We are Doug and Sharon Heasley, “Parents of a Dozen!” Yes that’s correct, parents of 12 children. We have been married for over 30 years and couldn’t be any happier than the day we first met. We are the “High School Sweet Heart” couple.
We got married at 19, bought our first house that was really small and needed tons of work, had our first daughter at age 20, and had to have our friend buy beer for us if we wanted any until we were 21. Imagine that! But time has flown by and now we have three children married, two with families of their own, each having 4 children.
We have always been open to life, and if God wanted to bless us with another child we were always very excited. Yes, children are a blessing and each one brings more and more joy into our life. We believe God doesn’t give you more than you could handle (We wonder about this one sometimes), and He will always provide.
People always ask us “How do you do it?” Well, it takes a lot of love, patience, prayer, compromise, and sacrifice, but with these things, anything can be accomplished. But, it hasn’t been without trials and tribulations.
With this blog we want to share our knowledge we have learned to save money on do it yourself projects, how to live a frugal lifestyle and live a healthier and wealthier life. We will also be sharing many of our tips on being organized. We are not what we would call experts, but with all of our experiences we feel we have a lot to share.
It has not always been easy having so many children, and money has always been tight with us, but we live a very frugal life, and we never had the best of things, but that was okay because we have God, our children, and each other. We learned how to do repairs on our house by asking question, reading, and asking for help from friends and family. (There was no internet 30 years ago.) We did have to hire out sometimes but if it was possible for us to do it we did. We learned a lot this way and saved a lot of money. We shopped for food by sales and Aldi was our favorite store. We didn’t buy new furniture except for couches and we never bought a new vehicle. We shopped at garage sales and thrift stores most of the time and still do. We always seem to find just what we were looking for. And we only buy what we could pay for. We do use credit cards but only charge what we could pay at the end of the month. (Easier than having cash all the time.) Our parents help us out sometimes. My mom by picking up things she thinks we could use for the house and it is amazing how she always knows what we would like. Doug’s parents help by bringing groceries occasionally, which has been a big help.
Our first house was very small and was a wreck, but it was ours and we owned it. We wallpapered, painted, tiled, added new trim, had it carpeted, replaced faucets, and hired someone to add a deck, garage, and a driveway. It was adorable when we were done. This house was small and we had three children in four years and I had a home daycare to make some extra money while living there. It was nice to be home with our children and they loved to play with the other children. Then we decided to move to a larger house a little farther away.
This house was large, but it also needed a lot of work. Doug did not want to buy it, but I had the vision on how cute we could make it. We were able to sell our first house for top dollar because we made improvements to it and made it really cute. To save realtor fees we sold it by owner. We bought our next house for just a little more than we sold our first one for. Interest rates were down to around 9.75% from 12.75% so our payments were about the same. I couldn’t imagine paying those rates now.
We lived in this house for four years and had another baby. I still watched a couple of additional children to help pay the bills and be home with the children. It was always important to us, for me, to be able to stay home with the children. While we lived at this house we remodeled every room and bathroom. We tiled, replaced faucets, painted a yellow bath tub white, put in new counters, wallpapered, painted everywhere, new trim, landscaping, and added attic stairs for extra storage. Our oldest daughter was now in school. I could not believe how fast time went by and my little girl was gone during the day at school. We also had a couple of the kids in soccer and swimming lessons. Time went by and although we liked this house we had family that was buying new construction homes and we got that itch to move again. With the improvements we made to this house, we again were able to sell for top dollar and by owner.
This time we didn’t want all the work, so we thought buying a new house was the answer. How wrong we were! There was no landscaping, not even grass, no patio, and only white flat paint, and with 4 little ones it didn’t stay that way long.
To try and make some money I started an at home business, but I didn’t like having to have an inventory, I had to buy more product each month, I didn’t like to have to deliver products and I didn’t make money. I was pregnant again with number five, and was always tired. So this business didn’t last long. At this time, I felt the children were always getting sick and I was always at the doctor’s office. The kids were in little league, soccer and we were always running around from event to event.
I decided to Home school our children when our oldest child was going into seventh grade. A couple of my sisters were teaching their children and my kids were begging me to home school them. I really didn’t know if it was going to work out, so I thought I would try it, and that was almost 18 years ago. I love being able to spend time with each of my children. They grow up so fast! I love being able to give them a good Catholic education and work with each one at the level they are at.
A few years later, I was pregnant with number eight, when I was introduced to a natural company that offered a laundry boost. I was still shopping at garage sales and this enabled me to buy clothes, even if there were stains on them, I was able to remove the stains easily and safely. I was also having two garage sales a year myself. This helped keep things neat, organized, and gave me some extra spending money. With so many children I couldn’t imagine buying brand new clothes all the time. At this time, I decided to take a look at all the other products this company had to offer. I then realized the quality and safety of the products this company offered was so much better than other brands. We were hooked! We did our research on this company and decided for the health of our family, we were switching to the number one natural nutrition company in the US, Shaklee. We got rid of all the toxins in our house and switched to the toxin free cleaners Shaklee offers. We switched our personal care products to Shaklee’s all natural shampoos, conditioners, and cleansers. We started having everyone take their supplements which improved their immune systems.
I used the supplements Shaklee had to offer for my prenatal nutrients and I did not have morning sickness with either this pregnancy or any of my other four pregnancies. I can’t guarantee it will be that way for everyone, but they made my pregnancies way better. Several months later while I was still nursing I ran out of my Shaklee Iron Plus C and decided just to use the iron that was prescribed to me by my Doctor (because I was borderline anemic) that was still in the back of my kitchen cabinet. About a week later I remember getting really tired and not being able to even function. I was on the couch all the time and it was hard for me to take care of my eight children, one of which was a new born. Then I realized it was the iron I was taking that was not doing anything. So I ordered the Shaklee Iron, it came in a couple of days and a few days later, I was up and running again. What a difference!
Our lives have never been the same, our kids rarely get sick and if they do, I know what to give them to get them better quickly. As with anything someone is excited about, we started telling people about the products and sharing the health benefits. Well this turned out to be great for us because we started making money just for sharing, enough to get our products for free.
Learning about the dangers of chemicals that are in household cleaners and about the importance of nutrients, lead to many other changes in our diet and lifestyle. We learned to shop better and make simple changes in our favorite recipes to make them healthier. Our children’s health has always been important to us and by making some simple changes we noticed a difference in their health and behavior.
Our oldest daughter, Bonnie, got married to a wonderful young man, Scott, when they were 19 and that was 10 years ago and they have four beautiful children.
In our third house we painted, wallpapered, added hardwood floor, fully landscaped the yard, and finished the basement with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom all by ourselves. (With a little help from our brother-in-law. He knew when I called, I had a question. He knew how to do everything and could explain to me how to do it.) We needed room for the new additions to our growing family. We lived in this house for 15 years before we were able to move again. We wanted more land. This house was on a small quarter acre lot and we liked to be outside and there just wasn’t enough land.
So we moved a little farther out and bought a house on an acre lot. This house was about three years old and we were by several other homeschooled families we knew, one of which is my sister. We have been here now for seven years with two more beautiful children and really like it. But of course we are always working on projects. We added a brick paver patio and walkways, hardwood flooring, new trim, refinished our stairs, painted every room at least twice, added cabinets and tiled our laundry room, epoxied the garage floor, landscaped everywhere and I am sure there is more I am forgetting.
Our second child, Douglas, got married to a beautiful young lady, Ann Marie, 5 years ago and they also have 4 beautiful children.
My husband has worked for a corporate company for 25 years and then was laid off do to outsourcing right at the beginning of the crumbling economy. While he was looking for another job we needed an income so we decided to buy, fix up, and sell houses (FLIP). We loved owning our own business, choosing our own hours, and being with the kids. We did very well on the first house, okay on the second one, and we sat on the third one for a while. In between houses we renovated my parent’s house and did some other side jobs. We needed any money we could get. While we were trying to sell the third house I got pregnant with number 12, and my husband got a job offer with another corporate company (that was Sept. 2010). It wasn’t paying as much as he was making before and we were tight before, but we knew when we sold the third house we would get the money back we invested into it, and we needed a job that would be more secure and have benefits.
About the same time when Doug was offered his new job we went to a Shaklee Convention and we realized the opportunity we have had all along that we were not taking advantage of. We started treating it like a business and we started to get paid like it was a business. This really helped us make up for the difference in the loss of income. We wish we could go back in time to 1999 when we started using the products and worked this as a business. (This picture is from 2011 when we went to the Shaklee Convention with our youngest.)
With Shaklee we have been able to take two amazing trips fully paid by Shaklee! This was really nice because it has been hard for us to get away, just the two of us. This is from our trip to the Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Our 4th daughter, Elisabeth, got married to a wonderful man, Brandon, this past September. We are very fortunate our children have chosen such wonderful people to be a part of our family.
Life is a long journey and we are not perfect. We have made some mistakes along the way, but we learn from these mistakes. We try our best to raise our children the best we can. We love each and every one very much!
Like I said earlier, “We want to share our knowledge we have learned; to save money on do it yourself projects, how to live a frugal lifestyle, and live a healthier and wealthier life. We will also be sharing many recipes and organization ideas. We are not what we would call experts, but with all of our experiences we feel we have a lot to share.”
Also if you would like own your own business and earn an income from home please contact us at parentsofadozen(at)gmail(dot)com.
Here are links to some of our post:
Our Family Update (spring 2012)
DIY Projects to increase value to your home and save money
My Parent’s House Renovations
Tips to get out of Debt
Health Related Posts
Our Family Posts
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Please share our story so we can help other families live happier, healthier, and wealthier lives.
Doug and Sharon Heasley
(Parents of a Dozen)
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