Penny Pinching Peach


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Seven Things You Will Miss When Living In a Camper

Seven Things You Will Miss When Living In a Camper Full Time

Seven Things You Will Miss When Living In a Camper Full Time

We have been living in a camper with our three small children for almost a full year now.

I have thinking about the numerous unusual things I have learned and experienced this year. I thought that anyone considering long term camping should know what we take for granted every day they are likely to miss,  and ways to cope with that. Here’s presenting my personal list, and hoping someone finds it useful!

Seven Things You Will Miss When Living In a Camper!

  1. Long hot showers! You will learn to turn the water off to soap up, shampoo and shave your legs. If you don’t,  you will feel the freeze! Even then, hurry up, buttercup! Want a luxuriously long shower? Get a portable shower caddy for your shower necessities, then camp where they have very clean and well kept bath houses or visit relatives!
  2. Not rocking during storms! You will become very in tune with the moods of nature. It can be amazing in some aspects, but it is a whole different experience to be quite literally rocked by storms!
  3. Insulation! Even if your camper is “four seasons”, it is not remotely close to an actual house in terms of insulation.  If you are going to be staying in a camper during all seasons,  choose your rig carefully and research numerous tips for riding out changing seasons. My biggest tip for summer is shade, shade, SHADE!!!! My biggest tip for winter is to add insulation where you can and buy an infrared heater.
  4. Any semblance of privacy! You hear, see, feel and smell almost everything together when you live in a camper! I am already extremely in tune to people around me,  so this can be overwhelming.  For night, an amazing sound machine like this one I have is a lifesaver! Trust me on this, y’all! Also, three kids can and will crowd into the teeny tiny bathroom with me most times.  There is no lock!
  5. Extra space…for anything! Minimalism is your friend!  Every item must have a use and a place, or it must go! If you have children,  this can get tricky. I limit the toys allowed inside to the things they live most and play with constantly. (I plan a whole post just for managing toys in small spaces without going nuts or living in a toy box.)
  6. Real toilet paper!  I had forgotten how soft regular toilet paper can be after a year of one ply rv toilet paper, until I visited a conventional home. It’s like sandpaper versus clouds!
  7. In home laundry! Unless you are lucky enough to have space for something like this mini washer and dryer, you are going to get acquainted with laundromats or find alternative solutions to get your laundry done. My husband takes most of ours with him on shift.

Do you live in  a camper? What would you add to this list?

Want to hear from the beginning of this adventure? Read about our Life in a Tiny House on Wheels- Full Time Camping!


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Looking For Light When Life is Dark

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Finding the light in dark times

I have been neglecting my readers for awhile now. I have been lost in a never ceasing whirlwind of unfortunate events.

Life circumstances sent me into a deep depression, which was joined by severe anxiety triggered by unrelenting stress on top of trauma and the soul numbing attempt to rise above it for my children while trying to use all of my penny pinching skills to stretch financial resources that just were not there to provide even necessities. I am still bone weary, but I was ready to give up on life completely.
I know that I am being vague, but I am still too raw to bare my soul about everything we have been going through and are still enduring. Life is improving, and we are working hard to make it better, but it is not easy by far.
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There is light glowing through the fog that has darkened our existence, but I am still struggling. I am constantly reminding myself of one of my favorite quotes, the serenity prayer as seen here: http://amzn.to/2lhk7sb I hope to begin to share my journey and life with y’all again.
I am finding my way back to myself. I hope that my friends here will still want read the things I have to share from my heart and soul about family, creativity, frugal living, homeschooling, homesteading and everything else!

Are you also struggling?  You are not alone!


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Indoor Water Play

Indoor Water Play

Indoor Water Play- a great way to keep toddlers happy indoors!

My children are all little water babies.

Usually this tendency shows in them splashing water all over the bathroom when they are supposed to be washing their hands. Finding them lingering in there playing in the sink and flooding the floor is frustrating , but I do try to give them fun opportunities to satisfy this urge to splash and pour.

One thing they love to do, when they can’t go outside to play, is set them up with some indoor water play.

I get out my humongous pot and fill it about a third of the way with water. I’ll set it on a beach towel on the kitchen floor, then throw in some cups, toy boats, funnels or other small items that will be fun to play with in the water. They can easily stay at this simple activity for the better part of an hour, especially if I switch out the toys every 15-20 minutes or so.

Sometimes I give him toy cars and it’s a “car wash”. Other times he is giving his dinosaurs or doll a bath. Get creative!  That’s the whole point!

This activity works really well for my preschooler to do while I’m working with my oldest daughter on her school at the table. He’s usually very content and relatively quiet. It makes it easier for her to focus than if he’s running around being a wild child, even if she is working independently.

Do your children enjoy playing with water indoors? For more fun activities for the cold weather this winter, check out 10 preschool activities using household items!


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Which is Stronger: Self Preservation or Maternal Instinct?

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Maternal instinct versus self preservation!  Which will win? A mommy’s dilemma! 

Has anyone else realized through repeated painful testing that your protective maternal instinct is much stronger than your sense of self preservation?

 

I slipped on the stairs carrying my baby girl a couple of days ago. My son fell in my room as I was going down, and I was looking back to check on him. I was able to hold my littlest princess high and untouched as I landed full force on my right hiney cheek on the metal post of the shoe rack.

I have spent a couple of days so far with a large bruised lump in an awkward spot and a very sore posterior and back, being reminded how often the people in my household smack my hiney.

I wish this was the first test of maternal instincts versus self preservation I have passed with such painfully obvious results.

Let’s just say that I am a clumsy hiney, usually carrying a kid and I am frequently injured my my own mishaps. My kids come out of 99 percent of these incidents 100% okay.

I guess my kids can rest assured Mommy loves them more than she does herself. 😉 😉 😉

Feeling less than perfect? Obviously,  I am far from perfect! I want you to know that even if you are struggling, you are not alone!


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Life in a Tiny House on Wheels- Full Time Camping!

Tiny House Full Time RV Camper

What do you do when life is not going the way you planned and you realize you can’t make it go the way you want?

Do you pitch a fit? Keep trying to make life fit your plan? Curl up in a ball and give up? Find another path to take?

We reevaluated our entire situation, and chose a completely new path and lifestyle for our family.

Our dream included our nearly 2,000 square foot home on 8.5 quiet acres with lots of animals, while my husband worked a local fire department and we grew roots in a nice community. My husband was laid off from the job. Things weren’t as dreamy here as we’d hoped, for many reasons. Our finances would never improve with the way things were. We needed a change, but didn’t know what to do. After much prayer and brainstorming, we came up with a solution that seemed workable.

We found a family friendly campground, bought a camper, put our house up for sale and became an unintentional part of the RV and tiny house community!

We lived in a 26 foot camper with a queen bed at one end and triple bunks at the other  for two months to start off. Let me tell you, that was a huge challenge with three children (ages 6, 4 and baby)!! I thought I was going to go crazy! It was a nice little camper, and would’ve been wonderful for camping trips. For even close to full time living, it was not all that functional.

We did learn and grow a lot through that experience with no separate spaces for living, so I can’t completely regret it. However, I would advise anyone with children to just start off with something more like what we traded in for last week- a fifth wheel with a bunkroom! After living in a 26X7 foot camper with one pop out, a 33X8 foot fifth wheel with three pop outs seems quite spacious! It is laid out very well, and even has an extra half bath.

If you are looking at spending a lot of time in a tiny home on wheels with kids, here are some of our personal must haves after a couple of months experience of RV living with kids…

A bunk room is an absolute necessity!

We love spending time with our kids, but we need somewhere to send them. They need their own individual space (bunks personally decorated with organization for their special treasures), as well as space for their kids stuff without everyone having to walk over it. Trust me- get the bunk house!

An extra half bath!

This may not be a necessity for everyone, but it was a big deal for us. Risking TMI, but if you have a large family or small children, this feature is a lifesaver. I was literally going at least 3-4 days before being able to…umm….relieve myself, because someone was always shouting they needed to go or bashing in to wash their hands. It was already taking a toll on my health.  You can also count on the kids fighting over the bathroom or needing to pee the moment you get in the shower.Get it if you can!

Efficient use of space.

When your space is as a premium, you want every inch to be well utilized in the design of your camper. Think about what you truly need and where you can store it. Storage space under benches, sofas, beds, etc. is your friend!

A stove with an oven.

Not all campers have ovens, and I want to be able to cook just the same as if I were in a full size stationary home.

As a side note, don’t forget to figure in what you are towing with and the weight limits for it. We bought an ultra light model, because it was half ton towable. My husband drives a half ton truck, and an upgrade was not in our budget. Be sure to check the limits for your vehicle before you shop, and consider that it will weigh more fully loaded.

I never thought that I would be living in a camper, and I never thought I could be happy in such a small home with children.

We are learning a whole different way of life and a completely new perspective. I won’t pretend that it is easy. I will say that we are growing through this process. We are more adaptable than we realized, and our children are happy as long as they feel safe and loved wherever they are. Sometimes what you dream of isn’t what is best. Sometimes what is best is something you’d never considered before. I don’t know where this new path will take us, but I am confident that we will get stronger and learn more as we travel along.

Has your life ever taken a completely unexpected turn along a path you never thought to take? How did it turn out?

I will write more later about our experiences, some ways to get organized and make life easier and better in a small space, and lots of other goodies. For now, check out Seven Things You Will Miss When Living In a Camper for things I miss and Traveling With Little Riders for some handy hints!

 

 


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10 Things I Never Imagined About Being a Parent

10 Things I Never Imagined About Being a Parent

I had a lot more experience with children than many new moms do starting out.

My experiences ranged from babysitting, volunteering in the nursery and Sunday school and to help moms of young children, and even helping with my cousin who spent a lot of time with our family in his first four years and a foster child we had for about a year. However, even being prepared for most aspects of dealing with young children never prepared me for some of things about the strange and wonderful world of being a mommy!

Before I became a parent, I never imagined…

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  • Sitting on the toilet wishing I could use the bathroom in peace, but unable to be angry at being serenaded by sweet faced children belting out Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star at the top of their lungs.
  • Holding a cranky nursing baby while making an emergency run to the toilet, because setting the baby down would result in screams that would wake up the toddler who finally lost the battle with napping.
  • Showering at night with a baby in the bath seat splashing behind the water falling because I can’t trust that an older child won’t get back up and mess with the helpless little thing….again.
  • Driving to Sonic during Happy Hour because I need to get a grumpy kiddo to sleep and I don’t want to wander aimlessly around just because a car ride is his kryptonite. (We won’t mention the fact that separating one more fight or listening to one more whine fest would send me over the deep end. 😉 )
  • Spending the night camped out on the couch nearest the bathroom with a sick toddler, surrounded by plastic trash bags laid out to protect the floor and furniture while I ran her to the toilet at the first sign of gagging.
  • Uninterrupted sleep happens once in a blue moon, only when there isn’t an infant under the age of one in the house. I’m waiting another two or three years to expect to sleep fairly well again. 🙂
  • My things really do grow legs and walk away, especially if they are edible or alluringly shiny, and the legs toting them along firmly believe Mommy’s things are now known as MINE!!!
  • It takes longer to get in and our of the car to run an errand than to actually run the errand itself.
  • Being able to shower daily without a thought to how in the world I was going to manage it? That, my friends, was a luxury! I won’t say how long I sometimes go without being able to shower, since I have had two (and now three) children and my husband is a Firefighter Paramedic who works 24-72 hours at a time.
  • That these little cuties who call me Mommy can drive me to tears, make me laugh until my stomach hurts, have me ready to scream with frustration, feel like I could burst from pride, lose my mind from the incessant question and overflow with feelings of love all in the course of a normal day!

What are some unexpected things you have learned since becoming a parent? Here is something I wrote from the heart in hopes that anyone struggling will never feel alone!


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Mom’s Night Out

Moms Night Out

Looking for a fun and yet totally relatable movie for moms? You need to watch Moms Night Out!

This movie features a stay at home mom who is drowning in the exact life she always dreamed of and desperately needs a night out. Does this sound familiar to anyone out there? Me neither!  She plans a relaxing evening with her pastor’s wife and long time best friend.  What follows is utter chaos and craziness!

I don’t watch a ton of movies anymore, and most of the ones I do watch are cartoons, so this was a refreshing change of pace. This movie actually has some great messages in it, and I very much enjoyed it. It wasn’t without flaw, but it was overall a movie worth watching!

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Want to watch to get this movie for yourself? Head over and purchase it here: Moms’ Night Out!

For another favorite funny movie with a strong positive message, read all about it in Acts of Random Kindness!