📣Calling all carnivores!! It’s time for our annual 🍔MEATFEST 🥩celebration with friends! 👏 We’ve planned for this weekend-long event all year long and it’s finally here! Join us in Wisconsin for food, Fun, and FRIENDS as we enjoy a weekend’s worth of delicious meat and good times!!🎉

 

If you enjoy today’s video, PLEASE, give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends!  We’d love for you to join us in the pursuit of Doing Life Deliberately!  If you haven’t already, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel (click the SUBSCRIBE button and the little bell next to it to be alerted every time we release a new video)!  We look forward to sharing this journey with YOU!

Advertisements

RV Living full time has its highs and lows! Trisha and the kids share their TOP FIVE Pros and Cons of full time RV living in this video! Our fun family is keeping it real (with lots of laughter) about the good and the bad of full time RV living. (Stay tuned to the end for some fun bloopers!😉)

It’s been ONE full year of living in a RV!! This week, Joe shares some of the things he has discovered to make life more efficient, comfortable and fun while living in a RV.   You can click on the images below to go to Amazon and learn more about each of the items mentioned in the video. (*These are affiliate links. If you should choose to make a purchase, a small percentage will be forwarded to Doing Life Deliberately at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

 #10: an Electric Kettle

We never considered the need of an electric kettle prior to RV, but this little gadget has been awesome!  We use it every morning for making our pour over coffee.  And we it to boil water for pasta, hard boiled eggs, etc.  It works much more quickly than using the gas stove top and keeps us from going through propane too quickly!

#9: a Large Level

We use our level every time we setup the travel trailer!  We can either lay it horizontally across the tongue of the trailer to level side to side OR we will use it vertically on the side of the trailer to adjust the leveling blocks from side to side.  Joe also uses the level to make sure that his smoker is laying flat when grilling the perfect cut of meat!

#8: Work Gloves

After tearing down and setting up our travel trailer a few times, it was painfully obvious that we needed good work gloves!  Grease, oil, dirt and grime are all par for the course as RVers- so if you want to keep your hands clean, a good pair of work gloves is definitely worth the small investment!

#7: Curved Levelers with Chocks

Santa brought these levelers for Christmas and it was one of the best presents ever!!  The grown-up Lego leveling blocks we were using to level our trailer were JUNK!!  They are cheap, but not the most user friendly.  Over time, they get crushed and no longer snap together.  This means it takes even longer to level the trailer than usual.  With these curved levelers, it is a smooth ramp up to a level platform and the gray chocks slip right behind/under them to hold the trailer at the right height.  You NEED these!  They are awesome!

#6: VIAIR Portable Air Compressor

This air compressor is PEACE OF MIND.  This convenient air compressor connects to your RV or car battery so that you never have to worry about your tires having low air pressure.  This is also a great tool for keeping bike tires and balls inflated and ready to use anywhere!

 #5: Midland GXT Walkie Talkies

We LOVE these walkie talkies!  They make setup and tear down of the travel trailer a smooth process.  Backing into campsites or pulling through tight spots is easy.  It is common to hear couples shouting at each other in frustration through these different scenarios (all the memes attest to it!).  But with these walkie talkies, we can not only communicate with ease, but our kids can also keep in touch with us as they head to the shower house, camp store or playground.

#4: Plantronics Advanced NC Bluetooth Headset

Joe recently purchased this headset when co-workers complained that they couldn’t hear him over the background noise at a coffee shop.  It was well worth the money spent!  Whether in a coffee shop, outside when it’s windy or with kids in the background, this headset cancels background noise and makes it easy to communicate regardless of your environment.  This is also great for taking business calls when driving.

#3: Zero Gravity Lawn Chairs

One of the things Joe misses most about a sticks-and-bricks home is his La-Z-Boy recliner!  We don’t have recliners in our RV.  But with these zero gravity lawn chairs we have another space where we can kick up our feet, relax and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.   These definitely make RVing more enjoyable!

#2: Cradlepoint Wireless Router

This Cradlepoint Wireless Router has been a God-send for us on the road!  It accepts up to two sim cards from different wireless companies so that you can access the internet in most places.  When our cell signal is lacking, we can slip the sim cards from our cell phones into the Cradlepoint and it will boost the signal to give us better reception.  From that point, we can make voice-over-internet calls.  And if our AT&T service is lacking in an area, we can use a pay-by-month sim card from Verizon to get a signal in most places.  Of course, there are areas where no service will work.  But this Cradlepoint Wireless Router has been of great benefit to us in areas where our cell coverage would otherwise be very weak.

And finally…. #1: Weber Smokey Mountain

Anyone who knows Joe well knows that he LOVES to smoke meat!  This Weber Smokey Mountain fits convienently in our outdoor kitchen (we replaced our outdoor fridge with the smoker).  We use it about every other week to smoke large cuts of meat that we will then consume over the next week.  It’s a delicious way to feed the family while traveling full time!

 

Again, if you are interested in any of these items, click the picture to access the Amazon affiliate link.  We hope these items will make your RVing experience as enjoyable as it has made ours!

We’re celebrating ONE YEAR of full time RV living with a new video series: RV Crazy?!?!  Our first video, How to Tear Down and Setup a Travel Trailer, takes you through the process we go through every time we change locations.  We’ll give you tips and tricks to make the process go smoother and  show you how we involve the kids.  Whether you are curious as to how it works, are new to RVing or just want tips to make the process go smoother, we hope you’ll enjoy this week’s video!

Our opportunity to explore Florida may not have worked out the way we planned, but our mission was still accomplished.  In this week’s video, we travel to the Destin, Florida, area and enjoy a plethora of beautiful state parks!  The beaches of the Florida panhandle are known as the Emerald Coast for their beautiful turquoise waters and powdery white sand beaches- just gorgeous.

Sometimes things DO NOT go according to plan.  No one plans to stay at an RV Park where a dead body is discovered.  But that is exactly what happened when we parked our travel trailer in a cute, little Brevard County campground in Melbourne, FL.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and Joe stayed with the kids while I went to a nearby Starbucks to do some video editing.   Suddenly, I get a text from my beloved husband describing how police are searching an RV behind us and questioning the neighbors regarding a badly decomposed body they found in the abandoned 5th wheel. Well, if you want to know the rest of the story, you’ll have to tune into this week’s video (Click HERE to watch).  But let’s just say, I hope this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Beyond the unfortunate experience of police forensics in our “backyard,” our time in Melbourne and Titusville, FL was filled with New Year’s traditions and exploring our winter haven.  It’s fun to explore a new climate and landscape!  We hope you will join in on the the real fun of RV living by tuning into our latest episode.

 

Izzy on KindleJoe and I LOVE books. If there is anything I am tempted to hoard, it’s books. I love getting lost in a good story and learning new things from the experience of others. I even love the smell of books- I’m a NERD that way.   And no one can dispute the value of books from a learning standpoint.  As we have learned about our nation’s founding fathers, a common thread among their stories was how much they treasured the wealth of knowledge found in books and regularly sought out ways to borrow, purchase and acquire them.

Unfortunately, when you live in an RV, van, skoolie, or travel trailer, books are not really your friend.  A plethora of volumes will quickly weigh a rig down and make driving conditions unsafe. This is particularly a challenge for roadschoolers using book-based curriculums. Multiply that by our FOUR kids, and you can imagine what a dilemma that poses for our family.  You can imagine the inner struggle I have: I want to have books. I want my kids to LOVE books. But we really can’t afford to have the weight of books in our traveling tiny home.

So what do we do???

We have had to come up with some creative solutions to our book problem:

  • We enjoy stopping at Half Price books and other used book stores to browse books. At theses stores, we can return used books (for a teeny, tiny commission/credit) and buy new books. So far, we still have more books on hand than we should (weight-wise), but this helps keep “real” books in the hands of the kids so that they are not on screens all. the. time.
  • Libraries tend to have a “Friends of the Library” section where they fundraise by selling older books for very cheap. All of us enjoy browsing through these sections as we visit libraries to do our schoolwork.
  • A lot of campgrounds and neighborhoods have “take one, leave one” libraries. This is a great way to off-load old books that others can enjoy, while giving us an opportunity to scope out new reading possibilities.
  • Each of our kids has their own Kindle Fire on which they can read books. We like Kindles because they have great parental controls (monitoring time spent on the device and the content they can access) and a free reading app that is accessible on virtually every device.  Not only do the kids have access to great books they can read and listen to, but they can also play games and download movies to watch. If you’d like access to kid-friendly games and activities (especially great for entertainment while traveling!), you can enjoy an Amazon FreeTime Unlimited free 30 day trial by clicking the link below.  If you choose to continue once the trial period ends, it costs only $3 a month for one individual plan.

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Free Trial

  • Kindle offers many free books which the kids can enjoy. There are SO MANY classics accessible to the kids to download for free!!  (Did I mention FREE?) Kindle also offers an “unlimitied” program, which allows you to read as many books as you want for one low monthly price.  You can click the link to learn more.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

  • We listen to books on Audible. Again, I have one account that is accessible to all of the kids. We enjoy listening to books together as a family when we are driving. Or if the kids like, they can attach their headphones and listen on their own device to the book of their choosing.  Audible is running a special right now that gives you an opportunity to try it out for your next roadtrip FREE!!

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

  • We can check out books through our public library’s ebook lending library. 3MCloud, Overdrive and Hoopla are popular apps that libraries use to disperse eBooks to their patrons. The kids have these apps downloaded onto their Kindles and can check out new books for free.  Check with your home library to see what apps they employ.

IMG_0771The good news: whether you love the idea of eBooks and audio books, or prefer the joy of holding a bound volume in your hand, there are options!  All it takes is a little creativity.

If you would like to check out Kindles for yourself, I’ve provided clickable links below to see some of the different Kindle options available.  Amazon is currently offering some great deals on Kindle packages for Valentines Day!

Fire Tablet 3-Packs: Starting at $109.97

2-Pack Kids Edition Tablets: Starting at $149.98

And if you already own a Kindle Fire, but find it is outdated and not working as well as it should, Amazon is offering a great “upgrade” deal (click the link below):

Fire Tablets: 25% off Trade-in + Amazon Gift Card

How does your family approach the conundrum of books and nomadic life? If you have other ideas/options, PLEASE, share them in the comments below!

Keep Doing Life Deliberately,

Trisha

***This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated should you choose to make a purchase by clicking through our links.  This does not cost you, the consumer, anything extra and helps us to continue bringing you quality content.  Thank you for your support!😊

 

Approaching home education with purpose and meaning is a challenge.  There are so many choices to be made: curriculum, time management, extra curricular activities, education methods, field trips, social activities and the list goes on and on….  One of the most important decisions that parents will make in their approach to homeschool/roadschool is how to govern their time.

img_0152Roadschool comes with its own unique set of predicaments.  Chief among those difficulties: keeping school moving in a forward progression with an irregular schedule.  When your home is constantly being torn down, relocated and set up again, how does anyone conduct a “normal” schedule?

Well, we’ve only been doing this roadschool thing for about 8 months.  But, I have come to the realization that keeping a roadschool schedule is not that different than the homeschool schedule we have employed for the last few years (with a few necessary tweaks).

Before I create a schedule for our family, my first item of business is to identify our priorities.  I do this by asking questions like:

  • What activities are most important to our family life? (ex. family devotions, youth group or clubs, exercise, etc.)
  • What areas are we weak and  need to grow in? (ex. needing to eat healthier means leaving time to prepare healthy meals)
  • What areas have been neglected that we need to carve out time for? (ex. making sure the kids are bathing regularly- just keeping it real, peeps.)

Next, I consider family needs:

  • Are there regular activities that we need to carve out time for? (example: naps for babies, laundry, or piano lessons)
  • Are their shared items that require a rotating schedule for the kids? (example: do they share books, a computer or a piano for music lessons?)
  • Do mom and dad have shared resources that will require adjustments in the schedule? (example: do mom and dad share a vehicle that will require dropping one parent off at work or only allow for activities on certain days?)

Then, I make a time grid, either on notebook paper or on a computer spreadsheet and begin filling in the priorities, followed by specific needs.  Here’s how my/our schedule shaped up for this year:

Kid’s Daily Schedule
7AM wake up- get dressed, make bed, clean up bunk house
7:30AM breakfast/family devotions
8AM family work out (hike/bike/circuit train/etc.)
10AM go to school destination (library/Chick-fil-a), eat a snack
10:30AM all kids do MATH, 
11:30AM All kids work on Monarch assignments
12:30PM LUNCH
1PM Continue Monarch Assignments
3PM Mom meeting (H-Mon, S- Tues, G- Wed., I- Fri)
4PM Make corrections in Monarch & Teaching Textbooks, Complete Projects
5PM Leisure Screen Time (IF schoolwork is done & room is clean)
6PM Dinner
6:30PM Clean up/dishes
7PM  Showers (H- Mon & Fri, S- Tues & Sat., G- Mon & Fri, I- Tues & Sat)
 & pack school bags for next day
8:30PM Get dressed for bed & brush teeth
8:50PM into bed
9PM  lights out Gideon and Izzy
9:30 PM lights out Sarah
10PM lights out Hannah

You may notice that I have allowed two and a half hours each school day for a family workout.  This was my way of addressing our need to excercise AND allowing time to explore varying destinations as we travel.  Yes, we still have time on the weekend to spend a day or two exploring as a family, but this gives us daily chunks of time to take a bike ride, go for a hike, etc. (If you would like to see a glimpse of our first year of roadschooling, click here to watch our video, “Dear Kids: an Open Letter About Our First Year of Full Time RVing”)

Some people will look at this and feel it is hyperscheduling the day.  I have actually made much more detailed schedules in the past (when you are teaching 4 different kids, in 4 different grades, in multiple subjects, it can get complicated FAST)!  But my kids have responded REALLY well to having structure.  They know what is expected of them and when it is expected.  A couple of them have even thanked me for making a schedule for them (and that’s a big deal coming from kids 14 and under)!

Whenever I create a new schedule, I try to hold us to it for a 2-3 weeks before we lax and deviate.  It takes a while for everyone to adapt to a new way of doing things, so it can take some time to discern if the schedule is working for us, or if we are working for the schedule.  Sometimes, I can tell right away that we need to make adjustments.  But once in a while, it takes time to recognize a bad day versus a problem with the schedule.

Whether we choose to homeschool year round or subscribe to a traditional calendar school year (we have done both), our family typically does school 4 days a week and uses one day as a “catch up” day.  Now that we are traveling full time, we are using that “catch-up” day as our travel day.  Ideally, we only travel one day a week, since it is time consuming to tear down, travel and set up again.  The kids will have to do homework on the weekend if they are unable to complete their assignments on the regular school days or our travel day.

I hope that my method for scheduling homeschool/roadschool can be helpful to your family! If it is, please like this post by clicking the “like” button below and sharing it with your friends.  If you have any questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave them in the comments below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

Keep Doing Life Deliberately!

Trisha