Monday, July 10, 2017

Reality Check: What Happens In the Camper Stays In The Camper

Whew, what an adventure we survived. Yes, past tense, we are out of the camper!
Goodbye RV, we will be talking about you for a VERY long time! We promise we won't ever forget you.

But wait you say-you wanted to hear some of our stories, right?  I promised to tell some of our stories, thus the title, "What happens in the camper, Stays In the Camper". I cannot express in words the amazing, hairy (there was a huge hairy mishap with a wild dog and cat), freezing, hot, cramped, stressed and wild adventure in one little post. So I'll be sharing over a series of posts of our stories. I think today I want to share a couple of the crazy of craziest stories.
Our normal day, pre-camper, included managing the day with home school, toddler tantrums, laundry, meals and snacks, cleaning up messes and outdoor play, and hours of bedtime drama.  Now it included the same momentum packed in one day but just in a tiny space that felt very much like a bounce house in a large closet, to be real about it. Maybe I can share my true feelings toward the end of our stay and just title it "Camper Alcatraz"! Those first few days were very uncertain and included moments of "What have we gotten ourselves into" to "this is like a really nice getaway" and the next minute something would go out so back to, "I can't make it another day in here".

I guess the most epic of obstacles was the One Bathroom Port-O-Potty is what we called it.  These troubles are certainly staying IN the camper, we won't be having to experience these again, I PRAY!

The tiny little toilet was right next to the table where we ate and guess who would have to "poo" right at meal time?  There was at least one of us who had to "go".  Now before I go into deatils let me explain that I'm fixing to share a really vivid picture of the porta-potty, I meant bathroom, right?
So there's some rules on upon using our camper bathroom and here it goes:

#1 Please shut the door

#2 Please keep the door shut and make sure to turn on the fan BEFORE you go. Even when using the fan, expect everyone at the meal table to complain when you go.  The smells you smell will waift throughout the RV. I remember many meals there so for the kids sake I use these terms: TunaPoo Casserole, Turdle Pie, Poowich and chips, Spaghettie and Tootieballs, BakedPooTatoes, well you get the picture. Every 'stinkin' meal.

#3 Make sure you open the roof window before you turn on the fan  even if it is 20 degrees outside.  You'll experience an "Olaf" type of frozen experience while you drop your drawers and in the summer be ready to experience the "Sauna" inside the camper bathroom-It's a steamy pooful experience you'll never forget. Just like the spa but more like a spa at the landfill!

#4 (we discover WAY later)Push the water pedal before you "go" to fill it partially with water  otherwise things remain in the "bowl"

#5 Don't be afraid to ask for a fork, someone close by will have a plastic one handy and you can use it to push your stubborn poo down the Luxury Gravity Flush Potty! It is a privilege to push down your child's poo, especially in the middle of your meal!

#6 Only use RV approved septic safe toilet paper and DO NOT cram toilet paper on top of your poo, it will only stop up

#7 Make sure to use RV only dirty water toilet cleaner regularly or the smell will EAT your lunch

#8 Make sure you turn the fan off and close the ceiling window shortly after going or the smells from the septic will come back into the RV

#9 If you plan to use the portoPotty for more than your allotted time, expect to be yelled at as there are 4 others waiting to use the John

#10 If you are in there a long time just go ahead and use your time wisely and brush your teeth, shave your legs, whatever you normally do, you can reach everything in the bathroom! Expect many bumps and bruises as you adjust or attempt to find room for your elbows as you shimmy into the toilet square footage.

#11 If you plan on sitting on the Gravity Flush potty, just expect to feel as though you are on a plane with turbulence, don't expect to be undisturbed in any way since there is also not a lock on the door! Yes while everyone is eating their dinner, expect a toddler to show everyone that Mommy is going poo poo!

#12 Expect to be yelled at yet again if you dare open the door to pull up your drawers, no one likes to see a shiny hiney staring at you while you eat!

#13 Expect there to be drops of ice cold water in the winter to drop on your back and head while you use the facilities! It is a sensational experience especially in the winter! Any water condensation has no where to go in the winter. Make sure the de-humidifier is on and you have an accurate tool to measure the humidity and temperature. Expect your potty room to also be really cold or really hot, depending upon the outside temp.

#14  Plan to have Internet service available if you happen to need to know how to unstop the toilet, especially in emergency when one might have the stomach bug, for random and rare instance. You will need to know what to do when using the gravity flush toilet. 

 #15  Know that at least one person out of 6 will have to go outside in the woods at least once, or twice or use a bucket to throw up in or use the facilities in.

#16 Don't EVER flush while someone is in the shower better yet don't use the toilet while someone is in the shower-your face will be in their bum behind the shower curtain

While in the beginning of our first week in the camper I suddenly realized that my idea of it being easy and completely doable, after all it was to only be temporary housing, was completely out the window.  Unlike any camping trip I've ever been on, oh wait, I've never been camping more than one night before.  I had my doubts and complete denial of the obstacles I was to be facing, but when the challenges came I found myself digging to the deepest core of my being to overcome these survival mountains.

We knew God had provided what we had needed and it was JUST THAT, only.  Just simply a step up from camping in the wilderness for sure. Some people call it glamping but it is not called that past the one to two week camping trip. My experience was similar to a show called Survivor Man.  I know it was NOT complete survivor mode but pretty close by way of not normal, easy, convenient or comfortable way of living.  I think if it would have been just me and my husband, it wouldn't have been so hard. But you bring into this tiny little camper 4 more human beings, a 9 year old hyper soccer player and homeschooler, a 5 year old ballet, karate fighter driven, hyper little chatty demanding girl, then go ahead and add a very jumpy, climbing screaming lil' 2 yr old who doesn't like naps or bedtime, plus a 6 month old happy non-independent lil' baby who hasn't learned to self soothe to sleep or crawl...yes people, we had a CIRCUS goin' on in there.

So, flash back to that first week. I remember looking inside the fridge and thinking we would make it problem.  We had little groceries from our house when it sold so I went to the store and racked up small things and tried to plan for propane stove cooking. I brought very little cooking utensils. I began unloading my groceries and well they didn't fit. Somehow I managed to cram them into nooks and crannies of the small cabinets and the fridge and freezer were stuffed so much I could barely close the door! I decided I would need my deep freezer set up but no where to put it.  My husband had already planned to build a small storage building and  set up the washer and dryer and put a deep freezer and our school supplies in there.

I was so excited to know that I would at least have that to lean on for a little comfort instead of running to walmart every couple of days to get food and running to the laundry mat with all of our family's clothes.

So the first day, to be exact, I came to the quick reality that cooking beyond the crock pot would mean strategy planning around the fuse box in the camper.  That meant cooking one thing at a time unless we wanted to spend tons of money per month for propane on the stove and oven.  It also meant if we had the air turned on we couldn't run anything else beyond a tv or stereo at the same time.  You mine as well forget using the microwave along with anything or the vacuum for sure!

My first 911 call to the RV owner was on this exact issue.  They had told us that the amps were limited so I never really figured the reality of that, but anyway, first thing the fuse box cuts off the electricity.  It's a guessing game sometimes if you don't know what tripped the breaker and trying different things to see if it's the fuse or the breaker box outside or an outlet needing to be reset.  So mid dinner of a screaming and HANGRY crew ,there I was.  Trying to figure out all this electrical stuff and cook dinner.  It turned out, after many switches inside, to switch the main breaker.  So here I go.  Baby's in the high chair strapped into the bunker seat at the small table, toddler is strapped into the baby high chair strapped onto a toddler chair and the others warned to stay there to watch the littles until I get back!
Fuse Box in Bunk room: it stays running all the time

So out I tramp out behind the camper and flip the switch. Only after a few more incidences I learned that dinner was going to be a long time away so we decided to have a snack until I could get myself together.  It was still nice weather outside that first week so I would often send my son outside to get his nervous energy out.  There were 9 acres total but limited amount of play space since the mower hadn't come yet to clear the tall grasses so he would run around the camper and run the driveway.

I'm tellin' ya, I'm only scratching the surface here. So keep sharing and I will keep you entertained with plenty of reality checks. I can  help you be so thankful you are able to live in a comfortable and convenient permanent home. You also might re-consider staying in a camper for very long at all! LOL

Please feel free to write your thoughts here, I'd love to read them!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

7 Months and Counting in an RV Camper

It's time to write again!  I simply couldn't wait any longer!!!! There has been a lot happen in the last couple of years but most recently since November 2016.

Why in the world would we want to move into a Camper with ALL 6 of us? you might ask.

Where to begin? I'm thinking, well, where and why are we here in this crazy little camper 20 minutes from town, in the middle of the wilderness in a rented camper on rented land?

Questions I am asking EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! 

So here is the real beginning of it all, well mostly a long story leading up to this point but the most recent jump start into where we are now!  
  In 2016 we sold our home and during the middle of November we stuffed all our belongings into a storage unit in town and took ONLY what was necessary to the rented camper.  
  Before this epic family moment we had tried to arrange what our motivation and plans would be if we could sell.  Our mission and focus was to sell and try to purchase an investment property, flip it and repeat and then save up to build a new home on some acreage out in the country but near town.  Several attempts were made to rent out our home while we bought a foreclosure but fell through.
We still to this day don't know why, but many details and sobbing episodes later.....we just gave up! Well, for me that was just a few days of accepting the truth and then jumping back to myself and braving the challenge again.
Something I have always found myself in the middle of is exactly the most outrageously impossible situation and resulting in this ambition rising up inside of me and bravery to push through and find a solution.
I decided that I can't give up.  I can't let go of this dream.  God has left us in Greenwood for a reason and I just can't lose hope.  For my children, now 4 of them, they needed a place to run and play. We needed a room just for homeschool things. I needed to have a place to garden and just get outside.

I knew I couldn't give up.  So after 4 years of trying to sell by owner we decided to list with an agent.  The first did not work..again...try again....
We had our 4th child and decided that we were not longing to have any more children.  We knew that we were ready to step out in faith and look for God to make a way.

So fast forward, we enlisted an agent again but discovered that to have her sell for us we would end up with no money back at closing.  Huge hiccup, but we said If God is in this, it will happen.  So we waited and not long into the listing we got a buyer.  I totally doubted we would REALLY sell, but we quickly made plans to find elsewhere to live.  We worked hard to budget something that would help us manage living/renting plus the plans of building a house and General Contracting it.  We still trusted God in this. Not knowing how he would help, but he did!  We closed it out with a few hundred dollars to boot!  We sold to a couple that we knew would take good care of it.  The owner even let me come back and get my Echinacea plants in the spring.

We built our first home nearly 16 years ago but my Step Dad did most of the work and we helped. So it wasn't entirely a new and uncharted territory for us.  I also had been in real estate sales and we had flipped a few homes. 
None the less, we could not budget a large rental and had no clue how long we would find land.  We had been looking for years and couldn't find anything near town in our price range.  We had a tight budget since I don't bring any income to the table.  We had to be smart.  Not owing on our vehicles has saved us, although not very attractive to be seen in, it does get us to and fro!

We made it to closing but our crazy adventure was just getting started.  Before closing we had decided that we might try to buy a camper and live in it and when we find land....just move it onto the place and build our home.  We went to a RV camper sales and discovered that it was going to be quite expensive to purchase one brand new AND that would be a payment even when we finish our house...bummer.  So I randomly thought, what if someone wanted to rent their camper out.  It would be temporary. It would be an easy way to save money. But the one thing I couldn't handle was staying at an RV park.  So I brainstormed and advertised that I was looking for a camper rental and looking for land to put it on with utilities already in place.
Well, lo and behold-what does God do?  I get a response almost immediately: a friend of a friend has one.  Oh my, it is the same model and look of the one we wanted to buy- A Wildwood 31foot camper! ok. ok. so now what- look what God has provided, but I can't find anywhere to park it.  A few days later another friend tells me there's land near them with 9 acres with rv hookup! What?
Ok. With a barn, chicken coop (so we could get some laying hens), a deer stand and a gorgeous view of the Ouchita Mountains
Well, God, you have provided exactly what we needed and exactly when we needed it! We wanted to "get away" from it all.  We prayed we'd have room to play and stretch out.  To have a place to be "free".  A place for a tire swing and just a little bit of privacy from closed quarters living in a subdivision.
The only catch is.........we need to be out of the RV by Memorial Day.  So it's November and surely we can find land and be out by then, right?
Surely winter won't be so bad and we can cruise on through.  Hubby's going to build a small storage building with laundry facilities and homeschool storage, surely this won't be too hard. We'll have everything we need and it won't be long and we'll be moving into our new home!
So, alright, there we went. Onward bound.

Our journey had just begun.  I will continue to write about our adventures with pictures soon. 
We don't have Internet service so I am limited on how much time I can spend using my phone wi-fi spot to blog.  This is so therapeutic to be able to share our journey and relieve some stress.  It has been a wild ride and it's June and it's still not over!
I have some amazing and shocking stories and posts coming.  For me it is literally driving me crazy but I hope to share in a way that is hilariously comical, so please follow!
Thanks for reading, please share!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

So Long, Farewell, Adieu

So Long, Farewell......This is my last post on blogger, except a final memo to forward all viewers with a link because I will be re-locating to my own website soon. This has been a great place to start my blogging since 2011 and I have gained almost 10,000 page views, which has been surprising.  It has been an outlet for me to express myself while staying at home with 2 children, with another on the way, and still share what's going on with friends and family.
This is a new step for me and I am excited to present a whole new concept and new direction.  New features will include controlled advertising, a cleaner new look, an online shop and a more organized web page.  I hope you'll join me on this new journey and share the great things I hope to write about and create for my readers, friends and family.  I love sharing my passion for making the little moments important, giving ideas to those who are looking for them and teaching things I have learned over the years.  

Blogging has been a great outlet for me to share my creativity, help and encourage other people and, more importantly, to express my faith through my writing. So come on, join me on this journey and share with all you know. Let's do life together!Please go to the new website and enter your name and email in order to get connected.

Once I've begun the new website, you'll get the most up to date information and be able to enter for giveaways, too!

 I will be transferring some of the most popular blog posts over as time goes on and some of the older pictures. Don't think you can't revisit this site and research an old post. It will still be here until I've transferred everything over, which will take some time.
But in the meantime there will be lots of NEW posts on the new site and I'm just ecstatic. So stay in touch and thanks for following and reading my posts since 2011. It's been a great journey. 

Please feel free to write your thoughts here, I'd love to read them!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Daily Reveal: Sunday's Set of 3 Fall Pillows

The Girl with Panache will soon be transferring to a permanent website. My husband is so tirelessly trying to manage and juggle several different things, so I won't be demanding a deadline.  Until then, a few new things coming with the new website is an online store where you can purchase items with a Paypal account. A few fall items coming to my store are shown below. I am introducing a new item every day this week. Here are the previews:

Sunday's Fall Reveal: (Leaf pillow previewed on Friday) Set of 3 Cotton Duck Fabric Pillows adorned with a leaf, an acorn and a pumpkin in burlap and detailed with jute twine.  Dimensions: 11x17, 12x12 and 12x12 inches.

Saturday's Fall Reveal: Drawn and painted by hand, this Razorback on a burlap background is framed in a large embroidery hoop and hung with a black/white glitter chevron ribbon.

Friday's Reveal: A khaki Burlap Leaf outlined in twine and gracefully laying on a cotton duck pillow. It measures 11x16 in. and is 1 pillow in a set of 3, which I will feature on Saturday and Sunday .

Thursday's Reveal: What does the fox say?
Mr. Fox is a rusty red color and is on the khaki burlap and is framed with a small, vintage embroidery hoop.

Wednesday's 3 Reveals: 
 Squirly is framed by an over sized vintage embroidery hoop and sits on brown burlap. Hanging ribbon coming soon.

Lil' Punkin' sits weighted and filled with vintage book pages and is adorned with jute twine stem.

Lil' Punkin' II is framed in an oval embroidery hoop and is adorned with decorative trim and topped with burlap stem and leaves and can be hung with decorative ribbon, pics soon.

Meet Hootie the Owl. This would look fabulous on your front door or indoors as well.  My kids begged to keep Hootie and I promised I would make another one....sometime in between making fall clothes for my daughter, getting ready for a baby in November, creating fall items for sale and home school plus housework and cooking! Oh, that all seems so overwhelming.  So here is Tuesday's Fall Reveal

Hootie is made of khaki and green burlap and is also adorned with a beautiful rust, gold, turquoise and brown upholstery fabric. Details include a Vintage ric-rac ribbon in brown and cream, cotton duck fabric in cream.  Hootie is stuffed with vintage book pages and hangs on a rust colored tulle ribbon.

Monday's Reveal:
 A Deer silhouette in gold on a brown burlap fabric stretched onto a vintage embroidery hoop.

Please feel free to write your thoughts here, I'd love to read them!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Marlana's Thirty-One Facebook Party Review

I 've never heard of, until recently, instead of hosting a house or catalog party- hosting a Facebook Live Event from Thirty-One .  It was convenient for my friends and family to join at the live event or check in near the end and even take a look the next day at all the posts from the event.  It was super easy to invite those I know and my host was excellent. Plus you just click on the link when you're ready to order and that's it!

  It was like a little chatty party where you could review the products and videos at your own pace or keep up and comment as each post came out.  You still get to enjoy giveaways and it's just a new way to party and the benefits from making it convenient are rewarding. Hopefully I can post in a few days what I earn, being an online hostess.  With a new baby on the way, it's always nice to have a personalized item and much needed.  I also loved the lunch totes that are only available this month which are perfect for my daughter as she heads off to one day a week to HT Kids Academy, a new christian preschool in our area. I also have my eye on a cross-body purse to prevent my crazy purse bag from falling off my shoulder or dumping over as the kids step on it in the van!

Here is the link to order if you found something in the online catalog and the show will be closing soon. Thanks for your time and hope you found something you just love.

Please feel free to write your thoughts here, I'd love to read them!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Baby #3 Gender Reveal

How everyone just loves (hates) suspense, especially when it comes to predicting a baby's gender. It's amazing how everyone one wants to announce the great news for you because they can't handle such a scandalous secret!  In fact, couples who choose not to find out at the ultrasound are almost scolded at the thought of "waiting" for the big reveal at birth.  Just too prehistoric of an idea?
 It's so funny to me how people guess what gender a baby is and if they're right they always say, "oh, I knew I was right", as if they have some sort of ESP  or perhaps  Superman's x-ray vision. When really there is a 50/50 chance you ARE right. 

 Though it has been fun with this third baby, we have a boy and a girl already, so we were happy with either. I'm a planner so I wanted to know the gender and couldn't wait until birth but still wanted it to be special.

We had our ultrasound on Tuesday and we took a box with newborn shoes for a boy or a girl.  We had the technician put the right one in the box and we let the kids open it for us.  There was great celebration when we opened the box.  I had a suspicion it was a girl and most of my family thought it was a boy.  My thoughts up until a few days before the ultrasound was that it was a boy.  I prepared a few boy names, but was totally stuck without any girl names.  Both the kids wanted a baby brother and especially Landon.  His heart was set on a boy so he could play boy things and not get beat up by another sister. My husband was o.k. either way, of course. 
We mailed out scratch off cards to family and allowed them to see first, so now without further is the news!  

WAIT FOR IT...............WAIT FOR IT......



WAIT..........why is is to hard to wait in this culture?

Yes. Baby #3 is a girl.  I somehow felt like it was a girl about a week before the reveal, but didn't want to set myself up for emotional disappointment.  Poor Landon was just heart broken when he saw those little pink shoes in the box.  He buried his head on Daddy's leg and couldn't even stand the sight of those dainty little pink things.  Livia was excited because everyone was smiling and happy, so she was fine.  Her greatest joy is thinking about holding the baby's hand, which she thought was going to happen Tuesday.

Our greatest joy in our marriage has been waiting on God to bless us with children.  We both saved ourselves for marriage because we knew that the whole reason for the physical union was so that a man and a woman could bear children and it should not be taken lightly. 
Before each child was conceived, we prayed that God would bring it to pass in his perfect timing........and each time we certainly did not have to wait long.  In fact, as we prayed for this third one, we were thinking that a spring or summer baby of NEXT year would be fine, but God had other plans! Looking back we could have trusted God earlier in our marriage to bless us with children, not worrying about finances and such.  If we had kept waiting on those things to work themselves out we certainly would not have any children by now.  It's amazing that when we give up control to God he has the more perfect way for us and our lives.  Though uncomfortable and sometimes scary through trusting him, he always brings everything for our good.  He has certainly taught us to rely on him in every part of our lives.

We realize that it is a blessing and a treasure when we allow God to do things his way. When we trust and wait on him to bring his promises to pass, it is a path worth following. The journey from the beginning until birth is something only God leads you through.  What a miracle and amazing joy during this time that comes from only God.  Children are a heritage from the Lord and we don't take that lightly.

As I asked Scott if he knew how old he will be when he plans on retiring and he answered "55". I said, do you realize that this baby will be 15!  Are you sure you've saved for retirement and 2 and 1/2 weddings, 3 colleges, 3 cars, etc?  He said, "In that case, I better come up with a bigger plan and I might have to retire when I'm 65!" 

Please feel free to write your thoughts here, I'd love to read them!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Patriotic Vintage Photo Props

In my vintage Patriotic photo shoot you might see some familiar things, depending on how old you are or if you were around your grandparents during the 70's and 80's.  Some items would be a console t.v., Norman Rockwell paintings, coca-cola glass bottles, a coca-cola wooden crate, the Pledge of Allegiance, church hymnals with a patriotic song, or a red wagon & WWII Ammo Box. I had a lot of fun putting this together so I hope you enjoy and I am hoping to expand my collection for party and photo shoot rentals. Join my facebook page to inbox me for rental prices. www.facebook/thegirlwithpanache.
My photos are not edited but still, please Enjoy!

Please feel free to write your thoughts here, I'd love to read them!