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We are in Camp Verde currently and it is chilly here! It’s really nice as there’s hiking trails right next to where our coach is parked, as you can see in the photo above.
After spending a month in the warm Phoenix area, the cooler weather is refreshing. We also had rain which we hadn’t seen in a month.
We met so many nice full-time families in Phoenix. We had a great time becoming acquainted and learning their story of why they went full-time on the road. The scenery was so interesting there as well. Very different from where I’ve visited in the past(mostly south east part of the U.S.). Brent loves that there were no mosquitoes around to bite him. It’s so dry and dusty here! Our family did several hiking trails there(only short ones with all three girls). We really relaxed a lot while there. They had a nice swimming pool and hot tub on the camp grounds.
Brent bought a cool portable speaker so we can listen to music outside since he was able to be outside without getting bit.
I’ve been doing the 30 day yoga challenge through Yoga with Adriene this month. I also have continued doing daily, guided meditation. This has been my self-care. It’s nice to do something little like this and not spend a lot of money on self-care(nails done, shopping, etc.).
I do enjoy adding in essential oils or a nice incense to my daily routine. I also love the warm glow of my salt lamp.
I’ve been trying to do more weekly meal planning as it’s hard to put any extra food away in the RV kitchen area. One meal that was a big hit is Ancho Chile Chicken with re-fried black beans and roasted red bell peppers that I found in a magazine I had.
For breakfast, I’ve narrowed down my girls’ choices to: Kodiak Cake mix
Eggs, bacon or sausage(once a week), cereal or smoothies. I typically have a smoothie, oatmeal or eggs with veggies or even leftovers from dinner the night before.
We do our school in the usually in the morning. The girls have enjoyed doing the workbooks I got them and I read aloud to them. We are currently reading the Little House and the Prairie series.
They continue drawing every day and have enjoyed using Art for Kids Hub on Youtube that another full-time family recommended. The drawings they do are amazing from this channel!
We explored Sedona this past weekend and it was amazing! The beauty of the red rocks and landscape were breathtaking. This photo doesn’t do it justice, you’ll have to come see it for yourself.
We hiked a couple trails at national parks, Red Rock State Park and Slide Rock State Park. Also, we went to the Montezuma Castle. That place I liked for all the vegetation they had labeled there. I learned about so many neat plants that the people there had used medicinally and eaten.
We had originally planned to go see the Grand Canyon, but with the temperatures in the teens and none of us have cold-weather clothing, we are heading back to Tennessee this week now. There, we will catch up with friends and family, go to the dentist, eye doctor and general doctor check-ups. Yes, we still do normal, everyday things like everyone else.
It’s been a great few months exploring different places and I look forward to exploring more in a couple months!
I have a confession. I put off writing many times here due to perfection. My imperfection is perfection. Putting yourself out there, like I do on this blog, is a lot for me. I do enjoy the platform as it’s enjoyable for me to write out my thoughts, musings and day-to-day life going-ons. But, I admit that fear gets the better of me somedays and I feel that I shouldn’t publish a certain blog post due to it not being “just so.”
I worry the pictures I post won’t be good enough or what I post won’t be interesting enough.
There, I said it and I am working to be kinder to myself. In this way, I will feel accountable now that it is written here.
In what ways do you feel that you’re lacking or judging yourself?
Write it down, say it, tell someone what it is. Now, doesn’t that feel much better? Let’s all give ourselves more self-love. You are worth it. You deserve it. Only the best will do(but no need for perfection 😉).
Especially with such ease of access of social media, we are inundated with pictures of perfection. We are not meant to be perfect. Life is messy. Life is good even in the midst of day to day grind. Let the online friends and followers know you are human. They’ll like you even more!
I want people to remember me for my kindness, humor, and love, not picture-perfect or even eloquent words on a blog.
It’s been another month already. Boy, how time flies when you are having fun or are busy?! It’s a new year as well. Fresh starts for many with new year’s resolutions. I am not a big proponent of “once a year resolutions.” I believe that we should make goals throughout the year as they are more often than not, kept.
In December, I started meditating and used Headspace’s ten days of free meditation. It was really nice! I loved how I felt after each of the sessions. It can be hard to find ten, solid minutes undisturbed when you’re a mother of three young children. There were days where I was interrupted, but I tried to take it in stride. One day, I did not. On that day, I did another five minute meditation on anger, haha. After those ten free days were over, I tried out the app, Calm and have liked it over-all. Both Headspace and Calm are a bit different from each other. Calm is less expensive, but I’m leaning toward Headspace. I will keep trying the free sessions both offer and try to decide if I want to join one or the other.
I have been trying to get my children to listen to meditations as I believe it helps their minds and may help them in their day to day life. Especially, my oldest, as she could benefit from the calming techniques meditation offers.
In the beginning of December, I went to Jacksonville, Florida with Brent and the girls while he was at a three day work meeting. I was hoping for hot, sunny beach time, but alas, it was not. It was rather cold, but the girls still played in the ocean. The hotel had a nice hot tub and heated pool, so that was very nice. The staff at the hotel was the nicest! Very accommodating to the young children.
We then headed back to our RV in Orlando. We were at two parks in Florida. The first one was nice, but the second one was a bit different. The spaces were very close together, with only grassy areas to park on. There were many families that lived there all year round. It was also next to some not so nice neighborhoods and a very busy road which we heard loud music, cars and motorcycles with no mufflers, and sirens going off all night long.
We then headed to Louisiana again on our way to Texas. I thought this would be our first Christmas spent by ourselves in the RV, but Brent decided to head out sooner(due to all the racket at that park) and we were able to spend several days visiting my grandfather, mother and father.
Christmas was nice. We didn’t do as many holiday activities as in the past. It felt weird, but I think it was a good thing. The girls didn’t even miss any of the activities that we had done in the past. I think as parents, we sometimes put too much expectations on ourselves and the children don’t even know the difference. Especially with us traveling fulltime and roadschooling, the girls don’t have peers to compare what their families are doing. This has been really noticable with the clothing aspect with girls. One of my daughters had already been asking for name-brand clothes(such a young age to ask for that kind of thing!). But, as parents, we are able to create the family atmosphere that we would like, though in certain circumstances, it may be more difficult than some. For those times, it is good to spend quality family time with them so that your children spend just as much time, it not more with you, than their friends.
For the past nine months, we have been in a gas RV. It has been very expensive filling it up as we traveled. Brent and I have been discussing getting a diesel RV for several months. So, we bit the bullet(which we learned that saying came from when a soldier had to bite a bullet during surgery in the past, more on where we learned this later), and headed to Alvarado, Texas to trade in the gas one for a diesel one. My father came along with us as it was only six hours from Louisiana. We are now proud owners of a new diesel coach! We’ve only been in this one for a couple weeks, but are loving it. The heated floors have come in handy with unusual cold weather in San Antonio, Texas. My father was wanting to experience the area, but with these frigid temps, he decided to go back home. But, not before visiting the Alamo located here in San Antonio.
The RV park we are at in San Antonio is very close to downtown. It’s been nice being parked right across from the facilities playground. Avery loves to run over and play at anytime since I am able to see her from the front window of the coach. We are also right by the River Walk which is a paved pathway that goes along side the San Antonio river. It has seating along the way and playgrounds too. There are city bikes that are available to rent to ride on the river walk. A guided boat ride is available as well.
It’s been much more enjoyable here with the warmer weather now. We have been able to explore the city more. This weekend we went to the local Farmer’s Market in an area called the Pearl. It was such a nice area! Saturday morning we stopped by the San Antonio Coffee Festival. It was located in a historical shopping district. The lines were very long, so after chatting with a friendly family and them recommending the farmer’s market, we headed to there. We then had some yummy mexican food at a restaurant called Pete’s Takos. It was delicious!
Sunday we went to the Alamo. This is where we saw a demonstration on medical practices during the 1800’s and learned where the saying, “bite the bullet” came from. The Alamo wasn’t very big, but it was interesting to read more on the history. After, we walked to the Tower of Americas. It is a 750 foot tower with an observation deck and a revolving restaurant. The food was wonderful and the view was spectacular! The whole family enjoyed it. We found a cool little park area on our walk back to the truck.
We also celebrated my oldest daughter’s tenth birthday and mine and Brent’s 13th anniversary in December(see, I told you December is a busy one for us!).
Iliana and Emme have been wanting to earn money, so with limited chores to do in an RV, they have taken to selling their artwork. They started painting rocks and those have been their best sellers! Emme has also been doing “body art” with markers. Iliana likes to sketch with pencil and sell those. They got a henna kit from grandparents for Christmas, so I’m hoping they learn to do that and I believe that will be a good thing to know how to do since they both love artsy things.
This will be our last week in San Antonio before heading to Phoenix, Arizona.
For those readers of mine that enjoy food, with the cold weather, I have been craving hot soups again. I like to make a big pot in my instant pot, but do the slow cooker mode. These past couple weeks I have made potato soup(subbing half the potatoes for riced cauliflower, my girls didn’t notice even!), chicken tortilla soup(I like to make chicken taco meat, which is chicken breasts, a jar of salsa and a few tablespoons taco seasoning(I make my own) and save the leftovers for this soup), and a tasty sweet potato and kale soup. I did use up my frozen bone broth, so next week I’ll need to make some more. Soup is great for warming up throughout the week for lunches or even breakfast! I don’t hold to the standard breakfast foods for breakfast and so forth. I actually find “dinner-type” foods to be more hardy and filling for breakfast. Many times I’ll just eat leftovers for breakfast. Now, I do enjoy some good, plain yogurt and home made granola(my fav: https://ancientharvest.com/recipe-items/honey-nut-quinoa-flake-granola/ I do add in maple syrup for part of the honey and I like walnuts for the nuts) on some mornings. I made yogurt for the first time in my instant pot and it turned out well! I strained it, so it’s nice and thick. I used the whey from it in the girls’ pancakes this morning. With the warmer temps, I plan on making a kale salad today to munch on the rest of the week. One kale salad that I like a lot has dried cranberries, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan in it. The one I am making today is from the Minimalist Baker and it looks phenomenal! After I make it up and perhaps wash these dishes up, we are going bike riding on the River Walk.
With spotty WiFi in the RV parks we’ve been camping in these past couple of weeks, I haven’t had a chance to do much blogging. Brent says that I just don’t like to have Wifi, but it is a struggle to find a good Wifi signal at these parks. Many times their websites will state that there’s Wifi available, but like the current one we are at, it is only available in a room next to the office. So, while my laundry is washing, I will try to update all of you on our where a bouts and going-on’s.
We pulled out of our “base camp” site in Tennessee and headed to Louisiana for Thanksgiving with family. My father installed a RV plug for us to plug into and we parked in the front yard. I kept joking we were Eddie and Catherine from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Some of our family from around was able to join us and we had a nice time visiting with cousins.
After spending a week in Louisiana, we drove to Florida for our first winter in the sun. We stayed overnight in a truck stop on our way here. That was an interesting experience. It was rather loud all night with trucks and cars coming and going all night. The big rigs also ran their diesel engines all night. This actually was our second time staying overnight in a truck stop. We couldn’t open any of the slides, so we had to squeeze into the beds at night. I realized we had too much “extra” items around to sleep and move about comfortably and easily with the slides all closed. So, when we arrived in Florida, I went through our stuff to purge more items. Now we won’t have as much to put up on the beds as we drive and then we are able sleep in the beds without moving containers(I had a small rolling cart with some art supplies in it) off of them from the drive.
Aside from the stay in Northern Georgia this summer at a RV park, we’ve been spoiled by being able to park in family and friend’s driveways(and front lawns!).
We met a very nice full-time family here in Florida at one of the parks we stayed at for a week. They’ve been traveling for about a year and a half now. Check out their YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/ng2ZTS31rtA , called Unroot Me. Their son also has an Youtube channel about nature and animals. https://youtu.be/irWZ8t-Fbxg
They are off to another part of Florida. Hopefully we’ll meet again!
Since the internet is spotty here, I bought some school workbooks just at Target to work on while we are here. We’ve been doing this program online, loosely: https://allinonehomeschool.com/ We generally lean toward “unschooling” type of homeschooling. I incorporate lots of hands-on activities, outdoors time, playing, and exploring the area we are in.
I’ve been doing a lot of cooking in my Instant Pot( Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer)* as of late due to not having much propane in the tank to use the stove top or oven. I’ve tried out the convection oven and it works nicely, but it is only able to bake small amounts at one time. Some of my favorite meals to make in the Instant Pot are, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199706564709843715/, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199706564709819038/, https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/minimalist-baker-3831052/vegan-sloppy-joes-4825066241are just a few. We love to make sweet potato fries and I make them successfully in the convection oven!
We decorated the inside of the RV for Christmas yesterday. It’s not much as we don’t have much space. My three year old and I made a paper chain to help it look more festive. She loved helping making it! It is made from pink and orange papers as that’s all the extra paper I had available, but it matches some of the other Christmas decorations as I used many of my daughters’ decorations from the years past that were used in their bedrooms, which equals lots of pink.
We went to Animal Kingdom this week. It is the girls’ Christmas gift. We only spent one day there and goodness, there is a whole lot to do there! It is pricey, so we only had one day to explore. We all loved the new Pandora ride, except for Avery as she was not tall enough. I was given a fast pass since I wasn’t able to go on with Avery. It worked out because Iliana and Emme were able to go again with me. While Avery and I waited on the others to get off the ride, we explored Dino-land. Avery has been into dinosaurs as of late. When I met the others back in an hour and a half(yes, it took that long to wait ti get on the ride), I passed Avery off to Brent.We all thought it was an amazing ride. It was so realistic! We also went on the Safari ride, which is on a safari-like truck. It took us around an area to show us various animals of Africa. Then we took a train to a petting area and a building with so many insects and amphibians in it! Avery saw some characters too there(one was Doc McStuffins, the other was a character from Lion King). We all enjoyed the day and were so tired by the evening time. The only thing that my girls’ wished was that there would’ve been more rides in Animal Kingdom.
We are not doing Christmas gifts this year, only stockings as we don’t have the space for more toys. The girls did agree on going to Animal Kingdom in lieu of physical gifts.
Well, I’m going to stop here and update everyone in a couple weeks! Have a wonderful holiday season!
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Two weeks into November here in Middle Tennessee area and we are experiencing some chilly weather. Especially today when it’s rainy and dreary, I crave a warm drink to sip on while I type at my laptop or read to myself or my children.
Soon, we will be in a warmer climate, but I still enjoy a comforting, warm drink.
Here are 10 comforting hot drinks for you to enjoy too!
I have joined the Instant Pot community since becoming a full time RV family. In the RV, there’s a stove, oven, and a microwave/convection oven. So why would I need something else to cook with you may ask? For one, I am not a big microwave fan and I have never cooked anything in a microwave/convection combo oven before, but I have used a pressure cooker and slow cooker for many years and feel comfortable with those. Also, the oven and stove run off a LP tank and we have to have it filled. That means taking the 37 foot RV to somewhere to fill the tank which is not too bad, but still a bit of a hassle.
So, enter the Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot has saved me space in that I am able to use it for sauteing, pressure cooking, rice cooker, and slow cooking so far(there are several other functions, such as yogurt function, that I have yet to try, but want to!). It does not create much, if any, moisture when cooking, which is great in an RV.
So, on to my yummy, easy, mexican quinoa recipe I made! I was trying to use what I had already in my pantry and refrigeration, so this is how I came up with this dish.
Mexican Quinoa Instant Pot Dinner
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 onion, diced
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced(I had mini colored bell peppers on hand and used about 6)
Saute the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes on the saute function in 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter. Add in the garlic, stir for one minute, add in tomato and saute for five minutes. Scrape the saute mixture into a blender. Add the green chilis to the blender along with the cumin, chile lime seasoning and salt and pepper. Let cool in blender while sauteing the sweet potatoes. Put sweet potato pieces into the Instant Pot on the saute function, adding oil as needed. Saute for five minutes, or until slightly brown. Turn off Instant pot and add the quinoa(make sure to rinse the quinoa in a sieve first). Blend the mixture in the blender until smooth. Taste to see if more seasoning is needed. Put in enough water or broth to make 2 cups of liquid and pour into Instant pot and stir gently. Put the lid on the IP(instant pot) and press the rice button.
Serve with avocado, cilantro, fresh lime, sour cream, and cheese, if so desired.
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This is a good time to go over each day and analyze your intake. Is it what you thought it would be? Are there times you saw that you didn’t eat as healthy as you should’ve? What was going on when you ate that way? Were you tired, stressed, bored?
Did you eat enough during the day? How was your water intake?
I would encourage you to try this activity again, this time really thinking about how you are feeling before, during and after eating. It is a good time to make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many times, we don’t realize that some days, we had not eaten any vegetables at all.
If you feel that you need help with your daily eating habits, please reach out to me so that we can get you on the right track. We will most likely never have a day where we ate perfectly healthy.
For instance, today, my nine year old daughter wanted to make chocolate chip cookies. Then she wanted me to first try the cookie dough and then a cookie. I did eat a small spoonful of cookie dough and one of her cookies. They were delicious! It made her so happy to see me enjoying what she made. Never feel that you have failed eating healthy just because you ate a cookie or six(been there)! It is part of life to enjoy what we eat, but also be cognizant of eating healthy overall.
Have you ever wondered if a food journal might help you with your health and wellness journey? Do you have unexplained symptoms such as headaches, bloating, fatigue, or nausea? Do you feel like you have been dieting and watching what you eat, but still are not losing the weight? If any of these apply to you, a food journal will most definitely help you! By writing down what you eat and drink everyday for a couple weeks, along with how you feel after eating, you will many times, pinpoint where you are struggling diet-wise or find foods that cause those unexplained symptoms. When I was practicing midwifery, I would always give my clients a handout to chart their food and water intake for the first month and bring it back to me at their next prenatal visit. Many times, the women would be amazed at what they ate, what their diet was lacking, or even discover they were not eating enough. It is also a great way to make sure you are drinking enough water. Many of us go about each day dehydrated. It’s amazing how much better our bodies work when hydrated properly.
I have a free printable Food Journal page for you to give it a try. This is just one easy method. If you like this printable, you may print multiples and hole punch them to put in a 3 ring binder to keep it all together so as to see your progress. Or, you could get a notepad, small notebook, jot it into the notes section on your device as well, whatever is easiest for you!
I will write more in another blog post about using your food journal to help you reach or maintain your health and wellness goals. Happy food journal-ling!
On Saturday, March 25th, my husband and I picked up our new home on wheels, a 37 foot Fleetwood Bounder. Then the very next day, we packed it up(sort of), and headed up to Kentucky where my husband, Brent, was getting back surgery. It was a whirlwind and I was searching through boxes marked “RV” trying to find a few essential for our stay in Kentucky. We were planning to only stay a week and then head down to Louisiana to visit family, but after Brent’s surgery this past wednesday, the doctor advised that we sit tight for at least a couple of weeks.
We’ve been parked in a friend’s driveway(they live on a nice piece of land) and are hooked up to power and water for the past week due to nearby campsites not being open until the first of April. Now we are stuck here for a bit due to me having never driven this huge rig and Brent unable to drive.
The children have enjoyed the past week staying in our new home. My seven year old says we’ve made it all “nice and cozy.” The three year old comments most every morning, “We slept in the RV!”
We had to get a foam mattress topper for the master bed as the mattress that came in it is not the most comfortable one. Later on, we want to replace the mattress and put the foam topper on top of the bunk that lowers over the front seats as that one is extremely thin.
Iliana, the nine year old, sleeps in the drop down bunk, Emme, the seven year old, sleeps in the top bunk and Avery, the three year old, is on the bottom bunk.
The only thing with being parked in someone’s driveway, is that we aren’t truly getting to experience living in the RV fulltime. The family tends to gravitate toward the house. Which I know the kids like it since there’s “new to them” toys in there. I know we will soon enough get to experience this new life.
Also, I haven’t had a chance to cook a full meal in the RV yet. I have only used the microwave in it. The other meals have been at our friend’s, family or restaurants. Some of the reason is due to Brent not able to do much of anything but rest.
It has been a challenge finding where to put everything inside of the RV. I have to get creative on where to store items. While we are parked, the front dash makes a great storage shelf, haha! I am also utilizing the storage bays underneath the RV. That is where some “extra” items are and also my broom and dustpan.
Yesterday, I had a major fail being a newbie owner of an RV. I needed to empty the grey tank, which is all the sink and shower waste. The black tank is the one that collects the toilet waste. When trying to connect the hose to the drain on the RV, I unscrewed the cap, only to have a flood of the most foul liquid ever splash out and onto me! The black tank valve was for some reason, open! I will never, ever forget to check that valve now that I know what will happen if it’s not pushed in! As a mom and a midwife, I have had plenty of nasty stuff splashed in me, but this, by far, was the worst.
In a nutshell, this is some highlights of our first week fulltiming in an RV. I am sure there will be more to learn and I will continue to keep you updated on what’s happening in our mobile lives!
*as you can see in the photo, we have a lot of stuff stored on the dash of the rv, but I have been able to organize that space more since this picture was taken.
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