I Could

I could use this time to blog about how excited we are to be getting an RV.

I could also talk about our growing list of items we need/want to get for the RV and camping.

I could list off all the things I’ve bought so far, like bedding, towels and kitchen supplies.

I could also talk about the reservations we have made for future camping trips and our plans to make more reservations around the country over the next few months.

Instead, let me fill you in on the kids because I haven’t done a kid update in quite some time.

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Lili has been talking about and planning her birthday party since shortly after Christmas.  She will turn 8 the end of April and since we don’t throw big elaborate parties, it seems a bit early to be making all these plans, but she gets very excited about her birthday.

She has been taking some art classes and LOVING them.  She has had many interests, but the one consistent interest in her life has been art.  Her first class was a 3-D art class and she begins a 2-D art class next week.  I see more art classes in her future.

Once our weather gets warmer, she’ll be back in the saddle continuing her horseback riding classes, but in the meantime her art classes and gymnastics keep her plenty busy.

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Naomi is turning into quite the dancer.  She took a ballet class about 1 1/2 years ago and once the session was over, she had no desire to continue.  She now attends a class at a different dance studio and LOVES it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for the last several weeks, you know she was in a dance performance called, “Ice Queen.”    Since then, we’ve been treated to regular dance performances as she jumps and plié’s around the living room.

She too will continue riding lessons, hopefully next week (weather permitting) and also attends gymnastics once a week.

(I cannot publish photos of the boys on a public blog like this.)

We still have FS1 and FS2.  Next week they will have officially been with us 7 months and in about 6 weeks, FS2 will have been with us longer than he was with his bio dad and mom.  It’s very bittersweet.

FS1 still loves school, but has struggled to keep up with his peers, so last week I went to his school for a meeting with his teacher, speech therapist, school psychologist and school social worker.  Each of them put him thru a variety of tests and the results were not at all surprising.  While he is currently 52.5 months old, he tests as a 36 month old.  The only area he tests in his age range is in motor skills.

This isn’t uncommon for children who have come from difficult home environments, but to have this information in place is a good thing.  Now we can put an IEP in place and he can begin getting additional services to help his reach an age appropriate level.

FS1 also goes to gymnastics and keeps reminding me that he can start taking riding lessons when he turns 5.

FS2 is a busy boy.  He began walking on his 1 year birthday and hasn’t stopped since.  He likes to be on the go, is saying quite a few words, eats well, and is drinking from a sippy cup.  He does not appear to have any developmental challenges and has grown quite attached to us.

I don’t have him in any extra-curricular activities at this time, but he tags along when I take the kids to gymnastics.  He’s not the most patient spectator and I’m sure would much rather be down in the gym participating :-)

The boy’s case goes back to court in April and we hope to have a clearer picture of their future at that point.  For now, the goal is still reunification and the judge has ordered that permanency be established within a year.  The one year mark is the end of July, but since court cases are rarely scheduled less than 6 month intervals, we anticipate that the judge will schedule the next status hearing sometime in October and the boys will continue to be with us until then.

The kids are very excited about the RV and have already claimed their spots – Lili on the top bunk, Naomi on the bottom bunk, FS1 on the pull down bunk and FS2 in the pack-n-play.

The girls are assisting me as I pick out all the things we need to stock the RV and FS1 is trying to understand why we aren’t going to get the RV now :-)

Life should be enjoyed and we are certainly trying to do just that.

 

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Only One More Step to Go

On Friday,  we drove up to Rosemont, IL to attend the Chicago RV and Camping Show.  We arrived at the convention center late in the afternoon and began looking at RV’s.  Fortunately, we walked into the show knowing exactly what features we wanted.  No need to step into each of the hundreds of RV’s set up there.  Not that we didn’t take a peek at some of the others on the floor, but we were on a mission and our goal was to see only those RV’s that fit our criteria.

As we looked, I took pictures and made notes so hubby and I could discuss the pros and cons of the ones we were most interested in seeing again.  Back at the hotel that evening, I went through the pictures and notes as we discussed the pros and cons of each.  By morning, we weren’t completely sure we had made up our minds and our plan was to go back to the RV show and look some more.

Then something happened at the hotel that made up our mind for us.  By the time we got back the show, we knew which RV we wanted to buy and only had a few more questions to be answered before making our decision final.

We had two choices of dealerships and made our way to the one on the top of the list.  The dealership is closest to our home and we will need to have our RV serviced and repairs made from time-to-time, so this was an important factor.  As we entered the RV of interest, a gentleman we had met the previous day walked up.

Craig, the man from the previous day, was from the RV manufacturing company and had answered some of our questions.  Now we had more questions and he was there to answer  them.  For about 30 minutes, he gave us information and we were even more sure that this was the RV for us.

We met with the sales rep and began haggling over the price.

Then we left and went to talk to the sales rep from another dealership who was selling the same RV and got their best price.

Then it was back to the first dealership.   By the time we left the RV show, we had paperwork completed for THIS RV from the dealership closest to us.

It is a Georgetown 364TS by River Forest.

It is a bunk house model which also has 2 bathrooms.  The 2 bathrooms was the deciding factor for us since that morning at the hotel both girls were trying to break into the bathroom within a few seconds of me going in to use the bathroom.  Two bathrooms with 6 camping made the most sense :-)

Another thing we liked was the residential fridge.

Ours will have a Champaign finish and pebble interior.

This becomes our second home.  Our vacation home.  It’s not the most elaborate Class A RV on the market, but it felt roomy and homey.  Just what we want in a vacation home.

While it certainly isn’t everyone’s idea of camping, we have plans that make this the best choice for our family.

Now I begin making my list of all the things we will need to stock our new home on wheels.  We have 4-8 weeks before our new home arrives, so let the shopping begin.

 

 

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Oh The Places We’ll Go!

Once we made the decision to purchase a RV, I very quickly set a goal of camping in each of the 48 contiguous states.  Camping in a Wal-Mart parking lot does not count, so I’ve been making a state-by-state list of campgrounds recommended by other campers.

When we camped so many years ago, our camping trips were mostly spent on the Washington coast or in the mountains.  The coast was, by far, my favorite camp location.  Getting up in the morning and walking out to the sight of the ocean was awesome!  It was like our own little beach front resort.

I look forward to finding other campgrounds around the U.S. where I can wake up to see the ocean

“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

 

and the next time a view of the mountains.

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

 

Fishing at a campground lake

“Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. Oh! The places you’ll

 

or hiking on trail thru the woods at another campground.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

 

There are so many beautiful places to see, but finding campgrounds that are safe and clean is a high priority for my family.

If you have any campground recommendations, please send them my way.  I would love to add them to my list of potential camping spots.

Oh the places we’ll go!!!!

 

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My First Camping Experience

My first camping experience was about 25 years ago.  Hubby and I purchased a large tent, packed everything in our mini van and headed to the Washington coast to meet up with a group of friends.

I have a lot of fond memories from that trip and for some reason, the one thing that stands out more than the others, is the big pot of stew that one of our fellow campers cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven over our campfire.

 

There have been many times over the years that I’ve thought of that camping trip, the fire, and that wonderful stew and as I’ve thought about our future adventures in camping, I’ve become more and more obsessed about learning the art of Dutch oven cooking.  I’ve even begun to make my list of the cast iron Dutch ovens and supplies I want to purchase.

I dream of creating wonderful campfire meals for my family.  Like lasagna.

Maybe a peach cobbler for dessert.

A breakfast casserole to start out our day.

Ending the day with a yummy chicken and dumplings.

The meals I will be able to prepare for my family are endless – chili, stew, cinnamon rolls, chicken and vegetables, pot pie, monkey bread, sausage and potatoes . . . . . . .

In some ways, spending more time outdoors and enjoying nature while cooking over an open fire will give us a small, yet delicious taste of that homesteading lifestyle we have dreamed of living.

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Debbie, Debbie Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

With flowers and herbs and peppers

And many varieties of tomato.

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That’s not all we will be planting this year, but that is what we have started so far.

We also had to put our seedling stand elsewhere in the house.  Year 1 we tried it in the basement.  It was a wonderful learning experience and we learned that we won’t try to start seedlings in the basement again.  Last year we put the seedlings in  front of our slider which is on the west side of the house.  They did awesome!!!  This year it is in our bedroom by a south facing window.  While I would rather have them by the slider again, they would be exposed to a dangerous condition in our home known as FS2 :-)  He is full of curiosity and I’m quite sure many of the seedlings would meet their untimely death as my little guy enjoyed playing in the dirt.  So this year they will take up residence in our bedroom and I think they’ll do just fine there.

It’s always exciting to begin the gardening season and the girls love helping.  All the small pots are flowers and herbs Lili and Naomi planted.  Next weekend we’ll get more started as I really want to stagger the planting this year so we don’t have everything producing at once.

I tried my hand at some root vegetables this fall, but planted them too late in the year.  I’m going to try putting a few out in early spring to see if I have any luck, so we’re only a few short weeks away from putting seeds in the ground outside.

Hubby also bought a package of Ethiopian brown pepper seeds.  This is a pepper variety we’ve never grown before and he is excited to try something new.

Fingers crossed that we have a little less rain and a little more heat this year.  Last year just wasn’t great for our tomatoes and I want to good crop for canning.  Plus, we want to take some good garden produce on our camping trips this year.  Nothing like a grilled hamburger with a fresh garden tomato :-)

 

 

 

 

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On the Way to the Dream

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RVing and Living the Homestead Dream

While our upcoming RV adventure is exciting, there is still a big part of me that can’t let go of living our homesteading dream.

What if we were to tow a chicken coop with some chickens for fresh eggs every morning?  Of course it’s doubtful chickens would lay eggs in a coop traveling down the Interstate :-)

Maybe some goats in a towable goat barn for fresh milk every day?  Wonder what other campers would think seeing the crazy goat lady out milking her goats every morning?  LOL!

I’m just not sure how to live the RV and homestead lifestyle without one or the other suffering from neglect.  Then yesterday I came across a very intriguing lifestyle that combines RVing and homesteading in a way I never considered.

Here is the story of Davad Ekip . . . . .

RVs are for those who love and want to see their country. If you’re going to build tiny houses, intentional neighborhoods or communities, or if you want to homestead and just pursue your family dream, an RV is a good way to start the search that leads to the adventure. Here’s my story. I was actually born to a family of five… Making me family member number six. My birth was in a 20′ camper, that’s less than 160 square feet. Does that qualify? Since then, I’ve owned RVs of every sort, from tents, vans and pop-ups to converted busses, and everything in between. Of course I’ve owned a few houses along the way, both small… 1200 sq feet to large, about 4,000 sq feet.

After going full time in my RV a couple of years ago, I was invited to do a television show by one of the greatest TV production companies in the industry. Now, I’m a year into the shoot as we continue to shoot episodes around vintage RVs.

We will soon begin a thirty thousand mile trip as a nomadic city, with thirty or more vintage motorhomes. This city will include a council, school, stores, restaurant, a mobile greenhouse garden, work and repair shops, and of course the families to populate and run the town, all living in RVs. This will be a well produced and really cool show about lifestyle on the highways, which will air on a major network later this year.

This group of nomads, will be acquiring land all across the U.S. of A. Why you ask? To first build log homes, between 400-800 sq feet in size. Next we will begin to build more modern homes of the same size, but with the latest greatest materials and technology available. Close to these tiny house neighborhoods, we will construct tiny towns, to seed a different mindset of community and health, through organic gardening, local food production and mom and pop businesses. Now, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We will be followed by this TV crew, and produce episodes of our endeavors, while we stream live over the Internet, to allow a day to day following to develop. Some of the interest the show includes, are, various artist, builders, musicians and a band of philanthropist and do-gooders (cause the world can always use more do-golfers) to help spread the joy. As this band of GypSetter Nomads travel the USA building and promoting a more wholesome and endearing lifestyle, they will conceal an undisclosed (for TV purposes) agenda.

Connect with us while we’re still shooting the restoration phase and learn more. See how you can help change the future for the better, while having a blast and living the ultimate lifestyle.

Check out our current FB page “GypsyMoCo“. Who knows, you may even want to grab a vintage RV and tag along. Let’s go build cool stuff together and change the future.

http://www.gypsymoco.com/

 

I absolutely love this idea!!!!!!!  It’s a modern day version of our ancestors traveling across the country, building homes and creating small self-sufficient towns along the way.

Our plans don’t always work out the way we have envisioned them.  Maybe, just maybe, our RV adventure will lead us to the homestead lifestyle we want.  The two lifestyles combining into one great big wonderful adventure!

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