Tiny Shiny Home Blog 2018-08-19T13:53:19+00:00 https://tinyshinyhome.com/feed Tiny Shiny Home hello@tinyshinyhome.com https://tinyshinyhome.com/visiting-knoxville-2018 Visiting Knoxville 2018 2018-08-09T05:00:00+00:00 2018-08-09T15:18:31+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

We were having fun in Panama City, but we were missing family and struggling with just packing up and going to Knoxville early.

Finally the time came to leave PCB and head north. Since it was an 8 hour drive, we ended up overnighting half way. It just so happens that someone Jonathan had been talking to recently invited us to stay on their property at the half way point! Free location to stay plus meeting new friends - of course we said yes!

We pulled into some of the most beautiful property we’ve ever seen.

Airstream in GA with friends

We got set up for the night and they invited us in for dinner with their family. They're renovating an older Airstream, have 4 beautiful girls, and are getting ready to hit the road full-time! Such a small world! You can follow their journey at @oliveramerica.

Airstream at in GA

We were able to share stories about renovation woes, life on the road, and give what I hope was helpful advice for a family to start traveling full time.

They got to tour our Airstream and we got to see theirs! The kids had a blast on the trampoline and we went to bed with happy hearts, despite the insane humidity!

We got up bright and early to hookup and head to Knoxville. We couldn’t get there fast enough!

Everyone was amped and ready to see Mimi and Papa who we had not seen in 14 months! That’s the longest stint yet! We pulled onto their street and the seatbelts flew off ready to jump out as soon as the truck stopped! It was a crying hug fest of happy tears and joyful hearts as grandkids reunited with the grandparents! It made my heart so happy!

Jonathan’s dad had the driveway cleared and ready for us, and even trimmed up the trees so we could park right in front of their house.

Airstream parked at Jonathan's family's house

We stayed 4 weeks because that’s the earliest I could get our kids dentist appointments arranged.

Our plans while there were dentist appointments for everyone, eye doctor for me (cause I’m old), and clean out the Airstream and simplify our stuff.

When we got there, it was all I could do to not start cleaning the Airstream right away. I made it 24 hours before the insanity began! I cleaned EVERYTHING. Like, drawers out, vacuum every inch, dust every nook and cranny, empty all cabinets and decide what stays and what goes!

I got everything inside done in just 2 days so we started on the truck! It was a huge mess! We had just given up for the last month at trying to keep anything organized and clean…

Since we bought this new truck in December last year, it had a little more room than our last truck. Which means things get shuffled around more when we’re driving. We ended up going through everything. We got rid of tools we didn’t need and reorganized into a smaller tool bag, similar to this one, because Jonathan hated the one we used to have. I’ll agree though, the new one is much easier to find what you’re looking for. So many pockets and pouches and a much smaller footprint.

We sold a lot of our backpacking gear and stored our tents because we’re finding out that we’re just not tent people. We tried to be, but we’re just not. Not now, at least. Maybe one day…

Getting rid of the huge box of camping gear really freed up a lot of space in the truck so we were able to bring our inflatable kayak with us! I’m so excited to have that back!

Oh, and in between all of this, I found time to go paint my brother and sister-in-law's baby GIRL'S room. (3 boys, first girl) They wanted this tree as a focal point so I was happy to get to paint something again!

baby girl nursery tree

After we had been in Knoxville for awhile, Jonathan shocked me when he proposed the idea of us flying to Arizona for a few days. We have been thinking about purchasing some property to put a tiny house on to use as an AirBnB and I’ve done a lot of research about the area. But it was a total shock when he was serious about going to go look. I jumped at the chance! We found a cute little cabin to rent and we few over to Phoenix where we rented the tiniest car and drove up to Flagstaff/Williams area to begin looking at property.

scouting land in williams, az

We found a few possibilities and are excited to go back this fall with the kids to see if it will work out or not. Either way, it was a fun and spontaneous getaway that we really needed.

The two older kids and I did have one final adventure before we left Knoxville. We went on a cave tour! But not just any cave tour. This one we had to ride a boat to, crawl through 2 tiny doors, then wade through 4 very cold pools of water, chest deep.

Cave tour at Norris Lake Cave tour at Norris Lake - Norris Dam

It was so fun, and I hate being in cold water.

Cave tour at Norris Lake Cave tour at Norris Lake

There were some points when the water was so high that Jett couldn’t reach and he had to hold onto my back as I carried him through.

Img 2444

It was the most fun we’ve ever had on a cave tour. There’s a few pictures but it was so dark in there. If you end up near Norris Dam, check to see if the Hill Cave Tour is running, and if it is, you have to go! You’ll have so much fun.

We throughly enjoyed our time spent with family and friends in Knoxville, but then it came time to say our, “see-you-later’s” and it was hard.

Family Fun 2

Although I have to admit, it was much better than the last time we left Knoxville. It helped for the kids to know that we had to come back in a couple weeks for another dentist procedure and we’d see Mimi and Papa again real soon.

But for now, peace out, Ktown!

ada in peace shirt

Locations in this post


Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, TN


Norris Dam State Park

Village Green Cir
Rocky Top, TN 37769


Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff, AZ




Norris Dam State Park

Norris Dam State Park
125 Village Green Cir
Rocky Top, TN 37769

https://tinyshinyhome.com/kick-awesome-mobile-photography-guide Kick Awesome Mobile Photography Guide 2018-08-08T20:42:00+00:00 2018-08-08T20:59:31+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Hi friends, we decided to make a mobile photography guide just for you!

True story - we never set out to be photographers. We just wanted to document our journey to explore the US in an RV with our family. But after 3+ years of traveling, exploring and snapping thousands of pictures we noticed they started to get pretty good! So good that our Instagram account exploded from a few thousand to over 10k within the last year.

We believe that growth is a direct result of taking and sharing better pictures. Simple, right?

You don’t need a massive, expensive camera and lens to get great pictures. You don’t need the most complicated editing software.

In fact, nearly all of our images are shot with the default camera app, edited in Instagram, and posted directly from our phones.

Our goal with this quick guide is to help you take better “in the moment” pictures with the camera you already have in your pocket, simplify your editing/posting, and grow your following.

If you’re nodding your head then fill out the form below and get the guide right now!

https://tinyshinyhome.com/visit-wisconsin-shirt Visit Wisconsin Shirt 2018-07-26T05:00:00+00:00 2018-08-07T16:34:22+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Hey friends!

Have I every told you how much we enjoy each and every comment we get on our blog and social media channels? We love getting to share our adventures with you and when you communicate with us, real friendships can occur and that is really pretty amazing to us!

I want to tell you a little story of what happened when we got to Wisconsin.

We were in need of some groceries so I went to pick up a few essentials. But there it was...beckoning me with it's enticing curves...piles of cheese curds!

I was so freaking excited that when I got home I couldn't wait to tell everyone I found cheese curds! Only, in all my excitement, they thought I said cheese turds!

We couldn't stop laughing and I said, we have to make a shirt about cheese turds! We each got to drawing and came up with this design.

Wisconsin Cheese Curd Shirt

Each of us drew our very own cheese curd and Jonathan was able to turn it into the magic before your eyes! How great is it to create something with your kids? I love that each of their curds have a little bit of their personality to them. Can you guess who's curd is who's?

We want to see you out exploring so if you buy one of our cheese curd shirts, be sure to visit Wisconsin and snap a photo in the shirt! Use the hashtag #tinyshinystateshirt and we'll feature you on our Instagram Stories!

These shirts are only available for a limited time and will be no longer be available after August 10th. Order yours now by clicking here.

Thanks for your support friends! Keep on exploring...

https://tinyshinyhome.com/panama-city-beach-the-warehome Panama City Beach & The Warehome 2018-07-24T05:00:00+00:00 2018-08-07T16:14:45+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

After a fantastic week in Pensacola, we continued down the coast visiting Grayton Beach State Park for a couple nights on our way to Panama City. This was our first time here and the beaches were just as pristine as the pictures showed. Powdery white squeaky sand, sparkling blue water, and views that make you want to stay forever.

Grayton State Park

I know we were lucky to even get these two nights, and on a weekend no less! We loved this area, but if you’re wanting to visit Grayton Beach State Park you’ll likely need to make reservations way in advance! (As with most Florida State Parks) Check out our campsite, though! Can you even see us back there?

Airstream at Grayton Beach State Park

We'll have to come back here and explore the area more, but for now...time to get back on the road.

We headed on down to St. Andrews State Park which is our favorite place to stay when visiting the Panama City area. It may be our favorite solely because it’s close proximity to Finn’s, which is THE BEST FOOD JOINT IN PCB.

Jax at Finn's

Seriously, we have a slight obsession with this place. I could eat there 3 times a day for a week and never tire of their fish tacos or ceviche! GET. IN. MY. BELLY.

I made my best attempt to convince Jonathan to forgo our grocery budget and just eat at Finns, for the week…but after our second $60 bill we quickly changed our minds…

We set up in a great site which was far enough away from the bath house that we easily got our miles in for the week!

Campsite at St Andrews State Park

Even with a couple rainy days, we were still able to have such a great time in PCB!

Rain at St Andrews

Having all these windows in the Airstream makes me so happy, even when its pouring we still have a great view here in the lagoon!

Aside from the amazing beaches, the real reason we came back to Panama City Beach was to see our good friends, the Branch's. They just recently converted an old warehouse into the most amazing Warehome and you can watch the whole process here! It is incredible!

We enjoyed pizzas baked in their outdoor pizza oven and toured their beautiful home. Of course there’s no pictures because we were just too busy hanging out and enjoying our time together. Thanks for having us over Allan and Anna!

We also met up with some new friends who hooked us up with a great deal renting a double decker pontoon boat from Lagoon Pontoons. (thank you, Melissa!)

Lagoon Pontoon Rental in PCB

Why have we never done this before?

We drove out to Shell Island where we anchored and explored in search of the most perfect shells.

Lagoon Pontoon Rental in PCB

The best part of the day was just swimming around our boat,

Lagoon Pontoon Rental in PCB Lagoon Pontoon Rental in PCB

finding some pretty cool creatures in the shallow waters,

shell island finds shell island finds shell island finds

sliding down the water slides,

Lagoon Pontoon Rental in PCB

and stuffing our faces with essential boat food!

Lagoon Pontoon Rental in PCB

We had the best day and would highly suggest renting a pontoon from Lagoon Pontoon. Splurge on the double decker with the 2 slides! It's worth it! We will defiantly be doing this again next time we visit PCB!

Now, let's get to Knoxville!

Locations in this post


Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park
357 Main Park Rd
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459


St. Andrews State Park

St. Andrews State Park
4607 State Park Ln
Panama City Beach, FL 32408


Lagoon Pontoon

5201 N Lagoon Dr Suite 1
Panama City, FL 32408


Finn's Grub

7210 Thomas Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

https://tinyshinyhome.com/adalis-top-5-fiction-book-picks-for-2018 Adali's Top 5 Fiction Book Picks for 2018 2018-07-19T05:00:00+00:00 2018-08-07T16:34:53+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Our oldest daughter Adali has become a book reading machine in the last several years. She keeps a list of all the books she's read. She reads them so fast we can't even keep up with what book she's got open. It's awesome!

When I asked her to come up with this list, I didn't even recognize half of them. She's like a stealthy ninja reader!

Anyhow - I thought it would be cool to let her share her favorite books she's read so far this year, complete with her own reasons why she liked them. You won't find the obvious ones like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia. But hopefully you'll find some great books you've never heard of for your pre-teen.

If you follow the affiliate links below and buy your own copies, she'll get some money to buy even more books!

It's like the "ciiiircle of booooks!"

Enough of my 90's Disney references. Let's start reading!

The Wild Robot

The Wild Robot

Adali Says: "I think this is a cool book because it's so different than anything I’ve read before. A robot on an island? I wish I had come up with that. There’s a second book that I just found out about recently: the wild robot escapes. I was so excited I got as soon as I could and read it in a couple of days!"

Buy The Wild Robot on Amazon



Adali Says: "Pax is a fox that was found by a family. But the father wasn’t very nice and made them leave Pax on the side of a road. Because he was raised by humans, the story focuses on how he learns to survive after being raised by humans. It’s got a few parts that are sad, but it’s a neat story."

Buy Pax on Amazon

The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds

Adali Says: "This series is about an island. Half of it is gray and cold. No creativity is allowed. The other half is a secret - it's bright and magical and where you go to learn creativity. It gets pretty crazy pretty fast. I have one book left and Jett has a few too, we both like them."

Buy The Unwanteds on Amazon

The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish

Adali Says: "This has lots of interesting facts I didn’t know (did you know there’s a jellyfish that can’t die?). It’s a little sad, but I think it was really cool. You kind of just have to read it, it’s hard to explain without giving away anything."

Buy The Thing About Jellyfish on Amazon

Island Of The Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Adali Says: "This is about a tribe of people living on an island, but it’s cool to learn how they survive, what they eat, and how they make tools. It’s crazy how much stuff we have compared to what we actually need."

Buy Island of the Blue Dolphins on Amazon

https://tinyshinyhome.com/pensacola-florida-the-blue-angels Pensacola Florida & The Blue Angels 2018-07-18T05:00:00+00:00 2018-08-07T16:35:00+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Hey, hey, hey Florida! It’s been awhile since we were here in the great Sunshine State - and one step outside makes me remember why that is! Sweet Baby Jesus, it’s stupid humid here. Can we go back to the desert yet?

This was our first visit to Pensacola, and I didn’t really even know what to expect. I made reservations (it’s been so long since we had to make reservation, friends) at Big Lagoon State Park and we were pleasantly surprised. The sites actually felt a bit secluded!

Campsite at Big Lagoon State Park

We got set up in our little site and headed straight to the water! It was perfect timing too, as the sun was just beginning to set adding a beautiful reflection to the water. We braved the biting bugs in search of cute sea snails and hermit crabs.

Beach at Big Lagoon State Park

They have several beatiful hiking trails that go from the campground to the coast. Makes for some pretty pictures at sunset!

Big Lagoon State Park Trails

It was an added bonus to watch the little alligators swimming around!

Big Lagoon State Park Trails

While at the park for the week, we rented a double kayak and a stand up paddle board for a few hours one morning.

Big Lagoon State Park Kayak Rentals

We have never been on a paddle board, and it’s pretty safe to say we need more practice!

I may have had to rescue *someone* who fell in the water. It didn't help that our first time on a paddle board was in 'possible' alligator infested waters. Did you see the sign?? Perhaps we’ll try it again where there's no change of us getting our limbs chewed off.

Big Lagoon State Park Paddleboard Rentals

We all loved our time on the kayak though.

Big Lagoon State Park Kayak Rentals

Such a beautiful place to paddle around. It really makes us miss our Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak. Perhaps we get that back when we visit in Knoxville…

If you’re near Pensacola, you HAVE to go to the National Naval Aviation Museum. It’s FREE!!

National Naval Aviation Museum

And it’s incredible. Probably the most fun we’ve ever had at a museum. You could easily spend an entire day, but the real reason we made the drive there was to watch the Blue Angels practice.

Blue Angels Practice


I can’t even tell you how cool it was. I literally couldn’t stop crying. It was the coolest experience to see these planes flying at 700-800 MPH and just 18 inches from each other at times. And of course I couldn't get any good pictures, but you need to see it for yourself anyway.

blue angels

Just incredible.

I would drive out of my way just to go see them again. Seriously, put it on your bucket list to see the Blue Angels!

One of our last evenings, we drove over to Orange Beach, AL just for something to do. Then we saw this Ferris wheel and HAD to do it.

orange beach Ferris wheel

We don’t usually indulge on all these ‘touristy’ things, but sometimes it’s fun to splurge a little.

Plus, we got to check out our next adventure rig…

orange beach pier

Just kidding. The kids’ don’t want to live on a boat…

One last walk down to the overlook and the sky decided to put on one heck of a show!

Big Lagoon State Park Lookout at Sunset

And of course when we try to take a picture we're forever being photobombed.

Pensacola Photo Bomb

It's a good thing she's cute :)

Thanks Pensacola, it's been real.

Locations in this post


Big Lagoon State Park

Big Lagoon State Park
12301 Gulf Beach Hwy
Pensacola, FL 32507


National Naval Aviation Museum

1750 Radford Blvd
FL 32508


Orange Beach

Orange Beach, AL

https://tinyshinyhome.com/mothers-day-in-mobile Mother's Day in Mobile 2018-07-17T07:00:00+00:00 2018-08-07T16:35:07+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

After leaving Galveston Island, we headed towards Mobile. With a quick overnight stop at Walmart, we finally made it to Meaher State Park, for the 3rd time in 3 years.

We just needed one night with hookups (hello humidity)! Jonathan actually surprised me by running to the local Fresh Market and grabbing some flowers AND desert! Thanks, babe!

strawberry cake Mother's Day Flowers

I don't think there can ever be too many strawberries, do you?

I woke up early on Sunday (Mother’s Day) and went out to the dock to combat waking up in a bad mood. It’s amazing what just a few minutes of time to yourself can do for your soul. Lots of deep breaths and positive affirmation and I was ready to head back inside…

And that’s when my kids made me cry on Mother’s Day. Grab some tissues!

The sweetest notes and hugs and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to hold it together much longer…quick, we have to do something else!

So we packed up and headed to Pensacola Florida.

Locations in this post


Meaher State Park

Meaher State Park
5200 Battleship Pkwy
Spanish Fort, AL 36527

https://tinyshinyhome.com/visiting-galveston-island-state-park-again Visiting Galveston Island State Park, Again 2018-07-17T05:00:00+00:00 2018-08-07T16:35:13+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

My oh my friends. We have so much to catch up on.

When we left Padre Island after picking up our polished Airstream, we drove to Galveston Island. This is our 2nd visit here, but first with the Airstream. Last time we came we were lucky enough to have my sister and her 3 boys come stay with us in our bit 5th wheel. That was so fun.

This time however, we hunkered down most days and caught up on work and life. We set up in a great site with the sun setting each evening right behind our rig.

Sun goes down behind Airstream and Truck Galveston Sunset

We spent a few days on the beach playing and relaxing in the sun.

Jax making a sand castle on the beach. Tiny Shiny Home written in the sand

And a lot of time in the covered common area near our campsite drawing, talking, and listening to music.

kids in picnic overhang playing

One evening another Airstream pulled into camp just a few sites down from us. They came over and started talking to us and found out we travel full-time with our kids and they were so excited and said, “Do you follow tiny Shiny Home?”

Haha! I looked at Jonathan and we said, “We are Tiny Shiny Home!”

We all got a good laugh out of it. She hadn’t put it all together that all the kids were ours. Ha! Fun times.

Our good friends @upintherooftop were nearby and made the drive to spend an evening with us. We hung out on the beach and invaded the local Jimmy John’s with all 8 of our kids! It was so fun. We love spending time with the Fords! Good, good people.

And we love Galveston Island State Park. I even love that you have to walk .2 miles each way to the bathhouse! We got our miles in that week, no problem! (For those of you who don’t know, we’re doing a 365 mile challenge this year, but we'll talk more about that later.)

We ended the week with a homemade Chocolate Meringue pie and some recreations of past pictures from this state park!

Chocolate Pie with Meringue Family crossing bridge at Galveston Four children overlooking pond. Kids overlooking pond

Stop growing kids!!

Kids at Galveston Island Sign Kids at Galveston Island Sign Older

And of course we had to visit the overlook at sunset.

Family hikes to overlook at sunset Family waving from overlook at sunset

It was really a fantastic week. A much needed fun week after the Padre Island fiasco.

Time to continue eastward!

A perfect week mixed with relaxation and getting back to our routine. And now, we continue eastward.

Happy Travels!

Airstream near cost at Galveston framed by circle

Locations in this post


Galveston Island State Park

14901 Farm to Market 3005
Galveston, TX 77554

https://tinyshinyhome.com/polishing-our-vintage-airstream-in-austin-tx Polishing our Vintage Airstream in Austin, TX 2018-06-26T05:00:00+00:00 2018-08-07T16:35:24+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

When we were spending the week at McKinney Falls State Park, we made a big decision. Ever since we bought this Airstream we had thrown around the idea of getting it polished to a mirror finish, but every time we would just say, ‘maybe someday’ because it’s a huge commitment. It costs a ton of money to have done, or you spend around 200 -400 hours doing it yourself.

It’s never been a very high priority for us. Our rig is in really good shape for being 46 years old! But then again, we are Tiny Shiny Home…so why not make it truly shine?

Everything lined up perfectly (well…almost everything) – we felt like it was meant to be. It just happened to be the week our CPA was able to tell us if we’d have a tax return, and we happened to be 30 minutes from a guy who polishes Airstreams, and we happened to be getting back the amount it would cost to have the Airstream polished plus a little extra that would help cover housing during the 2 weeks we were homeless.

Yes, you read that right. TWO WEEKS of being homeless. It’s less than ideal, but we thought it would be worth it. However, finding affordable housing near Austin was a logistical nightmare. That town is so expensive!

A fellow Airstreamer was able to hook us up with our first two nights in a hotel downtown Austin at a discounted rate! Huge thank you to @all.ways.home for helping us out there.

We spent the next 2 weeks jumping around different AirBnB’s and going broke cause Austin is just crazy expensive. However, I will say that the moving around was a lot smoother since all of our clothes are packed in our eBags Packing Cubes! Seriously, how cool is it to just grab one or two packing cubes and have your entire wardrobe with you at all times! Pretty sweet! (If you missed our closet/clothes/eBags post, check it out here!)

Ada Showing Off eBags Packing Cubes

We went to check on the polishing process fairly often just to see what all it entailed. I’m sure this is a job that we could have done ourselves, but we just didn’t want to spend the time doing it.

It was neat to see the progress, though.

He first taped off anything that would get ruined by the stripper.

Airstream Tail Lights Taped Off

Older Airstreams have a clear coat that can be removed by using Citrus Strip or other similar products.

After the clear coat is carelfully removed, it gets rinsed off and the polishing process begins. There are several types of polish out there to choose from and most are a 3 step process.

Even after the first pass we could see how amazing this was going to turn out. That’s when we got really excited.

Polishing wheel in front of Airstream with a portion polished

We went back several times to watch the magic unfold and it just got better and better each time we visited.

Ada With Airstream Getting Polished Back Side Airstream First Pass

It did end up taking just over 2 weeks to finish and we were so happy with the results. We do feel like there were a few spots that needed some more attention, but we were in a rush to get moving again and it's something that we can touch up later. Overall, we were very happy with the work that Mirror Metal Polishing did for us.

Now, with that being said, let me be the first to tell you...


We picked our Airstream up and drove straight to South Padre Island and that was a HUGE mistake. Our nice shiny Airstream was almost immediately messed up. We were only able to take a few pictures before things went downhill.

Polished Airstream on Beach

Take note of the shiny propane tanks because they don't look like that anymore... (crying)

Shiny Tanks On Beach

We had planned to camp on the beach for an entire week, but we left in less than 24 hours! Our once perfectly shiny aluminum tanks are now so cloudy. Our rig was blasted by the blowing sand and the amount of salt water in the air. Super bummer :(

We ended up camping further away from the beach for the remainder of the week and drove into town to get the Airstream rinsed off. Only we couldn’t get the top and that’s where sand had collected below the solar panels and around the AC unit. Since we had no way to get the top cleaned off, the sand and condensation kept running down the sides of the rig all week, even staining some areas.

Thankfully, when we left we ended up at a State Park that let us spray off the top of the Airstream.

Washing Airstream and Getting Sand Off Top

There was SO MUCH SAND up there guys. Once we were able to remove it all, we ended up ‘washing’ it with a vinegar and water solution that helped a lot. There's definitely a film of water spots all over the whole rig now, though. We joke now that we once had a shiny Airstream...for FOUR hours! Can you see the difference?

Airstream at campsite after getting washed.

If we could go back in time, I'm not sure we would polish it again. Yes, it still looks shiny, but it's so fragile even a microfiber cloth can scratch the aluminum if you rub too hard. And the water marks alone are driving us crazy. We're still doing some research on the best way to avoid and remove those.

Not to mention the little finger prints all over the door!! Even if they are cute :).

So, if you're thinking of polishing your vintage Airstream, talk to several people who have polished them to see if it's a good fit for you!

All that being said - dang it she looks good in pictures!

Ok, maybe it was worth it.

Airstream near cost at Galveston framed by circle Airstream Reflection Rain

On the bright side, we were still close enough to visit Padre Island and finish our Junior Ranger booklets to earn another badge!

Pi Badge Ada At Padre Island Getting Badge

So what about you, are you team shiny or team less maintenance?

Happy Camping, Folks!

https://tinyshinyhome.com/check-out-jonathan-on-the-devmode-fm-podcast Check out Jonathan on the Devmode.fm Podcast! 2018-06-25T05:00:00+00:00 2018-06-25T21:23:43+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Have a spare hour and love to listen to podcasts?

I was honored to be on the latest episode of devMode.fm - a podcast dedicated to modern web development.

In case you didn't know, I run a web design and development shop by day (FortySeven Media) to fund all our crazy adventures.

Now don't let all this talk of web work scare you off if you're not into that. Most of the episode centers around the logistics of working remotely, the reasons why we started to travel, and how to balance it all. If you have any interest in traveling and working remotely this episode's for you!

Listen to the Episode

https://tinyshinyhome.com/whats-in-our-kids-room What's In Our Kids' Room 2018-06-18T05:00:00+00:00 2018-08-07T16:35:47+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!

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 2018-08-06T15:14:49+00:00 Jonathan Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
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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/
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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 2018-06-25T22:31:49+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.

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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!