The Search Continues

It has been a hectic couple of months. We were waiting for more RVs to become available so we could really begin our search. In the meantime, my husband ended up sick in the hospital for several days. Things like this really throw a wrench in your plans, but we keep moving. We already knew prior to this that he would not continue working in his current profession due to stress levels and being on call all the time, and our little vacation at the hospital proved to us we were right. We also knew that if we ever did want to travel while living in an RV he would need a job that can go on the road.

As a nurse I have options for careers on the road, but as a case manager, my husbands options were more limited. Unfortunately for us, we are not wealthy, nor do we have trust funds, and we must continue to work if we were to travel. Another concern was both of us working full-time outside of the home, when we have three dogs and our home is an RV. These had been things we had talked about for some time, but the hospital stay gave us the push we needed to actually make a change. We took a big chance and my husband is in the process of starting a business. This is something that he can do from anywhere and allows him to work from home a majority of the time.

Now that he is healthy and home again we have started to more seriously look at RVs, but so far nothing had popped up until recently. As we get further into the fall season there are more and more available. We are heading out to look at one tomorrow and are very excited about it. We have also emailed several other prospects.

 

We Got Engaged!

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I can certainly say that May 2016 was quite eventful for me. All in less than a week I had my birthday, graduated college, and got engaged.

It started that Wednesday with my birthday…. I had the day off, no class and no work, so I stayed home relaxing with the dogs and cleaning. The plan was my boyfriend would pick up Red Robin on his way home for dinner (free birthday burger, heck yea!). He called when he was done with work and asked me to call in our order. I was so excited for my Red Robin that I hadn’t eaten much all day and I was starving! After a while I started to wonder where the heck he was, I knew it was rush hour, but it shouldn’t take this long and dang it I’m hungry! I reached for my phone to call him and ask what was taking so long, but I decided not to be a jerk. He’s a very thoughtful guy and probably stopped to get me flowers or something, he usually does, he’s probably doing something nice. Finally, He walked through the door struggling to carry everything, and not only does he have Red Robin, but he has a vegan ice cream cake!

After about five years of knowing each other and dating four of those years I knew he loved me, but this was the day I knew he really and I mean really loved me. How? This year he came home with food instead of flowers, and not just any food, vegan food, and cake at that, ice cream cake! He knows me well!

The next day got even better with my mom and nephew arriving in town, well after I almost burnt our apartment down, but that’s a whole other story. Friday morning I was off to my last day of school. It was very surreal. This was something I didn’t think I’d be able to finish and yet there I was at the very end. It was such a different experience from when I obtained my LPN degree. This school was very different, every instructor was so kind and helpful and truly wanted everyone to succeed. I went in assuming everyone would be much younger than me and cliquey. I had the mind set that I wasn’t going to talk to anyone, I was there to get a degree and get out. Much to my surprise it was a very diverse group with quite a range of ages and some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. This past year hasn’t been easy, but these instructors, classmates, and this school made the experience so much easier than it could have been and helped me to forget the horrible experience I had the first time around.

After class I was met by my mom and nephew and it was off to lunch, it’s what we do best! We spent the day together eating and shopping and preparing for my graduation party Saturday.

Saturday rolled around and was pretty hectic. I got up early and ran to the store, then the cake arrived, and we were packing the coolers. My friend and her daughter arrived. My friend and I had appointments to get a couple piercings before the party. My boyfriend was so helpful, he could tell I was stressed out, he was cleaning the kitchen and all sorts of stuff. Then out of nowhere my brother, his wife, and two of their other kids show up (4 hours before the party). I wasn’t expecting them to come since they live so far away, so it was a very nice surprise, but a very crowded little apartment! My friend and I went to our appointments and when we got back it was time to head to the party location. We got down their and set up. We kept things simple, a couple coolers, a cake, some plates/napkins, and we ordered pizza.

Then….

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Things were going well, most of our closest friends and family were there and it was very nice. Then it was time to cut the cake, but first everyone wanted a million pictures. Then I was finally going to cut this beautiful cake when my boyfriend starts making a speech. I stopped him telling him no one was really listening, that’s when he yelled “Can I have everyone’s attention?!”. I was shocked, he never raises his voice. Then he proceeded to say how proud he was of me for finishing school and how hard I worked and how happy he has been to call me his girlfriend. At this point, I’m thinking “how sweet, he’s saying nice things about me. Now about that damn cake!”.

Then all of a sudden I hear “and I’d be even happier to call you my wife”, that’s when I about shit myself. I turned and looked at him to see him struggling to pull something from his back pocket. He finally got out this tiny white box and dropped to his knee. I was in total shock, I was 162% sure he’d never propose. I reacted like a bone head due to shock and not knowing if it was actually happening. Of course I said yes, but I was still in shock. He just looked at me, so I snatched the box from his hands, it was sparkly! Later he told me he thought I was suppose to say yes and then he was suppose to put the ring on me, but I snatched it too fast! We are both laughing in that picture, because after he proposed, as soon as he stood up, his mom yelled “Do it again, I missed it!” We thought she wanted a picture of him on this knee. He got back on his knee and we stood really still and after a minute we started laughing, because we didn’t know what was taking so long. Then she said “Well are you going to say yes?”. Here she was videoing and wanted him to do the WHOLE thing again. HAHA.

I definitely will never forget this week of events! Two things I NEVER thought would happen, I went back for my RN (and finished) and I got engaged.

It’s Graduation Day!

It seems like not that long ago we started talking about moving out of Wisconsin. In reality it was over two years ago, maybe more like three years. Then we had this crazy idea that we would live unconventionally.

As time went on these plans changed…several times, but one thing never did. We have a dream and that’s to live and not just survive, we are tired of just surviving. It doesn’t matter how many times these plans change. The whole point of this journey is that we can change our minds and that’s ok. We wanted the power to choose our destiny and to live how we want.

The idea of leaving a conventional cookie cutter life behind is scary. Heck, just getting rid of almost everything you own and moving out of state where you know absolutely no one and starting all over is scary. What if we hate it? That’s ok. That’s the point, that’s why we are doing this, if we don’t like it we can do something else. It’s our lives and we are going to make the rules. We are going to try new things and experiences and if we don’t like something we will do something else.

This year has gone so fast, it seems like just the other day I was freaking out about trying to get into school and affording it and what to do, now I’m done. I knew I could do it, but it was scary and if you had asked me two years ago, I would have said I didn’t know if this would ever happen. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunity to go back to school. Every time I looked into it or applied something didn’t work, whether it was the student loans or my transfer credits or my job. Now I’m done.

In approximately two and a half months we are out of here!

Cruelty Free and Cheap-It’s Possible!

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I have always loved a good bargain, probably because I have always lived paycheck to paycheck. I also won’t give up hygiene or certain little luxuries (like shampoo, laundry soap, ect). On top of all that the items in my home need to be cruelty free (no animal testing), that is a requirement. Some things I prefer in my products would be that they are environmentally friendly and free of a lot of chemicals (not always possible). Buying cruelty free is considered difficult by most people, but it’s actually super simple. Most people assume you have to go to special stores or fancy places to buy cruelty free items…Not true, I sure don’t consider Target, Walgreens, and my local grocery store fancy by any means. The other huge myth that surrounds cruelty free shopping is it’s expensive…It most definitely can be, but it doesn’t have to be.

*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the brands I picture or mention, I just happen to like them*

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Household Products:

I personally love Method products, they are plant derived, cruelty free, natural, and in my opinion moderately priced. They pretty much have it all, laundry products, dish soap, dishwasher tabs, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, personal products, and more. You can find Method products at most targets and on sites such as Amazon, but I prefer to buy directly from the Method website as it is much cheaper. These products are not dollar store cheap, but they are relatively affordable and especially when in comparison to major household brands.

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As I mentioned you won’t find these at the dollar store, but you can find these products at Target, some grocery stores, and online (which is usually cheaper!). The laundry soap smells incredible, I like to mix the scents, but they also have a free and clear version. I always use scented, because I have three dogs. The dishwasher tabs work great and my dishes are always clean. The hand wash refill saves quite a bit of money. The price is approximately the same as two small hand soap bottles and will fill them more than two times, so great deal.

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When it comes to dish soap I have used Method and Meyers, but the giant bottle of dish soap pictured in the picture on top was a killer deal. This was from Costco though. I don’t shop at Costco, but my boyfriend’s mom is obsessed with it. She wanted to buy us stuff for the house one day while I was at work and came back with this. She knows how picky I am about things being cruelty free. I am so particular with my brands I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it’s great and lasts forever!

With other random household items, I buy Earth Friendly trash bags and toilet paper. The toilet paper I would compare to Angel Soft (what I used years ago) in quality and cheaper in price. I have also used my Walgreens points in the past to purchase Seventh Generation toilet paper, which is nice as well. Earth Friendly products are at my local grocery store. I love their trash bags, they come in a pack of 70 for $4.99.

When it comes to household cleaning products I have tried different brands, again I like Method products, but I have tried Green Works and Meyers. My favorite things to clean with are vinegar and baking soda. They are cheap and work well! Not only do they clean well almost any surface, but they unclog drains! Check out my sink cleaner here.

Personal Products:

 

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Now that the house is covered, what about me? Let’s start with one of the most multipurpose thing in my house….COCONUT OIL! You can wash your face with it, you can shave with it, you can put it in your hair, you can moisturize with it, you can bake with it, you can oil pull, use it as deodorant, and the possibilities are endless. I have a jar in the kitchen, a jar in the bedroom, and a jar in the bathroom. I use it as moisturizer and deodorant mainly. I have tried it as face wash and hair oil, but it was a bit too heavy for those. I love it as deodorant though and love using it after I shave. So get some coconut oil and go nuts!

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Like a lot of girls, I’m picky with my hair. It doesn’t get much cheaper than White Rain, eighty nine cents at my grocery store. It smells great, it’s not fancy, but it works just fine, and it’s super affordable. I also love Dessert Essence hair products, they aren’t as cheap as White Rain, but they certainly are cheaper than salon products, and they are vegan, gluten free, and cruelty free. They also smell incredible.

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Of course you need to wash your body too and I don’t know about others, but I need to smell good. Again when it comes to cheap, White Rain is where it’s at. The body wash smells great and doesn’t dry out my skin and again it’s at the local grocery store (I know Dollar Tree sells it too). I also like Method’s body wash, not dirt cheap, but only $2.99 for the bottle pictured above and it has lasted me quite a while.

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I have used Dessert Essence toothpaste (and like it), then I discovered the Hello brand at Target for about three dollars cheaper. I really like it, I feel fresh and clean using it.

 

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I am a lotion freak, if there’s one thing that drives me crazy, it’s dry skin! I recently discovered White Rain has lotion too! The lotion smells great, but it’s a bit perfumy for me. I mixed it with some of my unscented lotion and it works great. My favorite lotion is Kiss My Face, but at almost ten dollars a bottle I can’t always get it. I do like my most recent idea of mixing it with my cheaper lotion so it lasts longer.

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In general I am pretty cheap, but not everything I like and use is dirt cheap. I don’t buy expensive products, but I do splurge on moderately priced stuff at times. If you want to stick with pretty darn cheap, I say get some baking soda, some coconut oil, and some White Rain. Recently I was at my local grocery store and noticed lots of other cruelty free products. I have also been noticing more and more at other stores and drug stores. When you have time, take the time to really search shelves and read labels. Don’t forget to search Google too. You really will be surprised at how much you find. Like I said not everything is dirt cheap, but look how much people spend on brands like Tide, Gain, ect. I spend about that or less and get a better product without the cruelty. Again sorry for the sideways pictures. Just remember it is totally possible to be cruelty free and still have a clean home, beautifully scented clean laundry, and smell great yourself. Better for the animals, better for the environment, and better for you.

 

DYI Cruelty Free/Natural Kitchen Sink Cleaner

 

So my kitchen sink was absolutely disgusting one day (well it happens more than that) and I was out of kitchen cleaners. I was like what on earth can I find in my apartment to use. I started searching Pinterest for some DYI cleaner ideas and saw a number of different ideas, but nothing that would work for me. I scoured my kitchen and found a handful of ingredients I thought might help me, I piled them on the counter and began to experiment. After a number of tries on a few different occasions I discovered a concoction that was made from household items, nothing toxic, and it did make my sink look a whole lot better. 

Kitchen Sink Cleaner:

  • 2 Cups Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice (I prefer fresh and generally juice 1/2 to 1 lemon)
  • 1/8 Cup Salt (I use regular sea salt)

Fill your sink about 1/2 full with hot water and then add all the ingredients. Give it a good stir and then let sit for about 10 minutes. Scrub with washcloth or pad if necessary and then drain and rinse. 

It’s definitely not a hardcore abrasive cleaner, but it worked wonders in my regular (stainless steel I assume) sink. The mix tends to eat away grime. I have also used this concoction a few times on a clogged bathtub drain. In that case I used quite a bit more vinegar to really get at whatever was clogging it. I added the 2 cups first and let it sit about ten minutes and then added some more vinegar and again let it sit. After I ran really hot water for a couple minutes and voila. I have also cleaned my stove top with this. 

 

Almost there…

Less than two weeks left in this semester and I can’t tell you how thrilled I will be to be done with it. Then just one more semester to go. Less than six months until graduation. Time is going fast! We’ve been so busy that I have neglected this blog and a lot of other things. I’ve eaten “lazy food” and neglected housework. I am just exhausted. I can’t wait for break when I can focus on recouping, writing, and cooking again.

With less than six months until graduation we have been talking more and more about our move and what we plan to do. We are still planning on purchasing a truck and travel trailer when I graduate. Our lease is up at the end of January and we plan to stay at an RV park in the area and continue to work until approximately October. During that time I can take my state boards and we can save some money to go. Around October we plan to move somewhere (Southwest?) and be stationary for some time while I gain nursing experience. After that we’d like to travel.

Any suggestions on where to move initially? We want something nice, nothing cold. I would love some suggestions! On that note, homework calls and I must abandon you once again.

BUSY BUSY BUSY

Third semester of nursing school is insane! It is beyond busy with homework and studying. I have not abandoned my mission of this blog by any means, but my education comes first. If I am not successful that throws off the entire plan anyways. I recently completed my seventeen page research paper and now I am working on even more papers and homework. I’m also studying for multiple tests. When I am not in class, studying, or cleaning, I am enjoying some time with my loves. Priorities :). We talk frequently about our plan and have been working towards our goals. We recently sold three action figure collections. We realize that in six months we will need to purchase the RV and trade in our vehicles. Time moves so fast and that is not far away at all. I have many posts planned, but just haven’t had time to get to them. I will soon I hope. Take care!

I survived the First Month

I did it, I managed to survive the first month of school. Things will now (hopefully) slow down a bit, while still remaining crazy busy. I made it through my four week, Advanced Skills class and managed to pass with a grade in the 90’s, so I am quite pleased with that. The pressure was quite intense, knowing that any little thing at any time could mean not moving forward in the program. The pressure is still there and there are still plenty of possibilities to mess up, but finishing that class has lifted a huge weight and means I am moving forward and into the clinical phase while continuing my other classes.

It may seem like a small feat to many, but I am proud of myself, it was a lot of work. I put in a lot of effort. I succeeded and….

  • I didn’t let my house go to complete hell (let’s be honest it’s no fairy tale in here, but it’s not bad considering)
  • I didn’t gain any weight (I actually lost a pound or two)
  • I studied a LOT, but actually feel like it made sense and I know the material
  • I still found time to advocate for my beliefs and hang posters against cruelty
  • I managed to maintain my every other weekend hours at work
  • I found time to spend quality time with family (The dogs will argue this one and are feeling more neglected than ever even though I’ve been home more than ever these days now that I’m not working full-time)
  • We survived financially

All in all it was a success and I can’t wait to keep going and bust out this degree so that we can get on the road to our dream (literally). Despite being so antsy I am trying to enjoy each day, because they are already going so fast and they are always numbered.

 

 

Financial Survival…

In today’s world it’s hard enough making ends meet as a two income household. In our house it was two adults with college degrees working full-time. While the bills were paid there was still a strict budget and not much left after that, which is why we want out of this lifestyle and into full-time RVing. That being said, we can’t just toss all our belongings today, trade in our cars, and buy an RV. We have to make it through the next ten months while I finish school. We need to save some money, research, and plan.

BUT…Being in school full-time, the nursing program at that, I am no longer working full-time. Our rent and utilities alone are about $1,250 a month! So how do we make this work? First there is the obvious ways, my boyfriend still works full-time at his regular job and is looking for a second job, and I still work every other weekend.

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Action Figures: My boyfriend has an extensive collection of action figures that he began collecting years ago. These are his prized possessions, but he did begin collecting with the intention of one day selling some of them. He also realizes we have to get rid of most of our stuff in order to fulfill this dream and is more than happy to. We haven’t sold any yet, but many of these are vintage toys and are worth some money or at least what he paid for them. We have spent countless hours taking pictures and inventorying hundreds of action figures. Thankfully there is still a small path through the living room.

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Ebay: In the past we have sold on Ebay and we recently sold a few things and plan to unload some of the action figures this way. Ebay, however, is not my favorite avenue, the fees get ridiculous for one. My biggest issue with Ebay is there is a lot of buyer protection, but very little seller protection. No matter how many pictures you take or how well you describe an item, the buyer still did not see the item in person. If the buyer decides they simply don’t want it and would like a refund, but don’t want to pay return shipping, they simply have to claim the item was defective or not as described. Most buyers are great, but there are still plenty of jerks out there and when a situation like that happens you not only refund the item price, but also the shipping, which puts you in the hole. Customer service is of very little help to sellers and these situations can be quite frustrating.

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Flea Markets: We decided we also wanted to explore flea markets as an option. So last month we rented a space at our very first one. We chose a large flea market close by that is open every weekend. It’s nothing glamorous, but it was our first time and we wanted something to learn on. Because we were just learning we brought a number of random items, but no action figures or anything very valuable. We figured we have to get rid of stuff anyway, so why not try and sell it. Over all it was a great day, the weather was beautiful, sunny, and in the 80’s. We sold quite a bit of stuff and profited almost $200. We spent about eight hours there, we brought our cooler with food and drinks, and spent the day talking with one another and selling our stuff. I also spent a good portion of the day applying and reapplying SPF 50 and still managed to get a little burnt. I wore capris that day and towards the middle of the day propped my legs up on the cooler…..three weeks later I still have a mid-calf tan line. Pale girl problems.

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Random Internet Jobs: I have over the years tried a number of ways to make money online. At one point I answered questions for ChaCha, a text service where people sent in random questions. That paid I believe two cents a question, so if you had time you could eventually make a few dollars. I have used Inbox Dollars, a survey and task site, in the past and have started using it again. Inbox Dollars is by no means a get rich quick thing or a job replacement, but it is simple enough that if a few times a week you have ten minutes to do a few things you can over time accumulate some money. I have also in the past answered nursing related questions for a website of “experts”. I can’t remember what it was called, but people would buzz in and you would chat with them over the computer about whatever questions they had and you were paid by the minute at whatever rate you set. The issue with that was sometimes no one called. There are many other things I have thought about trying, but haven’t yet such as, shadow shopping, advertising on my car, transcribing, virtual assisting, and a number of other things. I’m sure there are a few others I have tried as well over the years, but forgot to mention.

So what have you tried? What are your thoughts? What has worked? What hasn’t? What is worth the time? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments and feel free to link your blog posts about making extra money!