Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Lighting

This is why I haven't been doing as much for the blog this week! We usually try to get a ton of lights up in the front yard each year, starting Thanksgiving Weekend. My husband had surgery, so he is unable to do the lights on the roof. I was afraid he would insist, so while he and my son were out hunting this year, my daughter & I decided to do it ourselves! I don't think we did too bad. We did save the ground lights and balloons for my husband, but all the lights from the roof of the garage & house, I am pleased to say, I did!! Sorry for the blurry picture, the night feature makes an extra flash, so it's difficult to get it nice. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What have we done?

It’s been more than four years since our last Airstream overhaul, and we have forgotten about that exciting, yet sick feeling you get from moment to moment when you think about all that needs to be done. In a matter of minutes, we think to ourselves, “Oh, this is going to be great!” A few minutes later we think, “What in the world have we done and what were we thinking?”

All those feelings aside, we carry on. We both find ourselves standing in the doorway of our “new ‘63” and wonder where in the world we should begin our renovations. Our last Airstream was only 15 feet on the inside, very manageable, I might add. This 28-footer, seems enormous! Do you start with the leaks, the floor, or the muddy mess (from the flood last year)?

We had finally decided to start from the front and work our way to the back renovating as we go. This seemed the most logical, because we are both terrified of fixing the bathroom the most (we’ve never had a toilet, let alone a tub so big we can clean two children at a time in – as our friends have all called it, it’s a garden tub!!). Needless to say, God has a great sense of humor! He sent torrential rains for two days, to lead the way to our renovation. In one day, we could catch a gallon bucket of water from the middle vent! So much for the new floors and curtains! We need to find the leaks first! And as we talk to more people about leaks in Airstreams, this seems like a daunting job ahead.

Realizing that the vent leak is bringing in the most water, we start there. We decided to caulk around the outside of the vents first, to see if that helps. Herein starts my husband mumbling about who is going to do that, since he is too big and shaky going up a ladder. Did anyone notice that the roof is round? How do you get a straight ladder on a round roof? I knew where my husband’s mumblings were going, so I volunteered! What was I thinking? As I pull myself up there, I’m wondering if I will fall through the roof or just slip off – how embarrassing! Then I think to myself, “The things one will do for an Airstream…I guess we really are a little crazy!”

Well, I caulked around the vents and any other pipes I could reach from where I was and even changed the weather stripping on the moon roof opening. I handed down the moon roof for closer inspection and cleaning, and then it struck me why this was not a great idea to be on top of the Airstream! How was I going to get down? Slow but sure, I slid over the side of the round roof, praying my husband would be sure the ladder was there, or that he would catch me if I fall! I did make it to the ground safely, and it seems that the caulk was all it took to stop the leaks!! Next project, replacing the floor!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas Countdown Board

I was inspired to start to get things done for Christmas, so I decided to turn my Magnetic Display board into a Christmas Countdown or Advent board. I just took a Christmas scrapbook page & put it on there. Cut out 3/4 inch circles with matching paper & adhered it to 3/4 inch circle magnets from the craft section at the store. Added numbers on each and put a couple of vellums up on the clothespins to add to it. I then hung kisses from the magnets for each day. Tell me what you think?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Airstream on a Budget

There's something to be said about seeing the American classic, Airstream trailer going down the road! We sort of stumbled into our 1953 Clipper Airstream by accident, or by family if you would like to know the truth! We didn't even know what an Airstream really was or what it is worth, until my uncle started to do the research for us in an effort to get us to take his off his hands! We finally made the trek across the U.S. with a borrowed truck and trailer to pick up this little treasure in the rough. Little did we know how it would change our lives!

Who could imagine how much fun we would have? Although that first year was a lot of work, replacing the entire floor and dura-coating the frame (since we had it apart), but in reality, we were saving ourselves a lot of money by doing it ourselves. We did a few other things, too, like lay linoleum, update all the wiring, and we added an apartment refrigerator instead of the propane one. (Yes, we did keep the original!) But other than that, we really only put a few thousand dollars and a lot of elbow grease into making it our little palace on wheels.

We could have never afforded a new Airstream. It's just not in our budget with 4 children, and homeschooling on one income! The quality of an Airstream is like no other travel trailer on the road! We will never go back to any other kind since experiencing life on the road in an American icon! Strangers come up and talk to us all the time, curious about what we have. Men try to buy it from us all the time, hoping we don't know what it's worth so they can get a steal! We even get stalked by other 'Streamers! (Trust me, we stalk a fair share of them ourselves!) And although our "rig" is only 18 feet long, we hold our heads tall, because we have a one-of-a-kind that is our own!

Now, as you can see from my past post, we have moved into another era of Airstream rehabilitation! Our little Clipper, although we are blessed with it, we can not get all of us into it overnight with the dog. We, of course, can't buy another new one. We also can't get rid of our family heirloom, so we are doing the economical thing, we found one in a junkyard. We are gutting the entire thing and starting over from the pavement up. I will try to put up a weekly post on our Airstream Adventures, because I think it is definitely a frugal and budget friendly way to live your leisure life. I hope that it will be both informative and entertaining. Please leave comments on what you would like to know more about. Also, any ideas about what to call this column? Freewheeling Fridays, Airstream Adventures, etc....? Please give me some ideas.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recipe for Cheesy Rice Bake

This is a favorite of ours! It is easy to throw together, feeds our six, and everyone loves it! I even make it up ahead of time with leftovers, like the turkey (that you'll be getting at Piggly Wiggly this week) in a 9x13 pan and freeze it. Take it out, thaw, and bake as directed - voila! you have a homemade dinner at your fingertips! You could even change the spice to your favorite, like Southwestern, lemon pepper, whatever! If you'd like to get this as a 4x6 print email me with your email, & I will share it with you from a website.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Junkyard Gem

After stalking a junkyard in the middle of nowhere, on a dead end road (dead end from the mudslide in the Coulee Region last fall), for an entire fall and winter, we finally talked the owner of a 1963 28’ Ambassador down to a price we could muster (we actually thought it was a 1969-70 Airstream). With sweaty palms and our hearts beating out of our chests, we went on a family adventure to Ray-Mart, the junkyard, to get our dream out of a mess that has no fitting description. My husband, firmly holds to the belief that it is not a junkyard, but he does not have another explanation for what has occurred in one of our coulees at Ray-Mart.

When we arrived, I was absolutely positive that Ray had purposely piled even more junk around our baby and to add to my disappointment, the nettles were shoulder height. After two and a half hours of digging junk in the hot sun, an hour of which 79-year-old Ray drove a bobcat insanely inches away from the Airstream to push around the junk in his yard, Ray yelled to my husband to stick a ball and the money for our dream in his bucket. Unceremoniously, he towed that gem right out of the yard and onto the road, where my husband played MacGyver to get it out of there before Ray changed his mind!

Pulling into the driveway at home, we had two kids yelling to hurry and open the house to go to the bathroom. My husband started to move around vehicles to figure out where to put our new addition to our fleet, while I rushed out pictures to friends and family who we couldn’t wait to share it with. Suddenly, our bliss was interrupted by our 3-year-old, who needed to use the toilet, and to our surprise, he used the “new” biffy. My husband figured he might as well see if the toilet flushes and, Voila! the poop went out the shoot right into the street! Our first discovery of what I am sure will be many challenges in the 1963, was made by a 3-year-old – we have no black water tank (or so we think!)