RV upgrade: adding a Splendide 2100 washer/dryer

From Trent:

We’ve come a long way baby…From days of muddy city streets filled with animal feces and chamber pots thrown out of 2nd story windows, to our modern-day concrete jungles complete with hand sanitizer stands at every big box entrance.  These little bottles of gel stand like sentry guards challenging you to enter without a hand baptism (or full submersion if you prefer).  If you manage to sneak past these guardians, your evil shopping cart handle will probably infect you before you can reach for your virus infected paper money to pay for those chemically sprayed vegetables. Soon, we will all have to enter our own personal protection bubbles to shield us from anything harmful before we venture outdoors. But I digress…

Staying out of the dark ages

Washer and dryer machines keep us clean and out of the dark ages. These wonderful machines give us back so much time that was lost to washboards and squeegee rollers.  The Ledeboer’s declared that we needed these modern marvels inside our tiny home on wheels.

Splendide washer/drayer install in three easy steps

How does one go about installing two large machines in a tiny home with a skinny hall you may ask?

First, find a good friend with a strong back.
-“Check”

Splendide 2100 install

Second, combine the washer and dryer into one machine.  (I didn’t know this was possible until just a few months ago.)
-“Check”

Third, cut a hole in the side of your RV for the dryer vent, first making sure it is in exactly the right location.
-“Umm, not check”.

I accidentally cut the hole for our dryer vent in the wrong place. Thankfully, the remedy was fairly simple. This is the text conversation that I had with Heather when she came back to the RV while I was at the hardware store looking for a solution:

splendide install

Thankfully I did return from the hardware store with a work-around. Watch the full video for details on how we overcame this Splendide install dilemma.

A note from Heather:

We went back and forth about getting a washer/dryer combo unit in our RV. There were pros and cons to each option which included:

-Cost: A few hundred dollars up front vs. paying per load at a laundry mat.
-Time: About 10 minutes a day vs. an hour+ each week at a laundry mat.
-Effort: Locating a used model and learning how to install it vs. finding a laundry mat in each new location we travel to.

We tried to weigh these various factors: how much it would cost to purchase, how often we would use it, and the weight that it would add to our RV.

In the end we felt that the pros would outweigh the cons. We found a used Splendide 2100 model on craigslist for $600 and as Trent outlined above, learned some valuable lessons in the process. Now that we’ve had our Splendide washer/dryer for several months, I can confidently say that I am glad we decided to purchase one.

New laundry routines

As you may expect, the drum size of our Splendide is significantly smaller than our previous stackable front loading machine. This necessitates more frequent washings in order to stay on top of our laundry. I’ve established a daily routine, putting in one load each morning. I’m no longer as picky as I used to be about separating out our lights and darks because it is easier to run one load a day by simply throwing everything in together. By the end of the day I find time to pull out the dry clothes and because the load is small, it’s quick and easy to put everything away. Prior to RVing I had no idea that there were combo washer/dryer units. I do enjoy that once I start the load I don’t have to do anything else until I’m ready to pull it out and put it away due to the fact that it automatically begins the drying mode once the wash cycle is completed.

I can see that it might be nice to have some quiet time in a laundry mat as I catch up on our laundry once a week. However, there have been many weeks in which I have been thankful that we didn’t need to work that into our routine. In addition, our youngest still struggles to have consistently dry nights. Each time I need to wash his bedding, I appreciate that I don’t have to go any further than my bedroom closet.

Although our kids loved the novelty of washing their own clothing at the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead, I am not ready to adopt this into our regular routine and I’m thankful for the advances we have made since the days of emptying chamber pots into the streets!

splendide (early model)

How about you? Did you know there were combo units like this? If you have an RV, do you have a washer/dryer? Why or why not?

destination 2017: pursuing fearlessness

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

FEAR VS LOVE

John Lennon believed “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, life and acceptance.

1 John 4:18 takes these two forces a step further stating, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear; because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.

I’ve been pondering this inherent contradictory connection of fear and love for quite some time. Like the hand of a clock, I keep circling back and thinking through it again and again. As the calendar of 2017 turns its first page, I return to process through fumbling syllables and tangled thoughts bumping along like a swiftly flowing stream.

fearlessness discovered

Fear is an intriguing foe. Invisible yet powerful. Silent yet deafening.

Fear whispers in every language. It is not geographically bound. It crosses political borders and economic boundaries. Fear infects all genders and every race. Like a rampantly spreading virus, almost everything is infected. Is there anywhere in which fear cannot be found?

pursuing fearlessness

finding fearlessness

Despite its far reaching effect, I’ve discovered one segment of our world that is nearly impenetrable to fear: young children. Show me a young child who has been well loved and cared for and I will show you a heart with virtually no fear. Jumping off couches, riding bikes with no hands, licking frozen metal pipes–these are the carefree actions of someone who has not yet suffered pain. Over time these children learn to associate potential pain with actions. Fire may equal burns. Dogs may bite. Cold pipes are never, under any circumstance to be licked. Slowly caution creeps in often followed hard by fear itself.

I want to be fearless. I don’t want to shrink back from what God puts in front of me because it looks scary or hard or the outcome is unknown. How do I face fear rather than succumb to it? What is the difference between unhealthy fear and wise discernment? How do I live without fear in an unstable world? Do I chase safety or dreams?

pursuing fearlessness

the fountain of fearlessness is found in faith

I believe that my only route to freedom from fear is through the heart of my Savior. Like the child who is able to jump without fear of falling because his parent has never failed to catch him; my confidence can be equated in equal proportions to my faith.

If I can be known at the deepest, truest level by the One who spoke the world into existence. (Psalm 139)

If I can receive pardon for my imperfections, flaws and sins from this Creator. (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:6)

If I can be received and adopted into God’s family with rejoicing. (Ephesians 1:4-5)

If I am loved perfectly by a perfect God. (Psalm 18:30)

If I cannot earn His favor because it has already been given freely. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Ephesians 3:17-19)

If I can hope in a perfect future beyond this world, because preparations were arranged before my birth through the sacrifice of Jesus’s death on the cross. (John 3:16-17, Romans 8:1)

Than this is the place where I can begin to walk in freedom. Where I can learn about the perfect love that is able to drive out all fear. It is in this sacred space of trust in which my fear can be handed over with trembling fingers.

“Take it,” I whisper.

pursuing fearlessness

Only here, where it is surrendered willingly, does my Heavenly Father reach out and receive the fear that I’ve been harboring. With the same power that first brought forth the light and holds back the seas, He takes my fear and hurls it into the darkness where all fears hide. In that place of perfect love, I find security.

That, more than anywhere else, is the place in which I seek to live this year.

Join me.

embracing the present

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” Bil Keane

My grandmother Nanie, with spun silver hair and hands like see-through silk, loved to use this quote. Embracing the present is a concept that I believe we mature into. A reality that makes it especially appropriate to hear drip from the lips of someone who has squeezed every drop of richness out of her days. For this season of my life, I’ve been determinedly grounded in this gift called the present.

embracing the present

For the last four months nearly every aspect of our lives have been touched by change. No two weeks have looked the same. Commonplace activities such as grocery or thrift store shopping involve GPS assistance and our landscapes have changed more quickly than the seasons. The hidden blessing folded deep within this ebb and flow is the call to embrace the present.

new community, new opportunities

A week ago we pulled our RV to a stop in Orlando, Florida. For the first time since September we are staying in the same RV park longer than one week. Additionally, we are parked among fellow RVing families–another fun first. While the situation is filled with promise and excitement, it has also been drenched with the prerequisite of our intention and initiation.

Typically there is time to settle into a new community and get to know your neighbors in a leisurely manner. No so on the road. My words of advice to our kids sounded something like this, “If you wait too long to make a friend, you may be saying good-bye to them the day after you meet.” Taking my own advice, I’ve had to choose to embrace the interactions of the moment, rather than be distracted by the possibility that in the future these faces may only be seen through my Instagram feed.

saying yes to today

This is where my grandmother’s words clung to my heart like the Spanish moss hanging from the nearby trees. My mind accepted this simple truth: Tomorrow is a mystery. Nothing beyond today is guaranteed. Embrace. Dig in. Engage.

The result has been a mixture of awkward first hellos leading to conversations, coffee, games, crafts, long walks, potlucks and new friendships.  While it goes against the typical timeline, I believe that there is something valuable in living within deadlines of impending good-byes. Putting off conversations today could lead to never speaking at all. Delays could morph into missed relationships. How often does this happen without us noticing?

What does it matter anyway?

While there is inherent value in seizing the day, what does it matter when the rising sun will soon see us pulling out and waving good-bye to these newly forged friendships? It’s a question I have asked myself and one that could easily lead to relationship paralysis. The beautiful reality is that I don’t know. Today might be the day that my listening ear allows your wounded heart to heal a little more. Today your advice might route my course in a more productive direction.

Today might be our only day together or it may be the first of many. Unwrapping the present is only possible if I truly see it as a gift.

“Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one!” Ecclesiastes 9:9 The Message

Giveaway: Wright On Time RV roadschooling 4 book collection

Last month I completed my project to curate a book list of over 300 children’s chapter books organized by the state they take place in. I wanted to create a resource that we could use as we traveled across the US allowing us to choose books to compliment the places we were visiting. (By the way, if you haven’t gotten your copy of this book list, simply subscribe to my blog email list and I’ll send you your own copy lickity split).

While researching books for my state book list, I came across something that I got really excited about. Someone had written a series of books about an RVing, roadschooling family who travels the USA!

A RV, ROADSCHOOLING BOOK SERIES?!

Each book in the Wright on Time series takes the family to a different state each with a new educational adventure. The series (which currently covers 6 different states) is tied together with a fun sci-fi mystery. I couldn’t believe how perfect this was for my booklist. Not only were they a great fit, but these were the first books I’ve ever come across that are written about a full-time RVing family! Even if you are not traveling in an RV, I believe your kids would enjoy learning from a family who does.

ABOUT THE WRIGHT ON TIME BOOK SERIES

writeontimeI contacted Lisa Cottrell-Bentley, the author of the Wright on Time series and told her how excited I was to find her books. Together, we decided to offer you a chance to win her Wright on Time book collection (of books 1-4) in either the Audible format which contain 5 hours and 47 minutes of listening time or the Kindle versions of books 1-4. Curious about what the first four books focus on?

  • Book 1: Wright on Time: Arizona the family explores caves and learns about minerals and bats.*
  • Book 2: Wright on Time: Utah the family goes on a dinosaur dig.*
  • Book 3: Wright on Time: Wyoming the family explores various alternative energies.
  • Book 4: Wright on Time: South Dakota the family goes to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and also learns about how newspapers are made.

Before offering this giveaway to you, Lisa gifted my family this audio collection so that we could preview it first. Each of my kids (ages 13, 10, 7 and 5) found the series to be both entertaining as well as engaging. In their own words:

Tanner (5): “I liked the books, really I did.”
Quinten (7): “Once I got into them I really wanted to hear more. Now I want to hear the next books in the series.”
Ashlyn (10): “I thought it was really fun to hear a story about another family that travels in an RV. It was neat to hear them have some of the same kind of things happen to them as we have. Each book taught me something new too.”
Hunter (13): “I really enjoyed the books. I liked how each story progressed and built on the previous one.”

*You might find it useful to know that the books did not endorse a particular age of the earth. There was no mention of “millions of years” or “evolution.”

HOW YOU CAN WIN THE WRIGHT ON TIME BOOK SERIES

Below you have multiple options to enter to win this 4 book series by Lisa Cottrell-Bentley. The Rafflecopter form will offer you several ways to enter. You can sign in using your facebook login or with your name and email. It is necessary for us to have your email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose.

The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email within 48 hours with your prize details. The Wright On Time book series (books 1-4) will be sent via Audible or Amazon Kindle (according to the winner’s preference). The giveaway begins on December 17 and ends December 21, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We have so much to learn

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know” Aristotle

I am impressed by Aristotle’s insight. Over 2,000 years later his words ring true.

With every passing mile my mind has been stretched, my heart twisted and my curiosity piqued. I recently mentioned my propensity for learning. The little black notebook that I started using in New Salem is quickly filling with notes, dates and names. Yet, I am continually humbled by how little I know.

Thus brought forth the idea for a regular blog post in which I share some of my most recently acquired tidbits of knowledge. Think of it as my weekly narration (hello all you fellow Charlotte Mason educators).

Here’s how it will work: I will share the books or facts that I’ve found to be freshly fascinating. In turn, if you’ve recently read or learned anything interesting, you leave your new knowledge in the comments. Fun right? It’s sort of like an information omelet—we just throw in whatever we find in the mental fridge.

Fascinating facts

Sea Turtles

  • There are only 7 species in the world, 7!
  • 4 of them are located in the Florida Gulf Islands.
  • Green Sea turtles can remain submerged for up to 5 hours slowing their heart beat down to 1 beat every 9 minutes.
  • One of the largest sea turtles on record was a 2,100 pound Leatherback. It died when it choked on a plastic bag mistaking it for a jellyfish. Some leatherbacks have been found with up to 11 pounds of plastic in their stomachs.
  • The temperature during incubation determines the gender of the sea turtle. Eggs 85 degrees or warmer are female and 85 degrees or colder are male. The pivotal temperature of 85 degrees produces an equal number of male and females.

blue-angels

Military

  • A battle star for a Navy ship is earned every time a ship participated in a battle.
  • The Air Force is not the only military branch with airplanes. The Navy also has airplanes all their own.
  • 10% of Blue Angel pilots have died since it’s formation in 1946.

same kind of different as me

Books I’ve finished this month
(Links below are affiliate links to where you can find these books on Amazon.)

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall
Based on a true story: A homeless black man and a rich white man find their lives intertwining in an unexpected way. This book was excellent. I’d been meaning to read it for quite some time. The story ended up being a very different book than I expected and I will warn you that I cried through the last several chapters. However, it messed me up in the very best of ways and I found it to be deeply challenging, particularly in the area of helping the homeless. I’d recommend it highly.

“The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain’t no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless–just working our way toward home.” Denver Moore, Same Kind of Different as Me

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This one had been waiting for over 6 months in my Audible queue. However, once I started, I finished it quickly. This work of fiction involves A.J., a widowed island bookstore owner. Not only does A.J. live on an island, in his grief, he’s created a bit of an island out of his life as well. A few unexpected events force A.J. to face himself in a whole new way. A.J’s character is prickly and opinionated but in an endearing way and it was fulfilling to watch him unfold as the story progressed. The narrator for my audible version of this story had a great reading voice which is always a plus.

I enjoyed this one. It is about books and revolves centrally around a few book nerds. It tips hats at many books titles and it’s fun to hear ones mentioned that I’m familiar with. A central theme is the way books can impact us. It also touches on how some books are only right for us at certain times in our life. Note: There is some language as well as sex outside of marriage (it is not a focal point or graphically portrayed).

“We are not quite novels. We are not quite short stories. In the end we are collected works.” A.J. Filkry, The Storied Life of A.J. Filkry

Your turn! I’d love to hear some of the details you’ve latched onto this week or be told about a book you’ve recently finished.