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The Places We Go!

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. IMG_0185

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!).

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Crepes with sprinkles for a birthday breakfast!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Look how busy we’ve been!

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. christmas in rv

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!

 

*affiliate link(this doesn’t cost you anything to click on, but does help me with the cost of the upkeep of this website)

 

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Traditions for Christmas

What are some Christmas traditions you and your family do during this season? Are there any that don’t bring you joy? What are the ones that do?

Some traditions are passed down, others are made by society, still others are created by ourselves over the years.

I’ve kept several from my family. Some are putting up a tree, but we do a fake one and my parents always did a real tree. Stockings are hung and filled for Christmas morning. Santa will come for the children.

I’ve always enjoyed baking cookies and making a gingerbread house with my family and children.

I do miss holiday parties as I don’t work outside of the home and it would be nice to have at least one small holiday party.

This year our family is parring down extremely in the gift giving department. Over the years, we haven’t exchanged much with extended family as they moved further away. For awhile we all did a drawing as we had a large extended family, then we stopped doing that. I still love to send and receive Christmas cards, letters and pictures. I feel this is enough for us. For my children, this year we are trying to not focus on the gifts they will receive Christmas morning. I’ve been wanting to implement this for several years, but just haven’t. With us wanting to travel in an RV, this has been a catalyst in making this happen this year. We are going to still do stockings, but only have one or two small gifts. We are going to take the three girls to an American Girl Doll store to pick out a few items and spend the day there enjoying the things they offer(bistro or desert bar and activities).

One thing that my children enjoy and that I do as well, is Christmas sticks. These were originally made at a mom’s group I was in several years ago and they have evolved. This year I bought new, large, colorful popsicle sticks to write on and updated some of the things to do on them. One thing I do is remove the more time-intensive activities during the week and add them in on the weekends. You may write whatever activities you would find joy doing.

Here is a list of what we have currently:

Open one present early

Write a letter to Santa

Make Christmas cookies

Watch a Christmas movie

Go see Santa

Color Christmas pictures

Decorate tree

Set up nativity

Pay “find the wiseman”

Make a paper chain or snowflakes

Make reindeer food

Hot chocolate and Christmas lights

Shopping trip with mom or dad

Christmas crafts

Christmas music dance party

Make Christmas colored pancakes

Read Christmas books

Family pizza night

Take goodies to neighbors

Trip to library for Christmas books

Make homemade hot chocolate

Special family outing

Build a gingerbread house

Bake cookies for santa