Monday, November 30, 2009

Mom...where's my stuff?!?!

MOM...what did you do with my Xbox Live Card?

MOM...where did you put my throwing knife?

MOM...where's my iPod?

MOM...what happened to the shampoo?

MOM...have you seen my cell phone charger?

MOM...I can't find the hair brush!

MOM...did you take my Skillet CD?


and MOM replies....ENOUGH!!!'s enough to drive this mom craaazeeeee...

And...there are four other people that live in this camper- what makes everyone think that I know where their stuff is anyway? Does the fact that I'm a mom mean that I have inherited an uncanny ability to find anything that is currently hidden, misplaced or lost?

For a brief moment, I allowed myself to daydream about the good ole days when we still lived in our house and everything had a place and everyone put everything back in its place when they had finished using it. A time when I never heard the words...MOOOOOOOMMMMMMM....WHERE IS...???!!!

and then, reality sank in and I remembered...

this isn't new...there were times, though not as frequent, when they lost things, misplaced things and couldn't find their treasured belongings and essentials at home either...when everything DID have its place.

What's a mom to do? Well, in an attempt to avoid a complete collapse if I hear THOSE WORDS one more time...I've brainstormed and have come up with a couple ideas that I hope will place the responsibility on my children and no longer focus on me. After all, my kids are all perfectly capable of caring for their own possessions, especially their most beloved cell phones, iPods, CD's and Xbox games.

Here's what I came up with as I begin to teach this basic concept all over again.

• I will teach by example. I will be responsible and not lose my keys, my purse or my shoes...and if I do happen to misplace them, I know it's not MY fault!

• Also, teaching by example, in the rare, almost unheard of instance that something I need is MIA- I will not blame anyone for losing it!

• Following the above theme of…ummm…teaching by example…if in the rare instance I am unable to locate something of mine, I will search our home thoroughly before I enlist the reinforcements in my mission and ask the kids for help. ..

(However, if my keys are missing, I will call my husband before I begin searching because he has been known to unknowingly take them on occasion…)

Now that I've laid the groundwork, I'll give the kids some tools to help them keep track of their things...

• They will each have their own shower bags with their own soap, shampoo, hairbrush, etc. that will hang in the bathroom on a hook AT ALL TIMES when they are not in use.

• The kids will also have their own cubbies for storage in their cabinets where the things they’ve brought from home can be stored. If they have an actual cubby or plastic bin their treasured items will not slip and slide in the cabinet when we’re traveling and will stay much more organized.

• We will also continue to sell, discard or donate all non-essential items. After all, it doesn’t take long for overcrowding to occur when you live in small quarters.

And now, I'm hoping someone out there can give me a few pointers. How have you managed to make the best of small spaces?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Day and Deals...

Wednesday night we set off on our 3 1/2 hour journey to East Tennessee where we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family on Thursday. As we were watching the Macy's day parade, we wondered why we had never thought of watching it live in New York City? Well the wheels began turning...maybe next year? Anyone ever watched the live parade and have any tips for me?

It turned out that my brother-in-law joined me in the kitchen, so I wasn't the only cook for the day. We only had a few minor mishaps, we forgot to cook the ham, not good for those that don't like turkey, the sweet potato casserole wasn't finished on time and I had mistakenly bought Brownie topping and not brown icing for the cookie craft that I had planned for the kids to make. They were to construct turkeys out of cookies and paint on their faces. Due to my mistake, you couldn't really tell what the turkeys were so I won't bother posting a pic. They weren't at all cute like the website I found them on. That's okay though, the kids still had fun making them and the worse they looked the funnier it was to watch them and listen to their comments!

We visited for a couple hours after dinner before making the trek back to Alabama. While driving through Chattanooga, once more I tried and was unsuccessful in coercing my husband to allow us to stop at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo. That's okay though, I'd rather stop when we can spend the night in one of the train cars which my daughter thinks would be the coolest.

We arrived home to a freezing camper Thanksgiving night, thankful to be home. For a brief few minutes, I thought about joining the crowds and getting a start on my Christmas shopping, and then I remembered the year I had climbed out of bed at 3 a.m. to get in on the madness. That memory was enough to persuade me to stay home, in bed, snoozing away...I did do some online shopping though.

I found some awesome deals at C28, a Christian clothing store, and bought t-shirts for $10 each. They are offering their Black Friday sale until Sunday, November 29th. We were first introduced to C28 at a Decyfer Down concert in October. The band members wear and promote the clothing line and passed out fliers. Curious, we took a look and my kids couldn't wait to add to their wardrobe. I love the message that you find on the clothes, the statements are definitely bold. I used to think that people didn't really pay attention to what t-shirts say, but after wearing one that I picked up I now know that's not the case. In fact, if you're going to wear it, be prepared to answer the questions that will follow. We love this line of clothes...take a look and let me know what you think.

Christian tee shirts from NOTW

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Though we've been on the road 'unofficially' off and on for nearly the past four years, we've not missed a Thanksgiving 'at home' surrounded with all our family and friends. In the past, as the much anticipated holiday event approached, we'd take the week off school to clean and beautifully decorate and prepare OUR home for visitors because for the past three years, Thanksgiving dinner was held at our house. It was an event that we all looked forward to- one we'd hoped would become tradition and just "one of those things" that I'm sad to see end.

So...I was absolutely thrilled when my sister-in-law, who also lives out of state, suggested that we celebrate Thanksgiving her house. It would save them a trip to Ohio and we'd still spend the holiday with family. And...this is so great...I can do all the cooking, in a real kitchen! I'm excited, my kids are excited and my husband is looking forward to a day off work and relaxing visit with loved ones. So, Tennessee, here we come....Happy Travels Y'all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Take a peek...

at what it's like to travel without our motorhome. Three puppy...two weeks of necessities in our SUV...trying to get comfy and watch a movie on the computer...10 hour drive...hmmm...the adventure continues....

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Joy of Traveling with Pets

This is what happens when you leave a puppy unsupervised in the camper.

Need I say more?
Thank you to Louise at Adori Graphics and Diane at Cabin in the Woods for honoring me with my first blog award! How fun! In order to accept, I have to answer the following questions and pass the award to six other bloggers that I think have an Over the Top blog.

1.Where is your cell phone: Beside me
2. Your hair: Blondish brown
3. Your mother: just talked to her
4. Your father: is missing me (also in Ohio)
5. Your favorite food: Deschner’s Pizza in Mansfield, Ohio- there is nothing else like it!
6. Your dream from last night: That I was camping and it was freezing; then I woke up and found that I was camping and it was freezing!
7. Your favorite drink: Mt. Dew, but I’m trying to break the habit!
8. Your dream/goal: To travel around the entire U.S. before my kids graduate and to be self-supporting
9. What room are you in: In the kitchen/living room in the motor home
10. What is your hobby: Blogging, traveling, writing, reading
11. What is your fear: Running out of gas
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years: Still traveling
13. Where were you last night: At the camper with my husband watching My Sister’s Keeper
14. Something you are not: Skinny- though I’d like to be
15. Muffins: Blueberry
16. Wish List items: A custom designed motor home with a matching tow vehicle.
17. Where did you grow up: Ohio
18. Last thing you did: Took the dog out
19. What are you wearing: fleece pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt
20. Your TV: off
21. Your pets: An adopted pound puppy that is missing part of his ear, affectionately known as Vincent Van Gogh. A beautiful Siamese cat named Cleo that could not cope with the traveling lifestyle so she is in a loving foster home with friends of ours.
22. Your friends: Love them!
23. Your life: Never a dull moment
24. Your mood: Excited!
25. Missing someone: Everyone
26. Vehicle: SUV
27. Something you're not wearing: Socks
28. Your favorite store: Thrift stores, used bookstores, Books-a-Million or Barnes and Noble
29. Your favorite color: Green
30. When's the last time you laughed: Just a few minutes ago
31. When's the last time you cried: At a funeral last week
32. Your best friend: My husband
33. One place you go over and over: Walmart
34. One person who emails me regularly: Karen
35. Favorite place to eat? At home

Now for the hard part, I have to choose 6 Over the Top blogs to pass this award on to which is a lot harder than you may think! So, here goes:

The first blogger I’m passing the award to is my lovely daughter that you'll find at Chelsea’s Blog. She likes to blog about her favorite things the Jonas Brothers, Skillet and attending Christian concerts. It’ll make her day if you stop by and leave a comment.

My friend Shannon has a great blog called Living Life at Home. She shares tips on how to balance working at home while homeschooling four active children.

Show Us the World is a blog I’ve been reading for quite some time. A fellow full-time traveling family, I love to see their beautiful pictures and read about where they’ve been, adding some of the locations on our own list of places to see.

I’d also like to pass the award to Calina at Love 2B Home. She’s a thrifty homeschooling mom that shares a bit of everything!I enjoy reading what she's up to.

Don’t Blink, is a blog that I just found that I really love. Bridget and her family are getting ready to embark on their own traveling adventure and I’m looking forward to reading about all about it!

Not one to frequent the doctor’s office, I’m always interested in natural healing & supplements. I’ve really enjoyed reading through the articles at Jo’s Health Corner. Interested? Take a peek.
There you have it! I hope that you find that by reading this, you’ll find some new blogs to enjoy!

The Homeschool Classroom: Homeschooling while Living in an RV

The Homeschool Classroom: Homeschooling while Living in an RV

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Mouse in our House

There is a mouse in our house. Apparently mice love motor homes. Who knew? I had no idea. I guess it wouldn't be a big deal if our camper was rambling down the highway every so often, but since we've been stable for awhile now that's just one of the causalities of sitting still.

This is how it began. We were sitting outside when my husband moved a camp chairs from the ground and a mouse scurried out from underneath. My husband was going to kill it, but it was so cute! I begged him not to injure the creature and at my wish, the mouse was spared. Oh how I regret that plea. It wasn't a few days later when I began to see evidence of a mouse in our house! The first clue I noticed was that the toilet paper had been nibbled and shredded and then I found mouse poo nearby!

As if that wasn't evidence enough, several nights later my husband and I awoke to a chewing, gnawing sound coming from the cabinet above our bed. No amount of yelling, pounding or shaking could convince the mouse to shut up and leave. So, I went to the store to buy traps. Lots of them. My husband strategically arranged them inside the cubby above our heads and we waited in anticipation. But it appears that we have a smart mouse because once the traps were in place, he moved.

We now have traps covering every inch above and below the bed, in the bathroom and no mouse. Then we realized that the mouse had moved to the front of the camper and was now keeping the boys awake.

Back to the store to buy more traps. At this point, you couldn't even reach into a cupboard without fear of getting your fingers snapped and yet we still had not caught a mouse! In desperation we decided to use the De-con, it wasn't long before we noticed that our camper had a bit of an odor. Assuming that the De-con had finally worked, we began to remove some of the traps. My husband lifted our bed and there was our mouse, caught in one trap which then flipped over into one of the sticky traps which somehow managed to push itself into another trap which got the mouses feet and tail. Finally the traps had worked and it had only taken three to catch our mouse!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Costly Mistake

I'm sure there are many errors that full-timers make when starting out. Although we'd hoped to embark on our journey for several years and I'd spent much time reading and researching, we still felt unprepared when the big moment actually came and this led us to make a common error. Or so we've been told. So if you are reading my post and you are a full-timer, you may be able to relate to what I'm about to write, if you're reading this because you hope to one day own a camper of your own, please heed this warning before it's too late.

Our camper is an older camper so it lacks some of the features that are now pretty standard on newer models. One of those features are automatic levelers or leveling jacks. The camper did come with a few pieces of boards that appeared that they should be used for something, but to be honest, we really didn't give them much thought. After all, when everyone talked about un-level sites, in my ignorance I thought an un-even site would have hills, bumps or potholes and the spots we camped didn't seem to have any of these characteristics so they must have been even, right? Wrong! And for those of you that have campers, I'm sure you already know why you want to make sure your camper is level to ensure that your refrigerator is not damaged or ruined.

Well, when our refrigerator quit working, we began to give this a bit more thought. Especially when replacing the frig is a costly $1500-$2000! Well our camper is older so to invest that much money in the refrigeration unit was probably not the best option, but to pull the unit and replace it with a small house model also had it's drawbacks. After much thought we decided that if the unit could be repaired rather inexpensively, we'd go ahead and put the money into it. So off to the repair shop the camper went. Turned out that the refrigerator wasn't the only thing that needed to be repaired, but the entire converter box was faulty which was not allowing the frig to run properly. A new converter, a new circuit board and $600 later, we were back at our campsite loving the fact that my frig was working again. That lasted for a couple weeks and finally one day when I returned home from the grocery store with just enough food to cram into our frig I realized that it was no longer working and began doing the exact same thing it had done before.

Frustrated, I called my husband, who called the repair shop, who told us that they would need us to take the camper back to them or we could pay them $130 to come to us. Yeah right. My husband thinks we may have gotten a faulty part, but does not want to put the camper back in the shop because that means we have to stay in a hotel which at this point in the journey, I've shared that is almost an unbearable thought for us. He also does not want to pay to have the man come to us because for $130 we could buy the part that we need. So, my husband has decided to do the repairs on his own.

Today he planned to remove the frig to work on it a bit outside of the camper but that was easier said than done. So as an alternative, my husband decided to climb into the outside cubby that holds the frig. Some of you will understand what I mean when I say that I was claustrophobic just watching him but if you don't realize just how small that space is take a peek at the picture that I posted. And to think that this all started because we failed to make sure our camper was level!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Homeschooling? Interested in Free Travel Accomodations? Check this out!

Let’s face it, for many homeschoolers living on one income, the costs associated with traveling make exploring your home state, the U.S. or the world prohibitive. But what would you say if I told you that I found an awesome way to meet new homeschooling families and reduce your travel expenses? Well, this week I am so excited to share with you that I’ve discovered just such a program! This incredible program that is specifically for homeschool families will allow you to turn your travel dreams into a reality! And the best part is right now, you may be able to try this program for FREE! I am excited to offer this fantastic giveaway thanks to Amy from Home Schooler’s Home Exchange Neighborhood. Please continue reading to find out how you can participate in this awesome giveaway which will be not be one, but several free memberships to ‘The Neighborhood’ network.

I actually stumbled upon the HS Neighbor when I clicked on a banner that read Want to travel? Free accommodations for homeschool families. Well, that ad certainly got my attention. After all, I’m always searching for ways to reduce our expenses. Lower costs mean we can see more! I clicked on the ad and though I thought the program sounded fantastic, I really didn’t think that it’d work for us. We don’t have a house to exchange, and the camper barely has room for my own family. That’s when Amy explained the hospitality program to me.

The ‘Hospitality’ program is for people like us that may be passing through on their way to another location. Maybe you’d like to meet other homeschooling families while you are traveling. This program allows you to do that while sharing a meal or possibly exploring the area with your own tour guide. If you just want someplace to rest your head, or park your camper, that’s OK too.

The ‘Home Exchange’ program works this way; you swap homes with a family that would like to stay in your home while you explore their city/state/country while staying in their home. This saves you money and allows you to travel when normally you may not have been able to do so. After all, why spend all of your money on accommodations when you could really visit some incredible attractions with the money you’d save? You can read more about the program at the website.

It’s easy to get started. Once you sign up, you create your own listing on the website which will allow others to get to know you. Your listing will include information about your family, pets and home as well as attractions that may be in and around your area. You can then begin perusing the listings on the website and contacting families in areas that you may wish to travel to. The website offers a chat feature where you can ‘talk’ to other members until you are comfortable contacting them via another method. There is also a blog, the Neighborhood Clubhouse that you can follow and a Yahoo! group that you can choose to participate in.

This incredible program is available to those that currently homeschool their children, grandparents of homeschooling families and homeschool graduates worldwide! Normally you’d pay $34.95 for an annual membership, less than the price of one night’s stay in the cheapest hotel rooms, but for a limited time you can give the Home Schooler’s Home Exchange Neighborhood a try for only $14.95 or you can email me ( with the words "Travel Giveaway" in the subject line by midnight November 20th, for a chance to win a free membership. You don't have to become a follower of my blog, link to this post on your blog, tweet this or become my Facebook friend- though all those things are great and I certainly wouldn't mind, I've opted to keep this simple. Be sure to pass this along to everyone you know that enjoys traveling, the more entries I have, the more winners I'll have. I can’t wait to get started and who knows, maybe we’ll come to your house to visit!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Inexpensive Homeschool Curriculum

I'm of the mindset that the Lord led us to homeschool and He is certainly capable of supplying our needs. And He has. Over and over again. This can be in the form of borrowed items, free online items, library materials, sale items through curriculum vendors and thrift store finds.

Of all the categories I've listed, thrift store finds are my favorite, hands down. I love to shop. And I'm cheap. Thrift stores allow me to satisfy my near shopping addiction while spending a minimum amount of money.

To my delight, I've found a thrift store nearby that frequently has homeschool curriculum and an awesome selection of books for next to nothing. I normally stop in at least twice a week to check out the new donations and each time I walk away with an armload of books. Last week I hit the mother lode and carried out a box loaded with awesome titles for under $8.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that I can't possibly keep all of the books that I've acquired this way, after all, we are living in close quarters. So when we finish with the books that I buy I share them with friends, swap the books at, trade them locally for store credit or sell them online and use the money to purchase materials that can not be found at thrift stores which allows me to keep our budget for homeschooling books and curriculum low.

Take a peek at what I've found this week:

I think thrift stores are just one more awesome way that the Lord provides for our needs.
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