Four Feet too Short….

We made it to Canada without any major issues – yay!  We were able to get on the road by 2:30am and arrived at the campground around 1:30pm.  We set up the trailer only to find the electric hook up was over 50 feet away.  We had a long 15 amp extension cord that we were able to hook up to using our adapter, however as soon as we turned on the air conditioner it blew the circuit.

Going without A/C was not an option – it was a sauna in the trailer.

We had to find a 30amp extension cord – apparently not an easy task!  We eventually found one at an RV dealership.  As it turns out they are not only hard to find but are fairly expensive too – and by fairly I mean very!  We opted for the 25foot one for $75, rather than the 50foot one for $140.  When we got back to the campsite and hooked it up we found out it was about 4feet too short.  No biggie, we figured we’d just move the trailer up a couple feet, except that it turned out we had blown a fuse too and couldn’t lower the hitch.  So back in the truck we climbed and off we went in search of a fuse.  It was around 9pm by the time we finally got everything working properly and in the right place!  By that point we had spent about 19 hours in the truck and we were all a little punchy.

It could only get better from there and it did.  We had a wonderful time with friends and family at the Milk Monkey’s baby dedication.  It was so nice to be able to share that day with everyone.  The next day we celebrated the Princess’s 5th birthday and the Milk Monkey’s 1st birthday with all our friends and family too.  It was a great weekend…I’m so thankful to everyone who took the time to be with us during this special weekend.  We thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone!  I wish we could do that more often!

We put the extra big sink in the trailer to good use!

The Night Before Canada…

I’m exhausted!

If you ever want a good work out, spend the day packing a trailer!!  My body hurts all over…especially my legs!  That first step up to the trailer is so high, it’s like a lunge every time.

We had most of the trailer packed and ready to go, but there’s always the last few things…which turn into a few more things and even a few more.

Now, we are packed!

Since we’re leaving in the middle of the night, we decided to sleep the first part of the night in the trailer, that way we don’t have to bring all our bedding out at 2am.  We really, really need to get bedding and pillows just for the trailer!!  At the moment everyone is asleep except me.  Daddy went to sleep at 8, so that he’ll be rested while driving through the night.  On a long trip like this – 9 to 10 hours – we try to do a good portion of it during the night so the kids can sleep.  That way we don’t have to stop as often.

I really enjoy long trips in the car, especially with my wonderful husband.  We talk and laugh – it’s usually the gasping for breath with tears rolling down my cheeks kind of laughing.  We eat sandwiches and snacks and drink coffee.  While the kids are sleeping we quietly listen to music, usually something that my amazingly patient husband has to suffer through – this time it’ll be songs from the show Smash…yay!!  I usually end up playing a game or two on my laptop, read my kindle and I always, always spend time texting my friend Superwomen!!! She’s the best!  

What I do not do is drive.  That’s better left to Daddy.  He prefers to do it, I prefer to let him – especially now with the trailer.

I look forward to the long drives, especially the ones to Canada!  It’s always a nice feeling knowing that I’m heading home to see my friends and family.  This time is even more special because we are having the Milk Monkey’s baby dedication.  I have family travelling from all over so they can attend.  It’ll be so nice to see everyone.  I’m so excited!!!

I guess I should try to get a little sleep before we leave!

Soccer Pics and Solar Panels…

Our weekend went like this…

Saturday morning the kids had soccer pictures so they had to be at the field half an hour earlier than usual looking their best.  The Little Professor and I had been talking about cutting his hair, it had grown too long and he doesn’t like it when I style it for him.

He says I make it stick up too high.

I say it sticks up because it’s too long.

We both agree keeping it short is the way to go.

We decided to cut it last minute, so that put us behind in our schedule.  With a lot of rushing we were able to make it to the field on time.  I gave strict warnings not to get dirty.

No running around and no digging in the dirt…just stay clean until the pictures are taken!

That didn’t last long…the Princess was all over the place, rolling around in the grass and digging in the dirt.  When I reminded her of the no dirt rule she responded…”It’s not dirt Mummy, it’s sand!”  Then the Professor came running over with pieces of grass all over him, all sweaty and flushed and something on his shirt.  Apparently, one of the other boys was throwing grass and a blade landed in his mouth which made him throw up…on his shirt.   I guess all those times I told him not to put grass in his mouth because dogs pee on it really made an impression on him.  Thank goodness for baby wipes!!!

I managed to get both of them clean and you can’t even tell in the pictures.

    

The rest of Saturday and most of Sunday was spent shopping and packing for our first big vacation with the trailer.  We’ll be driving all the way to Canada (10 hours) for the Milk Monkey’s baby dedication.  There was a lot of eye rolling and sighing going on at the stores.  It makes for a very distracting shopping trip and as a result we ended up going to 3 different Walmarts in one weekend.  Not fun!  One of those times we came across a travel trailer in the parking lot.  The owners had unhooked it and were off somewhere.  It had what looked like a solar panel propped up on the ground charging the battery.  Super cool!!!  It left us full of questions.  Did Walmart mind that they had unhooked and left it unattended?  I wonder why they did that?  Where did they get the cool solar panel?

I needed to know!

So I found a scrap of paper and left them a little note and put my email address on it.  We tucked it into the door handle to their trailer.  I don’t know if they’ll get it, they should, and if they do I’m not sure if they’ll email us back but it was worth a try!  If they do, I’ll let you know!

Later…back at the trailer…

    

We started packing our things.  I also put down some of that rubbery shelf lining to try to keep things from moving while the trailer is on the move.  Meanwhile, Daddy un-boxed his new smoker/bbq –it was a late birthday gift– for travelling.  It turns out it’s too big to fit in the storage compartment of the trailer.  That won’t stop him!  He’ll find a place for it.  He’s pretty excited to smoke something…I think it’ll be ribs first!

Fare Thee Well…

I love it when I can give my children the opportunity for some hands-on learning.  To say we had that chance this weekend is an understatement.  We took a visit to my favourite place – Plymouth.  I just love it there, it’s so beautiful by the ocean with it’s relaxed atmosphere and it’s significance in history.  Usually when we spend the day there it’s all about the scenery but this time we were there to visit Plimoth Plantation.  What an awesome place!

We started the day learning about the Wompanoag people.  We were warmly greeted at their homesite and they willingly answered all the questions the kids threw at them.  They explained how their people use to live back in the 1600’s.  All the information was so interesting and it was amazing to see my children eagerly learning the history of their country.

 

 

We learned about their Wetu’s, the Wompanoag homes and were invited in to experience what it was like.  The Princess wanted to know how the beds were made…she was fascinated by the animal furs spread out everywhere and wanted to feel each one.

We tried to guess which animal each fur belonged to.

The Little Professor was impressed by the process in which the mishoons (the Wompanoag word for boat) were made.  They used fire to hollow out a tree.  They would light a fire and let it burn then dig out the burnt wood and coals, then they’d restart the process over and over again.  We were told that if they were to work on the mishoon 24 hours a day, without stopping, they could have one completed in a week however it takes them about 3 months to complete one at the plantation.

                                    

The thing I found the most interesting at the Wompanoag homesite were their dolls.  They were made without faces for a few different reasons.   One being that the beauty in the doll was in the craftsmanship, the Wompanoag people did not feel they needed faces to be beautiful.  The other reason – the one I really loved – was that since the dolls did not have faces they couldn’t say that one doll was more beautiful than the other, they were all pretty because of what they were and not because of their faces.  The lesson to the children being that everyone is beautiful and not because of how they look but because of who they are.  It’s not our faces that make us special.  What a wonderful and important lesson for children to learn – so many adults need to learn that lesson too!!

 

We eventually made our way to the 17th-Century English Village to learn about the lives of the Plymouth Colonists.  This area was a lot of fun because it’s a re-creation of the small pilgrim community.  We were able to wander about the village, enter the houses and touch everything.  The kids really liked being able to sit in the chairs and handle different items while they talked to the various Pilgrims who responded to all their questions as though they really were the Colonists from 1627.  It helped the kids get lost in the history and really become a part of it.

                     

They asked many questions like:

What responsibilities would I have if I was part of the Colony?

How do you wash your clothes?

Do you make your own clothes?

Do you have a pet cat? – that one was the Princess of course!

Where do the children sleep?

What are you growing in your garden?

Can you read and does the average woman know how to read?

…and many, many others.  I was amazed the “Pilgrims” never broke character once, even with all the questions!

 

On our way out we stopped by the Patuxet Cafe and bought some uniquely prepared dishes from the 17th-century to try.  We shared Succotash, Indian Pudding, 17th-Century cheesecake and Stewed Pompion between us.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the meat in the Succotash was that of the rabbit we saw cooking over the fire at the Wampatoag Homesite.  Trying the foods made us want to try cooking some of the recipes found on their website.  Completely unrelated – it made me want to cook over the open fire next time we go camping!  It won’t be freshly caught rabbit!! 

It was amazing to watch the children thoroughly enjoying history.  It lit a fire in me to make a bigger effort towards the hands-on learning we wanted the kids to experience with their homeschooling.  We will be returning to the Plantation soon – we bought a membership for the year.  The Princess and the Professor have already thought up more questions they want to ask!

We need this pile of wood for camping!!

A picture to add to my Brave Birds of Plymouth collection!

Daddy Says… Camping Gear

Unfortunately our schedule has kept us from camping the past couple of weeks. So, to make up for it, this weekend we spent some time shopping for some gear to use while camping. Each time we go camping we find that there are things that we could use to improve our camping experience, so Mummy has been making a list on her iPhone.  The list includes some of things we just didn’t think of before we got out there; a laundry basket, a small axe, flashlights – and a shovel that could kill a pig (as seen on Doomsday Preppers) among others. We didn’t get everything on this trip, but we did find at least a few items.

Some decorative lights to hang along the awning:

Some solar powered pathway lights to help light up our campsite at night:

We also bought a few less exciting items including a dustpan and broom, a citronella candle to keep away the mosquitoes and some sunscreen.  The point being that even when we’re not camping, we’re thinking about it and planning ahead for when we will be.  There are a lot of places we’re really excited to go to, and amazing things to see along the way.  It may take little more time then we would like, but one day we will be out on the road full time, and we’re going to want to have all the little things ironed out before we go.  In some ways, we can look at these local camping trips as our practice runs for the biggest adventure yet to come.

How the Trailer Came About…

Trailer post 6

In the few times we’ve been camping we have had a lot of people compliment us on our trailer.  So many have stopped by our site to ask about all the features.  It gets me giddy every time!  We spent many years researching which RV we wanted to buy, a lot of thought and effort was put into our decision, so when more seasoned campers appreciate those very features, it feels like a big pat on our backs.

Today I’m going to take you on a pictorial tour of our trailer and explain a little about how we went about buying it.  Hopefully, I’ll light a tiny little fire in the hearts of some of  you out there and for others make a dream a little more realistic.

I grew up doing a lot of camping.  When I was really little my parents would take us camping in a tent.  Eventually my mother must have come to the same decision as myself and realized camping would be much more relaxing in a trailer.  I’m not sure exactly how it came about but my parents bought a little travel trailer.  I only vaguely remember it but those few, foggy memories are fond ones.  It had bunks and and a little sink and a tiny little bathroom we never used.  I’m not sure how many years we had it for but eventually my parents sold it.  Eventually my parents bought a tent trailer (pop-up trailer).  This time there wasn’t a bathroom at all, but the beds were big and comfy and there was a lot more space then the tiny trailer.  It was a very cozy way to camp.

To be honest, I don’t even remember when Daddy and I started thinking about getting some sort of RV.  I think it just gradually came to us around the same time we were thinking about homeschooling.  The idea of taking the children on the road for some hands on learning really appealed to us.  At first it was a just one of those “If only…” dreams.  We would talk about it a lot, but it was always far off in the distance.  It was around the time when we were in the process of trading in our Civic, for a minivan, and that in itself was a huge stretch on our budget.  We would spend time daydreaming together about all the wonderful adventures we’d have in our RV one day.  By that point we knew it would happen, it was just way off in the future. I never want to forgot those moments because the “One day, when we…” dreams are so sweet and yummy.  I want to hold on to them forever and watch as they take fruition in our lives!

As it turned, way off in the future was a lot closer than we could have imagined.  On a whim, we decided to stop by a Fifth Wheel dealership and look around.  We still weren’t sure about all the different types of RV’s available but we did know about Fifth Wheels and they were definitely not something we were planning to get, or at least that was how we felt until we actually toured one.  We were blown away by all the space and comforts!  Wow, we fell in love instantly and decided a Fifth Wheel was exactly what we needed!  We were also impressed with the price tag too.  It was still way out of budget, but it did bring our dreams a little closer.  As it turned out there was an RV show going on and the sales people gave us free tickets to go check it out.  So we did.   That was the beginning of our journey in making our dreams a reality.  That day we also decided we definitely wanted a Motorhome and a C-Class, and a Travel Trailer, our decision kept changing with every new RV we walked through.

If you are interested in purchasing an RV, I highly recommend going to an RV show.  If you are not interested in buying an RV, I still highly recommend going to an RV show!  It’s an incredible experience.  There are so many types of RV’s out there – seriously, there’s something for everyone!  We go every year now and it’s the shows that helped us to decided on which RV we wanted to buy.

One of the main things we needed to consider was whether we wanted a motorized RV or a towable one, both have their own pros and cons.  We eventually decided on a towable.  The first thing we had to consider was the vehicle we planned on using to pull the trailer.  That was one of our biggest obstacles.  We had a minivan at the time with a towing capacity of 3,800 lbs which didn’t leave us with many options when we applied our wish list.  After a lot of consideration we decided to buy a new vehicle that would pull the type of trailer we were looking for.  We debated on getting a pick up truck so we could get a Fifth Wheel but the problem with that, is that we keep having more and more babies!  We would be at full capacity already, so we decided on an Expedition which meant we were looking at a travel trailer.

One bit of valuable advice a sales guy gave us, was to take our maximum tow weight for our vehicle and then subtract at least 2,000lbs from it and that’s the dry weight limit of the trailer we should look at.  So even though we bought a new vehicle, we were still limited by weight.  Our trailer is called a Light Weight Trailer – they are making more and more of them.  At that point it was just a matter of choosing the features we wanted in the trailer…this is where it gets fun!  We knew we’d need a lot of sleeping space – to fit our many babies in – and one thing I absolutely did not want is to have to constantly pull out a couch or put down a table to make beds every night!  I wanted permanent beds for each child to sleep in and I wanted them contained to their own space – children can be messy, especially while camping.  If yours are not, good for you, but I think you might be lying!

 Trailer post 3    Trailer post 8

Can you tell which is the before and which is the after picture? 

The more we looked at different styles of trailers the more we knew what we wanted and, in turn, didn’t want.  Some of the features we really liked were the little tub in the bathroom to bathe the baby, the big kitchen sink to fill a pot in and the swivel tv that can be watched from the living room or from our bed.  Don’t judge me – sometimes it’s nice to have the option to watch a movie in bed, even while camping!  We also wanted slides, they add so much extra room and take away from the cramped trailer feel.

      Trailer post 5

 Trailer post 2

Trailer post 7

Then there were the two features I absolutely fell in love with!!!  First was the door in the bathroom leading to the outside.  To me this meant not having to sacrifice dirt or sand throughout the trailer just so we didn’t have to walk the children back and forth to the restrooms 50 times a day!  They could just go in and out of our bathroom as many times as needed and never set foot in the rest of the trailer!  I would love to thank the genius who came up with that floor plan!!!  Who ever it was, they were obviously a parent!

Which brings me to my all time favourite part of our trailer.  It’s the thing we have gotten most comments on during our two camping trips so far and has attracted more campers to our trailer than a fat kid to a smartie.  It’s the absolute must have for anyone who has kids and for anyone who doesn’t.  It’s the outdoor kitchen!!!  I knew I really wanted one but I had my doubts about how useful it was going to be.  I secretly thought it might be redundant and that I was just wanting it because it was cool and the “in” thing for trailers right now.  I honestly have to say it’s the best thing in the trailer.  We do all our cooking outside and it’s just a matter of lifting up the flap to open it up and then when we leave the campsite, down goes the flap and the kitchen is closed!  There’s a small fridge, a stove that pulls out, storage and even a little sink.  It also has a tv that swivels from the kid’s bedroom to the outside kitchen!  Don’t judge!!!

Trailer post 1

So there you have it, how we came about our trailer.  So far it’s been wonderful and we’ve barely even started.  I couldn’t be more pleased about our final decision.  It may have taken a lot of research and a fair amount of patience but the outcome couldn’t have been more amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter!

This year our Easter was completely different than any other Easter we’ve ever celebrated.  We didn’t do the big Easter breakfast, or the big Easter dinner and the Easter bunny came to our trailer a few days early…which lead to a lot of speculation as to whether the kids would be able to hunt him down.  They left carrots out and various veggies, hoping to catch him in a snack.

Mummy and Daddy kept spying the Easter Bunny but he was super quick and the kids were just not able to see him in time, however they did find many clues of his presence.

Those carrots and veggies did eventually get eaten, in fact one carrot was found the following morning with rabbit bites in it…made by a real rabbit to everyone’s surprise!  There were also little gifts of books and chocolates left in a basket.  It was a lot of innocent bunny fun!

Then there was this morning, my favourite part of all.  The kids climbed into bed with Mummy and we snuggled and talked about the real reason we celebrate Easter.  We talked about how Jesus died on the cross for us so that we can have our relationship with God.  That he rose again so we can be with God in heaven one day but also just as important, that we can be with Him now!  For all the fun that the bunny brought us this weekend we are so very well aware that there would be no fun, no smiles, no reason to live without out our beloved Lord and Savior!  So yes, my favourite part of the whole “Easter” weekend was watching my children with their big, wide eyes and happy smiles as they listened to the wonderful Word of God!

1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

The Road is Calling…

Last night Daddy and I made a last minute decision to leave a day early for our camping trip.  This weekend is Daddy’s big 4-0 birthday –yes, I am married to an older man – and he wanted to celebrate it in our new favourite home away from home – the trailer!  We’re suppose to leave on Friday but decided we just couldn’t wait anymore, we are leaving today.

The road is calling us!

We’re not even sure which campground we’re going to yet!

We have a site booked for Friday and Saturday night but it’s not available for tonight  –Who knew the Thursday night before Easter would be so busy?! – so we might spend tonight at a different campground altogether.   We just don’t know yet and I kind of like it that way.  We are free to roam where we choose, giving ourselves permission to be spontaneous and not held back by something so pesky as a reservation!  Ok, I realize it’s only for one night, but baby steps….tiny, little baby steps…

Of course this freedom comes at a price…we are not nearly as organized as I would like to be.  We spent last night running around doing last minute shopping and packing – yuck, I hate packing!  We really need to get the trailer fully stocked so I don’t have to pack so much.  We haven’t even gotten anything for Easter.  It looks like this year it’ll be hot dogs over the campfire for Easter Dinner.

Today is our adventure!

Daddy says… Oh the places we’ ll go

One of the things our family really wants to do is travel.  There are so many amazing places in North America that we’d love the kids to see – and to see ourselves!  One of our favorite places is of course – Disney! We’re pretty excited as we have begun planning a trip to Disney in the fall.  There are so many fun things to do, cool sights to see and good times to be had as a family, that always puts Disney at the top of our list.

         

But we also have plans for long-term camping, travelling North america and seeing some amazing places.  We feel there are so many awesome opportunities for the kids to learn, grow and experience the world around us hands on.  And homeschooling really gives us the freedom to do it!  We can travel and give the kids that first hand, life experience education while they also get the classic reading, writing and arithmetic education in a one on one environment.

Just a few places I’d love to be able to bring the kids:

     Yoho National Park – Canadian Rockies

 

Monument Valley – Utah

Cape Breton – Nova Scotia

 There are just so many different places to go and see, from beautiful natural vistas, to important historical sites, incredible museums and all sorts of national monuments.  There are so many amazing experiences just waiting to be had, and I’m excited to enjoy them with my family.