RV

Top 5 Items for RVing with a Toddler

With four young children, I seem to have most stages covered. I have an infant, two toddlers and one school aged child. All I’m missing is a preteen and a teenager! However, I’m in no hurry for them to grow up. While I dealt with the top items for a newborn already, I haven’t mentioned the toddlers yet. We have two toddlers, one girl and one boy. These are the items we’ve found extremely useful for them and we use these on a daily basis.

Potty Seat

I have found that for potty training, it is easier to have a potty training seat that goes straight on the toilet. We tried a potty training chair and found that we tripped over it often, it felt gross having it lying around and they wanted to use the big toilet anyways. So we ditched the potty training chair and now stick with the seat cover. It works great.

Foot Stool

This foot stool is amazing! It folds up for easy storage, yet is simple to use. It gets used daily for potty training, hand washing and for helping mom and dad cook. I also use it for reaching the higher
shelves in the pantry (the woes of a short person!)

Folding High Chair

I saw one of these mentioned online and knew it would be perfect for us! I managed to find one on Amazon and just had to get it! It’s basically a high chair that functions just like a camp chair. There’s even a small tray that can be removed for washing. This is one of my favorite things that we’ve ever purchased for the RV! We can also take this with us to a family or friends house that don’t have a high chair.

Waterproof Mattress Cover

When you’ve got little in diapers, these are invaluable! While the bunks we have are not a standard size, we find that the twin size works great for the beds. We have multiple of these for changing out beds between wash days as needed.

Bumbo

This little chair has come in handy. Mostly used for giving a kid a slight boost at the table, we also use it for extra seating around the campfire and a great place to give an active toddler boy his haircuts. It really comes in handy. (Even as a toy! The kids love sticking a recess ball in the bumbo and then jumping on the ball like a trampoline.)

These are the top items we have for toddlers in our RV. Each is very useful and completely worth the space they take up (even on the days when I kick the Bumbo away from my feet in frustration after tripping over it for the third time).

What would you use in a RV for a toddler?

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Recipes

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

It’s been a long day. You’ve cleaned, organized, done laundry, made breakfast and lunch, cleaned up from those meals, done all the dishes and things are looking great. All of the sudden, you look at the clock and realize that it’s almost dinner time. As you head to the kitchen (while stopping an argument, having someone pick up the socks left on the floor and picking up a few things), you suddenly stop in horror. You forgot to defrost the chicken! How on earth are you going to make dinner tonight? 

With that handy Instant Pot, you don’t have to worry. In 15 minutes, you can have fully cooked, shredded chicken from frozen chicken. Until I got the Instant Pot, this is the #1 thing I struggled with when it came to making dinner for my family. Now, I no longer have to worry about it and it makes getting dinner so much easier.

Also, since I always have chicken on hand in the freezer, I can make a bunch of different easy dinners with this easy way making chicken. I could easily make chicken salsa nachos, shredded chicken tacos or quesadillas, Caesar chicken wraps, buffalo chicken dip…the possibilities are endless! I usually have to ingredients to make any of those meals at a given time, making me not have to wonder what’s for dinner! I can make an easy dinner within an hour or two.

Having shredded chicken on hand is a lifesaver, but if you forget, like I do, to make some up, this is a fabulous way to have some on hand in little time! 

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. frozen chicken breasts or thighs
  2. 1 cup water or chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Add chicken and water to the Instant Pot.
  2. Seal lid and make sure the vent is set to "sealing".
  3. Select poultry.
  4. Let cook until done.
  5. Either let the pressure come down naturally or use the quick release vent.
  6. Pull out chicken and shred.
  7. Use as needed!
Notes
  1. My Instant Pot needs at least one cup of liquid to cook anything, hence the water. If you wanted to up the flavor, you could also use chicken broth. There is also a rack that you can get for the Instant Pot that will hold up the chicken over the liquid. I've not been able to get any accessories for the Instant Pot, and I feel it is unnecessary.
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Family, RV

My Top 5 Items for a Newborn Baby in a RV

Our RV is only 354 sq. Ft, so for our family of six, space is at a premium. So on this list, you won’t find the typical swings, bouncers, diaper pails and other space wasting baby gear. These are the actual products that we use on a consistent basis in our RV.

Moby Wrap

This little wrap is a lifesaver for me! I constantly use it with every baby I’ve had. It’s great for getting work done around the house, for going shopping, or just going outside for fresh air with your other kids. I have two Moby Wraps right now, one for the car and one for the RV and I want at least one more to store in my stroller. One of the major advantages is that it rolls up very small, so is great for storing in our small place!

Waterproof Mattress/Crib Cover

There really isn’t much room in a RV for a crib or bassinet (though we’ve done it before!), so we co-sleep with our new babies. To keep our sheets fresh, we have small flat waterproof crib covers (not the fitted ones) that we lay under baby while they are sleeping in between us. As an extra layer of protection, we also have a waterproof fitted sheet covering the whole bed under our sheets. This has saved our mattress many a time from being stained with pee, though our sheets needed to be cleaned! 

Travel Bassinet

We have this great little bed that we use constantly. I can set it up on the couch, place the baby inside and can confidently go about my day, not having to worry about the baby rolling off the couch. This also is wonderful when we’re hanging outside the RV and it gives me an easy place to put the baby down if needed. The best thing about this little bassinet is that it folds up nicely flat, making it easy to store in a drawer or closet until needed.

Collapsible Baby Bath

Our RV only has a shower, no bathtub around, so we need a way to wash our baby! We found this collapsible baby bath that is easier to store than most and makes giving the baby a bath nice and easy. We have found though that if both HoneyBear and I are home, it’s a lot easier to have one of us jump in the shower with the baby and hold it while the other one washes the baby and then wraps it in a towel to dry it off and dress the baby again. The collapsible tub is perfect for only having one adult around or if the baby needs a bath when no one else is home.

Boppy

A boppy tends to take up some room and can feel bulky, but for me, I find this necessary while the baby is so small and breastfeeding. There’s not a ton of pillows available in the RV and no real way to support the baby at all when breastfeeding. I find that having this is the best way for me to breastfeed and is the most comfortable way to do so. My husband and I suffer through the inconvenience of having it lay around and sometimes in the way, since it is so useful!

These are my top five items to have when I have a newborn baby in the RV. They are all very practical and so useful that I’ve used them and am using them for all of my babies. I know many woman love having a swing or bouncer around, but there is no space for them in the RV and the baby is perfectly content with being in either the Moby Wrap or the travel bassinet. Only very rarely do I wish that I had a swing or bouncer, but overall, we’re happy without. However, if you feel that you need one, go for it! We actually found a small, compact secondhand bouncer which plays music that we bring into the RV sometimes to use. Most of the time though, it doesn’t stay around long because of how bulky it feels in this small place. 

I hope you enjoyed this list, as it is a real glimpse into what we have in our RV and use on a daily basis for a newborn baby. What would you have for a new baby in a RV?

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RV

How We Deal with Garbage for 6 in a RV

Garbage. I hate the stuff. It feels like we’re constantly throwing away garbage. With two adults, four children (three are in diapers) and a dog, we generate lots of garbage. As cloth diapering is not something we are doing right now, we have Little Miss Owl in pull-ups with Little Bear and Little Miss Horse in diapers. While our goal is to potty train Little Miss Owl this summer, that will still leave two little ones in diapers. So we are constantly throwing away dirty diapers.

Also, with very little pantry space in the kitchen (well, little for 6 people, it’s actually very big for an RV), we cannot buy much in bulk, leading to more packaging that we throw away on a daily basis. Add in daily life for 6 people and a dog, we make a ton of
garbage!

We have a small cabinet in our island that is meant for the garbage can, which is about 1/3 the size of a normal household garbage can. On average, we fill it about every other day. As this means constant trips to the dumpster, it was getting a bit ridiculous, especially in the winter time, when it was cold, wet, and rainy or snowy constantly.

So my husband came up with a solution. He bought one of these (add link) heavy duty garbage cans. All of our indoor garbage gets taken out to the garbage can that sits by the hitch. It gets totally filled about once a week, when my husband then loads it into the truck and drives it over to the dumpster. This is so handy! While I know most Rvers don’t make enough garbage for this to work, it’s an amazing solution to our garbage problem. We are working on getting our amount of garbage down, but for now, this is what works for us.

Does the garbage ever get out of hand for you?

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DIY

The Man’s Beard Oil

I’ve always loved beards on men. There is something so manly and earthy about it to me. The thing was, I didn’t like my man’s beard. It was scraggly, tough and out of control. I hated getting pricked every single time I went to kiss him. So with my husband in mind, I formulated this wonderful beard oil. It has a pleasant smell, not flowery or feminine at all. The best part is how well it works!

As my husband has been growing out his beard, it has gotten fuller and much softer! Plus, it looks much nicer, with less hair going everywhere. Between this and a beard brush, my husband’s beard is looking amazing and best of all, he’s kissable again! Win-win situation for us both. I use a blend of sweet almond, jojoba and avocado oil. There’s a lovely blend of essential oils, with rosemary for hair growth, cedarwood for a manly scent, and lavender to sooth any itching. I think any man would love this blend.

This makes a great gift for any man (with facial hair) in your life. It’s perfect as a gift for Father’s Day, a birthday or Christmas. If you really want to make a nice little gift set, add a beard brush, a beard comb and some beard balm or wax. I hope you try it out!

The Man’s Beard Oil
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Ingredients
  1. 1 oz. avocado oil
  2. .5 oz. sweet almond oil
  3. .5 oz. jojoba oil
  4. 12 drops rosemary essential oil
  5. 10 drops cedarwood essential oil
  6. 6 drops orange essential oil
  7. 3 drops lavender essential oil
  8. 2 drops cinnamon essential oil
Instructions
  1. Add the avocado oil, sweet almond oil and jojoba oil to a 2 oz. bottle.
  2. Drop in all essential oils.
  3. Seal the bottle and turn the bottle a few times to mix the contents.
To apply
  1. After a shower, drop a dime sized amount into your palm. Rub the oil around in your hands and then smooth into the beard, taking care to get to the roots. Leave oil on to soak into the hair.
  2. For best results, apply daily.
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RV

How to Heat a RV (Cheaply!)

This is our second winter in the RV, both in the cold, rainy Pacific Northwest. We’ve endured ice, wind storms and snow during our time in
the RV. During the winter time, our biggest expense is the heating. When it was freezing outside, our propane costs were between $200-
$400 a month. We were filling our 7 gallon propane tanks every other day. It was annoying and expensive. This winter, we went through the first half of winter using the heating system in the RV. After that, we were starting to think, well, we have 3 electric heaters in our storage unit, why don’t we try that? Our youngest was mobile and listened well, so why not try it? My husband grabbed one of the heaters on the way home and we set it up. The kids were told to stay away and they listened. Once we were sure the children would leave it alone, we promptly forgot all about it. Then, one of our propane tanks ran out and we went to go fill it. On the way to the gas station, we all of the sudden realized that it had been awhile since we had last refilled a propane tank. Counting back, it had been 3 weeks since we had refilled a
propane tank. Three weeks! Compared to 2-3 x’s a week, that was a huge improvement! We were so excited!

Since we started using the electric heater in the beginning of January, we have only had to refill the propane four times! This is such a huge savings in money for us, especially since we pay a set fee for our electricity at the place we stay. There are a few downsides of this specific electric heater. It is hot when on, which is a risk you’d want to consider with children in the house. It also doesn’t work 100% on 35 amps. We’ve blown the breaker a few times using the toaster. On 50 amps, it would be no problem. However, there are solutions to these problems. Smaller heaters that can be placed on tables or counters is one option. There are also heaters that are cool to the touch, making them much safer for children. We will probably invest in one of those next winter. If electricity cost is a problem, portable propane heaters like this one is a great option. We are really blessed to have found a way to save money on our heating. Hopefully our story will help you as well!

What are alternative ways you heat your RV?

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DIY

Honey Lime Cough Syrup

The cold and flu season is here! Our household was introduced to this when my eldest girl started coughing at night. The coughs were horrible sounding, dry and hoarse. Now, In our small RV, if one gets sick, we all tend to get sick. Resigning myself to the inevitable, I put on our get well diffuser blend and began looking through our medicine cabinet (more like the three different areas we store it all; I really need to put it all together in one spot). To my dismay, I noticed we only had enough cough syrup for a dose or two…not what I needed! I really wanted to start treating the cough and it was late at night at home alone with the kids. I didn’t want to get them all out of bed to go to the grocery store. So I decided to look around the internet to see if I could find a homemade cough syrup.

To to my surprise, I managed to find a recipe where I had the ingredients at home, but with some modifications. So, I rushed to the kitchen to make this recipe. Upon opening the fridge, my heart sank when I realized that we had no lemon juice, but tucked away on the shelf was a bottle of lime juice from awhile back. I figured it would work and used it to make this simple cough syrup.

With not a lot of hope that this would work, I gave my girl a dose. She thankfully liked the taste and took it down without any struggle. Well, to my wondering ears, not another cough was heard out of her all night! I was amazed! The next night, Little Miss Giraffe started coughing again, so another dose. Twenty minutes later, another cough. Then, silence again. Repeat the third night and then, she was over the cough. To my amazement, none of the rest of us got sick!

So between my get well diffuser blend, colloidal silver and this cough syrup, there was only one case of sickness and it didn’t spread! So from now on, this special little home remedy will be in my archives, waiting to be made at the first sign of coughing.

This only lasts a week in the fridge, so make it as you need it. It’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand for whenever you need to whip up a batch. Also, as honey is one of the main ingredients, do not give this to infants under 1.

Hopefully, you won’t need this recipe, but I hope you’ll try it out if the dreaded coughing shows up! I know I was amazed by how well it worked and I think you’ll like it!

Honey Lime Cough Syrup
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  2. 2 Tbsp. honey
  3. 2 Tbsp. vegetable glycerin
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a 4 oz. jar. Close lid and shake to combine.
Notes
  1. Give one tsp. as needed whenever they cough.
NOTE
  1. Do not give to children under one.
  2. Stores for one week in refrigerator, so only make as needed.
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Recipes

Inside Out Taco Skillet

Mexican food is probably my husbands favorite food category ever. I’m pretty sure that if we ate nothing but Mexican every night of the week, he would be happy! So as you can imagine, tacos are a big hit in the family and we have them often! 

One night, though, we went to make tacos and discovered that we only had a few tortillas. Well, there was always nachos we could make, but we made those often and we were also short on cheese. So what were we going to do?

Well, my husband is a bit of a creative genius when it comes to the kitchen (at least compared to me!). He can take random ideas and make the tastiest food with no recipe. So he takes the few ingredients that we had and came up with this simple, but oh so good taco skillet. It has the taste of tacos, with the simplicity of being a skillet dish (less dishes is always a winner in a RV!). We could make up a skillet, plop in on the table and sit around with a bag of tortilla chips (great for when you’ve eaten all the tortillas, but still have the meat and bean mixture left), and eat to our heart’s content. So started this simple, cheap and super easy recipe that’s now a staple in our house when we’re hungry, but the groceries are low.

In fact, I always have frozen ground beef, taco seasoning (try out this great homemade mix!), black beans, cheese and tortillas on hand, so making this recipe is a cinch! When we have friends or family over, we can also offer a really good snack that is perfect for feeding a crowd and is easy on the budget. How can it get any better than that? 

Try out this simple and yummy recipe. I think you’ll really enjoy it! 

Inside Out Taco Skillet
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. ground beef
  2. 1 c. water*
  3. 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning or 1 batch of our Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix*
  4. 1 c. chunky salsa
  5. 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained
  6. 3 (8 in.) flour tortillas, diced
  7. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef.
  2. Add in water and taco seasoning and cook until liquid has thickened.
  3. Mix in the salsa, black beans and tortillas and cook until beans are warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in cheese until melted and then serve with a side of tortilla chips.
  5. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. We've only tested this recipe with our homemade taco seasoning mix. If you are using commercial taco seasoning mix, I recommend cutting down the amount of water to 1/2 cup.
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DIY

Simple Homemade Deodorant

Six years ago, HoneyBear and I lived in Texas. We were very tight on money and could barely afford food, much less basic necessities  like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste or deodorant. So, I started a search for a way to make these things by myself, to save us money. It’s when I really started looking into frugal options for many things in our life. I came across this wonderfully easy recipe for deodorant. It seemed very simple and I had almost everything I needed. I managed to scrape together the money for some coconut oil and made the recipe.

HoneyBear was not excited and thought it was totally weird. However, with some persuasion, I managed to get him to at least try it out. To both of our surprise, it actually worked! This working in hot, humid Texas heat in the middle of summer! To say the least, it made a wonderful impression and off I was into the world of DIY, which now has become a little hobby of mine. It’s amazing to think that a simple recipe for deodorant could change everything so much!

This recipe works amazingly well. It offers full body odor coverage for a good 12 hours, even exercising in hot and humid weather.
Just a word to the wise, this recipe will stop body odor, but it is not an antiperspirant. So you will still sweat, just smell good while doing so! This works great for Honeybear and I as we live in the cool, moist climate of the Pacific Northwest and rarely sweat as we go about our normal life. However, HoneyBear does work at a labor intensive job, but since sweat is a normal part of the job (even with commercial deodorants) neither of us mind. I do like it when he comes home and doesn’t smell though! 

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes this can be irritating to the skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. If this is the case, you can lower the amount of baking soda and substitute more arrowroot powder or cornstarch. It just won’t work as well, but if you don’t tend to be outside and sweat a lot, it should work just fine.

I’m also providing a very basic recipe today. You can essential oils of your choice to help with sensitive skin or just to make it smell nice. I recommend tea tree oil or lavender for sensitive skin, pine or fir for the men in your life, or a flower variety like rose, lavender or geranium for the ladies. This would also make a good present for the people in your life, add a sugar scrub for the ladies or a beard oil for the men and you’ve got a great gift. 

So I encourage you to try this! If it works in the hot, humid summers of Texas, it should work great for you. I think you’ll like it!

Simple Homemade Deodorant
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c. baking soda
  2. 1/2 arrowroot power
  3. 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, more as needed
Instructions
  1. Combine all three ingredients.
  2. Continually mash the mixture together (like you are creaming butter), until all the ingredients come together in a soft paste.
  3. Store in an airtight jar.
To Use
  1. Scoop out a small amount from jar and rub on armpits.
  2. This works best right after a shower and if you let the deodorant soak in a bit before you get dressed.
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Recipes

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

Taco seasoning is one of the main seasonings that gets used in this house. Between regular tacos, inside out taco skillet, and taco nachos, we go through a lot. As a result, we can’t ever seem to keep enough taco seasoning in the house. It seems that every time that we go to make something taco flavored, we’re out. So we eventually decided to start making our own. We always seem to have the ingredients to make this seasoning mix, so we make this instead of running out to buy one ingredient. 

This mix is a bit spicy, and absolutely delicious. If spicy is not your thing, you can tone down the cayenne to 1/8 tsp. and it should be mild enough. When we make taco meat with this mix, we usually brown the ground beef (1 lb.) first, then add a cup of water and this mix. It seems like a ton of water, but with the arrowroot powder in the mix, it thickens up in a couple minutes (as shown below). 

It’s a great recipe that we use constantly in the house and I’m so greatful for my wonderful husband who came up with this recipe for us. If you need a good taco seasoning mix, you should try it out. What would you use this taco seasoning mix for?

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  2. 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  3. 2 tsp. arrowroot
  4. 1 tsp. salt
  5. 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  6. 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a small seasoning jar. Shake to mix.
Notes
  1. Seasons 1 lb. ground beef. To make taco ground beef, brown the ground beef, then add one cup water and this seasoning mix. Cook until the liquid thickens.
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