Outdoor Mini Kitchen – Summer 2016 Adventure Look Back

A Facebook Memory popped up the other day of my Teardrop Back Hatch kitchen –  it was finally completed and ready for my #BMXGypsy Adventure that would begin in 13 days.  As the 1 year anniversary of my summer of freedom draws closer, it has been on my mind a lot, so over the next 4 months, I will be looking back on my adventure and sharing my insights and struggles and joys!

One five foot by 18 inch kitchen (sink doubles as a washroom sink) fully outfitted with

  • propane stove
  • hand pump sink (with 5 gallon Home Depot buckets for water tanks)
  • pantry (see open area under stove – later had a plastic basket for food storage)
  • 3 cups, 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 forks, 4 spoons, 4 knives
  • 3 pots/pans
  • 1 kettle, 1 hand crank coffee grinder, 1 french press
  • assortment of cooking utensils
  • assortment of spices
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mirror on extendable arm
  • citronella candle
  • paper towels, foil, zip-lock bags
  • hand soap in a pump
  • toothbrush and toothpaste

That’s all that I needed to survive.. 1 year later I have 3 kitchens (my house kitchen that is crammed with stuff – half of which I don’t use, my teardrop kitchen – same as above, and my new Trailer kitchen that is outfitted with mostly just essentials). May need to reduce the amount of stuff I have again as it just ties me down.

 

Coachman Trailer Upgrades

I’m headed over the pass to Eastern Washington for a couple bike races this Memorial Day weekend, and made some more upgrades to the trailer in preparation for that trip.

There will be three girls staying in the trailer Saturday night, so I am excited to see how well we all fit!

 Hanging Shoe Rack

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Shoe rack installed along the dinette and bed base.  Steps to build…I took a hanging shoe rack for the back of a door:

  • cut the sections apart
  • folded over the raw edge and duct taped it
  • installed 1/2″ grommets
  • attached to the trailer with command release hooks and velcro.

There is now storage for 6 pairs of shoes or 12 pairs of flip flops 🙂

Cork Board Travel Art

I have been trying to add color to the trailer since the day I got it.  The inside is all beige and brown, and that is going to slowly change.  I bought a frames cork board that I thought was the right size to go above the dinette seat, but it was too big.  I removed the frame and use command release velcro to attach the cork board to the wall.  I then added some of the fun travel art I’ve been working on and a spot of r my state license plate stickers…so far only Oregon and Washington.  I plan to put an upholstered ledge between the cushion and the cork board that is strong enough to stand on.  It will serve two purposes.  To hold the cushion in place and to step on to climb into the top bunk.  I’ll also trim out the other three sides of the cork board to give it a more finished look.

Magnetic Knife Rack

I finally got the magnetic knife rack from Harbor Freight installed.  There is a 1×2 backer on the inside of the cabinet behind the knife rack to give added support.  Basically everything that I need in the kitchen is now within easy reach.

Cabinet Storage

I also added more in cabinet storage solutions that I didn’t photograph.  There is a wire rack shelf in the cabinet above the bed to make folded clothes easier to get in and out.  I also bought a second wire magazine file that fits in the sloped front cabinet for storing under garments.  The side cabinet above the bed has a large plastic basket for games and toy storage….because that is a must on my world!

The more fun organizational and decorative features I add to the trailer, the more convinced I am that living in it is going to be awesome!

Living Small – Still Planning

I currently live in a 2 bedroom 1 1/2 bath duplex that also has a den.  It feels way too big for my liking, but it works for my kid and I at the moment.  I miss living in my tiny teardrop trailer and the simplicity of it all.  I had planned to convert a bus into a home after my kid graduates in a little over a year, but plans have changed a bit.  Since I bought a 17′ travel trailer a few months ago, the plan now is to live in that instead.

I bought the trailer with the possibility of living in it in the back of my mind, so here are my ideas on how to make that a possibility…..

Inside the trailer:

clipper17bh floorplan

Moving left to right in the floor plan above, the bathroom is small but has a mini garbage can next to the toilet (a plastic cereal container with a flip up lid and a bag inside) an extra shower curtain rod across the end to hang wet towels, and two baskets on the wall above the toilet for extra TP and additional storage.  On the door, there is a broom hook and a TP holder along with a mirror and two over the door hooks for more hanging options.

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There are currently bunks in the back corner; however, my plan is to move the lower mattress to the top bunk to make it a little thicker, and remove the lower bunk plywood (in a way that it can be put back later).

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I’ll put a closet rod length-wise for hanging clothes and hanging shelves, and a curtain over the opening to keep it all out of sight.  The upper bunk will remain a bed for house guests or to temporarily stack stuff on.

The rest will remain as it is, but with additional storage solutions in the cabinets as I know more what is needed.

I plan to attach a shoe holder to the base of the front bed.  It will consist of 2 elastic bands and be anchored at both ends and a couple places in the middle.  The shoes then slide behind the elastic bands and are off the floor and out of the way.

With my added storage ideas I should have room for everything if I really purge my belongings again.  I need to figure out a place to hang jackets still.  Maybe they will just have to go in the lower bunk turned closet.

Where to Park it?

I currently have a $1200/month rent payment, so once I no longer have that, my goal is to buy land on the peninsula and live in my trailer on it when I’m there.  I don’t know the requirements for doing this, but I will look into it more over the next year.  I need some kind of storage building as well as full hook-ups for the trailer.  I’d really like to buy a place with an old barn on it to possibly convert into a house one day as well.

10 Things I Hope to Teach My Child

I am saddened by all of the discord and hate that I see on my daily news feeds.  In a world that is increasingly more connected electronically, the disconnect as humans makes my heart ache.  The past couple months especially have made me step back and really think about the world my child will come of age in…it is not always a very pretty place, but I believe that it can be.  As parents, teachers, mentors…really as humans, we have the opportunity every day to teach our children.  We have the choice in each moment what we teach them though our words, our actions, our interactions with others.

10 Things I hope to teach my child….

One.  I hope to teach my child that kindness and empathy are more important than being popular.  

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Two.  I hope to teach my child that happiness comes from within.


Three.  I hope to teach my child that experiences are infinitely more valuable than possessions.

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Four.  I hope to teach my child not to judge people based on a group or what others say, but based on your own interactions with them.

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Five.  I hope to teach my child that the more you love, the more love you have to give.

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Six.  I hope to teach my child to approach the world with optimism while also setting healthy boundaries.

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Seven.  I hope to teach my child that you are never too old to play and have fun!

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Eight.  I hope to teach my child to enjoy the small beauties that arise every day.

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Nine.  I hope to teach my child to be self-sufficient and hard working while maintaining a  healthy balance of work and leisure.


Ten.  I hope to teach my child to leave it a little better than you found it.


Travel Trailer Organization


I just bought my 2017 Coachmen Clipper 17′ Bunk House travel trailer and have taken it on one bare essentials overnight.  Now it’s time to load it up with all the stuff that will stay in there permanently.  I want to be able to just throw in some clothes/food and take off whenever I want, so all of the other essentials need a home.

Attempt One – Travel Trailer Organization (I am sure after a few trips this will change some).  I have found most of the stuff below at Big Lots, Dollar Tree, and Target.  I have also been searching Pinterest for ideas, so those links are included as well.  I love bright colors so am spicing up the boring tan and brown interior with an Aqua, Yellow and Red palette that’s a little vintage and a little Boho.

Color Scheme

Color Idea

I spent a couple hours in the trailer over the weekend sorting and putting away, and also made a few more trips to the store.  There are still a few things I need, but the trailer is pretty well stocked at this point, but the colors aren’t really popping yet.  I need more pretty stuff!!

Kitchen

The upper cabinet above the sink/counter is fully loaded.  I used 3 blue baskets from the Dollar Tree for cups, bowls, and small storage, a yellow metal divided basket from Big Lots for plastic utensils and paper plates, an aqua-green metal magazine file for plastic plates and collapsible strainers, and a clear plastic container with an aqua lid for coffee beans.  I need to find a container for the french press, hand coffee grinder, and plastic coffee mugs.


The lower cabinet below the sink and stove is quite large and will fit everything else I need to keep permanently in the kitchen.  It currently houses the two pans (a large 12″ skillet and a 2 quart saucepan, the plastic shoe boxes with extra towels and large utensils, the cutting board, and plastic mixing bowl set with lids.


I mounted command release hooks on the wall behind the stove for the stainless steal serving/cooking utensils, the measuring cups, and measuring spoons.  I need to get a magnetic knife strip at Harbor Freight to put beside the stove for the knives and scissors.  I think I will put decorative paper on poster board and velcro it to the wall under the hanging items in case things rub during transit, they won’t damage the actual trailer wall, and it will add more color to the kitchen area.

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I also want to add some fun memes to stick up in the trailer with command release velcro to add color and inspiration.  I bought the paper at Michael’s and now have a lot of crafting to do!

Bathroom

The bathroom is not a bad size but there are not a lot of storage options, so I have had to get creative. I have a large metal basket that is too big for the bathroom to store bath towels in.  I ended up putting it under the rear dinette bench.  I also have three smaller baskets that I will hang on the wall above the toilet with command release hooks and velcro.  Those are to store washcloths, hand towels, extra TP, etc.

The door is a great space for extra storage, so I added over the door hooks (one inside the bathroom and one outside the bathroom.  I also will hang the TP roll and broom/dustpan on the inside of the bathroom door.

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Other than the two hooks, there is not a lot of room to hang wet towels to dry, so I added a tension rod in the bathroom to hang whatever is needed in there (wet towels, swim suits, etc).

Sleeping

I found a comforter for the front bed, but am still searching for a sheet set I like.  I also want fitted sheets to put on the bunks to add color and protection.  I will probably buy two twin sheet sets and use the top sheets to make curtains for the windows in the two doors, and possible some privacy curtains for the bunks and front bed.

Storage

I am keeping a cabinet empty for each sleeping spot for fellow travelers to store their personal belongings.

Front bed – two cabinets on the front wall of the trailer.

Dinette bed – middle cabinet above the dinette

Top bunk – left cabinet above the dinette

Bottom bunk – lower cabinet across from the bunks

I still have 2 1/2 empty cabinets for food storage. I have inside/outside accessible storage under the front bed for chairs, rugs, etc, and under the bunks for race gear.

Tune in next week as I start making the trailer prettier and finalize the last couple projects!

 

Keeping It Simple: Post Christmas Clean Out part 2

Christmas Village

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I bought myself a Lego Christmas Village set this year.  I still love to play with Legos, so what a perfect way to still act like a kid and have a little fun.  They have these Creator Expert sets that are pretty complicated to build, but oh so much fun!  It look me over 3 hours to build this one while I was home on Holiday.

I also have a very large Ceramic Christmas Village that I started collecting when I was 16.  It is getting too big for enjoyment these days as it is becoming more of a chore to put the whole thing up.  With the addition of Lego Village sets, I reduced the size of my ceramic village when I took it down this year.  My goal was to be able to store the whole village in 3 plastic bins (instead of 6) and then store the figures in one layer of the ornament box.  One can’t live in a tiny house with so many tiny houses in storage 11 months of the year –  and besides where do you even display a huge village in a tiny house?!?

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 Before Purging (there are several buildings that aren’t pictured here)

After Purging

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Buildings I am KEEPING

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Buildings listing on E-Bay

Got rid of 13 and kept 13. Now ALL of my Christmas decorations fit in this…

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As opposed to this…

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Oh so freeing to cleanse my life of stuff!!

Keeping Life Simple: Post-Christmas Cleansing

Simplifying life is truly an on-going process.  I really cleaned out my life before my gypsy summer, but there is still so much “extra” stuff floating around my house that will definitely not fit in my tiny house bus.  So, each time I get an opportunity to simplify, I try to take full advantage of it.

Post-Christmas has proven to be a great time.  I love to decorate for the holiday season, but I really, really dislike putting it all away.  So, it is January 24 and my house is in a state of half decorated chaos.

I took the tree down last week and went through the ornament box at the same time.  I of course am a bit nostalgic when it comes to that type of thing, but I kept all the special, one of a kind ornaments, and got rid of all the cheap plastic ornaments and glass balls that I didn’t even bother to use this year.

Half of a Dollar Tree shopping bag filled with ornaments.  Now, my ornament box is only half full, so the rest can be filled with the little figures from my Christmas village.

I have a lot of other random Christmas decorations around the house. A few of them are special to me, but most of them I put up because I have them.  So, as I went around the house un-decorating, I made two piles.  One to keep, wrap carefully and store, and the other in a box to donate.  Since I dislike the putting away process so much, it was easy to donate quite a bit because it was so much easier than packing it away again 🙂


The Decorations I kept that will be packed lovingly away


The Decorations I am donating and will be done with!!

If I had to guess, I’d say I got rid of about 1/3 of my random around the house Christmas decorations – I feel pretty good about that!

I think that is about enough Christmas Cleansing for one week.  Next week I will be tackling the Christmas Village….

Gypsy Bus – Floor Plan

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This is an example of the bus I want to purchase

01-10-17-bus-floor-planThe current Gypsy Bus floor plan is for a 12 window school bus with an engine in the front and emergency exit door at the rear. The bus interior will be about 33 feet long and about 8 feet wide – 264 square feet.  Removing the driver area and stairs (24 sq ft), and the bike storage in the back (40 sq ft), that leaves 200 square feet of living space.

The living space sleeps up to 4 people – a futon in the front and a lofted queen bed at the rear.  The living room/kitchen is 96 square feet with a full size wall hugging futon, fireplace, kitchenette, and fold out dining room table with wall-mounted TV above.

The bathroom is a 32 square foot pass-through with a shower/mini tub on one side behind a frosted glass sliding door, and a toilet/sink combo on the other side behind a solid sliding door.

The bedroom is 72 square feet with a lofted queen bed and fold down desk.  The dresser and closet space are under the bed on roll-out shelves allowing ease of access, but keeping it neat and tidy and out of the way.

The bike storage is accessed through the rear emergency exit door.  Wall hooks will allow for 5 bikes to be securely stored.  A corner shelf for riding gear and tools completes the “garage.”

The school bus will have black and gray waste water tanks as well as a fresh water tank – still deciding on location for those.  There will also be propane for the fridge and stove as well as DC and 110 power.  It will be fully self-contained with the ability to charge the RV battery using solar panels, or by plugging into a power source.  Putting this all on paper makes me realize just how much work I will be doing.  I have built a small teardrop trailer with DC power and a simple water system, so there will be some learning to do prior to tackling this new project!

New Year’s GOALS not Resolutions

I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions.  Even though they may be started with good intent, they rarely have a lasting impact in the long term.  I do, however, firmly believe in goals.  Goals of course can be started anytime of year, but with the New Year, it is a good time to evaluate goals and make a plan.

A big overarching goal in my life is to KEEP IT SIMPLE with the long term goal of living in a school bus turned tiny house and working for myself after my kid graduates from high school in a year and a half.  So, my goals particular to this year help promote that long term goal.  My goals for 2017 include Career, Family, Finances, Health and Home.

Career

Get my Federal Tax certification by the end of 2017.  My long term career goal is to have my own free-lance bookkeeping business.  Along with bookkeeping, I would like to be able to file taxes for additional income if needed.  That also fits well with my cycling schedule, since the slowest time of the BMX season is during tax season.

Family

It is a constant battle to get my 17 year old kid to take responsibility around the house.  I find myself all too often cleaning up messes in the kitchen I did not make.  I am a bit of an enabler when it comes to my kid, but I know this is not helping prepare for the future as we are now in the last year of “childhood.”  So, there are several parts in my goal to teach my kid a little more responsibility.

  1. Chores: Unload dishwasher every morning – then all dishes throughout the day can be rinsed and put directly in the dishwasher.  If this does not happen while I am at work, then when I get home in the evening, the dishwasher will be unloaded and all dishes stacked on the counter and in the sink put into it before friends, computer, and phone are allowed again. Fill firewood and kindling boxes every day (this includes chopping wood as needed).
  2. I always wish that I had a maid to clean my house, and my kid really wants to get a job.  So, I have the perfect solution.  I am going to “hire” my kid to be my housekeeper.  I will write up an “employment contract” and treat it just as if I have hired a cleaning service.  We both benefit and hopefully some lessons in responsibility will be learned.
  3. Learning to grocery shop and budget money is another life skill I would like to teach my kid this year.  Tay is now responsible for making a shopping list and shopping for the breakfast, lunch and snack food for the house.  I set a $50 weekly limit.  We went to the store on Wednesday and we both went off with a cart of our own…it seemed to be a pretty successful lesson that we will be continuing.

Finances

My goal is to keep better tabs on my spending throughout the year.  I have already started my 2017 Excel budget and am working on further tweaks in the January tab to see how that goes. I will update my spending/pay bills every Tuesday evening when I get home from work.  I hope that if I have a day to do this every week, I will be more consistent and it won’t be so overwhelming like it is now when I finally get around to looking at it.

Health

My health and fitness goals are directly tied to my BMX racing goals.  Coming off of a 2 month injury, I am ready to jump into the 2017 season with the goal again of District 1, State 1, Gold Cup (regional) 1, and National Age Group 1 –  and adding World 1 as the World Championships are in the USA this year.  I will be training in the gym and the kitchen toward these goals all year long – culminating at the finals in Tulsa, OK in November.

Home

With the Christmas season over, I have brought a number of new items into the house.  All really awesome and thoughtful gifts; however, when I went on my Gypsy Summer, I purged a ton of extra not needed stuff from my life and do not want to start accumulating too much again.  So, as I put my Christmas gifts away, if it causes a duplication, I will be getting rid of something old before the new can be put away.  That will be the blog post for next week, so stay tuned for more Christmas purging fun!

Until next time! I’d love to hear about your 2017 GOALS, so please feel free to share in the comments.