Welcome to the Beach House!

Welcome to the July 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Vacation

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their family-travel tips, challenges, and delights. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


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Two years ago, when we first moved to Ohio, our house in Missouri was on the market, and we couldn’t afford to buy or rent a house yet. We were able to buy a 31 foot camper trailer, park it at a campground, and live in it for 4 months. It was a great solution when we didn’t have a lot of options.  The problem with the camper was that we didn’t have anything we could haul it with.  Our van has some towing capabilities, but not for something that heavy.  So, every time we needed to move the camper, we had to have someone haul it for us.  It was kind of a pain.  But, we used the camper as the guest house when our friends and family came from Missouri to visit us, and as office space when Papa was working from home.   So, we I hated to get rid of it, even though we couldn’t pull it.

Spring forward to this year.  This week, Micah and I will have been married for 10 years!  For a few years now, we have talked about going somewhere special for our 10th anniversary.  The kids have always wanted to go to the beach (because, who doesn’t want to go to the beach, right?).  We have tossed around if it would be a possibility to make the beach happen for us.  But, trips like that can get pretty expensive for us, pretty quickly; not because we fall into the tourist traps, or because we have to hit the outlet malls.  Mostly, it is because of the cost of feeding our family.  To start with, there are 6 of us.  That is a lot to feed to begin with.  But, add to that the fact that we have such extensive food allergies, and the grocery bill goes through the roof.  Cooking at home isn’t too bad, but food that we can travel with is much pricier.  Most hotels offer a microwave, at best.  We have a tiny camp stove, but it isn’t always a great, or safe, option in a hotel room.  And, um, hotel rooms for 6 people are also not cheap.  So, how on Earth to make a beach trip possible for us?!

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We looked into condos, but they were still a bit out of our price range.

And then Papa mentioned one day, off-handedly, that if we sold the big camper, we could use the money to buy a little one that we could pull with our van…  And the lightbulb came on!

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A camper would allow us to take our own food, prepare less expensive whole foods instead of existing on lunch meat and potato chips, and have a comfortable place for all of us to sleep without having to get a hotel room!  Suddenly, the price of the beach was much more within our reach!

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So, we sold our big old friend, and bought a tiny little vintage camper.  It is a 1969 Trotwood, and it is adorable!  We brought it home and went to work on cleaning it up, checking out all of its systems and making it our own.  One weekend, when I was in particular need of some fun and relaxation, I announced that I was going to the beach, and hung out in the camper all weekend.  The camper was promptly dubbed, “The Beach House” and the name stuck.  We’ve been out on 2 camping expeditions in it so far, and it is pretty great!  We are still hopeful that we will be able to go to the beach this year – although we’ve decided that rather than go ON our anniversary, we will hold out until fall when the beaches won’t be so busy and hot.  But, even if the beach doesn’t happen this year, the camper will make travel generally easier, cheaper, and more comfortable for us – so we will be able to do more travelling in general.



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon July 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Favorite Family Vacation Recipe: Staying at Home — The best family vacation Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence could ever recommend requires minimal packing, no hotels, unrushed travel, easy meals to everyone’s taste without a bill, no schedules, everyone’s favorite interests, and three generations playing together.
  • Scared of toilets and other travel stories — Tat at Mum in search is an expert at flying with kids. She shares some of her tips and travel stories.
  • Staycation Retreat for Busy MamasLydia’s Handmade Life gives Budget-friendly, eco-friendly staycation ideas for busy work-at-home moms.
  • How We Leave It All Behind — At Life Breath Present, they don’t take traditional vacations — they go on forest adventures. Here are some tips in planning for an adventure, if you don’t just go spontaneously, as they have before. Plus, many pictures of their latest adventure!
  • Traveling while pregnant: When to go & how to manage — Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the pros and cons of traveling during the different trimesters of pregnancy, and how to make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Our Week in Rome: Inspiration and Craft Ideas for Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers — If anyone in your family is interested in learning about Ancient Rome, if you enjoy crafts, of if you’re a parent looking for a fun staycation idea, check out Erin Yuki’s post for a Roman-themed week of crafts, food, and fun at And Now, for Something Completely Different.
  • The Real Deal: A behind the scenes look at our “Western Adventure” — Often Facebook and blog posts make vacations look “picture perfect” to outsiders. If you only looked at the pictures, Susan’s recent family vacation was no exception. In this post at Together Walking, she takes readers “behind the scenes” so they can see the normal challenges they faced and how they managed to enjoy their vacation in spite of them.
  • Welcome to the Beach House! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is in love with her family’s new “beach house”!
  • Road Trip to Niagara Falls — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about her first trip out of the country with just her and the kids.
  • 5 Essential Things to Take on Vacation — Five things Nurtured Mamas should be packing in their suitcase for their next trip, in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • The Many Benefits of Camping with Friends — Do you want to go camping, but the very thought of it seems daunting? Make your life easier – and your kids happier – and go camping with friends! Dionna at Code Name: Mama discusses how much better camping can be when you join forces with others.
  • My Natural First Aid Kit for Camping, Travel, and Everyday Use — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives us an insiders looks at her natural first aid kit for camping, travel, and everyday use. These natural remedies have saved her hide and those of others many times! You might be surprised what made her list of must-haves!
  • Traveling Solo and Outnumbered — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras shares lessons learned from a recent trip with two toddlers and no co-parent.
  • Compromise and conviction on the road — Jessica of Crunchy-Chewy Mama shares the reality vs. the dream of travel and dishes on the compromises she makes or won’t make while traveling.
  • Camping Trauma — Jorje of Momma Jorje offers why she loves camping and why she and her family are a little gun shy about it, too.
  • First in our Books — Writing fresh from her first family vacation, Laura from Pug in the Kitchen has realized that helping pack her parents’ station wagon made for a smooth and pleasant trip that was more than she hoped for!


6 thoughts on “Welcome to the Beach House!

  1. Such a great idea! We’d like to have our own RV one day, to make camping/trips easier, more comfortable, yet able to go anywhere! Whether you get to the beach or not this year, I hope you enjoy all your family adventures and travels in the camper!! 🙂


  2. I love that you have a “beach house.” 🙂 I’ll follow along on your camper adventures eagerly, because that’s a big dream of our family, too — to have something petite enough to tow but still big enough to sleep all of us if tent camping some isn’t an option. I love how many places you can go if you have your own lodging to take along!


  3. Oh my goodness – I love this! I love your resourcefulness and flexibility and creativity. And what a great idea to make a beach trip happen – I hope it works out soon!

    And Happy Anniversary! I look forward to checking more of your blog out.


  4. Ahh, my parents have a really similar camper! They absolutely love it. It’s a Scotty 🙂 I am trying to convince them to paint it to look like the Partridge Family’s bus, but..they aren’t so into it 😉 I’ll just have to get my own! Glad that you all are enjoying yours, it looks like so much fun.


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