Christmas on the Homestead

Over the last couple of days, the girls and I have been putting up Christmas decorations. The big tree is the living room sparkles with little white lights and ornaments of gold, green and red. My Santa collection graces the coffee table as well as the fireplace mantle and hearth. Snow globes sit on the ends tables and the stockings are hung and ready to be filled Christmas Eve.

In the family room sits a smaller tree that is adorned with tiny blue and white lights along with an assortment of whimsical and homemade ornaments that I’ve collected over the years.

The decorations are fewer this year as I’ve packed many things away in anticipation of us selling this house and moving to our home in the country.  Our country home only exists in my dreams for now, but Christmas on the homestead is part of those dreams.

A log home, nothing fancy, but definitely warm and cozy. The kitchen, dining room and living room all sharing the same space. Our large Christmas tree sitting in the corner near the fireplace, looking much like it does today. My Santa collection and snow globes taking up residence around room and our stockings fitting in beautifully above the beautiful stone fireplace. The smaller Christmas tree in the loft and easily viewed from below. Smells of evergreen and cinnamon fill the air as we snuggle on the sofa reading Christmas stories and sipping hot chocolate, while being warmed by the fire burning brightly in the fireplace. Beautiful, warm quilts on our beds just waiting for us to climb under them for a peaceful night’s sleep in our country home.

I don’t know what our Christmas on the homestead reality will become. What I do know is that the beauty and anticipation of the holiday will follow us no matter where we go and it’s wonderful simply because we’re together.

Project 1

I had hoped to get the first project on my long to-do list completed yesterday with before and after pictures posted, but obviously that didn’t happen. The room I started working on was taking longer than expected, so I decided to switch gears at the end of the week and tackled the master bath closet.  After all, it’s a small closet and shouldn’t take long to clean.


Ah, but the joke was on me.

After cleaning off the first shelf, this is what my bathroom counter looked like.


Seriously, this was only one shelf and there were four more shelves to go!!!

How did I manage to accumulate so much stuff?  Various bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and body sprays.   An old set of hot rollers (does anyone still use hot rollers in their hair?).  I found bottles of stuff that were 6 years past their expiration date.  Really?  It’s been 6 years since I cleaned this closet?  My how time flies when you out buying more stuff for your little bathroom closet.  Guess we’ve done our part to support the economy 🙂

One of the big  goals on my to-do list is to rid our lives of excess and that certainly happened with Project 1.   Three garbage bags full of excess has been tossed from our lives and it feels really good.

After emptying the entire closet, which filled two large Rubbermaid containers and took up half my bathroom floor, I pulled out all the shelves, lightly sanded and painted them.  Another to-do item crossed of my list and it only took me 17 years 🙂

Then it was time to paint the closet, which was in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint and the closet really does look better.


Finally time to put things away and re-claim my bathroom.  No more stacking stuff on top of stuff.  No more clutter and unused shelf space.  Amazing!!


For a matter-of-fact, all my cleaning products are lined up along the front of the shelf.  There is absolutely nothing else but empty shelf space behind those bottles and that feels good.

Project 1 completed!!!!

Now onto to Project 2 . . . .

Home Sweet Home, Where Art Thou?

Home is where you hang your hat.
Home is where the heart is.
Home’s where I belong.

For several months now, hubby and I have had a plan in place which includes selling our house and finding property in Missouri to start our little homestead. Part of that plan is still in place, but the part that is up-in-the-air now is location.

There are so many beautiful places here in the U.S. that will allow us to complete our vision – A few acres of land in the country. A home with a porch where we can sit in the evenings sipping a cold drink while the girls and dogs run around the yard. A creek that runs thru the property where we can splash in the water on a hot day or just spend time exploring. A pond for fishing. A large garden and a small orchard. Chickens ridding our property of bugs and providing us eggs and some fresh meat from time-to-time. Goats for milk and entertainment. A couple of horses for riding (if Lili has her way). Fresh air and a beautiful view that includes hills and trees.

I love the vision of our little homestead, but since very few people are able to live their lives without some source of income, we will ultimately need to go where the job leads us. So the question is, where is home? Where will we hang our hat? Where is our heart? Where do we belong?

And one last question . . .

If you could live anywhere in the U.S. where would it be and why?

Gypsy Baskets US map

Ready, Set, Go

For several years, we had an above ground pool.  The pool was used often while the boys were growing up, but when we brought Lili home, the pool use decreased dramatically.  During Naomi’s adoption, we decided to take the pool down.  We knew it wasn’t going to get used enough to make it worth the upkeep, so down it came. 

Around the pool was a 4 foot deck.  We couldn’t leave a deck up with a hole in the middle where the pool used to be, so we began dismantling the deck with the plans to rebuild a new deck.

We were making good progress on our deck demolition when our son died and everything came to a stand still.  The sand that sat under the pool became a big sand pit for the girls to play in and the new deck remained a plan with no progress being made.  About the only thing that happened on the deck project was removing deck railing and replacing some of it to keep dogs and kids from jumping off the side of the deck.  Then the deck became a place to sit things like concrete pieces from the deck posts that had been pulled out of the ground and coolers that were outside to dry.  Sadly, the deck we spent so much time enjoying was nothing more than a walkway from the back door to the yard.   

Our partially demolished deck
Our partially demolished deck


Our deck from the side
Our deck from the side


A couple weekends ago we decided to get to work on the sand pit area.  We repurposed some landscape blocks and put in a fire pit.  As I looked at the fire pit surrounded by all the sand, I thought it might be nice to see a patio around the pit.  Hubby wasn’t too fond of the idea.  Not that he didn’t like the idea of a patio around the fire pit, but it didn’t want a bit slab of concrete.  Instead, he wanted a paver patio.   

Our fire pit that needs a patio
Our fire pit that needs a patio

Now we had a patio and deck project to complete.  We also needed to replace a sliding patio door on the back of the house and it was way past time to get busy and get things done.  So off we went to order supplies and those supplies were delivered yesterday.

Wood for a new deck
Wood for a new deck


Pavers for a new patio around our fire pit
Pavers and patio supplies for the new patio around our fire pit

The deck project is primarily replacing deck boards, stairs and railing and will be smaller than our previous deck.  The space we lose on the deck will be replaced by space on the new patio though. 

Other than the door, none of these projects will be completed over a weekend and we know what we’ll be doing for the next several weekends as well as some evenings during the week.  So let’s begin. 

Ready, set, go!!!

DSC_0797 DSC_0799 DSC_0801 DSC_0803 

Notice how I’m behind the camera and not out there working 🙂  For good reason though.  I had to take the pictures and was working on canning tomatoes.

We are very excited about getting these projects completed so we can enjoy our new outdoor living space.  I will be posting updates here as progress is made and hopefully we can have everything done before it’s too cold to enjoy.  Although with a fire pit, some cooler weather would certainly be nice.



Home Sweet Home Part II

Shortly after we began discussing our plans to homestead,  my hubby made the suggestion that we build a small Yurt on our homestead property to live in while we were building our larger home. Not being overly familiar with Yurts I began my research and became very intrigued. My concern, however, was the fact that we were talking about putting up a Yurt in the Central U.S. where summers can get very hot and humid with winters potentially getting very cold and snowy. How would a wood structure with a fabric walls hold up? According to the websites I found, it appeared they would hold up quite well, but what would it cost us to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter? So we moved on to looking at more conventional homes. Still, there were many things I liked about the Yurt.  When discarded home plans for the home we thought we would one day build on our homestead, I again began thinking of a Yurt home.

Then one day I was introduced to this website.  This company builds pre-fab Yurt-like round houses.  Instead of fabric walls, this would have solid built walls.  Then I found this floor plan on the website . . . . .

Upper Level
Lower level

I love the look, the style, and the lay-out of this house.  The only thing missing on the plan is a deck, but that can be added, no problem!!!

I imagine myself sitting on the deck of my round house sipping hot tea on a cool spring morning as I prepare to go out and milk and feed he goats, collect eggs, feed the chickens and rabbits.  I can see myself homeschooling the girls in this house.  I can envision myself preparing meals in the kitchen and entertaining friends and family who come to visit.  I imagine pure joy every time I look up from my garden or drive up and see our round house on our homestead.

Building a round house is pretty much just a dream at this point, but until someone wakes me up, I’m going to keep the dream alive.