Monday, June 30, 2014

Juice Plus and Healthy Eating.

Let's talk healthy eating for a bit. I know, it sounds kind of boring but truthfully it's been one amazing leap for us. Back at the end of December, our family decided to take some drastic measures and revamp the way we eat and what we are putting into our bodies. I had had enough of others (companies, corporations, etc.) not caring about our health and our future so we decided to take it into our own hands. I mean come on, these companies KNOW that certain ingredients CAUSE CANCER and yet they continue to feed them to us and our children. Did you also know that these same companies create the same foods and take out those same ingredients when selling them in other countries because they are illegal over there? Just some things that make you go hmmm. Well, that was enough for us. I'm not going to continue to feed my children processed food filled with dyes and other harmful ingredients. Nope, not us. 

So about 7 months ago, I went cold turkey and quit buying all the colorful, frozen and processed foods.  I wasn't quite sure how the kids were going to do. They were used to their capri suns, doritos, lucky charms and frozen pizzas. But to be honest, I was shocked. They did great and are continuing to do great. Of course, I had lots of explaining to do though. They wanted to know why they couldn't have the dora gummies and then eventually, they started asking the good questions. They wanted to know why people would put bad things in food, Why are these foods not good for you, what is healthy to eat and the list goes on. I'm happy to know that they are aware that not everything we consume is healthy. It takes work and a conscience effort to eat well but at least we know we are starting them out young. 

It was also at this same time roughly that I began to look more into being a part of the Juice Plus team. Our family has been taking Juice Plus for several years. We LOVE the product and I know what is going in their bodies is good whole food. Myla, our youngest, is the pickiest of the three eaters. She eats NO veggies or fruits... NONE! Trust me, we've tried and it always results in tears. However, she loves her Juice Plus gummies and I feel super confident in giving them to her. I know that she is getting nutrients that she needs each day from a product that we support. These gummies are NOT vitamins. They are whole food nutrition coming from 17 different fruits, vegetables and grains in a chewable form. There are NO high fructose corn syrups and it contains NO artificial flavors or colors. It is 100% vegetarian! While it doesn't take the place of actual fruits and veggies, it truly is the next best thing. 

We are also proud supporters of Juice Plus in knowing that they are supported by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. A product that supports St. Jude's and in return supports the product, is great with us. Juice Plus is also proud to be the presenter of the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, which is one of their biggest events. Have I mentioned that we love these two organizations? :)  

Our son has already battled cancer once and after sitting back and realizing that companies could care less about the health of our children, Chris and I decided to change that. Of course, we all still consume the occasional Pepsi or candy bar, but overall, we no longer buy processed food in general. I can't help support companies that knowingly and willingly put products on a shelf that are geared only towards the financial gain of themselves. I just can't anymore. My kids are my future and I want to make sure they start to make healthy decisions in what they put into their bodies. It's been a real eye opener for us all but we feel great knowing we are stepping in the right direction. 

If you have any question about Juice Plus or would like start your family or child on this amazing product, feel free to email or message me. The link to JUICE PLUS can be found HERE.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

got plans?

Do we have a plan some of you ask? That's a pretty good question. Do we know how we will bring in the dough, where we will work, and places to stay?  Sure we have some ideas and as a matter of fact we have some plans, but nothing is set in stone... nothing. We can make plans and have ideas but the road before us is wide open. We aren't too sure what exactly the future holds but no one ever does. We have faith and know that He will provide. Does that mean it's easy? Of course not. As long as we have a roof over our heads, some food on the table and clothes on our bodies... we are all more than well off. It's so hard to live by these words when the the world around us is swarming with materialism. With all the "I wants", "I needs", and "Gotta haves" it makes living so simply a very difficult task. Even our own kids NEED things on a daily basis and by need, I'm not talking about food and water. I'm talking about the toys they see other kids have and the things they see in stores. They actually need none of that but rather want it and it's our goal to teach them between the two.

Chris and I are learning to live humbly. We've had our share of things go wrong with the RV already and they continue to go wrong. However, we are still blessed and we still give thanks. When the water from the kitchen sink has filled the pots to the brim, when the largest slideout we have won't come in, and when the hot water from the bathroom flows onto the bedroom carpet... we will continue to give thanks.  It's definitely not easy but we have learned and we will continue to appreciate the knowledge learned from these inconviences. All we know is that we are willing to make these sacrifices so that we can live the life we've dreamed. We also know who our provider is and that He is always in charge. As long as we keep the faith, pray and remember to be thankful for the many blessings we have, I'm pretty sure our plans will work. They may not go our way exactly but they will go in the way that He sees fit.

Everytime something breaks and/or leaks we begin to get on edge. We begin to become overwhelmed by all that needs fixing. Money doesn't grow on trees you know? So we have to sit back and consider what is most important. The slideout is a rather big problem. We can't be driving down the road with an extra 2-3 feet extended on the side. It needs to go in! End of story. Does the hot water leak in the shower "need" to be fixed? Well, it would be nice if it was fixed because it would be very convienent but it doesn't "need" to be fixed the way the slideout does. And so we shower at the bathhouse everyday, unless we want a cold shower, then we can do that here. On 100 degree weather days, cold showers are amazing! We are learning necessity over wants and then passing this info down to the kids. These aren't their worries though. The kids are rather simple. They could care less if the shower was hot or cold to tell you the truth. Their stress is that the camper behind us left and the kids had to leave with it. "So now, who do we play with?" is what they ask. Those are the things they worry about.  Pretty legit worries for a child I'd say. :)

And so you ask, "Do you have plans?" Our plans will be based off of circumstance. What is happening at the moment, how much gas do we have, are we loving the location, how much money is in the bank, etc. Those are the kinds of questions that will dictate the plans in the future and from those answers we will either go forward to new locations or stay put for awhile. But overall, Yes, there is a plan. It's just not filled with all the tiny details that so many other people would consider to be solid. Chris and I know and understand that plans don't always work out the way we hope. Things come up, life happens (good and bad), change occurs and we have to adapt.  But overall, there is a plan which the Lord knows every little bit of. So, we will trust what happens, have faith for the road before us, and enjoy our little journey of this nomadic life. As a family, we'd say those are pretty exciting plans.

"I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you so long as you look to ME."
-Jesus Calling

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Organizing the RV.

It's been almost a month since we have moved into the RV and boy that went by fast. Everyone has transitioned well and above all, we are just ready to see new things. However, we have to be patient and let our plans take their course. We will be taking a slight mini vacation at the end of July and we are all really looking forward to that. The location to where exactly is being narrowed down slowly. I'm pretty sure we know where we will be going though. :) 

As we have met other RVers and mingled with other campers at the campground, one of the number one questions asked is, "How do you organize it all?" Even people who don't RV want to know where we put the kids clothes, the toys, all the stuff, etc. So this post is to share just how we have managed to downsize from an 1100 sq foot house to a 200 sq foot RV. Enjoy.

The Kitchen Cabinet:
This is the cabinet that holds most of the kitchenware. We do have a drawer for utensils and a cabinet below for pots, bowls and other kitchen things but this one is the most highly used one. It's where the cups, cereal bowls, plates, seasonings, tupperware and blender items go. It works great for us and we have the system down. 

Entertainment & School Cabinet:

This cabinet is for our DVD's and school workbooks. We have over 600 DVD's ranging from educational to TV seasons. Chris and I have never had cable in our 10 years of marriage so movies have been our source of entertainment. We also accumulated lots of kids movies while Montana battled cancer due to the fact that he was unable to get out of bed much.  I went through each DVD, cut out front of the image using a template I made and then organized them according to genre. So far, so good.

Business and Household Paperwork:

This area used to hold a small old tube T.V. We decided to take it out and utilize the space for more organization. It works great for what we need and gives us more space in other areas.

Bathroom Cabinet:

Our bathroom cabinet is organized with bins from the dollar store. I hated that everything would fall over when we traveled and needed a new way to keep it organized. This was the answer and it works great.

The Kids Cabinet:
This was the tricky cabinet. I needed to figure a way to get all three kids in the same area with all their clothes, toys, and extra things. After moving things around several times, this is how it ended up. It has worked great, the kids know their areas and the toys are conveniently located. Descriptions are on the below image.

The Kids Cabinet Descriptions:

This is my (Jessica's) Cabinet:

Chris' Cabinet:
He has the two that are open as well as the two drawers beside it. He really doesn't have too many clothes. :) 

The Kitchen Food Area:

Here is where we house the food for the most part. We do have a small cabinet for large items, such as cereal but this is the location for pretty much everything else. Thanks to IKEA for all of our temporary furniture. :)

The Lego Ottoman:

We knew we wanted to take our Legos with us but weren't quite sure how. Then this idea came to mind and we went with it. It works amazingly well for the kids. They know where they are, they can pick them up and we can hide them... A-MAZING!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Feeling hot.

For awhile there, the weather was amazing! It was the perfect camping weather for bbqing, hanging out and taking walks. Pretty much cool days in the high 70's, low 80's. Well that didn't last long. Now we find ourselves at the pool during the day or hanging out inside because of the 100 degree heat. It's been a beast I tell ya. I'm happy to say, however, that the inlaws were here for most of the nice weather. They got lucky and could enjoy two full days at Busch Gardens, walks in Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown and were able to enjoy meals outside. The kids even had a few sleepovers in their Airstream.  Everyone had a great time and it was a fun little visit. After they leave the kids go through a Gigi & Papa detox. They're always sad to see them leave but we know we will see them again soon. With the way our family's like to travel it wouldn't surprise me if we ran into any of them at an airport or rest stop. So many of us just love to go. I know for Chris and I, it's the journey of seeing new places, experiencing new things and just being out. Going, seeing and doing.. that's the Oatman clan.

And so here we are, settling in again. I'm playing catch up on work, the kids are staying cool and we try to fix any little thing wrong with the RV so that it doesn't turn into much bigger problems later on. We're also in the process of trying to find work for in the new year. So if any of you know of any amazing places to work or campgrounds to stay at in the lower states (as in warm - TX, FL, etc.)  feel free to send them our way. We have no set plans as of yet.  Many things will change as we hit the road but the adventure ahead is what we are excited about.

You only live once, so make today fun!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cancer Free.

So yesterday was a big day in our house. It marked 4 years ago that our amazing son, Montana, took his last dose of chemo. I remember that day like it was yesterday. What a celebration it was then and what a celebration is was yesterday. We don't take it lightly. He survived leukemia, a cancer that in the 60's only had a 4% survival rate. He battled it for roughly 2.5 years with many ups and downs along the way. Though he doesn't quite realize what he overcame, we will continue to inform him of his blessings and his winnings. One day, he will look back and see exactly what an inspiration he was to so many, including his family. So, here is to Montana's second chance at life and here is to many many more. May the Lord continue to always use him in such amazing ways!! We love you little guy.

"But it all turns out all right you see. And I go back to being me."
Dr. Seuss

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A father's love.

Today is Father's Day and there is no better father in the world for my kids than one they have right now. My husband, their father... he is perfect. He loves them, teaches them, plays with them and shows them the true meaning of life. Adventure is in his bones and it's his passion to make it theirs. He wants them to value life and he wants it to always be a journey. That is what I love about him and I'm sure that one day, they will too. It's hard to understand that life can be short, that what others think is important is not what is important to us. He knows the importance of family, faith and fun and strives to always place us first. So to the most amazing father in the world... Happy Father's Day. We love you Chris.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Before and After. The RV reno.

A few people have wanted to see some images of the way our RV looked before with the ones of the RV redone. I didn't take a ton initally so I don't have a lot of the befores. I tried to do the best I could with placing them by the images of after. I would loved to have painted all my cabinets white but just didn't have the time nor the income to do that as of yet. Maybe eventually we will get there but for now here is the way it looked before vs. what we have now.  And if you want to see the entire renovation for after, it can be found HERE. Enjoy. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Settling in.

It's been almost two weeks now of living in the new home. Somehow in many ways it doesn't feel like much has changed. It doesn't feel hugely drastic, the kids are quite happy, everything has its place and this RV has become our comfy home. I believe we have a routine down as far a bedtime, watching T.V, doing laundry, cooking and working. Sure, it's smaller and we have to work things around one another to get some stuff accomplished but its not like we are being put out. Chris and I have already seen just how little we actually need. I mean seriously, do I really need a bathroom that has two sinks, more storage that I know what to do with, or even a house as a matter of fact that has 2-3 bathrooms? Not really. It's all for convenience. In the gist of things, I still have a home that is larger than most of the population of people in this world. That right there is an eye opener. We all want things because it either makes our life easier (we think), to show others that our stuff is just as nice or nicer than theirs, or because we actually don't even know why. We just want and buy and need because that is what society says we should do. But, we don't. Chris and I have decided that as a family we are getting out of that rat trap. We need only the clothes we can wear, food to eat, and a loving home for our kids. And that loving home will end up being where ever we are. It doesn't matter if it's in a 4000 sq. foot home or if we are tenting it in a national park. Their home is with us. 

Does everything always go right.. heck no!! We've had our fair share of mishaps already. The kitchen was leaking, the shower is leaking, the slide motor is still broke and I'm sure so much more will occur. But that's nothing new. No matter where we live or what we do, something will go wrong or not work. It's a fact of life. What does matter is our happiness and the health of our kids. It's our priority to show them that experiences and memories are worth way more than stuff could ever be. This RV is one way we plan on doing that. Life is so short and we plan on living it now.