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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 31 - Final Thoughts

This showed up my Facebook feed a few days back and I thought it was such a fitting thought for me during this stage...especially on those days when I wonder, "are we crazy for doing what we are doing?" I AM, oh trust me, I AM enjoying our carefree lifestyle! However, I have to be honest and tell you that I do have days I wonder if we shouldn't be working at real jobs and being responsible adults. It's thankfully, not a daily struggle, just little fleeting thoughts every now and again, here and there. And, again, being honest, at some point we probably will go back to the real world and have day jobs. Only time will tell; so stay tuned while we continue Living the dream... it may not always be this way! So we plan to enjoy it while we can. 

Hope you have enjoyed the 31 days this year, I know I did, in fact I think it's my favorite one so far!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 30 - Wednesday Words - C.S. Lewis

Short and sweet today...

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963); Writer, Theologian, Scholar

And because the sunsets have been sooooo absolutely lovely I want to share a few more photos with you. They make me take pause and thank God for the beauty he surrounds us with day in and day out. It's amazing in my opinion!

Absolutely stunning beauty...

Tomorrow is the last day of the 31 Day challenge, if you missed out, you really did miss out, it's a great challenge to take on, check it out here and start making your plan to participate next year!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 29 - Doing life or what we like to call "Living the dream..."

So what does one do with one's time while living in an RV you might wonder...well, we just do life. For us that's finding a local church among other things! We have been fortunate to be in areas that we already have a connection for the most part. However, we will venture out and just find a place when we aren't. That's what we did here in Destin when we found this church just down the street from where we are parked!

We also hang out with friends. Help friends out when we can. Make new friends. Looking up friends from days passed is really great; in fact it's pretty cool and we love to reconnect with those from our earlier days!!!

 Spent the day with this friend recently; we had lunch as well as hit up a used bookshop!

Lunch w/ AL friends was awesome!

I also read! I love to just be able to sit outside preferably with a slight breeze and read. It's just been awesome to sit by the bay or pool and read here in Destin but reading in Sunny or out under the awning it awesome as well and I have been able to enjoy it everywhere we have stopped!

MiRV keeps occupied in many ways... and thankfully he tackles little jobs around the RV or just little putters to make life smoother for us!

Puttering on a surfboard carrier...

or he's scouting out spots to get on the water when he can.

 MiRV in the bay
 MiRV in the Gulf

He is sooooooo looking forward to getting back to the Atlantic side of FL so he can surf again! There have been waves here but not far enough out and organized enough to surf. He is really excited to be able to return to Cocoa Beach and get his board in the ocean again!

Recently, I even joined him on the water, the OPEN water. Up to this point I had only navigated the pool!! I really did like it. Course it helped a lot that the water was very calm!!!

Me SUPing in the Gulf

But honestly you can usually find me on the shore with a book in a beach chair ...

He's also taken to blogging again, since he is no long MiB (Man in Blue), he chose to go with MiRV for his  new blog title.

We also like to go on walks, runs and bike rides to enjoy our surroundings...we happen across a lot of neat things while we are out and about exploring!

Saw this neat sand art on our recent beach walk! Love manatees!

Spotted an orange tree on one of our neighborhood rides!

We definitely don't just sit around inside the coach and watch the TV all day long, we get out and enjoy life. I am amazed at the folks who do not do the same. We were visiting with a couple the other evening and chatted about the different types of RVers and we definitely don't fit the mold he told us for Class A folks...he stated in his experience they (Class A folks) are usually NOT the mix and mingle type. Since I don't think we have ever fit the mold (ever) then it's seems to reason we wouldn't in this  instance either. I am happy to see/know that we continue to bust the mold as we get our feet wet in the RV world and haven't become the norm!!

Oh and just hanging out is good for us too! In fact we feel we do that really well!

Hanging out and waiting for the sun to set over the bay a few nights back!

It is our opinion that we are Living the dream...

The scoop on the 31 day challenge it here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 28 - LAUNDRY

You never know what you're gonna get with the laundry facilities! Tinker AFB famcamp definitely has the cleanest we have used. It even had a great informational board with the hours of the commissary, BX, thrift shop, a TV, ice machine :), iron and ironing board. The ones below are probably not the cleanest I've used. They aren't bad just notso clean!
 Average laundry facility.
This one even has an ice machine which always makes me happy!

Price varies. Some places are even free, we like free but haven't been to a location yet that is free! For our experience it's been anywhere from 50c to $1.50 to wash and 50c to $1.00 to dry. Some give more drying time then others and we often will not run the dryer more then once, we just take it on back to the RV and hang up/drape things til they dry. It works for us. I have also washed out a few things in the sink or shower (think work out clothes, like my sports bra).

Current facilities
Where we are now is 75c to wash and 75c to dry in the regular machines which is lower then average. Interesting that they have industrial size machines here that cost $2.50 per load to wash or dry. They are HUGE! I don't think I will ever have loads that big so I won't be using those! Our bedspread would even be dwarfed in these!

Factoid: We have spent $131.75 (in quarters no less!) to do our laundry since we started full-timing 9 months ago! That may not be quite truly accurate, okay it's NOT...since we did snag few free loads once in awhile when we were visiting family at different locations. Nonetheless it is the total we have spent thus far on laundry. If we ever upgrade Sunny we might try to have a washer/dryer in our rig, lots of the bigger coaches do. I'm sure it would be really nice but so far it's not been a big deal to do laundry where we've been.
Day+# challenge info found here!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 27 - Eats

I will direct you to my post about cooking in the RV here.

But I will add some specifics such as our grocery budget is $250 and if you read my Money Matters post on day 22 you know we went over last month and so far this month we are going over as well. May have to adjust the budget for that line item! I also shared in that post that the commissary is a huge benefit that we are grateful for. The prices in my opinion are the best around but that is only if there is no ALDI nearby. Which is one of my favorite stores for many reasons but mostly because it saves on our grocery spending. And for the record I do shop the local grocery stores to get the sales as another way to stretch our grocery dollars. Some locations have better sales then others. 

My upper and lower pantry cabinets. 

This is where the majority of our food gets stored. It's hard to "stock up" but then again when you are trying to stretch your grocery dollars it's hard NOT to. I also stash things under the dinette when I need to! Otherwise these two cabinets do the job. And the lower shelf of the lower cabinet holds my storage containers and bowls so it's not even ALL food in that one!

If you think that my cabinet space is lacking you will really gasp when you see the fridge. It's not tiny but it's NOT full size and the freezer is not very big either. I do tend to grocery shop more often since our fridge space is limited but it's doable and it IS working so no complaints! I just have to make sure I don't buy more cold or frozen items then I have room for! Recently Eggo waffles were on sale AND I had a coupon and MiRV was really wanting some so I bought three boxes; that pretty much took up any extra freezer space we have so I knew not to buy any frozens until that area was cleared a bit!



In Shreveport the sales were great!!! Especially on things we use and that I will only buy on sale such as soda! MiRV enjoys his soft drinks but unless I can get them on sale they are a no-go! Shreveport groceries also ran great produce sales which we enjoyed a lot since the Barksdale commissary produce section lacked. We also enjoy hitting farmer's markets for great fresh produce and again Shreveport had the BEST farmer's market! Montgomery local ads were not so great, in fact probably the worst to date, so it was the commissary for nearly everything. And commissary prices were higher in this area too which was a bummer. Commissary prices seemed to be the best at Offutt and the local stores in Omaha ran great sale ads there too! Florida has been hit and miss. Mostly miss!!! Oklahoma City was not so great as they didn't really have many grocery stores where we were but the Tinker commissary was really good on their prices so no worries. And when we get further south there will be ALDI so I will be very happy about that indeed! And hopefully get back within my orignal budget amount!!

Read more about the 31 day challenge HERE.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 26 - TV

Yep, we have TV. In fact, we actually have two sets in Sunny. If MiRV had his way we would have three! One for the out of doors, too, maybe eventually but right now, no. However, he does take his laptop out and sets it in one of the basement compartments and watches PC TV.

 The front TV which is up above the driver/passenger area

We are pretty basic folks, have only ever had cable one time way back in 1996 when we lived so close to the mountains in Colorado that we were unable to receive an over the air signal so we subscribed. Normally, we are just antenna people, so you can read that as notsomuch TV people. That's really true in my case, however, there ARE a few shows I do enjoy! In the RV with our over the air and we have gotten decent reception everywhere we have been. Usually we get an average of 10 channels, but some areas we get more, way more! Like when we were in OKC we got nearly 30, lots of PBS, Christian and independent offerings. We have always been able to get the BIG 3 so it works for us and best of all it's F.R.E.E. We love the that and it's really more then enough TV for me!

The bedroom TV

At some point in the future when and if there is a terrific sale (hoping for black Friday) we plan to upgrade the main TV and then switch that one to the bedroom and then potentially make that one the outdoor TV. But there will need to be a terrific sale! 

For the first time ever we have cable included with our slot space, that has been a real treat for MiRV who IS the TV watcher in our family. But not to misrepresent, I do have my favorites...Person of Interest. And I do love me some NFL, college football and basketball as well as a little NBA, gooooo Thunder and MLB, go Cardinals!!!! But I can go without it all if it's not there and available but I will tune in if we are in the RV and it's on!

And today you WILL find us watching some football! Go Chiefs!

Check out the whole Day+# thing right HERE!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 25 - Lather Up!

The bath house is important to us! Why you asked when you have a shower in your RV? Well, we don't shower in our RV at the present time. I know almost crazier then crazy!

Our unused shower...

Not to say that we won't, we just don't right now. Our shower is pretty good size IMO and I think I could get everything taken care of that I need to before the 6 gallon tank runs out but I don't. For one thing the pressure isn't all that great. There is a shower head that you can purchase to the tune of about $50 bucks or less to help with that and we plan to eventually get one but right now we just schlep to the bath house and use the facilities provides.

 Bath house in AL which has individual non-desiginated units with shower, sink, toilet.

Speaking of facilities they are all different and I do mean different. Some are unisex, others are Male/Female separated. Some are little rooms with one shower and one toilet others are a shower area and a toilet area. Some have little cubbies of a shower others have the shower stall and then a common area with it. Some have places to hang your bag or a benches to place your bag on; others have hooks for your towels which is REALLY nice. Some even have hairdryers in them! And as you can imagine some are cleaner then others and thankfully none have been totally gross so it works!

My shower bag :)
I carry a bag to the bath house while MiRv is a backpack kind of guy. I have all my essentials in there, shampoo, soap, razor, pick, q-tips, towel, etc. We also wear shower shoes. It's very easy and has become just part of our routine and I take it in stride. We have never had to bother with worrying about theft of our things while in the stall that makes me happy!

MiRV with his backpack on the way to the bath house

The Destin bathhouse is very clean and spacious. I like the individual stalls; they are nice with a built in bench for your shower bag.

 Destin bathhouse

 Destin shower area

Info about the 31 day challenge I am participating in is right HERE!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 24 - Let's Dish!

This is my kitchen as it looks most days...

When we made the transition into the RV I culled the cabinets for our lightest weight dishes, glasses, bowls, utensils, etc. Why you may ask, cause weight is important in an RV and glass and stoneware are too heavy! That's not to say we don't have any glassware cause we do but we have very little because in addition to being heavy if it falls out while we are in motion and breaks you have a major mess that is dangerous as well! So for the most part it's lightweight nonbreakable items for us in the cupboards!

 Doesn't everyone reuse their Sonic cup??? I DO!

Our rig has a double sink and I think that makes doing dishes much easier, much like at home, a wash side and a rinse side. I do use dish tubs inside my sinks in the RV. Just makes it easier and saves water IMO. I usually only do dishes once a day after the evening meal. Again saves on water usage and just makes sense to me. I draw a small amount of hot soapy water as I begin preparing the evening meal and do up the dishes from the day then add more hot soapy water to finish the dinner dishes. Counter space is such a premium that finding a drying surface is challenging. There is a fold out shelf that helps but it is often inconvenient to have it out if you want to use the coach door. Sometimes I use a TV tray, the dinette table or the cook top. Just depends.

 Not a great pic but I am doing those dishes!

In addition to the cabinet above the sink I also have three of my six drawers filled with what I consider the kitchen items. Silverware, gadgets and pans. I love my drawers, drawers are the most awesomest thing ever!

 My silverware drawer

 My awesome BIG drawers!

These are the drawers directly under the fridge/freezer really easy to get to. Top one has my gadgets and whole hand potholders, measuring cups, small cutting boards, spoons, etc. Also my saran and a few knives are in there. Lower one has my pots and pans and slicer along with foil and parchment paper.

My oven

It's a great little hidden storage gem! Course one must NOT forget to empty before using, but since I have to open it to "light" it that hasn't been an issue for me and I love the extra space to stash these pans!

That's pretty much the dish on my was an adjustment to go from a 6 burner cook top, double wall ovens, side by side fridge WITH ice maker, dishwasher and huge pantry to this smaller set up but it's been doable! I have been asked what I miss the most in the kitchen and I thinks the ice maker. I loved our in the door water and ice availability. Bet your don't think your kitchen's so small after all do you?

Info on the 31 day challenge is HERE!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 23 - Wednesday Words - Grandma Moses

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.  ~Grandma Moses

Making the best of life with this guy, officially, since 1986!

The 31 day challenge is still going on, check it out here!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 22 - Money Matters

So we are "r e t i r e d" and that is so much more then a little misleading. We are only 47 years old after all! And seriously, I have not been employed outside the home since 1995, so really how can I be retired?  The reality is that MiRV did retire July 1st this year after almost 27 years in the United States Air Force. Soooooo what that really means for us is a nice little modest retirement check. We are living on that. It's not going to be an extravagant lifestyle but we will get by. We are going to do our best to live within our means and not tap into our reserve funds. We also have an emergency fund. Since 1993 we have lived debt free (WOOhoo) with the exception of a short time from 2005-2009 when we bought and sold a house so we had a mortgage for a little while.

That's us at church a few weeks ago :)

We were able to buy Sunny, our 31 foot of Bliss, by writing a personal check for just at $25K, no financing needed thankyouverymuch! That was an awesome feeling, many years of our living frugally below our means and saving always pays off! We love being able to write a check for large purchases, it's very rewarding. And that's our goal while we are Living the dream... to remain debt free. We do have a budget. We do track our daily expenses. We are enjoying life. In all seriousness we do plan to get jobs at some point down the road, but right now we are fortunate that we are in a position to be able to go mobile and live on the road do life as we have never done it before. It's been really neat and the opportunities have been awesome. We are looking forward to getting further south, back down to the Atlantic side of Florida and settling in. Making sure that is in fact the area we want to be in and then see what happens. Like I mentioned we plan to live in the RV for 18 months and we are now 10 months in, I see us pushing that out even further but only time will tell. Life happens and we will just have to see how it happens for us.

Living this way is not without challenges, we think we have a leg up on some things. We are so thankful for the affordable military health insurance option we have and for the prescription drug benefits we have too. Not to mention the huge cost saving benefit of shopping at the commissary that we love. We are also thankful that we have lower cost family camping areas on many military installations that we can utilize (which helps to keep out cost down). There are many other benefits that we are thankful to have after a life of military service. However, it is unfortunate that we are losing many of these benefits at rapid fire rates. A lot of our future well being can and will depend on how our benefits are maintained or lost. It's going to be interesting and will play a part in determining how long we are able to do what we are currently doing before going back to the real world.

Since I have already shared about RV fuel cost here as well as RV insurance here and there will be a laundry post coming up on day 28. I won't give a lot of repeat details but to give you just a little glimpse into where our money went I will share a bit more. Keep in mind that we truly started tracking expenses as retirees just last month. July and August were a wash with the wedding and the extra expenses associated with that sending everything out of whack. And before that our income was on a different scale so it wouldn't be reflective of what we really had to live on. So September was truly the first month I feel like we lived within the retirement income budget that we have.

Where some of our funds went for September...

Tithe $350.00
RV Slots $400.00

RV Fuel $330.00
CRV Fuel $91.00
RV Maintenance/Upkeep/Repairs $465.92
Groceries last month $268.87
Cell Phone $110.00
Eating Out $102.32

Gifts $68.59
Stationery/Business Expenses  $13.03
Laundry $10.75

Now honestly, we went over what I had budgeted for Groceries ($250), Eating Out ($55)  and RV Maintenance/Upkeep/Repairs ($300) so we may have to adjust those in the coming days; we'll just have to see how that all works out. Everything else came in at or under budget! And the RV repair was the converter thing! A non- normal monthly expense I hope!!! In fact there were a couple line items we didn't even use (Entertainment and Clothing) so it was all good with the end numbers. And me being me built cushion into some of the budget items AND I did not commit our entire retirement check to the budget, in fact, I didn't allocate around $275.00. So this month it totally rocks that there was a few bucks leftover to sock away into savings! Cause really I didn't think we would be adding to our savings while we were on this this little journey!

See that was one of my original concerns that we would not be able to continue to save. It's definitely not going to be at the rate it was before, I get that, but I want to try and at least save some thing. So it made me very happy to be able to sock a few dollars away on month one. I realize not every month will go that way but it's a great first month feeling and made me feel so much better about living on less then 1/2 of what we had been living on.

The 31 day series information is HERE!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 21 - Storage Solutions

We have stuff! Probably stuff just like you and everyone else we know. But with living in the RV we try to keep our stuff to a minimum. There is after all only so much room and there are necessities that take precedence over just plain old stuff.  Some stuff we originally thought we would want (mainly too many kitchen things) is now back in storage and some stuff I didn't think I would want (seasonal decor) I wish I had. No big deal we are doing well with what we do have.

The area below the coach is called the basement and these storage areas are really awesome. We have the kind that open up. They are pretty convenient. We keep many things in the basement. Our vacuum is down there, so is the extra soda, (really extra anything! laundry detergent, potatoes, paper towels) snorkel gear, beach chairs, off season clothes, tools, drying rack, compressor, car/RV washing supplies,

MiRV does some rearranging of the basements a few weeks ago!

Besides the basement, and the closets which I talked about on day 12, we also have great storage under the sofa, under the seats of the dinette and a bank of cabinets along the driver side as well as kitchen drawers and a pantry. And let's not forget the unused shower space! Yep, there is a great storage in there. Great for stowing things especially when we are in motion!

Nice shower storage area :)
I find that I love the drawers in the kitchen! I am so glad we have 6 of them! Some RVs have none or only one in the kitchen, no way, I just couldn't do it! My drawers are awesome! Even though I am featuring some of the drawers on day 24 I am going to show them all here first!

My three little drawers which I enjoy immensely!!!

These drawers are so great and hold a lot, the top one has our silverware, my paring knives, kitchen shears and can opener. The middle one holds the dish cloths, towels, potholders and a few misc lids/straws. The lower one is the home to the reclosable bags. All work great and provide easy access to the things I need most!

Again, I will talk about these drawers more in a couple days but they are such awesome holders of my favorite kitchen things that picturing them twice seems right!

 Another favorite drawer!

This is the wonderful catchall drawer of those things we use quite frequently. Tape, scissors, aspirin, vitamins, gum, batteries, sunblock, glue, post it's, pens, pencils, a few tools, etc just those everyday things that you need and don't want to go hunting for! It's a great drawer and in a great location for easy access!

I also have a nice bathroom drawer and THREE little bedroom drawers. But they are still great drawers!

My bedroom drawers, they are really narrow but they are still great!

Other storage areas are under the dinette seats and sofa

 This is the dinette storage area

 Accessible through the door or

 Take the seat cushions off (and the plywood support) and there you are!

 Two seats equal two great storage areas!

 Under the sofa storage

The space under the sofa houses our games, extra pillows and blankets as well as some rain gear and a small hand held vac. It works well very easily accessible and we could poke more things in there but haven't needed to so far!

Also in the cabinets along the slide. They are great cubbyholes. Not to mention the two areas up in the front of the cab area. Great areas for sure! And let's NOT forget UNDER THE BED...yep you can stash stuff there. It does house our fresh water tank on one side but there is still quite a bit of room to stash off season shoes and some keeper papers for now.

 No monsters under our bed!

There's a 31 day challenge going on and you can find out all about it right h e r e ! !