Living in a Small Space

I’m in love with small (and tiny) houses.

My obsession began while living in Alaska.  Housing is very expensive in Alaska.  We definitely had sticker shock coming from Florida when we arrived in Anchorage.  It was definitely worth it though.

I haven’t shared much about our apartment in Alaska, but I will now.  The space was small for a family of three.  We lived in about 750 square feet.  This may not seem that tiny but it was a studio (sort of).  Let me diagram it for you.

The Scacchi House: Our Alaska Apartment

Our living, dining, and bedroom space were all shared.  We did have a separate kitchen and bathroom.  It was comfortable.  I didn’t have many complaints about our small living space.  Ava is still young, so she doesn’t take up much space.  I think my biggest complaint was that it was difficult to watch TV after Ava was asleep.

We talked about building or buying a house, which made the cost of living a little more reasonable.  After a lot of research, I found out that very small (under 600 sq ft) houses are fairly common in Alaska, especially once you get out of Anchorage.  Add a composting toilet and a wood stove and you’re a regular homesteader.  Okay, maybe not.

I researched all sorts of “alternative housing”.  You can check out a few of my Pinterest boards to see more inspiration.  We considered many forms of small housing.  Traditional stick built, conex (shipping containers), cob (earth), and even modular homes were discussed.  There are more options out there than you could ever believe.

Here’s a plan I sketched up (using floorplanner.com) for a house using two 40-foot shipping containers.  It has just enough space for our small family at 670 square feet.

The Scacchi House: Shipping Container House

But then we were transferred.  Here we are about to move into an 1,800 square foot townhouse.  I’m overwhelmed to say the least.  I’ve been so used to living in small spaces, this new house seems like too much.  Maybe everything really is bigger in Texas.  I’m sure we’ll get used to it too.

My dream would be to one day have a tiny cabin (under 500 sq ft) somewhere.  A place where our kids could play in the woods and catch fireflies.  Someday!  Who knows, may we will have a little vacation cabin in Alaska.

How do you feel about small houses?  Could you ever live small?

nopin

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The Feeling of Healthy: Part 5

Like I’ve said before, 80% of your journey will be in the kitchen.  You will start losing weight and feeling better just by eating better.  You will get to a point where you are comfortable with your eating habits and you want more.  The “more” I’m talking about is exercise.

The Scacchi House: The Feeling of Health - My Cardio of Choice

Even though I haven’t always had the best diet, I’ve always loved to run.  And by always, I mean since college.  I remember in college calling up my mom and telling her I was going to run a 5k.  She laughed at me.  She said that women in our family are not runners.  I started running anyway.  Fast forward to 2011, my mom and I ran our first 5k together.  We’re both runners.  She was wrong.

The Scacchi House: My Cardio of Choice

My aunt Sue, mom, and me before our Ft. Lauderdale, FL run.

Since that first race, I’ve participated in quite a few more.  I ran my second race while pregnant and then another 8k two months postpartum.  That’s the farthest I’ve run to date (more on that in a minute).

The Scacchi House: Running Postpartum

Finishing my first postpartum race in Clearwater, FL.

I love to run.  I love the high I get.  I love how it makes me feel.  I love being outside.  I really hate running on a treadmill.  Put me on a treadmill and in a half mile I’m bored out of my mind.  I know it’s not like that for everyone.  I also run for my own mental health.  Running really is the best therapy.

You don’t need to join a gym or buy some fancy equipment to get a good workout.  I’ll talk more about this next week.  You run in your neighborhood, bike local trails, or swim in your backyard pool, all for free.  Just find something and do it!

I’ve never been a fast runner, but I’m working on that.  My fastest race time to date is 34:35 for a 5k.  Believe it of not, that was my time from my first race.  I’ve got to get my butt in gear.  I would actually like to place in my age category at some point.

Since arriving in Texas, I’ve been running more than ever.  I didn’t run AT ALL while we lived in Alaska.  To be honest, I was afraid.  No, I was not afraid of bears (although the thought of a moose lurking around every corner kept me on my toes), I was afraid of slipping on ice.  I did try to stay active by pulling Ava in her sled.  Walking through 4 feet of snow is a fairly good workout.  Shoveling snow isn’t easy either.

I try to run 3-4 times per week.  I don’t stress if it doesn’t happen.  I take Ava out in the stroller with me.  I run for 2-3 miles, then we stop off at the playground for some playtime.  I definitely use our running as mommy/daughter bonding time.  I hope Ava too has a love for running some day.

I do have a confession.  I injured my ankle the day I posted Part 1.  I’m not exactly sure what caused it.  I had just switched to my Vibram FiveFingers a month and a half before AND I had been working on increasing my speed.  I just think I over did it.  On a positive note, the day I injured myself I ran a 9:45 minute mile, which is a record for me.  I have been pain-free for about two weeks now, but I’m just getting over this nasty cold that’s been going around.  I have only been back out twice since then.  I did a half mile the first night, pain-free.  Last week I ran the half mile to the store, went shopping, then ran back.  The next morning I had a little stiffness, but nothing major.  I’m just trying to slowly get my ankles back into the swing of things.  I’m going to get back out there again this evening.

I so look up to my friend Brittany.  She is training for her second half marathon.  I wish I could run one with her.  Sadly, I don’t think I will ever be able to run any distance longer than 4-5 miles.  Why?  Well, my legs took a beating during pregnancy.  While pregnant with Ava, I developed a nasty varicose vein.  There, I said it.  I am 26 years old and I have a varicose vein.  They are genetic, so I was bound to get one at some point.

I honestly don’t care how it looks, that doesn’t bother me.  This. Sucker. HURTS!  When I do run 3 miles, by the time I’m finished, my leg is THROBBING.  This is what will hold me back from a half marathon.  To help the pain, I’m going to get a compression sleeve for my calf (the vein is on the back of my calf).  Hopefully this will help.  Let me know if you have any other recommendations.

Running is my choice of cardio.  Your choice may be something completely different.  Whatever your choice is, get out and do it.  Make time for yourself; you are important.  If you have time to watch TV, you have more than enough time to get out and exercise.  You really only need 30-45 minutes.  At the same time, don’t completely stress out about it.  Some days it’s extremely hot here.  I don’t know about you, but I do not love running when it’s 100 degrees out.  On those days, I give myself a pass.

Try adding some sort of cardio to your journey to health, you will be so glad you did.

nopin

If you’re interested in reading the rest of the series, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Finally… Some Space

I’m sitting here on our new sofa, that I got free, by the way. I’m patiently waiting for the 15th to roll around. Why the 15th you ask? We’re moving!

Don’t worry, we’re not moving 4,300 miles like last time. We’re moving to a townhouse not far from here.

For the past 4 months, we’ve been staying with Tony’s mom and her family. It’s been wonderful and all, but it’s time to go!

We’ve gone back and forth on whether we should buy or rent. Ultimately, we decided to rent for the next year and see where life takes us. Who knows, maybe Cabo? You never know. It’s easier to pack up and go when you don’t own a house.

Part of me is bummed about not buying, ya know, being all DIY. I want to paint, change light fixtures, and maybe wallpaper. (Yes, wallpaper!) I’ve decided to make the best of it and do what I can with what I have. There are still plenty of DIY projects I can tackle in a rental house.

So about our rental! It’s 1,800+ square feet, which is gigantic to us. After living in super small spaces for the last 10 months, an entire house is a little overwhelming. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms. Our oldest nephew Rylan has come to stay with us for the school year (he’s 9, BTW), so it’s just the right size. I am very much looking forward to having our own bathroom, with a tub that’s not filled with squeaky toys. Yay!

Don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting pictures as soon as we move in. Well, as soon as they hook up the Internet.

We are super excited to share our new home and adventures with you!

nopin

Change of Plans

Sorry for the lack of posts since our announcement. Our computer got a virus and we haven’t taken it in to get it fixed yet. In the meantime, I’ll be posting from my phone (boo).

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Photo by: Kuster & Wildhaber Photography

So we’ve had a slight change in plans. We are still going to Houston, but we will not be driving. After thinking about it, Tony and I decided that it was a suicide mission trying to drive the 4300 miles from Alaska to Texas with a toddler. It’s also much less expensive to fly.

Although it’s much less expensive, it’s a little more complicated. Flying means that we have to sell our truck. This makes me sad. I love our truck. It’s a used (but well taken care of) Land Rover Freelander. I love this truck more than any other vehicle I’ve ever owned. I’m slightly heartbroken.

When we decided to sell it, we had just over two weeks before our take off date. I wasn’t sure we would find a buyer. Well, we had lots of interest and we have a buyer. It’s someone we know and they have been nice enough to wait until right before we leave to do the paperwork. Perfect timing! Now we have to go car shopping in Houston. I hate car shopping.

We are all set to fly out on the 15th. We are just a week out. I’m not going to lie, I’m totally dreaming of 80 degrees and lots of humidity. Poor Ava’s skin is so dry.

I was hoping to eliminate one of our suitcases, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. My uncle is coming to Anchorage the day before we leave and has volunteered to take one of our suitcases back to Florida for us. TSA may or may not wonder why my uncle has a child’s size grocery cart in his suitcase.

That leaves us with 4 suitcases. That’s not bad considering we came up here with 5, plus we shipped a few things, and the stuff we bought in the past 6 months. We’re actually going to Texas with less stuff than we came to Alaska with. That’s always nice.

Now I just have to keep the four suitcases under 50 pounds each. Do you have any tips for that?

We’re Moving!

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Photo by: jetalone

And not around the corner, I might add.  The Scacchi family is moving to Houston, Texas! I know, I know, we just got here. We have been in Alaska for 6 months now (Tony has been here for 7) and we were offered an opportunity that we just couldn’t turn down.

Tony was offered to be relocated. It wasn’t a “must go,” more like a “would you like to go?” I don’t know if we would have said “Yes!” to any other city, but Houston is special. Why, you ask?

  1. Tony’s mom lives in Houston!  What could be better than Ava getting to spend time with her MomMom (that’s her “grandma” name)!  I’m also extremely excited for one word (two actually): DATE NIGHT!  Being in a city where you know no one (other than a few of Tony’s guy friends) is very difficult.  I won’t leave Ava with a stranger, so we have had ZERO mommy and daddy time since we have been up here.  We will be in Houston just in time for our anniversary!  Thank you MomMom!
  2. Cost of living.  Houston is cheap!  For being such a big city, everything is very inexpensive there.  It’s even cheaper than where we came from in Florida.  Alaska is expensive in comparison to Houston, but not compared to a lot of other places in the US (California, New York, etc.).  Essentially it will be like Tony getting a nice raise!
  3. Proximity to family.  I will be less than 1000 miles away from my family in Florida, even closer to my little sis once she’s away at college!  Most of Tony’s family lives in Texas too.
  4. Climate.  Don’t get me wrong, we have thoroughly enjoyed the snow.  That being said, I’m a Florida girl.  I have never been more excited for a sweltering, humid summer before in my life!  Bring on the flip-flops, sundresses, and bikinis!  Also, my gardening season will longer than the 3 months I have in Alaska.

Logistics

We plan on leaving in the next 2-3 weeks.  We are driving. With a toddler.  We may or may not be crazy.  It will take us approximately 7 days to get there.  It’s definitely going to be an exciting road trip.  You can be sure that we will keep you updated along the way!