Monthly Archives: November 2005

Packrats Anonymous

After realizing that our 9 & 4 year old had too much stuff in their room to be able to put things away properly, we finally broke down and did a thorough cleaning/decluttering last night.  The 4 year old is just a plain ol' messy, but our 9 year old has joined the rest of us as a genetic packrat.


Tony & I have known each other since I was 16 and he was 18.  We got married 3 years later.  We've moved 8 times in 15 years.  And we've got too much STUFF!  Many times as we've been packing to move, we've pondered why we've kept something, but then just went ahead and threw it in a box anyway.  UGH!  We've thought about starting our own support group – Packrats Anonymous.  “Hi my name is Nancy and I never throw anything away.”  Now we realize that it's not just us.  It's our boys too.


We staged an intervention last night in the room across the hall.  It was difficult, but done in love.  Hours were spent in that room.  Some things had to be thrown away because parts were lost.  I HATE that the worst.  I can typically remember what each one of them cost and SO want to believe that we'll be able to find the other pieces and play with it again.  Nonetheless for the sake of more space/less clutter, I let things be thrown away.


Then we came across great toys.  Toys that we've bought, toys that the boys have been given as gifts.  But they aren't being played with.  (Probably because they were covered up with stuff.)  Do we keep them now that the room is more organized?  NO!  We decided to bless some other child (who might not have as great of a selection) with those wonderful toys that were bought with love.  Oh it was hard to let go, but we did ok. 


Finally we got to the closet.  The dreaded closet.  The closet where things are crammed and then fall in the floor and can't be found, but we know that they are in there somewhere.  Sitting nice and neatly on the top shelf was a whole row of stuffed animals.  Mostly animals that have been given to the boys over the years.  Really cute, cuddly, fun things.  But truthfully things that don't get played with or enjoyed like they should.  I took a deep breath, “Tony quick get a bag, I'm ready to give them away.”  Oh, that was so tough.  Why is it that there are memories tied to each and every one of them?!  But that was what I realized.  If I tried to keep everything that was attached to a memory, I wouldn't be able to get rid of anything.  So we did keep a few (I couldn't go cold turkey ya know) and then just held on to the memories as they were packed away for donation. 


Off they went for donation at our local Goodwill with a prayer that they would all find loving new homes and bless another family.  We haven't officially come up with a 12 step process for our Packrats Anonymous group, but hopefully I'm down to at least step 6 or so. 


The boys are happily playing in their room.  No one is grieving over any toys that we donated.  And maybe I'm strong enough to tackle another room. 

A Great Christmas Gift Idea for your Local Support Group Leaders



This is not a shameless plug for my support group to get me a Christmas gift this year.  I was just reading over on Jess’s blog where she mentioned using The Old Schoolhouse’s Christmas special to give a gift to a homeschooling friend or your support group leader.  What a great idea!!!


The Old Schoolhouse is running a Buy One, Get One Free Christmas promotion right now!!  Do you realize that for only $39 you could get a 2 year subscription to TOS with the $300 free gifts and you could give a support group leader the free 1 year subscription and free gifts as well?  How’s that for a deal? 


Or I checked with Gena and they will even let you do that $39 special and give both of the subscriptions as gifts.  One will be a 2 year subscription and the other will be a one year subscription, but if you don’t point that out they probably won’t even notice.  Just think, if you just got together with a few friends and they each tossed in a few $$, you could bless be blessing your support group leader with a wonderful magazine for a year or 2 and the free gifts to boot!


Homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds and being a support group leader is often a thankless task.  Your leaders (and I’m not just talking about the President or VP) spend a lot of time organizing meetings, activities and field trips, sending our newsletters, maintaining websites, finding locations to meet, providing activities for the kids, creating yearbooks, answering questions about homeschooling from newbies and people just considering homeschooling, the list goes on and on…  So how about saying Thank You to them this year with a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine? 


Practical and affordable.  As Martha would say, “It’s a VERY good thing!”



Another marketing tip from PRMama

PRMama has some great tips on establishing yourself as an expert in your field today.  I think many of us are ready to grow our businesses, but struggle with getting “noticed” by other people.  How do you get noticed? 


By making yourself an “expert” in the field.  By showing others that you have answers to their questions or solutions to their problems.  If you love knitting, then everyone needs to know about that.  Offer to teach a knitting workshop for your homeschool or local 4H group.  You could let your local newspaper know about your classes or tell them about how quickly knitting is growing as a hobby and offer to provide them with some pictures of some things you’ve made and sold.


The thing is that people have got to know about you and what you do best.  Sometimes presenting yourself as an expert can be tough if you are just a rookie or are a bit of an introvert.  After all the Scripture does tell us to be humble and meek, right?  But, here’s the difference.  You are not boasting of yourself.  You are merely making yourself available to meet people’s needs.  If you’ve ever had an emergency home repair that needed to be fixed, you know what a blessing it is to find someone to come out and fix your roof or leaking pipes. 


So get your name out around your community or market and let people know what you can do for them.  PRMama even suggests some books and a website that can help you further.  Go check out her blog today and start making plans for how you can establish yourself as an expert in your field. 

The blessing of friendship

I have been amazed lately at the friends that God has brought into our lives.  Friends that love us as we are and that we can be real with.  Friends who share our love of homeschooling, writing and homesteading,etc.. It hasn't always been this way.  I definitely think God takes us through seasons with friendships and time alone in the desert as well. 


So I guess those desert times make me appreciate the friendship seasons all the more.  I had such a wonderful time meeting some of The Old Schoolhouse gang in TN last week and was amazed at how close I felt to some of these folks that I only knew from online.  Then I had a few days before Thanksgiving.  One night I went out with a dear friend and just talked and ran errands together.  It was such a blessing to just have someone to “hang out” with after it seems like years of not having a good girl “pal”.  She and I talked about trying to hit some early morning sales on Friday, but then we were both really ok with backing out late Thursday night.  I love a friend who can join me in my indecision. 


We got together on Saturday to celebrate her oldest son's birthday and again just had a good time hanging out together.  I got to help her husband add a few things to his blog. (He is such a geography nut.  He had a short geography quiz on his blog the other day.  Maybe you can send your kids over there to see if they can answer his questions.  I'm embarassed to say how tough they were to me). 


Then I got to enjoy just hanging out with my 4 year old for a while.  We ran some errands and counted 30 houses with Christmas lights on the way home. Jake spent the night at his buddy's house or at least he almost spent the night.  He ended up deciding to come home and it was good to know that they understood.   Joe, meanwhile, was trap shooting that night and got 24 out of 25.  He is so close to that elusive 25!


Then we got to enjoy having church at our home with another family.  They also homeschool and are getting into the homesteading kind of stuff.  Isn't it amazing how God brings people into our lives to encourage us?  It's not just anyone that you can sit around and talk about affordable solar energy, wind turbines, the most efficient pasture fed cow and cutting hay without all of the expensive tractor stuff. 


I never would have expected us to be where we are 4 years ago.  God has gone above and beyond our expectations in so many ways.  Things aren't always easy.  In fact some things have been very difficult, but experiencing God's faithfulness through it all has been amazing.  I can still remember as a young teen how God was so often described as our “Best Friend” and I think that has always spoken to me.  I love friendships.  I love my friends.  And most of all I love my Best Friend who always has been there, always is and always will be there.  No matter what season.

Our Thanksgiving ABC’s

Well as we were driving to my mom's for Thanksgiving, we decided to make a game of naming the things that we are thankful for.  We did that thing where the first person says, “I am thankful for (something that starts with A)”, then the next person has to do both A & B, and then so on  and so forth.  We had a good time with it.  Jonathan was snoozing and even though we were thankful for that, we didn't list it.



Books (good homeschool answer)





God  (Jake did that one)


Ink (it's so nice to have when you're trying to print something)

Jesus (with all of the J names in our family, Joe went for the big Guy)

Kings (Jake went for our good pals)

Love (Tony being mushy)

Money (again my practical side)

Noble Sport shotgun shells (from Joe the trap shooter)

Oatmeal (Tony said that because I like it)

Parents (Jake was trying to get on our good side)


Resurrection (Joe with the spiritual answer)

Savior (Jake too)

Trinity (Tony had to try to be spiritual since the boys were)

Unity of believers (I thought of Union University, God's favorite college)

Vowels (they are quite handy)

Word of God (Jake again, isn't he getting mature?)

Xylophones (not a lot of other choices there)

Y'all (I can be mushy when I want to too)

Zebras (like Marty from Madagascar!)