Home Education · Travel

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I’ve been a bit quiet here for a few days but rest assured that we are still here. A lot of our time and energy has been taken up acquiring our new bus that we are going to convert into our home. Our little puppy, Doughal, is blogging about it all over at TheLittlestHobo. We have two sleeps left until we pick the bus up and bring her home.

Other than the bus, we have been really busy with the run up to Christmas. We’ve attended Anna’s nativity play twice – she loves being on stage and her performance was hilarious. She lapped up every second of attention and generally enjoyed herself to the max. Elsa and Olaf have been busy making Christmas decorations and writing endless piles of Christmas cards. We took part in a Home Ed card exchange with nearly fifty other families, it has been an epic experience and the kids have thoroughly enjoyed receiving their huge pile of cards. Hopefully they’ll be enough wall space to hang them all!

The Man has only three working days left until his Christmas break, and I can’t wait. I love having him by my side, and we’ve got lots to do in the run up to Christmas Day. We’re still short of a few gifts for a couple of people, we’ve got tickets to see the Christmas Pantomime, there’s a local village to visit where all the houses decorate with lights and Christmas scenes for charity, and there is epic amounts of gift wrap to acquire and adorn the gifts with.

We decided not to have a tree this year due to the risk of mayhem that would be present due to the puppy and the cat. I can’t say that I’m not missing it, it seems odd not to have that shiny, twinkling symbol of festivity in the corner of the room. Maybe I’ll take the risk for a couple of days and put it up next week. I really do miss it. We helped my mum decorate her tree earlier today which really got us all in the right mood for the season. I’ve promised the kids that we’ll spend next Christmas in a place that gets snow!

Home Education

Some Of The Perks

Not being tied to school all day means that we get to take advantage of places when they are quiet, and the kids get to experience things that they would otherwise miss out on.

Today, for example, we popped out for breakfast at 9am and they made the most of the empty softplay area at the restaurant. Buffet breakfast and free play? It doesn’t get much better than that for an eight year old and a six year old.

Tomorrow we are going to see a local nativity play in a nearby village. I can’t quite understand why they are putting it on during the day but they are, and we can attend. We’re very much looking forward to it as the kids are really feeling in the Christmas spirit. Did you know, there’s only two Mondays left until Santa comes?! We haven’t even started gift shopping yet!!

Another local attraction is the temporary ice rink that appears in town for the Christmas season. It is heaving on a Saturday and Sunday, but thanks to our flexibility we are able to skate while most kids are at school.

Of course there are plenty of other perks, but these seemed very appropriate given the time of year.

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Travel

Making Enquiries

I have now spoken to the lovely Mike from Used Coach Sales twice, and although he doesn’t have anything suitable in stock at the moment, he has been so helpful and generous with his advice. He’s given me a few pointers in what to look out for as far as problem coaches are concerned, and he’s educated us about the fact there is a 4m height restriction on vehicles throughout most of Europe. We did not know this! We’ve left it that Mike will call me if he gets, or hears of, anything that would suit our criteria.

Earlier this week the kids and I were scoping out a coach that was parked outside Anna’s school. We were walking around the outside discussing what would be where on the inside. The driver returned to the coach and invited us to take a closer look inside. I’ve been on a coach many times before but I’ve never looked at them from the point of view of converting one into a home. It was good to get a real sense of the internal width and the headroom inside. The driver also gave me some tips on the actual driving of the coach and even informed us that it might be worth contacting his boss as he’s clearing out some of his fleet in the new year.

The budget for the purchase has also increased slightly as we’ve crunched the numbers again, and we have found some extra pennies to put towards that. Although it’s not increased by much, it’s enough to place a few more coaches within our reach.

It’s all getting very real now, and we’re very excited!!

Home Education · Travel

Where Did November Go?

We’ve had such a busy month, we’ve hardly noticed it passing by. Anna started school, and with that came the inevitable bugs and resulting illness. We have all battled through a nasty cold and a vomiting bug. That was the best part of two weeks gone, with not much to show for it. Anna was a trooper though, and never even suggested that she should stay home from school. I know myself, and I would have kept her home in a heartbeat if she’d asked.

On a positive note, we have also become regulars at the cinema (we’ve been three times this month!), and we’ve enjoyed some unseasonably good weather over the last few days. This means we have been able to stroll around the park, feed the ducks, and explore nature.

The plans for the bus are also coming along. We’ve picked out the carpet we want, and the oven/hob that will suit our needs. The kitchen will be bought, as opposed to custom made due to budget constraints, but we are more than happy with the options available to us. The savings for the bus purchase are on target, and we should be ready to purchase by the beginning of March at the latest. The Man has been designing the bunk beds because he will be the one responsible to making them. I’ve spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos and reading blogs about other families that live fulltime on buses. It’s good to see what mistakes they made at the beginning, that we will now hopefully not make because we are aware of them. I’ve even learnt how to get the coach out of mud, thanks to the Us In A Bus blog!

School-wise we have learnt a lot about autumn and the changing seasons, and we have been studying up on all the places we want to visit. The kids are getting more and more excited about the bus and the traveling life that comes with it.

Christmas is just around the corner and we haven’t even started buying gifts yet. December is going to be another busy month! The kids have given us lists longer than their arms, but with the loss of space we will be encountering, we are struggling to gleam suitable ideas from their lists. We want to be throwing away things, rather than acquiring more, but how do you do that without ruining Christmas?!

December will also bring (hopefully) my intensive driving course which will give me the right category on my licence to drive the bus. I can’t say I’m not a little nervous about this part of it, it’s been a long time since I took a driving test. If I don’t get it done in December, it will definitely be in January. I’ve found a local company that offer the intensive course over four days, with the test at the end. The price seems competitive against other companies and the reviews are positive. You can’t get much better than that.

 

Drawings · Travel

Developing A Hobby

I have a few hobbies already, I mostly concentrate on crochet and knitting. For years I have wanted to be an artist of some kind. I watch my husband create amazing things, and I watch on with envy. I don’t have the type of brain that can create something from nothing. That’s why knitting and crochet work for, there is a pattern to follow and no imagination is needed, and yet I still get to make something.

I have been looking for a new hobby, something that is easily transportable and doesn’t require specialist equipment or dedicated space. After all, we will soon be living in only 25-30sqm of home. It dawned on me this week that drawing could work for me. The pattern is there, if I draw something I can see. I get to copy and yet still create. So yesterday I chose a photograph of my daughter to draw from. img_1328

This is the result of my first ever attempt at drawing.

I’m quite pleased with it. It’s by no means perfect, and I haven’t managed to capture her “essence” in it, but for a first attempt I think I did ok. All I needed was one pencil and a piece of paper – it doesn’t get much more minimalist and transportable than that.

Travel

When Travel Becomes The ONLY Option

It is currently looking as though our main source of income is going to be extinguished. This is the income that allows us to pay the rent each month, and keep a roof over our heads. Without this source of income, we would rapidly find ourselves homeless.

We’ve looked at all the information, and crunched yet more numbers. The best case scenario is that we should be ok for four months. After that, we will need to find an alternative place to live – one that doesn’t cost anything!

Buying and converting the coach must happen now, or as soon as possible. Our hand is being forced and we’ll have to use the credit card for the initial purchase. Luckily we have just been given a six month no interest period of our spending. There’s the silver lining!! Once we are out of the house, and into the coach, we will have surplus income (as well as the security deposit from the house), and the credit card will be paid off before any interest can accrue.

Who said you could afford to travel?!