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

Category: Parenting/Homeschooling

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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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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Top 5 Tips For Homeschooling While Traveling

  We have been homeschooling for about 3 years now and I think we have finally found our groove. Homeschooling is hard but we are truly enjoying it.  Below you…

 

We have been homeschooling for about 3 years now and I think we have finally found our groove. Homeschooling is hard but we are truly enjoying it.  Below you will read the top 5 tips I have found to be helpful for homeschooling while traveling.

 

  1. Dont be afraid to not get “school” done that day because you were having too much fun.  No kids will look back and say “my mom let me skip a few days of book work here and there and took me out to skip rocks in the river, or on a bike ride, etc and it damaged me”. We only have  a few years where they actually want to hang out with us. Swing on swings with your kids. Color in their coloring book with them. Screw math that day make hand print turkeys instead, they wont fall behind!
  2. Take advantage of where you are. Every city has some quirky thing they are known for. If you have time make it a field trip. Largest pistachio in the world? Go see it, who cares the kids will think it’s cool. 
  3. Enjoy the local food! This can get expensive, I know. We tend to buy a treat and we all share it. No one needs an entire dessert to them selves anyways. Some of our favorite travel foods are clam chowder in bread bowls from Boudin’s Bakery in San Fran. Anything from any of the street trucks in downtown Portland Oregon. Enormous doughnuts from Pikes Place Market in Seattle, Washington and obviously Churros and Dole Whips from Disneyland. 
  4. Don’t allow the skeptics to get you down. Everyone has that overly forward relative who doubts that your kids know their alphabet or anything at that matter. You are capable and as long as you’re putting your best foot forward while teaching I guarantee your kids are doing perfectly fine. 
  5. School doesn’t have to take long. Yes, I know public school is 8 hours and you’re only teaching your kid for 1/2 an hour to 3 hours a day. They have your full attention and are still learning a ton once they’re done with their school work. Learning about daily chores, grocery shopping, budgeting, getting exercise riding bikes or playing in dirt. Let them be kids. You’re doing a good job.

I pray my experience has helped me to learn a few things I can share. I know when I started this journey I was a big ball of mom guilt. Questioning my ability to teach my children was at the forefront of my mind everyday. Although at times it still creeps into my brain I keep my eyes focused on the reasons I keep them home. When I think of our priorities I am reminded that Im doing a great job!

 


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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Do You Homeschool Your Kids?

Yep, we do! We decided 4 years ago that homeschooling was right for our family. We love the freedom to travel when ever we want. My oldest spent 1 semester…

Yep, we do!

We decided 4 years ago that homeschooling was right for our family. We love the freedom to travel when ever we want.

My oldest spent 1 semester in kindergarten. In those 4 months of school we missed 26 days and were late 12 days.  I would sign him in at the office and the front desk lady would ask “why is he late…today?” most of the time my answer was we “went out for doughnuts” or “we stayed up late watching a movie”. I told the truth, 🍩 are important to our family.  We value being able spend time together and just plain DO WHAT WE WANT!

 

Don’t you worry they won’t get enough socialization?

NO! My kids see 1 or more of their cousins or friends everyday of the week. We have an amazing group of homeschool kids and moms (not the denim skirt wearing super conservative women but supportive, Jesus loving, forward thinking, tattooed up women and I ❤️ them) that we do life with. Also they do tae kwon do 1-4 days a week.  The boys are enrolled in a weekly class where they learn 🔬 science, history, and literature📕 from 8:30-3:30 (hallelujah, mama loves Tuesdays!)

Our main reasons for homeschooling

  • We love to travel
  • We like to encourage their strengths and passions allowing them to spend more time learning what they love.
  • We build our own curriculum which allows for the kids to learn at their own pace and in their own style.
  • We don’t adhered to a strict schedule and have never been slaves to corporate America this is something that we want to impart upon our kids and encourage them to seek out their own way.

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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Parenting In 300ish Square Feet

Parenting is a challenge! Whether on a bus or in a “normal house”! We haven’t found it to be much harder than when we were in a traditional home. What…

Parenting is a challenge! Whether on a bus or in a “normal house”! We haven’t found it to be much harder than when we were in a traditional home.

What is it like to parent 3 children in a tiny home?

🚎=🏠

PROS

  • less chores to fight over
  • fewer toys to cleanup
  • intentional living lessons
  • more outdoor time
  • cultivating a feral mindset
  • more family time
  • opportunities to teach while experiencing adventure
  • we share in the everyday chores (water fill ups, chopping wood, toilet changing, dishes etc.)
  • lots of snuggles

 

CONS

  • it’s LOUD
  • 1 bathroom (all kids need to poop at the same time)
  • winter makes us go stir crazy
  • rain does the same thing
  • less “alone” time
  • we live in an aisle so they leave their stuff in the middle of the walkway constantly

 

Things we have learned while parenting in 300 sqft are:

Kids lose their favorite toy even in a tiny house.

Make them sit to pee on the composting toilet, ALWAYS SIT on the composting toilet!

Kids don’t have to shower everyday…neither do adults!

Rushing is a waste of time and energy. Enjoy the adventure!

Don’t expect to have your own space because you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The bumper makes a great timeout spot.

Funniest part of bus living is listening to your kids explain to their friends what a composting toilet is and how to use it.


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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Teaching Through Experience

We homeschool. Do I think homeschooling is right for everyone? No, if you choose not to or you aren’t willing….its not right for you. Every family has different priorities none…

We homeschool.

Do I think homeschooling is right for everyone? No, if you choose not to or you aren’t willing….its not right for you. Every family has different priorities none more important or better than the next.  I don’t judge anyone for having different priorities than us. Everyone is different and we are all doing the best we can to get through life.

We like to travel and we LOVE to travel when no one else is traveling. Disneyland in September, and the last week of February is magical and walking onto every ride, churro in each hand is perfection.  Hotels, national parks, and RV parks are dead and much cheaper. I want to be able to park off the coast of Malibu and say we will stay until we feel like leaving.  Road trip through California, Oregon, Washington, Canada, and up to Alaska and not answer to anyone.

I don’t blame or judge anyone for not homeschooling but it IS the right choice for us. We put Cayden in school for kindergarten after a 10 week try at homeschooling.  I had a 5 month old and way too many hormonal changes messing with my emotions to be an effective mother and homeschool teacher (I’ve since sorted all of that out).  It was a great decision at that time and it really helped solidify my decision to keep him home this year.  In 7 months my son had 26 absences not counting holidays. He had 13 late arrivals and I never turned in homework.

“Reason for tardy?” ….ummm we went out for doughnuts

“Why was Cayden absent for the week?” ….We went to Disneyland with our friends

We were blessed with an amazing teacher and if I could guarantee she would be my kid’s teacher every year I’d probably consider public school. Cayden went into kindergarten scoring 100% on his tests and came out scoring 100%. I asked if I could move him up to 1st grade and the district did not allow that. His teacher challenged him and worked hard to always keep him engaged but I cant guarantee that every year. She never hassled me for not doing homework with him. The principle, and district’s rules on the other hand, didnt agree with us.

I believe that too many people live for the weekend. I want my kids to work hard and live with purpose but I don’t want them thinking that a 9-5 is the ONLY option. I want them to see things, experience nature, feel God and connect with His people. Don’t get me wrong math, reading, writing etc are important but I want them to come naturally.  Not because there is a test they need to score high on so their over worked teacher can keep his or her job but because they love reading Harry Potter, want to learn more about the Bible, or they enjoy learning fractions through baking cookies. I want them to love to learn and desire knowledge because its fun.

We try to complete school 4 days a week. Sometimes its 3 days because the botanical gardens just opened a Bugatorium and we love bugs (when I say “we” I mean them). Sometimes we cuddle, read books, build forts and pretend its the Treb Movie Theatre so we can stream Sponge Bob Squarepants and old eat halloween candy.  Its not always easy to get them to focus. I don’t always ask in a calm voice for them to pay attention and I do yell at Reagan to “get off the table” too much. It’s how we have chosen to educate our children and in the end. Its up to you. Its your choice. Patience is a choice. Kids have to be taught to focus and obey. Everything is a choice. Its often rough but a great joy. We work hard to make it work. Unless met with unfortunate circumstances most parents are capable of teaching and children capable of learning at home.

Too often school is a place for teaching obiedience rather than a love for learning.  Sit down, stop talking, no running, hold still, and pay attention! These things are the priority. Sometimes we as parents need to stop trying to please the other adults and do what we feel is right for our kids.  Our babies are spending 7 hours out of the day in a classroom away from us and then when they get home we are expected to sit down and force them to do more school work. When really all they want to do is go climb a tree, play and have a conversation with their parents.

I guess my point is…after an 7 hour day at school if your kid doesn’t want to do homework throw it on the ground, build a fort and watch a movie together instead.

….and please don’t choose to go to Disneyland in May, June, and July.  Take your kids out of school for the week and go when its dead I promise you’ll have zero regrets!


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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