March Mini-Adventure: Fairytale Town

Fairytale Town

Now, just to clarify, we originally went to Sacramento for the weekend so I could do the Peace, Love, Run 10k. I got my shirt and number, I was all ready to run, but I turned my alarms off in my sleep and we missed it!!! UGGGGG!! Still mad about it.

20160325_140712The best part about the weekend was the trip out to Fairytale Town. If you are in Sacramento with kids, you cannot miss this place. It was basically a giant playground. All the areas were different with slides and climbing equipment.

20160325_143216There was a small fee to get in, but it was definitely worth it! The kids had so much fun and were totally worn out by the time we left. The best part was Owl’s Treehouse. They literally went up those steep stairs and down the slide like 12 times before I said we had to move on.

20160325_133052Only downside was that they had snowcones and I didn’t get one. :'(

 

The kids also really enjoyed staying in the hotel. I swear the hotel room was as big as our house!! We all stayed up until 11 pm watching Rocket Power (hadn’t seen that show in like 15 years!!)

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Despite the disappointment of missing my race, it was a great little family getaway!MONDAYS

P.S. More of our pictures from each adventure get posted to our Instagram, come follow our adventures there for daily updates! 🙂

Kid’s Indoor Activities: The Small-Space Edition!

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I don’t know about you guys, but here, in California, it has been raining ALOT in the last few weeks (this last week was surprisingly dry though – woohoo!). This has had me scrambling to come up with fun and interesting things for Rosie and I to do indoors.

Now, Pinterest is an amazing place where you can find a multitude of awesome kid’s activities, but I was noticing that many of the best ones required a large space to work with. We do not have that. I found myself wondering what some of the other small-space dwelling moms come up with in these situations. So I asked them! Here are some of the best that I found.

Crazy Family Adventure

FamilyPicatMountWashburnThis incredible family of six originally inspired me to believe that my family would love full-time RVing as well. They travel the country in their motorhome and absolutely love it! Bryanna told me about a few of their go-to indoor games and the one that really stood out to me was their “Storytelling” game. She describes it as having the kids answer a bunch of questions that will create the story, such as “Is the character a boy or girl?” “Where are they?” “What are they doing?” and then mom or dad (or both) tell the story. Another way they play this game, is to take turns telling pieces of the story to create something completely unique and extraordinary. I tried this with my older daughter and she had a blast! This is a great indoor, rainy-day activity because it encourages closeness in a fun and silly way!

This family has the most incredible adventures! They can be followed at:  Their Blog Twitter Facebook Instagram

Haff Ass Farm

IMG_0194Tennyson, with her husband and little Jasper, lives in a Tiny Cabin!! So cool, right?! They run a small-scale farmstead where they grow and make things traditionally.  Tennyson tells me that they use Waldorf-inspired activities to keep Jasper entertained when the weather requires them to stay indoors. They like to bake bread together! Tennyson said “its a great way to introduce math to children and it lets them get the opportunity to learn through a tactile method. And at the end of the day, they get to contribute to dinner and eat something they made. It is a great confidence builder and a way to make your little one feel as though they have a big role in the family”.  You are so very right, Tennyson! We will be giving this a shot ASAP 🙂

You can follow the Haff Ass Farm’s awesome farming endeavors at: Facebook Instagram

Lil House On The Highway

12784480_10156630437540444_1423081661_nAbigail from Lil House On the Highway, with her husband and their two small children, are full-time RVers as well. Abigail says that her kids love Trains! No matter how small your house is, there is always room for a train track of some size and Trains are so cool.  This suggestion was revolutionary for me because getting a train track had never crossed my mind. We are going to surprise Sophie with one for her next birthday. Unfortunately, with the ever-changing technology providing kids with screens for every occasion,  Trains are going out of style. This is incredibly sad and I say we bring Trains back into fashion! Whose with me?! 🙂

Follow Lil House on the Highway’s adventures: Facebook YouTube Instagram

12694547_10153274908847793_841334106053472939_oFor our family, we spend quite a bit of time playing dress up when we are cooped up inside, but I think “The Toywash” is our most favorite indoor activity. Whenever the kids start to get antsy about being inside, we gather up all the hard toys and toss them in the sink with some warm water and bubbles. This activity keeps them busy long after the water goes cold. Another go-to activity is “Where’s Bear?”. Both of my girls have a bear that is their best friend so we take turns hiding the bear somewhere. It’s like Hide and Seek 🙂 Anything that involves water or bears is always a big hit in our house.

Finding awesome indoor activities for kids who live in small spaces can be challenging at times. This is why it is so exciting when we think of something new and interesting for our kids to do.

What kind of games do your little ones play when they are stuck inside? I would love to hear about it!

 

Fairy Falls Family Hike

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After that first family hike out in Nevada City, Sophie’s favorite phrase for days was “Can we go on another adventure, please!?” So at the suggestion of our friend De’Etta at Courageous Joy, we decided to try the Fairy Falls Hike since it is only a few miles away and she had detailed instructions on how to find it on her blog (link at end).

 

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Now when I originally read the post, I didn’t notice that she said how long it was because I was concentrating on directions to the parking spot. This hike was extremely challenging for our little ones, but it was so worth it!!

 

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It was a gorgeous day – sunny, but not too hot! The hike was incredible because the scenery changes like every mile! You spend quite a bit of it walking down a dirt road.

 

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Little Rosebud fell asleep while being carried on the way out there. This made the trip even more challenging. We considered giving up before we even reached the falls, but we decided to make peace with the fact that we were going to end up carrying toddlers, instead. I’m so glad we did!

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Fairy Falls 2Once past the long dirt road, we came to a metal gate. At this point, we started passing people. Quite a few in fact. The gate led into a cow pasture. This was really interesting for the girls because the cows were so close to us. Nick and I were nervous though so we held them and tried to give the cows a decent amount of space as we passed them.

 

Fairy Falls 8Fairy Falls 9About a mile later, we came to a small sign that stood at the juncture of 3 paths. We decided to take the middle one because, by the looks of the sign, all 3 led to the falls. This middle path was beautiful, but the hiking was rough at points. There was a point when we were pretty much crawling along the path because it was very steep and slanted into a ravine.

Upon clearing the deeper woods, we found ourselves on an open trail. This was the last stretch to the falls. It sure was pretty!!

 

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We still do not know if we were at the top of the falls or the middle.

 

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Unfortunately, we did not reach the bottom of the falls, but only because the rest of the trail was carved into the side of the hill and it was not fenced. It looked a little too dangerous for a 2 and 3-year-old.

 

 

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We ate our lunch at the spot right next to the falls and played on some of the rocks by the fenced area. The girls loved it!! I would really like to tackle this hike again someday when the kids are much older.

 

Overall, this was an awesome trip to despite how challenging the hiking got at certain points. Sophie is already begging to go on another adventure!

 

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Our friends at Courageous Joy have perfect directions to this spot that can be found here. 🙂 Thanks, De’Etta,  for suggesting we try this hike!!

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February Mini-Adventure: Hirschman Trail – Nevada City, CA

 

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IMG_3938Family hiking is something we have always wanted to start doing, but the kids weren’t really old enough. This was their very first hike and they had a blast! The trail is off Cement Hill Rd. (right off hwy 49 by the police station) in Nevada City, CA. We discovered it through their city website Nevada City Things To Do, they have a list of the nearby hiking trails and how to find them, which is extremely convenient since we still do not know the area very well. It was such a beautiful trail, filled with trees, giant rocks, and a few wooden bridges. There was also a pretty big lake that people were fishing out of. It was very peaceful and the fish seemed to biting.

 

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We went about a mile in and turned back because we didn’t want to wear them out too quickly. We have decided that we want to take the kids on at least one a hike a month since there are so many beautiful areas here to be discovered. We also investigated Nevada City a little. What a beautiful little town!! Next time we are there I will get better pictures.

 

12705768_10153270700192793_6905395903924002363_nThe one very exciting thing I found was my very first Little Free Library! It was sooo cute! Sophie says next time we need to bring a bunch of books to fill it up.

 

 

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Overall, the February Mini-Adventure was a success and we are looking forward to spending more time over the coming weeks exploring Nevada City and its surrounding areas.

10 Reasons You Should Jump Into Full-Time RVing While Your Kids Are Still Little

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Full-time RVing is becoming steadily more popular among the younger generation and for good reason. It’s awesome!! However, there is still a stigma attached to living in an RV when you have kids. People like to assume that you are either irresponsible with money or nuts. Those assumptions are completely unwarranted and probably fueled by the big green jealousy monster. Living in an RV as a young adult with a family is incredible! Here are the top 10 reasons why.

1. Travel!
If you ditch that mortgage (that you can barely afford…you know it’s true), the possibilities of your living conditions are limitless. Let’s say you can’t or don’t want to quit that job that tethers you to a specific area. That still doesn’t keep you stuck in one spot in one boring little neighborhood with the same irritating neighbors for the next 30+ years. You can park your house at a campground in the woods, near the ocean, or maybe even just in a little nearby, country town. If you decide you don’t like it you can just pick up your house and move on. On the other hand, if you are trying to quit your desk job and make a living from home, you can go anywhere you want! You can really SHOW your kids the beauty that this country (or maybe even Canada and Mexico) has to offer. Most families only get to go explore the country once or twice a year and it’s usually only for a week or two at a time, in one area. Imagine taking your kids all over the country at your own pace. Moving into an RV while they are still filled with that natural sense of adventure can provide a positive influence if your are focusing on raising them to be the type of adults who know how to chase down their dreams and make them come true.

2. Saving Money
The amount of money that you save, even just monthly, on living expenses is insane. Seriously! Monthly camping fees are almost always full hook-up which means they include sewer, trash, electric, water, and free Wi-Fi. Believe it or not, these monthly camp fees average out at about half of what you would pay for all of that in a one-bedroom apartment. Prices always vary depending on the area and how many other amenities they offer. Many of them are “family friendly” so they may offer a pool and/or a playground. That money that you are saving by not being tied to a lease somewhere could be falling into your kid’s college fund or your retirement account or even just on experiencing the biggest and best attractions all over the country.

3. Own Your Home
If you have never owned your own place, this is an opportunity to do it without losing your shirt or signing away your soul on a 30-year mortgage. It may seem like a big leap to take your savings, or sell your current house, and buy an RV to live in, but if you do it’s going to be the best financial decision you have ever made. Trying to become financially stable enough to own something when you are young is challenging especially when you have kids, but if you do your research, you can find something that fits your needs and spend the same or less than you would on a down payment for a traditional home to raise your family in.

 4. Eliminates Hoarding
We all know how terribly easy it is to just keep filling your house with stuff that you think you need until you put it away and forget about it for 5 years. Downsizing into a space that will most likely be a fourth of what you were living in forces you to let go of those 8 boxes of old Christmas decorations, clothes that fit you when you were 16, and books that you didn’t even like but kept anyway. This is especially beneficial for your kids because they will be growing up in a home where you keep what you need unless it is super-duper special and you have a definite place for it. Little kids can get so easily attached to things and that can be a lifelong habit that just worsens with age.

5. Less to Clean
Keeping your house clean when you are working a busy schedule and raising happy kids can be a major trigger for stress. The bigger your house, the more you feel like you spend all of your free time cleaning and if you don’t do what needs to be done you feel like you are living in a trash heap. When you are residing in a 400 square foot (or smaller) space, you can clean your entire house top to bottom in less than 2 hours! Some people spend that just trying to keep their kitchen in order. Instead of spending every single weekend cleaning your house, you will find that all of a sudden you have loads of free time to spend with your kids or your hobbies.

6. Less “Screen Time”
An appreciation for nature is becoming obsolete with today’s generation of youngsters. They have their little faces pressed up to any screen they can get their hands on and hardly ever want to go outside. What kind of adults are they going to grow up to be if they do not have any attachment to the awesomeness of this planet? This type of lifestyle is more likely to inspire your kids to grow up loving physical, outdoor activities. RVs have TV’s, of course, but you will want to spend more time breathing in the pine sap air when your living quarters are smaller.

7. Closer to Nature
Living in an RV allows you to choose your background and change it at any time. This is a great way to go for people who have a passion for outdoor hobbies like hiking, biking, and fishing. Many full-timers have said that they made this lifestyle change in order to be able to make those activities more of a priority in their lives. It can also awaken a passion in you for something that you never thought you would be interested in like photography or art and if you are the type of person that loves to camp, it allows you to camp every day of the week. Not to mention it will give you an excuse to have s’mores and a bonfire as many times a week as you can handle.

8. Sibling Bonding
Now a move like this will require your kids to share a room and that may seem unfair at first, but you will find that transitioning them from having their own room to sharing with their siblings usually inspires them to bond in a new way. If you shared a room as a kid, you may already know how that feels. Getting your kids to bond in today’s technological world is a challenge, but in a smaller space, they will spend more time playing and making decisions together when they normally would have been doing their own thing.

9. Problem-Solving Skills
This may seem like it’s pointed at your kids, but this is something that will improve for the whole family. Once again returning to the aspect of small space, you have to work out your disagreements as they occur due to the fact that you don’t have many places to go when you are upset. This may seem a little scary at first, but it is a very good thing. Too often people, adults especially, will walk away from their problems without solving them because it is easier, but that leaves behind a residual anger that can sometimes be unleashed on those we love the most. Making the time to fix your problems instead of bottling them up is a skill that you will want your kids to learn early. As we all know, it’s harder to change your habits as an adult.

10. Family Togetherness
The most important reason is the reason why we do any of the things that we, as parents, do: to raise happy kids. Making the move into a smaller space eliminates that habit of splitting up into different rooms to do whatever we want. When your house consists of mom & dad’s room, kid’s room, and living space, you will almost be forced to spend the majority of your time as a unit. Creating long-lasting, loving bonds is the best thing you can do for your family. Some families really appreciate the aspect of “personal space” and that IS important especially for the parents, but the average person’s idea of how much space they need is excessive. Don’t go assuming that by moving into an RV you will be living on top of each other, however. Selecting an RV that has a sufficient amount of space per person is all part of the buying process, but we tend to think that the biggest house we can afford will make us happy and usually that is untrue.

So if you have been lustfully eyeing RVs online, but putting the idea of full-timing on the backburner because of your young family, give it some more thought. Any changes we make in life are scary at first especially if we spend too much time calculating the negatives when we could be planning for positives. Take a chance! Your family could find ultimate happiness living the RV lifestyle.