Archive for Camping Adventures

We’ve received some really great questions about our decision to launch in to fulltime RV life and traveling with the kids.  I thought we could start to answer a few of them here! The #1 most asked question is: How are you all going to fit in an RV?!?!

6 of us will be traveling regularly and Ty will visit us occasionally.  We chose a 5th wheel RV.  They are typically larger than your average travel trailer, have more headspace, more storage, etc.  A 5th wheel is towed behind a heavy duty truck, meaning it is not a self contained motorhome that you drive.  We looked at motorhomes but we didn’t feel they offered the storage space or safety for kids in carseats that we needed.  We will trade in our Expedition for a heavy duty dually truck.  We also own a Honda Pilot.  It is very close to being paid off and we haven’t quite decided what to do with it.  We may leave it with Ty as a second vehicle for him so that we can have use of it when we return to life in a house down the road.  We may sell it so we don’t have the added expense of insurance, we just aren’t sure yet.  No matter what, Jason is SUPER excited to get a big truck.  Because we are a family of 6 +2 dogs, we will add what is called a Cowtown Sleeper on to the truck.  This will give us additional seating so that we can all safely travel in one vehicle together with the dogs and not caravan. We want to be in one vehicle as we pass by the world’s biggest spool of yarn lol!  5th wheels are surprisingly roomy.  Our home was 2100 square feet.  The new RV is 430 square feet.  A pretty significant downsize for a big family.  I think most people are surprised when they see it – it has so many comforts of home.  Some of our must haves when shopping included:

  • A kingsize bed.  A must since we will co-sleep with Zachary for quite awhile longer.
  • A washer and dryer.  6 people create a crap ton of laundry.  Especially 6 people who adventure (and use their shirts as napkins ::cough cough:: Jude) regularly.  Plus cloth diaper.  Neither of us has the desire to find laundry mats every couple of days.  We upgraded from an all in one washer/dryer unit to a stackable that will live in the master bedroom cabinets.
  • Space for the kids.  The middle boys will get what is called the “mid bunk” in our RV.  It’s a separate room in the middle of the floor plan.  It comes with a couch, desk and wall of storage.  We will remove the couch and install bunk beds for all 3 boys even though Zachary will co-sleep with us for quite a bit longer.  It’ll be there when he’s ready.  Taryn will have her own loft area and we will put a curtain up to give her some privacy.  The couch in the living room folds out and Ty can stay there or we will put him up in a hotel when he visits.  It’ll depend on the location.
  • A living space that provides everyone a place to sit and room to play.  This was definitely a must.  Our trial run in a travel trailer with only one small love seat just didn’t cut it for our big family.
  • A large residential size refrigerator.  Being a food allergy family, traveling with food that is safe for our kids is super important to us. We don’t have the luxury of driving through fast food places on busy days.  Food was a big challenge to overcome in making this leap – more on that soon!  We also have a nice sized pantry.  Another must for us.
  • A shower and bathroom big enough to actually move in.  The shower in the travel trailer we rented was tiny.  If we are friends on facebook you may have gotten a good laugh (at my expense) when I shared about our public shower experience on our trail run.  I made it public so you can read it but I’ll forewarn you that we were a hot mess.  Big shower = must because my family cannot cope with shower stalls and quarters y’all.
  • We sit and eat almost every single meal as a family.  A table big enough for that isn’t standard with any RV but my super handy hubby is going to put his magic touch on it.  I can’t wait to show you what he’s going to build!  So excited!  We will be set up to eat outside quite a bit as well.
  • Lots of windows.  And boy does the one we ordered fit the bill.  I didn’t want to feel like I’m living in a box.  We are traveling this beautiful country and I want to see it, even if I’m inside!  Our model has tons of huge windows, I love that!
  • Not a must but definite perks include a fireplace in the living room and an outdoor kitchen.


You can see photos here.

And take a virtual tour here.

I’m really excited to move in and put our own personal touch on it!  It’s going to require so much organization and really narrowing down what we actually need, instead of all the things we want.  Homeschool items, books, games, just a few toys, clothes, shoes, dishes will fill it up fast!  Our plan is to LIVE outside, sleep inside.  Of course we will have bad weather days where we need to hunker down and we will make it work with games, movies, etc.  Or even a trip to the library.  While there are spaces for 3 televisions in our RV, we opted to only leave 1 in and we will sell the others. So that’s our new RV.  We can’t wait to get it from the dealer and start working on it to make some changes and customize it a bit! Ok, I’ll come back and answer more questions tomorrow!  Including how we will manage food allergies on the road, healthcare on the road and more!

ps – Thank you for all the love, encouragement and support with our announcement yesterday.  I was nervous to put it out there and our tribe showed up to love on us in a big way.  Thank you!

Catching up on a bit of 2016 blogging so please bare with me.  This was actually 2 camping trips ago.  We had a great time, but it was a tough trip for me.  I had a serious foot injury, which meant limited mobility, no hiking, no exploring, no going down to the water to play with the kids (and no water photos this time around with the exception of the ones we took at Garner State Park).  But the trip was still so worth it through the pain.  Camping is our big reset button as a family.  No electronics, reconnecting, outside in nature.  Maggie and her obsession with thinking she’s a people and sitting in people chairs still makes me laugh.  The fireflies.  Oh the glorious fireflies.  They were so magical.  I’ve never seen so many in my life.  Jude called them “God’s glitter” and I can’t think of a better description.  It was very strange to not have Ty with us on this trip.  Camping is his thing and we missed him so much.  We’ve been hitting the Frio and these cabins for the last couple of years but our next trip was to Oklahoma.  I’ll be back to blog that soon as well….camping_1camping_2camping_3





We are celebrating our last day of camping with muddy feet, fox jams and cheesing smiles.


Camping. Fresh air. Room to breathe, reflect, heal, pray. We all need this right now.

camping theme homeschool

This week was about one of our favorite things:  camping!  Actually, it was more like 2 weeks since we ventured out for some real life experiences in a cabin on the Frio River.  We always have a blast there and I took over 1,000 photos with my real camera (coming soon).  Instead of our usual sensory bin, we opted this week to do camping scenes that we made out of paper and other manipulatives.  I love that as the week went on they grew and changed and were moved all around.  Taryn and Jude also painted story stones.  You can see a video of Taryn telling part of her story using stones here.  I think Jonah’s favorite was the pretend campfire Taryn and I set up for him in the living room.  Complete with cotton ball marshmallows.  It was great practice for the real thing just a few days later.  I love that homeschooling gives us the flexibility to get out in to the world more.  To go, do, see, touch, travel and explore.

Daily Devotional Jesus Calling / 365
Bible Verse Matthew 6:24
Character Humility
Letter of the Week Mm
Number of the Week 13
Shape Star
Color Red
Theme / Science Camping!
Physical Education Hiking
Health / Food Almonds
Sensory Camping Sensory
Art Paint Walking Sticks
Music This Little Light
Story Time Curious George
Play / Game Pretend Fire Pit
Additional Resources:  
Handprint Campfires
Camping Story Stones
Camping Printables
Camping Print Pack
Camping Coloring Page
Blaze A Trail
Kids Campfire Book
Camp Out: Kids Guide
Survivor Kid
Guide to camping with kids
Kids Road Trip Atlas
Travel Activity Book
Camp Board Game
Camping Play Set
Camping Memory Match
Paper Play Set
Scavenger Hunt
Buiscut Goes Camping
Amelia Goes Camping


These two find so much amusement in each other. I fall in love with them both all over again at least a few times a day. This day, it just happened to be at a waterfall in the woods.


Our dog thinks she’s a person. While we were camping she insisted on tubing down the river on Ty’s lap. If we had her on the leash she’d whine constantly to go out with him. As soon as we let her go she’d go jump on. You know, cause it’s totally normal to tube down the river with a 60 lb dog on your lap. Crazy dog.


My favorite place to be with my yahoos, cabin camping on the Frio River.

I’m *finally* done editing these.  We took a big camping trip in the fall to celebrate Jason and Jonah’s birthdays.  Thankfully, my mom and Jason’s parents were able to make the trip.  Our last camping trip was a total blast so we were really looking forward to going again.  We made so many wonderful memories….stradtner_family_camping_trip_01

We stayed in different cabins during this trip because our usual ones were booked up.  It turned out to be a blessing because we had to drive down to the river and it was super easy access for my mom who had just had knee replacement surgery 2 weeks prior.  My favorite thing was sitting on the front porch first thing in the morning, with the kids piled on our laps in the rocking chairs, wrapped in blankets.  We were definitely thankful for beautiful weather – warm enough to swim during the day and cool enough to snuggle around the fire at night.  It was perfect.  The kids had fun playing in the river and spent hours skipping rocks.


Taryn is constantly asking to go fishing.  Fishing with her grandpa is a dream come true for my girl.  We didn’t catch much but we sure had fun making memories and chasing lost bobbers.  Taryn would go fishing every single day if she could!


Taryn wrote us wonderful stories to read around the fire.  And we sure enjoyed Jason’s mom and dad being just one cabin over.  Note to self:  buy more hammocks, my children battled over it and we definitely need more.


The grandmothers planned some fun activities for the kids.  One was a spiderweb maze.  It was intended for Taryn and Jude but Jonah ended up being really, really, good at it.  Turns out being short is a benefit, ha!


We also hit the state park.  The water was COLD and it took quite a while for all of us to get in.  The good news is that we were some of the only crazy people in there so the guys had the rope swing to themselves.  I had so much fun floating around with Jude shivering.


And then….my baby had his last day of being 1.  So bittersweet.  I love this little boy so much.  He really is our happy little camper….

stradtner_family_camping_trip_07 stradtner_family_camping_trip_08

And just like that – my baby is 2.  Time flies.  He had a wonderful birthday.  And somehow I managed to cook a grain free paleo cake in the woods.  And it was so good!  Next up was a scavenger hunt.  We broke up in to teams.

stradtner_family_camping_trip_09 stradtner_family_camping_trip_10

After 5 days, we were all missing our own beds.  But we had to make one last trip to the river before heading home.  I think we could live on the river and be perfectly happy.  Oh!  And Taryn lost a tooth!


Jonah loved his birthday gifts and spent so much time chasing his tractor on the porch.  We came home and I booked 2 camping trips for 2015.  It’s so great for our family to reconnect and spend time outdoors, away from technology.  I did a session with Jonah while we were there to celebrate his birthday – I’ll come share those next!!