiful to literally be covered in fog!

Down the lane...

Cotton fields...
The cotton blows into the road, so we used some when decorating the parlour!

Nearby creek...


My brother, sister and I all went out to the woods to collect straw/mulch on the ground to lay over the garden soil...It was hard work because parts of the garden area are so saturated in rain water, that you can easily sink on a soft spot! Well, we did...frequently. We had some good laughs, though!

Evening sky

We have to make sure we prepare supper early, because when it gets dark (between 5-6pm) it's candle-light only! One night I made a late supper, and it was *so* frustrating searching through ALL the deep cabinets, holding a dripping candle, all in pursuit of a strainer! :)

But I found it. hehe

For a while I wasn't playing my guitar as often, but during this week I have! When you're left without an outside source of music, you quickly compose your own! :) A few nights ago, we were in the parlour, and I played guitar while each family member made-up a verse about living at the cottage! It was so much fun!! :)

At the kitchen table...

My sister took a walk through the property after the rain shower...

My mother brought in sprigs of Cedar branches

Later, she prepared hot tea...

Dinner and a Board game

When we're asked if we have a dishwasher, I point to myself and my sister and say, "We have two!" We're used to washing dishes the old-fashioned way!~

One of our favorite times is using the late night hours to read before retiring for the night. It's so quiet, and it's a wonderful time for reflection.~

Inspired by my Gardening magazines, I went out to the woods and "pruned" some trees to use as garden stakes! They're not exactly the size I wanted, but it's better than nothing! Hopefully I'll have a huge stack by Spring :)


I'm so pleased to see that my strawberry plants are doing great! (I really let them run wild!)They've sent off many runners, so I'll grow some in the greenhouse soon.

Mother writing in her notebook...


SecondHand Treasure

I purchased this cute rocking chair for only $5! It's really heavy, but thats a good sign to me, it should last a while! Anyway, I thought you would like to see it, It's a new item for my hope-chest (not literally to go inside it, lol, it's for "later")

Well, my sister and I have been working on a crochet project together this week...and it's finished today! Even though we didn't knit, I still love this above photo! :)

1860's style Sontag

I'm pleased with how it turned out! Because it's crocheted it's *really* hard to find patterns (usually its knitted). We found a large (Womens size 16) and my sister studied the pattern, and converted it to my size (8/10) and changed a few things. At one point, it was too narrow, so we hard to start all over again!
I'm wearing it right now :)
The sontag is very comfortable, perfect attire for daily wear or at (re-enacting) events!!

Meg (on the far left) is wearing a sontag.
I hope you enjoyed the update! I'll update again on December 26th!


Mary Fran said...

Mia, it was wonderful to hear about your time of simplicity . I think people would be more content and happy if times were actually back to that. I'm sure there would be closer families. My children and I love to cut off the electric lights and all distractions and have supper by oil lamp light. Then they love to hear and tell stories of family members who have already went ahead to glory. It's a nice way to pass on family history and keep the memory alive of cherished loved ones. Thanks for sharing.

Kendra Logan said...

As usual, I loved the post! So inspiring! It makes me want to come visit you all!


Gail said...

Glad to hear from you - I've been wondering how your week went. Enjoy the rest!

Julian said...

lovely mia!
Wow, everything seems to of gone well, despite the simplicity! Good for you guys! Absolutely beautiful pics as always. I owe you a letter, so perhaps soon I will be able to start it, and get it off to you during the week. Many blessings this season, and may the Lord of Lights be your Light!

The Craftivist said...

What beautiful pictures and I loved the sontag!

Christa said...

Oooh, thank you for sharing!


Viggie's Veggies said...

Glad to hear the week went so well. Loved looking at all of the pictures. The ones taken by lamplight turned out surprisingly well!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful time of family togetherness you had this past week, Mia!

I thought and prayed about your family during this past week. And I could tell by your pictures, that it was a very good time of reflection and relying on each other without the outside world.

It was truly an inspiration!

I wish you and your family a joyful and peaceful Christmas time. May the love of the Lord continue to fill your hearts.

Many blessings,


Daughter of the King said...

Wow your strawberry plants look alive and vibrant! I am trying my hand at gardening alongside my grandfather and grandmother (whom I live next door to.) My strawberries do not look as lovely as yours do though.

...and the sontag...beautiful!

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing about your week. I'm not sure if I could do it!! I love your sontag and your computer chair.

Have a lovely Christmas.

Kelsey Anne Hoppman said...

That must be so much fun and very relaxing compared to the usual Christmas rush.
Thank-you for sharing it. I love the photo's!
God bless,

Tracy said...

Your life sounds heavenly, Mia. I can't wait to hear more about your project on the 26th. May you & your family have a very Merry Christmas!

Regan Family Farm said...

My two favorites: your dad "showing" you how to prepare for the mulch, and your momma, reading while you and your sister work together in the kitchen. Oh yes, and your sister preparing food at my favorite counter in your kitchen:)
Merry Christmas to you and your family!

~ Judy ~ said...

I feel as though I've been on a peaceful, beautiful RETREAT after sharing in your family's week of simplicity! Thank you Mia. I wonder, is there a link you know of in your archives, that tells the "beginnings" of your family's journey to the cottage? From whence you came? What inspired your parents to relocate to the cottage? I would love to read the 'rest of your story' as-it-were.
Peace and JOY to your humble home this night!

Bonnie said...

How Beautiful! I'm thinking my children would love this- time to dust off the oil lamps!
I'm looking forward to next weeks installment, and actually, I peeked here a few times this past week "just in case".
Merry Christmas!

Shana said...


I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your families simplicity adventure. What a wonderful idea! I am so glad to have found your blog, it has been very enjoyable and encouraging.


Cinnamon said...

Mia~ I agree with Judy, it's like stepping back in town. And I'd love to read the beginning of your story too.

Those cookies look yummy and I love the picture of your Mama reading to you~ Beautiful~

~Mrs. Kerschner

Anonymous said...

Mia, I always enjoy visiting with you and reading about your life. Your photos are always beautiful - the pictures in the fog - oh my - so special!

I think your "sontag" is probably actually a very trendy garment right now! It looks so similar to the short-sleeved, short-waisted little knitted boleros I see in fashion magazines.

Christmas blessings to you and your family,

daveswife~Deb said...

Thank you for your blog. I just happened upon it. Though I am older you inspire and remind me of who I was created to be. A woman who loves the Lord, her husband, then family. I want to try some of your yummy looking recipes. Stay warm till spring..........Thanks Mia!

elle-maree said...

Thank you for sharing your week with us. What a wonderful time of simplicity you seem to have had with your family. Blessings to you and your family during the Christmas season.

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

What a wonderful post Mia. My mom grew up during the depression and she tells stories about her mom always keeping extra oil on hand, even when others didn't, because she wanted the family to be able to read the Bible and other books after dark. I love reading about your family.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mia!
As always your post and photos are absolelutely Lovely! I really enjoy reading everything you and your family did this last week.

Have you ever played "Double Solitaire"? My family has played this game ever since I was a wee one. The more the merrier! You play it just like you do alone,only you can play off everyone else's cards. First one to get rid of all their cards wins.

Oh one thing....."Men/Boys" can't seem to handle this game as well as ladies/girls! I dunno why!
Well if you try this game with your family please let me know how y'all liked it.
Many Christmas Blessings to you and your lovely family!
Rhonda from Northern Minnesota

The Girl in the Pink Dress said...

What an amazing glimpse into your beautiful, simple life. I loved it, I could feel it radiating right off the page! Thank you for sharing.
The Girl in the Pink Dress

Erika said...

Beautiful images of your December Project, Mia! I was waiting all week (checking my blogger everyday, lol!) for your update. I do get kind of excited to read your posts and get a peek into your life. Good job on the sontag! :-) God Bless you this winter season.
In His grace,

Stephanie Ann said...

The sontag is beautiful. Your sister is really talented.I've been meaning to try and knit one but I am not good enough to judge whether it will fit me or not. It sounds like you've been having a lot of fun. Is there anything you really miss besides music?

McKenzie Elizabeth said...

Greetings Dear Mia!

That was a fun post. I have been wondering how you guys were fairing during your "no electricity" time. :>) Very pretty pictures, they are so peaceful looking.
Hope to see you soon!
McKenzie Elizabeth

Miss Jen said...

Dearest Mia~
I enjoyed every minute of
this post! Your sontag is
LOVELY!!! :) The color is so
beautiful... I love the picture
of 'Little Women' too~ such a
classic film! I hope you and your
dear family have a Blessed Christmas!

Love~ Jen

. said...

You are so young and even so you are such an inspiration for older woman. Keep being like that. You are already a Woman with capital W.
Merry Christmas.

AJ from Texas said...

Good Morning Mia ~ Lovely pictures as usual...yes, the quality of the pictures taken by lamplight is very good. Are you feeling more creative? Since you're having to "make" your own music and past times. :) My strawberries are going wild too. It's nice to see some green in the garden this time of year. Do you make all of your meals from scratch? What's a typical menu for the week like for you all? ~*~ Blessing you and your wonderful family ~*~ And THANKS for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mia,
Great Post. I love your sontag, it is wonderful!!! You both did a fabulous job!! Hope to see ya'll soon and know that we are prayin for ya'll. tammyp

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile now and absolutely adore it. You and your family are such an inspiration.

I'm asking for some advice. I am 19 and have been a daughter at the home. But due to some unexpected events, I am going to work part-time at a small contractor office doing clerical work. The owners of the business go to our church, knew of my family's circumstances, and kindly offered me a job. While I want to help our family out financially, I am scared about being around people who may not understand me. For example, why I wear long skirts every day, etc. Any words of advice?

Aunt B said...


Very interesting. Thank you for sharing with us. We love you.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Aunt B

gail said...

Hello Mia,

Was a wonderful life you are leading. I'm so glad I have found your blog. May you and your family be richly blessed this Christmas season.

Blessings Gail

Anonymous said...

Hi there. I'm a first-time visitor and to think that the "week without" is where I first found this blog...wonderful to think that going without is a blessing. I hope your spirit and dedication is contagious, as I plan to hang out a bit. Enjoy the remainder of your marvelous journey!

carol hardie said...

Hi Mia,just ame across your Post from Down to Earth,here in Australia,thank you for sharing such gorgeous photo's,and letting us into your lives,it was just delightful!!!i will keep looking you up from now on,have a very Happy Xmas,and stay warm,we here in Adelaide we are the opposite to you,we are having extreme heat,take care,xxCarol.

Sami said...

I LOVE the way the sontag looks!! I want to make one....but I hae alot ofother things to sew/knit and crochet!!lol

I love the way your blog looks!! It is so....cute!!!


Fruitful Vine2 said...

That was quite an inspiring look into your time of simplicity. I felt calm just reading and looking at the pictures.

Anonymous said...

Mia, I loved reading about your family "unplugging". We've missed you all and hope you are all doing well.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Esther Zimmerman said...

Loved the pictures!

Susannah (farmgirls) said...

I love all of those pictures!

I grew about 25 strawberry plants this year, and let them grow wild too. Ah, they were a mess when we tried covering them for the winter!

~Susannah (Sevensisters)

Anonymous said...

I hope one day I'll be able to live as simply as that!

Mia said...

Dearest Readers,
Thank you so much for your encouraging comments, I say this all the time, but I truly appreciate each one!!
I'll try to incorporate a few of the comments in up-coming Q&A posts.
I'm currently working on my new blog be posted this afternoon!

In Christ,

Paige said...

A charming and beautiful blog! Thank you for giving this city girl comfort.

Madison said...

Dear Mia,

I am a homeschooler and a christian. I love your blog. I am making my own dress. I love candles
too. My mother plays piano. I love
the decorations you put up. I have
books all the way to one end of the wall in the living room. I love
the photos on the side. I love bonnets and hats. I play the violin and piano. P.S I am nine years old.