Category Archives: About Us

A New Direction

I’m including my first, two part, podcast here today.  As I ease back into this space, I think I’m going to be working with both traditional blogging and, the very new to me, video log.  I explain my reasons for this in the video.  It’s really all just an experiment and I’m not at all sure where it’s going to go!

In the part that was accidentally cut I talked about subjects I’ll be covering in the future…things like knitting, sewing, intentional wardrobe planning, homeschooling, home and garden tours, homemaking, and really anything that strikes my fancy! I hope you will take the time to join me.


You are now…


At least if the redirect is working properly.  A new little spot, set up as an early birthday present from my beloved (who I think is just swell, for this and many other reasons).


Starting off with a fresh slate, a new look, I gave some consideration to changing the name.  The name Little Home Blessings was originally crafted in homage of THE Little House.  Our Little House.  Which is no longer so little and no longer truly ours.  But it was also a nod to a way of life, to counting our blessings both little and big, and cherishing a life built with reverence.  Also to the joys of home in all it’s quiet domestic beauty.  We may have left the Little House, but we carried all of that with us and we are keeping busy with applying the same ideals to our new home, which is not so very big after all (the couple living here before us, moved because they “needed more space”).  Plus, well, I’ve rather grown accustomed and attached to it.  Somehow the title of Little Home Blessings is now a part of me and who I am.  And so the name stays.

And not much else will change.  I’ll still be here on a regular basis, talking about life, love and yarn, with a hearty dose of nature, nurture and hopefully a bit of humor thrown in.

The one big difference now is that I’m experimenting with a book list, sharing some of our family’s current reads.  I made an attempt at this before, but it was far too time consuming and difficult on our archaic dial-up connection.  The gift of high-speed means that this is now a viable option for me, so I thought I would give it another go.  Look for more books showing up over the coming weeks as I slowly add things in.   I’ll probably do a post or two on specific books, just for fun.

So, grab a hot cup of tea, pull up a cozy chair and take a look around.  And I hope you will continue to join me here, at my new little home on the web.


Our Little House

~Our old house~

We are going through some serious changes around here and I think it’s time that I explain the situation.

Building this house has been a long hard road. It wasn’t a choice that we made, it was a corner that we got backed into. Our illness made other living situations impossible at the time. Believe me, we tried, but all of our efforts were in vain and in 2005 we broke ground for the little house. We did our best to make the most of a difficult situation. We tried to be cheerful and we were deeply grateful, but we still struggled a good deal, all the same.

~December 8th and 9th 2005~

All of this time, we’ve been carrying the mortgage on the old house. We can’t sell it because we did the right thing and had it tested. And now we know. We know the connection that it had to our illness. It is documented all over the place. And even if it wasn’t and we wouldn’t be considered liable, I could never, ever knowingly expose someone else to such a health threat.

~December 15th 2005~

So, we paid our mortgage every month and at the same time drained our savings account to start building a house that we could actually live in. And then from there we kept running off of credit. Our debts kept accumulating until we were basically carrying the equivalent of two mortgages. And that’s just not sustainable. And even with all of that work and time and money being spent, we are still so, so far from being done. We have almost no siding and very few interior walls; inadequate insulation under the house and no plumbing; electric in only a small section of the house and on and on. It would take us years and tens of thousands of dollars that we don’t have to finish this place.

~January 2006~

Earlier this month we declared bankruptcy. And getting by is still a struggle. With no credit to put towards the task at hand, we’re looking at a solid decade before we get even basic plumbing. And that is if nothing else goes wrong (she said while trying to ignore the strange sound that the refrigerator has been making, the groaning of the water pump and the hot water heater that’s on the fritz at the old house, and the car that we just dropped off at the junkyard).

~September 2006~
This lifestyle is not an easy one and there are times that I feel on the verge of a nervous break-down and I do feel quite certain the Steve is working himself into an early grave. Meanwhile, the tasks of a day are so numerous and so all-consuming that we feel like the respective childhoods in progress around us are slipping away while we are both busy just trying to keep life going.

~breaking ground for the addition, July 20th 2008~

My dentist says that I’m wearing the teeth right out of my head with unconsciously clenching them and my muscles are so tight that they strain and twitch. Steve has had a herniated disk in his upper back for years now. It aches at it’s best and greatly pains him at it’s worst. He’s been told that his only option is surgery, but that he wouldn’t be able to do any lifting at all for several months afterward. We can’t get by that way, so he lives on in pain. Our bodies all wear the strain of years of illness, struggle and strife.

~August 2008~

I love this land. Three out of four of my children have known no other and the remaining child doesn’t remember life before here. It’s been blessed with our blood, sweat and tears. It’s been the setting and the source of many stories that are sure to be told over the years, rich in familylore. It’s a good place. I’ve given birth to babies in both houses on this land. Each drew his/her first breath by the fire of what we called home. It’s been the scene of joyous reunions, heartrending sorrows and lots of everyday living in between. This house has been our salvation in some of our darkest times and I often feel that we quite literally owe our lives to it’s existence.

~September 2008~

Thanks to this house, we are now well enough that we have the possibility of going out into the world to find housing we can tolerate. But it’s still scary. It’s scary on a lot of levels and for a lot of reasons. The truly terrifying part is that we risk reversing all of the strength and good health that we’ve gained being here. There is a chance that we may again have to watch our children suffer as our health deteriorates. We are going to do our very best to protect everyone but in a situation like this there is a certain element that has to be left to chance.

~August 2009~

As my dear, sweet husband put it, “It is awful and it’s going to break my heart too and my blood is literally in that house but we can’t do it anymore. We’ve done an amazing thing the past four years or so but I think it’s time to try to live more normally again.”

And so we’re abandoning this house that we’ve worked so hard and sacrificed so much to create. It’s a very difficult and emotional decision, but I do believe that it’s where we need to go from here.

Cautiously we move forward, with heavy, yet hopeful hearts and many little prayers, in hope of a better life for us all.


I is for Iain, Insomnia, and Idiot

Iain Alexander-My first born boy. He’s getting so, so big! So tall and thin. Shaped just like his Daddy (he certainly didn’t get tall and thin from me!). He’ll be as tall as me soon. Very soon. Whatever happened to that chubby little blue-eyed toddler with the mass of blond hair?!?? I swear he was just here, somewhere about my feet, a moment ago!

Iain is Scottish and means “John”. John is the name of my Father (though he goes by Jack) and of his Father (who went by John proper). Iain was also the name of a dear friend of mine who died far too young. Alexander was my beloved (maternal) Grandfather’s name. It was also Steve’s Grandfather’s name and Steve’s Father’s middle name. We managed to pack a lot of meaning into this one little name! Even the Scottish heritage is a nod to my Grandmother’s ancestry.

I’m loving the current incarnation of his smile.

I think that it’s quite possible that this boy was meant to be my greatest challenge in life. And also one of my greatest joys. He certainly keeps me on my toes! I can only hope that I am up to the task. He brings out the worst in me. And the best in me. There is so much to say about him and our relationship, that I honestly don’t even know where to begin.

Pictured here in the stripy hat I recently made him. The hat was a pattern that I came up with, made from O-wool Balance yarn (50% organic cotton/50% organic merino). In colors chosen by the boy himself.

Insomnia-I’ve struggled with recurrent bouts of insomnia my entire adult life. If you see that I’ve suddenly knitted a ton of stuff in a really short period of time, that’s a pretty sure sign that I haven’t slept in a while! Right now, however, I am having the opposite problem. I think I could sleep all day if the kids would let me. It’s really very poor timing, since we have so much going on these days.

Idiot-What I’m feeling like this morning after realizing that I left a big box full of the kid’s puzzles out in the sleet and freezing rain last night.

Yesterday’s work on the addition required cutting through part of a wall, which meant that a shelf had to come down. There was no place for anything inside, so I took some of the contents outside to be brought back later. Except I didn’t actually remember to bring them back. *sigh* Everything has been laid out on a towel in front of the wood stove since around 4 a.m., but I don’t yet know if it will be salvageable.


H is for Hearth, Home, Health and Healing

I bet you thought I had given up on this, didn’t you? I’m like that. I usually finish what I start, but it is almost never done in a timely manner!

As is usually the case, it’s my perfectionism getting in the way again. I had a very specific picture in mind for this post, but never did seem to find the time to actually take that picture. Ah, but the holiday season is upon us, and things are more then crazy enough, thank-you-very-much. So, I am trying very hard to make a practice of being gentle with myself. This means some serious prioritizing. Having just the right picture for this post? Not so much a high priority. Sorry (though I’m not sure for what since I’m probably the only one who cares). Instead you are getting a selection of photos of our home taken over the course of our time here.


Home- I’m a homebody, a homemaker, a homebirther, a homeschooler. When my home is somehow “off”, it has a profound effect on me. Is it any wonder that I’ve been feeling like crawling out of my own skin lately? The whole concept of home right now is in major flux. We are still not sure how or when things are going to go down. It’s a nerving, but more then that, it almost feels like a challenge to my identity, which is…uncomfortable. I want to give you an update, to tell you are plans for the future, but the truth is, I really don’t know. It seems to change almost daily. We are taking things as they come and doing what we can, but the question is, as it’s always been, how much can we actually do?

I’ve been feeling regret over not documenting our time in the little house more thoroughly. There feelings come in waves, largely depending on whether or not our time here feels as though it’s coming to an end. I think that I would like to put together an album for the children, with many photos, detailing the unconventional life they’ve lived, for the majority of their young years. It feels like such an intregal part of our family’s history. I on
ly wish that I had been thinking in these terms sooner! So much has changed recently and there have been a great many changes over the last year and a half. I wish I had been taking pictures from the very beginning. The truth is that in the beginning I was just trying to survive! I’ll not go off on a whole in-depth history here of no electric, phone or running water. Of trying to learn to cook on the wood stove (not a cook stove, mind you!) or having nearly our entire living space taken up by tools. Of nights spent squatting on the floor by lantern light, trying to wash dishes in an old wok. No, I won’t bore you with all of the details here, but I will put them somewhere. Somewhere to be kept and remembered in times to come.

One of the main obstacles in beginning to chronicle our life now, is that the addition is blocking nearly all of our sunlight! Rendering well executed photos near to impossible. I’m piecing together pictures as I find them and taking additional ones here and there. Everything is still so unfinished, it’s hard to want to take pictures or to share them. But that’s the way we’ve been living, with torn foil walls and unfinished floors and that’s what I need to capture.

Hearth- I love the word. I love the concept. The giant fieldstone fireplace of our old home, was definitely the first thing to endear us to the place. Our hearth here is a simple one. Also made of fieldstone from our land, built by our own hands. There is still much that we would like to do to finish it, but for now it is functional. Someday I’d like to get around to creating a small hearth-side alter honoring both Hestia and Brighid.

Health/Healing- I’ve been working to make this a focus in our lives lately. I’m trying very hard to implement changes on many levels to allow my children and myself to continue to heal and grow and thrive. Again, I won’t bore you with the details, but it is where my mind is at often lately and it seemed like something I should share.


G is for Galen, Gardens, Glorious, Green, and Grapple

Galen Micheal Millar-Mr. Loveiness himself, of course! A.K.A. Goozle, Twozle, Twosy-woozy belly boy, Gaily, Gaily Goozles, Peanut, Roo, bitty-boy, Munchkin Man, Wee one, and, oh, about a million other things… Steve often asks why we bothered to give the child a name. And let’s face it, it’s not like he has a lack of names to choose from!

Galen- Is both Greek and Celtic. It means healer and calm or tranquil. I took us several days to actually name our sweet littlest one. I’m so glad that we ended up giving him the name that we did. He came to us at a time when I was still quite ill and he brought with him so much love, joy and hope. I’ve always had this distinct feeling that this child has somehow saved my life, though I can’t even begin to explain why.

- Is of Hebrew origin and means ‘he who resembles God’. It also happens to be the middle name of my beloved.

- Is Scottish and it was my Grandmother’s maiden name.

This boy is quite the little character! He is speaking a lot now and running and dancing and jumping everywhere. He still loves to sing and greatly enjoys entertaining all of us. He is completely convinced that he is a “big boy” and wants to be a part of absolutely everything around him. He has also developed quite the sense of humor!

Last week I stepped out of the room where Elijah and him were playing. When I came back Galen was sitting in a big pile of blankets and Elijah was nowhere to be seen.

“Where’s Brother?” I asked.
He shrugged his shoulders, with his hands in the air, and shook his head saying “Don’t know…”
“You don’t know where brother went??”
“N-o-o-oooo….” head still shaking….
At which point Elijah pops out from underneath him and exclaims
“he was sitting on my head!”
And they both fall over on the bed laughing hysterically.

Not only did he totally get the joke, but he played his part very well. Oh, I think I may be in trouble!

But my favorite Galen story from recent days, was when he woke in the night crying. I was quite worn and tired myself. When I denied his request to nurse, he stopped crying, scooted himself up so that he was laying just about nose to nose with me, looked me in the eye, gently stroked my cheek and said “Mama, puweeeaaaaasssse?”. Makes my heart melt, that little one does. Oh yeah, I’m in trouble…

Glorious- On our way home from the fabric store yesterday we were witnesses to the most intensely colored pair of twin rainbows that I have ever seen. One was exceptionally vivid. The other was fainter. There were points at which we could see the entire arch above us. So magical!

By the time I got home for my camera (why, oh why, do I ever leave home without it?!?), the second rainbow was gone and the first had faded considerably. I was happy to have a least gotten a few shots to add to our nature book.

Grapple- A celebratory drink, customarily served around the holidays, consisting of a mix of sparkling cider and sparkling grape juice.

Gardens-I stopped posting my ‘Around the Garden‘s a while back because the drought took quite a toll, leaving everything rather whithered and sad. Thankfully, rains have come again (just in time for the cold!). Currently mums (a gift from my dear love) and brightly colored leaves (a gift from Mother Nature) are providing us with a little end-of-season cheer.

Green- A word with so many meanings and so much of it applies to me. From my desire to live in a natural, sustainable, gentle way, to the plants I love to grow and eat, to the very color itself.

By the way, I finally got around to picking a color for the house trim! It’s to be a mellow gray-green that pleases me and seems to feel at home surrounded by trees.

And, just because I felt bad that the Elijah pictures were so poor, here is a recent one that makes me smile…


F is for Figs, Francesca, and Fascinating


Figs- Luscious, plump, juicy figs…mmm…. Dried ones are ok, but fresh ripe figs are where it’s at! This is a recently discovered fancy of mine. I think I had my first fresh fig only a year or two ago. Steve sometimes brings home a little carton of them as a treat for the children and I. I am sorry to say (alright, I’m really not all that sorry…) that if I happen to be the person unpacking the groceries, and there is no one else around, well, then, it’s highly unlikely that anyone else is destined to see even a single fig that week. I can’t help it. They are just so yummy, and dare I say, kind of sexy…

I’ve even tried growing them! Yup, to date I have killed two little fig trees. I haven’t given up on having a fig tree of my very own just yet, but I have decided that I should learn a bit more about their care before opting to bring another one home…

Francesca-This is Francesca, my newest playmate. Isn’t she darling?

Iain makes me the best toys! This little needle felted skunk was gifted to me earlier in the week, on a day when I was feeling just lousy. I love her so much, that of course, I had to give her an ‘F’ name so that I could share her right away! In fact, I love her so much, that I don’t even mind (too much) that my tiny little bag of super luxurious llama fiber was dipped into (and just about bankrupted) in order to make her. Now that is true love.

Fascinating- I can’t remember where I first saw it mentioned, but somewhere, somehow, I was introduced to the book Material World A Global Family Portrait . When I read about it I had planned to order it through our Inter-Library Loan system. Then last night, I ran into our local library, to grab a quilting book, and lo and behold, there on display at our teeny-tiny library, is this very book. So, of course I grabbed it, and I haven’t been able to put it down! Seriously, the kids basically had to take it away from me so that I would go and make dinner last night.

The premise of the book is a giant photography project, where the author visited countries all over the world, photographing families with literally all of their earthy possessions. The concept alone blows me away. Everything is taken out of their homes and the whole family poses in front of or beside it. Each photo series has a title. All of the possessions are detailed in a key. Then there are stats on the general public for the region (life expectancy, percentage of rural verses urban land, etc) and the stats on the family in question (number of family members, sq footage of the home, income, hours worked, etc). There are additional photos of the families going about their day as well as a paragraph here and there about different aspects of their lives. One of my favorite parts is that each family was asked to name their most prized possession, as well as their hopes for the future. Very interesting stuff. Though I was rather depressed by the number of people who cited the TV as a most valued object. *sigh*


E is for Elijah and Eggs

ok, I’ll admit it, this Encyclopedia thing is getting old. already. turns out I’m just not that interesting. I’m putting myself to sleep. Perseverance, right? Oh, onward we go…


Can you guess what my favorite ‘E’ word is?? Because he could…

(it’s been dark and gray here, so you get some really cruddy pictures, sorry ’bout that)

Elijah- Pictured here in a new pair of pajama pants I made a couple of weeks back (details: flannel with white stars, that you can’t see because of the horribly blurry picture, snagged off of the remnants shelf ages ago. no pattern.)

Oh, what to say of my middlest boy?? He’s quiet and thoughtful in one moment, and completely irrepressible in the next! Silly and sweet and funny. Brilliant and oh, so beautiful, with his deep blue eyes, rimmed with long lashes and his sweet little dimples…

I felt Elijah coming to us for so long before we had him. When I was pregnant I had a dream of a dark-haired, blue-eyed baby who looked at me and told me that his name was Elijah. I told Steve that if, when he was born, he was indeed the baby of my dream, then we had to use the name. Elijah- Hebrew- ‘The lord is my god’ or ‘Faithful to God’. We named him Elijah Rain. Iain choose Rain and it fit, for so many reasons. When he was born, I had never met another Elijah, but the name seems to be getting quite popular lately.

Eggs- Green ones. I think they are so pretty! Really, I want to, like, decorate with them or something… yes, I know I’m weird.


D is for Driving, Drinking, Desks and Doves

I’m beginning to fear that if I were to print out my encyclopedia of me, it would truly be encyclopedic in size. I think we are going to keep ‘D’ short and sweet.


Driving- I don’t do it.

Drinking- Don’t do that either. (Well, lots of water, and some herbal tea, but no alcohol.)

Desks- I got a new one a couple of months ago. And by new I mean, never before seen by me. I found it on the side of the road and brought it home (alright, well technically, Steve brought it home, because, as you know, I don’t drive) to fix up. This is a project that I intend to start up, just as soon as I can find another place to put all of the stuff that immediately accumulated on top of it upon bringing it in the house.

Doves- I have have a weird infatuation with doves of all sorts. I think I would like to keep them someday, but that’s at least partially because I really like dovecotes, which in the end, is probably not the best reason to bring home a whole bunch of birds.

I’m fond of mourning doves as well. We get a great many interesting and beautiful birds at our feeders in the winter time, but for some reason I find the presence of mourning doves to be very comforting and pleasing. Every year I think that I should like to knit a sweater in the colors of a mourning dove…shades of gray and pink and buff and cream. It would have to have mohair or something in it to give it some shine and lots of fuzziness. I have yet to come across this particular colorway, but I surely hope to some day.