Winter road trip to Our Little Red House.


” No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Anne Frank

One day we all decided to just hop in our truck and head up north for a surprise visit to our neighbors and friends up north. This was the week before Christmas and it also happen to be the shortest day of the year. We thought it would put us all in the Christmas spirit to head up north and visit some of those little cowboy towns in the woods. Those towns always feel like Christmas to me.


I made sure to pack extra blankets, sweaters and coats. I tried to think of what we would need for just a short over night trip. I packed the first aide kit…check. Then I packed enough food and water for two days… check. We have food up there. Dry food that is and canned goods but even with that, I still always pack enough food and water for at least two or more days when ever we go on a road trip here in Arizona.

I packed all the Christmas gifts we had wrapped for neighbors and baskets of cookies. I also had several tiny gingerbread houses to give out that I had made the night before. I kept going over and over in my head trying to think of what else I might need on this trip.


Moms are always the ones it seems running around trying to make sure everything is organized and packed. Reminding everyone what to take and asking of they packed this or that. It can be a little nerve racking.

Then once we are on the road and usually on one of the Indian reservations in the middle of no where I always turn to my husband and say “I don’t know why, but for some reason I feel like I have forgotten something”.

“You always say that when we’re on the reservation” he says back to me.

Looking out our truck windows all around at all the emptiness and vast land with pockets of trailers and a few nice homes off in the distance in some spots I realize he was right. I do always say that as soon as we are half way to our place and that place happens  to always be on the reservation.

I laugh and tell him he is right, I do always say that. Then I always tell myself, that I haven’t forgotten anything yet so far, just always second guessing myself.  That is when I looked down at my feet and Said “UH OH!” and my husband turns to me “What?”

After many years of never forgetting anything this might be the first time I actually forgot something. I was almost too embarrassed to tell him because when I looked down at my toasty warm feet in the heated truck I saw that I was still wearing my house slippers. They are pretty sturdy though, so maybe they could pass as fabric shoes but they were not ice, snow and mountain area shoes. Which was exactly the area we were driving into.

“I forgot to put on my boots” I said then started laughing. Oh well I shrugged my shoulders. “Guess we will have to hit one of the junk stores and hopefully there will be a pair of snow and mountain boots there for me that happen to fit my feet”.

When we got to town there were several second hand shops to check out. I still had some last minute shopping to do with my green gifts (any gift bought second hand or anything used that we re-purpose).

The first stores we stopped at were several little cabins that were turned into little second hand boutiques. All their Christmas was .25 cents, even big items, all of it was a quarter each. I picked up some little vintage felt handmade stockings to use as package tags. Also a bunch of wooden ornaments to use later for a surprise I was planning for my family.


I was having so much fun shopping that I forgot about those boots I needed to buy and the stores were starting to get packed with customers also doing last minute Christmas shopping. It was nice to see that I am not the only one who buys second hand gifts.

So I headed over to the next cabin to look for Winter boots and that is  where I would run into my daughter, she was in the cabin that was filled with clothes, shoes, purses and boots. She bought two really nice wool plaid skirts, two turtle neck sweaters and some boots, for a total cost of $17. The school she teaches at is in a little church and they have a dress code for their employees.

I never had a problem buying used, even when I was a little girl. Our families would pass around clothes to other children when we outgrew our things. Of course they made clothes a lot better then so they lasted after you washed them. If we all really want to stop Global warming , then we all need to start making changes in how we shop and the things we buy. Way too much plastic in our world, way too much wastefulness. Why we always blaming those cows.

Anytime I have bought used anything I always clean and  disinfect them.  They are still okay if they are not too worn on the bottoms that is. If my daughter would have bought her clothes new she would probably ended up spending over $200 dollars because she also picked up a really nice oversize bag.

Sure enough there were some snow boots in that store, right under the shelf. They were just the right size to fit my big feet too. Best of all was that these boots were only $6. Until I could clean them I would just wear double socks. May make things a bit bulky but they were lace ups so that was doable. They were so soft and warm. I needed something to protect my feet.

The sales lady saw them and even commented that she wish she would have seen them first because she would have grabbed them up as well. Not sure if they are or not but these boots reminded me of Caribou moccasin boots. My husband always says “It’s like what ever you need is always somewhere waiting for you as soon as you need it” and it did feel like that when I saw those boots peeking out from under the bottom shelf. It was like those boots were waiting for me there the whole time knowing that I would get so busy with thinking about whether everyone else was okay that I forgot about me. Some of us moms are famous for that.

Us people pleasers and empaths have to be so so careful about that.  All you scapegoats out there know what I am talking about, it is what we were trained to be…people pleasers. When you come from a dysfunctional family environment and you are the scapegoat, you are train to please everyone. You are also taught that even doing that is never enough.

Lately I have been feeling the need to reach out to all the other scapegoats out there in the world, especially after getting through the holidays, which is a season of giving to each other, we all have to be careful. We are so vulnerable to being taken advantage of if not careful.

Never overdo things when helping others that you forget YOU. I always warn my grown children to beware of anyone you meet for the first time that starts telling you really personal things about their lives that are tragic and full of sadness.

Sharing things like that face to face is very difficult for the ones that have actually been through traumatic events and anytime someone just out the blue tells you a horrible story to get you to feel sorry for them, well they could be a dangerous person and are testing you, to see if they can manipulate you.  Us people pleasers are in high demand right now with the epidemic of narcissism in this world.

So be careful, remember that childhood Fairy tale where Little Red Riding Hood thinks she is helping someone she loves that is sick, but it turned out to be a mean old wolf. There are lots of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there and being a people pleaser is like running around the world with a big red cape on telling all those wolves…here I am, come get me.

Listen to your gut and remember it is okay to take care of you and love yourself as well. Never stop being someone that helps others though, we need that too, just be careful with who you help.

When we got to the road to turn off on to our place we stopped to enjoy a little pocket of snow and ice by the Aspen trees that I love so much.

So much ice everywhere at the pond on the way in that my husband said he might bring his skates up the next time to do a little pond skating.

Aspen tree branches are what I make my little gnomes out of.


I did not have my boots on at first and wanted to see if my shoe slippers would have been okay in the snow. They held up pretty good except for the parts that were exposed and just my socks were there. That got wet and cold and then the fabric also got wet and cold from the snow and ice I stepped through. Guess they didn’t hold up that great after all.


It was fun walking around the snow making crunching noises. We were the only ones there again. Had the whole wilderness area to ourselves it seem. So very quiet that I heard an owl hooting above me somewhere but I couldn’t find it in all the trees and I kept slipping in the ice when I went searching. Sure it was laughing from where ever it was.


I know, owls don’t laugh, at least out loud, but I bet there are a few out there that at least smile at themselves inside their little owl brains when watching us clumsy humans.

We only stayed out exploring a tiny bit. We didn’t have a lot of time to see our friends up north and with it being the shortest day of the year we jumped back into our truck and continued driving down the road to Our Little Red House. The sun was disappearing fast.



As soon as we got there and opened the door to our place that cold air inside hit us hard. So different up north and so much colder. We started a fire in our old stove.


That stove heats up the whole place so nice. Our Little Red House at one time used to the town’s post office. It was built in the early 1940’s, it isn’t that big. We put a kitchen in and made it a home where at least 7 people can sleep comfortably. It’s a nice escape from the city and peaceful break from city stress.That stove was one of our favorite features when we first stepped inside before we bought it. Everything was a mess,it needed a kitchen and so much work but that stove was sitting in the middle of that mess encouraging is on by just the idea of spending warm evenings around it.



After I got the beds ready and the place warmed up I went out and took some pine tree clippings from the tree next to the house.I had a plan for the clippings to surprise my family with later.


I made a mini Christmas tree with the clippings and branches. I added the only lights we had available there, which happen to be red.


Then I took my little bag of ornaments that my son and I had fun picking out in town and decorated my little tree. My husband and kids loved it. Our Little red House had some Christmas spirit in it that night.


After that, we all headed across the street to start delivering gifts to our friends at the old country store.It was dark outside when we walked up the hill to the old store but off in the distance we could see through it’s antique glass windows that there was a Christmas tree with beautiful lights all over it. They had two Christmas trees up.The other one was in one of the outside quest houses. I just never got a chance to walk up the hill to get a shot of it for you all.

This is a photo from our last trip up north when we were there during the daylight hours. It was very dark when we walked up to the store. We had to use a little flash light before we got to the store where everything was all lit up and there were pretty Christmas trees in their windows.

The store has had some recent improvements. Looked so nice, all that they got done. So much fun seeing the process of fixing something up, turning it from a house into a home.


These photos are some of the before photos when the store was full of products. A lot has been cleaned up and now there is more space inside. In the photo above there is now a kitchen.

When the store closed down it was a museum for awhile, then those owners sold it and it was closed up for over a decade or more. All the items from the museum were left in it. After years of it being closed it was so much fun being the first one to walk into it after our friends got the keys to the place to explore. It always amazes me how much they have accomplished in fixing this old store up.


Now it is coming back to life. I  like  sharing updates on the progress of this store’s newest adventures. This store is it’s own character and so much a part of our story at Our Little Red House. Our kids when little were home schooled and this store was one of their fun learning adventures. They had so much fun exploring the store and seeing products from the past. I wrote about this in our last update, looks like I really need to do a funnier and more detailed post on home schooling adventures. Our kids were there to see it come back to life just like Our Little Red House when we bought it and made it into a home.


So much fun researching and learning the history of these old buildings and places. This store is only a few miles away from one of the Indian reservations in the area. A long time ago it was the only store to buy goods and trade from way out in the middle of no where, but I guess on horse back it was a nice site to see a place to stop and gets some supplies.

The original owners.

Old country stores have so many stories to tell us. Looking through the old products on their shelves is really like going back in time when things were so different. I look at these stores and their sizes and products and just think of the stores we have now days with so many choices and just how huge they are. We have two super stores where we live and it is like walking a football field. How easy it must have been to shop back then.

aaa old young 2.JPG

aaa old young 1.JPG

There were lots of new improvements on this visit. They even finished their re-purposed stools.



We sat around the stoves ( they have two) keeping warm and shared stories about the creek down the road and the bears around there. How we always watch out for them when we are down there swimming, fishing or just exploring. It is such a secluded place and off the beaten path but one the prettiest places in my opinion here in Arizona. Karla told us a really funny story about exploring down around the creek one time with a friend of hers and telling her there was a bear in the area because she came across some bear poop but then her friend asked her why was their toilet paper next to it. We all laughed and thought it was so gross but then I said sometimes bears aren’t the only ones out there who may be dangerous. Who was out there that left that? I know gross, but we all thought it was so funny how she told the story.

There are lots of wild blackberry bushes in the area. That plus trout in the creek makes for the perfect place for an afternoon snack for all the bears in the area.

We talked about what was going on in town and any news there. Caught up on my grown kids and their adventures in college life. Then gifts were opened. We gave them what I call fun gifts, gifts that I thought they would enjoy. It was so pretty inside the store with their Christmas tree all lit up. It was what we needed to get us in the spirit of Christmas. Plus it’s always fun watching people open gifts.


The gifts included a bull riding game, bowling dice game, magazine on country stores from the past, canvas and oil paints (Karla is a western artist) a collectors plate from the state of Iowa (where they are originally from ) to hang in one of their country kitchens, and a vintage clear glass cookie jar with a red handle on it to match their new kitchen they just built.

They also got one of my gingerbread houses which Karla at first did not want to eat because it was just too pretty she said. But I finally convinced her it was to eat not collect and anyway “Wait till you get to the center of the house, because I filled it with extra sweetness” I told her.


I filled the house up with chocolate dip for the cookie pieces.


She ate the whole tiny house. When she was finished I reminded her that if she wants more I love making them. They are so little, it is like eating a cookie, not like eating a whole Gingerbread house. Imagine the stomach ache we would all have if we did that.


Then we headed back to Our Little Red House and ate pizza, watched a Christmas story and drank hot cocoa.

The next morning we all woke up to a beautiful sunrise.


We got back to the city just in time because that night a storm came in and along with it came snow and ice. The roads get closed up there during Winter storms and like our real estate agent said one time “If you ain’t here, you ain’t getting here and if you are here, you ain’t getting out” every time I think about that I always laugh because that is so true. If you are a regular follower of mine you have read that statement many times, it is so funny to me so I always love sharing that.



Happy Winter adventures everyone and please stay warm and safe out there. God bless you all from all of us at Our Little Red House. Please send out well wishes and prayers for the whole world, we need peace more then ever before. Things we could not see were going on for years while we all just tried to live our lives, things we did not know about were being set in place for people to profit off of others suffering…remember Love is the most powerful gift God has given us all. You will not be able to convince everyone that but the ones you do will benefit the whole world.

My warm boots. The next morning with two layers of long Winter socks on and my pants tucked in I slipped them on to take some morning sunrise shots outside real quick before we headed out. So toasty warm…they were perfect.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

I am on and off offline for awhile so I may not get to comments or visits for awhile. Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit, thank you for your likes comments and follows as well.




24 Comments Add yours

  1. Sandra McCall says:

    Fun read. Were the cabin like thrift stores in Strawberry or Pine? Even though I can’t remember which town it was, I still have fond memories of those fun little stores on one of our many AZ trips.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, got a little carried away when I wrote this one up and just realized how long it is…WOW. I need to edit some things out. Pine and Strawberry are so fun to visit and so beautiful. They have a Lavender farm there that we like to visit. The thrift stores I am talking about are in Payson. They have little second hand shops everywhere around town. So fun to visit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sandra McCall says:

        Payson used to have the BEST Goodwill with a ton of like-new clothing. The last time that I went there years ago, it had closed down. 😪 Do you know if they ever reopened?
        Will have to check out the lavender farm.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, they have a new Goodwill that they just opened but they are a bit pricey. Saint Vincent De Paul has the best prices and they barely used clothes that were like new, that was the one with three little cabins to explore. The main one even has an upstairs area. I loved the employees in the kitchen cabin, they were so funny that day and extra friendly. Sometimes some people in small towns do not like people from outside the town and will treat them as such. There are some people in Payson that are very anti-flat landers as they like to call anyone from the cities.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sandra McCall says:

        Ooooh, thanks for the info. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You’re very welcome.


  2. You always give me so much to enjoy reading about and distract me from the stress of life here lately. I read your posts in between getting up to get things for the sick older kid and the lazy younger one, doing laundry and cooking. I think, “oh, if I hurry up and finish this I can go back and find out what else is going on in Arizona today.”
    What a cool thing for you to find those boots, even if they didn’t work the best. They looked awesome and cute. I’d love a pair like that.
    I loved the photos in the woods and that tree you made for your family.
    It’s been fun to watch the little store change and develop and learn more about the history up there. It’s fun to learn there I more to Arizona than desert areas 😊
    Those gingerbread house cookies are amazing!!! What a great idea. I would have had a hard time eating them too. Well, for like three seconds before I realized there was chocolate inside. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always enjoy reading your comments. So sorry to hear about the stress over there. I hope your son gets better. It is that time of year and we are trying so hard to wash our hands like crazy and staying out of the stores for now. It happens though, we get sick from something, but at least we try. I hate laundry and I have some to get done later. Our house is still a mess but we do little piles at a time to declutter. In between that I take breaks online to answer comments and check emails.
      Yesterday I helped my 19 year old son with his room. Now I am suffering from all the dust he had in there. We still have a days worth of work left to do. Anyway, I know what you mean about stress. I am still dealing with family that just doesn’t make me feel good when I am around them, so I am stepping back a little and taking a break from their hate. The political tension and the thought of war is a bad combination to have lingering in a room full of people that are being programmed and indoctrinated to pounce on one another. Everyone needs to step back and either decide to hug it out and be happy for every minute of life they have in these days with each other, or they just need to step back and away from each other and take a break from being around others.
      Yesterday with nothing on that I wanted to watch (we canceled Netflix and Hulu for now) I checked out what is on YouTube and a clip showed up called Fireside chats from PregerU (might have the spelling wrong) and the guy on called Dennis started answering questions from young adults. He has a lot of wisdom and best of all no hate at all. Not sure if you heard of him but it might be something to watch while finishing up laundry. I am always up to listening and learning all kinds of things. I know hate when I see it though and I am trying to avoid that for sure. I hope you have a stress free weekend and thank you so much for stopping by I do love to read your comments. I need to head over now to see what you have been up to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have watched Prager U before. It’s an interesting outlook on things and definitely a different perspective than some of the mainstream media. Our family didn’t even come to Christmas this year or send gifts and I think it had something to do with politics, but we are still talking to them – on email or text only so we don’t piss each other off somehow. I had a whole post written about people over reacting about things they see as politically incorrect, but I figured someone would yell at me about that too so I decided not to publish it .. yet anyhow.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh my gosh, I did that too. It was a long post about the indoctrination of our children and the propaganda in entertainment now. In fact I always write something down when I am upset and vent but then I too erase it, never to be seen or read by anyone. Sometimes though I have hit that publish button and those post are the post I call straight from my heart. Sometimes I am brave and am not silent but sometimes I step back because I also do not want to become like the side that hates and is looking to stir things up. It’s a very confusing time, to remain silent or not and what exactly should we speak up about. In some of my post I will add tiny bits of my un-silent moments, testing the waters as they say.
        It is very sad what is going on everyday to encourage people to judge, hate, mistrust and question others. Dangerous game everyone is playing and it has a terrible ending if this keeps up. I decided even though others are going to believe what they want, I am going to continue being who I am and that is pretty hard when you have people always trying to get you to hate them or fight with them. I am just going to keep being me and not go to a place of anger. If that fails, then I will keep my distance from them and pray they stop going to places of hate. That is all we can do in the end. When the silent are no longer silent and have been backed into corners to speak, then the whole world will hear that roar because the majority of people who walk this earth are peacekeepers, they are the ones that always walk in silence and peace. When they finally speak, everyone will hear it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s very true and I have to say I think a lot of the quiet ones spoke their minds at the polls and will do so again later this year.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Also very true, and the closer we get to that day the more the hate will increase I fear. Next Christmas will be a whole lot different then this Christmas, so we all need to make everyday count and make sure to not go to places of anger or hate, just concentrate on being kind, even if that means we have to step away from some people without confrontations (what they want) that in and of itself is showing kindness. It is like some people want the chaos, it is a great distraction for something else and what that “Something else” is, is what scares me the most. Lots of distractions going on all around us for a reason. Stay safe out there and give those babies lots of hugs, just have fun with each other and surround yourself with people that fill your heart with joy and happiness.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. ourcrossings says:

    Your gingerbread houses are amazing. I would agree with Karla – they are certainly too cute to eat. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story, and I really loved the beautiful quote you used at the beginning of it – ”No one has ever become poor by giving.” Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. If you have a Cost plus near you, that is where the Gingerbread house cookie cutters are from and the recipe I got offline. They are so good when you make them yourself and that way nothing gets wasted, it actually gets eaten. Have a great weekend.


  4. Chandra Lynn says:

    I love everything about this post, especially the aspen and ice pics. Thanks for sharing your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Chandra, so happy to see your visit. I hope you and your family are all happy and well this new year. Have a wonderful weekend with all those artist friends of yours too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Just what I needed! A letter from home. And I have never stepped foot in Arizona 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sweet, thank you Robin. I think that is one of the coolest things about blogging, all those places we all get to visit every now and then.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Camie says:

    So glad you found those boots and what charming little gingerbread houses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Camie, hope all is well with you and your family and you are having a great New Year.


  7. Holly G says:

    (sigh) My whole body, especially my heart, feels warmer after reading what you’ve written here. You have such a gift of sharing not only the love of God but relatable sentiments that so many of us identify with wholeheartedly.

    I am grateful that you share with your kids how some people can be emotional vampires for the sole purpose and intention of robbing you of your joy, your peace and your sense of well-being. Misery does love company and narcissists know how to do their dirty work entirely too well. I try to remember that they too are souls in need of healing, emotional wounds still unresolved. It’s amazing though the heaviness and hurt these particular manipulators can inflict. In my own life, issues of severe abuse, neglect, deep traumas and serious pain came to a head in 2019. The depression, anxiety and hopelessness was ‘coming to a head.’ You know how the weight just becomes unbearable and you begin to feel you are being crushed? That’s it. Still working through some of it now, but that’s why my absence has been off and on. Sure have missed you though! I said all of that to say, thank you. Thank you for being a genuine spirit, for teaching your kids the right way to treat others and for being a very bright light in a dark dark world! Love you my friend!

    Your stories of traveling and the sights you see, the people you meet and the beauty of simplicity really does warm my heart. I enjoy each and every post you share! Thank you for being you! 💕 All My Love, Holly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww…lots of love back you too Holly, so sweet. I was wondering how you all were over there. I haven’t been able to check up on everyone’s sites like I normally do since I too have been super busy since December. I am also going through some sad realizations about some family members in my life. There’s a lot of ugliness going on out there and I fear the closer we get to election day the uglier some people will get. It is hard not to let those emotions interfere in our own lives, we all start feeling angry, blue, or miserable. These are all dark places that we need to avoid, especially during times when life is a little harsh. My father always reminded us all when I was little, to never go to those places of darkness even when life is hard. Never loose gratitude and being thankful for even the smallest things from each day that you receive. I did not grow up in a religious home but I was always surround by people who taught me about God. Lots of good mentors sent my way growing up. And you are right about the ones that hurt others in life, they were hurt at sometime themselves so it is the only way they know how to be, to always be in moments of chaos and pain and that is a horrible world to live in. Best to say a prayer that they see happiness instead and stay away from them from a distance so as not to become hurt yourself. You and yours have a beautiful New Year , stay safe out there and may only good things always come your way.

      Liked by 1 person

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