There are 6 people in our family. Mom, Dad, Bella (10), Leila (8), Liam (5), and LJ (2).
We have lived in the same house for 14 years, twice the average  7 years of an American family.
When we purchased our house, we had absolutely no idea what would make for a good family home.
We were 20, and it was a 4 bedroom, 1,100 square foot house barely in our budget.

              We didn’t know when we purchased our home how important a family room would be for the long, snowy winters here in Northern Idaho,
when it’s too cold to go out and everyone is full of energy .  We didn’t know the headache of not being able to see the yard from the kitchen
when our kids were outside. We didn’t know how exhausting having small children on a different level would be.
We really didn’t know how important a well laid out kitchen would be when trying to cook,teach, and feed 6 hungry mouths.

              Over the years we have done a lot to our little house, but the basic layout flaws are not something easily fixed.
Now that our kids are getting older, we face some new challenges. Our oldest is hitting her hormonal tween years;
our 8 year old is an aspiring gymnast  who climbs everything ;
our boys are loud and energetic, from the moment they roll out of bed (6:45ish) ,
and the kids rooms are directly across from each other –
leading to a lot of door opening, and closing, and opening, and closing,
and shouting about who is in whose room without invitation.

             Most would say ” Buy a new house!”  – a bigger house, with a family room they can run amok in,
and a kitchen that is both functional AND can see outside to make sure everyone is one piece.

But here’s the deal – we are 35 years old, and have 15 years left on our loan .

That means no house payment by the time we’re 50. Earlier still if we buckle down for additional payments from our tax returns.
We live somewhere incredibly beautiful, and today’s market would send us backwards financially –
something we are not willing to do, for the sake of a little more space.
Besides, a bigger house means a bigger, longer mortgage , more maintenance,
more insurance, more cleaning, more debt that keeps us from living our dreams.

So we are choosing to make the most of what we have with a lot of humor, creativity, and not a few mistakes.
We are eating and living naturally on a budget which is no easy task. We are educating ourselves in simple d.i.y. projects that save us money,
and admitting when we can’t  and it’s time to hire help! And we are taking charge of our mental, emotional, and physical health
using pure essential oils and other natural remedies.

If you want to live a life free of debt, and be able to positively affect the lives of the people around you,
you may be in the right place.
Ask yourself, Is your house too small, or do you have more stuff than you need?