Tiny Shiny Home Blog 2018-10-17T03:20:16+00:00 https://tinyshinyhome.com/feed Tiny Shiny Home hello@tinyshinyhome.com https://tinyshinyhome.com/5-ways-to-reduce-stress-while-traveling-full-time 5 Ways to Reduce Stress While Traveling Full-Time 2018-10-16T05:00:00+00:00 2018-10-16T17:38:31+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

For some reason, people just assume that because we travel full-time that we must live a stress free life. Umm, no. I’m pretty sure that everyone, at one point in time, will experience stressful situations. It’s human, it’s normal, and we’ve got to find a healthy way to deal with it. Here are a few of our favorite ways to relieve stress while traveling full-time.

Get Moving.

Hiking in Ajo

I know, I know. When you’re stressed out or feeling down, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed, get dressed, and go outside. But it really helps! Even if you can’t go on a long walk, just get out side, breath that fresh air, stretch and move! Your body needs it, your mind needs it!

Get Some Alone Time.

Alone time while Traveling

For me, this one is kind of hard. I have serious mom guilt when I get alone time…it’s hard for me to even ask! And then when I am alone I just feel guilty for leaving (or for making them leave). But, we all need some time alone. We try to have one day a week where we get to go out by ourselves. We’ll go work at a coffee shop or library for a few hours and sometimes we’ll even splurge and, gasp...go to a movie. We always feel much better when we have some time alone. Heck, even just to go grab a quick meal alone is a treat. Sometimes it’s so nice to eat your sushi in peace and sneak a MexiCoke! Yum…is it my day for alone time?

Get Close.

Get close - Ways to Reduce Stress

Okay, you know what I mean (wink). Seriously, I’m convinced that a lot of stress can be reduced with some proper time in the bedroom…or in the truckor outside. You get my drift! ;) Grab your significant other and make time for each other. Turn off Netflix and just chill…

Clear the Clutter.

Airstream Kitchen Decor

If you walk into your home and automatically feel stressed about how it looks, it's time to declutter and get organized! Do you really need all those kitchen gadgets? What about those pants that haven’t fit in over 2 years? Cleaning out the clutter in your life will immediately help you relieve some stress. You'll feel so much better when you drop off those bags of unnecessary things at your local thrift store. It’s freeing. You’ll have less to worry about, less to clean, and less clutter taking up space in your home and your life.

Go Float.

Float Tank

Wait, what? Seriously! Have you been to a float tank yet? Yeah, it’s not a free solution, but holy freaking cow. What an amazing experience! We recently just went to our first float tank experience in Kamas, UT at SYNC Float Center and we were blown away. It clears your mind, relaxes your body and you’ll leave feeling more relaxed and focused than ever. You can read more about the benefits here. It’s unreal. This place is top notch and if you find yourself near Salt Lake City/Park City/Heber City you NEED to go check them out!

So what about you? What are your favorite ways to relieve stress? I'd love to know in the comments below!

https://tinyshinyhome.com/lets-talk-about-beds-baby Let's Talk About Beds, Baby! 2018-10-15T05:00:00+00:00 2018-10-15T20:03:44+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Let’s talk a bit about beds shall we? If you’ve seen any of our photos of the Airstream, you’ve probably noticed the kid’s amazing bunk beds.

Beddy's Bedding on Bunkbeds in Airstream

When we were building them, we knew they had to be super sturdy, have enough room to sleep comfortably, and give the kids a space that is their own.

We’ve actually received comments and messages how cruel we are for ‘making the kids live like that’ and someone even said, ‘that’s not enough room for kids’. Well, let’s talk about that a bit shall we?

First off, we aren’t ‘making our kids’ live this way. It’s been a family decision from the very beginning. We wouldn’t be traveling or living in an RV if the kids weren’t okay with it. We know this is not something we will continue forever, but for now everyone is happy and loves it! And as far as there ‘not being enough room for the kids’…their bunks are plenty adequate for them sleeping in or even hanging out during the day to read or relax.

kids on bunk beds with beddy's bedding

We made sure that even adults could lay down, turn over, and sleep comfortably so we know the little humans in here fit just fine. Plus we have the ability to fold down the top bunks and turn the beds into two couches.

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This lets us host friends and creates another living space for us to hang out together.

Where do you and Jonathan sleep? Well, we sleep on the kitchen table! No, really! Our dinette table drops down and our cushions rearrange to create a nearly king size bed!

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But is it comfortable? It really is! We have plenty of room that if one of our kids are sick, we’re able to have them sleep with us if they want. And we can all lounge on here for movie nights. Jonathan’s computer monitor swivels out, we all bring our pillows to the bed, and it’s a really fun way to hang out and chill.

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But what about privacy? Well, we do have a dark curtain that can hang between the kids’ room and our bed. Where there’s a will, there’s a way - and our kids are really sound sleepers! Add some fan noise and so far so good. Plus, there are more places to connect with your significant other than just the bed (wink).

I don’t mind the questions people ask about why and how we live the way we do, but I do mind when people assume that we’re ruining our kids lives because they share a ‘room’ or because their beds aren’t huge. I mean, this whole idea that a kid needs a huge room to themselves is a pretty new concept - millions of other children around the world are growing up sharing a room and it’s just fine.

If you were to walk into our home when the kids go to bed, you’d likely hear them giggling and talking until they fall asleep each night. This is our normal. And this is what works for us at this time in our lives.

So yeah, we do have a tiny house and we don’t have ANY extra space, but in exchange…we have time, we have love, and we have amazing experiences every week exploring this great big world with our kids. I don’t know about you, but I say that’s a pretty great trade off.

This post was written for inclusion in the October 2018 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you'd like to see us write about, let us know!

Small Family Home -- "Tiny Living with Kids: Sleeping Arrangements" : Finding room for everyone when there aren't enough rooms for everyone.

Tiny Found Us -- "Sleeping Tiny in a Big House" : Letting go of our ideals and getting the rest we need... why we share a bed with our kids.

A Life Shift -- "How We Host a Dinner Party in 590 sq ft" : Why we kick Campbell out of his room - and where he sleeps instead - while we entertain guests in our 590 sq ft apartment.

Deeper Meaning Travels -- "How We Sleep in a Small Space (with kids)" : Living in a small space can be a challenge, but add children into the mix. See how we sleep in a small space in our RV home, with our two children in tow.

Little Bungalow -- "Formerly Known As Den?" : Mulling over all the sleeping arrangement options for our two girls in our two bedroom house.

Tiny Ass Camper -- "Sleep Training Failure" : How sleeping in a small space with our kiddo has impacted our bedtime routines, for better or worse.

https://tinyshinyhome.com/travelers-notebook Traveler's Notebook 2018-09-27T05:00:00+00:00 2018-10-01T21:10:08+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Okay friends. When I find something amazing, I just have to share it. Over the next 2 months I'm going to tell you about some of my favorite eco friendly, functional items that would be super easy to incorporate into your everyday life, and could easily last you a lifetime. Today, I’m so excited to finally get to tell you all about my new Traveler’s Notebook!

We were sent this beautiful traveler’s notebook from our friends at Goulet Pens, who by the way, carry some of THE BEST fountain pens, planners and stationery! I’ve had my eye on the Traveler's Notebook for awhile, and I’ve watched way too many videos online about different ways to use them and set them up. You already know I’m all about simplifying so I’m going to show you how you can turn a Traveler's Notebook into your planner, travelers notebook, journal, sketchbook, wallet, and more!

If you’re not familiar with what the Traveler’s Notebook is, it’s essentially a leather flap with an elastic band down the middle that allows you to add different inserts depending on what you want to use it for.

Traveler's Notebook

The plastic pockets you see on the inside are extra little accessories I added for functionality and I'll talk about those a bit later.

It also has an elastic band that comes out the back so you can stretch it around the notebook to keep everything nice and secure when shut!

Travelers Notebook

It sounds so simple, right? And it is, but most importantly this is a product that can literally last you your lifetime! We’re always looking for quality products that are super functional, eco friendly, and something we’d be proud to show off. The Traveler’s Notebook checks all the right boxes!

If you look on YouTube you’ll find several different ways people are using the TN, but to be honest a lot of them were a big turnoff for me. I don’t have time to ‘scrapbook journal’ my way through the week, but I want to stay organized and remember fun things we did on our travels.

The size of this traveler’s notebook is perfect for me. It fits in my bag easily, but is still big enough for me to actually easily see what I’ve got going on, but if you're looking for something smaller they also have a passport size! The interchangeable inserts are genius. You can have as many as you want, though personally I think it feels a little too chunky for carrying around everyday if you add more than 5 inserts.

So, let’s dive in shall we?

I’ve only had my Traveler's Notebook for about a month, but I’ve been constantly fine tuning it according to how I will use it best. I think I finally have a system down that works for me.

There are so many inserts to choose from but I’m just going to touch on the ones I have.


The most important two inserts for me are the monthly and weekly calendars, hands down. What I love about them is they are not pre-labled with set months and years. You get to write it in yourself.

Monthly Calendar Travelers Notebook Weekly Calendar

I love this for many reasons, but mainly because if you’re changing planners in the middle of the year you’re not loosing half of the functionality of your planner! You can start and stop your planner any day or month! Genius!

I use the monthly calendar insert to record where we’re staying so it’s easy to plan our travel route. I also use this to keep track of our hiking. You may recall we’re doing the 365 Mile Challenge this year so keeping track of our miles in one place has been amazing! (don't judge our lack of miles...)

Travelers Notebook Monthly Calendar

The weekly calendar is my absolute favorite insert, and not just because it's the most dreamy shade of green there ever was...

Travelers Notebook Weekly Calendar

There is plenty of room for writing all of your tasks on left side where the dates are, and that grid on the right? Perfect for adding a checklist of things to accomplish during the week. Plus you’ll likely end up with some extra space for doodles, stamps, stickers or memorabilia of where you were that week.

Since I’m using this Traveler's Notebook as my planner and wallet, I always have it with me while we adventure to new places. When we visit National Parks it’s easy to whip it out and stamp it at the Visitor’s Center! This will be so great for looking back at and remembering all that we did throughout the year. I guess it’s kind of the lazy person’s version of a travel journal! Hey, I like to keep things simple, but I do love to look back and remember what we did that day.


Another insert I have is the blank notebook.

Sketch Book

Although I haven’t used it as much as I would like to, it’s really nice to have when I hear a quote I want to remember or get inspired to draw something. I’m no artist, but I am a doodler. And sometimes it just nice to have that extra sketch paper when inspiration hits!

The grid insert is awesome!

Travelers Notebook - Grid

I didn't know how much I loved grid paper until I started using this! This one has several things we need to remember like our pre-workout measurements, mile counter, details of projects we’re working on, lists of places we want to visit, and tasks we need to accomplish.

I do have a lined notebook insert, but I’m saving it for when my grid insert is used up. I originally put all the inserts in here but it was just a little too chunky for everyday use for me. I love the setup I have now.


In my traveler’s notebook I also opted for a Kraft Folder!

 Kraft Folder

I have it wrapped around my sketch notebook in the picture. It has come in handy for things like receipts or brochures or postcards we pick up along the way. It’s always best to have a few extra pockets, right?

I got this plastic zippered insert mainly for the zipper pouch.

Traveler's Notebook Plastic Insert

It’s nice to have stamps, stickers, pens, and little things with me that need a place to stay. Plus a few extra bucks in there too for emergencies. The other side of this is one long pocket. These little insert accessories wrap around notebooks easily so you don't have to use as many rubber bands to add to your notebook (check youtube for more videos).

The other plastic insert is for cards, and I honestly can’t decided if I like it or not.

Travelers Notebook - Card holder

It's a great idea if you're wanting to use your Traveler's Notebook as a wallet, but know that the plastic pockets tend to stretch and you need like 5 cards per slot to keep them in place. After using this insert for awhile, I took it out a few days ago. I am keeping it though in case I decide to add it back in.

I was playing around with the wallet aspect of the TN and I found that I could easily just insert my existing wallet and that way it’s easily removable since it’s just held in there with the elastic band!

Travelers Notebook - with wallet

This may be a better solution than the plastic insert.

Oh, and a couple little other things that I love and highly suggest you grab...the set of extra elastic bands! You'll need this if you're adding more than 2 inserts to your notebook! Check on YouTube for so many videos of different ways to connect your notebooks.

And I LOVE these plastic pocket stickers.

Traveler's Notebook

I wasn't sure if they'd work well, but they are stuck and they're not going anywhere! There's no such thing as too many pockets!

Of course there are so many other accessories you can add to make this fit your personal journaling needs. Goulet Pens has so many options and their customer service is top notch. Check out their website for more options for your traveler's notebook!

While we’re talking about planners and eco friendly options, let me tell you about something I just tried out.

Before we were sent the Traveler's Notebook, I looked into our drawer where we keep pens and pencils and I was so frustrated that we had SO MANY PENS! And I grab one and it’s out of ink, grab another…also out of ink! That got me thinking, what if we just switched to fountain pens?

At this time we were in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin where there were exactly zero stationary or art supply stores. However, one trip into Walgreens and I found a fountain pen! I’ve never used one, but I love the idea of keeping one pen and refilling it with ink when it runs out. Less waste is always a good idea!

The sweet folks at Goulet Pens sent me a couple fountain pens to try and I’m hooked!

Travelers Notebook

How cool will it be to have the same pen for years to come and just refill it with the ink color of your choice? Why have I never thought of this before? Make sure you check out Goulet Pen's selection of fountain pens, and watch a few of their videos. I love how passionate they are about their supplies.

Anyway, I’m all about simplifying and between the traveler’s notebook and fountain pens, I have exactly zero plans to research any other planners or pens!

Traveler's Notebook for life!

https://tinyshinyhome.com/so-where-are-we-now So, where are we now? 2018-09-20T05:00:00+00:00 2018-09-20T18:18:44+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

Hi friends! Maybe you’ve noticed that we’re a little behind on our location posts…or maybe you haven’t (more on that in a minute). Once we left family in Tennessee and Indiana this summer, we started moving quickly!

So far we explored 6 new states in 2 months on a mission to get out west as soon as possible.

Why? Because paying for campsites since entering Texas back in March has taken a toll on our sanity and our pocketbook. Guys, paying for campsites is downright expensive! Even if you’re in the lower end campgrounds, you’re typically paying $30+/night. That’s over $900.00 a month! With fees like that, I’d rather be paying on a mortgage! YIKES!

So, once we hit the middle of South Dakota it was easier to find public land and we finally got back to our favorite means of camping…boondocking (camping off grid, no hookups, dry camping).

Y’all, we’ve had some pretty incredible sites lately so I’ll share just a few here with you.

Here we are just above Badlands National Park!

Img 4877

This spot was incredible. There were even bighorn sheep grazing in the grass near our home when we first arrived. We stayed here for a week.

We found this little slice of heaven just outside of Custer State Park.

Img 4637

FYI, if Custer is not on your bucketlist of places to visit, we can’t be friends. I had no idea South Dakota was so incredibly beautiful. What a pleasant surprise. We stayed a week here as well before moving on through Wyoming!

Oh, Wyoming.

Img 4973 2

We will be back to explore more, but I’ve go my eye on you!

Once we hit Montana it was love at first sight.

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I haven’t felt that way about an area since we visited Ajo the beginning of this year! I mean…Montana has got it going on. The wildlife, the sunsets, the views, the rivers and lakes…it’s all just magical.

We found this sweet little river side campsite that we used as a jumping off point to explore the northern section of Yellowstone National Park and it was a crazy beautiful week.

Img 5087 2

We watched several bald eagles frequent the river early in the mornings and then again in the evenings. We even drove 6 miles down the road to watch grizzlys tearing up some biscuit root in a nearby field.

Img 5094

I have to admit, if I thought I could handle the snow here, I’d be looking up property…okay fine, I did look up property!

While Arizona is my first choice to buy land, Montana quickly made it to second place.

So that’s where we’ve been. But enough about that, let’s talk about this location post business.

Why We're Slowing Down Location Posts

Over the years I’ve invested countless hours into tracking each spot visited, putting them on our travel route maps, and writing lengthy posts about each location.

It’s truly been a labor of love and a great way for us to look back and see all the amazing places we’ve visited and things we’ve done.

But lately I’ve noticed that trying to keep up is stressing me out. I feel like I’m never caught up and it’s keeping me from writing about things I’m passionate about.

So we're going to scale back the location posts and write more about:

  • Airstream living
  • What school looks like for us
  • Our hobbies and interests
  • How we live off grid
  • Future plans

There will still be the occasional post about where we are, but if you want more up to date details about places we’re visiting, you’ll want to sign up for our email list.

Jonathan will be sending emails out regularly with quick overviews of where we've been and where we're going next. You can signup for that below!

So, what are we doing in our spare time? Well, I’m glad you asked! Perhaps you already know that we LOVE boondocking, and we get asked about it A LOT!

We have always wanted to see if there was any way for us to help other families or people who also want to camp for free in amazing places.

Maybe you don’t know where to start or what you need. Jonathan’s put together this amazing guide to help you learn how to find boondocking sites like the ones you saw in our pictures above.

We're also gearing up for a "Plan Your Boondocking Trip" Challenge in the coming weeks where we'll take you through step by step as you research and plan an off-grid camping adventure!

Until then, don’t forget to subscribe to the email list if you want to know where we’ve been, or follow us on IG for a real time look into our lives!

Live like you mean it!

https://tinyshinyhome.com/if-i-could-change-one-thing If I Could Change One Thing... 2018-09-18T06:00:00+00:00 2018-09-18T14:57:33+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/

We’re coming up on 3.5 years on the road and I can’t help but look back at how crazy this journey has been. We’ve adventured in 33 states, driven over 100,000 miles and visited 42 NPS sites. We have grown so much in these last 3 years. We’ve been excited, hurt, ecstatic, humbled, anxious, scared and mostly just lived in a state of disbelief that this is our everyday life.

We’ve moved from 2700 sq ft, to 350 sq ft and now live comfortably in 200 sq ft. We’ve downsized and changed up our rig and all our belongings countless times and we’re just now finally at a point where we’re really comfortable and content with what we have, and what we don’t have.

Montana Sunset with Airstream

Being in the Airstream for 1.5 years now, it’s fun to look back at the process. We spent so much time researching how we wanted the Airstream to function, what we wanted it to look like and dreaming about how it would work for us, being a family of 6.

Ashley after demo

Now that we’ve really broke it in and know how we use the space, I wanted to share not one, but rather a few things I (Ashley) would have done differently. The first is I would have used butcher block countertops for both the kitchen area and our dinette table.

Airstream Kitchen

The solid surface counters we went with scratch very easily and have already cracked in one area (although that was totally our fault). Butcherblock, though possibly more maintenance, would have added more warmth and practicality to our everyday kitchen use.

I would have built a much smaller table, too.

Airstream Dinette

This one is beautiful and made out of walnut, but just a little too big and heavy. I think having a smaller and lighter table may have been a better choice. However, this one is so special to me because my dad and his brother spent so much time on it. So it stays!

And paint…I wouldn’t have painted anything in here!

Beddy's Bedding on Bunkbeds in Airstream

I would have left it all natural wood and sealed it with oil. White in a tiny house (even without kids) is just hard to keep looking nice. It’s already in need of a new paint job and I’m not looking forward to that task.

But friends...my biggest pet peeve that we didn’t do in here is PLUMB THE PEE!

Nature's Head Compost Toilet

As you know, we have a Nature’s Head composting toilet and we love it, except we don’t love dumping the pee bucket! Lots of people have plumbed the urine to go straight into the gray tank and that’s what we should have done. So friends, if you're adding a composting toilet, really consider plumbing the pee!

Are any of these things worth changing now? No, not really. We actually have no plans to change any of them unless something breaks, but it’s always good to look back and see ways that you could have improved a situation.

Now that we’ve looked at things I would have done differently, I want to also tell you a few things that I absolutely love.

The smaller fridge!

NovaKool Fridge

I was a bit nervous about the size of fridge we picked but it couldn’t be more perfect for us! We can fit a week’s worth of food for all 6 of us in here! And it runs on 12 volt power so our food is being cooled by the power of the sun! How awesome is that?

Dishes and utensil organizer!

Utensil Organizer for Airstream

We actually just added this a few months ago when visiting my family in Indiana! We found that as often as we’re using the dishes and utensils, it would just be nice to have them out all the time, but still be contained for travel. I drew up an idea I had and my dad made it for us! It really is one of my favorite things in here now.

Another thing we love is brining in elements from our old homes.

Airstream Bed

We recently acquired our old curtains that were in our 5th wheel (and originally in our old home) and cut and sewed them to the right length for our windows. We also brought in some fabric birds that we had in our old house that just add a little character to the place and serve as a reminder of where we came from.

Another thing I love is incorporating things that the kids make. Like macrame decor or watercolor paintings. Little things that add a lot of love in here.

1972 Airstream Remodeled

We’ve worked really hard on creating a space that is both functional and beautiful to us. I believe it’s so important to create a place that not only reflects who you are, but also gives you a beautiful place to retreat and rest.

We love this tiny home that we built and though we know we won’t live in it permanently, it’s a pretty fantastic house for now!

Wherever we go, we're home.

This post was written for inclusion in the September 2018 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you'd like to see us write about, let us know!

Little Bungalow-- “The Budget is Broken” : I've always felt that one of the big benefits of living small was the ability to renovate on a budget - but our max spend has been reached and we still have projects on the wish list.

Small Home Family-- “Our Biggest Small House Regret” : There is one major oversight we made when choosing our house: not planning well enough for the future.

Tiny Found Us-- "Needing a little more space?" : After living small for over a year, I realize we haven't been living grand enough.

Tiny Ass Camper-- “Bathroom, Bathroom, Bathroom” : We intentionally chose to omit the bathroom from our camper and honestly haven't missed it much - until we did.

Fourth & West-- "Sunlight and SAD" : I wish I lived in a glass house.

https://tinyshinyhome.com/airstream-upgrades-and-visiting-family-in-indiana Airstream Upgrades and Visiting Family in Indiana 2018-09-03T05:00:00+00:00 2018-09-03T15:35:15+00:00 Ashley Longnecker https://tinyshinyhome.com/
This post may contain affiliate links or compensated reviews. Please read our disclosure for more info.

When we left Knoxville this year, we headed straight to Indiana to visit with my family! It was so good to be back. We had a few updates planned for the Airstream and we had talked to dad about helping us with some of them before we got there! He was up for it…as long is it didn’t take us 6 months :) ha!

But first, hang out with family! We’re not a hugging family, but it was so good to hug my parents when we got there! They were such a huge part of making this happen for us, and we had not seen them since we left 15 months ago. It was so weird to park the Airstream in the same place where we had worked on it for so long. So many memories flooded my mind, but I’m so thankful we’re not doing anything like that again!

I think Dad couldn't wait to get back to work though.

Back in Indiana with the Airstream

Dad and I made a trip back to the lumber yard in town. We picked up some poplar for a few projects and I'd be lying if I said it didn't give me a bit of a panic attack. Thankfully this isn't anywhere near the amount of wood we bought for the renovation. But still, planing all of it was brining back some pretty strong feelings.

planing wood for airstream

First up, making an organizer for our dishes. After living in the Airstream for almost a year and a half, I've found it would be easier to have our dishes and utensils out on the counter, but contained for travel.

After measuring and deciding what goes where, we came up with this!

Strap for the Berkey

I LOVE IT! It's just what I had in mind. Now everyone can easily access the dishes and they're contained for travel days!

Next we solved our iPad charging station problems. We have tried many different products, but as usual...custom built is just better. We didn't want to take up much space, but we wanted to be able to have a place for all of our iPads and my computer.

This is what dad built!

DIY iPad Charging Station

It's perfect. We added some little feet on the bottom so that the cords could pass underneath for easy charging.

You may have also noticed the plugs on the utensil organizer! We added a 110 plug as well as a 12 volt plug! We realized that we really should have added a plug to this area in the original renovation, but now with this organizer, it was easy to run the wires inside! It's so nice to have the extra plugs here!

While dad and I were busy in the garage, mom was teaching Ada how to sew on her sewing machine.

Ada learns how to sew

I was hoping Ada would sew our new 'summer curtains', but I don't think she would have enjoyed that as much. Mom showed me what to do and I took time to measure and iron and sewed all our new (old) curtains.

Summer Curtains

Perhaps you recognize them? They used to be in our old house, then they were hemed to fit in our 5th wheel. I have always regretted not keeping them with us. They just feel like home.

I sent a message to the family who bought our 5th wheel asking if I could buy them back and they said yes! I was so excited. Then I found 3 more panels on eBay, which turned out to be just enough for all our windows. So happy to have them in here now.

Airstream Dinette

When we installed the organizer for the dishes, we went ahead and ran wires for another plug in the front corner of the Airstream. I'm often on this side of the room working and always need to charge my computer. This is also the side I sleep on so having a place to charge my phone and watch would be nice.

We added a 110 plug and a 12 volt here and it works perfectly. Though I wasn't super excited to be drilling a hole through this awesome shelf, I do love how it turned out!

Adding Plugs to Airstream

Since we were still working with wood, I showed dad the inside of our truck. There are no useable cup holders in here! What were they thinking? When the console is down in the middle we have cup holders, but it's rarely down since this is where a kid sits!

We have this really awkward place up on the dash that could be useful for a cup holder so dad did some measuring and came up with this.

F250 Cup Holder

We're still not sure if it will stay in here forever, but for now it works.

While dad was busy doing other things, Adali and I tackled the paint touchups. When we had our Airstream polished, all the letters and plastic things were taped off, and when the tape was removed, some of the paint came off, too.

Adali touching up Paint on Airstream

Not a big deal though, just some paint sprayed into a lid and a small paint brush did the trick. I was going to paint the casings around the back taillights also, but then I sanded them down in preparation for paint, and I loved how they looked. They shined right up so we left them as is. Just added some fresh black paint to spruce it up a bit! Looks like new!

Touching up Paint on Airstream

While dad was busy, I did a little job myself. We have this magnetic knife rack in the Airstream, but with the curved walls the handles were rubbing up against the aluminum making horrible marks that didn't come off. I just cut and sanded a wood piece to place behind the magnetic bar to bring it further away from the wall. Super easy fix! Too bad I can't get all those marks off the wall though. Oh well, it adds character, right?

Ikea Magnetic Knife bar

Dad made the mistake of showing us his new pyrography pen and we went a little crazy with it. Adali loved it, so we made some cool designs on some (all) of our wooden utensils.


Everyone took turns with it. So much fun.

More projects...Mom is keeping our hanging plant at her house (because every plant we have had dies in a matter of days) but she needed a cool hanger! Adali to the rescue! She and I came up with this super cute hanger for it.

Macrame Plant Hanger

I love how it turned out. I really wish we could keep plants alive in here. I'm not sure what the problem is.

We took a little break from projects to go see my Grandpa Peck. He just turned 97 and his eye sight isn't so good anymore. He's been wanting to come see the Airstream for so long, but we didn't want him to make the 3 hour drive down. So we hitched up the Airstream and brought it to him.

Even though the 'tour' lasted all of 2 minutes, you could tell he was so happy to see it. To see the work his son had done and how we live in it now. He was beaming with pride. He's such a sweet old man. It had been at least 9 years since I last saw him at my Grandma's funeral. Mom and dad treated all of us and Grandpa Peck to lunch at a place my parents used to take us...Coney Island.

First time at Coney Island

It's this little hotdog and hamburger place downtown Fort Wayne and it was exactly as I remembered. I vividly remember the first time dad took us there.

We sat at the bar and the old man slid down a cold bottle of coke to each of us. It stands out in my mind to this day. I have been telling Jonathan about Coney Island for 15 years, it was so good to bring our kids here. And everything tasted exactly the same. Now, don't get me wrong...it's not winning any health food awards! Ahh, good memories.

First time at Coney Island

We dropped Grandpa off and headed back home. Dad got out his RC Airplane and we drove to the little RC field near by. The kids really enjoyed seeing him fly it. He has so many hobbies. It was neat to see all the tricks he's learned.

Dad and his RC Plane Dad and his RC Plane

No trip is complete without a motorcycle ride though. Ada and Jax still love this tradition.

Jax takes a motorcycle ride Ada takes a motorcycle ride

We took a quick trip back to Knoxville for a couple days to get some dental work done. It was good to see Mimi and Papa again, but this goodbye was a little harder.

No pictures, just sweet memories.

When we made it back to Indiana, it was time to finish up the big project. Learning how to repack our wheel bearings and adding a lift to the Airstream!

Airstream Lift Kit

Up she goes!

Raising Airstream

Once we got the wheels off, that's when we saw some problems. A crack in the frame and a huge hole!

Problems with Airstream wheel well


Our tire had rubbed a hole through one of the wheel wells exposing the insulation. That's just asking for critters to make a home in here. It's a relatively easy fix though. An aluminum patch with lots of rivets and a bar across the wheel well to pull it towards the inside of the Airstream made it to where the tire no longer touches! We didn't get a photo of the bar pulling the wheel well in, but we did get a picture of that sweet patch job!

Patched up wheel well

Now to address the crack in the frame. It was there during renovation and we welded it back together, but it's time to call in the big guns for this.

Dad called his buddy who's a professional welder and he came and fixed us up one morning. We added this long steel piece bolted and welded to the frame. Problem fixed!

Fixing Airstream Frame Welding Steel to Frame of the Airstream

Now for the lift. Nothing is as easy as you think it will be. Once we got under the trailer, we realized that we ran the propane lines under the axels, which will make adding the lift a little tricky.

Dad and Jonathan released the brackets holding the propane line, and now this became a three person job. Jonathan and I were on each side of the axels and dad was under the trailer. We carefully lowered one side at a time and placed the propane line above the axels. It actually when a lot smoother than I thought it would.

Moving Propane Lines Under the Airstream

Now that both axels were below the propane line we can begin to add that lift. We went with a 2-7/8" lift which doesn't sound like a lot, but trust me, it will be worth it!

But then more problems arose. The holes in the lift kit didn't match up to the holes on our axels or frame. Dad drilled some new holes and we were back in business. I'm making this sound easy, but let me tell you, it was not.

Long story short, we got the lift on and while the wheels were off, dad showed Jonathan how to pack the bearings. I'm so glad he knows how to do that now. It will save us some money down the road as repacking your bearing should be a yearly job.

Repacking Airstream Bearings

While they were doing all that, I was able to sneak away for a day to go help my sister. We spent the day moving lots of dirt from her root cellar area to her front porch area. She's building up the ground and creating a natural porch made of rocks and moss she finds in the forest behind her house. It's really cool.

We moved around 12 wheelbarrows full of clay that day which was a lot more work than it sounds. We found stones that had to have weighed nearly 60 lbs each and she carried them to her house. We packed down several feet of clay with our feet, added the rocks, then filled in the cracks with moss harvested from the forest. Just look at how cool this is.

Natural porch

She's full of good ideas and I really wish I could be there to help her more. I love doing stuff like this.

I made it back home in time for watching Dad and Jonathan put the last wheel back on. (Adding that lift was a big job, but in the short time we've been gone, we've already been in several places that it came in very handy.)

Lift on Airstream

Now there were just a few things left to do. I've been thinking of a way to add a strap to our Berkey so that we wouldn't have to move it on travel days anymore. I finally came up with a solution.

We added two hooks to the back of the frame of the cabinet, and I made this macrame strap that simply hooks on and holds it tight.

Hooks for the Berkey

This is such a simple idea and I'm kicking myself for not doing this sooner. One less thing to move off the counter on moving days, plus it's kinda cute!

Strap for the Berkey

We took a break from projects and took the kids to their very first concert! Weezer! They were playing near Indianapolis so we HAD to get tickets. Their minds were blown. It was so much fun (aside from the guys in front of us getting into it and one getting kicked out).

Img 2923 kids first concert

Oh man, we loved getting to take them to a real show. I hope that's one they'll remember for a long time.

The next morning, we were planning to clean up and head out! That's when I discovered the huge crack in our countertop!

Crack in Airstream Counter

We think it must have happened when we let the trailer down after installing the lift. OOPS!

A quick call the the Countertop Shop (where we had them installed) and they said they'd be able to fix it for us...but not for a few more days.

We packed up anyway and made a reservation for a few nights at McCormicks' Creek.

Lifted Airstream

And wouldn't you know, if we hadn't just installed that lift, we wouldn't have made it in this site. I love McCormick's Creek but their sites are SO UNLEVEL and a beast to get in.

Mom and dad even came up for a couple nights to hang out with us in their camper!

camping with mom and dad

The kids had so much fun. Their cousin Levi (who's Adali's age) had been hanging out at mom and dad's place the whole time we were there. They all get along so well so mom and dad brought Levi camping, too.

They had so much fun roasting marshmallows, playing cards, and just hanging out in Grandma and Grandpas' trailer.

After they headed home, we stayed a bit longer and enjoyed some hikes. This park is so beautiful.

Exploring McCormick's Creek

This trip ended up being the last time mom and dad used their trailer. When we went back to their house, they decided to sell it because dad wants to buy a plane!

I took pictures of it for them and put it up on Craigslist. It sold very quickly and now dad has space for his plane (until he builds his hanger...seriously, what does he not do?)

Anyway, we dropped the Airstream off at the countertop shop and they were able to get it fixed in one day! We rounded up the kids, said our goodbyes to grandma and grandpa and were on our way.

Shew! What a whirlwind trip!

We are so thankful for all of mom and dad's help fixing a few things and letting us stay in their driveway. It was so good to get to spend time with them. But now...we're ready to be back on the road.

Oh and I almost forgot. This is where I chopped off my dreads!! INSTANT REGRET!

Cut off my dreads

Anyway, on to more adventures.

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 2018-09-18T23:43:47+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 2018-08-23T19:31:17+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!