Mobile Holiday Plans

November 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

Brent and I set up Andrei with a movie tonight and headed out for a date.  It was only to McDonalds, but sometimes when it comes to holiday planning, you have to get away for fear of listening ears.

This is the first year we are not living by any family around the holidays.  So *we* have to be the ones traveling.  We’re going about 9 hours forThanksgiving and 6 hours for Christmas.  The question is, do we bring the RV and find a park, or take the slightly lighter on gas truck and find an AirBnB?

For Thanksgiving we found a rideshare on Craigslist and she’s helping with gas money – maybe we’ll do that for Christmas too.

Then comes the gift question.  How do we buy for each other and hide it in under 500 sq feet?  I had some gifts hidden in the car, but I’m concerned that they broke with the freezing temperatures – I’m too afraid to go out to look and it would be too late anyway.  Mostly we need things that take up no space or get us out of the house!  :)  We sit at home too much :)  So even a McDonalds date is worth it!

Saturday tourism

November 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

On Saturday we met up with some of Brent’s friends from high school and went touring.  We saw the Science and Energy Museum in the Secret City.  We also saw the world’s tiniest library and then Brent’s friends showed us an area that was federal land but had a super cool mountain road to drive up.  So we took the truck on it’s first excursion and I suppose it did wonderfully.

It was really nice to get out and be with fun people and do fun things and not just sit around this tiny house.  Although now it’s so cold out that I don’t really want to leave the house…..IMG_0233-1


November 17, 2014 — Leave a comment



This is a drawing I drew of a sunset in less than 20 seconds.  I got paid $.10 for it.  I have no idea what it was for.  The task just said – draw a picture of a sunset in 20 seconds and upload it.  (if the taskmaster sees this, maybe they could let me know? :))

I started a little over two weeks ago doing Mechanical Turk.  It’s basically surveys and micro-tasks for anywhere between a penny and a couple of bucks.  I do it while I’m watching TV at night or when I’m drinking coffee in the morning.

So far I’ve made almost $200 which is very helpful for us right now.  They’re not all as interesting as drawing a sunset, but they bring in the pennies.


November 14, 2014 — 1 Comment

See how “winter” is in quotes there?  That’s because that’s how it is here.  I went into a store today and asked if they sold ice, and the cashier said no, but I could just make some outside.  It was 40 out.  That is not cold, people.  I was wearing my summer dress still just yesterday.  Today it was admittedly colder but not COLD cold.  But the whole campground has notices everywhere about how you have to heat tape your hoses or they’ll fine you.  Even Brent got in the spirit and put the heaters in the water bays.  Andrei even said it snowed but I really just think it was light rain that was being blown about by the wind.

I did make beef barley soup for dinner, so maybe it really is winter.

Fun errands

November 13, 2014 — 1 Comment

As opposed to crappy errands like grocery shopping at 6AM, grocery shopping at 8PM, getting gas, pretty much going anywhere where I have to do the driving. Today we did fun errands. I had the day off and Andrei only had a short school session, so we had the whole afternoon free.

We started by dropping the boys off at the Hobby Store, and I went to World Market – or as Brent calls it – the Pier One Grocery Store. I picked up some stuff for Christmas (shhhh) and then went back to pick the boys up. They did not find anything, unfortunately. Then we went to Trader Joe’s – my favorite grocery store that we haven’t visited for months and I stocked up on all my favorites: Candy Cane Joe-Joes, Truffle infused brie, shelf stable whipping cream, TJ’s yogurt, and the not so spontaneous chocolate bar at the checkout.

Last we went to check out a used book store that I had randomly seen on the map. Since we are practically experts at going to bookstores now, we were thinking it was some dumpy hole in the wall – which is fine – we find stuff no matter where we go. But we rounded the curve and this gigantic walmart looking building comes into view – I think the clouds actually parted and sun shone down upon it. It was beautiful! Huge, well-lit, well organized, did not smell like mold, books in alphabetical order. I sort of just wandered in circles before finally figuring out where I was going and coming back out with an entire armload of books. I will go back and you all will probably get books for Christmas because it’s the only store I want to go to ever again for the rest of my life!

Junk Cabinet

November 12, 2014 — Leave a comment

Even though we’re in a small place, junk seems to multiply.  There’s a cabinet above the driver’s chair that seems to be the electronic junk cabinet.  Cords, manuals, plugs, drivey stuff.  So full of junk that you can’t find anything in it anymore.
That was our task for the day.  We found a lot of components for things we didn’t even own anymore, and some cords we thought we had lost.  In the end I felt like we were a little lighter on the junk.


Cook ahead Monday

November 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

My new job is right after school, and it’s 20 minutes away, so I leave right when I usually start dinner and get home after I’m already hungry.  Brent is a halfway decent cook, but if we want to stay at our current level of budget and … health…, I still need to be in charge of that stuff.

I’m trying to develop a list of 30 meals that I will always have mostly on hand so I won’t have to depend so much on weekly shopping, but at the moment, I started doing “meat-of-the-week”.  Meat-of-the-week is where I cook one large slab of meat in the crock pot on Sunday night and then on Monday morning divide it up into all the meals we are going to eat this week.  For example, last night I made a beef roast.  In the morning I took it out of the crockpot to cool, and also sautéed 2 onions and 3 carrots.  Then I put it into separate jars with big DO NOT EAT labels.  Then we made a smaller beef roast for dinner and I jarred up the extra from that and the broth from the bottom.  Meal plan for this week is:

Crockpot Beef Roast (that was tonight)
Beef Stroganoff
Beef and black bean burritos
Barley Soup
Roast Beef and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese (these are amazing)
Extra jar of spaghetti sauce to use in emergency

The nice thing is I don’t really have to have the whole week planned exactly.  If I am running late I can switch at the last minute and it won’t affect the time I spend.  Or I can ask Brent to throw Jar A and ingredient B into the pot and we’re ready to go.  It’s very convenient and probably the closest I’ll ever get to Once A Month cooking with our shoebox sized freezer.


Knoxville, TN

November 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

So… the last time I wrote we were in Michigan.  Then we went to Kentucky, then to Brent’s parent’s in Pennsylvania, then we moved to Knoxville, TN.  We have moved about every month so far and decided to settle down for the holidays.  We are looking for local jobs (I got a couple of hours a day tutoring a little girl), and just hanging out for a while.  I miss having people I know and not always introducing ourselves.  We found a church we enjoy and a state that promises less than 3 days of freezing per year.  It seems like it’s the place to be!

Middle class

August 27, 2014 — 8 Comments

One book I’m reading right now – Flight Behavior – is about a poor country family who’s back farm suddenly becomes a roosting site for monarch butterflies.  They aren’t usually there so it sends the entire science and environmental community into a tizzy.

Difference of class is a huge theme in the book.  In one section an environmentalist is trying to get locals to sign a pledge of reducing their carbon footprint by “flying less” and “maintaining your vehicles” and “bringing your own togo containers for restaurant leftovers”.  The main character informs him that her husband’s truck is on it’s third engine and she hasn’t gone out to eat in two years (no mention on the flying).

Our family sees the world through middle class glasses.  We have a bank account, we go grocery shopping once per week, if we need a repair done, we can figure out how to do it ourselves, or hire someone.  We know how to educate our son so that he will be accepted to college.  We are free to be minimalistic.  We know that we could get a credit card and a house loan and move back to typical middle class life.

We would not be welcome at some RV parks where they require that your rig be worth a certain amount of money.  We do not know how to hire a high end lawyer or a sommelier, or a nanny, or a pool cleaner.  We would not be invited skiing.

On the other end, we don’t know how to get around without a car.  I have seen bus lines here but I haven’t paid attention and I can’t read a bus map to save my life.  We don’t know what churches have free dinners when.  We don’t know how to barter well.

Even though we have a less than middle class income, we still know that if we work hard enough, and do the right things, and vote correctly, we will be taken care of and have a nice, stable retirement.

Being in an RV – we meet a wide variety of people.  People who’s summer home is more money than we make in 5 years on one side, and one of Andrei’s friends on the other – we were pretty sure he would be homeless except his grandma let him and his mom stay in her trailer.

Looking at the world around us it’s easy to think everyone thinks just like us and has history just like us, but chances are they’re more different than the same.  I’d like to be more open to others and learning what it’s like through different glasses – quoting the book – “I don’t learn anything when I listen to myself talk.”  (that means comment, people!)


Recommended reading:

Could you survive in wealth?

Being poor

Spent – a choose your own adventure game where you have no job but none of the pain (in real life, anyway)

Women Who Love

August 26, 2014 — Leave a comment

I started reading Jesus Feminist and it began with this poem – I thought it needed to be passed on :)

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth now with extravagant Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who make room.

Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.

Let us be women who carry each other.

Let us be women who give from what we have.

Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things, the unexpected things and the necessary things.

Let us be women who live for Peace.

Let us be women who breathe Hope.

Let us be women who create beauty.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be a sanctuary where God may dwell.

Let us be a garden for tender souls.

Let us be a table where others may feast on the goodness of God.

Let us be a womb for Life to grow.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us rise to the questions of our time.

Let us speak to the injustices in our world.

Let us move the mountains of fear and intimidation.

Let us shout down the walls that separate and divide.

Let us fill the earth with the fragrance of Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us listen for those who have been silenced.

Let us honour those who have been devalued.

Let us say, Enough! with abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.

Let us not rest until every person is free and equal.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who are savvy, smart and wise.

Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.

Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.

Let us be women who say, Yes to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.

Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.

Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.

Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.

Let us be women who Love.

by Idelette McVicker