Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Gift that will Save a Life ( or two)

I have so many posts to write up but wanted to quick put this one on here.  As you all know, our Princess is from the Philippines.  We traveled 3 years ago to Manila to bring her home.  They say she smelled like death.  She was a mere 12 lbs at the age of 3.  I will give you a minute to let that fully sink in.  She was decaying.  Some said there was no hope for her, she would surely die.  Her hair was falling out, her cheeks sunk in, eyes protuberant-she had no muscles to even walk anymore.

But one lady gave Princess a chance. Even though all the effort of trying to nurse Princess back to life might be for naught, she tried anyhow.

That was the Director of Princess's orphanage, Charity.

Gentle Hands, Inc. is the only orphanage in the Philippines that will take in sick children.  Praise God for that otherwise our Princess would 100% not have lived to see her 4th bday.  They have taken in children who they knew didn't have long left on this earth. Children who they knew that the money they spent on trying to save them or easing their pain would be futile, but they wanted that child to die knowing they were loved and cared for.

So with that in mind, please visit their site right now and see if you can help.  You will find that a US dollar goes far in the Philippines.

Gentle Hands Christmas Gift Packs

I am constantly reminded in life of the goats and the sheep:

      “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

      “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
      “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

       “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
     “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

      “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’  Matthew 25:31-45

Oh Lord, I pray I am never considered a goat!   Help me to quit rushing from place to place and being so focused on my own agenda.  Open my eyes to all those around me who are in need.  

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hunger Games Catching Fire Movie Review

Just got back from seeing Catching Fire! 

 Bubba and Sissy finally talked me into letting them read the series this year and wanted to see the new movie also.  I was nervous because there are several places in the book where it says things like 'she swore out loud' or 'he cursed'.

Would they actually say it in the movie?

And then there is the fact that there are a couple more sensual scenes, no love making but some nudity.

Would they show that?

The Hubby and I really looked at the PG 13 rating to see why it was given that rating.  Among the reason it listed, "a suggestive scene" and "language".  We watched several different trailers and were relieved to see that in the one scene Finnick was covered up by way more than a net like it said in the book.  That gave me hope that the rest of the movie would be on the safe side.

So we decided to take the plunge and let them come with us to the premiere. I was very nervous. I was prepared to have to walk out with them if it was too bad.  

Here is my Family Movie Review:

Language : S word, D word, H word and SOB.  The last two were at the very end of the movie.   There was one time when a character 'said' the F word but it was bleeped because it was part of the interview the capital was putting in.  So in essence the capital bleeped it.  

Sex: One female character does undress but you only see this from the shoulders up and it is actually a really funny scene not a sexual one. Finnick is shirtless at one point but you can't even see his belly button because of some costume around his waist. There is some kissing.  Let's say there was less sexual-ness in the movie than there was in the book.  I was so relieved!

Violence:  Well it IS the Hunger Games.  But it isn't too bad.  Not much blood and gore. I don't want to say anymore because I don't want to give anything away.  

Book Compared to Movie: After the 1st movie I swore I wouldn't see the 2nd one.  I thought they did a poor job of encompassing what the Hunger Games were really like.  I felt like Peeta's character was totally miscast and he came out looking like a complete weakling.  But after seeing the previews for Catching Fire and knowing that they had a new director I decided to see it.  So glad I did!! It really captured the emotions this time.  I don't know whether Josh Hutchinson( who plays Peeta) understood the character better this time or if it was in the writing/directing, but Peeta finally seemed like Peeta from the book( Praise God!)-strong, in control, a caretaker.  And Peeta and Katniss actually had some chemistry this time around. They did a great job of sticking pretty close to the book.  We were very pleased.  

So it was a good night.  My mom watched Snuggle Bug, Little Miss and Princess at our house while we were our.  Big shout out to her!!  Thanks mom!

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Monday, November 18, 2013

Storm Damage

Compared to some communities I have nothing to complain about.  There were tornadoes around our area along with much of the midwest yesterday.  We arrived home after a usual Sunday at my in-laws to find the canopy to our gazebo on our back deck shredded.  It was a bummer.

*Ugh, my photos won't load for some reason.  I have pics to share later when I get the issue resolved.*

So this morning when it was light I went out to take pictures and I backed up to get a fuller shot and something in our attic area caught my eye.  We have a walk up attic and few sets of windows up there.  Well one of the panes of glass was missing.

Which makes perfect sense since the attic door was jiggling like crazy last night, which it sometimes does if there is a lot of wind.  We have couple of vents up there so sometimes there is suction, though this was the most it had ever rattled the door.  But I also noticed a horrible draft under the door that I have never  experienced in all of our 6 1/2 years here.  I put a towel down to block the draft and just chalked it up to the 60 mile an hour wind gusts.

So when I saw the missing pane of glass it all made sense.

I woke Bubba up to help me get the window covered.   Sissy and Snuggle Bug helped take care of Little Miss.

I had no idea at what point the window busted and how much glass and rain had come in but expected the worse.

But get this, the entire window pane was sucked OUT.  yep, out, not in.  The glass was all over the roof of our garage underneath it.  Not a shred of glass was in the attic.  Good for clean up but a little scary to think of what might have caused such a phenomena.

Our attic windows are old and I can't see being able to just get the window pane replaced but am praying that it can be done.  Otherwise we are looking at totally replacing those back two windows... $$$.

Again, compared to so many homes that were obliterated in the storms we are very fortunate.  But it still stinks.  Not sure if it will pay to submit a home owners claim.   We'll have to crunch numbers.

Never a dull moment around here =)

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I realized that I never posted  pictures of our completed kitchen renovation.    We started with the floor a year ago, at the end of October.  We worked on different phases for the next 8 months with some lulls in there. Our house was built in 1900 so kitchens are never great in houses from back then.   A lot of kitchens were actually in the basement in the bigger houses of that time period. Ours was on the main level luckily but it suffered from an ill configured layout and  it was stuck in the 70's.

BEFORE: The countertops were white with gold flecks that absorbed everything-rust from a wet cookie sheet, spilled kool-aid, you name it.   Not even straight bleach would help it.

 AFTER: We priced granite since we don't have a lot of countertop but in the end we felt that extra money could be be put to use in better ways in the kitchen( like by adding an island).  This is just laminate but it looks a million times better than what we use to have    

 The 'white' sink was also nicely stained and chipped.  I think it was ceramic.   I swear this sink was very clean but just like the countertops it absorbed everything.

  AFTER: Our brand new stainless steel sink
 with new faucets! Slightly better.

We wanted to put new doors on the cupboards but the sizes of ours was so wacky it would have been a custom order and more pricey.  So we instead just framed out each cabinet door and refinished them white and put new hardware on them.  Our new hardware matches the original draw pulls in our butlers pantry.

And Voila!!  

The old green backplash was some sort of board, though not made of wood.  
Thanks to youtube I found a video on how to do a subway tile backsplash and did it myself!  

 When we moved in to our home 6 1/2 years ago, every room had carpet except the foyer.  That included the kitchen, bath and the dining room.  Even though we only had 3 kids at the time, that was enough to ruin the carpet quickly-especially when one of them was in the midst of potty training.

We pulled a lot of it up right away, but we still had carpet on the main staircase and the stairs leading from the kitchen to the main stairs.  

This is a little of what that small set of stairs looked like when I pulled up the carpet:

I had already painted the fronts of them white at this point.  They weren't in the worst condition but not the best either.  At least they didn't have inch thick cement hard carpet glue like our other rooms did.

And here is what they looked like all finished with some warm brown paint on each step:

You can also see our nice tiled flooring in the snapshot above. It was peel and stick tile for many years, which by the way, is a nightmare to pull up.

There use to be a double oven in our kitchen at some point. Then they were taken out and it left this large cabinet with a very big hole in it.  So it was made into a "pantry" which really means some shelving jimmy rigged and a curtain put over the hole.  I called it The Great Abyss.  It was so deep and dark that I lost stuff all the time and it was not unusual to reach in for flour and come out with a spider instead.

So we tore that out and add a wall cabinet and an over the range microwave.  We moved our stove from across the room also.  Our microwave was on a stand elsewhere in the kitchen previous to this.  

This simple addition and reconfiguration really opened up the space. We had already demolished the old double oven /pantry in the picture below.  It felt really good to tear that thing out, though the Hubby did take out a chunk of skin and likely a little bone hacking at it outside with a hatchet.  

He is not allowed to use a hatchet again.  Ever.

We also have a new stove now that is all white and is a flat top. It's a convection double oven and I am in love with it.

You can see in the pic below where our stove use to be.  I don't think it was originally there though judging by the big gap between the counter and stove.  Perhaps that is where they had the cooktop was at one point, I don't know.  And you love the styling vent hood I know but it had to go, sadly enough.  We added a base cabinet in that gap which also extended the counter top space. Then we moved our fridge from the far corner of the kitchen into where the stove used to sit.  Now we have a nicer work triangle!  

And better yet none of our dishes in the drainer fall into the gap now. BONUS!

You can also see our new kitchen island.  I looked at many many islands to figure out what would work best for our kitchen space, our budget and our needs(added work space, extra cabinets and a drawer).  

We settled on this one.  It has a treated wooden top, cabinets and a drawer that open from either side, and we were able to put 2 bar stools on the far side. It is super heavy and durable.  I did have it turned 90 degrees from where you see it now, so it was parallel with the fridge and sink.  That looked fine but with my stove on the other wall it worked better to have it parallel with that.  But it's nice that it can be versatile. 

You will also note some bead board going around the room.  This is a fabulous wallpaper.  There are some out there I have seen that are pretty thin, but this is super thick and really looks and feels like bead board.  The advantage is that is is much cheaper than the real stuff and super easy to apply. It really lightened up the room and gave it more character. 

We also replaced our garbage disposal and changed out the old ceiling fan for a semi-flush mount that matched the new cabinet  hardware.

I would say in all this renovation cost between $2000-$2500 since we did all the labor ourselves except some electrical for a couple new outlets to accommodate the switching of appliances and my great BIL  tiled the floor for us.  Props to my Hubby's cousin for helping us with installing the countertops too! We are not that handy when it comes to major home renovations like this and by no means an expert, yet through the gift of the internet and youtube we saved THOUSANDS of dollars on labor.  But it is more time consuming and more of a headache I will admit than just hiring the work out.

I really do love this kitchen now and will hate to leave it.  
I pray the next family will like it just as much though.

* Credits: These 2 photos were taken by our realtor*

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What do You do without Facebook?!


That is the answer to the title of this post.  I have been SOOO productive since I got off of facebook!   

 Imagine that...

I have been doing lots of baking, doing extra projects around the house, keeping up with laundry, working out, playing with Little Miss, prepping food for each upcoming week, finally looking at my pinterest boards and IMPLEMENTING/TRYING some things, which I never seem to have time to do. 


I do miss my FB friends and there has been more than once when I had to contact people and I was like,"I'll just message them all on FB...oh wait."  That is quite handy.

 It reminds me of TV.  We have been with out TV for going on 4 years in January.  We sacrificed cable to save money for the adoption of Princess.  We didn't know what we would do with ourselves with out our fave shows.  It was scary.  Bubba asked us if we were turning Amish.

Now I don't know how I ever had time to watch TV.  It made me more cranky too.  I always yelled at the kids to be quiet but never once turned down( or off-gasp!) the TV.  And then I was annoyed when kids interrupted during a show.  OK, being able to pause shows helped tremendously in that area but still I was a little annoyed.  It wasn't the kids that was the problem, it was the TV.  Life changing realization.  

I don't see me ever wanting TV again.  It is so easy to get hooked and just like FB, so easy to spend your life watching someone else's then living your own.  Though I do miss the FOOD channel and HGTV.  

Just wanted to give everyone an update on my facebook free life and let you know that I have survived.  Ok it's only been like a week, but still.

Nothing new on the house front.  Totally have turned that over to God and just enjoying each day till we leave.  Now that I am off facebook it is also giving me more time to weed through everything in the house and get ready for RV life. =)

Have a great week!

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Friday, October 25, 2013


I just deactivated my Facebook account.  I am not going to lie, my heart is racing and I am a little freaked out.  I am totally thinking, "How am I going to communicate with everyone?!"

Facebook has many positive benefits but I spent WAAAAAY too much time on there.  And I try to regulate it but I always get sucked in somehow and  what was meant to be a quick couple minutes checking statuses  ends up  turning into a couple hours.

 I also started thinking," There is something wrong when I spend more time finding out what other people are doing in their lives then living mine."  

Oh my gosh, I already just thought as I was sitting here typing this how I had to share this blog post on Facebook!  This is going to take some getting used to...

I can't say that I will never be back on FB, but am planning on taking a lengthy sabbatical at least.

Good news for you is that that means more blog posts!! Because, you know, I have to give my opinions and share what I ate at lunch with SOMEBODY out there on the world wide web.

And I know that I am going to think of no fewer than a dozen witty status updates as I go about my day.

I made this radical decision a couple weeks ago actually( to pull the plug on facebook) but have been dragging my feet.  I announced it in the middle of our living room to The Hubby. I knew if I didn't speak it out loud than it wasn't likely I would really do it.

No sooner had the words come out of my mouth than Sissy was giving me a big hug.

"What's that for?"  I asked

"Because you won't be on the computer all the time now and you will spend more time with us."

*insert dagger into my heart*

So I knew I had to hold true to my vow.

Now I might actually have to pick up the phone or go visit someone to talk to them.  Crazy I know.

SO here goes my first facebook free night!  Yay!  I think...

Many Blessings,
The Mama  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guessing Game: NAME THAT HIVE!

1st the Cauliflower Soup from my previous post was great!  I added twice as much cheese and lots more salt and pepper though.  The family rated it out of 10 and here were the results per person: 10,9,8,9,6,4 and Little Miss wouldn't eat it which is no surprise as she is refusing most any food lately.

OK now to our game!  


200 points to anyone who ends up being correct! 

Little Miss seems to have several food allergies that I pray she will eventually outgrow.  She can't have apple juice( even diluted, but ok with plain apples), PB(allergic to the oils when they get on her skin, but seems ok to have PB mixed in things),some citrus fruits, and a few other things.

So here is the rash she has had for 3 days total now:

 Super blurry I know but she doesn't hold still to get a crisp picture. 

 What you are seeing is hives on her face.  She really hasn't eaten anything new and it seems like it must be something she has had each day as it keeps flaring up.

She use to show some sensitivity to cheese and then i reintroduced it and didn't see any side effects, but she has had some cheese lately so maybe?  She has had oatmeal, which she has often and never has had any trouble.  She seemed to flare up after having my chocolate chip cookies yesterday and a few bites today.  That has oats in it.

She also has had an egg casserole the last 2 days- eggs, sausage and some cheese.  But was thinking maybe it was the egg since that is in the cookie too, but again she has never shown a sensitivity to egg in the past.

I Don't Know!  

So I will just really strip back her diet, even though she is barely eating anything as is right now( due to stubbornness).  Hopefully it will clear it up and then maybe I will reintroduce some of the thing I suspect as triggers one by one and see if we can figure it out.

Another thought is that we had to get a new pack n play for her Monday night. She has never had a crib to sleep in and our other one broke so we had to get a quick replacement( I heart craigslist).  Lily has broken out in a facial rash from a pillow one time.  Have no idea what it was about it but something irritated her skin and we had to toss it.  She does have her regular sheet on her new pack n play but who knows.  But I am thinking that she had the rash before we got the new pack n play Monday anyhow.

I have extremely sensitive skin.  I actually have a condition called Dermographism so it shouldn't surprise me that my kiddos have skin issues.

So any one want to take a guess as to what is triggering Little Miss? 

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cauliflower Soup

Trying a new recipe tonight!  With the cold weather starting soups sound so yummy but I don't have many recipes.  My family is not big on veggies but we all like cauliflower since it's pretty mild so I felt this soup was a safe bet.  I mean, it has cheese in it so how can you go wrong?  Here is the recipe:

Cauliflower Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home

I am also making some homemade breadsticks with it ( we love our bread and carbs).  Here is a bread recipe I have found to works well as a base. It is nice and chewy. You can use your bread starter to make bread, rolls or bread sticks. 

Bread Starter

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter (softened)
3 cups flour, preferably bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast

  You can change it up by throwing in some added ingredients. We love putting in minced garlic and topping it with shredded cheddar. 

Garlic Cheddar Breadsticks

Add to the bread starter-
1 ½ t minced garlic
2 T parmesan cheese
¼ c sharp shredded cheddar
*When dough is done, make breadsticks, glaze with garlic and top with more shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes in oven at 400 degrees.

I will let everyone know how the soup turns out and the true test-what the kids thinks of it.  

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Family Pics and Nothingness

We're still here.  Just living life and enjoying our family for now.  Trying not to take anything for granted or rush life even though we are anxious to get on the road.  With us not knowing when we were leaving we opted out of everything we usually particulate in- scouts, homeschool co-op, flag football, tackle football, etc.  The only exception has been Weds. night church which we still attend. So it has been a nice season of nothingness.

We did list our house with a realtor a few weeks ago and had some showing this week.  We know the one went well, haven't heard about the 2nd showing.  I have already thanked God in advance for the offer that will be on our table next week though. =)  

In the mean time we got family pictures taken FINALLY.  It has been probably 6 years since we have gotten any done.  Needless to say those pics are missing a few members of our family.  So here are some of our prints.  ENJOY!

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Friday, September 6, 2013

Places To Visit

I have compiled a list of people/things/places we would like to see on our journey.  We asked each of the kids to contribute with some places they would like to visit too.

  • Snuggle Bug: Statue of Liberty and David Copperfield Show in Vegas(he saw it on TV once)
  • Sissy: She sited several family members across the country, a fellow adoptive family in Alaska and the Ozarks(we read Where the Red Fern Grows)
  • Bubba: World Trade Center Memorial, family, Alaska and Niagara Falls.
When Bubba was littler and first saw the movie CARS, we had a discussion about Route 66.  He asked if one day I would take him on the real Route 66 and I said I would.  So that is also something we plan to do.

Here are some other noteable on our lists:

  • DC
  • Mount Vernon
  • Fredericksburdg VA
  • Biltmore Mansion  (we have seen it once but would like to take the kids along this time)
  • Creation Museum 
  • Hershey PA
  • Lincoln's Log Cabin IL
  • Mayflower Landing 
  • Grand Canyon
  • Caves
  • Redwoods
  • Ripleys Museum
  • Hoover Dam
  • A Plantation( think Forrest Gump)
  • Universal
  • Four Corners
  • Our town's 'sister' town in PA
  • Family/Friends in OH,VA,TX,MN,AK,KY,OR,WA,WI
But the best places will be those not planned.  Things we see going down the road that we will stop at, people we will meet.  We really do not want to use interstates and such.  Those road are wonderful for getting you somewhere quickly but no great for experiencing what the country has to offer.  And we are in no rush =)

I found this great site thanks to my friend R that tells you some unique sites you might go by on your way to your destination.

If anyone has any other things they think are must see's (or must do's) around the country or in western Canada comment and let me know!  I would like to go to Philadelphia on our way through to see the Liberty Bell and all that.  Bubba and Sissy have already been there on a missions trip through our church but I would still like to stop real quick.  I love history.

Oh, I kind of think it will be cool to meet the Roloff's on our trip(Little People Big World), if they still have their farm.  Have a great week!

Many Blessings
The Mama

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What We Need in an RV

1st off, I find it very peculiar that you use the word "an" before "RV".  The 'R' is not a vowel so why use "an"?  Strange, but I digress...

So here are the things we have to have in a Travel Trailer(TT).

  1. 2 SLIDE OUTS ( part that extends out farther for additional room):  A slide in the living area and one in the master bedroom area that slides out the side NOT the end of the TT.  This is referred to as an east-west bedroom.  Why do we need that particular slide?  So we can fit Little Miss's play yard at the foot of the bed to sleep.  There simple is not enough room otherwise. 

  2.  FULL SIZE FRIDGE: A lot of TT come with very small refrigerators that barely hold a days worth of foodstuffs.  I would really rather not shop every single day. I hate shopping once a week as is.
  3. BUNKHOUSE:  At first we thought we had to have quad bunks but then we saw some TT that had 2 bunks on one side of the room and then a dinette table on the other that folded down to a full bed. The kids really liked that and the boys said they would share a bed, which they often end up doing anyhow.

  4. 34ft + : For a family of 7 we really need a TT that is 34 feet long or more.  We do need a little room to breathe.
  5. UNDER 10,500 GVWR: " the maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer[1] including the vehicle's chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo." wikipedia.   So in other words, how heavy it can be and still tow it with our vehicle!
  6. REAL DOORS:  This may sound strange but so many RV's have accordion doors or just curtains.  That just won't do with a sleeping baby or a sleeping special needs child.  In both cases, once they are awake, they are awake.  We need REAL doors to keep as much noise out as possible during nap and bedtimes!
  7. AWNING: This is really pretty standard but you come across some older ones that don't have them.  It's just the awning for the outside to give some shade.
  8. LESS THAN 15K:  That's our budget.  We would love it to be 20k, but since we will be paying for it out of pocket, there is just no way besides an act of God( a girl can pray!) that we will get enough out of our house to afford that.

  1. OUTSIDE KITCHEN:  Man I would love this one but have yet to find a TT that fits our above need that has one.  The whole side flips up on the outside and has a small fridge, sink and grill that you can use when you are at a campsite.   

    2. BANQUETTE SEATING: Instead of just having a booth dinette which can get a little cramped, it would be ideal to have banquette seating.  But most of the TT we have looked at have a couple stools at a little kitchen peninsula so we can make do with a booth.

     3.OUTSIDE ACCESS TO BATHROOM: Some TT have a door in the bathroom to the outside.  That way when you are at your campsite and everyone is outside most of the time, kids don't have to traipse through the TT to go to the bathroom.  There is an access door from the outside straight to the loo!  Genius.  But potentially embarrassing if you are using it and a kid opens it from the outside and the whole RV park sees you on the pot...


There are some other things we have been mindful of too.  Like, 'Is the location of the toilet going to be close enough to Little Miss to wake her up?'  Having those real doors will help with noise but we have seen some layouts that would have Little Miss up with every slamming of the toilet lid.  Ok most lids are plastic in an RV, but knowing Princess, she would find a way to slam it.

We tend to like the Innsbruck model a lot and have a found a few of those.  One is a 2007 and one is a 2000.  The 2000 needs updating of course but is half the price of the 2007 with the same floor plan. But the sellers have mentioned the WD word. *mouthing the words WATER DAMAGE*

~Insert psycho shower music~

It is supposedly just a little on the corner of the living area slide but anyone who knows anything about RV's knows that water damage can cost way more to repair that what the whole RV is worth.  So we'll see.

We have lowered the price on our home about 7k once we decided we could go for an older TT model( as long as it's been maintained well) and just spruce it up inside.  We have had a surge in interest since we dropped the price the other week so that is good.  Still no shows though.  That is so incredibly rude.

Because of so many people who have come down with this rudeness plague, we have adopted a new strategy: If someone calls or stops by to schedule a showing we do it immediately.  That can be hard with 5 kids who are home all day with you but we just have made a very conscious effort to keep the house very tidy. 

 So far that strategy has paid off.  We had some very interested people stop by today.  I just asked that they give up 15 minutes to straighten up. In other words- run around like a chicken with our heads cut off chucking things in cabinets and under beds while I tug my lounge pants off with one hand and apply mascara with the other one.  

Even if the people today who came through don't pan out, it sure did my soul good.  It is easy to become discouraged in the times when God is silent( seems silent).  With lots of no shows, it just felt good to have someone come through and to express interest.  I feel like we are on the right track and it reminds me at how quickly our house could sell, even when it feels like it will never happen. It just takes one buyer to show up.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; 

wait for the Lord!

                                                                                                Psalm 27:14

Many Blessings,

The Mama

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Good Dose of Perspective

So it's been 2 weeks today since I talked to our prospective buyers and have not heard a darn thing back.

But I have gained some perspective over the last few weeks and it's not that big of a deal. It will happen eventually.  None of this has surprised God.

What is a big deal is that a family we are close to lost their husband and father, S, last week at the age of 38.  Our 2 oldest kids are best friends with a couple of their kids(they also have 5 kiddos).

 S was the youth pastor and worship pastor at a local church. We also went to school with him. Needless to say it has been a tough few weeks in our small community and in our house. We have great peace in knowing that as a Christ follower, S is in a far better place than we are now and one day we will join him.

I am so glad we were still in the area to be able to attend the services for S and also for our kids to spend time with their best friends and be there for them.  It would have been awful to have been 1000 miles away when all this happened.

So we are actually thankful our house hadn't sold yet.

Also, the Hubby got a job to hold us over until we leave.  So that is really good news.

Oh and, Bubba turned 13 today (gulp).  Crazy.

We have tentatively started school again, but are focusing primarily on interest-led learning this year(using each child's interest to learn). So it's been pretty laid back and fun.  And truth be known we have been doing school stuff on and off this summer, the kids just didn't realize it and I was not about to use the term "year around schooling."  That brings about images of sitting in a classroom for 7 hours a day as the summer slips by. Year around homeschooling is a lot different than year around brick and mortar school. The kids still get to go swim and play and enjoy while getting in some schooling.  

Anyhow, just wanted to quick update you on everything that's been going on.

Many Blessings,
The Mama

1 Corinthians 2:9 "However it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Isn't it Expensive to RV?

Maybe it's the gas prices that make people ask this question or assume this.  And I get that.  With the size of our family and our pocket book, we already drive a gas guzzler because we need a big vehicle.  So perhaps for us an RV really doesn't make much of a difference when it comes to the price of a barrel of oil.  On a total side note, when I started driving gas was only .89-.99 a gallon, do you remember that??  My kids gasp at that.  Just astonishing and baffling to me.  But I digress...

So let's get down to the nitty gritty. This is based on our personal expenses:

Living in a House Expenses:               Living in an RV Expenses:
House Payment(with taxes): 1200.00      $595 ( campground fees average)
Electric: $120                                   $0 ( Included in campground fees)
Water:  $100                                   $0 (Included in campground fees)
Car Payment: $0(own our car)              $0 (own our car and will own RV)
Gas: $320                                       $600(1,885 miles a month)
Heat: $56                                        $25 (propane)
Auto Ins.: $25                                   $50(car and RV)
Groceries: $400                                 $400
Eating Out: $0                                  $100
Family Activities: $0                           $100(museums and such)
Tolls: $0                                          $10
Cell Phone $15                                   $15
Home Phone/Internet: $85                     $0(use free wi-fi)
Mortgage Ins: $35                              $0
Cable/Sat. :$0                                   $0 ( get it free at some camps)
Tithe:$250                                        $0*                                                              
Personal Loan: $100                           $100_________
TOTALS:     $2706.00                      $1995.00

That is $23,940 a year to live in an RV and travel across the country.  It cuts down our expenses by about 1/3.  As far as tithing-  since we will not be drawing an income while we are out on the road we will have nothing to tithe.  If for some reason we do make money by some means we will be giving 10% of that.

Here is a great site that further explains some of the breakdowns and costs of RV living.  I used some of their real life budget #'s for my RV column.  I have researched lots of other sites too who RV full time.

When it comes to campground fees, the average is $30-$40 a night.  That is full hook-ups usually.  You can totally control that campground fee category by choosing which places you park at( some are as low as $10 a night but no hook ups), if you boondock, use public land, etc.  Boondocking is simply parking your RV somewhere for free-a family/friends driveway, a wal-mart parking lot(this is legal), etc.  There is a lot of public land out west that you can pick any piece of land and drive out to it and stay for free.  Some areas have dump stations around but sometimes not.  I am really looking forward to using public land(ie-beautiful scenic spots)!

And the longer you stay at a place, the less you pay typically.  Not unlike some hotels.

Now let's talk gas prices-I think people envision us driving around constantly or for very long distances at a time.  But that's not our plan.

We will likely be staying in one place for a week or more at a time, depending on what all there is to do in the area or who we are visiting or how much we like the place.  We will be pulling a travel trailer, so not quite as bad on gas as a regular motorhome.  We figured 11 miles per gallon compared to 8-10 with a motorhome. Now we get maybe 14 mpg.

 I would dare to guess that most people in the U.S. have around a 30 minute commute one way to work each day.  So that is 1 hour of just commuting a day, or 5 hours total a week. That's just one working parent obviously.  Now add in anywhere else you go and you have 7-10 hours a week of driving time.

We will be traveling no more than a few hours to each destination typically.  Then whatever driving we have to see local sites.  And we will be staying in one place for a week or more.  So we could very feasibly have less drive time than you a week!  Given a budget of $150 a week, that would be about 470 miles a week based on $3.50 a gallon( we use fuel points a lot too for .10-.20 off per gallon).

Not to mention, if gas prices go up higher or something, we will just stay put longer, less traveling.  So we can control this cost to an extent since we make our own agenda.

I leave you with this video that shows just what we are trading in and what we are gaining from living full time in an RV:

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Got a Bite

After feeling a bit discouraged this month with selling our house we finally got a legit bite.  The 1st open house we had there was a nice young couple who came through who were very interested and asking all kinds of in depth questions about loans and what not.  But then we heard nothing back and it's been 2 weeks.


They filled out a survey form at the end of the open house so we had their phone number but when I tried calling it wasn't working.


So I used my research skills and tracked them down on facebook( harder than you think because there are a lot of people with the same name) and messaged them.  Yep, total facebook creeper here.  But it went to their 'other' folder anyhow and they still hadn't viewed it as of today.  And I did stop short in friending them so I showed some restraint.

But i tried calling them again today in hopes that they were like us and just often use up their minutes and BINGO!  The wife was excited to hear from me and had a bunch more questions and said they would go to their bank definitely and let us know either way what they said.


We realize that is no guarantee but are still hopeful and excited about the possibilities.  Not everyone has to like our house, just one person does!  And after a month of repeated no shows by potential buyers we keep reminding ourselves of that.

We've also been going to look at travel trailers with our kiddos and we are all biting at the bit now to get on the road( no disrespect to our family who we will greatly miss!).  I will share some of that coming up with my promised post on what we are looking for in an RV.  I will also be posting about the costs of RV full time because quite frankly I am sick and tired of hearing everyone saying,"That will be expensive!"  So it's time to set the record straight on the matter.

Please be in prayer also about a very close family friend who suffered a major stroke last weekend at the age of 37. He is a father of 5 and the youth pastor and worship pastor at a local church and we also went to school with him.  Our two oldest kids are best friends with a couple of their older kids also.  They could sure use all the prayers they can get.

Many Blessings,
The Mama