Nice to Meet You!
We’re the Miller Family — Carson, Lauren, Lincoln, & Violet. And if you stick around, you might get to know our dog Sebastian and cats Tobi and Darryl. Can you tell we like The Office and Parks and Rec?
In 2021, we bought a 1920’s farmhouse that sits on 2.5 acres in south-central Kansas. Carson and I grew up in the suburbs and bought our property with very little knowledge of how to care for a small farm. Carson grew up in both Arkansas and Kansas, and I lived in Kansas and Arizona. Our time in Kansas overlapped by one year in high school, and the rest is history! We spent the last several years in northwest Arkansas; however, a big turn of events drastically changed our plans and brought us home to the Midwest.
An Unexpected Move
Prior to staying home with my son and running my handmade shop Elsie James Clothing, I taught first grade and tutored students in reading. Carson works in the IT field–he won’t admit it, but he is incredibly smart and his work seems like another language to me. Right before COVID hit the U.S., Carson’s company laid off several hundred employees. He applied for jobs in Northwest Arkansas–hoping we could stay in the area; however, the Lord had other plans for our family. Carson started applying all over the country and got offered a job in Kansas City. He worked remotely for a few months and then we listed our house to prepare for our move. Our house sold within a day, so we started putting in offers in KC. If you were looking for a house in early 2021, you have our deepest sympathies! We put in several offers thousands of dollars over asking, offered to pay closing costs, and asked for no repairs, but we didn’t even get close. A lot of houses in KC were going for $40-$50K over asking at the time, which could have put us in a really difficult financial situation long term.
My family graciously allowed us to live with them until we could find a house. During that time, we fell in love with the idea of living close to family and having support raising our son. Carson was still working remotely during this time with the possibility of a hybrid work environment long-term; however everything was up in the air. We looked at a few houses in the area for fun, but didn’t find one we both loved within a comfortable range of our budget.
After scrolling through Realtor.com for the hundredth time, I found an old farmhouse on a little bit of land that needed some love. I somehow convinced Carson to go with me early the next morning, and we both loved the place. Well, I loved the house and the land… seeing all of the potential, and Carson loved the land but had some reservations about the house. (He’s much more excited now, though!) The house, although partially renovated, had been rented for the last year and definitely needed some work. It was smaller than all of the places that we had been looking at, but we couldn’t get that beautiful, grassy field in the backyard out of our minds. We put in an offer slightly over asking, not even thinking we had a chance. Within 5 minutes of submitting the offer, our realtor called us. THE HOUSE WAS GOING TO BE OURS. We could hardly believe it. Carson’s company announced a long-term hybrid work environment a few days later, and his boss was fully supportive of our decision and gave him permission to work remotely and commute a few times a month to be with the team. Since then, he found a local job that also offers a lot of flexibility for our family. It has been such a gift to have Carson home–he is able to be here for all of the little moments and everything in between.
It’s been over a year since Carson first got news of his layoff. We are both extreme planners… like we are the type of people who make spreadsheets for vacation and have a plan for a minimum of the next 50 years. The Lord has been so faithful to us during this extended period of unknowns. He has provided for us and molded and changed our perspectives and desires. Just a few days before finding the house, I remember jokingly telling Carson in a moment of frustration, “I just want to find an old farmhouse that needs a little work but nothing too extreme on a few acres. A house within our budget, close to family, and in a diverse community.” We laughed and he said, “Yeah, that’s not even slightly possible in this market.” Little did I know that the Lord would provide a house that met every single one of these desires just a few days later. I don’t believe that He always answers our prayers in the way we want–I’ve had many unanswered prayers or prayers answered in drastically different ways than I wished–but I do believe he listens and cares about the details.
The Story Behind Our Blog
We have been making plans for our little farmhouse since closing–both long and short-term goals. A lot of people asked me to share the renovation process, so I decided to start a blog sharing both our successes and failures as we embarked on this journey. Quickly, this blog expanded beyond just our home renovations and became a community for other young families interested in pursuing sustainable practices while working with a limited budget.
Carson is incredibly frugal, and we enjoy thrifting and using what we have to save up for the lifestyle we want. Buying acreage, building a homestead, purchasing from ethical clothing stores, and sewing capsule wardrobes didn’t happen overnight. We know a lot of other young families want to pursue dreams similar to ours such as homesteading, home renovating, shopping ethically, or sewing with natural fibers but don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around to pursue these goals.
On this blog, we will be sharing about the steps we took to get to where we are today, our future homestead & sustainable-living goals, and stories from inspiring, young people who are also pursuing a sustainable lifestyle with frugality in mind.
So, we hope that you will join along and maybe even say hello! We would love to hear your story, too. And if you know anything about renovating a historic home or homesteading on small acreage please send all of the tips our way! We are learning right along with you.
The Miller Family