School Bus Conversion | A Minimalist Family Adventure

A Family of 5 Living on a Converted School Bus. We blog about skoolies, travel, family, and minimalism

This Year’s Tiny House, Skoolie, Full Time RV’er Top 5 Must Haves This Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice Holiday

We have been living full time in our skoolie a little over 2 years now, and over that time I’ve learned a lot. Every tiny dweller is different, but a…

We have been living full time in our skoolie a little over 2 years now, and over that time I’ve learned a lot. Every tiny dweller is different, but a few things are always the same. I figured since Christmas is coming up I would share my top 5 tiny dweller must haves. If you don’t have theses things, are you really even a tiny dweller?

 

5. WATER BOTTLE

Every tiny dweller needs their reusable water bottle. Why you ask? Because, we care about the Earth, unlike all those people living in normal houses. Please note, your bottle must be covered by at least 13 1/2 stickers, and no less. I highly recommend 1-2 stickers that say something about living tiny and minimalism (our favorite is the “Home is Where You Park It“), just to make sure everyone at the local coffee shop knows you are one of the cool people.

If you don’t already have your own logo and dye cut sticker get one, and stick it on there, how else will you be prompted to tell everyone about your social media accounts? You need to include your favorite brand of outdoor clothing, and of course, a sticker from all the national parks you’ve visited.

 

4. OIL DIFFUSER

Got a cough? Student loan debt? Put some Lavender oil on it!  Soon your whole life will change! But really, when living tiny you’re going to want to cover up the swamp smell of that composting toilet with a few drops of your favorite oils (Glade, candles, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, deodorant, etc  = chemicals). Get yourself a diffuser and a friend who wants you to join their team. DoTerra, Young  Living, olive oil from Costco put that stuff on everything.

 

3. LETTERBOARD

How else will you share your witty thoughts with the internet? “AINT NO HOOD LIKE MOTHERHOOD” am I right? “FIRST I DRINK THE COFFEE, THAN I DO THE THINGS” you’re only as clever as your letter board quote.

If you’re taking more pictures of your kids than your letter board, your priorities are WRONG! Get yourself a tiny letter board to bring along for photographing those perfect adventures to the zoo “MY SPIRIT ANIMAL IS A SLOTH” You feel me?! How did we ever document our kid’s 34th month on this Earth without these things??!

 

2. PUFFY BLACK JACKET

Cold? NOPE, not with my puffy jacket on. Have I told you about its life time warrantee? I wear this thing from September-May. I wear it in the morning, and in the afternoon, I wear it in the evening underneath the moon, oh skid-a-ma-rinky dinky dink skid-a-ma-rinky dinky doo.

(pictured above is a tiny dweller pack in their natural habitat, whiskey, pipes, and fire pit used to attract the animals, no tiny dwellers were harmed during the creation of this photo)

 

1. CARHARTT BEANIE

If you don’t own one of these get one STATT! Its the number 1 most important piece in my wardrobe. Tiny dwellers don’t shower, and our priority is always water conservation. You have to have this beanie, in this color to cover up your dirty hair. Give it a quick spritz of your favorite essential oil when it stinks like dirty hair, NEVER WASH, it wastes water.

 

 

 

 

 

I know this might all sound like a joke…but I really do have each of these items, including friends who sell oils. I use all of these items daily and do recommend using products that don’t damage your body or the Earth. If you want to be a true tiny dweller be sure to put all of these items on your Christmas list along with a year long membership to Planet Fitness, not to work out, just for the free wifi and the showers (they don’t actually use real water so its safe to bathe there).

If you feel I forgot any must haves please be sure to share them in the comments below.


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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Video Tour Of Our School Bus Conversion

This is our first ever video tour of our school bus conversion. We hope you like, comment, and subscribe.

After living in our converted school bus (skoolie) for over two years, we have finally completed a full video tour! Check it out below.

Our good friends from Tiny House Expedition came and stayed on our property and they filmed us over the course of 4 days. It was an absolute blast.

This was the first time Ashley and I were on camera in this capacity. It was definitely a little nerve-racking and we were a bit awkward, but overall we think it turned out great.

In the video, we discuss every aspect of our bus including design, plumbing, electrical, and more.

Also there is some bonus footage where we tour you around our shipping container office/homeschool room.

So, please check out the video, comment, like and tell us what you think!

Thanks for following along!


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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How We Winterize Our School Bus Conversion

If you have followed our journey for a while, you might have learned that I am not a fan of being cold. My friends and I joke that my tombstone…

If you have followed our journey for a while, you might have learned that I am not a fan of being cold. My friends and I joke that my tombstone will say something along the lines of “Now I’m Really Cold” because I consider the weather cold if the temperature is lower 75 degrees. Winter in the bus hasn’t been terrible here in NM, but I have a feeling this year will be a different story. The past two winters, we’ve had almost no snow.

This year, the temperature has already fallen into the high teens and it’s only November. I’ve had a lot of DM’s on Instagram asking me how we prep the bus for below freezing weather and this post is a response to them.  Below I will give a detailed list of ways we prep the bus for winter, along with a few products we have purchased to help aid in keeping us warm.

 

 

Tiny Wood Stove

In October, we brought our Tiny Wood Stove and our wood box back into the bus. We love love this thing and couldn’t live without it. The stove was brought to us by Nick at Tiny Wood Stove back in October of 2017 at the Tiny House Jamboree (you can read about our experience at the Jamboree HERE). It has been the single most important thing used for keeping the bus warm.

We have the the Dwarf 4kw with the 4″/RV Bus Installation Kit – Roof Exit Bundle. Tiny Wood Stove has comprehensive YouTube videos detailing every aspect of installation and will provide you with everything you need for the stove. We did have to call Nick a few times, and he was super gracious with us. He even answered our phone calls on a Sunday night while we were in the process of installation. (hence why I will back this company wholeheartedly)

PROS:

  • It takes up very little space
  • It’s beautiful and they make custom door colors to match the design of your build
  • The company is hands down one of the best companies I’ve EVER worked with
  • It was simple to install.  The hardest part was cutting the 4 inch hole into the curve of the bus.
  • It allows you to have heating off grid.
  • The glass window makes for an amazing ambiance in the evening or on foggy days.
  • The heat it puts off is much more cozy than a space heater or propane heater.
  • Its easy and quick to clean.

CONS:

  • It’s tiny so the wood has to be tiny. There’s a saying “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice”. Well, I would say chopping the wood to fit inside this stove will warm you 3-4 times. We typically cut a single log into three pieces with the chainsaw and then chop it with an axe into 3 more pieces from there.
  • The chimney pipe is 4 inches wide so we do have to clean the chimney once every month, sometimes once every 3 weeks. It take all of 5 minutes to clean out. It does have to be done more often than a typical large pipe. We bought a simple chimney brush from amazon that has been helpful and cost around $20.
  • You won’t get a ton of heat through the night unless you get up and load it. We do load it up before we go to bed with harder woods and choke it way down but even still the warmest the stove has been in the morning without reload is 150 degrees. Better than nothing but not as hot as a typical large wood stove.

Heat Tape

We installed our fresh water tanks inside the bus under our bed in the back. Our grey water tank on the other hand is outside and so are our inlets for water. When we are parked at home in Corrales, NM we have a water hook up that was brought down to the bus from our well that is located on the West side of our land (where our traditional home will be built in the next year).

We have a 6 foot hose that reaches from the faucet to the inlet of the bus that provides fresh water. That hose is typically exposed although it is an insulated drinking water hose it will freeze. We wrap heat tape around the hose and faucet and then a foam pipe insulation that looks like a pool noodle around the tape and zip tie it.

The urine from our Natures Head Toilet is also diverted to the grey tank. We DIY’d that job and learned very quickly once winter hit last year that the pee froze and would back up if we didn’t apply heat tape to that pipe also. These details are the not so glamorous side of bus life.

Space Heater

In the middle of the night if we don’t have enough wood cut or its going to be especially cold, we will set our space heater to a temperature of 61 degrees. We don’t like to use the space heater often because its super expensive. We really like to be as off grid as possible and space heaters cannot be run off our battery bank. Convenience-wise, the space heater is the easiest form of heat. When we use it regularly it will bump our electric bill up about $150 a month.

Electric Blankets

The quickest way to my heart is to feed me and keep me warm. Brandon will go turn my heating blanket to high about 30 minutes before we go to bed and I melt right into his arms every night. We bought heat blankets for the kids beds when we were on the road full time back in 2016. The blankets were a way we could make sure they kept warm while still living completely off grid. Now the kids love them as much as I do. Ive bought three different brands and had to take them back to the store because they didn’t get hot enough, wires were too thick, or the texture was too slippery and it would slide off the bed by morning. Our favorite brand is the Biddeford Comfort Knit Sherpa electric blanket. Trust me I am an expert and this one is the best!

Reflectix

In the front of our bus we chose to keep the original bus windows in order to allow as much natural light in as possible. We also felt it paid tribute to the school bus this home used to be. What we didn’t know was the bus windows provide zero insulation and allow in a lot of cold air. So right away we realized this was going to be a problem in the winter months.

When we had our bumper pull trailer (you can see pictures and read about our trailer HERE), Brandon’s dad suggested we get this product called Reflectix and cut it to insulate the windows of the trailer. It kept light out and also helped with the draftiness of the RV windows. So obviously that advise carried over to the bus. It was quite a bit of work to cut custom window covering for each window in the front and back of the bus. It provides soooo much value though. I highly recommend this for all full timers. It’s such a great way to insulate the terrible RV’s, trailer, and 5th wheel windows.

Rugs

Keeping the floor of the bus warm is impossible. Drafts of air move back and forth under the bus 24/7 365 days a year. I wear slippers all winter from the minute I get out of bed until I climb into my perfectly heated bed (thanks B!). If you talk to any bus owners they’ll tell you the same, that rugs make the home much more comfortable.

I know there are more things we could do to winterize like install a skirt around the bottom of the bus, shrink wrap the windows, etc. For now these are the things we know work well.  If you have any further questions about what we do to winterize feel free to direct message me on Instagram and Ill be sure to respond.

Also I want to make it clear that in this blog post I did link items we use. Within those links are our unique affiliate links. If you chose to buy anything from the links on our blog it does help provide income to us. It will not be of any extra cost to you. We love sharing this info with people and only link to things we have actually used and love. So we appreciate you using our links to buy your items if you found this post to be helpful!

 


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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Our Top 5 Places To Find Free Overnight Camping

When we first started traveling, we had no idea that there was free overnight camping all around us  We generally would move from RV Park to RV Park, staying at Walmarts…

When we first started traveling, we had no idea that there was free overnight camping all around us  We generally would move from RV Park to RV Park, staying at Walmarts in between.  While there is nothing wrong with this way of travel, the cost quickly adds up.  Also, we were missing out on much of the adventure / relationships by staying in RV Parks.

After a few months, we realized there were tons of resources available to help travelers find great places to stay.  I wanted to highlight our top 5 places to find free overnight camping here so that you can enhance your adventures.

1. All Stays Mobile App

Link: https://www.allstays.com/apps/camprv.htm
Cost: $10

This was the very first tool that we discovered.  A developer based on Santa Fe (we know him) started crowdsourcing content in the late 90’s and has continued to do so ever since.  This app is the culmination of that data collection.  It has everything including:

  • State Parks
  • National Parks
  • Free Places To Park Overnight  (Walmart, Cabellas, Cracker Barrel, etc…)
  • BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Lands (cheap or free parking)
  • Gas Stations
  • and more…

The app makes it incredibly simple to find the above near your current location.  It usually provides info like address, ratings, cost, reviews, and photos of every location.  This app quickly became a source of comfort while we were on the road.

The only downside is the cost.  Currently the app falls between $10-$20 depending on the sale. Well worth it in our opinion.

2. FreeCampSites.net

Link: https://freecampsites.net/
Cost: Free

This tool is focused a little more on state parks, national parks, BLM, and smaller campgrounds.  It will usually have more places to show than AllStays in these categories and provides a VERY user friendly website.  You simply zoom in on a location and tap the icon for each place to stay. The tool can easily show you what’s free, paid, or permitted.

Obviously, the perk of this website is the data is free.  The downside is it might not be updated quite as often as there doesn’t seem to be a full time paid person running it.

3. Harvest Hosts

Link: https://harvesthosts.com/
Cost: $49/year

This is one of our favorites and has afforded us some of the most interesting and unique experiences on the road.  Per their website:

Harvest Hosts is a network of wineries, farms and attractions that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight!

The idea behind the service is very interesting.  RVers pay a fee of $49/year and have access to a database of over 600 farms, wineries, and other interesting locations.  Once you are a member, you are able to stay (for free) at any one of their locations.  Usually for a few nights to a week (could be more if you really hit it off with the host). The only hope/expectation is that you patron the place you are visiting (or even help out around the farm).

Check out their website and you will see no shortage of stunning photos.  Harvest Hosts really provides a unique opportunity to stay somewhere you might never think of (or have access to) for free.

The only caveat is they require your RV to be self contained.  So if you are a renegade who likes to run their gray water straight on to the ground (like some of my skoolie friends), this might not be the best choice for you.

4. Boondockers Welcome

Link: https://www.boondockerswelcome.com/
Cost: $30/year

Their website sums it up nicely:

Free Overnight Camping on Private Property
Make new friends and sleep soundly
Locals invite travelers to spend the night, share their stories, and save their money for the real adventure.

Once you become a member, you have access to their database to stay on property owned by other people.  So every new destination is a chance to connect with other likeminded individuals and share a meal, experience, conversation, etc…

We have not personally used this service yet, however it’s on our list for the next time we take a long trip.  On our property, we sort of have an informal version of this in that we invite other skoolie and tiny house friends to come stay and hang out with us while they are on their journeys.

You can eliminate the $30/year fee if you have property and become a host yourself, which is a super cool perk if you have the means.

5. Instagram

Link: http://instagram.com (duh)
Cost: Free/Beer/Meals/Coffee/Conversations/Stepping out of comfort zone

Finally, our #1 way to find free and/or interesting places to park is via Instagram.  Finding other folks in the skoolie/tiny living community and parking on their properties has been one of the greatest joys of living this bus life.

What’s really interesting is, there is almost a built-in trust / filtering system when you connect with people this way.  While many folks have their reasons for traveling (part or full time), they all seem to have similar values (generosity, kindness, gratitude, list goes on and on). This generally makes for an instant-connection when meeting in real life.

So while the other options above are great ways to find free places to park, nothing quite beats forming real relationships and connections by sharing space with other likeminded individuals.

We hope that you found this post useful and we would love to hear your suggestions for finding great places to park overnight.  Please feel free to leave them in the comments and we hope to see you on the road!


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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Does Your Tiny House Have Room For Toys?

OF COURSE IT DOES…but only the few that actually get played with. A question we get asked a lot is “where do your kids keep their toys?” In our previous house,…

OF COURSE IT DOES…but only the few that actually get played with.

A question we get asked a lot is “where do your kids keep their toys?” In our previous house, we had an entire room dedicated to playing. It was our “toy room”, and the kids rarely played in it. Instead, they enjoyed playing with boxes, bowls and the containers that held the toys more than the actual toys (proof below). They would dump all their toys out, get overwhelmed and ultimately end up back in the living room with us or outside playing.

I’ve read many articles written on people who live tiny with kids. Often there is feedback from internet trolls complaining about how kids “need their own room” and “need toys”. This is bogus! Kids all over the world live in one room homes with little to no toys and those kids are doing just fine.

These kids don’t have their heads in an iPad all day and they know how to find entertainment outdoors. Their only entertainment isn’t watching other kids play with toys on Youtube. They help their families with the work around the house and enjoy exploring, and getting dirty.

Although at some point when our traditional home is built, our kids will get their own room it will be a room meant for sleeping and for the resale of the house. The house will be built at moderate size and be built with simplicity in mind . It won’t be a place for them to constantly shut themselves away and separate from their family. They will have their own space, but our home will be built with the focus of being together and hosting.

So to answer the question, our kids keep their toys in their beds. They don’t have many and we are ok with that, but the few toys they do have they actually play with. If they don’t play with a toy it gets donated or thrown away. They naturally deal with the consequence of having too many toys because they are solely responsible for keeping their beds picked up and comfortable.

Here are our top three tips for keeping toys under control.

  1. Make kids clean up their own toys/rooms/beds, properly, not everything thrown into one bin or container. Sorted and put away properly. If they can’t do that then they have too much. A two year old doesn’t need 30 hot wheels cars, 4 different train tracks, 25 action figures, 4 bins of dress up clothes, etc. The younger they are the less they need, in my opinion. A few good quality wooden toys like Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube, few cars, dolls and some Duplo legos should do fine. Ill bet your kids won’t notice most of their toys are gone (ours didn’t) and those few things are easy to sort and organize.
  2. Teach your kids about other children who have less. I explained to mine that other kids could and would use their donated toys. Whether you donate to a local thrift store, a church, local gym, or a domestic violence shelter. Its good for them to realize its not going in the trash and what they are doing is kind. My youngest tries to give away her toys constantly because she loves the feeling of giving and it makes me so proud.
  3. Stop buying junk. Just because its on sale or is cheap doesn’t mean they should have it. The clearance toy aisle still calls me but on sale isn’t always better. I bought my kids RC cars because they were $10, originally priced at $40…well they broke within the first hour. The batteries cost me more than the cars did and now i know why!  My $10 could have gone towards getting ice cream or going to a movie instead. Not every good deal is a good deal.

I know that we are the extreme, living tiny, very few toys, 4 drawers of clothing for the entire family but if I knew then what I know now Id spend a lot less time organizing and much more time donating and throwing away toys.

 


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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How We Earn Money On The Road

Our family is incredibly fortunate in that we are able to hit the road and travel at just about any moment.  We don’t have bosses to answer to and we…

Our family is incredibly fortunate in that we are able to hit the road and travel at just about any moment.  We don’t have bosses to answer to and we don’t have school administrations ringing our phones.  One of the most common questions we get is “how do you make money on the road (or in general)?”. In this post, I want to elaborate a bit on this answer in hopes that you can be inspired on your own journey.

How I (Brandon) Make Money

First a little back story… I have been into computers since I first heard that scratchy noise of a dial up modem connecting me to AOL, followed by distinct sound of “You’ve got mail”.  Throughout my childhood, I would tinker with various computers and electronic devices bending them to fit my needs, experimenting, and even destroying them to see how they worked.

This curiosity naturally led to me wanting to explore how software was created. Up until my first computer science class in high school, I thought it to be magic, and once I learned that creating software was no more than entering commands into my terminal, I was hooked.  After building tons of games, websites, and “apps”, in high school, it was only natural for me to pursue a computer science (CS) degree in college.

It was in college that I found the entrepreneurial spirit. My first “Startup” was a Christian jewelry website called jewelry4christians.com. Fun fact: I tried to call it JesusBling.com however Ashley quickly vetoed that name. We drop-shipped items like purity necklaces and true love waits rings. I built all of the software myself and this website helped fund most of my college career.

The iPhone Changed My Life

From here, I would move on to building and selling software related products until my senior year of college. That’s when Apple first announced the iPhone App Store. I jumped on the bandwagon very early in building apps for the iPhone.  During this time, I was hired by a company out of Portland Oregon and was allowed to work remotely (in my underwear if I wanted).  This was Ashley and mine’s first taste of what is was like to be able to travel around and still make money.  During my stent at this company, we would travel all over the US to places like Portland, Colorado Springs, LA, Destin, etc… (by plane mostly, and some by vehicle) while I still worked on the road.  This was however a full time 40 hour/week gig.

After 5 years at the company, I would be laid off without warning just before Christmas in December 2012.  You can read the full story here if you are interested.  This was the day I decided to found my company Pixegon (and our current main source of income).  It’s a software consultancy where other companies hire us to create their iPhone and Android Apps.

Currently, we have a team of roughly 5-10 engineers (varies because they are all contractors and they fluctuate with the workload).  This allows me to focus on “sales” which really means grabbing coffee/beers/lunch/phone calls with folks once or twice a week.

Starting my own company has been one of the greater joys in my life (besides family of course) and we are so blessed to be in a position where I can still work from the road having most of my time available to be with the family.  I usually work between 15-20 hours/week which leaves plenty of time for adventures.

How She (Ashley) Makes Money

Ashley has known since before I married her that she wanted to stay at home with our children.  I know this is cliche to say, but she truly does have the most challenging albeit rewarding job on the planet. When Ashley is not schooling the kids, making dinner, cleaning up, doing wood work, hosting dinners, scheduling mom groups, scheduling field trips (you get it), she’s building her own business.

Ashley has a knack for people. She gets along with everyone that she encounters and she’s a natural leader.  This has allowed her to transition very well into building a brand around our family and our adventures.  If you don’t already know from reading this blog, Ashley also runs a successful Instagram account called Trebventure.

Over the years, Ashley has been able to turn this hobby into something much greater.  She learned photography, editing, videography, marketing, etc… to create consistent content and build the account to something that actually generates revenue as well as provides us with free or discounted experiences. She intends on doing a blog series on how she did/is doing this in the future, so make sure to subscribe to our email list to be notified when that comes out.

She is also in the process of building up this blog and detailing everything about our travel and experiences going forward.

How Others Make Money

While our path to being able to earn an income on the road might not be the same as yours, we have had the privilege of talking to many other tiny dwellers / full time families and have learned how many of them earn a living.  Here are just a few of the “occupations” we have seen.

  • Blogger/Youtuber/Instagramer (this one is obvious)
  • Insurance claims processor
  • Financial Planner / advisor
  • Web Developer / Freelancer
  • Estsy shop owner
  • Social Media Account Manager
  • Cosmetologist (there is such a thing as “bus hair”)
  • Welder (they move around from job to job)
  • Oils
  • Fisherman / Boat Charters
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Drone Pilot
  • Freelance Writer
  • Camp Host

These are just a few off the top of my head. We have met hundreds of folks from all walks of life with all sorts of interesting occupations.  The point of the above is whatever you love to do for a living, chances are there is a way to do it remotely and from the road.  If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them below. We would love to hear from you.

Thanks so much for reading and be sure to subscribe to our email list for future updates.


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
10 Comments on How We Earn Money On The Road

Howl-O-Ween at Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs

We recently were invited to Colorado Springs for The Great Wolf Lodge’s Halloween celebration. The kids have been asking to visit the resort for years. So, on Thursday, we packed…

We recently were invited to Colorado Springs for The Great Wolf Lodge’s Halloween celebration. The kids have been asking to visit the resort for years. So, on Thursday, we packed up the car and surprised them with the news. They were so excited, and after visiting I now know why!

We travelled about 5 hours to their Colorado Springs location. It’s so close and such a gorgeous 5 hour drive from Albuquerque.  The trek was totally worth it, and it was so fun. The Wolf Lodge has so much to offer. With every overnight stay, you get access to their waterpark for 2 days and all the Howl-O-Ween activities are included for no extra charge.

When we checked in the kids, were all given wolf ears that they insisted on wearing for the next 48 hours. Our room was gorgeous and the balcony overlooked the Rocky Mountains, which were perfectly snow capped. We were able to sleep our entire family comfortably in their base room, because it included a pull out sleeper sofa and 2 queen beds.  The kids were greeted by a wolf shaped basket of candy on the table, which they dug into immediately.

We were able to try every restaurant in the facility, but were blown away by the Barnwood Grill.  It has a farm to table menu that features so many amazing options. We ate there for lunch and had a phenomenal experience. Atmosphere is just as important to me as the food quality, and this place did not disappoint. The restaurant was nestled into he side of the resort with floor to ceiling views of the mountains and a great balcony for outdoor seating during warmer months.

The food was unforgettable. Brandon had their barbecue chicken pizza. Cayden enjoyed their sweet and spicy chile wings. Reagan and Jackson shared their mac and cheese off the kids menu which came with vegetables and fruit as the side (gotta balance the candy intake). I opted for their fried chicken sandwich which came with locally sourced, hand cut parmesan fries and the yummiest sweet green chile sauce. It was to die for!  We all shared the handmade pretzel which is brought in daily from Wimberger’s bakery in Colorado Springs and were blown away by the beer cheese that accompanied it.

The food this restaurant has been floating around in my dreams ever since we left. If we lived closer there would be in trouble because I’d want to visit this place way too much!

Once we were done with lunch, the kids were on a mission to get us to the water park. They were entertained for hours in the park. They had a toddler/baby area that is completely fenced in and safe for the young kids, obviously my kids had no interest in that but I loved that it was an option for parents with littles. The wave pool kept Rea happy for 80% of the time. She wasn’t allowed to go on every slide, but that didn’t stop her from having a fun time. There was so much to do in this place we were all able to enjoy it fully! Brandon and the boys loved the thrill slides.

The Wolf Tail was the favorite! After the floor drops out from under you you’re in a nearly 20 foot free fall, followed immediately by a 360-degree, high-speed loop. The boys absolutely loved it. My personal favorite was the Howlin’ Tornado which features a 6 story funnel of fun. The boys insisted I ride it backwards, It was a blast!

The resort offers so many activities to keep the kids busy and make for a memorable visit. After enjoying hours at the water park we visited the Great Wolf Adventure Park with our Paw Passes which made my kids dreams come true.

This pass included

  • One MagiQuest game game
  • Choice of classic/color wand, standard topper or Magi belt
  • One Creation Station animal (outfit not included)
  • One Clubhouse Crew Adventure
  • One Great Wolf Lodge Candy Shop candy cup
  • One pair of Great Wolf Lodge swim goggles
  • One Glitz Glitter Tattoo
  • One Leather Treaty wristband
  • One Paw Points game card for Northern Lights Arcade ($5)
  • One Oliver’s Mining Co. Experience

Honestly it was hard to complete everything with in the 48 hours along with all the Howl-O-Ween activities. During the fun season, children’s activities include Spooktacular Story Time, Critter Cartoons, and Paws On Projects and many other options.

Other highlights of Howl-O-Ween include:

  • Howl-O-Ween House in the lobby
  • Trick or Treat Trail 5:30p-7:30p nightly.
  • Howl-O-Ween Theme Games in the Lobby nightly — Witch Hat Ring Toss, Mummy Bowling, Feed the Monster & etc.
  • Howl-O-Ween Theme Dance Party nightly
  • Boo Bingo
  • Haunted Hussle Scavenger Hunt
  • Candy Corn Guessing Game
  • UnBoolieveable Character Meet, Greet & Treat
  • Howl-o-Ween Movie Nights
  • Character Breakfast Howl-o-Ween edition

We weren’t able to attend every activity but you can see the list above, there shouldn’t be a moment of boredom for your children.  It was a wonderful family experience and we loved doing these actives together. Although the fun is directed towards children, we had such a fun time playing MagiQuest together and it really was an unforgettable time. We are so grateful for the opportunity to visit Great Wolf Lodge and give our kids such an entertaining experience.

I would say that the Great Wolf Lodge is now one of our favorite places to escape the winter in the bus. They are offering some great deals including 20% off your stay for Great Wolf Lodge and $25 food credit. I would highly recommend this amazing resort just be sure to make time for a nap afterward.

You can check out our Instagram stories from our weekend in our “adventures” highlight. We also made a quick Youtube video featuring all the wonderful activities we did at the Great Wolf Lodge below.

 

 


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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Our Favorite Albuquerque Stay-cation

Brandon and I believe that couples who play together stay together. We have been blessed to have amazing grandparents to our children who are willing to babysit the kids for…

Brandon and I believe that couples who play together stay together. We have been blessed to have amazing grandparents to our children who are willing to babysit the kids for us once a week. We love our date night and cherish the quality time each week.

We feel its important to not let routine set in or allow our children to push our dates aside. We enjoy planning our dates together . Its not always elaborate or fancy. Sometimes its take out and a red box. Sometimes its a staycation in a beautiful hotel room with a bathtub and restaurant on site.

Of all the places we have stayed in Albuquerque, NM, Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm is our absolute favorite. Its set on 25 acres of lavender fields, and is surrounded by enormous cottonwood trees. Its a working farm, has 50 rooms and one of the best restaurants in the Southwest.

They allow you to borrow bikes for free and provide you with the most luxurious lavender bath products you could ever want.  Everything is absolutely perfect. We have stayed there in the winter and the rooms have wood burning fireplaces and huge spa like bath tubs. While living in the bus, not having a bathtub has been hard so it was such a treat to have a room with a tub.

The restaurant’s  atmosphere is phenomenal and the food is to die for! Campo is reasonably priced for high quality, beautiful food and they serve PBR along side fancy cocktails and aged wine…so funny!  You can reserve a table on the gorgeous patio with a view of the farm and the Sandias, inside the Southwestern designed dining room or a table in the kitchen. Our personal favorite is the patio but in the winter its so fun to watch the chefs prepare our food in front of us.

We love to utilize the free bikes and ride around the farm. They have alpacas and peacocks roaming the property.  The farm shop is open every day where they offer a huge variety of their own lavender products, fun beautiful jewelry, and locally made ceramic pottery.  The cafe inside the farm shop sells lavender lattes, lavender honey, and lavender simple syrup and so many other lavender treats. Its hard to resist.

If I could live here I would. The property, views, and food are phenomenal and heading home smelling like you rolled in lavender is not bad either. If you’re ever in Albuquerque and get the chance to visit Los Poblanos do it.

One last rave about this place….I called the grounds manager Wess and he offered our homeschool field trip group a free farm tour. He was so sweet to all the kids and taught us so much about the history of the grounds. Here are a few pictures from our fun little day at the farm. The boys were camping so Rea and I were on our own for this field trip.

Also I want to mention that Los Poblanos DID NOT collaborate or pay us to write this post. Although Id collaborate with them in a heart beat if they were interested (hint hint Los Poblanos). We truly love this place, so much so that I will be having my 5th annual 29th birthday dinner at Campo in a couple months. Its just perfect and we hope you get a chance to check it out!

 


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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He Is Not Babysitting He is Parenting

“It must be nice to have a husband that helps you so much”  I have something I want to talk about that may offend people but I’m done censoring my…

“It must be nice to have a husband that helps you so much” 

I have something I want to talk about that may offend people but I’m done censoring my thoughts in hopes of making everyone happy.  My husband and I are the best of friends, I love spending time with him more than any other human on this earth! He is the kindest most amazing man Ive ever met and I am eternally grateful for being able to do life alongside him. So understand I am thankful for him!

 

Here it goes….My husband is not helping me by taking care of his kids! My husband is not helping me by doing the dishes or putting away laundry. My husband is not helping me by preparing a meal. My husband is a parent.

I wasn’t the only one that decided to have 3 children and I wasn’t the only participant in making them so of course he’s going to be a part of parenting them. Too often this world praises men for caring for their own children and looks down on women who don’t carry the entire load at home. 

Brandon runs a software company and at times he’s working 40+ hour weeks and at times he works 10 hour weeks. On the 40+ weeks I don’t expect him to be with me at field trips carrying my bag (I don’t ever expect it but he’s a gentleman like that). But on the 10 hour weeks he enjoys accompanying me to the lavender farm, getting the kids out of the carand packing their lunch while I apply an extra coat of mascara before we walk out the door.

I have a moms night at least once a month where I meet my best friends and complain about all out first world problems, make terrible sex jokes, and drink tea. He doesn’t “babysit” the kids when Im gone. He doesn’t take care of all MY chores while Im out. This is our home and doing things around this home are just as much for him as they are for me.

This last week Brandon took the boys out on a wonderful camping trip. He didn’t do it to give me a break but to spend quality time with HIS boys. He is not a nanny or a babysitter he is their parent. It is just as important for him to be fully involved in their life as it is for me to. 

Ok Ill step down from my soap box now that I set things straight.

 

 


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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Converted School Bus Bedroom Storage – A Detailed Look Inside

Many people wonder how a converted school bus could have a master bedroom with a king sized bed, ample storage, and all of the amenities of a modern bedroom. In…

Many people wonder how a converted school bus could have a master bedroom with a king sized bed, ample storage, and all of the amenities of a modern bedroom. In this post, we take you on a tour of our converted school bus bedroom and some of the various storage areas that we have created.

Most of our bus’s storage is located in the back of the bus. These two wood pieces make up the majority of essential storage in our home. This area contains some of our every day essentials.

Pink Dresser

The pink drawers are our family’s dresser. We keep ALL of our clothes in here. Brandon has the top drawer,  I have the second, the boys share the third, and Rea shares the bottom drawer with our towels, washcloths and cleaning rags. Although all of our clothes fit nicely in one dresser, I still feel that there is more room for some downsizing in our future.

In the top of this piece we keep our toilet paper, scale, and a few physical books. We love to reading, and keep most of our library on our Kindle’s, however it’s fun to keep the Tim Ferris books around for some light reading from time to time :). I also keep my camera and it’s bag in there for quick access. The grey container holds my blow dryer, curling iron, and straightener.

Grey Dresser

Under this grey piece is where we keep our water pump, water heater, and our accumulator. The wooden butcher block is on a slide, and is used as a standing desk for Brandon when we are on the road. The long skinny drawer is where we keep our papers, our National Park passport book, our go pro and all other camera accessories.

The 1st top small drawer is where we keep every day toiletries, a few pieces of turquoise jewelry, hairbrushes, combs and anything I need to take out of my pockets at the end of the night. In the 2nd drawer is medicine, first aid kits, bandaids and other ‘health’ related items. The bottom drawer is all of Reagan’s hair bows, hair ties, bobby pins, floss, qtips, cotton balls, essential oils, etc.

On top we keep Brandon and I’s shoes in the wood bins (well mostly mine).  Also our vacuum lives up here as well, along with its accessories and a few clip on battery powered fans for when we boondock..

One of the major things we have learned since moving on to a converted school bus is to keep only the essentials.  This took quite a while to decide what we needed vs what we didn’t however we really tried to stick to the $20 and 20 minutes rule. (i.e. if we don’t use it often and it’s less than $20/20 minute drive, get rid of it).

Thanks for reading about our converted school bus bedroom and if you want to see the drawers in more detail, head on over to our Instagram and check out the story highlight titled “Master Bedroom”.

 


Affiliate Link Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. We will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through them. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you in achieving your goals.
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