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Sunshine and Sweetheart

I'm sure it's obvious that I use pseudonyms for my daughters on this site out of respect for their own privacy. I thought it might be fun to talk about how they came by those particular nicknames, though.

Both girls' special names came pretty naturally when I started writing here last summer.

My oldest daughter has always been our light, coming to us right as we were pulling through one of the darkest times of our life, a time filled with infertility and death and health crises. A lot went wrong for us in 2011 and 2012, and then 2013 rolled around with the gift of this precious girl who seems to magically light up a room simply by her presence. She has and always will be our little Sunshine, and every night as I tuck her in, I sing her song to her. "You are my sunshine...." We were browsing through the local dollar store the other day when I spied a perfect little wall decal to hang above her bed. It reads, "Hello Sunshine."

When our second daughter was…
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Snow

Despite experiencing some beautiful weather last week, we woke up this morning to snow. This is our second snowstorm of the winter (following our beautiful white Christmas), and I was eager to get Sunshine and Sweetheart outside to enjoy the fun since they weren't able to play in it last time.

In a typical winter, we only get a couple of real snow events, but the kids love it so much that we try to keep appropriate cold weather gear on hand for when the time comes. I remember wearing snowsuits myself growing up, and while they definitely got the job done, they are also big and bulky and hard to store in a house as small as ours. Since we bought our girls rain suits in the fall, I thought we should try them out as snow suits this year, too. 
It took me a little bit of creative thinking to find enough under layers in the girls' closet to keep them warm since the Oakiwear rain suits are comprised of a simple, thin, waterproof layer and no insulation for warmth. Between fleece pant…

Layout Matters

When we first got married, we lived in a studio apartment belonging to our university. I don't know what the official square footage was, but I recall trying to measure it once. We estimated that it was around 400 square feet. And it felt tiny.

Our park model is just under 400 square feet as well, and even though the loft provides an additional 150 square feet or so, the downstairs all by itself just feels bigger than our apartment ever did.

Layout matters, folks.


Other than the bathroom, our apartment was one big room with a partial privacy wall separating the bed area from the living room.  There was a tiny closet, some weird built-in shelves, and a desk along the back wall of the bedroom. We never once used the desk as a desk. It was just wasted space to us.

It's odd to me when I think about it now. Why didn't we use it as a desk? Probably because it was in a dark corner of the bedroom, and we've never much been the kind of people who like to sit at desks to study.…

Tiny House Toys: BeginAgain Puzzles

For Christmas, my cousin gave each of my girls a wooden block puzzle, and at first I felt a little trepidation about having another wooden puzzle with knobby pieces to step on or lose. Puzzles seem like a great toy for a tiny house, and we have a number of them and love them, but the wooden ones are usually so much harder to store, and the pieces always seem to get lost so easily around here. Plus, up until now, my girls haven't really been too interested in the wooden puzzles they've had. I went through about a year ago and purged most of their wooden puzzle collection because it rarely got played with, even when brand new.

These puzzles, though, are different. The pieces are big, but not too big, and they are a very nice quality. No glued on paper coating for my toddler to chew off. No knobby handles to step on in bare feet (though they still hurt if you land on one just right). And they are just enough of a challenge for my kids to actually enjoy playing with them.
Sunshine…

Winter Tree

A couple of weeks ago we finally got around to taking down our Christmas tree and erecting our new "winter tree" in its place. Birch trees have always been one of my favorite trees, and my parents gave me a four-foot white birch tree with LED lights for Christmas. I saw a similar (taller) one at Costco months ago, and I fell in love with it. I could just picture a tree like that in our home. Something about the soft lights on these long nights makes our tiny house seem even more cozy.