RV Trip Update: Week 1: Nashville & Atlanta

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We have been pretty busy during our first week on the road. We are adjusting to RV life. Five people in 300 square feet comes with a few complications, but all are pretty minor.

Our Time In Nashville TN

Opryland Hotel

We were originally going to be in Nashville just one night but then we decided to start our trip two days early. We both felt that a one night stay might be just a bit too much for our first 24 hours on the road.

I am so glad we did leave early because it allowed us to show our children a few sites my husband and I have seen before but they haven’t.

One place we took them was the Opryland hotel. It doesn’t cost a penny to wander around the hotel but parking does cost if you decide to park near the hotel. We walked over from a neighboring shopping mall with free parking and from the looks of things we were not the only thrifty family that did so.

It takes around an hour or so  to see the hotels various indoor atriums. We went at night and I think I preferred it better to daytime as the light shows in the atriums were brighter and had more sparkle.

Pharmacy Burgers

One thing my husband and I both wanted to do on this trip was to experience local restaurants. We don’t plan to eat out more than once or twice a week but when we do we want to experience local favorites.

Yelp seems to be a great way to discover such places. It helped us find The Pharmacy in Nashville. I had the Falafel burger with sweet potato fries and a ginger phosphate –yum. Normally we just drink water and lemon in restaurants but we made an exception at The Pharmacy since they made original sodas on site.

Everyone in the family was extremely happy with what they ordered and was full all the way to dinner time–something that rarely happens with our teenagers and 20 year old son.

KOA Nashville

While we were in Nashville we stayed at the KOA near the Opryland hotel. This probably wasn’t a good idea, only because it SPOILED US. We now know just how good camping can be.

As I said last week the weather was freezing in Nashville the short time we were there causing my husband to worry about freezing pipes. To put his worry to rest we got a campsite very close to the restrooms so we could dry camp (not hook-up water). I was wondering what the quality of the bathrooms would be like but was very happy to find them well heated and well maintained. They were clean at all times of the day despite the park having numerous other campers.

The park did have free wifi but it was painfully slow at most times of the day. I did however find the wifi in the common house to be very fast and the decor in the common house was so comfortable (that is it in the picture above)

 

 

Life Is Precious

The morning we were pulling out of Nashville my husband took a walk and returned with the news that an RV had burned during the night. Our family somehow slept through it all.

From the details we were able to get from people at the scene we discovered that the occupant did not survive. The news weighed heavy on our hearts all day. I prayed for his/her loved whenever I thought of it.

This incident, and a car accident that happened right in front of us in Atlanta, have been BIG reminders to both my husband and myself that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Don’t put off what you could do today, hug that loved one, end that fight with your spouse, tell your child you love them.

Georgia  Aquarium

We spent our first full day in Atlanta at the Georgia Aquarium. I have been to over half a dozen or more aquariums in my life and I have to say the Georgia Aquarium blew them all out of the water!

We plan on doing more hiking and biking than visiting aquariums and such on this trip, but we made an exception with Atlanta because they offer a CityPASS that cuts the cost of visiting such local sites almost in half.

I noticed CityPASS also offers a Seattle package, and since we are going to be spending 2 full days there later in the trip we might just see the sites it offers there as well.

Bible Study By the Lake

Obtaining personal refueling time is a little trickier than I thought it would be. Thanks to earplugs I am able to fall asleep before the rest of the family and therefore get up before them. However the current dark cool mornings mean I am stuck inside wearing a headlamp,trying to be as quiet as possible, so as not to wake the rest of the family.

Plus, I need to get work done sometime. So far I have found it easier to work in the RV in the morning while the family sleeps (campground wifi is faster in the early morning) and  have my quiet time later in the day.

This week I have been packing up my bible, coloring pencils, and camp chair and heading lake side to have my time of bible study and prayer after we get back from whatever we have been up to for the day.

The view is awesome and even better it is warm! I am wearing shorts in January.

Stone Mountain

Our family hiked the one mile to the top of Stone Mountain one beautiful afternoon. From the top of it you can see all of Atlanta’s city centers. Honestly we didn’t even realize Atlanta had multiple city centers until we reached the summit and saw them clearly defined.

My son and I hiked the trail again on Saturday afternoon and then proceeded to get lost trying to find our way back to the campground. Thankfully, my hubby was able to correct our course. I think that is the last time this direction challenged mom will try and head out by herself  until we hit more familiar territory again (or at least a smaller center).

 

Rock Climbing Wall At The Atlanta Zoo

Our eldest son currently volunteers at a zoo, and is hoping to work at one once he finishes his degree in biology, so he was thrilled that our cityPASS included tickets to the Atlanta zoo.

The zoo is located in a wonderful neighborhood of brightly colored heritage homes. Our kids caught my husband and I drooling over the architecture of the area as we walked over to eat at Grant Central Pizza. The restaurant is just a short walk from the zoo and serves a pretty mean lasagna.

The zoo itself is small but very clean and has a great variety of animals. My favorite part of the zoo though had nothing to do with animals.

I have always wanted to try rock wall climbing but it just never has been a money priority. Our zoo tickets included access to the zoo’s rock wall. I figured if I was ever going to try rock wall climbing now was my chance.

My daughter went up with me first and scaled it like nothing. I tried three times during her climb to make it to the top and another three times while my husband successfully made it up.

I might not have made it up all the way this time but I did learn something–I love rock wall climbing!

Grant Park Coffeehouse

Right across the street from the zoo parking was the Grant Park Coffeehouse . I remembered seeing that they had good reviews on Yelp when I was looking up where to eat lunch in the area.

I hesitated going since it was late in the day to drink iced coffee (well at least for me) but I am so glad we went! Seriously had the best iced coffee of my life at this place.

The hubby and one of my sons had a fruit smoothie and it was amazing too. My daughter had their caramel frappe and again amazing! I know because being the foodie I am I insisted on sampling all of them.

 

Laundry day at Spin Clean Coin Laundry

In case you should think we are busy seeing site after site every day I want you to know we still have chores to do. Saturday we took care of laundry and grocery shopping.

Today (Sunday) we went to church (not a chore but a much needed time of worship) and now as I write I am sitting in a local Starbucks writing this post.

The campground does offer free wifi but it slowed to a crawl, even in the campground common house, Friday evening when the population of the place more than quadrupled.

What I Miss & What I Don’t

One of the things I wanted to do during this trip is chronicle things I miss  about our regular home and life and what I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to be able to take this trip, this list isn’t to be negative about the trip at all.

This list instead is for me to see what I haven’t missed at all, so that when I get home I can get rid of the things in my home that are causing me to live a cluttered life.

I miss….

  • Friends
  • Our washer and drier
  • My morning yoga class

I don’t miss..

  • Having my husband gone all day at work
  • The rest of my wardrobe
  • All the small appliances we didn’t bring

Come back next Monday to see what we got up to this week.

Join me on Instagram for daily updates. I am doing my best to  post one photo update a day on Facebook too.

First time hearing about our trip ? You can catch up on our all our trip updates on the RV trip page.

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How To Stop Being Embarrassed By Household Clutter

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I asked the members of my decluttering facebook group a while back if clutter ever stopped them from enjoying their home as much as they could and many answered yes.

Several went as far to say that clutter stops them from inviting people into their home. I can only imagine that the core reason for this is that they are embarrassed by household clutter.

Dear cluttered friend, I have been there too. In the past I have looked around my home and thought, “No way am I inviting so-and-so over! This place is too much of a mess and I can’t possibly get it looking good enough for visitors by….”

Stop being embarrassed by household clutter!

 

But I am happy to say that those words hardly ever come out of my mouth now. Please don’t get me wrong, I am still dealing with clutter, but it no longer stops me from inviting people over.

How To Stop Being Embarrassed By Clutter

1. Come up with a doable plan to attack your clutter

I am not suggesting in this post that you decide to just feel good about your clutter and invite people over to eat dinner between the piles on your dining room table–nope! Clutter does need to be dealt with.

Clutter is not only embarrassing, it is a health hazard. Trust me, clutter is weighing you down both mentally and physically.

However, I want you to be realistic with how long it will take you to attack your clutter. In order to do that you must also be truthful about your decluttering personality.

Are you a weekend purger or a little at a time type of person? Whatever your decluttering personality type you need to write a plan that suits and stick to it.

If you prefer to follow a pre-written plan here are a few books that can help:

You can also try my 52 weeks to a simplified home.

You can always change your plan if it isn’t working for you, but you cannot stop attacking your clutter. Keep at it!

2. Declutter the most public areas of your home first

Guests generally don’t enter all areas of your home, so focus on decluttering those they do first. Once these areas are clutter free inviting someone over isn’t as scary. Simply shut the doors on the other areas. It is a rare friend that would dare enter areas with closed doors without permission because truth be told almost everyone has a “closed door for a reason” room.

  • The entrance way (for some homes this may include the front porch leading to the entrance way)
  • The living area closest to the entrance way
  • The bathroom guests use
  • The kitchen
  • The dining room (or wherever the table is that you use to share a meal with friends)

How to Make Time Spent Decluttering FlyHow To Make Time Spent Decluttering Fly By

3. Make keeping them decluttered a priority

Too many times I have said, “Good, those areas are decluttered now I can move on to…” and then I do and I forget one essential step–keeping the public areas free of clutter.

If you want to get rid of clutter shame for good, you need to devote some time each and every week to removing clutter from the public areas of your home. Clutter grows quickly. A pile of unopened mail here, a pile of craft supplies there, a pile of stuff from the back of the car there and then BAM! The piles seem out of control and you cringe at the thought of company.

However, if instead each time you carve out time to declutter you devote the first portion of it to maintaining the public areas you already decluttered, it won’t have time to grow and your home will stay company ready.

Another way I keep continuing the fight against clutter in public areas in my home is by repeating these 3 simple steps over and over each day. After a while I just started doing them without thinking and they truly are my greatest weapon in keeping my home “almost” company ready at all times. To me “almost” company ready means that my home is fine for close friends, but about an hour away from making its best first impression on new friends.

4. Realize everyone is human

Trust me, your friends don’t live the clutter free lives they portray on Instagram. I for one will admit to actually temporarily removing a pile of clutter out of the way so I can take an awesome picture of the dessert I baked that turned out perfect for once!

Stop waiting for your home to be 100% clutter free in all areas to invite friends over. Instead, get the public areas of your home 80% decluttered and start inviting people over anyways.

Honestly, they won’t say anything about your random pile of your child’s school papers on the corner of the kitchen counter because they have one of their own at their house.

5. Come up with a visitor plan

I have two different visitor decluttering plans. I have the invite friends over because it will help me catch up on my clutter piles plan and the “Oh no!” a friend just called and said she is dropping by in 15 minutes decluttering plan.

In the first I purposely set a date for someone to come over and then make a plan to intentionally remove clutter piles from public areas of the home before they arrive. I like doing this because it gives me a reward of something I like doing, spending time with friends, in trade for sticking to something I hate doing, decluttering.

My “Oh no!” plan includes grabbing laundry baskets from the laundry room, throwing all random piles of clutter from the public areas of my home into them, and then shoving those baskets into my bedroom and shutting the door.

Both plans have their place and both work well for me.

4 Essential Items for Efficient Decluttering4 Essential Items For Efficient Decluttering

6. Never stop decluttering

I know this one is hard to hear, but in our consumer society we fight what can sometimes seem a losing battle with conquering piles of stuff.

It might not even be stuff we buy, but stuff given to us as gifts or for free from events we attended.

I knew when I finished my 52 weeks of decluttering I needed a way to keep clutter at bay in my home, which is why I went on to making myself fill one box each month with things to drop off at the thrift store. I plan to make this a forever habit. Every month for the rest of my life a box is going to the thrift store–no exceptions.

7. Know you are not alone

You are not the only one fighting a clutter battle. Just check out the slew of decluttering books out there. Those authors don’t write books no one will read.

If you need decluttering support, join my decluttering facebook page. In the group we discuss areas we plan to declutter over the next week, post pictures of progress and cheer each other on.

You are not the only one to feel embarrassed by your clutter, but you are the only one that can put an end to those feelings.
Stop feeling embarrassed by your home and start a plan of action that will make you feel good about it!

More decluttering help:

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RV Trip Update: On Our Way

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I am sitting in our RV at the end of our first day on the road as I type this.

Our first day on the road has turned out to be rather uneventful except for one thing — the FREEZING weather.

When I woke up Saturday morning I turned on the weather app and discovered that it was -1 Fahrenheit. That is pretty gosh darn cold!

I then looked up the temperature for the day in Nashville,which was our destination, and it was showing a daily high of 20 Fahrenheit.  Granted 20 is a lot higher than -1 but it is still cold.

When my husband woke up we spent time praying for wisdom together. Do we leave in such cold temperatures or do we wait it out until Nashville is at least above 30?

We decided to go for it with the back up plan of ditching the RV for a hotel if we couldn’t get it warm enough. We have never tried camping in cold weather before so we really were not sure if the heater in the unit was going to be able to keep up. Plus my husband was very concerned about water pipes freezing.

With our minds made up we flew into action packing the last of our items and making sure the house was ready for the house/dog sitter.

The drive to Nashville was relatively uneventful except for a few stressful moments at a gas station trying to maneuver the RV around the pumps and back onto the road. We want to ideally stop at large gas stations that cater to  semi-trucks but today we ran low on fuel and there were none in site.

We pulled into the campsite at Nashville in time to unpack and start dinner. It was higher than the weather app said it was going to get but still pretty cold. The RV warmed up quicker than we thought it would though.  It took about half an hour to feel livable and an hour to be warm and cozy.

We decided to not hook up our water for now. We are two spots over from the restrooms in the campground and they are warm and very clean. We do have to bundle up to use the facilities, but my husband really didn’t want to risk frozen water pipes.

It feels a little surreal to finally be doing something that started as a dream years ago and became a plan just 9 months ago.

This week we are heading to Atlanta and I promise in next week’s update I will  have pictures of what we see . For now I just wanted to let you know that the adventure has finally begun.

Follow me on Instagram for the latest pictures of the trip.

Click over to my RV trip page for a complete listing of our trip updates.

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