Ella and Archer see stories all the time–some are imaginary, some are comics based on our life. They spend most of their time writing, acting, playing music and making videos. Read and watch their creations here. They are interested to know what you’d like for them to create. Share with them in the comments!
Every time I read this post from almost two years ago and your comments of encouragement to our little girl, I want the whole world to read it. I want individuality and creativity to rule and kids like Ella to keep on with their original outfits and ways that don’t make sense to others. It’s the willingness to do things a bit differently that keeps this whole darn experience interesting. I am grateful to my husband, Karl, for being the daddy he is, and for my dear Ella, who is one of my greatest teachers, and for all the students I’ve had in the classroom who share their struggles with me–I wish you a life of creative freedom! April 29, 2012 Last week, I got a text from Karl with a picture of Ella dressed in one of her amazing fashion creations. “Best one yet,” the text read. I was already at school (work) and wondered if he actually put her on the bus in that outfit. I knew he most likely did, as he has been great at encouraging Ella to be herself and not worry about what other people think. I tell her that too, but my actions say otherwise. Maybe because I know what happens at school. I don’t think I would have let her wear that outfit to school. I guess it’s a good thing I am not home for the morning routine right now. But, I got the aftermath. She got off the bus crying. A second grader on the bus called her a hippie. She got weird looks all day. She told me she wasn’t so sure she should have worn the outfit in the first place, and I asked her why she did. “Because Daddy was so proud of me. He even took a picture of me. I wanted to change at school, but I thought I couldn’t change in the middle of the day, that would just show them I care. People who do big things with their lives don’t care what other people think.” WOW! I knew I had to tread carefully, because this was a big moment for her. It’s the first time I’ve seen her devastated by peer pressure. She’s in third grade. She’s kind, smart, creative and full of personality. I cringe at the thought of her having to endure the level of peer pressure at the middle school where I teach. It concerns me that the clever, creative children in our society are often forced into conformity. We live in a tiny house, people know that. We pack healthy lunches and the other kids at lunch ask “What is that?” As Ella eats a homemade burrito. I want my kids to keep their individuality, but not at the expense of their confidence and sense of belonging. When I think about what has been the biggest concern in our drastic downsizing and debt-free lifestyle, it has been that the kids know why we are doing this and that they feel happy and secure knowing we are living a great life. I don’t want them to feel poor because our house is so small. I want them to feel rich, because all of our needs are met and we have each other. I know they know these things, but when they are criticized because they are different from others, I worry that they may equate different with wrong. So, I said “Ella, you have two choices. You can either not wear those types of outfits to school, or you can continue wearing them and pay no attention to what other people say or think.” If it were me, I would never wear that outfit or anything like it again, I know it. Somehow, I have a feeling Ella will make it more dramatic next time. I want to be her when I grow up! *** A note to teachers, Please be inflexible on this rule: Be kind. Enforce it not only within the four walls of your classroom, but on the entire campus. It can be hard to...Read More
There’s much delayed gratification when building a mortgage-free home. We live in a tiny house and sometimes long for more space. All we have to do is look up the hill to know…it’s coming. Maybe not as fast as we’d hope. I said not too long ago, “We can’t do another winter in this tiny house.” But maybe we will find ourselves here this Christmas. If all this rain has anything to say about it, it will be longer than we thought. While we are delaying gratification, the rest of our lives happen. Family Day to the rescue. Family Day has gotten us through many difficult times. During the time of our restaurant, New Day Cafe, we closed on Mondays and made a point to do something fun every Monday–Family Day. Operating a restaurant was grueling. Karl worked 80 hour weeks. I tried to keep up with the house and kids and manage the restaurant. I would not look at it as a great time for our family, but yesterday on Family Day, Ella said, “We had so much fun in Florida. We had Family Day every week and did such fun things.” She didn’t remember the long hours or the dirty house or the stressed out parents. She remembered the fun we had on Family Day. It was a light bulb moment for me. We can navigate the hardest of times and still keep a sense of joy when we have traditions like Family Day or family dinner or family tickle fights. These are the moments that stick. Yesterday, we climbed rocks and watched water rush down a mountain creek. We wound our way down Hwy 8 to a little Mexican Restaurant and ate too much. We laughed and managed to spend the entire day in the company of each other. That’s what sticks. Simply, Hari P.S. Enrollment for the Summer 2015 session of our eCourse, Creating Your Path to Mortgage-freedom is now open. Open enrollment closes on July 15, 2015. Read about the course here! Sign up for our newsletter to be informed of open enrollment for future sessions and receive our seasonal newsletter. Share...Read More
This is me, Ella, the chicken watcher showing you all of my chickens. This is her mama posting for her. Simply, Hari P.S. Enrollment for the Summer 2015 session of our eCourse, Creating Your Path to Mortgage-freedom is now open. Open enrollment closes on July 15, 2015. Read about the course here! Sign up for our newsletter to be informed of open enrollment for future sessions and receive our seasonal newsletter. Share...Read More
On Friday, Kent Griswold of tinyhouseblog.com posted a few pictures of our house along with a short write-up from me. I am astounded at the response this post has generated on our blog. Before he featured us, we had about 4,500 all-time hits, now we are at 21,000, just two days later. Thank you, Kent and tinyhouseblog. Welcome to our new visitors, and thanks to our friends and family who have encouraged us to share our story. We hope you find encouragement through our story to live life YOUR way. It is a new experience for us to open our lives to such a public arena. Opening our choices to public scrutiny makes me feel quite vulnerable, but also powerful. I am happy to know I am doing my best and living my life by my own internal compass. There are some people out there willing to spend time in judgement of other’s life choices. What a waste of our precious moments on earth. Just this morning, our family had a lively discussion over breakfast about our life in the tiny house. It was in response to a well-meaning (I presume) woman who commented on tinyhouseblog.com. She says, “it’s beginning to creep me out to see such experimentation on innocent children.” The kids were fired up! It was fun to see their desire to write a response. Here’s what we wrote: Dear Susan, I appreciate you taking the time to voice your concerns for children. I, too, am a teacher (public school) who has concern for children as the future leaders of our world. Your comment brought up a fun breakfast table discussion and a passionate response from Ella and Archer, who have composed their own responses to your concerns (below). There are a few assumptions you’ve made that we want to clarify for you: 1)We do not live remotely–we live in a rural environment. Our land (3 acres) is 1 mile from school and 2 miles from town. 2)Our children are not home-schooled (though I’ve considered it). They are successful students in public school. 3)Our children have lots of friends and regular playdates (at the tiny house and at friends’ houses). 4)The tiny house is a step in a long-term plan. We have made a conscious decision to stay mortgage-free. We are saving as we go, with our final goal being a house (about 1,000 sq. ft.), so that we can each have a small room for our own creative endeavors. In the end, what we will have taught (and are teaching) our children is that one does not have to buy into the cultural belief that a house has to be a certain size, and one must own certain things for happiness. We will have taught them that to reach a goal, one needs a solid plan and the ability to sacrifice desires in order to fulfill REAL needs. We will have taught them that a life without debt means true freedom. I wish you nothing but the best. TO ALL FAMILIES CONSIDERING A TINY HOUSE: This is a real option, with so many lessons and joys. There are obviously people ready to judge the decision to go against the mainstream, but as you will read from our kids’ passionate responses below, this choice has been a blessing to our family. We encourage you to go for it! Being mortgage-free is worth the sacrifices and challenges, and you can keep saving and build a bigger house if you feel the need for more space. From Brother (age 7): Living in this tiny house doesn’t affect me in a bad way. We play outside a lot. I have a lot of friends. They even come over for playdates, and we have fun in the woods. From Sister (age 8): Living in a tiny house affects us in a good way. Every Saturday and Sunday, we play imaginary games outside. We have great adventures with our neighbor friends. They don’t even need an invitation to come over! Last week, we all went sledding together. My mom and dad are...Read More
Mister snowman is wearing a long orange nose and a strange top hat. In a cold winter field, a young doe rests on bed of wilting flowers. Every soul sees some light in the darkest dark time of Christmas happy. Share...Read More
What a great learning tool! They didn’t want to post it, since it isn’t perfect, but they said “Oh, go ahead.” They’ll keep getting better. I, of course, think it is perfect. Tiny House Kids’ Tour De Creek Simply, Hari P.S. Enrollment for the Summer 2015 session of our eCourse, Creating Your Path to Mortgage-freedom is now open. Open enrollment closes on July 15, 2015. Read about the course here! Sign up for our newsletter to be informed of open enrollment for future sessions and receive our seasonal newsletter. Share...Read More