Four years ago this month I came home from my first blogging conference (the very first Blissdom with only 70 people) and asked my husband if I could temporarily stop homeschooling our boys and see if I can make this Nesting Place blog into a real business.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that.

We moved to Charlotte five years ago after losing a business.  Lost business = a bunch of debt.  And not the fun kind like vacations and clothes and furniture and bottles of wine.  Our debt wasn’t even a dumb fun mistake.  Plus, we decided the smartest thing for us was to buy back into a franchise that had been really successful for my husband in the past.  Which meant more business debt and purchasing a vehicle for the job.  We pretty much had to buy a job.

That was 2007–when we moved to a new town and I started Nesting Place so I could leave comments on Pioneer Woman’s blog without feeling like a killer with no blog, I wanted to be part of the blogging community. Then September 2008 happened when the economy went crazy and my husband’s new, “safe”, we’ve-done-this-before-car-industry-franchise-so-we-feel-good-about-it-business slowed to a crawl.  We had $150,000+ worth of debt (nope, no house included, that’s all business and a little bit of school and medical bills and attorney fees and boring franchise costs).

By October of 2008 it was looking bleak for us.  Then, like I said, I attended the first Blissdom and met some encouraging friends who made me realize that this here blog already had enough page views to put up some ads and bring in a few dollars.  You have no idea how much we needed that.  Desperately.

I had homeschooled our boys for just over a year when we decided to put them into the new little public school across the street from our neighborhood.

And I started taking Nesting Place seriously.  I wasn’t crazy about the writing part but I loved the connection with you all and I had lots of ideas to write about.  Within months Nesting Place was bringing in much-needed income.

The next year, because we take schooling one year at a time, I homeschooled our then 6th grader, the 3rd grader went to a Montessori school and the 2nd grader was in public school.  The next year the oldest went to a private school. Again, all three of them in different schools, one public, one in a five-day-a-week private school, one in a three-day-a-week University style school.  Last year was a year of luxury where they all went to the same school, so they were all at school three days and then home doing schoolwork (homeschooled only without me having to plan lessons) on Wednesday and Friday.

Meanwhile, as of April of this year we had paid down our debt to a mere $10,000 left.  If you do the math, it makes no sense. Some years we paid off more than half of our income. We paid off more than $140,000 in four and a half years and it was messy, it seemed hopeless at times and we had a lot of work to do to clean up the effect that fall of 2008 had on us.  Seriously, part of me doesn’t even know how it happened.  We just kept throwing money at our debt.

As of today, we are ‘this-close’ to being debt free.  I underestimated our 2011 taxes and then we had a huge unexpected medical thing show up so that threw a wrench in our plans.  But we hope to be debt free (minus a family loan) by the end of the year.

And debt free is just that…freeing….

to be continued…tomorrow

and just for fun…