Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is your husband as CRAZY as mine?

Most likely not - since....

I don't think it is even POSSIBLE!

hmmmmm........ let me see, where to begin....

A few days ago, after months of complaining planning, Derek finally decided to do something about the object of his disdain.

The offender?

The Siberian elm tree on the other side of the fence from our 'backyard'.

The offense?

Stealing our sun!

Arghhhhhhh! Say it isn't so!

Yup! It's so.

He - she - it - had to go and TODAY ( a few days ago) was THE day.

Too bad I was a bit late on the 'BEFORE' shot - a few limbs already down.

Can you find the CRAZY man in the tree? I shudder now to think about my involvement in the whole ordeal - I admit to being at least a partial accomplice - after all I DID attach the rope to the chain saw so that Derek could pull it up.

There he is! The CRAZY man himself. This would have been a good time to stop and consider his 'craziness' but noooooo - I can tell you now that at this point he was thinking 
 'Now how do I get over to that trunk to get the other branch.'

Say it with me now......


Now back on 'land' it seems that Derek has his work cut out for him with cutting up all of the branches. I seem to recall hearing him say something like 'hmmmm look at all the work I have created for myself.' Yup - like I said C R A Z Y. 

This reminds me of the time just after we were married and had moved into our first home. Two weeks in and I came home one afternoon to find our one - and only - bathroom 1/2 demolished - but THANKFULLY still useable. I recall (yes, I REMEMBER these things even if it is 10 years later) saying before I left for work the next morning 'Don't break or pull anything apart that you can't fix or put back together'. You can imagine my surprise (not) when I received a call at work that afternoon from who? yes, Derek letting me know now that when I get home that 1. I wouldn't be able to use the bathroom 2. he had arranged dinner at his mom's, and oh by the way, 3. you'll probably have to move back in with your mom for a bit! 


yup - CRAZY!

Back to the tree....

By this time Derek is my 'just one step too far guy' and I'm his 'roll my eyes and walk away gal'. I head into the house no longer wanting to have any part of this project and not wanting to even SEE how it all ends.

I was busy in the kitchen, periodically daring to take small glimpses out the window.


We'll that doesn't look good! 

The CRAZY man again - now explaining to me WHY that last big branch had to come down and oh - honey - by the way - on the way down it hit the power line - I heard it go zap zap.' And ya - we'll have to fix the fence! My poor tree.......


At least one member of the family could see the value in all of this....

Suddenly the pile of elm branches became a 

JUNGLE! complete with MONKEYS I was told!

Cassia - going on a monkey hunt - 

I've got my walking stick........ (you know the one I LOVE and have carried around with me since our winter travels!)

Here I am in action - using my trusty stick to beat back the jungle...

And here I am - WHAT? - it BROKE ...... complete meltdown ensued.
 (Cassia - still learning the harsh reality of 'broken')


The VERY next day - 3 young fellows showed up at our gate. As Derek went to talk to them I slunk back into the house. This wasn't going to be good.

As I peered - again - out of the kitchen window - I see the four of them standing over by what was left of the elm tree. 


Handcuffs? Take Derek away to some place for tree killers? A fine? Do they CHARGE people for taking down trees? All the things running through my head.

This is taking a LONG time......

Finally they are gone and Derek comes into report - tree cutters for the Hydro company - what timing! They are here to trim the elms because they are close to the hydro line. They are going to come back and trim the other one. 


And so - here they are today - driving right into our yard with their BIG truck - and fancy safety gear.

Non CRAZY men.

So long #2 elm tree - I CANNOT believe I am losing you too!


So I ask you.....

Is your husband as CRAZY as mine?


P.S. The above series of events and commentary are all in jest - Derek gave his full support and cooperation in the 'filming and writing' of this blog post. (Of course, CRAZY people really don't know they are CRAZY - right?) 

P.S.S No disrespect intended towards those that are really crazy.

Today's Interesting Link: As we were sitting out tonight we noticed a few mosquitoes - do you have them where you are? We haven't had many and are surprised they are still around. If you need something to keep them away how about this Natural Mosquito Spray from Money Saving Mom.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Live simple, live frugal, stay home with your children

My post from last week,  How much does it cost to raise a child?, has really stuck with me. Although I felt that I said all I had to say about the HUGE figure of $234,900, I have been feeling that more can be written on the subject of the whole issue of daycare versus staying home with children.

In fact, Derek and I have been talking about it over the last few days - the choices we have made - and continue to make, to ensure that we are able to 'stay home' with our child - and how people approach - or think about - this issue. He found a VERY thought provoking article about daycare Should You Send Your Child To Day Care - it said EXACTLY what we think about the subject and why we would NEVER have made that choice. PLEASE read it if you are contemplating putting your child in daycare or pass on to someone that you know.

It is such an important issue!

A picture from last summer of Cassia - then just past 2 years old and Roofous sitting on the golf cart. The three of us go to work in the mornings - Cassia usually brings some toys with her to play with in the truck or she walks around in the forest and even helps to pull tags or weeds. 

It has been a busy few days with a variety of articles about daycare and living a frugal lifestyle going around the internet. I have been so busy reading up on the issue I have had a hard time finding time to blog about it myself. It is an issue that is so near to my heart and I tend to get pretty riled up in some cases!


What I want to accomplish with this post is to offer a few resources in case a parent stumbles upon our blog who is at the point of wanting - or needing - to make a change in their lives -

to live simple,

to live frugal,

to stay at home with their child (ren).

 Perhaps someone somewhere will inadvertently find this post and think -

YES - they did it - I can to!

A Life Made Simple - Hey! That's us! We are choosing to live a frugal and simple life so that we can be with our daughter - she is our first motivation, the second is have freedom in our lives and to quiet worrying about money. Our lifestyle is probably a bit too far out there for most as we do not have a home, or rent a home, and must find another place for 7 months when we are not working here at the parks. We live on about $22,000/year. Thankfully we can go to the USA or Mexico during the winter months where prices are lower than they are in Canada.

Here are a few of my favourite blogs from families whose lives are more traditional but still able to find away so that the mom's can be home with the children. Working towards a frugal lifestyle seems to be the key to making this happen for most.

The Peaceful Mom - I'm still a bit new to Kimberlee's blog but I think it has a lot to offer. Most of the frugal mom blogs I read are based on small children, I appreciate that Kimberlee and her husband's children are in their teens - or close to - who are homeschooled. Make sure to check out Kimberlee's series about living on less than $28,000 a year for a family of 6! So - if you are wondering how you can live on one income - The Peaceful Mom - just may have the answer for you. LOVE this site!

Frugally Sustainable - Andrea speaks openly about her CHOICE to stay home with her children and how her and her husband made it happen. Her Story will inspire you! There is a WEALTH of information on how to lower your expenses and to really make changes - and see changes - in your life. Her 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge series is a MUST read. This is one of my main go to blogs.

Homemade Mothering - Boy, do I love this blog - as much for the great design as the topics that Maureen covers. As you can read on her About page, Maureen is a stay at home mom living a simple life with her husband, and now 3 children, in a big city. Check out her New Frugality Page for lots of great links to worthwhile topics - such as Less Really is More. Really

Penniless Parenting - The best way to start on the Penniless Parenting blog is the About page - Penny doesn't mince any words about her families situation and what her blog is about. The next place to head is to the Frugality page - a store house of many many useful tips.

The Prudent Homemaker - This blog is filled with good information about frugal living  there  is a long list of topics under the Frugal Living page. The one thing missing for me is the personal touch -  who is the Homemaker!  Here is a link to a very good list on how to Save Money.

I could go on and on about this topic! But I thought I would jut leave it at that tonight. In the weeks ahead I want to touch on a few other issues surrounding living the frugal life. I have so many blog post ideas in mind I don't know WHERE I will find the time to get them all in.

The camping season is really starting to set in - we have a long weekend coming up and all signs show it will be a busy few days. It's Wednesday night here at the parks and we are already getting busy!


Today's Interesting Link: Here's one last frugal living site called The Frugal Girls. I haven't spent a ton of time on this site yet but hope to one day. It looks to have all sorts of resources and frugal living tips. They even have a FREE section - LOVE free!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Cook: Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I had a very hard time deciding on my Sunday Cook recipe today. I have a house full of groceries - thanks to our shopping trip to Chilliwack earlier in the week - and I have a TON of things I want to make.

Finally, back from our rounds this morning, I had it down to two choices.

First, the Florida Orange Meringue Pie that Derek has been pining for OR the Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip that I have been trying to get around to for weeks now.

With the cool and wet weather we've been having these last few days, the Dip seemed like the better choice. A cozy comfort food.

So, here we go......

Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I've made my own version based on a few that I found on pinterest.

Below is the full recipe - I only made half today because for the 3 of us we usually get tired of eating it before it's finished. We are not big fans of wasting food.

2 cups parmesan cheese (this is a bit much because PC is pretty high priced - I'd feel free to use less)
1 (10 ounce) box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (14 ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2/3 cups sour cream (or yogurt)
1 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup shallots (no shallots here - I just grabbed a small onion from our garden)
2 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

I defrost the frozen spinach by heating in a small amount of water in a pot and cooking until soft. I'm always trying to figure out the best way to get the water out. Today I used my handy strainer but first placed a piece of paper towel so that the spinach wouldn't get stuck in the strainer. (And by the way - I KNOW that I have said we don't buy paper towel - and we don't - Derek's mom brought us a roll when she came to visit - so may as well put it too good use!)

LOVE artichoke hearts!

Chopped - with garlic.

Combine all ingredients (except the mozz cheese and olive oil) in a large bowl. 

We almost always have parmesan cheese in the fridge. It is one of our splurges and well worth it because it is so versatile. I usually chop the long strains to make it go further. I find it interesting that the grated is cheaper then the ungraded. So happy that the store we purchase groceries from gives the price per unit on the price tags.

One of the recipes called for Greek yogurt. We've yet to get on the Greek yogurt bandwagon. Is it worth the price? We went to buy it once thinking that with all the hoopla over it we must be missing out. However, the sodium levels caused us to put the container right back from whence it came. 

Plain Balkan yogurt is another one of our staples. As I've mentioned, we don't buy sugar flavoured yogurt. We buy plain - use it for everything under the sun and as a substitute for sour cream, and sweeten with our own fruit and honey. The Balkan style is very thick and creamy and I can buy it for a very good price usually $2.59 compared to the $3.99 for half the size for Greek.

I buy the Olive Oil mayo....

Everything in - a few turns - and mixed.

Place in an oven proof dish and spread with the mozzarella cheese - I used a pie plate coated with olive oil.

Bake at 375ºF for 20 mins, until hot and cheese is melted. 
The only way I can get things down around here is to multi task in the kitchen. I usually have a few things going at once. Today, I also made pita chips AND had our lunch - homemade beef barely soup - heating on the stove top.

Hmmmm - yummmmm - prefect for a rainy day.

Serve right away. Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator before baking. 

Spinach & Artichoke Dip was always one of those items I ordered back in my 20's when out to dinner with friends. It never occurred to me until a few years ago to actually make it at home - for some reason it seemed too challenging - or too many ingredients - I'm not quite sure what. 

So, glad I figured it out! It is a one of those SO EASY and SO FAST but SO GOOD recipes.

I LOVE having dips around because they are easy afternoon or evening snacks. Kinda like cheese and crackers but a step up.



Today's Interesting Link: If you are a foodie like me you are ALWAYS happy to learn about a new food related blog. How about giving Jennifer from NYC and Bake or Break a try!

Friday, June 22, 2012

How much does it cost to raise a child?

So happy to be spending time and not money on Cassia!

Well, apparently it costs

Can you BELIEVE that! 

I almost choked on my morning coffee reading that bit of information!

This figure was recently released by the US government's Department of Agriculture who has been tracking the cost since 1960. I found the article on facebook posted by Today's Parent. Here is the full article entitled Parenting Isn't Cheap!

After reading the figure it took me a minute to get my bearings. But as soon as I did I rummaged around in our junk drawer for the calculator. 

Let's see.....

$234,900 until the age of 17 (actually according to the article - for us living on less then $59,000 per year it would be $4,000 less) so.....

$230,900 ÷ 17 = $13,582.35 

$13,582.35 per year!

$13,582.35 ÷ 12 = $1,131.86 

$1,131.86 per month!

Can you BELIEVE that! I don't. 

I doubt we've even spent that much on Cassia in 3 years let alone one month. Let's see - according to this figure we should have already spent $40,747.05!!!!!! Ok, ok, I know that everyone would probably agree that the figure is less when younger but gets larger as they grow - as in the teen years would be the most expensive. Or would it.....

Although the $234,900 had me all flustered I was about to turn from flustered to angry! Yes, ANGRY!

I scrolled down to see the comments and look what I found! 

What! The figure is TOO LOW! 


Here are a few:

"I say this number is lower than reality especially if both parents work. Childcare alone is costing nearly $12,000 per year for us, so that's nearly $48,000 before she even turns 5 and starts school."

or how about this one

"I too have to disagree with this number. I am going to assume that they are calculating just the 'basics'. I would like to see the breakdown of this number."

and another

"For me, I think this number is too low. I have been spending well over $12,000 a year on childcare for my daughter alone."


I was stupid enough to then add my 2¢ to the discussion about living simply and frugally only to then become the object of nasty comments. I should have known better.

After all I had just a few days early read We are killing our kids on BlogHer. A very good article with many valid points about the inherent problems with daycare. I was SHOCKED to see all of the RUDE comments by women.

Writing ANYTHING negative about daycare sure seems to bring out the worst in women people!

I too disagree with daycare (in most - but not all - cases) and I'm sad for the children that are placed in them. I'm sad that parents think that their children are better off with money or with what the money will buy them rather than with them. 

I was most saddened by this comment on facebook with the others above:

"@ Breanna, I don't know where you live, but here in Greater Vancouver, childcare is no that inexpensive. I pay just under $1,000 per month, and I know of many friends who pay well over $1,000 per month. Of course, my daughter won't go to daycare all her life, but we'll need after school care, and day camps during the summer breaks and from what I see, these are expensive too."

I posted this saying on facebook - seems a lot of parents SHOULD read - and practice - it!

My main question to this mom with the statement above would be "When do YOU spend time with your child?!" Seems like a lot of other people are spending the time on her child.


I realize that our lifestyle isn't for everyone - we live VERY simply in many ways. But boy, thank goodness WE are raising our child and spending as much time with her as we can - especially in her early years. 

While reading the daycare comments I looked over at Cassia and wondered exactly HOW are mom's able to drop their young children off and leave for the day? And how about being a stay at home mom for just the early years? - how about that. Maybe live a little more simple for just a time. They grow up oh so fast - how about working after they go to school? 

Back to our figure of $230,900

If Derek and I spend, say about $2,000 by the age of 5, which is VERY realistic, that means theoretically - based on the article - we would have $1,589.58 per month to spend until she is 17. (And those are USA figures, I shuddered to think what that $234,900 would be in Canada.)

I don't think so! But I'll keep track and get back to you in 14 years! 

What do you think about the figure of $234,900 to raise a child to 17?


Today's Interesting Link: Yaaaaa - I found another simple and frugal gal - Lori from the blog Country Girl's Life. I found her article Ways to be Frugal and Live Simply on another blog and headed right over to read it. I realized we put all her suggestions into practice. A kindred spirit. You can also find Lori on facebook

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The BEST 6 things about our summer vacation

Well - it may have only lasted 52 hours but we made the most of our summer vacation!

For those of you just tuning in.....Derek and I work 5 months out of the year.

Yes, that's it.

we work ALL 5 months - every day - this year that number is

work days in a row!

Thankfully - just before the busy season really sets in - our great camp hosts offered to step in as Operators and look after the place for us for a few days.

This gave us a chance to head down to Chilliwack to do our much needed shopping (it had been 18! days) and to visit with family.

1. The beautiful drive down 
The drive down early Monday morning was pretty uneventful but WOW it sure is a pretty drive through the Fraser Canyon. As the snow is still melting up in the mountains the river is getting higher and higher and there are many waterfalls running down the rocky cliffs. The sky was overcast and it was a bit cool, but we stopped along the way at a rest area to look out at a lake. The trip to Chilliwack takes us 2 hours..

Derek does look like he needs some away time!

2. The chance to visit with family
It's always a treat to visit with family and Derek's mom and sister and her family are no exception. How nice to be treated so well - meals cooked etc. We can just lay back with our feet up and watch movies, tv and all that kind of fun stuff. Cassia of course gets a real thrill of being smooched and cuddled by her Gram Gram, Auntie and two cousins.

3. The HOT TUB
To know Derek and I is to KNOW that we LOVE hot springs! Remember Ainsworth? And Ash Springs in Nevada? But we'll take a hot tub in a pinch! How nice that Derek's mom lives within spitting distance of a rec center with a swimming pool and hot tub! And not just a small round hot tub - this thing is HUGE! And just outside a playground for Cassia. She got to make two separate trips to the playground - I'm sure you can imagine how well that went over!

4. An evening out
Two things that don't happen often in our little family collided in one evening. Derek and I went out to dinner - treated by his sister Lisa AND Cassia wasn't with us - she was happily looked after by her Gram Gram and cousin Krysta.  We went back to our new favourite restaurant in Chilliwack Pho Galaxy. You may recall we discovered this little jewel back in April while visiting there prior to coming back up to the park. We go for the HUGE, and I mean HUGE bowls of vietnamese soup and spring rolls. 

That's fresh Thai Basil. We realized - again - how much we LOVE it and picked some up for our garden. Actually, we purchased a seed pack of 5 types of Basil - Sweet, Purple, Lemon, Thai, and Cinnamon. Already planted!

5. Thrift Store Shopping
Thankfully I had some items to take to the Bibles for Mission. Which gave me an excellent excuse to go around to the front and waltz right in to see what I could find. I had a feeling that Derek's eyes rolled slightly! But he wasn't far behind me. About 2 minutes later I heard the "I'll meet you outside". However, as he was walking past the VHS section he paused - hmmm ..... And so - by the time we left we had a basket because we couldn't possibly carry all 15 VHS videos that we purchased for Cassia. Since we don't have satellite or cable and we don't mind her watching certain videos we loaded up - after all - they were 

25¢ each!
Fortunately Derek's mom passed on her TV/VHS combo to us back in April when we stopped in to see her. Derek also scored on a few CDs' like the almost new collectors set of 3 Hank Williams Sr. CD's of his unrecorded songs - it's a beautiful thing with stories and pictures. You may recall that we stopped in at Hanks childhood home in Georgina, Alabama.

6. Shop 'til we drop
Although we don't mind our bi monthly shopping trips into the closest large center - Merritt - there are some things we just can't get there. Knowing we were taking a trip down to Chilliwack, we started our list of all the things we wanted needed. Not only did we load up on groceries - we stopped in at Cobs Bread! (one of our luxuries), a meat market and a fruit and veggie market. On Tuesday Derek and I headed out together to visit Staples (I so needed an automated change sorter - a luxury you say?! nope - survival - I get A LOT of change through the summer!), the health food store, the Autoplan office to return our trailer plates and Canadian Tire.

AND I got my hair cut.

WoW! Busy but fun!

On top of that Derek was able to spend some quality time in his sister's garden - mowing the lawn, trimming the trees and moving a few plants around. His passion.

And hat's off to all of you who live in cities 24/7. A couple of days in such a congested and busy urban center was enough for us! 

Ahhhhhhhh good to be back to our forest home - one step removed from civilization.



Today's Interesting Link: Like my new social media icons on the top right?! They're good. I may or may not keep the circles, I'm not sure. That doesn't matter because the real FEAT was getting them there. Thanks to Something Swanky, which I found through Pinterest, I was able to figure out how to add them myself. I'm on the look out for icons that may work better but in the mean time, every time I look at them I'm pretty impressed with myself. If I can do it - you can do it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Cook: Pizza & Popcorn

Welcome to Sunday Cook - the one day out of the week that I can take things a bit slower and post a recipe. Lest you all think that all we eat around here are treats I thought today would be the day for me to share my PIZZA recipe. 

The actual recipe is LONG GONE ..... I've made this pizza crust so many times now it's automatic. Most of our pizza's end up as 'kitchen sink' pies - I use whatever I have on hand that will work together.  Mine will NEVER be as good as the BEST PIZZA in the WORLD that we found at Moonspin Pizza in Thomasville, Georgia - but maybe a close second.

Pizza making isn't all that difficult but I'm not sure how many people make there own. 

Do you?

I've been making our own for about 5 years, ever since we visited our farm friends in Saskatchewan. We enjoyed homemade pizza and made off with the crust recipe. 

Once I was making my own for a while I decided to try other crust recipes - not quite sure that ours was THE best. I made others but they were worse - so I went back. Then one day I used cornmeal .......

BINGO! Perfect pizza crust!

I realize that the point of ordering take out pizza or buying the frozen kind is a quick way to have a dinner without having to actually MAKE it. But if you are like us and LOVE pizza but don't want to pay the HUGE prices for them, and you don't mind putting in a bit of time and effort, then today's recipe is for you! 

+ I'm including a fun treat - Chocolate Popcorn.

So, here we go.

Perfect Pizza Crust
1/4 cup warm water
1 package or 2 1/4 tsp yeast (not quick rising)
pinch of sugar

1 cup hot or boiling water
1 tbsp. oil (I use olive - yum)
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt

3 cups flour (I just use all purpose but once in a while I add some whole wheat)

In a small bowl place 1/4 cup warm water, yeast and pinch of sugar. Let sit.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine hot water, sugar, oil and salt. Stir until dissolved. 

When the hot water has cooled (about 20 mins) add yeast to large bowl. Add flour. I add 2 cups straight off and then add the last 1 cup slowly. I also use part of the 1 cup of flour to dust the counter/table.

Kneed dough a dozen times or so, form into a ball and place in a large bowl with olive oil. Roll ball around to cover with oil. Cover with moist warm dish towel and place in warm place. I place mine on the stove top and turn on the oven to preheat -- 400F.

Meanwhile, prepare toppings. For today's pizza I'm using beef sausage that we have from our favourite meat market.

We have a special pizza baking sheet - we've had it for a long time. Not sure how much of difference it makes but we get a good crust so it must be a good thing. I think a stone would be even better!

I season the pan with oil and dust with cornmeal. 

You can see our fresh basil from our garden - yum!

Once the crust has sat for about 1/2 hr to 1 hr - punch down, place on flour on counter/table and form into a circle.
I take a pretty rustic approach to forming the crust on the baking sheet. I don't roll - I just push it out to roughly the right size. Lay in on the baking sheet and push it with my fingers to the edge. I sprinkle it lightly with cornmeal.

On go the tomato sauce (we don't use much) and toppings. This pizza had tomato sauce, beef sausage, ham, basil, garlic, and onion. Oh - plus the mozzarella cheese and I threw on some fresh grated parmesan cheese. 

Bake for about 20 mins @ 400F or until the crust is golden.

Of course the topping choices are ENDLESS!

And now for a special treat!

I LOVE chocolate and I LOVE popcorn - and I REALLY LOVE them together! Yes, you can buy this snack already to go from the store but had a high cost and again - extra ingredients.

I make my own - how hard is it to spread popcorn on a baking sheet, melt dark chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle it over. I do a combo of dark and white chocolate.

A VERY yummmy snack.

I hope you give these a try. Especially the pizza - let me know how it turns out - I'd LOVE to hear!


Today's Interesting Link: I have been collecting pizza recipes and pinning them to my dinner ideas pinterest board. I'm hoping to try new topping lists this summer and be more creative. How about 4 cheese white pizza or Fig jam, carmelized onion and blue cheese!  

Here is a link to 40 pizza recipes!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Now we need a new RV --- looking for help and advice!

With the selling of our travel trailer we are now in need of a new winter home! 

A new RV that is!

It has been a few years since Derek and I have been thinking that a motorhome would suit our traveling family best. There are definitely pros and cons to each type of RV to be sure but for us the travel trailer system was wearing a tiny bit thin. Particularly the hooking and unhooking. 

What cinched the deal this year is that we are having LOTS of trouble with our truck. We don't have the $$ (or desire) to fix the truck and so the trailer - and ultimately the truck - have to go.

We are REALLY excited about the IDEA of a new to us motorhome

And for that we are looking for YOUR help.

This will be our first time buying a motorhome and so we need to spend the next few months doing some research.

We thought we would ask our RV friends and followers for advice. 

What should (should not) we be looking for in our new to us Class C motorhome? Maybe you've owned one and learned something that we should know - or maybe you've had a friend or a family pass some valuable info on to you. Or do you know of a great site with really good information?

We'd LOVE to hear about it!

We'd also like to ask that if you have a Class C motorhome for sale or know of one that we may be interested in could you forward the info to us. Feel free to pass this post around. The more we can get it out there the better.

Here's our list:

MUST have's: separate back bedroom, bunk over cab, sofa in living area, hardwall - vinyl exterior (no aluminum siding)

Would LOVE to have: generator, separate freezer and refrigerator, beige upholstery (why oh why are blue and pink so prevalent?)

Dare to DREAM: a slide

Our budget is $10,000 Can. I know, I know - not much. But we don't need much. And we don't finance or use credit - we pay cash.

We'll probably be in the early to mid 1990's range - particularly if we buy in the USA. In Canada the same amount would probably put us 10 years older. Many snowbirds buy their RVs in the US because of the huge price difference even with the taxes and the hassle to bring it in. We may end up doing the same but it all comes down to layout, condition, mileage and cost.

I pulled this picture off the internet - it is basically what we are looking for. Funny this is a 1995 at just over our budget - sadly it is in Florida - too far to go.

We probably won't be buying until October mainly because we can't leave the park here for anymore then a few hours in the afternoon. Plus we are hoping that buying at the end of the season will help stretch our $$ a little further. So - lots of time to send us your thoughts.

On the other hand - if a great unit comes along - one that we just KNOW is the right one - we will just go ahead and buy it! 

Thanks ahead of time for your help!

On another note - I just met and spent some time with a GREAT couple from Magnolia, Texas! They were camping at Gold Pan and are on their way up to Alaska. You all KNOW how much I LOVE Texas - right?! So much fun talking with them! One of the perks of our job - for sure!


Today's Interesting Link: Here's a new site I just found for the mom's out there - Modern Alternative Mama by Kate. I kinda consider myself a MAM also. I LOVE the graphic design of the site - that's my thing - I like good content but also like a site with good graphics. (STILL working on mine of course!). Take a look at Kate's site - seems she covers a lot of topics.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Goodbye, Friend

Well, today was the day!

We said GOODBYE to our trailer....

With heavy hearts.

We've never named our RV as others seem to do - I don't know why - maybe because she is a trailer and not a motorhome. I have always referred to it as a HER for some reason - not sure why.

I'm one to get attached to things - places, homes, RVs (strange I know since we have lived in 6 homes in the last 10 years!) and so it was probably hardest on me to say farewell. I didn't sleep well at all last night - sad to say goodbye and wondering if we were doing the right thing! I spent the day reminding myself what had led us to make the decision to sell our great little trailer after almost 5 years.

We have spent more time then most - but less then some - in our little trailer. She has joined us and sheltered us on 3 long winter road trips. We have lived in her full time on and off over the last 5 years for a total of 20 months or so - a long time in a 21' travel trailer.

A LOT of GREAT memories.

But our family is larger now then when we bought it, and after the three winters with it south we realize that a motorhome would suit us better - or at least we THINK it will. We'll see.

I suppose it is a bit hard because we don't have anything to replace it with, not even a thought of what our future RV will be like aside from thinking we are looking for a Class C model.

And so, today marks the end of an era for our little Wood Clan.

The new owners were excited - as excited as we were almost 5 years ago. We are thrilled that they are thrilled.

They promised to take good care of her.

Goodbye, friend....

You have been a HUGE part of our family - you have kept us dry, warm and safe and for that we say



Today Interesting Link: This may seem like a strange link but I thought I would pass on the free photo editing site that I use. Often times I don't link sites because I figure that everyone knows about a certain site. Why I think that I don't know - there are millions (or more?) sites on the internet. Anyway, I USED to use picnik but they sold out to Google. I was heartbroken at first, but that was before I found PicMonkey - LOVE PicMonkey!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Cook: Coconut Lemon Squares

A bit of a delay with the Sunday Cook post - sorry! It was either the post this afternoon or a nap - and well the nap won out. We have had a few crazy days around here with sleep in short supply.

Today is the day for -----

BUT FIRST the really BIG news is that we had a forest fire here at the park on Friday.

Thanks to the quick thinking of our camp hosts who live up in the park (we live at the bottom of the hill) who called in to 911 when they saw smoke just outside the border of the campground. 

It wasn't long before the fire became a concern but with the fire crew on hand and then later the helicopters picking up water from the Thompson River just below us - it all turned out well.

We ended up closing the gates of the park from 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm as a precaution - plus there was A LOT of smoke. 

Derek, while up talking to the forestry crew, took a few pictures of the fire.

So, that was Friday for us. It was actually last week that I made today's recipe - Coconut Lemon Squares. A few weeks ago I purchased a bag of lemons - they were a good price - and I LOVE having citrus on hand. Actually, I try to always have lemons, limes and oranges around - they are so multifunctional and I seem to use at least one of them every day.

I was glad that I photographed the squares because I wasn't actually planning on using them for a Sunday Cook. This week I had homemade Beef Jerky in mind.


Oh, I made the jerky alright and all went well until I took them out of the oven after 12 hours, only to find stiff crunchy and not very good tasting pieces of beef. Have you made homemade beef jerky before? Do you know what went wrong? Why there are crunchy and not chewy? I would appreciate knowing because I would like to try again....more research required.

For those of you who love a good lemon bar - this one is for you. I was surprised how well they turned out - a little TOO well - they are going fast - I think another batch is on the horizon.

So - here we go!


from allrecipes
preheat oven at 350F

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
3/4 cup cold butter

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (the REAL thing please)
1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup flaked coconut (I used 1/2 sweetened and 1/2 unsweetened)

In a bowl, combine flour and confectioner's sugar, add butter

cut in the butter until crumbly - I've had all the fancy cutting gadgets in the past but now just use my fingers - works just as well -  or better!

Press onto the bottom of a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking pan. I lined mine with foil. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and baking powder until well mixed.

I have a variety of juicers but like how this one works.

Pour the mixture over the HOT crust.

Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the top. Bake at 350F for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. 


Addictive? you bet!

I have one more GREAT picture to share. One of the main hiking trails here at the park is the historic Caribou Wagon Trail - a very old trail from the early settlers. Very fascinating history. Boy would I love to be standing on the trail and be able to time travel back to the days it was being used - just to see the wagons and horses!

Anyway, just up the Caribou trail is where the forestry workers have been taking down some pine beetle infected trees. It was nice to see that the crews taped off an area with a Robin's nest. We are surprised that she located it so close to the ground. 

Derek snuck in for a quick picture, of course not wanting to upset mama Robin too much.

How beautiful!

Well, that's it for me. Feet UP time....

I hope you all had a nice weekend. It looks like the weather is on the up swing - warm and sunny days ahead here at Skihist.


Today's Interesting Link: Being a homemaker (and proud of it) myself I surround myself with homemaking blogs! The Prudent Homemaker is a blog I just found - it looks to have an endless amount of information - I can't wait to have a little time to take a more complete tour.
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