Bloggy Help:

 photo socialmedia_zps413c1040.png  photo helpdeskbutton_zpsb16b6c42.png  photo instagram_zps73b3c07a.png  photo header_zps97df3d3e.png  photo needamakeover_zps6d19d8a9.png

Blog of the Week - The Minimalists

Because Christmas is in a few days and everyone is hurrying to buy stuff for their families and friends, I found this blog very uplifting and it made so much sense to me. I watched this documentary on Netflix the other day while I was sick and I felt like, I'm on the right path. I just need to be reminded why I moved us to this small house!

Check out The Minimalists blog, it's black and white, it's clean, it's minimal. You'll feel good.

Probably due to the cold weather and we've all been fighting some kind of illness, this house feels cramped and chilly...upstairs is totally warm and toasty (we're calling it Italy - do you know what reference that is from?)...and I keep imagining a large rambling house that has roaring fireplaces in every room...LOL. That's not very minimalist is it?

I love that Josh and Ryan aren't really selling anything, I mean, you can buy their book, but you can accept their philosophy for FREE. Ask yourself simple questions about why you do what you do, why you buy what you don't's almost too simple to be real.

They've got great podcasts you can listen to for inspiration...I say do it! It's so easy to start thinking differently, you might be able start living differently too.  Less really is more.

Hugs and Happy Holidays to you all if I don't get back on here before the New Year!

Let's Be Different Today

Shall we talk about being a bit different?
Don't we all feel like that...almost all the time?
Swimming against the current,
Like a salmon.

I've decided to start a new blog, about changing my lifestyle, about stepping outside of the box, about living in a much smaller home, about finding new adventures and teaching my kids in a more fulfilling way...and probably a lot of other stuff too.

I want to do something different!

There are so many blogs out there about HOW TO BLOG. This blog has been amazing, and I know I could have done much more with it, but life is happening just past this screen, and I don't want to miss it. This blog, The Blog Guidebook, will be here for a little while longer, I know some of you still use it as a reference - never fear.

Here are a few inspiring things to me:

Don't put off your personal interests, don't push a pause button on your is too short to ignore passions and interests and curiosity.

Don't put yourself on the backburner. If you want to find yourself - now is the time to do it.

Your life isn't an equation, give yourself permission to DANCE, SING, PLAY, TRAVEL, LEARN, and all the other things we are waiting to do when our children grow up.

Would you like to VOTE for the new blog name? Here are a few choices I already purchased, but haven't used yet (email me at sarah@blogguidebook with your vote):

From Small Things Mama (thank you Bruce Springsteen)

Small Things Mama (shortened version, easier to remember?)

Let Them Make

And in case you were a follower on my blog, I actually sold that domain name last month, but you can still get to that blog via blogspot at

Thank you for reading today, I hope you'll tag along on my new adventures!!! I know some of these will include the following:
  • travel
  • tiny house remodel
  • backyard clubhouse build
  • my new (to me) Argosy camper
  • using T-Tapp to get in shape
  • eating gluten/wheat free and gf recipes
  • decorating my tiny house
  • homeschool ideas and new printables

Pros and Cons - Thoughts On Living in a Small Space

We did it.
We sold our big house and moved to a 1000 sq. ft. cottage.
The master bedroom is 10x10.
My kiddos have the upstairs attic for sleeping and that's about 500 sq. ft.
That leaves about 400 sq. ft. for the kitchen and living area doesn't it?

Cons of living in a small space:

You have to eliminate all the stuff you had in the big space. That can be a nightmare, especially if you love your stuff!

Little to no privacy. Two loud kids romping around the house, only one interior door. You do the math!

Less space for entertaining.

Things get messy pretty quickly. You just can't spread out like you do in a large home, you don't have the surfaces to lay everything out on, projects take up the entire living have to be focused on really cleaning up at the end of the day.

No more buying. We consume in the U.S. don't we? I can't run out to Target and spend $100 every week anymore...I still go to Target but I don't buy anything that isn't edible or used more $1 bin junk, no extra shoes just because they're cheap, no hoarding printer paper. It's hard to do, people!!!

Finding space to store what you do use is super important here...and because the house is 70 years old there isn't a lot of built-in storage. Being creative about it is a pro and a con. If you enjoy the process then it's a pro. Negatively, it can cost money, use a lot of brain power, and take up the husband's energy building shelves and sheds etc. It's best to get rid of more stuff than you think.

Lastly, it's still about stuff. I thought I got rid of a lot. But I didn't. Almost none of our furniture fit in the new tiny space. But I still brought it with me and now I have to sell it. Our garage is full and so is the new shed we paid over $1000 for....filled with stuff I'm not even using!

In a small space you have to consider how much you like yourself and your family (or whomever you will be sharing the space with), you will get to know each other much more be prepared for the mental things that will happen too.

Pros of living in a small space;

These are my personal pros, but you could have a totally different view, fyi.

Pay off debt.

Lower monthly bills...lower mortgage, lower utilities, less credit card debt.

Have the ability to afford repairs or renovations, and/or do it yourself because size does matter!

Become closer and more loving with your kids.

Much faster chore time...mopping, dishes, tidying, dusting...everything can be done in a few minutes. I have my kids doing most of the laundry now, so it gets done faster too (since I tend to procrastinate about folding and dispersing).

You will know where everything is. Have a place for everything and you will know where it is, you won't have to dig through closets and drawers or the basement. Think of the time you'll have to sit in the shade and enjoy a coffee!

More outside time. We have a 1/2 acre lot, with a beautiful backyard space. This isn't the best place to hang out because of bugs and humidity, but I'm looking forward to some lovely firepit time, and leaf raking.

Meet with friends away from home. This equals less prepping for people to come over. I don't have room to have hoards of kids over, or dinner parties! Now we just lock the door and meet up at parks, pools, and other people's homes. 

More cash to do things...we can now afford to take trips, join museums/clubs, do more sports activities, eat out if we choose to. I'm still looking for my little camper to take trips in!!!!

You also get a chance to communicate more with those you live with. Try not to yell. LOL.

Are you interested in small living?

I'm currently pondering the social backlash of moving to a small house. I wonder if people think we went bankrupt, or if we're having marriage problems...there are a lot of "rich" folks around here...we don't live up to the status quo anymore, will we still be accepted by society? Will we lose some friends we thought we had? Are we looked down upon now because we've chosen a smaller path?

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on tiny living.

I'm considering a new blog idea...on living small...are you living small or transitioning to living small? Let me know!

Downsizing My American Dream

Photo by Scott Cotton

So we finally did it. We bought a "small" house...almost a tiny house. It's tiny compared to what we have been living in the past seven years, and there are limited closets, no storage, no attic or basement storage, and a detached single car garage.

Does that sound like the American Dream to you?

If it doesn't, let me tell you why it's mine.

We have one income and a large mortgage. This means we have less cash at the end of the month to have fun with. So that means we've been using our credit cards to buy things we really  want.  Our income covers the things we need like groceries, insurance, gas, clothes etc. If you boil it down, our lifestyle choices have brought us under, not built us up...we don't have money to retire on, no 401K, no pension.

We've been living in a big house, with a big yard, in a nice upscale neighborhood and enjoying it. Although, hanging over our heads has always been the fact that we can't afford to take care of the big house properly, and we are always worried it will fall into disrepair and then we wouldn't be able to sell it.

You have heard and seen how the tiny house movement is surging...well, I don't want to live in a real tiny house...I would lose my mind in 200 square feet.... But that lifestyle is appealing because you can get out of debt and find yourself.

Then, after going on a trip and traveling light (one suitcase for two weeks), I came home to this huge mountain of laundry, and a huge house to clean, and it struck me that I didn't like how I was living. I was feeling cluttered and uncreative, stressed about bills, and considering going back to work.

As a stay at home mom of three daughters, a homeschooler, a crafter, a home decorator, a chef, a go-fer and many other hat wearer, it was pretty daunting considering giving away my time again to the Man. So I started hatching a dream. Then I told my husband about it.

Living smaller in a big world

My kids love their separate bedrooms and all their toys, and they love running through the house screaming and dancing. So why would I want to give that up and be free?

I want my darling kiddos to learn more than consumerism and the want of more and bigger and better. I want them to have a more experiential life, the one I dreamed of giving them before they were born.

I love having an entire room dedicated to my craft/business. I love my newly remodeled kitchen and bathrooms...

I don't love my 80+ year old neighbors who don't like kids running on their lawns. I don't love rules and regs of how it's all supposed to be done. I guess I'm a rebel. Well, yeah.

It's a funny story, but two years ago I drove by this adorable "english" looking cottage and even toured the inside. So small!!! I thought.  Then it came up for sale and I told my husband lets sell this house!!! I didn't think much more about the cottage because of the lack of space. But then I kept imagining the green space and how close to the park it was, and how low the price would cut our current mortgage in HALF!!!

Okay, so you want to hear the rest of the story? Stay tuned.

I'm going to spill the beans on how much money we have now.