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Shhhh… The Best Kept Secret in RV Furnishings is…

Kimberly No Comments

For years, I have searched the aisles of Camping World looking for fun and interesting things that would be fully functional and funky additions to my RV. For years I have been disappointed. Spare the clock with the days of the week, I have not found anything exciting in any CW across the country.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t spent a lot of money there, in the form of sewer hoses, vent covers and other RV Essentials, we have. But those interesting, dual functioning, perfectly proportioned items that would make life in my camper easier… were not there.

Then, I found them! All in one place, all affordable and all served with a delicious side of Swedish Meatballs… Was this a dream??? No, it’s IKEA!!!

THE BEST store for fun, functional and funky things to add to your RV at affordable prices.

Check out some of the things I got…

High chair 19.99 – Note this chair is light weight, the perfect height for an RV table AND a picnic table, and it’s totally weather proof! Love it!

Toddler potty 4.99 – Simple, portable, works great in the RV and on the tailgate of the truck – oh and it looks great in the middle of my kitchen too! Atleast I think so!!!

Matchbox car carpet $12.99 Since we brought this home it has seen hours of play time. It’s the perfect foundation to build a Matchbox World on top of. Also works great with our train collection and Tonia loves how her Giant Barbie Dolls can wreak havoc on the entire town her brothers just diligently built.

Butt that’s not alll!

 

These dog leash holders for $2.99 each are absolutely my favorite. Not only do they help me organize the various tethers I have for our three mongrels, they also make me laugh!!!

Keep in mind, once you go to Ikea one time you will be absolutely addicted because… unlike that dusty Camping World… Ikea offers (are you sitting down) FREE BABYSITTING!!!!

Yes, you can shop in peace! or make it a date and check out the Ikea Cafeteria.

Check out this menu… Sometimes they even offer “kids eat free” http://www.ikea.com/us/en/store/sunrise/restaurant

And get this … Ikea has RV Parking and they’ll even let you stay overnight! It’s like they were built with FtF’s in mind!

Ikea is definitely the best kept secret in RV stores, so the next time you pass that bright blue and yellow sign, hang a u-ie and be sure to keep a lookout for me in the parking lot – it’s my new obsession! 😉

 

 

 

Make Your Own Paper Creeper

Kimberly 1 Comments

It’s official! Minecraft has infilitrated our RV. It’s available on every screened item in our home. So when Blaise saw a Youtube video on “How to Make your own Paper Creeper” I knew it was only a matter of time and ink before we were in full blown creeper creation.

It was actually quite easy to make this little guy. All you need is some paper, glue, tape and scissors.

Oh and this print out helps too: http://pixelpapercraft.com/papercraft/4f1b1e1a6f923f8035000002/creeper

So if you’re interested in making your own paper creeper, it can be done!

 

 

Our visit to the American Girl Place NYC

Kimberly No Comments

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How much would you pay for a hair do, an ear piercing and a special lunch with your special girl… now what if that special someone was an American Girl Doll? Wanna know how much we spent?

Well, the answer’s coming soon, but first a little back story.

I hate American Girl Dolls. I hate what they stand for, I hate how they indoctrinate little girls into a materialistic branded way of life, veiled by fake historic characters and I especially hate how much they cost. I don’t honestly believe there’s a place for one of them in our anti-consumer, rv lifestyle, where we treasure experiences over stuff.

So why do we have one? Because I am a complete hypocrite! Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

Last week, Tonia and I boarded a plane bound for New York to attend the wedding of my oldest friend.

A familiar skyline

A familiar skyline

This trip also provided the opportunity to satisfy my mother’s desire to take her one and only granddaughter to lunch at the American Girl Place in NYC. Knowing of our impending jaunt to this fantasyland of molded plastic, I made a reservation for lunch weeks in advance. It’s not uncommon for this event to be sold out, so if this is something you are interested in, I strongly advise reservations, lest you find yourself with a starving doll and a disappointed little girl.

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American Girl Place NYC

Thursday morning we headed to 5th and 49th street to the mecca of all things AG with Kanani, the 2011 Girl of the Year doll my mother had purchased and stashed away 2 years ago.
My mother had decided that Kanani need not be a full time rver and told Tonia the doll would stay at her house. To assuage the upset, I had agreed to get Tonia an Our Generation doll at Target. With an $18 price tag this is a much more palatable option for me and would resolve Tonia’s issue regarding taking a doll home with her.

However, as we stood in the midst of everything American Girl, the ‘big red bag obsession’ took firm hold in Tonia’s heart and she confided in me she no longer wanted an Our Generation doll, she wanted a “real doll”.

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Meet Saige – the newest full time rving American Girl!

 

Yikes! It was happening right before my eyes! The idea that one 18 inch plastic doll could be more real than another was just the insidious attitude I try valiantly to guard against… or at least I thought I had…

But then I caught my reflection in the mirror and knew the awful truth. There I was in my Miss Me jeans, with my Coach purse and designer cowboy boots. I was really nothing more than an overgrown version of these 6 yr olds running around pleading for overpriced dolls, accessories and furnishings.

In a last ditch effort to impress upon Tonia the implications of owning a $110 doll, I told her that this purchase would necessitate the complete suspension of her allowance for one whole year, while she currently had enough money saved for the Our Generation doll and could continue to accrue her weekly allowance without interruption if she chose to go that path. But it was too late. I had opened the door to Pandora’s Doll House and there was no going back.

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Thank Goodness these dolls don’t eat, lunch was expensive enough!

After we purchased Saige we headed to the third floor to check in for our lunch reservations. Lunch started with some sweet treats as fresh hot cinnamon rolls were delivered to the table, followed shortly by a veggie and cheese platter.

The menu had a savory assortment of salads, entrees and even some adult beverages.

Not to be left out, the dolls have plates and cups set in front of them, so you can share some of your lunch with them. I think these dolls are all calorie conscious ’cause I didn’t see a single one eating!

After lunch, the cakes (which I must say looked absolutely scrumptious) started rolling in, candles being blown out left and right to that ol’ familiar tune.

Since we were not celebrating a special occasion (unless you consider losing your mind and spending enormous amounts of money a cause for celebration), we were served iced heart cakes, a stick of fruit, and a cup of dirt 😉

These dolls are all starving!

These dolls are all starving!

As the meal wound down, I noticed a large collection of wall flowers. They have a huge assortment of ‘loaner dolls’ on hand, although I could not think of a single instance in which one would utilize this option.. except maybe if you dropped your doll in the sewer on the way to lunch?!?

Next up, the lovely ladies at the hair salon were anxiously awaiting Kanani for a hair appointment and ear piercing.. Yes, you read that right – the doll was getting her ears pierced, or more accurately holes drilled into her head.

Gettin' her hair did!

Gettin’ her hair did!

When we came upon the Doll Hair Salon earlier that morning my initial reaction was “what a clever way to make even more money”, but after seeing the transformations from ‘well-loved’ gnarly-haired dolls to prim and proper well groomed toys, I have to admit I was impressed.

I have spent many an hour on the floor of my camper trying valiantly to unknot the unknottable when Tonia went through her “I LOVE RAPUNZEL” phase and the quality and resilience of these American Girls wigs should be given due credit.

The ear piercing was done behind closed doors, so no one could hear the doll screaming. She emerged with sparkly star earrings and a triple set of mix and match options to take home.

Next stop, traipsing through endless galleries of doll clothing and accessories. With weddings on her mind, Tonia picked a Flower Girl ensemble that ironically cost more than Tonia’s own real life Flower Girl ensemble.

This could double as a 'toad'

This could double as a ‘toad’

Again, I must give credit where its due and although I can not justify the crazy price tags, I can say the clothing is very well made, exceptionally detailed and durable.

The furnishings are completely over the top! I have no idea what kind of square footage the target market girls have, but a 6 foot hot air ballon is never going to fit in my RV!

All told, our time we spent at the American Girl Place in New York City was definitely an experience.

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This bag is almost bigger than Tonia’s “room”

Our grand total was:

Lunch for 3 $125
Saige $110
Hair Style and Ear Piercing $35
Flower Girl Outfit $32
Not including transportation expenses: $302.00

Holy Cow! That’s more than my Coach purse, Miss Me jeans and designer cowboy boots combined!!!

These Books Can Help You Get Your Life Off Hold and On the Road

Kimberly 4 comments

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“I love all the options you provide for each stage in preparing my family to launch our full time rv life, but I’m really interested in what YOU did.  Can you tell me how you personally handle things like adhering to homeschool laws and how you finally chose the RV that fit your family?”

Each section of HTHTR Revised Edition now includes a “What the Traveling Travaglino’s Did” so we can share exactly what worked and what we would have done differently.

“You list a lot of options for making money on the road, but what have you seen families have the most success with?”

In the “How Can We Afford This” section, I’ve listed the opportunities that I’ve seen many families successfully support themselves with.  I also include the proven, trusted resources and providers of those opportunities.

I’ve added Family Activity Guides to help encourage your family to set goals together to achieve this dream.

I’ve doubled the “We’ve Made it; Now What” section, including information on:

  • WHAT’S OUR ADDRESS?
  • GETTING YOUR MAIL
  • HANDLING JURY DUTY
  • RENEWING YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION(S)
  • INTERNET ON THE ROAD
  • VACATION MODE
  • THE ADJUSTMENT
  • MEETING OTHER FAMILIES
  • WHICH WAY DO WE GO?

And while I am thrilled with the this new version, I am busting with the spin off project that came out of this overhaul.

For years, I’ve wished for the perfect journal where I could record exactly why I felt compelled to uproot my family from all that was known and comfortable and trade our old life for all the uncertainty of life on the road.  A book that would challenge me to answer the questions that really mattered, to distill what I really wanted my life with my family to look like.  A book that spoke of not only what we hoped to achieve, but what we (all of us) gave up to pursue this life.

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Where, in my own hand writing, I would be able to convey my hopes and fears and dreams and aspirations.  A place to record our bucket list and accomplishments, with space to record contact information for people we crossed paths with.  A place to prepare for our journey that would stand the test of time and become a treasured keepsake.

This idea churned in my mind for several years, and then a designer who could bring it to fruition appeared.  Megan Jurvis, fellow full time traveling mom and graphic designer extraordinaire, assembled the scattered jottings and renderings of a tattered notebook into a work of art.

The result is “Our Journey Journal; How we made our full time rv dreams come true” a stunning professionally designed and typeset journal where you can record the events of this critical time.

What will yours be filled with?

What will yours be filled with?

“Our Journey Journal” is a one of a kind journal for the trail blazing family.
The prompts in this book have been thoughtfully compiled to help you and your loved ones, with each step of this lifestyle transition.
You’re about to embark on a huge adventure and within these pages is your place to record:
your reasons
your hopes
your desires
your impressions
your reservations
your achievements
your downsizing efforts
your bucket list
your packing guide
your budget
your home on wheels shopping experiences
and ultimately your launch.
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With timelines, interactive projects, worksheets and places to include family photos, this book can be the catalyst to a whole new life for you.
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Journaling and preserving your impressions through your own hand writing now, will help motivate you through the more challenging times and will surely become a treasured keepsake for generations to come.
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Give yourself, your family and your future generations the gift of your insight into the aspects that encouraged you all to take this leap of faith and the steps that allowed you to realize this monumental goal.
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We are currently taking pre-orders for these companion books.  For a limited time, you can get both the revised edition of “How to Hit the Road” and “Our Journey Journal” at an introductory sale price.

Choose Your Bundle

e-Bundle, formatted for your e-reader and print your Journey Journal on demand.

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Hard Copy Bundle, professionally bound editions.

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Both bundles also include the following enhanced media downloads:

  • Full time RVing Family Budget Worksheets
  • Full time RVing Children Wardrobe Lists
  • RV Packing List
  • RV Shopping Worksheets
  • Junior Journey Journals
  • RV Maintenance Checklists for Driveables and Towables
  • Roadschool Planner
  • Free Lifetime updates. You’ll receive free e-updates to both of these books for your lifetime.*

This is a limited time offer.  Both books will be released in e-version and hard copy on September 1st, 2015, at which time, prices will go up.  Secure the lowest prices and be the first to receive your copy. 

If you’re a previous “How to Hit the Road” reader, contact kimberly@fulltimefamilies.com for your free update.

 

 

 

Glass Bottom Boats in San Marcos

Kimberly 1 Comments

Hungry for an economical and educational field trip, Renee and I packed up the kiddos and headed to the aquarena at Texas state in San Marcos.

There, we boarded one of the original boats from 1945 and left the dock to explore the natural springs.

 

This was our first experience on a glass bottom boat and we all enjoyed it very much!

The water was crystal clear. We were even able to see the spring water bubbling up from the sand at the bottom.

Can you see the turtle?

We were able to watch the underwater wildlife in their natural surroundings and even got to check out some of the local aviary life.

 

The tour lasted a half hour and cost our family $27.00 (which left some $$ for some frozen yogurt!)

This unique aquafir used to be home to mermaids and a swimming pig… But we found no evidence of them.

 

 

Membership has it’s Privileges; Top 5 Benefits of Joining Fulltime Families

Kimberly No Comments

The Fulltime Families Membership can save you thousands of dollars, but the privileges of membership go way beyond saving money.

Here are the top 5 benefits our members point to as their favorite thing about being a Fulltime Families Member.

#1 Finding My Tribe!

  • Fulltime Families Members share a common bond that is considered weird by the majority of American Families.   We think less is more… that’s weird!  We’re actually excited about living in 350 sq feet, alongside our family, every minute of the day… that’s weird!  We don’t want to wait until our children are on their own to explore this country… that’s weird!  Fulltime Families Members understand and embrace these “so called oddities”.  If making time with our family makes us “misfits” then we’d rather not fit in.  Fulltime Families supports and applauds You, the risk taker, You the pioneer, You the trail blazer, who is looking for more out of life than just security!

    #2 Making Spaces to Meet in Real Life!

    Fulltime Families hosts events around the country so families enjoying the full-time RV lifestyle can meet in person and make friends.  The reality is lifestyle can be isolating and connecting through Fulltime Families events, provides adults and children alike the opportunity to make friends and form bonds that span the miles.  It is very common for families to establish temporary or long term intentional neighborhoods with the families they click with, after an FtF event.  Just because your family is nomadic doesn’t mean you need to be alone.  Join us for our next event and embark on the next leg of your journey with friends in tow.

     

    #3 Connecting Families with the Services and Suppliers who commend their choices!

Isn’t it great to do business with someone who values you as a customer?  Isn’t it awesome to know you are supporting businesses that are supportive of your lifestyle choices and actually look forward to serving you? Fulltime Families reaches across all service and supply industries, vetting companies both large and small, to present our members with businesses of the highest level of integrity.  Through both our Resource Guide and our Partnership list, FtF Members are connected to trusted resources that will help you save time and money!

#4 We’ve Got Your Back!

At Fulltime Families, we’ve got your back!  Through our relationships with RV professionals, Home School curriculum providers and the media, we have a unique opportunity to help you spread your message and connect you effectively to the resources that can help you the most.  You’re not out on the road alone and being a part of the FtF family has made an impact through the collective voice and the collective efforts of your other FtF family members.  Case in point, in 2016 alone, FtF served 343 families in person at FtF events and provided over $21,000 in relief to RVing Families!

#5 Saving You Money and Time!

Of course, your Fulltime Families Membership will save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of wasted time.  Through our extensive list of partnerships, which currently includes a Free Year of Escapees and a Free Year of Good Sams Membership, our members rack up savings on:

So what are you waiting for?

Don’t you like friends, having fun times with people who get you, businesses that understand and value you, someone who has your back and saving money?  Join Fulltime Families today!  https://www.fulltimefamilies.com/joinftf/

 

 

 

 

Investigating Aliens in Roswell, NM

Kimberly 2 comments

We had heard mixed reviews about Roswell, NM. Some families said emphatically “Don’t miss it” while others suggested we could totally skip it without regretting it.

When we realized it was on our route to the rally in Colorado, we decided we’d take the opportunity to finally cross it off our list.

While I can now completely understand the ambivilance to this tourist trap of a city, I am immensely happy we went. Not so much for Roswell itself, but rather for the hidden gem of a campground we found at Bottomless Lakes State Park, a mere 11 miles west of downtown Roswell.

Coming from the south, we drove for what seemed an eternity down a dirt road. All the while, Chris asking me, “are you sure we’re going the right way”. My response… “Yes!” Eye roll, didn’t give away even a hint of my own uncertainty.

Nothing but dusty desert stretched out for miles before us, and then, a single left turn revealed the pristine oasis that is Bottomless Lake.

If you stood on the cliff overlooking the water at Crater Lake, wishing you could dive into that unimaginable crystal blue water, then you would love this campground.

Full hook up set us back a wooping $18 a night.

The night sky revealed a myriad of stars and rolling out of the rv every morning to this stunning swimming hole was a dream come true!

Sometimes we rented paddle boats, sometimes we used our floats and all the time we enjoyed the laid back family atmosphere of his wonderous place.

Of course, we did roll into town and do the “alien thing”.

 

We skipped the international UFO museum, and opted instead for a $6 (for the whole family) admission to the Alien Zone.

A converted store front, with limited air conditioning, it’s a veritable treasure trove for those seeking photo ops of the other worldy variety.

 

Am I glad we stopped at Roswell? Yes. Not so much for the town itself, but rather for the opportunity to recharge and reconnect in a bottomless lake.

 

 

Exploring Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, NM with Video

Kimberly No Comments

When you travel full time, you can’t see everything. This is one of the ironies of full time rving.

Don’t they all look thrilled!

Whether its due to finances, weather, crowds, time or just plain overlooking, families need to realize that some things will need to be left for the next trip around.

Count me as one of those friends

 

This was actually a hard lesson for me (the family itinerary maker) to learn.

The excitement is growing

 

When I sat in my house, making list upon list of all the places we’d visit, I thought I’d be disappointed if we had to forego some excursions. And truth be told, I was. In those early months, I was known to pout and carry on when we couldn’t do this, or wouldn’t be able to eat that, etc

Buttons along the front animate the scenes

But somewhere in the midst of year two, I matured (thankfully and possibly somewhat questionably) and realized we don’t have to take every opportunity set before us and chances are we will be here again, some time in the future, and won’t it be nice to have something to look forward to then. Ahhhhhhh!

So what does this all have to do with Tinkertown Museum?

Well, this is one of those places we missed due to overlooking and possibly your family would have no trouble overlooking such a place, but you might regret it!

This scene blew me away

It seems I have a certain gene that loves colorful collections of, what might be called by the untrained eye, JUNK.

Never a truer word!

My husband, bless his heart, lacks the gene and runs around with not one, but two, untrained eyes.

A one man band in a box!

But he’s always very accommodating so when I exclaimed one evening in Texas, “oh no! We’ve been to Albuquerque twice and we completely missed Tinkertown, we need to go back!”. He said, “ok”.

Kids have their own guest book

So back we went, to a city neither one of us are particularly fond of, to see the Tinkertown Museum.

Leave a message in a bottle

It took Ross Ward over 40 years to carve, collect, and lovingly construct the collection on display. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Today over 50,000 glass bottles form rambling walls that surround a 22-room museum. Wagon wheels, old fashioned store fronts, and wacky western memorabilia make Tinkertown’s exterior as much as a museum as the wonders within.

Outside you’ll find a unique collection of items Ross and his wife have collected from ghost towns.

When you go to Tinkertown make sure you bring quarters and ask for a scavenger hunt handout, or download and print it from their website.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our time at Tinkertown and we know you will too!

For more of the sights and sounds of Tinkertown, check out our episode of One Epic Adventure.

 

 

The best atv date ever

Kimberly 2 comments

This could also be titled, “don’t ride an at 9000 ft, unless you know what the heck you’re doing”.

As you may or may not now, I am writing this with a broken wrist.

Due to my lack of typing ability and keeping in the spirit of this epic adventure, I decided to put this in comic book form.

I hope you enjoy it, and pay special attention to the safety tips at the end.

Safety tips:

The location of the accident and where we had to leave one atv

  1. Be very familiar and well trained on any motorized equipment before you head out on a trail.
  2. Make sure someone knows where you are going.
  3. Take a picture of each trailhead.
  4. Be sure to sign in at the Rangers log and program the Rangers phone number into your phone at that time.
  5. Have a GPS application on your device before you head out. (See pic above)
  6. Wear all available safety equipment!!!!
  7. Bring a small first aid kit along with you.
  8. Make sure you always know where you are so you can tell first responders.
  9. Never go out alone!

A huge debt of gratitude is owed to:

Our friends, the Livingston Family and the Hartog Family who sent their men to retrieve the ATV we had to leave behind and made us delicious treats while helping out with the kids.

 

To Chris’ parents and grandmother, who made it possible for us to return to Florida for surgery and who continue to nurse me back to health.

 

And to the countless people who have been praying for us through this entire ordeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tubing the San Marcos River at Rio Vista Park

Kimberly No Comments

Water! That’s all it takes to make our family content… Well, we like rice cakes and beef jerky too… So any day on the water with a cooler full of rice cakes and beef jerky is a seriously good day! Add ice cream and we’re talkin’ Epic!

So when life presented us with a particularly trying day, we packed up the cooler, pumped up the floats and headed to Rio Vista Park in San Marcos!

What a gem! Like seriously some top 10 USA awesomeness!

Picture a really wide pool with some pretty calm water and then a 6 ft wide spillway… Imagine tubing that!

But wait… There’s more. Two more pools with spillways, each with their own torrential character.

Do it with a float, or don’t. The choice is yours and the experiences are completely different but equally thrilling. Check out it for yourself here:

Oh… Did I mention about the twin rope swings???

Where to go: San Marcos, TX 78666 @29.878367,-97.9345

What to bring:

Floats (local Walmart has the best prices)

Water shoes

Life vests for little kids

Towels

Cooler

Some cash for the ice cream truck (the park is free) here’s where it gets Epic!

Don’t forget the rice cakes and beef jerky!

 

 

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