I'm Tonia and this is my family. There's Hubs, my wonderful partner; Bug, my darling daughter; and Boo, my charming son. We are the Collins clan. We are a homeschooling family who try our best to live out God's will for our lives every day. There are lots of stumbles along the way, but we love each other and this little life we're carving out for ourselves. Recently we found ourselves called to make some big changes in our lives so we're packing up the McMansion and moving out to a little farm in need of a lot of TLC. We have tons to learn and tons to do and we invite you to share the journey as we turn our not-so-new heap into a home.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Over the past few days, we've settled in a bit to our new life. Those first few days I was in a bit of shock and probably some denial too. I kept telling myself there was no point in unpacking this or that because we'd be redoing that room "soon". It didn't take me long to realize that this whole thing is a long term project- and that I might as well embrace how things are now, rather than dreaming about how they will be. Not that we're not working for something better, but right now is okay too. Really, it is. It's not as clean or as pretty as I'm accustomed to, but it's still okay...we have shelter, a place to sleep, baths, food....really, so much more than a huge number of people on this planet.

Unpacking the kitchen was a huge step to getting settled in. When I was packing up the McMansion, I put a piece of green tape on the boxes that I considered essential, so I waded through all of the boxes out in the garage to find ones labeled "kitchen" that also had green tape. After opening the fourth one that had nothing essential in it, I started opening the boxes in the garage before bringing them in. Turns out, I have absolutely NO idea what need really means. I'm not sure why I thought I would NEED the immersion blender ASAP, but my delusions were quickly straightened out. When you have about 5 cabinets total to put both food and dishes in, well, you realize that immersion blender is a pretty cool toy- that's going to live in the garage for awhile. Even with my acceptance of brutal truth, I still found I didn't have enough room, so for now I have a card table set up in the kitchen to hold all of my baking needs. It isn't pretty, but it works.

After the kitchen it was on to the bathroom. I thought I had an astounding amount of storage space in the bathroom until I started unpacking and I managed to fill up every nook and cranny. My lands, we have an enormous amount of stuff! Learning to scale back is definitely a work in progress. First up is the death of the "stock up" syndrome. We have all really convinced ourselves that we are being smart and frugal when we buy those 6 bottles of 99 cent shampoo, but are we really? We end up having to have bigger homes to store our stockpiles (or we live cluttered and a little frantic in our smaller homes), we lean on our own abilities instead of trusting that God will provide the extra 50 cents for the shampoo if, heaven help us, it is NOT on sale when we need it again, and we allow ourselves to get prideful because we are so incredibly frugal. No one needs 3 different lotions or perfumes to pick from- it's time for me to fit into my available space. Something new comes in, something old needs to go out. Right now I have soap, Kleenex, and shampoo stockpiled. When those products leave my shelves I'll have a much better chance at getting the bathroom organized.

The stove now works, so we've got warm baths- it still takes a bit of work to make them happen, but it's a definite improvement. With the stove operating and dishes unpacked, we also have been able to have some hot meals and tonight we ate around the table together for the first time in weeks. It was beautiful.

Then Boo said, "None of this is homemade?" and the moment was shattered. I refrained from sticking a fork in his eye and instead just sweetly said, "Baby steps son....we're taking baby steps."



  1. My dear friend you will get there. I promise. It is slow, but you will get there and if you are like me, soon you will have so many projects outside the house, you won't even care what the inside looks like. Just kidding.. .sort of! Can't wait to come see the new place :)

    1. Oh Girl! I can already tell that is the truth....we've been working on the kids' room since we moved in, only we've only actually worked on it a few hours total....maybe. There is just so much to do outside. I guess inside work will wait until the weather is to yucky to be outside!