What’s new?

So…..I have been absent from the blog for awhile. That’s kind of been my M.O. over the years with blog writing. But also, I believe I stated on my last post that this would be a possibility as I attempted a little break from my phone.  Thought I would take a moment to update everyone, on a few things.  I have some more heady things floating around in my brain that I would like to write about at some point. But I have so much going on in life right now, I haven’t had time to sit down long enough to put them into a readable post. I’ll get to them eventually!  But here’s a couple short updates, and a bit more of a glimpse into our ideas for a possible Wong homestead.

The no-phone experiment: went soooo well. I have been pretty significantly changed by it, but some old habits have been creeping back in and I need to work on addressing them. I LOOOOOVE instagram. It is currently my favorite form of social media. HOWEVER, I follow so many people, it takes hours to keep up with every post. Soooo, I don’t any more. I miss a TON of great things, and I try to hop on every now and then and look at different favorites to see some things I’ve missed. And I post stuff almost daily. But I don’t look at everybody’s pics any more. I miss it, BUT it is definitely helping me not stay on my phone as much. That said, I have gravitated more toward Facebook….partially because my business endeavors have been connected to FB and I find myself remaining there. Even still, I try to not look at my feed endlessly. I would like to spend less time on FB except for designated times for connecting for my businesses (handwriting tutoring and Usborne Books & More), and short bursts of social connection. But it can take over your time like a leech. So, I am working to change some habits at home with my time management, and continuing to monitor and limit my time online is a big factor.  It is a major step in BLESSING MY HOME by serving it, taking care of it, and blessing my family by worshiping the Lord with my time and diligence.

Thyroid: If you follow me on Facebook or instagram, you already know, my biopsy came back clear. I’m so grateful! I need to follow up in a year to check on the nodules I have. But at least we can breathe a little knowing it’s not cancer. So that’s good news for future kiddos, should the Lord decide to give us more the biological way.  🙂  And if you’re wondering what is happening in that area….I know it’s not really what everyone wants to know. But I will say, having these two so close has WORN ME OUT. I can’t control God’s timing…as was evidenced by how long it took us to get Gideon, and then by how NOT long it took us to get Jak. But, if I had a choice, I would wait a while longer to give my body a little more recovery time. 🙂  We will see. But I’m glad to know that I have a thyroid that is working well (all the labs indicate thyroid is just fine!) so at least that’s one issue I don’t have hanging over my head if we did get pregnant again sooner or later.

House: Ok. So we aren’t a lot further than we were last time I posted. Basically we are inching our way in home improvements to Grandma’s house so we can put it on the market, and downsizing our stuff and selling Grandma’s stuff. If you have ever had to take care of a parent/grandparent’s estate after they have passed, you know it is a daunting process. So much stuff to find a place for or sell. It is overwhelming at times. But little by little, we will get there.


We don’t have a lot of decisions nailed down yet, because we won’t be able to really move on things until the new year, and until this house sells. So we know there will be a (hopefully short) time of transition in between homes. Not 100% what the plan will be for that time, and we are definitely not 100% sure what our final destination will actually be. Pinterest is both my best friend and my nemesis these days. I can’t hop on to find a recipe I’ve pinned without seeing several more pins on tiny homes that have been “picked for me” based on my search history, and then rabbit trailing to more ideas and pins. I know you all know how that goes, if you are a Pinterest junkie.

I LOVE so many of the ideas I have found so far. But it’s hard to know what the most cost effective, yet appropriate for us kind of dwelling we will end up with. I love the tiny homes on wheels. Kind of cool to be able to take your home with you if you need to move. But there can be issues. For one, most of those just don’t have enough space for us with two energetic little boys, even though they will hopefully spend a lot of time outside. But as anyone in the midwest knows, you can’t spend a lot of time outside all times of the year. PLUS, there’s not a lot of room for adding to the family in a home that tiny with the limitations of trailer bed size. I have seen some hybrid ideas…a tiny home on wheels with a side building and deck. Just not sure.  There are other issues with being on wheels.  Financing might be an issue. Unless we pay cash, but then we wouldn’t be able to buy land, so we would need to find a place to be a squatter. But then, you can’t build other structures….I don’t know. Just not looking like a perfect fit.

So then we look at small/tiny homes that are built on foundations. This is more what we lean toward. But there are many factors that make these become way more expensive than what the intended purpose is to be.  The cost and type of foundation can be huge. Cost of septic. Or compost toilets…but still need a grey water system that can be as expensive as septic. Well water. Electricity vs. solar. We would LOVE to be off grid. But the up front cost for that is not cheap. So that leads to questions about how close to city we want to be. The structure itself can be expensive if you don’t do it yourself. And being novice home builders….whatever we decide needs to be easy enough for newbies. But the easy stuff is the prefab stuff…and that isn’t cheap. So many unknowns right now.

The TYPE of structure that we could go with is so varied! We have looked at some adorable options. Cute cottages. Ultra-modern container homes (which I LOVE, but some super smart architect friends have suggested they aren’t the best way to go). Super-efficient passive-hause structures. Are you interested in learning about our top two contenders? One of them is very traditional. One of them is very NOT traditional. I’m curious to see what the thoughts are on the non-traditional one.

Traditional first:  A Cape Cod style barn house.

barn house 1


I am not going to lie. I AM IN LOVE WITH THESE. They are so traditional. So rustic. So adorable.

barn house 3

And surprisingly easy to find a cost effective way to build. We found a company that designs them for you, cuts everything to the exact specifications, and then provides the instructions for you to build them yourself. The reviews are promising.  Even if we don’t go with that company, the design is basic and flexible. You can go modern. You can go classic. You can build on easily later.

barn house 2

My gut feeling is that this will be the easiest type of structure to get approvals for. The resale value should be pretty decent if we do it well, make good choices, and pass inspections. And, goodness, can you get any cuter?

barn house inside 1

barn house inside 2

barn house inside 3


So how about our non-traditional option?


Meet the quonset hut home.


These structures have a long history in the military as a building that could be quickly erected as barracks. And they have been used post-war for military families. They are self-supporting and very strong structures, due to the arch design. Because of that, the inside structure is basically limitless and can be designed to fit your needs.  (The same is basically true of barn houses because of the post and beam design.) That is big for us, because that way, we can build the rooms to the sizes we desire and plan lots of ways to make the design super efficient.  There are many intriguing benefits to these homes!


One of the big ones is efficiency. They have a reflective coating on the metal structure, which keeps the inside cool. You can add fabulous rain water collecting systems for grey water and gardening. They are strong and reported to be very wind resistant and capable of heavy snow load.




The other big one is cost. The most well known company for these buildings provides them for the military, so they have a lot of extra stock that they put on clearance regularly. Even when not on clearance, they are pretty affordable. I just got a notice about a clearance price for a 720sf quonset hut (not including loft space) on sale for $7,967. At one point I was quoted a price for a 1200 sf one for somewhere between 10,000-13,000.  That’s pretty amazing.




Now, those prices are for the structure itself, which you assemble with a small team (you can hire, or gather your friends like a barn raising!).  You still have all the expenses of the end walls, anything built on the inside, the foundation, and all the other things I listed above that you deal with for any new home structure. But it’s a pretty great price for the primary structure!

quonset 5


So, Andy and I have always leaned modern in our decor choices. Not ultra modern. But certainly modern. We like to do things differently. My heart feels like it is craving traditional and cozy. But we still could make this pretty darn cool.  How easy is it to get approvals for in city limits? I have no idea. Would it sell if we have to move? I have no idea. (That is one of the primary concerns I have). Would it be attention grabbing? Certainly. That could be fun, but could be bad.  It largely depends on where we want to settle, and the cost of the land. If we have more wiggle room, we would maybe lean more traditional. If we have less wiggle room, but all the permissions to do it…we could go this route. Just don’t know yet.  It’s a bit wacky, isn’t it?

What do you think??  Would you live in a round house like this, if it was REALLY cool inside??



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