Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saguaro SKP RV Park, Campground Review

When we were visiting Tombstone, AZ, we stayed at this SKP park in Benson, AZ.  It was a great 'hub' and had the basics we needed to have a great over night stay.

Price- $17/night for full hook-ups

Amenities- The shower/restrooms and laundry were clean, although, we did not use them.

It is not a great place for families with small children to stay for a really long time; no playground or pool.  But it is clean and spacious.  :)

We would stay here again if we visit the area.



 Oh, the wild, wild, west!  Who doesn't just love the good ole' cowboys?  Passing through Arizona, we HAD to make a quick stop in Tombstone, a place filled with many stories of bravery and heroics, but also a lot of violence to keep what was right, RIGHT.

With dirt-paved streets, horse-drawn carriages and fancy garb, it was easy to feel as though you had been transported back in time!

This original bar and mirror was made and delivered from Pittsburgh!  Now, remember, UHAUL did not exist back in the late 1800's!  This piece was inside of the Bird Cage Theatre where most of the cowboys, like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday, visited on a regular basis.  It was also here, where Wyatt met his bride-to-be, Josie.  They were married for 47 years.  :)

Below, is a picture of Josie and a poem she wrote about the love held between her and Wyatt.  :)

Be careful visiting this town now a days!  It is VERY touristy, and you could drop MAJOR bucks if your not careful.
You've been warned....


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thousand Trails Palm Desert Campground Review

We stayed at another Thousand Trails RV Park in Palm Desert, CA., for 10 days.  It was a very nice park with hundreds of palm trees!  Literally!  They also had grapefruit trees and lemon trees for the picking.  :)

As with Thousand Trails parks, they have lots of amenities, like a great, heated pool, hot tub, pool tables, games, activities for the kids and play grounds.  :)

The only complaint about this campground are rules!  :)  They are a little restrictive in my opinion, but we had great company with our friends, the Harpers, and we swam everyday.  The weather was so awesome and with our new membership we stayed here for FREE!  I LOVE FREE!

This picture was just too cute not to share.  :)  The kids had NO problem sleeping with all the fun  at this campground!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving on the Road

I have so much to be thankful for this year.  I thought about making a list, but I decided that it may be a little much. (don't we all have a list?!)   :)  
Even though we have had challenges, and still do, because, that is just part of life, I can honestly say I am truly thankful.

This was our first Thanksgiving on the road, away from our family and friends, back home in Texas.  I wasn't sure how this was going to happen:

Do I buy a big turkey and try to cook it in my 5 inch convection oven?
Do I buy ALL the fixings?
Do I buy 7 different types of desserts?
Not only would it get very expensive, but the food would run us out of our little home on wheels really quick!
(there is not a whole lot of extra space, ya know?)  :)

Enter the Harper family!

The Lord not only provided a wonderful-awesome family for us to celebrate this holiday, but He also provided the campground's LODGE for us!  We had the whole place to ourselves!  We had plenty of tables and chairs, and even a big-screen t.v. to watch football!  HA!

And the food?  We had so much food, that we ate it again the next day!  Instead of turkey, we bought 4 baked, seasoned chickens at Stater Brothers, and Janet and I divided up the rest!  We also bought 3 pies!  We were not exhausted from cooking all day long, and the 'crew' loved it all!  :)

It was a Happy Thanksgiving.

"O Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever!"  Psalm 106


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back to California!!

When we were in Cottonwood, AZ., we met a very special family at the Thousand Trails campground and had an absolute blast.  We all connected so quickly and have SOOO much in common.  We talked about EVERYTHING; from religion and politics to parenting and simplifying life.  The kids also got along so well and had such a great time.

Well, after that week, they traveled west, to California and we traveled south to Tucson, and we thought that we would not see them again, for a very long time.  But, a couple days later, we got a Skype from them and LONG story short, we met up with them in Palm Desert, CA. for 10 more days!

This is just one blessing of living on the road.  We can literally go anywhere, anytime.  :)  We originally had plans to spend the next couple of weeks in different parts of Arizona, and Thanksgiving was going to be a little lonely, out in the middle of no where.  When Todd and I talked it over, it was only 5 hours away and we could celebrate Thanksgiving with them!  We were so excited to see them again, and the kids were thrilled.

So, flying by the seat of our pants, we went west!

 The Harper's are from Canada and also have five children.  We coordinated meals and games and movie nights, as well as, thrift-store shopping, swimming EVERYDAY, (yes, in November!), and going to the local Civil War Re-enactment.

 We also went to a local Flea Market that had rows and rows of STUFF to buy at really cheap prices!  We found socks, hats, a purse and yarn- all for under $10!  :)

 We played Sorry, General Knowledge, Skip-Bo, Lego Creation, Apples 2 Apples and many more!

The Civil War Re-enactment was FREE!  Love it!  It was in a beautiful county park and they had cannons and rifles and soldiers wearing their blue and grey.

The gun-fire was SO loud, and the cannons were a little overwhelming.  We all kept our ears covered.

Little Parker did NOT like the cannons one bit.

You could also buy from their Mercantile or observe the Blacksmith.

Here is the "Crew!"  Aren't they an adorable bunch?  :)

Yes, we had to do a silly one.  :)

Harper family, you are so dear to us!  We will miss you so much!
Looking forward to seeing you again, sooner, than later.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Catalina State Park, Campground Review

Outside of Tucson, AZ., we stayed at this WONDERFUL campground.  We stayed here for a week and had a great stay.  The hosts do a fantastic job checking everyone in and keeping the grounds immaculate.

Price- $25/night for electric and water.  There are two dump stations.

Location- Perfect for visiting Tucson.  Right across the street is a Walmart, and many shops, and the city of Tucson is 20 minutes or less, depending on what sights you are visiting.

Campground- the sites are HUGE, and you have plenty of room between you and your neighbors.  :) We picked our site with their online reservation system; site 32B.  It was right next to the restrooms, so it was very convenient.  The bathrooms were some of the cleanest I've seen.  They literally clean them at least once every single day.  You can not find a piece of trash, or dust or mold anywhere.

The scenery is just beautiful, with mountains, gorgeous sunsets, and the authentic desert vegetation.  The kids enjoyed riding their bikes all around the grounds and 'hunting' for lizards, enormous grass hoppers, and butterflies.  :)  We kept our eyes out for the rattlesnakes and tarantulas, and thankfully, never saw one!

I would definitely recommend this campground.  It was so peaceful and well kept.


Saturday, November 19, 2011


Living a life in an RV has been a process.  There are so many benefits, and yet, life is not with out challenges.   Believe me.  I am living in an RV with FIVE children!  :)  However, I can honestly say, after living on the road, full-time for nine months, that I LOVE it!
The picture above, is literally our backyard in Tucson, AZ.  One thing I love about traveling, is the landscape.  We have had beaches, rainforest, prairies, valleys, mountains, lakes, pools and national parks for our backyard for nine months!
 Another thing I love about living in an RV, is you can park where ever you want to park.  If the weather is nice, GO!  If the weather is awful, GO!  "Home is where we are."  :)

The RV lifestyle has opened up a whole new meaning to "creative play."  :)  I knew that my kids liked to play outside, and I knew that they had their creative moments, but I had NO idea until we were living by so many different natural surroundings, how creative they were.  One thing that they enjoy doing, is hunting for any and ALL kinds of bugs!  They even like to identify scat!  (for us city folk, that is animal or rodent poop!)  Ha!
The other thing we have learned to enjoy, is hiking.  I thought that hiking was just 'taking a little walk.'  Wow, was I misunderstood.  We have experienced a conquering feeling of accomplishment after a 3 mile hike, up hill!  Or the relaxing feeling of serenity beside a natural spring running beside a mountain and putting our feet in it, just because we can..... :)

They are learning things like: geography, geology, botany, history, and many other topics, all the while, learning how to be patient, or kind to their younger sibling who is taking too long.  They are learning how to work out math problems, yes, but more importantly, they are working out problems within their family.  I have witnessed more prayers, hugs and sweet fellowship in my children in the last nine months, than I did before we hit the road.  I LOVE it!

The other thing I LOVE about this lifestyle, is the spontaneity it brings!  All this time, the kids have not had their bikes.  I know.....dumb.....just plain dumb.....
We honestly did not know if they would want them or have opportunity to ride them, while we were hopping from state to state.  :)
Well, last week, as a surprise, we went to Walmart and got the kids new bikes!  Todd also bought one through Craigs List and got a sweet deal.  I will get one when we get home and we will also get the bike racks we need to haul these babies!  For now, I am helping Parker peddle down the trails or roads and loving the kids' new found 'freedom.' :)  They are loving these things!  Why we did not do this sooner, I don't know, but I am SO glad we did it!

I am not the kind of person that holds onto "things."  I am sentimental, though.  I am grateful to have the time to play, and relax with my kids in a whole new way.
Where ever we might be, we are together.  We are exploring together.  We are learning together.  We are LIVING together, like never before.

These are a few of my favorite things.  :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saguaro National Park

 In Tucson, AZ., we went to this interesting National Park for an afternoon.  It was a cloudy day to be in the desert, so it worked out just right. :)

 When we first arrived at the park, we drove to a picnic area to eat lunch and just absorb the scenery.  I was telling the kids how they really need to be extra careful when we start our hiking, because there are millions of cacti all around!

Well, wouldn't you know, that I was the FIRST and ONLY one to get stuck by a cactus!  I was leaning over to look at some cactus fruit on one plant, only to get pricked by another one!  Sneaky thing!
It literally left about a hundred burrs on my leg, and it went through my jeans!  Not pleasant.....
What made matters worse, is there were no bathrooms close by.
 So what do you do, when you're in the middle of the desert, with a leg covered in cactus burrs?

Yep.  I pulled my pants down to my knees and picked them off!  (I know.  Too much info!)  HA!

All this to share, so that HOPEFULLY, you won't have to go through this pain or embarrassment!  ;)
We had a good laugh as a family, and it is one that we will all definitely remember years down the road.

Did you know that ONE of these Saguaros holds around 16,000 gallons of water!!!  Unbelievable.

Here is a picture of a saguaro with the 'skin' removed.  It has a kind of skeleton that holds in all that water.

Our Ranger was a super-friendly man, who is also a high school teacher.  He was very interesting, and encouraging to the kids. :)

To earn a Jr. Ranger badge at this National Park, is quite a feat!  They had to complete the entire 20 page workbook! ( Usually, depending on the grade level or age, there are assigned pages to each child, ranging from 4-10 in a workbook.)

Wonderful job Golden Gang!  This is #33 Ranger Badges so far!!  :)


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Flandrau Science Museum & Observatory

On the campus of  the University of Arizona, there is a small science museum that we visited for FREE.  :)

 There were great displays showing how neon lights are made, and how much more efficient they are for advertising and electricity costs.

There were experiments for the kids teaching electricity, magnetism, and uses for helium.

Todd, Tanner and I spent some time playing a game involving the Periodic Table.

There was a huge room filled with minerals and gems.
This is a big piece of pyrite.

This display had many pieces of gold found by diggers and miners.

But the REALLY awesome part of our night at this museum, was the observatory!  In a separate section of the building, they lead you to the top, where a great telescope is held.

Through this telescope, we were able to see Jupiter and 4 of its moons!  We could see the different layers so clearly!  Too cool.

We also saw a lazer-light show in the planetarium for free.  The kids really enjoyed it.  ;)
Who says science is boring?!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

International Wildlife Museum

 Not only was this building pretty cool on the outside, but it was SOOO interesting and fun on the inside!

While we were in Tucson, AZ., we went here one afternoon.  It is on our museum membership, so it was FREE!  :)
The kids thought this statue reminded them of Aslan, from Narnia.

Once inside, the first room is FILLED with ugly, creepy bugs.  It is called, "The Bug Room!"

They showed bugs from all over the world.

They even had a live tarantula, scorpion, centipede and awful, hissing cock-roaches!  Me-Oh-My....

Just disgusting, in my opinion.

If you look really close, most of these branches are NOT branches!  They are HUGE walking stick bugs!

This is a cool skeleton of a boa.

I really appreciated this museum, not only because of the various creatures, but because they showed how taxidermy is accomplished.  They visually showed, step by step, how they are made and what they are made of.  It was fascinating.
Did you know that only the skins are original?  The teeth, eyes, claws, tongues and even noses are all plastic, or glass!!!

This was a beautiful case filled with Birds of Paradise.  Talk about fancy-smancy! :)

Of course, we had to have fun!

Parker found many opportunities to play, too.    :)

Can you imagine this deer walking out of a dense forest?!  Unbelievable!

This room was just awesome.  It had SO many cool animals.  You could spend hours just in this one room.

Yeah, Zach had fun in the ferret hole!

Later in the week, this museum also had a FREE movie night (Kung-Fu Panda) with FREE popcorn!
It was a great experience and educational.  Love it!