Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blog Has Moved!

Hey everyone, we've moved our blog over to a new platform - you can find us at our own domain here:

Any future posts will be made at the above address, bookmark it for reference!

Thanks :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Table: Part I

The motorhome did not come with a dining area or table or any kind of useful surface. That really left it up to our imagination as to what we wanted for our family. I went through dozens of ideas of my own as well as pouring over photos of other table remodels people have done before we decided on a winner.
Before: No table behind passenger chair, just carpet. Fridge is on right reflecting old sofa-bed behind driver's chair.
My dad pulled out the old hardwood floor that was in the kitchen area and built a half wall that will help support the table. I took inspiration from this family's website who needed to be able to seat 6 at their table. We're using unfinished upper cabinets, that will be painted to match, as the seating bench. The table is built much like the bed/sofa frame but with a decoupaged map on the top. I had been trying to decide where to incorporate the map feature and thoughts of putting it on the wall in the bathroom flitted in and out of my head, but I think the table is a better place.

 I took a few liberties with the world in order to have everything fit nicely on the table top, but I kept the latitude lines so if someone wants to get picky they can re-align the latitudes and figure out where Australia really is.
Decoupaging this baby was a nightmare! I wouldn't recommend it. In theory it seems easy...until you apply the glue. At which point the whole map stretches, in all directions. Gah! I even cut the thing in half at the last minute so it wasn't so unwieldy. Then it bubbles, a lot. After you've smooshed down all the bubbles with pins and spoons (great burnishing tool!) and you apply the first coat of poly, it bubbles up all over again! This is SO not cool. I don't know how people decoupage an entire wall!
Wretched bubbles!

To be continued...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day

There aren't too many kids in the neighborhood. Actually, I haven't seen any. But the neighbors have grandkids who stay with them occasionally so we arranged to have the kids meet. They met first a couple of weeks ago and seemed to get along well, so this time we invited them over for swimming, homemade pizza and a movie. Jitterbug is 10 and full of energy; she got along well with both Mr. S and  Divagirl. Coolcat is 13 and pretty quiet; he and Mr. T got along well.

The 3 youngers watched the movie E.T. while the oldest boys played xbox. It worked out quite well. And when the movie was finished, Jitterbug made Divagirl her pet cat and Divagirl couldn't have been more thrilled! She finally had someone who would play imaginatively with her.

We definitely need to do this again. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac Update

Evidently Isaac decided to follow the European model and not hit much of FL (besides the Keys) at all. Good for us, potentially devastating for Louisiana if it does land there. The up side is that Tampa is pretty much unaffected so I plan to skate on Thursday.

The boys are making great strides on their piano lessons! They are working on Fur Elise and some Christmas songs (thinking ahead) and have nearly mastered Ode to Joy as you can see in the video.

Divagirl has completed her Reading Lesson textbook with flying colors which puts her at a 3rd grade reading level. I am so proud of her! She's just picked up the first of the Boxcar Children books and will hardly put it down. Unless its to play Presidents vs Aliens on the ipad... its pretty addicting. I feel confident in saying that she no longer has any reading issues.

I figured out the ordering issues I had with Am@zon and I do have to commend them, if the books ship from KY we get the shipment the very next day. Amazing! I found some delightful books I plan to use for history with Divagirl (now that she's a reader) entitled "...If You Lived With_____". Its a whole series and I got several on Native American life in different regions as well as Colonial times and Revolutionary life. They are very informative and will hopefully bring American history to life for her.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

With the possibility of Hurricane Isaac passing through and causing rain, wind and flooding along the coastline from Miami to Louisiana we've been battening down the hatches for potential external flying hazards. We should be perfectly fine here even if we lose power since we have a well and a generator and enough food for an apocalypse. It does mean, however, that I most likely won't get to skate this week since Tampa may or may not get hit hard depending on whether or not the American model or European model for storm tracking is correct.

Either way we've been getting lots more accomplished on the RV since the weather has finally been rain-free and beautiful for the last couple of days. I'm sure our days are limited though for this week which adds a bit of pressure to the mix. I'm not keen on pressure. Up next we need to install the carpet in the cockpit area.

Next week officially starts our full schedule of lessons for the kiddos. We've been in the swing of things for a month now but only in limited subjects: Reading, Cursive, Writing for the older boys, Music, Art, History and Mine Craft. Oh wait, Mine Craft isn't a subject! Although more time is spent on that game than on their lessons I fear. (Not for much longer...<insert maniacal laugh>mwuahaha)

On a related note, I'm a little miffed at Am@zon because I've been trying to purchase some of the free e-classics and free e-textbooks I've had on my wish list for school (some I already downloaded, some I was on the fence about) and now they are no longer free or they are in a format that can not be downloaded in the US. What!? Are you kidding me? We are really making an effort to conserve resources and adhere to weight limits. With limited access to libraries we can check out books from on the road (browsing will be unlimited) I was counting on finding suitable alternatives for the Kind!e. Boo, hiss Am@zon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Remodel Progress

I'm getting so excited because things are really starting to come together. We have about 75% of the painting done, the bunks are built and the full sofa/bed is constructed--we're just waiting for the foam to arrive. Some of the lighting has been replaced and we bought new faucets and a toilet seat that are ready to be installed as soon as the painting is completed. We also picked up the wood flooring today and its gorgeous! Can't wait to finish the painting so we can install it. (Noticing a trend here?) Got some peel and stick stainless steel tiles to create a backsplash in the kitchen...So many changes!!
The painting has really brightened everything up dramatically. I went with the color Swiss Coffee #1812 and had it color-matched at Sherwin Williams; its a delicate ivory color.  I've typically used their zero VOC paint, Harmony, and had good results with only one coat but this time, maybe because there is very little colorant, the coverage is frustratingly poor. It takes 2 coats, sometimes 3, over a primer to get even coverage.

I'm waiting, not very patiently, for my Sunbrella fabric samples to get here. I really want to order the fabric for the mattresses and curtains. Because having materials that won't off-gas in such an enclosed space is important to me, we shelled out a lot of money for a healthier natural latex foam for the mattresses, not stinky-petro-chemical memory foam or formaldehyde-off-gassing urethane foam. Which means I need to cut costs by upholstering them myself. Maybe I can convince my mom to help too.

My dad has been indispensable to this whole project! Between Captain's consulting work and me homeschooling the kids and skating, its challenging to find time to work on our to-do list. But my dad is out there building away nearly everyday and making amazing progress! Maybe he's just in a hurry to get his quiet house back ;)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I'm a Competitive Figure Skater!

I was the only entry in the Adult Pre-Bronze FreeSkate, therefore I guess it was technically another exhibition skate. I was really hoping to have video this time, however, even with a replacement camera we had some technical difficulties. It would auto-shut down after a couple of seconds, so Captain just took some rapid fire stills. My music is "Comptine d'un autre été: l'après midi" composed by Yann Tiersen from the movie Amelie (arranged to 1min:40sec). I was really nervous from having so much time to kill before my program. The ice was very rough and dry from so many skaters and for whatever reason, the last ice resurfacing was 3 hours earlier. But I still got a gold medal.
My testing was the day before. I took 2 tests: Adult Pre-Bronze Moves in the Field (MITF) and Adult Pre-Bronze Freestyle. I actually have video of these! And I passed :)

Captain and I had ourselves a little getaway. The whole family came out to support me last Saturday and for some of them it was the first time watching me skate. I was grateful for the support but its a long drive and the competition proved to be a lot of waiting around, not much fun if you aren't skating. So I didn't want them to feel like they had to attend. Plus, the testing and practice time meant we'd have to do back to back days and gas is expensive and the drive is tiring. It made more sense to get a hotel for the night.

I've really only been practicing the elements I needed to pass the tests so I'm excited to go back to practicing everything now! I've been looking into getting another coach here and I think I have a pretty good idea of whose teaching style I like now. I'm really excited to keep moving up and work towards testing for my Adult Bronze level. I've decided to enter one more local competition in September. I really want to see other competitors at my level!