Potty Training, Vomit, & Cat Poop

Since we bought the camper new, it was pretty important to us that we kept it nice.  It was going to stay pristine really.  Really.

Expectations.

We didn’t want to drill any holes in the walls, or make any permanent changes and most definitely we didn’t want to wreck anything.

Well that is just a feat all in it’s own.  You see you have to install hooks, shelves, and spice racks. So we got over it.  We screwed in screws and started making things our own.

Still we didn’t want to get it dirty with cat poop tracked in from neighboring RVers or throw up, or bathroom accidents.  Which leads me to potty training.

Our 33 month old, Eva, is not yet potty trained.  She has the super-human ability to hold her bladder and we’ve tried potty training her several times.  And I’m not talking about taking a couple days. I mean weeks at a time we’ve worked on potty training her.

Have you ever watched when a spillway of a dam is opened and they are releasing water??  Well that was kinda like little Eva’s bladder when she’d have an accident.

It became a HUGE priority to potty train her before we moved into the RV.  We took 1 week off of school so I could focus on just her and this “pee pee in the potty” thing.  I was certain we were going to get it done this time.

Expectations.

Attitudes were great.

By day 3 I hadn’t cried – yet.

BUT by the night of day 4, I was wearing thin.  Pressure.  We were running out of time.  We’d had some successes but in the end I think she just did NOT want to do it.

So day 5, I put a diaper on her.

Fast forward a few weeks.

The last night spent in our house Eva came down with a stomach bug and was throwing up every hour, sometimes less.  After moving in the camper, she still had some issues but then it spread to Zander (who was also seriously in throw up mode), then Ellie, and Eli.

So much for my pristine camper.  I slept on the floor with Zander so I could hold him over the puke bowl.  Never…have I ever…seen a 9 month old throw up!  Poor guy!

We had 1 day of peace and then I ended up with it.  Funny how things don’t turn out like you think they should.

A couple of nights ago, at the height of my misery, I told Mark that I regretted moving and I wished we were in our house again.  I may or may not have had a few tears well up and “poor me” moments.  I have to say, that was the only time that thought crossed my mind much less I verbalized it.  Now I call my whining fever-induced craziness.

At the time Mark lovingly reminding me that we’d have trials in a regular house too. Yes.  True.

Lastly Mark got hit and fared amazingly well.

All this to end with the statement that we made it.  Our little “idol”- the perfect camper, is perfect but not because it’s never been puked in, but because it’s our home and we’re together.

And yes we did have cat poop tracked in the camper yesterday.  Blasted cats!

Camper Tour – Kid’s Bunk Room

When we were shopping around for a RV, we were specifically concerned about one area.

The Kid’s Room

Really I was concerned about 2 areas.  But the kid’s bunk room became the most important area in our hunt.

Hey ya’ll we got 4 kids you know!  *smile*

Actually, I know MANY families RV with more kids than we have, but still, we really wanted them to have a nice space.

Maybe it had something to do with RVing in South Dakota during freezing winters.  Call us crazy but we really wanted a bigger space for them to stretch out in.

In the end, we chose the Sandpiper 365 SAQ.

The Bunks

There are 4 bunks, two are twin and two are full size.  For all you non-RVers, that is camper size.  Which really is a smaller odd size.

The boy’s side has a twin on top, and a full on bottom.

Underneath is a nifty storage area that had a trundle mattress stored in when it came from the factory.  We put that in the storage unit because we didn’t need it.   We replaced the mattress with 4 of those flat plastic storage boxes.

This underbed storage comes in HANDY!

We use 1 for legos and duplos, 2 for puzzles & games, & 1 for crafty things.

This is the boy’s side, Z doesn’t need his bunk since he’s still in his pack n play

The girls side has a full on top and a twin on the bottom, there is not storage under the bottom bunk because that area is used as part of the outdoor kitchen.  That bottom bunk also can be locked up to allow for extra playing space.

Back wall with storage

Hanging Storage

We love our hanging storage!  So much so, that you get to see the messy insides.

The Boys

The Girls

I’m very happy with it though, in spite of the disorganization.

For the back wall…on the bottom shelf, we put a bunch of books and the two outer net areas are for toys.

Now our BIG question!   We could really use your help and ideas.  We are NOT putting a TV in the kid’s bunk room because we are not big fans of the TV anyway.  So what would you do with this area above??

It is narrow and big enough to fit a 32″ TV.  Any ideas?

We also mounted hooks on the wall leading into the bunk room for the kids coats, one for each child.

The Bathroom

Lastly the kid’s bunk room has a bathroom.  It’s not a huge one, and we’ve hardly used it because of Z napping and not wanting to disturb him.  I do think we’ll use it more in the summertime since it leads outside.

I store our cleaning supplies on the shelf on top. It works well and is out of the way.

Truthfully, if I could, I’d trade out that bathroom for more kitchen space.  BUT that’s not an option.  I really think after being in here for a while, I’d be able to be on the design team for Forest River.

So far they aren’t calling me to find out my opinion though.  A girl can dream.

Anyway, that’s the kid’s bunkhouse of our 365 SAQ Sandpiper.  I hope to get more areas up for “viewing” in the near future.

In order to do so, I need to get over the fact that my cabinets do NOT look neat and they are not perfectly organized. I keep reminding myself that this is a process that we’ll improve on as we go.

So there you have it.  Any ideas on the TV area?  For real.

 

Combined Debt Pay-Off

This is Mark, the hubby.  I thought I would contribute a bit to the blog since we are a family and all.

 

We are doing something radical with our debt.  Actually 3 families are.  We are combining our debt and paying each others off.

My purpose in telling you this is to hopefully encourage you to do the same or something similar.

First let me introduce you to the families and the debt….

  • Mark & Julie ($9,500)
  • Gordon & Sarah ($11,000)
  • Jamie & Alicia ($40,000)

The debt above does not include mortgages…it is basically comprised of car and student loans.

The 3 families above want to be debt free (who doesn’t??), so we decided to do something radical.  We are paying off each others debts.  Our debt is combined (just on paper) and we’re paying it off.  Together.  The debt between the 3 families totals about $60,000.

Credit for this idea goes to Gordon.  Actually, I think Gordon stole the idea from the book of Acts 2:44-45 (from the Bible).

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”

How Our Combined Debt Pay Off Works

  • Each family contributes $800/month to paying towards the debt.
  • One family receives the $2,400 monthly until their debt is paid off.
  • The next family receives the $2,400 monthly until debt-free.
  • And the last family receives the $2,400 until we are completely debt-free.

Pretty simple really.  I just wanted to be clear.

We started collectively paying this debt off June, of this year.  The order the debt was paid off is in the order of the families listed above.

So ours was the first to go.  Gordon had $4,000 in savings that he contributed right away.  Jamie’s family and ours paid some extra money too and it was gone in 2 months.

Next we went to Gordon & Sarah’s.  At the time of this post, we are trackin’ to be done before the end of October.  *UPDATE* We wrote about finishing Gordon and Sarah’s debt, here.

Lastly, we will get rid of Jamie and Alicia’s.

So you might be saying, “Wow Jamie and Alicia are making out on this deal and the other families are getting hosed!

Not so fast!!!

We All Benefit From This

For starters, Jamie and Alicia are working hard doing side work (he is in construction/remodeling) and are contributing quite a chunk of extra cash.

Next, we are all getting our debt paid off sooner by doing this together.  How?  We are more disciplined to make the financial sacrifice because we’re in this together and accountable.  (without this, we’d likely be making the minimum payments)

Lastly, we get to be blessed by helping friends that we love.  Acts 20:35

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Is it hard to give $800 a month to someone else?

YES.

But not because we don’t trust each other.  It is hard because we have to make sacrifices to afford to pay that amount of money (which we will go into at a later date to offer our take on budgeting)

We have known these 2 families for just over 2 years.  We are close friends though and love Jesus!  We love each other enough to sacrifice for one another.

What we are doing is pretty out of the ordinary.

But we are ordinary people.  We like to live comfortably, eat at nice restaurants, and buy stuff.  If we can do something like this….imagine what extra-ordinary people could do!

If all goes as planned, we’ll all be debt free by next summer.

There you have it folks, but since I hate writing, I’m outta here.

Grace and Peace.

Easy Crock Pot Pumpkins with Canning on the Side

After finally figuring out how to light my camper oven…which was ridiculously simple…embarrassingly…I roasted a pumpkin.  Just one.  It took a few hours. the liquid cooked up and it heated our camper.

Problem.

I had 3 pie pumpkins leftover from my garden.  I wanted to get them taken care of because I had BIG plans for them.

My 3 Pumpkin Babies

Since it’s been unseasonably warm I wanted to avoid the oven, especially with that many pumpkins to cook.

But guess what?!  You can cook your pumpkins in the crock pot!  Yes sir-E.

The process is easy, which is slightly modified from here.

  1. Cut pumpkin in half.
  2. Scoop out seeds and fibers.
  3. Cut pumpkin up in to chunks or slices (the smaller you cut them, the more you can fit into the crock pot).
  4. Add 1/2 c. water for each pumpkin.
  5. Turn crockpot to high and let cook for 3-4 hours.
  6. Pumpkin is cooked when a fork pierces the skin easy and the “meat” is tender.

Whaa Laa!

Cooked pumpkin.

I believe my crock pot is 6-Quarts and I fit 2 1/2 of my pumpkins.  I initially filled my crock pot too full and had to take some out.  2 batches but still carefree.

I cut away the skin of mine carefully so I could cube it and can it.  I was able to get 7 pints.  And yes I canned them.

RV Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin about to go into the Canner…RV Style

I do not think I’ll be canning much in the camper.

Had I remembered that they needed to be pressure canned for 55 minutes I would not have done it.  BUT since I had already prepped my jars, and filled them I pressed on like a good girl scout.

I found instructions for canning pumpkin here, my pumpkin harvest last year was dismal but this year, inspite of the drought and my lazy watering…I got 6 from one plant.  Good enough for me!

How was canning in the Camper?

Slow

and

Hot

It took a LONG time to get the canner hot enough.  And remember the heat I was complaining about?  Ummm…yeah, we were roasting.  I should have saved the seeds from the pumpkins and just laid them out on the counter.  Could have multi-tasked.

Do any of you full-time RVers can?  Or was that something you gave up?

Mission accomplished on the canning but I may need to admit defeat.  Can’t win them all I suppose.

 

Adjustments

You know those moments where it feels like you are in a movie, or you’re living someone else’s life and you just stepped into it.  Quantum Leap but on a real and less dramatic scale?  Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way and I should just keep these thoughts to myself….but I suppose that it’s too late for that.

I’ll tell you that I had one of those moments yesterday.

I’ve been trying to keep up with bedding and putting everything in it’s rightful place.  (Bedding because V has now moved on to the diarrhea stage of her stomach bug)  Uh huh. Nasty.

It was a busy but good day.  A day trying to adjust to smaller quarters and seeing some areas in my kid’s attitudes that I needed to address since it’s staring me in the face

Mark was at our house most of the day taking care of some last minute stuff for our renters who are coming in a couple days.

The kids were missing their Dad and were asking about saying goodnight to him and I said, “When your Dad get’s home he’ll say goodnight) – weird.

Really truly.  Home.

Did I just call this camper our home?!  It didn’t seem possible.  But it is our reality.  I’m thinking I must have felt like Dr. Sam Beckett did (were he real and all), sans the whole nude entry part.

DIY Built-In Drawer Organizers

I have a problem with Pinterest.

I *heart* Pinterest.

In fact, I think my Pinterest organization board is preeeety impressive.

Anyway, I’ve been eye-ballin’ this idea for a few weeks.  Truth be told, I hounded Mark.  I think at one point he confessed his pure and complete hatred for Pinterest.

Needless to say, Mark wasn’t having it with my drawer organization wishes.  I sorta got over it and decided to NOT remind Mark to mod the drawers for the 1,283rd time.

As luck would have it, the utinsel organizer from our house was about 3 mm too big for our camper drawers!!!  Yes!

Mark even looked at buying a new organizer but couldn’t find anything that would work.  So you know what that means!!  I gots me some built-in drawer dividers!

Problem was, we couldn’t find the exact dentil molding that the DIY called for so we opted for a bigger design with fewer notches (and less ability to space them).  This is what Mark used to make our drawer dividers.

Dentil-Drawer-Dividers-Supplies

Drawer Organization DIY

So here’s how Mark modified 2 of our kitchen drawers.

Supplies

  • Locktite Power Grab glue
  • 2 8-foot dentil trim
  • 2 6-inch wide X 24-inch long wood planks (1/8″ width) (our large utensil drawer was deeper so we got the wider planks)
  • 2 4-inch height X 48-inch long wood planks (1/8″ width)

Instructions

Maybe it’s self explanatory, but cut the dentil trim to the length of the drawer.  Make sure you have your notches exactly lined up and spacing correct or you have trim in the drawer that you will not be able to slide your divider drawers into.

Attach your cut dentil trim pieces to the inside of the drawer with the Locktite Power Grab and hold for several seconds.  Attach any remaining dividers and glue with dentil, once again, ensuring that your have your notches lined up.

Cut planks the necessary length to finish the dividers and slid them into the appropriate notches.

The molding we purchased had a thicker edge on one length and is thinner and more tapered on the other edge.  Here is a close up…

Dentil-Edge-Close-Up

Tips

When Mark attached the molding, he glued it with the thinner edge down toward the bottom of the drawer.  By doing so, it created a lip which the knives would slide under.  This made getting knives out a little annoying and cumbersome so Mark put some caulking around the affected edges of that one cubby hole as you can see below on the left.

Drawer-with-caulking

He also put several strips in the draw to help secure the boards, (they were a little wiggly and he had enough molding to do so.

Mark did 2 drawers.  We were able to go from this…

Untensil-Drawer-Before dentil-drawer-organizer

To this…

Organized-Silverware-Drawer Organized-Dentil-Drawer Drawer-After-Dentil-Molding Untensil-Drawer-with-Dividers

Conclusion

Needless to say, I’m VERY happy with it!  The dividers are exactly as they need to be as far as spacing, but with this molding there are less options to reconfigure.

By doing this quick mod, I was able to use the most of the space in my utensil drawers and get rid of my utinsel jar that use to sit on my countertop.  Less wasted space.

The Cost

For 2 drawers, about $38 (Lowes….you really need to lower your prices!).

So, not nearly as cost-effective as I had hoped it would be.  BUT it was 2 drawers and he did reinforce the dentil strips with several pieces. AND given the time-crunch we weren’t able to price-compare.

In summary, I’d say my man pretty well rocks!

Day 1

We’re here…

The fridge is empty…

I can’t light the oven…

I have Z strapped to me because little V is still fighting off the stomach flu and we wanted her to catch a good nap without him crying to lay down for his.

A beautiful pie pumpkin from the garden is eye-balling me and I’m dying to cook it so we can have some pumpkin muffins.

Maybe I’ll consider it decoration

Make no mistake.  I know we are blessed.

Blessed because we’re in the final stretch.

Blessed because this process has been extremely smooth and easy.

Blessed because V seems to have passed the vomiting stage.

Blessed because of all that I have.

I think we’re coming off of the stress of all that was accomplished.  And it is wonderful!!