Tiny Shiny Home Blog 2018-06-25T08:08:54+00:00 https://tinyshinyhome.com/feed Tiny Shiny Home hello@tinyshinyhome.com https://tinyshinyhome.com/whats-in-our-kids-room What's In Our Kids' Room 2018-06-18T05:00:00+00:00 2018-06-18T20:16:30+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Okay friends! You’ve been asking so here it is. I’m showing you what’s in the kids’ room today. When we arrived in Knoxville I could not wait to pull everything out and reevaluate what we keep. The kids were a huge help in deciding what stays and what goes.

Let me be totally clear. We made sure the EVERYONE was involved in what we keept and what was donated. Nothing was tossed unless everyone agreed! That being said, you’ll soon see we don’t have many toys. Our kids love to read and draw so that occupies most of their free time. They also each have an iPad for school and games so they are not lacking anything.

When we renovated our Airstream, we really wanted to create as much useful storage as possible.

What's in our Kids' room

With the bottom bunks resting on top of the wheel wells, we're already loosing half of our storage underneath. And one side requiring plumbing and heating duct, we lost even more potential storage. However, we're still happy with the space we created. And now that we've done yet another purge, we have extra room which is always a good thing.

Okay, lets start with the girls side. Here's a look at their overhead storage area.

Girls side overhead storage

Let's take a look at what's inside.

Our Hiking Gear

This is where we keep our hiking packs and the girls stash their purses up here. Adali carries this Gregory Jade 28 pack while Jonathan and I carry the Deuter Airlite 28. I love this pack and it fits me really well, Jonathan still needs to find one to fit his longer torso, but until then this is what we have. Ada carries the Camelbak Arete 18. It's the perfect size for her and she loves carrying her own snacks and water. They boys are still in need of getting their own packs to carry, one day we'll get them...unless Deuter wants to hook us up! (wink, wink)

The empty side of the cabinet on the right is where we put one of our blankets when we make our bed in the morning. The pillows from our bed up front go behind the kid's pillows when the front room is in the dinette position. Jax and Ada will be much happier without our blankets crowding their beds during the day!

So, this is what it looks like during the day with our blankets in storage and pillow stowed away.

Overhead storage in Airstream

Now, let's take a look at what's under Adali's bed.

Under Bunks in Airstream

The first drawer on the left is their 'toy drawer' where they have boxes of their favorite things.

Kids toy drawer in Airstream

I'm all about keeping things neat and in order so it's no surprise that we have storage within storage.

Airstream Toy Drawer

To keep the drawer organized, each of the kids have their own Meori Mini Foldable Box. This is where they keep their random trinkets, shells, bullet casings, and random things they deem worth keeping. The headphones are kept in the Meori boxes, too.

They each have their own little box for their Halo toys. The Halo figures come apart so they can interchange their gear to create their own crazy super hero! I love that they're small and take up very little room, but I really love stepping on them when they're camouflaged in the rug! (huge eye roll)

They each have their own MPOW Headphones. If you have kids who are listening to programs or music or watching shows on their own iPads, these are a sanity saver! Why did we not get them sooner? They sound great, didn't break the bank (they were actually a Christmas gift from the Grandparents) and I don't have to constantly leave our home in order to work! WIN/WIN

One of our favorites is a magnifying glass from Ten Thousand Villages (a really cool shop in Austin, TX) that the kids love to play with. We also have a few legos and their BB Guns in another storage box.

The next drawer over is home to our macrame supplies and a little space heater. Can you believe that this little heater can keep our entire 31' Airstream warm? It's true, and we love it!

macrame supply drawer

At one point in time, Adali was crazy about macrame and selling her pieces @tinyshinyhomestead. She’s since slowed down in making things, but her and I will pull it out from time to time when inspiration hits!

Because the lower bunks rest on the wheel wells, we opted for no drawers for the next storage cabinets. The first area is where we keep some of our school and art supplies.

Under bed storage in Airstream

They all LOVE to draw so we encourage that as much as possible. Here's a closer look to see what fits in there.

Several school books and fun activity books, painting supplies, sharpies, scissors, tape, glue, pencils and pens, stationary and stamps...You get the idea!

School Supplies in Airstream

The next area is home to our games and goggles for swimming. (I know that’s random)

Game Drawer in Airstream

We get asked a lot what kind of games we bring because storage is always an issue! We (the kids and I) love card games so that's the majority of our games.

Games in Airstream

Jonathan's not a huge fan of any games, but he will play if we beg him. The only game he really enjoys though is Sushi Go!

So, in our collection is Sushi Go, Five Crowns, Rook, Uno, Dos, standard playing cards, Travel Size Mancala, Travel Size Chess, Cobra Paw and a Rubiks Cube. We have plenty of storage to add games as we come across some that we like, too!

So, let's take a look at the boys' side now!

Overhead storage in Airstream

In the overhead storage on the boys size we have a really random assortment of items so just bare with me for a few minutes.

Overhead storage in Airstream

Here we have 2 yoga mats that don't get used nearly enough, but they really want to be used...so we're working on doing better about that this year.

We have one large Meori Foldable Box that is great for many things. I like to throw a bunch of books in there to take outside to work with the kids some days. Sometimes we use it on travel days to store fruits and veggies so they don't roll off the beds.

The yellow blanket is used on top of our cushions when we make the bed at night. It helps them from sliding around! Evidently I turn over a lot in my sleep! We have 2 gray sheets which I really hope to replace with new sheets soon! These have seen better days...

I have two extra curtains for a project coming up in a few weeks. Hope to share more about that soon!

And the Unlimited Performance Drink boxes and shake cups is actually from one of our clients.

As you may already know, Jonathan makes rad websites over at FortySeven Media and the UP guys are just one of his clients. We get to take pictures of their product in awesome places so that's fun!

In the back of the picture you'll see a zippered bag. That just has small notebooks that the kids like to draw in. I just like to keep them together!

In this pile there is also one extra eBags Packing Cube and another random storage bag from the bathroom. We are still trying to decide what to use these for.

Now, let's talk about under Jett's bunk!

Under boys Bunk Beds

The first little cubby on the left we don't ever open. Our flex duct heating runs to this vent so we just leave this door shut. Let's take a look at what we keep down here.

Under boys beds in the Airstream

Here you'll find the rest of our school books, drawing books, note books, travel journals and most importantly...the most amazing Ninja Turtle toys ever made! We used to pose these turtles in really epic spots during our travels. I think this may need to happen again!

And before I forget, I'm sure someone will ask so let's just put it out there that the kids' bedding is from Beddy's. You can read more about why we love them so much in this article!

kids on bunk beds with beddy's bedding

So, now you know exactly what's in our kids' room!

What makes me most excited about this particular purge is that our blankets from our bed no longer have to be stored on top of Jax and Ada's beds! I am sure they are equally excited about that!

So, what do you think? Is this pretty minimalist, or do we have more than you thought?

If you travel full-time, what are your biggest struggles when downsizing and organizing your kids' room/area? Is there anything I could help you with? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy traveling! See you down the road soon!

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/tiny-shiny-home-adventures-season-1-episode-3 Tiny Shiny Home Adventures - Season 1 Episode 3 2018-06-18T05:00:00+00:00 2018-06-18T14:30:14+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

In the third episode of Tiny Shiny Home Adventures we visit Flagstaff Arizona, show our renovated Airstream dinette setup, talk about water filtration, and try to stop drinking soda.

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/mckinney-falls-state-park McKinney Falls State Park 2018-05-22T05:00:00+00:00 2018-05-22T19:45:03+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

After a beautiful week at Mother Neff State Park we packed up and headed to McKinney Falls. If you’re visiting state parks in Texas, you NEED to buy a Texas State Park Pass! It’s saved us so much because without it you get charged a daily entrance fee per person! That adds up quickly! It’s more than paid for itself in just a few nights.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t as excited about this state park after being spoiled at Mother Neff. It’s hard to go from new, pristine bathroom to the standard state park bathroom. However, it wasn’t horrible and we’ve grown a lot about what we can tolerate when it comes to the cleanliness of public restrooms.

McKinney State Park was beautiful. 

Hiking at McKinney Falls State Park

We went on several hikes to the water falls. I found it one day by accident when I went to walk one morning and got so caught up in the podcast I was listening to that I wasn’t paying attention to where the trail was leading me. What a pleasant surprise. 

McKinney Falls State Park

I went back and got the kids and we walked the same route so I could show them these falls. They brought a monocular so they could see the turtles and we sat and watched them for quite awhile.

Watching Turtles at the Upper Falls at McKinney Falls State Park

I just love these little moments we get to be together and see new things. I hope they remember these times we share. 

Oh, we also met the people who started Bearded Brothers which make these amazing organic energy bars.

bearded bros bars

You must try them! The coconut mango one is my favorite but they're all good!

We were at McKinney Falls during peak season of the bluebonnets and wild flowers so I had to make the kids take a picture with them. 

Wildflowers at McKinney Falls Ada in Wildflowers at McKinney Falls State Park

One day we brought all our school work down along the trail so we could listen to the river nearby.

Homework at McKinney Falls State Park

By this time it was getting really hot in Austin and I noticed that our pantry was getting really hot! I made a trip to grab some more Reflectix to line the cabinets.

pantry with reflectix

I can’t believe what a difference that made.

While we were here in Austin, we remembered that there was a guy who polishes Airstreams nearby. We made a few calls and decided we’d have him work on ours when we left this state park. Which sounds like an easy plan, but it was a logistical nightmare. More on that later.

We really enjoyed our time here at McKinney Falls. Make sure you explore both the upper and lower falls when you go and make sure to visit them around sunset for some pretty pictures!

Up next, we’ll talk about getting our Airstream polished!

Sunset at McKinney Falls ]]>
https://tinyshinyhome.com/tiny-shiny-home-adventures-season-1-episode-2 Tiny Shiny Home Adventures - Season 1 Episode 2 2018-05-21T05:00:00+00:00 2018-05-21T20:01:14+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

In the second episode of Tiny Shiny Home Adventures we visit Sedona, Arizona, talk about our internet setup, and try to start exercising more.

Thanks for watching! Don't forget to like the video and leave a comment on YouTube if you enjoyed it. 

 Oh, and make sure to subscribe so you don't mess the next episode!

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/my-kids-made-me-cry-on-mothers-day My Kids Made Me Cry on Mother's Day 2018-05-16T05:00:00+00:00 2018-05-16T16:14:12+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

A few days ago my kids made me cry. Like, a lot. It started out like any other day. Snuggling in our warm bed, waking up when we feel like it. The kids sleeping in and not being rushed. 

I made my way out the door and walked down to the bath house and over to the dock to sort out emotions and feelings on this day. Being a mom is so rewarding, but also so emotional. Am I doing the best I can? Do they hate me? Am I encouraging them enough? What can I do better?

I came back to a bed full of smiling kids all with their homemade cards in hand. This is my favorite thing. When they take time to create something special just for me. No store bought cards, just torn paper with their carefully thought out words and drawings. This is the first Mother’s Day that they’re all old enough to put their own thoughts on paper. Even the littlest one.

I opened them one at a time. They insisted we go from youngest to oldest. 

Ada is still working on her spelling and I love these little spelling errors. Her block lettering that she worked so hard on. And the carefully drawn heart within another heart. 

Ada's card front

I opened it up and the tears started, they still start when I look at it now. 

Ada's card inside

Her words are so sweet and pure. Her heart is so sweet and she loves so big. It made me cry that she said I was ‘kind’, because I know sometimes I am not. Sometimes I will lay in bed and replay all the horrible mistakes I made that day and to think that she still thinks I’m kind is nothing short of a miracle. 

Next was Jax’s card. Of course his involved tape! This kid is so fun. He’s always asking for tape or hot glue or matches…And his spelling errors just make this card that much more special.

Jax's Card Folded

I opened it up and his words got me.

Jax's Card Inside

He’s a simple man. He’s always been one to say what he means and not beat around the bush. He’s honest and he wears his heart on his sleeve. You always know what he’s thinking. I was a bit surprised that he mentioned the Airstream in my Mother’s Day card, but didn’t think much about it. He gave me the biggest hug as I told him how much I loved his card. He’s such a sweet kid.

Then Jett hands me his card. He spent so much time drawing. I would catch him covering his paper so I couldn’t see his creation the day before. I opened it up to see the drawing that covers the front and back. He drew 4 rhinos (my favorite animal) and a man watching over them. 

Jett's Card Rhino

I don’t know if he choose the 4 to resemble him and his siblings, but I love it. And I love the man looking after the rhinos. I can’t help but think there's something symbolic here.

I turned it over to read the sweetest message from him.

Jett's Card Disco

He wanted me to have the best time ever that day. He even drew all these people dancing and having fun. Ha! I love the little message at the bottom: 

"Don’t read out loud… I won’t ruin the fun." 

He is infamous for being grumpy on special days. He gets that from me, honestly. I don’t know why, but I tend to ruin special days like my birthday and our anniversary. Maybe it’s the pressure of having a perfect day, I don’t know. It’s not something I’m proud of. And for the record, he didn't ruin the day! 

Then Adali gave me her card. She keeps things simple. She’s quiet and reserved and I often have no idea what she’s thinking. 

Adali's Card Front

I opened it up and was surprised to see a drawing of the Airstream. Then I read the words and LOST IT! Like, full on LOST IT! Ugly cry, guys. There was no way to cry pretty here. 

Adali's Card Inside

“I couldn’t think of anything good to write or draw, but what made us love each other more.”

Seriously? She get's it! They all get it! This is exactly why we live this way.

We chose to live with less so that we could have more time together.

So many times I question if we’re screwing our kids up by traveling full time and them not having a traditional childhood. But you know what? Screw traditions and screw being normal! 

We’re living this way because normal doesn’t fit us. We don’t want to live like everyone else. We have exactly what we need and it all fits in our 31 foot home! 

Who knew that a 46 year old hunk of metal could make our family love each other more? It’s true...this tiny, shiny home really has brought us closer together…even our kids notice that!

Mom with kids

We went on to have a really great day. We watched The Office in the morning, we drove to our next campsite in Florida and we ended the day with some of the best sushi and hibachi I have ever had! I like to keep it simple. I don't expect much. Just some family and sushi is all I need! 

Cheers to all you mom's rocking it day in and day out! To the adventure seekers, route planners, homeschool teachers, and makers of healthy foods that feed the ones you love...you got this!

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/mother-nerf-state-park Mother Neff State Park & Waco, TX 2018-05-08T05:00:00+00:00 2018-05-08T16:59:41+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

I’m behind on our 'travel journal' posts so bare with me. The only reason I write these posts about where we visit is so that we remember what we have done. It’s so fun to look back and see all the places we’ve been. So, let's see where we went after visiting Lake Mineral Wells State Park.

We headed south to Mother Neff State Park for the week. I had no idea that it would be so nice. We pulled in with gray water we needed to dump and we were so confused because we never saw a dump station. Finally we stopped by the camp host’s site and asked, “Where’s the dump station?” And they gave us a confused look and said, “We don’t have one! All our sites have full-hookups!” Whhaaaattt? At a state park?? Sweet!

It was seriously THE NICEST state park we have ever been to. 

Mother Neff State Park at Sunset

It’s very small with only 20 RV sites but they were paved, level and huge! We were so impressed with this place. The kids loved riding the loop on the scooter and skateboard. Lots of scratches this week!

Airstream at Mother Neff State Park

Evidently this was a new section of the park because where the RV sites used to be is shut down due to flooding in recent years. 

The camp hosts were so friendly and we explained that we have never been to a state park with full hookups. They have a few short walking trails around and the kids liked visiting the 'wash pond' where they used to wash their clothes. 

Wash Pond at Mother Neff State Park

The water was so gross it's hard to imagine washing clothes here. Maybe it was much cleaner back in the day :)

We love our evening walks together. We ventured over to the playground one night.

Evening walks at Mother Neff State Park

I think our kids aren’t super excited about playgrounds anymore, but this was a really cool one.

Playground at Mother Neff State Park

So many wood structures to play around and this huge armadillo that the kids had to get a picture with. 

Kids and an Armadillo

And the bathrooms...THE CLEANEST, NICEST bathrooms we have ever been in! 

Bathrooms at Mother Neff State Park Bathrooms at Mother Neff State Park

And at a state park! That's unheard of.

This state park is really close to Waco also so you know what that means! Obligatory trip to Magnolia! I took the kids one morning and woah. We were SO overwhelmed with how many people there were. We had to park 2 blocks away and this place was packed. 

I really wanted to go in the bakery but the line was seriously like an hour long. No thanks!

We went in the Silos and didn’t even make it through half of the store. There were seriously SO MANY PEOPLE! I was about to have a panic attack. We left after just 10 minutes! We just can’t do crowds like that. It’s one reason why I think we’ll never be able to visit Disney. None of us do well in crowded places. 

I did end up going back (alone) and was able to find a couple mugs for a giveaway we were having on Instagram. But the mugs were located at the front of the store and this time it was even more crowded so I grabbed the mugs and got in line and waited 30 minutes to pay. I just can't deal.

Sorry Chip and Jo-Jo. I love you guys and the stores seem really cool but I just can’t do the crowds. 

Jonathan ended up taking a whole day off work so we could all explore Waco and that was so fun. We visited the Texas Ranger Museum and theDr. Pepper Museum and Waco Mammoth National Monument.

First up was Waco Mammoth National Monument and man was that fun! 

Waco Mammoth National Monument

Our tour guide was so great. She was so excited to tell us about the bones and you could tell she really loved her job. She answered all the kids questions and was so knowledgeable. 

Bones at Waco Mammoth National Monument

If you find yourself in Waco, don’t miss this National Monument. We did the Junior Ranger Booklets and they earned another badge. We should really count how many we have…it’s a LOT!

Next was the Texas Ranger Museum. 

Texas Ranger Museum

It wasn’t as exciting as Waco Mammoth NM and if you’re not super into the history of the Texas Rangers, I’d skip it, but the boys enjoyed seeing all the guns and Ada had fun trying on some clothes...so I guess they liked it okay.

Texas Ranger Museum Ada

We were all super excited about the Dr. Pepper Museum. 

Dr Pepper Museum Truck

It was kind of pricey and honestly we were a bit let down. I thought there would be more interactive things. It’s just not what I imagined. 

Dr Pepper Museum Bottles

This place had potential to be so much cooler than it was but the highlight was trying an ice cold Dr. Pepper without HFCS. Jonathan has never liked Dr. Pepper, but that one, he really liked. 

Drinks at Dr Pepper Museum

If we were to do it again, I’d skip the museum and just go grab some of the real sugar Dr. Pepper at the gas station near by! That would have saved us a lot of money and everyone would have been just as happy!

The highlight of this week was just being at Mother Neff State Park. Seriously. 

evening walk saving snails

It was so beautiful. Deer would come out in the evening in the field close by and the wildflowers were just starting to make their appearance. 

Texas Wildflowers Texas Wildflowers

We even got a much needed rain shower while we were there. And after, we went out to see all the snails that made their way onto the road. 

Snails

Ada was obsessed with saving all the snails. She’d carefully look to see which way they were headed and move them to the side of the road near the the grass. It was adorable. Her love of all creatures really is so pure and beautiful. 

If you find yourself around this area and enjoy good BBQ, we highly suggest you make the drive to Miller's Smokehouse in Belton! 

Miller's Smokehouse

It was so good. All the kids LOVED it.

And for a great desert place, we can all highly recommend Steel City Pops.

steelcitypops

If you go, try the Chocolate Brownie Pop covered in Dark Chocolate and drizzled with Salted Caramel! Holy Cow!

Jett at SteelcityPops

Jett was in heaven!! 

Next we head to McKinney Falls where we get to meet up with new Airstream friends who were just starting their full-time adventure!

Locations in this post

1

Mother Neff State Park

Mother Neff State Park
1680 Texas 236 Highway
Mood, TX 76557

2

Magnolia Market

Magnolia Market At The Silos
601 Webster Ave
Waco, TX 76706

3

Texas Ranger Museum

100 Texas Ranger Trail
Waco, TX 76706

4

Waco Mammoth National Monument

Waco Mammoth National Monument
6220 Steinbeck Bend Dr
Waco, TX 76708

5

Dr Pepper Museum

300 S 5th St
Waco, TX 76701

6

Miller's Smokehouse

300 E Central Ave
Belton, TX 76513

7

Steelcity Pops

721 S 4th St #114
Waco, TX 76706

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/tiny-shiny-home-adventures-season-1-episode-1 Tiny Shiny Home Adventures - Season 1 Episode 1 2018-05-07T05:00:00+00:00 2018-05-07T18:10:17+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

In the first episode of Tiny Shiny Home Adventures we visit Santa FeWhite Sands, and talk about our favorite boondocking gear. Also, #nopaymay!

Thanks for watching! Don't forget to like the video and leave a comment on YouTube if you enjoyed it. 

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/beddys-for-bunk-beds Beddy's for Bunk Beds 2018-05-04T05:00:00+00:00 2018-05-25T13:10:59+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

You may have read that we just celebrated our 3rd Nomadiversary! I still can’t believe that it’s been THREE years since we said goodbye to the suburbs and headed out on this grande adventure. It’s been a wild 3 years. We’ve learned so much and we are constantly finding things to make our lives a little simpler while on the road. 

One of the biggest struggles in a tiny house is keeping things neat. Everything has a place and when it is not in that place, it makes our home feel unkept and dishelved.

If you have bunks in your RV, or even in your home, you know what a pain it is to make those beds. And just forget about the kids doing it on their own. Between a fitted sheet, top sheet, and blanket, asking them to make their beds daily was causing a lot of unnecessary stress on all of us. We started looking for a simpler solution and we came across Beddy’s!!

Beddy's Bedding on Bunkbeds in Airstream

It was a lightbulb moment! BeddyBeddy’ss is like an all-in-one solution. Think of it like a giant sleeping bag for your bed, but way better. 

Beddy's is one piece that goes on like a normal fitted sheet, but what set's them apart is the zipper topper! 

You just zip each side down (or one side, whichever you like) and get into bed. You can even fully unzip the topper for easy washing or for those of us who like our feet to stick out of the covers. 

Beddy's unzipped

We are loving that the kids can make their own beds by zipping them in the morning. No more messing around with stray sheets and blankets falling off the bed. It’s so easy for them, even the littles on the top bunks can zip up their beds now! And these zippers are made to last!

beddys zipper

In our Airstream, we don’t have standard size twin mattresses so we just purchased some clips that go under their mattresses to hold their Beddy’s in place! So easy!

I love the Dash pattern, too. It really brightened up the space and makes everything look cleaner and brighter and organized. Hello Spring!!

The kids LOVE the minky fabric so much that I'm having trouble getting them out of bed in the mornings. 

Ada in her bunk bed with Beddy's Bedding

I’m a bit jealous and may need to purchase one (or two) of the Beddy’s blankets for our bed! 

If you have bunk beds, or just want your bed to always be neat and tidy, Beddy’s is a huge time saver and we cannot express how much we love this product. 

Beddy's on Bunkbeds in Airstream

Zip on over to Beddy’s to check out their super cute new styles and watch this video on how easy they are to use!

Happy sleeping!

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/three-year-nomadiversary Three Year Nomadiversary - We're Still Loving Full Time Travel 2018-05-03T05:00:00+00:00 2018-05-04T01:22:25+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Yesterday marked our 3 year Nomadiversary. THREE WHOLE YEARS of adventures on the road! As I was looking back at all we have accomplished since we left suburbia, I just can’t believe how much the kids have grown.

Kids together 2015

I’m not talking about growing taller (although Adali is just a couple inches from being eye-to-eye with her mom). What I’ve noticed in the photos is how they’ve really grown closer to each other. 

Kids after riding the Virginia Creeper

We’ve always been a tight-knit family, and I think a huge part of that is the fact that we’ve always homeschooled and Jonathan has worked from home since Adali was a baby. Together is all we’ve known…all they’ve known. 

kids together in New York 2015

One of the many reasons we left suburbia was to strengthen our family bond. We’ve watched them become best friends. 

December 2015 Kids together on beach

They've taught each other new things.

Adali teaching Ada

They have taken care of each other when one gets hurt. 

Ada Comforts Jax after he got hurt

We’ve seen the love they have for each other and that just makes all the hard days fade away. It takes a special bond to be able to be in such tight quarters and still like each other!

kids on top of mountain

Sure, they have their days of arguing and getting on each others nerves, but those days are few and far between. 

One question we get asked all the times is, “How long do you think you’ll continue traveling?” Our answer has always been, “Until it’s not fun anymore.”

kids in Acadia

You see, we’re watching closely. Making sure everyone is still having funand most importantly, making sure everyone is still friends. 

kids in Oregon

So for now, we’ll continue to visit new places.

kids on a train

Climb more mountains.

kids in yosimite

Swim in more streams.

creek in idaho

Watch more sunsets.

texas lookout

And we’ll do it together...

together, favorite place to be

...because that is our favorite place to be!

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/lake-mineral-wells-state-park Lake Mineral Wells State Park 2018-04-25T05:00:00+00:00 2018-04-27T20:00:23+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

When we left New Mexico, we headed straight for Texas and landed at Lake Mineral Wells State Park. What a place! We had our choice of campsites so we picked a nice spot down by the water and under some trees. It wasn’t until our trailer was covered with tiny worms that we realized that was kind of a mistake. 

Airstream at LMWSP Airstream at Lake Mineral Wells State Park

By covered I mean…maybe hundreds of tiny little baby inch worms falling from the trees. If you sat under the trees at the picnic table, you’d find them on you, but they were so tiny you couldn’t feel them. I envisioned them making homes in my hair and me never knowing! Shiver... Needless to say, we didn’t sit under the trees too much, but the view out our front door made up for it!

Our Campsite view at Lake Mineral Wells State Park

The kids loved looking for frogs in the lake and we were even treated to two owls calling one evening right in the trees by our home.

The main reason we came here was so we could meet up with William (the man who sold us our Airstream)

Every time we come through Texas we try to make it near Forth Worth so we can stop and say hi. We love that he still keeps in touch with us and even sends us text messages letting us know he’s thinking of us or that he likes the pictures and stories of our travels. He is seriously the sweetest guy! We treated him to his first meal at Chipotle and I think we’ve got him hooked on it! It was so great to catch up and see him again. 

While at this park, we were able to get several hikes in between rain showers.The views did not disappoint.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park View

Evidently this is a popular spot for rock climbers. We made our way down some of the paths to explore a bit but most of the week was heads down and getting caught up on work.

Kids at at rock climbing area at Lake Mineral Wells Lake Mineral Wells Tree Sunset

A lot of people look at our life and just assume we’re adventuring all day and while that sounds awesome, we have work and school and normal things to do, like laundry and cooking, just like everyone else. 

The week flew by and we headed out for a quick weekend stop at a Boondocker's Welcome location before heading south. So long Lake Mineral Wells!

Locations in this post

1

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

100 Park Rd 71
Mineral Wells, TX 76067

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/sad-but-thankful Sad But Thankful 2018-04-24T09:00:00+00:00 2018-04-24T14:30:35+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

We’ve been in Texas for awhile now. We left Carlsbad, NM nearly a month ago and have been sucked in by this big lone star state. It’s been a really crazy month for us. We’ve noticed a huge shift in these last few weeks. It’s kind of hard to explain. 

Since coming into Texas I’ve honestly been a pretty down in the dumps. I knew it was coming…our trip heading East for a few months. We had planned last fall to come to Indiana for a specific reason, but then those plans changed and we were left with having to decide if we stay West and explore the area that we love so much, or do we keep the original plan and head East to visit family and friends.

The truth is, there is something special about being out West that just makes us feel alive. The endless hiking opportunities, the dry heat, the dusty roads, the free camping. We’re missing it big time right now. 

Of course we are super excited to see family and friends - but honestly I feel like we’re more ourselves when on a back road in the middle of a dusty field surrounded by the mountains and creosote bushes, hiking among the towering sequoia and dodging the jumping cholla. 

The thought of leaving that is really bringing me down. Our food and campground budget is all out of whack due to the lack of free camping in central Texas and honestly, we’ve gotten lazy. There is no appeal to hiking in suburbia. There are so many people, so many houses, so many businesses and I just feel a little suffocated. 

If you’re on our email list, you may already know that we’re on our second week of not being in our Airstream which is just amplifying all the negative feelings. We’re jumping around from one AirBnB rental to the next and it’s exhausting. We’re currently in a HUGE house and I haven’t seen the kids yet today. They’re somewhere upstairs enjoying the space and the multiple TVs before our day gets started. Some would love that but not me. I miss our home. Our sweet, simple, tiny home. There’s something so special about being so close. Having everything you need inside a 28x8 foot trailer and surrounded by the ones you love so dearly. Fingers crossed we get our shiny home back this weekend.

I’m trying really hard to be thankful. To find joy and beauty where we are right now but it’s hard y’all. Traveling has, in a sense, ruined us. Being able to just hitch up our home and move when we don’t like an area has seriously ruined us

We are so used to the simplicity and freedom of our tiny shiny life that every facet of the suburbs grates on every last nerve we have. We miss being able to choose what climate we want to be in and what view we want out our front door. If it’s hot, we head to higher elevation. If we want to spend a week at the beach, no problem. If we want to hang our hammocks among the towering pines, let’s do that! But this being stuck in one busy, VERY BUSY, town has seriously taken a toll on my mental state. 

What do you do when you’re feeling so down about the situation you’re in? 

Today I’m listing things that I am thankful for! Light streaming through windows, quiet moments in this huge house, the smell of honeysuckle bushes near by, a truck that runs, healthy and happy kids, a husband who loves his family and works so hard to make this life possible, a washer and dryer on site, gas in the truck and food in the kitchen. There are so many things to be thankful for and listing just a few can have the power to change the course of the day.

So, while we’re still a little sad that we’re not out exploring Arizona, Utah and Colorado right now…we are looking forward to spending some much needed time with family and friends. Just 30ish more days until we’re parked in Knoxville and I’ve already got some hikes planned! Until then, we’ll keep our list of thankful for’s close by and remember that soon enough we’ll be back in our tiny home, heading west to explore all those canyons and mountain tops once again.

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/carlsbad-nm Carlsbad, NM 2018-04-03T05:00:00+00:00 2018-04-03T14:59:07+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

We weren’t super excited to be leaving that epic boondocking site at the base of the Organ Mountains, but it helped knowing that there will always be something beautiful about the next place we visit. Even if it happens to be in a dusty cow pasture!

We headed east towards Carlsbad, NM, and by the time we found a place to park, we were in the middle of a big wind storm and of course we picked the dustiest plot of land to camp on! The kids stayed in the truck until we had everything set up so they could make a run for it while I tried to hold the door open. That was a crazy set up, but we made it and settled in for the week.

Airstream boondocking in Carlsbad, NM

Camping in a cow pasture is nothing new for us, but these cows sure did like to be in the middle of the road which, at times, made getting out a little difficult. 

cows blocking the road

We didn’t plan on visiting the Carlsbad Caverns again since we went there 2 years ago, but the Jax and Ada didn’t remember much so we went back! The last time we were there the elevator wasn’t working so we hiked down, walked the caverns, and had to hike back up. If you’ve been to the caverns you know what a trek that is! This time, however, we took the lazy way and used the elevator down and back up! 

Carlsbad Caverns formations

These caverns never disappoint and if you’re in the area, you should absolutely make the trip there!

Big Room at Carlsbad

While in the area, we drove 30 minutes back down the road, just across the Texas border, to Guadalupe Mountains National Monument. How did we miss this last time we drove through? 

Hiking Guadalupe Mountains National Park

We were only able to visit here two times during the week. We liked the Devil's Hall trail. It took us up a wash and emptied into these natural steps.

Kids climbing natural staircase at Devil's Hall

Pretty sure Jonathan was humming the Indiana Jones theme song upon arrival. 

Natural Steps on the Devil's Hall Trail

There was a shallow pool of disgusting water at the top of these steps that was a breeding ground for flies. 

SO. MANY. FLIES.

If you could make it past them, you'd come to a nice sitting area where we enjoyed a snack and a nice view.

at the top of Devil's Hall trail

The Smith Springs trail wasn't as awesome. When the kids don't have rocks to climb over or slot canyons to go through, they just aren't super excited about it.

Smith Springs Trail at GMNP

 It was hot and humid and we just weren't feeling it. While the views were great, it was just a rather boring trail.

Smith's Springs Trail at GMNP

The kids finished their Junior Ranger booklets for GMNP and received their badge and a patch. Not may places give you both. Sweet!

Kids getting JR. ranger badges at Guadalupe

The highlight of our time in Carlsbad had to have been our visit to a little place called Sitting Bull Falls. Guys, it’s an hour’s drive into the middle of nowhere, but it’s so worth it. This place is literally an oasis in the middle of the desert. 

Sitting Bull Falls

As soon as you see the falls, you feel connected to the land in a weird way. Had I been the one to discover this place, I would have bought this land and told no one about it! It’s so beautiful.

Jett looking at waterfall

The falls empty into a perfect green emerald pool. There is so much life at the base of the falls. It’s so peaceful. You can even take your suits and swim but we didn’t.  All the kids wanted to go back, but we just didn’t have time that week. 

As always, the pictures just don't do this place justice. You'll have to see it for yourself. This is a must visit if you’re near Carlsbad!

The morning we were packing up to leave, we got a nice surprise. We woke up to lots of mooing and heard some yelling! We looked out the windows to see two cowboys rounding up all the cattle to take them to a new pasture. 

cow round up

It was so cool to see that and boy was it noisy. 

Time to pack it up and head to good ol’ Texas!

Locations in this post

1

Carlsbad, NM

Carlsbad, NM 88220

2

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Salt Flat, TX 79847

3

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
New Mexico 88220

4

Sitting Bull Falls

Sitting Bull Falls
New Mexico 88220

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/moment-lens-the-future-of-mobile-filmmaking Moment Lens & the Future of Mobile Filmmaking 2018-03-29T05:00:00+00:00 2018-05-10T16:39:42+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

If you've followed us for a while you may know that we do all our photography and video work straight on our iPhones. No big fancy DSLR's or compact mirrorless cameras here! We do, however have a few add-ons and our Moment Lenses are near and dear to our hearts.

Recently we entered their Short Film Competition and found that we really enjoyed making videos with our mobile phones, too! 

And that's why we're so excited that Moment just announced the Moment Lens Mobile Filmmaker Collection with 4 new products to take mobile filmmaking to the next level.

Moment Ks Igstory 14

Here's a quick rundown of what the products:

Anamorphic Lens - $149

A lens that makes your videos look wide screen With sweet flares and letterbox screen, this is the holy grail of video. If you want to get your Spielberg on, this is the cheapest way to do it.

iPhoneX Battery Photo Case - $99

The first photography battery case on the market for iPhone X. With wireless charging and an electronic shutter button it's easy to shoot video and recharge your phone.

Universal Gimbal - $40

To get butter smooth video on your phone, you need a gimbal. The first adjustable counterweight to balance your gear on a DJI Osmo, Zhiyun SmoothQ, and Evo Shift gimbals. Modular to 60g, 90g, or 120g.

Lens Filter Adapter - $40

The Moment Filter Mount lets you attach a standard 62mm filter to any of your Moment Lenses. Press fit the mount onto your lens, screw your filter on, and you’re ready to go.

Moment Ks Social 10

Look at that sweet setup!

We're most excited about the Anamorphic Lens, Universal Gimbal Counterweight and Lens Filter Adapter. The counterweight alone would have made filming way easier.

If you're serious about mobile video make sure to head over and order all the things!

Buy some sweet new Moment Gear

--

P.S. here's the short film we made:

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/whats-in-our-closet What's In Our Closet 2018-03-27T09:00:00+00:00 2018-05-10T16:32:41+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

So, we’ve shown you what’s in our living room and what’s in our kitchen, but now I'm about to show you something incredible.

It has taken us a full year to figure out clothes storage, and now that I’ve found a perfect solution, I want to tell everyone about it! What used to cause heart palpitations, now brings me so much joy I find myself opening the doors just to gaze upon its beauty. Let’s take a look at our closet!

When we left Indiana last year, we thought we had a pretty good solution for our clothes storage. Jonathan and I had our clothes in the bathroom closet while the kids all shared 2 drawers under Adali’s bed. But the drawers were stuffed. 

For the kids, there wasn’t much organization because space was so limited which caused them to quit trying to keep it neat. It was just a lost cause. Imagine tying to organize all your clothes into a shoe box…shared with another person. 

So, a transition occurred. Adali and Jett moved their clothes into the bathroom closet, along with mine and Jonathan’s, giving Ada and Jax their own drawers. That worked for awhile, but I only had containers for my clothes and Jonathan’s clothes in the closet, which left Adali and Jett trying to organize all their stuff on a shelf. Let’s just say, IT WAS A HOT MESS!

I wish I could say that it was their clothes that were the problem, but that would be a lie. I had a bad habit of just throwing my clothes in the box and not taking the time to organize it and keep it neat. It looked like a tornado blew through and I knew there had to be a better way.  

That’s when I remembered some traveling friends talking about these things called packing cubes.

Have you heard of them? If not...I'm about to change your world! 

At first, I dismissed the idea of these cubes because the people using them were preparing for a trip which involved them living out of their backpacks. It made sense to me to use them while traveling, but wait. Aren’t we kind of doing the same thing? 

I started researching packing cubes which lead me to eBags! Woah! SO MANY OPTIONS! So many styles and sizes and colors! It was a bit overwhelming trying to figure out the best option, so I took measurements of our closet.

I decided that the best solution, for what we currently have, would be for all of us to have a set of 3 medium size packing cubes. This would allow for the cubes (once packed) to be able to stand upright, thus taking up way less room. I think we may be on to something here!

When we got them in the mail everyone was so excited. The kids each picked a color and before I could even get pictures of how it used to look, the kids had already pulled all their clothes out and were in the middle of the ultimate organization party! 

I was able to grab a quick shot of our shelves before I started organizing our clothes though! 

closet before

Please, no judgment! What an embarrassing mess!

My main goal for this project was to be able to have EVERYONE’S clothes in the closet. That’s where we all get dressed anyway, it just makes sense! Plus, if we could pull it off, we’d have two empty drawers that the kids could use for whatever they want! Let’s take a look at what we ended up with!!

Airstream Closet Family of 6

Can you believe this?? 

I had an entire extra shelf so I was able to declutter the storage under the bathroom sink and put our cleaning supplies in this cabinet as well!

I'm sure you're wondering what's in the bags so let's break this down a bit! 

The top shelf in the closet has our (Jonathan & Ashley's) winter clothes which just consists of a few long sleeve shirts and some jeans.

Airstream Closet Top Shelf

We store them at the top because we hardly ever use these clothes and it’s the smallest shelf in here due to the curve of the wall.

The next shelf is Jonathan’s clothes, his 'extra bin', our toiletry bin (face wash, etc), my clothes, and my 'extra bin.'

We each have our shirts in one packing cube and shorts (pants for me) and unders in the other.  

Jon's Packing Cubes from eBags Ashley's eBags Packing Cubes

The 'extra bin' is used for our pajamas and other fun things that won’t be mentioned on the blog ;)

The next shelf is our extra towels and wash cloths in one basket, toilet paper in the middle, and in the next basket is all of our cleaning supplies. Oh, can't forget those Epic Wipes! If you haven't tried them (and you love boondocking as much as we do), you've got to get some! It's like a shower in a bag! 

Airstream Closet Packing Cubes

That’s the boring shelf, though. 

Next one down is the kids clothes!

Adali and Jett were able to fit all of their clothes into two packing cubes just like Jonathan and I. Adali split her's up like we did. 

Adali's packing cubes

Jett put all his cold weather clothes into one cube and all his clothes that he currently wears now into another. So, basically, he just uses one cube.

Jett's eBags Packing Cubes

Jax and Ada only require one packing cube each.

Ada and Jax's eBags Packing Cubes

Their clothes are still so tiny!

As for that bucket on their shelf, that’s where the socks live! If you were counting, that left us with SIX extra packing cubes. 

Since we are entering spring and currently in the middle of Texas, we put up our winter jackets into 2 cubes which are located on the shelf behind the kid's clothes. We also were able to combine all of swimwear into one of the extra cubes.

Two cubes we used to store the kids’ extra lightweight blankets (for now) and the last extra packing cube has extra pillow cases and yarn which will likely change when we reassess what we bring with us on the next leg of our journey. 

Oh, I almost forgot. If you’ve read our blog for awhile, you may know that when we started out we each had one pair of socks. The goal was to wash them after our hikes and hang them to dry so they’d be ready the next time we need them. Turns out, we’re hiking A LOT more these days and the kids kept loosing their socks. 

I was so tired of hearing 'I can’t find my other sock' and the emotions that came along with hunting for it, so I caved. We now have WAY TOO MANY SOCKS! It’s kind of annoying how many socks we have and wouldn’t you know...just last week I heard the same cry. 'I can’t find any socks!' Well, last I counted I put TWENTY-SIX pairs of socks in that bucket so don’t tell me you have no socks!

Ha! Seriously though...anyone else’s kids constantly loosing socks? Don’t get me started about the matching issue either! I gave up on that a long time ago! If they fit, wear them. I don’t care if one is green and one is pink, put ‘em on!

So there you have it! Our clothes are organized and they all fit on two shelves in our closet! I can’t even begin to tell you how great these packing cubes are. Plus, if this size wouldn't work for you, you're in luck because they have so many options!

Just a few days ago we stopped at the laundromat (with our house in tow) and we took our cubes in, packed them with our clean clothes, and put them right back on the shelf where they go! 

eBags Packing Cubes at Laundromat

The kids are super excited about how easy it is and I’m super excited about taking up way less space and being organized! 

But now I'm curious. 

  • Could all of your clothes fit in two packing cubes?
  • How do you organize your family's clothes?
  • Would packing cubes make your life easier?

Let me know in the comments below.

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https://tinyshinyhome.com/las-cruces-nm Las Cruces, NM 2018-03-24T05:00:00+00:00 2018-03-24T14:40:06+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Oh, Las Cruces. Last time we were here, we were celebrating our 2nd nomadiversary. This time, we were celebrating one year in our Airstream! But let’s be honest...we came here for the hiking and the views.

After we left Oliver Lee Memorial State Park while visiting White Sands, we headed down to Las Cruces. We found a sweet new boondocking spot since the place we stayed last time was OVERRUN with rigs. Seriously, there were so many people there! 

For the first few days, we were able to squeeze into a tiny site at the base of the Organ Mountains. 

Las Cruces, NM Boondocking

There was another site up the road that we later moved to once the other campers left. It doesn’t get much better than this. Just look at that view!

Las Cruces, NM Boondocking in Airstream

We stayed in this area for 10 days! There is so much hiking here plus you’re close to sushi town which makes things a bit easier. 

We hiked at the nearby Dripping Springs National Area one of our last few days there. 

Hiking at Dripping Springs Natural Area

We took the Fillmore Canyon trail that takes you to a little dried up water fall. There was enough water for the kids to play around catching water striders and beetles for quite a while before they (and Jonathan) climbed to the top of the falls. 

Fillmore Canyon Hike

I have a thing about heights and being near edges of cliffs so I stayed behind and tried not to watch. 

Our favorite hike in the area (this time around) was Shelter Cave. While we didn’t make it all the way to the cave, we were able to see it. Poor Ada got a nasty spine in her foot and we didn’t have any tweezers in our backpack (We do now, though). We got side-tracked when we found some awesome boulders to climb on.

Shelter Cave Hike in Las Cruces

It was such a cool area but I could not figure out where the heck we were!

Shelter Cave Hike

We kept going around the base of small mountains, one after the other, and I lost all frame of reference. Next time we go back, we have to make sure we have more time to explore that trail!

We drove around the mountains to Aguirre Springs and hiked the Pine Loop Trail.

pine loop trail at Aguirre Springs

The views up were amazing and guys….WE SAW GRASS! I can’t remember the last time we saw grass! The scenery is completely different on this side of the mountain.

Pine Loop Trail at Aguirre Springs

We debated camping here but with it being so far away from town, having to pay (though very cheap), and having a curfew (they close the gates at 8pm) we opted to stay right where we were. 

We really enjoyed this boondocking site.

Best Boondocking in Las Cruces, NM

It was not the easiest to get to though. We had to get creative in order to get up here. Lot’s of maneuvering rocks and leveling blocks just to make it up the washed out road. 

rock stacking to get out of site

We have been debating getting a 3 inch lift on the Airstream this summer and I think this spot really solidified our decision. 

Being so close to town, we may have indulged on sushi more than once. Is it weird that I often remember places based on the local food? What’s that say about me? Ha! But seriously, if you like sushi, visit Sakura.

Las Cruses is one of our favorite locations when we want to be close to a town, but far enough to feel like we’re alone in the wilderness. 

Airstream and the Organ Mountains

Add in the ease of finding really great (and close by) hikes! SOLD! Would we live here? Probably not, but we do LOVE to visit. 

As I mentioned before, while we were here, we celebrated our first year of being in the Airstream.

one year celebration in Airstream

I can’t believe it’s already been a year. Sometimes it feels like it’s all new, and sometimes it feels like we’ve been in here all along. One thing is certain, this is our home, and WE LOVE IT. I even wrote a little tribute to our first year in here!

Time to head east! Guys... soon we're heading to central Texas and I had to...(gasp)...make RESERVATIONS! I'm really going to miss boondocking but we have some pretty great state parks lined up which means bath houses...which means...frequent showers!!! Plus, free camping on the coast after the state parks so, win/win!

See you on the road!

Locations in this post

1

Las Cruces, NM

Las Cruces, NM

2

Dripping Springs Natural Area

Dripping Springs Natural Area
15000 Dripping Springs Rd
Las Cruces, NM 88011

3

Sakura

3961 E Lohman Ave
Las Cruces, NM 88011

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