Wednesday, July 20, 2016

{Airstream Rehab} It's Livable!

As mentioned in a previous post, we got Marge's Barge to a workable and livable state. Our maiden voyage was a wonderful trip up to Acorn Hill Resort, on Leech Lake. The nearest town is Walker, Minnesota, which is about 4 hours north of the Twin Cities. It was the perfect distance for a first adventure with the camper and our new tow vehicle.

The few times that we had towed the Airstream with our Dodge Dakota, Hubs and I both knew that it just wasn't quite right. We told ourselves that we think the Dakota would make it up north with the camper. We think it'll be just fine. The gas mileage will be crap, but we think it should all be just fine.

But then we came to our senses. A 2007 Dodge Dakota. Towing a 31 foot camper? Really, people? Not smart. So we got a new vehicle. And now we own two trucks. A 2007 Dodge Dakota. And a brand spankin' new Ram 1500. And man, that thing tows Marge's Barge like a charm.

Oh. My. Is this what my blog has become? Talking about trucks? Ugh.

Back to our most amazing week camping with our Airstream for the first time. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was awesome.

The camper made it up to Leech Lake without a problem. Hubs got Marge's Barge nice and level next to the cement patio. He got everything set up while I took the kids to the playground. Can I just say that I got the better end of the deal? Play on the playground with the kiddos while the husband sets everything up? Sign. Me. Up. I'll do that again every camping trip we have (especially since he's totally okay with me reorganizing and moving things around).

Marge's Barge did spring a few leaks. One was right over our bed, bummer. Especially since it rained for a majority of the time. We placed a bowl on our bed to keep everything dry and made notes of where to place the crack filler.

The fridge doesn't work, but we brought my husband's fridge from college. Worked like a charm.

The dinette, oh the dinette! In all her perfect glory, the dinette was the best thing ever. The husband worked endless hours to build the J-dinette. And then he spent a few more hours cutting and staining the table. I added a special touch to the top and the dinette was absolutely perfect. We fit eleven (ELEVEN!) people around the table one rainy day (keep in mind four of them were under the age of five). Two people played checkers, two more played backgammon. Seriously! We put a checkerboard and backgammon on the table!

As with most of our projects, it is still a work in progress. There are still a few things we'd like to do: curtains, paint. Paint, paint, paint.

That, and figuring out where everything needs to go. I also have 3 cushions that I need to finish (as you can tell by the random assortment of cushions and pillows at the dinette).

Oh, and. I'd like to re-do the counter tops. Orange is definitely one of my favorite colors. But not necessarily for the kitchen.

And this last picture. Oh, this last picture. My littlest camper. Isn't she just the cutest thing there is?

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Summer!

We have been a busy bunch this summer, with endless projects and kid activities. To be honest, I'm bummed that it is already mid-July. But I look back over the last month and a half and am overwhelmed with how much we have accomplished.

The biggest accomplishment, you ask?

Our camper is livable! It's not 100% done (the fridge still doesn't work, but that's another story), but we can use it. It can be towed, it keeps is warm and (mostly) dry. Big huge props to the hubs - he worked night and day on that camper. We still have a couple of projects to go, but it was nice to have some time to enjoy the Airstream, instead of just work, work, work.

Kid has grown, grown, grown. He and I butt heads quite a bit. His stubbornness shines through many times a day. He's spirited, as they say. I know that it will one day be a strength of his, but right now, it is so, so difficult to parent. He tries my patience day in and day out. But, oh, how it pays off. His endless questions are a glimpse into his thirst for knowledge - how does that work?, what does this do?, do just caterpillars become butterflies or do bees, too? He's a bright boy. He's a happy boy. It's hard to believe that he is already three. And in the next breath, it's hard to believe that he is only three.

In just the last week, his bike riding skills have blossomed. His love for SCUBA diving (really, he's snorkeling) has grown. His interest in letters is just beginning to sprout - trying to write the first letter of his name and recognizing other letters.

Little Miss is dang near one and a half. Whoa, has that flown by. She's finally starting to use the sign language we've been teaching her since 9 months. Initially, she refused to use any and all signs. She knew exactly what they meant, but preferred to point and whine instead. Finally, though, she will sign "more" and "please." We're still working on "thank you" and a few others as well. She is also starting to use more and more words. She's said the typical first words for quite some time -- mama, daddy, ball, hi, bye-bye -- and is now beginning to use "pleee" for please, and "da-doo" for thank you. She has also mastered "bubble," which is important for any child in summertime.

She runs, she dances, she loves going down the slide. She's a daredevil, just like her brother. I doubt she will have any problems keeping up with him!

{This was posted on the go - I apologize for the lack of photos!}

Monday, March 28, 2016

{Airstream Rehab}

Yes, we still have the Airstream.

Yes, we are still planning to renovate and use it.

Yes, we are crazy.

There are some big things coming down the line for the Barge. Two new axles are on the way to our house as we speak. We have four new wheels coming, and five new tires.

The back floor section has been replaced, and we found another extremely soft spot near the front. As is expected, these soft spots are all located under windows.

My husband has found the plans we will be using for building our J-shaped dinette.

I'm still working on decorating. Being at the decorating stage is a long ways away. Especially if we continue to find soft spots in the floor.

My dad (we are currently storing at their house) is convinced we have a squirrel problem. That makes me extra nervous!

Yesterday was the first day of spring break. With the kids at daycare, we went to look at new-to-us cars. We don't currently have a vehicle that would be great for long-distance towing. I get excited about getting a new (to us) tow vehicle because my car would be the trade-in.

That's all I have for an update on the airstream....

It's definitely proving to be a slow process!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Same Old Story

There's not much to say, but there is so much to say.

It seems as though, every so often, I am drawn back to this blog of mine. But then, things pick back up and I am absent for a few months. Not surprisingly, this "schedule" of mine goes along with my school calendar. And, in case you didn't realize it, I am always drawn back to the blog when I'm on break.

It's spring break now ... my husband and I have enjoyed calling out "SPRING BREAK!" whenever we're stressed or adulting really hard. It just serves to remind us how much our lives have changed since we enjoyed spring break in college.

Daaang, we're just lucky we still get spring break.

A lot has changed since I was here last.

My baby girl is ONE! I cannot believe it. She is a hoot and a half. I'm 100% positive that her first word was "uh oh" and she first said it when she threw her "pato" (lovey) behind her. She likes to throw things, though she doesn't throw well (or, she throws really well because she adds a little backspin and can play "catch" with herself). She is interested in anything and everything her brother does, and she is not afraid to tell us her opinion.

She is, most definitely, a keeper.

My big guy is almost THREE! That's even harder to believe. I have a three year old person. And man, he is a great guy. Sure, he tests our patience (all the time). He currently says he loves bad guys, but is quick to remind me that bad guys never "winned." And whenever we're playing super heroes, he is Batman because Batman helps all the people. One minute, he is "yer-yer-ing" us (think lightsaber sound). The next minute, he is belting out: "It's a jolly holiday with Mary!" using a toy putter as a cane and attempting to dance like Dick Van Dyke.

Seriously, though. My kid is awesome.

We are currently potty training the big guy. He's a stubborn little dude, though, and often tells us that he would rather poop his pants. (thanks, bud.)

I'm planning a joint birthday party for the kids in the next few weeks and am toying around with the idea of 2 separate themes. I know that birthday parties don't have to have themes ... but I like having a little flair on the invite. Kid told me that he wants to have a spaghetti themed birthday party. I think that is perfect.

Well, hopefully the motivation I'm feeling to write will stick around for awhile....

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

{recetas} Crock Pot Hot Cocoa

I've had a couple cans of sweetened condensed milk hanging out in the pantry for quite some time. I never really knew what to do with them, until I realized nobody was bringing dessert for the pot-luck Christmas party I hosted earlier this week.

I've totally gorged on Christmas cookies and treats, and didn't want to make another pie, cake, or cookies. Plus, I don't really know what to use sweetened condensed milk for. So I asked my mom.

Moms really are the best, aren't they? I swear, mine knows everything. And if she doesn't, she makes something up for me and it sure as hell sounds like she knows what she's talking about.

This crock pot recipe is super easy. Like, pour a few things, stir a few times, enjoy. Yep. That easy.

What you need:

  • 12 cups of milk (I used skim)
  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of mint chocolate chips
  • Reddi-whip (or the store brand, doesn't matter)
I did not say that this was a healthy cocoa recipe. It's not even a little bit healthy. Skim milk is low-fat, though. So maybe that kind of cancels out the sweetened condensed milk and the heavy whipping cream?

What you do:
  • Pour everything into the crock pot, except the reddi-whip.
  • Stir it up, turn it on high for an hour, or low for 2 hours.
  • Be sure to stir every so often, so the chocolate chips melt and don't burn to the bottom of the crock pot.
  • Ladle it into mugs when it's hot (or just warm, you decide) and top it with the reddi-whip.
  • Yum, yum, yum. Throw in a candy cane if you want to get fancy, but it is super minty already.

Monday, January 4, 2016

{Recetas} Lasagna Soup

Friends, the soup from last week was DEEEEEE-VINE! I made it for my closest girlfriends, and everyone gobbled it up. So I thought I would share the recipe with y'all. You should make it tonight. I'm serious. It's that good!

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 packages mild Italian sausage
  • 1 package baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 32 ounce cartons of chicken stock
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can fire roasted garlic diced tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 package noodles of your choice
  • Cheese, cheese, cheese

What you do:
  • Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add and brown the Italian sausage. Bring a pot of water to boil for your noodles.
  • Once the Italian sausage is browned, add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes to the pot. Turn the heat to low.
  • While the soup is warming, slice the zucchini and mushrooms. Add both to the pot. Return the heat to medium-high.
  • Add in the garlic, basil, oregano, and pepper. Stir it all together.
  • Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and allow it to simmer until the mushrooms and zucchini are done.
  • When the pot of water boils, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. I used rotini noodles, but you can use whatever you'd like. I've made this with bow-tie pasta, and with mini lasagna noodles. Anything works!
  • I keep the noodles separate. You can easily throw them in the soup, but I think they get a little too mushy. Especially if you make enough soup to freeze half.
  • Place a scoop of noodles in a bowl, then pour your soup over the top. Finally, load on the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Then, devour the soup like nobody's watching. Because it is that good!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

::Dinner Plans #24::

I am going in a new direction this week: budget friendly. Well, it's more of a pantry clean out. We have a freezer in our basement that is beyond full, a pantry that is bursting at the seems, and a regular freezer that has not an inch of space left. My plan is to use what we currently have for as long as possible - and to see how long I can go without spending copious amounts of cash money.

Sunday - Shepherd's Pie: a repeat from last week, I know, but we didn't get to it.
Monday - Leftover chili: it's been taking up space in my freezer for a few months.
Tuesday - Stir Fry: this has also been taking up space in the freezer for a few months.
Wednesday - Family Dinner
Thursday - Pan-fried Venison Steak and Steamed Veggies
Friday - Spaghetti: I have 2 quarts of frozen marinara sauce in the freezer, too.
Saturday - Tater-Tot Hot Dish: another recently made meal. We typically have the ingredients for this on hand all of the time.

In looking at my current pantry, I think my bill for dinner ingredients will be about $3. Of course, I will need to purchase some fresh fruit for snacks in the upcoming week, but I think this might be the cheapest week (grocery-wise) of my life.

What are your go-to budget friendly meals?

How about your go-to pantry clean out meals?

...I'm always looking for new recipes!

Friday, January 1, 2016


Every year, I enjoy reading blog posts about people's New Year's Resolutions. I think it is so wonderful to have a set of goals. It keeps the year focused and can really motivate. Some people.

Then, there's me.

I don't know why, but New Year's Resolutions are just ... lame for me. I never follow through. Like, ever. I can look back on resolutions past and think, "oh, that was a good one!" But it lasted until March or April and then ... well, it was forgotten.

I'm not writing New Year's Resolutions this year.

This year, I'm writing hopes and dreams.

I hope we get our camper up and running for our first trip scheduled in early July. The Barge (we're still deciding on names for the Airstream, so it may change) was welded back together yesterday and is in storage today. And we have a lot of work to do on her. A lot is an understatement. Either way, I hope she is ready to go by July. My dream is to someday (before Kid is 12) drive the Airstream up to Alaska.

I hope I make more sales on a teaching website of which I am a member. I would love to supplement our bank account with a little more cash. Our funds for camper renovations are pretty tight, so money from the website would be put toward The Barge (I swear, it's not just a random name; there's a story behind it).

I hope I can find balance for the rest of the school year. I have struggled this year with keeping things up and organized at home and at school. Unfortunately, school has come first. Which is great for my kindergarten students, but not so great for my family. We are always behind on laundry, we eat out more than I would like (which is why ::Dinner Plans:: have returned).

I hope I can bring more traffic to this little blog of mine. I'm still a little shy about the blog. I just shared it with my mom and sister rather recently. My best girlfriends don't know about it. For some reason it is easier to share with people I don't know in real life. I hope to build the blog and my confidence as a writer.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2016?