Life and Lemons

Something I always say is that life will give you challenges that teach you lessons you need to learn. But tonight I’m wondering, is life deciding which lessons I should be learning or am I? I can think of a hundred challenges I’ve faced, big and small. All of which I believed to be serving the purpose of teaching me patience. But what if each time I was the one choosing the lesson. Life was just handing me a tough card to see what I’d do with it…you know, lemons. Would I purse my cheeks and scrunch up my eyes, or would I add some sugar and make lemonade? Maybe it’s a growth mindset that helps me choose a lesson to learn, or maybe there’s another option I haven’t even noticed. Could I have been missing a better learning opportunity? I mean, am I really any more patient now than I was 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

Or perhaps these circumstances that I’ve deemed to be my own personal patience lessons are only challenges to me because they cause me to face my weaknesses. Maybe, they wouldn’t be challenges at all to a naturally patient person?

Then again, maybe it’s both. Or neither. What do you guys think? What sort of lessons have you been learning lately?

Remind me to tell you about my plants and patience project! Thanks so much for stopping by!

xoxo

E

Just Testing the Waters…

Inspiration comes at the most unexpected times, doesn’t it? I’m lying in bed, hoping to fall asleep and BAM! Among the 2.4 million things running through my over tired brain is: it’s time to just try a new name on and start writing on the blog again.

So here we are. I’m trying it out, not sold on it yet. Have smile, Will travel. Two things that are true, that I hope speak to who I am more than what I do. Even though my current adventure keeps me pretty local and more serious than I’d like to admit, maybe this name will act as a reminder (for myself) of who I am. You know, it’s too easy to forget sometimes, isn’t it?

The current adventure taking over my life is nursing school. I’m currently in my second semester and while I hate it a little bit, I really love it. Becoming a nurse is a rewarding challenge. The information fascinates me daily – our bodies are AMAZING! The skills I’m learning are super cool…anyone need an IV? ūüėÄ And the people I’ve met along the way are absolutely inspiring.

So while most of my time has been spent with my nose in the books, I’ve been enjoying the small adventures made possible by other great people! This past month (January) I climbed outside, started training in a new gym, went on a super rad hut trip with wonderful friends, and jumped into Horsetooth Reservoir!

Since the name of this post is about testing metaphorical waters, here’s a video for you of how Savannah and I felt after testing the literal water on a frigid night in January.

I’m going to leave off with a quick list of some ideas I have for future posts, a bit of accountability for myself and a little teaser for you all. Also, a quick disclaimer…These posts won’t be perfect, because I don’t have the time or energy for that. But this is for me, and for those of you who care to follow along (thanks for that, it makes me feel special to you!). So, forgive me if the writing gets sloppy from time to time and if my grammar sucks (Sorry, Uncle Bob).

Here’s that list:

– Horsetooth challenge

– The Van!

– Things I learn in Nursing School (like about hearts and blood, and how to survive!)

– 30 by 30 challenge

– the hut trip

– goal: 12a

– plants and patience project

– women in the wild – my thoughts on gender roles in the outdoors

Thanks for reading, feel free to let me know what ya think in the comments! I’d love to hear your ideas on the new name or the future post list.

xoxo

E

Stuck.

Sometimes its tough to tell what it is standing in your way. Personally, not being able to identify the root of the problem can be more frustrating than the problem itself. I’m currently experiencing writer’s block. I’ve been wanting to post for the last few weeks, but instead of coming up with anything worth publishing, I’ve got a collection of half-hearted, unsatisfying attempts in the blog post graveyard.

Adventures have been plentiful and life has been happy. There’s no obvious reason I should be experiencing writer’s block. Yet, here we are.

Frustration hit hard today, but tonight I changed my approach.¬†I started thinking about what I used¬†to tell¬†my kiddos to do as their writing teacher. I told them to write. “Just keep writing, write what you know.” At first this advice frustrated them, especially the ones who already had¬†it out for the art of writing. I told them to write their¬†way out of writer’s block, write about how much they hated poetry, write about whatever they knew to be true in that moment.¬†Once they were tired of my hovering and pestering to keep going, they’d write – maybe just to spite me.¬†And I would celebrate for them, because I knew that before long their stream of consciousness would be strong enough to break the dam and they wouldn’t be able to help themselves. They’d write their way¬†straight into an idea that we could work with.

What you’re reading is the start of this process for me. I won’t leave you with the whole babble-fest, but I think it’s worth saying that sometimes you have to buckle-down and work through the block. Sometimes the only thing you can control is your attitude and how you choose to react to a situation.

So, in honor of writer’s block and teaching super-rad 6th graders,¬†let’s try a challenge. Make a list of 10 things you know to be true right now. Feel free to post your own lists in the comments!

10 Things I Know to be True:

  1. My friends are worthy of being called family, for this I consider myself lucky.
  2. It is always worth putting down your walls, you can’t be strong without also being soft.
  3. I love my job.
  4. I am a morning person.
  5. Being outdoors is good for my soul.
  6. It is Tuesday.
  7. It is almost always worth riding my bike to work.
  8. Grand Tetons is my favorite national park, and I am going to visit again in just a few weeks.
  9. Though I cannot plan for or control what happens in my life; I am in control of my attitude, positivity is a choice.
  10. I may not live in a tiny house any longer, but I still truly value living a minimalist lifestyle.

Your turn! Thanks for reading through my stream here, and bearing with me if you made it this far. I hope to see some lists down there in the comments.

xoxo

E

 

 

 

Sold

Well folks, it’s been a ride! After all the ups and downs I made the decision to move on to other adventures. The Tiny has been sold to the highest bidder. It was a mixed bag of emotions watching it head off down the road without me, but I know Tiny is on to other adventures too.

Now that I don’t live in a tiny house anymore, I’m left wondering what to do with my blog. I know posts have been scarce, but I do love this space. So, I’m going to throw it out to you guys, what do you think? Keep the blog going and change the name? Write about something new? Keep the adventure side of the blog and ignore the fact that I no longer live in less than 200 sq. ft.? I’d really appreciate your thoughts, friends!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

E

 

Wood Stove Install

Step 1: Build a functional platform for my wood stove to rest on. 


Every inch of space in a tiny matters, so I decided to set my wood stove on a platform in order to at least utilize the space under it. There is a section for shoes and a drawer where I keep a stash of wood so I don’t have to go outside at night.

Step 2: Cover the walls

To safely have the wood stove in such a small space, I had to cover the walls with non-combustible material. I chose to use steel, but didn’t love the idea of shiny silver lining my walls.

Instead, I got steel and Sof (my super-awesome-project-side-kick) helped me patina it so that it looks artsy and rustic! It turned out great!

Then it was just a matter of screwing it into the wall with spacers so there is air flow behind it to protect the wall from the heat.

1-inch copper pipe couplings make perfect spacers

The screws just go through the copper pipe couplings attaching the sheet metal to the wall behind it, with a uniform 1-inch space between the metal and the wall.

Step 3: Plan the chimney path and buy the things. 

This one really held me up, for some reason I just couldn’t figure out where to start. With Sof’s help, I finally sketched my idea, took some measurements, and headed to a very specific Ace Hardware store that specializes in wood stoves. Charlie, at Poulsen Ace, really knew his stuff and was extremely helpful.

Full disclosure: If you’re planning to install a wood stove, prepare to spend just as much (or more) on the stove pipes and chimney pipes as you do on the stove itself.

Step 4: Round up a friend or two and cut a hole in your house.


This is once the wall thimble is in place, but you’re looking at my front yard through the inside of my house right here!

* If you’re lucky like me, your friends will be there for moral support…but still make you cut the hole yourself.

Step 5: Install the stove pipe.

Stove pipe is single-wall steel pipe, painted black for aesthetics (it comes this way, don’t paint it yourself without heat-safe paint!). My stove requires 6″ diameter pipe, so that’s what I used. It meets a 12″ long piece of triple-wall chimney pipe (aka class A pipe) just before it goes through the wall thimble. The wall thimble seals up the hole you just cut in your wall and allows the chimney to pass through safely.

Triple-wall pipe is insulated, just like it sounds, with three walls so the outside of it isn’t hot to the touch.

The class A section that goes through the wall meets a T pipe on the outside (which allows for chimney cleaning) and then goes up above the roof where it’s capped off so nothing gets into the chimney (rain, rodents, etc).

Step 6: Enjoy your cozy new addition!


I decided to have the chimney on the inside of my house for as long as possible because the single-wall allows heat to escape. Essentially, the more stove pipe you have inside, the more heat your wood stove provides. Also, I had to go through the wall rather than the roof because the roof is lined with solar panels.

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

E

Winter 1, Tiny 0…

As you know, last winter defeated the Tiny. My solar system wasn’t enough to power my electric heater through the long, bitter-cold nights. This left me frozen, literally in the dark, and with no running water. 

When I decided to try living in the Tiny again this spring, I vowed to do a better job preparing it for winter. Now, I’ve had all summer to get the preparations completed, but of course haven’t started until just recently. It’s not winter yet, but it took some colder weather to remind me why these plans were so important. I usually learn the hard way more than once (which would have meant waiting until I was freezing and completely unprepared to actually change anything), but I’ve been working on finding the path of least resistance. 

So, this fall has been time for projects and chores! The first step was getting the house set up to use shore power during the winter as the sun is much more limited. That turned out to be a rather extensive project due to some complications ‚Äď more about that in a later post ‚Äď but everything is plugged in now! Since I have shore power, the electric heater will be a back up for this winter. 

The primary heat source will come from this fall’s biggest project! The wood stove!


I have to be honest, I’m not sure what was harder, thinking about getting the install started or just doing it! It turned out to be about three to four full days of work, spread out over a few weeks of hours here and there. I started with the sheet metal you see here, and finished with the hole-in-the-wall-chimney install. 

The other winter preparations involve insulating my water line and building a skirt around the bottom of my house (between the ground and my floor). 

So, here’s to learning the hard way, but only once! Bring it on winter!

xoxo

E

P.S. Check back soon for a detailed post about the wood stove install. I’ll go through step-by-step for you in case you’re thinking of starting a project like this in your tiny! It really wasn’t so bad…

Happy Birthday!

This post is for Papa, my very special grandfather, who is 88 today! He wants to know about my decision to go back to school. 

But first…

Papa, thank you for so much. For reading my blog, for raising such an amazingly loving family, and for inspiring us to do what we love and stand for what we believe. Happy birthday! ūüéą


When ‚Äčdeciding ‚Äčto ‚Äčchange ‚Äčcareers ‚Äčfrom ‚Äčteaching, ‚Äčthere were a few non-negotiables I had for my next steps. I knew ‚Äčmy ‚Äčcareer ‚Äčwould ‚Äčhave ‚Äčto ‚Äčinvolve ‚Äčcaring ‚Äčfor

people, ‚Äčworking ‚Äčin ‚Äča ‚Äčcollaborative ‚Äčcommunity, ‚Äčand ‚Äčspending ‚Äčmost ‚Äčof ‚Äčmy ‚Äčtime ‚Äčon ‚Äčmy ‚Äčfeet. It would have to be something I felt proud of, something purposeful. ‚ÄčThe search began with what seemed like an obvious choice, healthcare. However, bumps in the road here and there steered me away from that option and left me utterly unsure of my future. So, after about a thousand internet searches, hundreds of “interviews” (I took to interviewing everyone I met about their jobs and their lives to try to find my calling), books,  countless hours of soul searching, a few less-than-concrete decisions, and some tears…I landed right where I started about 9 months ago. I want to be a nurse.

While ‚Äčworking ‚Äčin ‚Äčhealthcare ‚Äčis ‚Äča ‚Äčcompletely ‚Äčdifferent ‚Äčrealm ‚Äčof ‚Äčcaring ‚Äčfor ‚Äčpeople ‚Äčthan ‚Äčteaching, ‚Äčits something that matters to me. I’ll feel as though my time spent at work is important to someone other than myself. I can still work towards making a difference in the world, just like I was trying to do with teaching. 

So, I finished researching nursing schools, made a plan, enrolled in all my prerequisites, and took a CNA course. 

I’m now a certified nurse aide, and will be able to learn about the field while I’m putting myself through school. 

With any luck, I’ll be an RN in about 3 years! 

xoxo

E

Hey there, it’s been a while…

It’s not that I’ve forgotten about you all or anything, it’s just that I’ve been completely invested in discovering my “now”!

I’ve really been trying to step back from social media, future planning, and past dwelling. Instead I’ve been investing energy in exactly where I am and who I’m with in each moment, appreciating moments as they happen. It’s a work in progress, that’s the whole point! 

I decided that it was time to give you all a brief update though. Here’s what I’ve been up to since my last post:

  • Family visit on the East Coast
  • A bit more kitchen redecorating 
  • Some winter prep (wood stove!!)
  • Climbing, camping, and more fun outdoors
  • Stella visit and more Wyoming adventures
  • Storage loft redecorating
  • First solo adventure (backpacking the Teton Crest Trail)
  • Finally a couch cover!
  • Oh yeah, and I started going back to school! I’m a college student again, it’s the best career! 

I figure I’ll leave it up to you all to decide what you’d care to hear more about! Let me know if anything stands out and I’ll write a post elaborating on the topic.

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

E

Campsites and Challenges

Dispersed camping is much more common in the West than it is on the East coast, but if you can find it you’ll likely be pleased with your spot. Dispersed camping is essentially free camping on BLM (bureau of land management) or National Forest land. Many dispersed sites have fire rings, but usually that is the only amenity provided. Users are expected to be aware of fire danger in the area and pack out anything they pack in – yes, this includes your toilet paper!

I consider myself a good campsite finder and I’ll let you in on the secret. Patience! Don’t stop at the first campsite you see unless you absolutely love it! Even if it’s starting to get late, and you’re starving. Just look a little further. Anyone who knows me personally would not describe me as patient, but when it comes to finding a campsite, I prefer to drive around and scope out the options. It’s better to hold out for that perfect view or peaceful clearing when setting up a temporary home. 

My campsite priorities are; rivers for the soothing background noise, mountains for the awe inspiring view, or any view of water.  I prefer to have a slightly secluded spot that has a level area for my tent. The best spot will allow me to set up my tent so that I can wake up to the view!

Alright now for the challenges. It’s good to plan how you’ll get your workout in before you leave and to set it up so that you feel obligated to do it, even after a long day of hiking or biking. Before we left town, Melissa, Sofie, and I set a challenge for ourselves to keep us working out while we were away from home. We decided we would do a push-up pyramid every day at our new campsite. Our first night consisted of  24 and by the end we were up to 72 push-ups! 

Check out this fun little video to see our challenges and our campsites! 

More house updates coming soon. Spoiler alert: project patience is hard.

 xoxo

E

The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

Just a quick break between adventure posts here…I’ll have the campsites and challenges post for you soon! I have to borrow Sofie’s computer to edit the videos for you guys, so have patience!

Moving back into my Tiny has been very inspiring, but like I’ve said before, it’s teaching me something about patience. I want to work on all of my projects immediately, but there just isn’t enough time and money in the bank to make it happen, you know?

The projects are focused on both aesthetics and function. How can I make my Tiny feel comfortable while also making it as efficient as possible? I started in the kitchen because the kitchen is the heart of the home. I’ll give you guys the before and after photos to show what I’ve changed! 

Here’s the before photo. It’s a little hard to tell, but you can see how I have cluttered upper shelves, especially to the right. Also, the bottom shelves look unfinished.

Here’s what it looks like now. Granted, I’m not in the middle of cooking with friends in this after photo so it doesn’t have the same vibe. But, you get the idea. Let me know what you think!

 I rearranged my pantry so that dry goods are stored in jars. The jars add to the aesthetics and get the dry goods (that we’re living in the nice baskets under my shelves) out of there to free up space for things that are in and out or can’t be stored in jars. It’s a simple step that really made a lovely difference. Next, I created curtains to cover the bottom section of the open shelving. In my opinion, they’ve pulled the kitchen together and make it look more finished. I need to hem the curtains still, but I’m trying to decide if I should expose the baskets along the bottom of the shelves or keep them covered.

Excuse the binder clips…ūüėā


My next step is to paint the edges of the shelves that are exposed. What color do you think I should use? As you can see from the fabric, I’m trying to tie red into the kitchen. I’m just not sure if I want to paint the shelving red. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Thank you for stopping by, I love reading your comments!! Check back soon to find out why I’m trying to add red to my color scheme.

xoxo

E