14 aug 2018

Ryan had a business trip so we went to KC for the week.

They listen to audio books in the car and one of our favorites is Winnie the Pooh (Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, & Geoffrey Palmer!!). I don’t remember ever getting into it as a kid, but these stories with the fun voices has me hooked now. And it’s a million times better than hearing If You’re Happy and You Know It over and over.

Anyway, the new movie about Winnie, Christopher Robin, is very sweet. I cried within the first 15 minutes and Ruthie said she cried during it too.



We’d been trying for years to catch this darn train. Finally did and Gertie was not a fan. The rest of us were though and we went around 8 times!


While Gertie and I took a break, one of the adorable volunteer workers came over and talked about how she’d raised a disabled son. She then cussed about the weather and thrust a bottle of water in my hand. It was a meeting between me and my future self.

The rest of the time was spent shoe shopping, playing with cousins, and binge watching shows, none of which I took pics. I need to be more aggressive with the camera again.


The day after Ryan flew back to KC, we drove from there to Oklahoma City and visited our friends that’d moved from NWA. Ruthie dove off the diving board and Gertie, I’m not exaggerating, kicked her feet and arms until she swam by herself. It was maybe for 6-12 inches, but still. She loves the water so much.
We pretty much didn’t stop talking for 48 hours. 30 of those were me going on and on about her garden area and backyard (there’s not many who will gladly talk compost and chicken poop with me), 16 about the meals and ginger drinkie poos, and the remaining 2 hours me thinking I’m funny because of those ginger drinks.

At one point Annie had to go pee so Mandy told her to just pop a squat in the yard (another reason we’re friends!) right by the fence. Annie, in her own special way, decided to go in the middle of the front yard right as a car drove by.

I hardly saw these three girls the whole time. It was nonstop mermaids and dolls and dress up clothes.


On our way home.

We drove through Siloam Springs and decided to show Ruthie where she was born. We made a big ole deal about the home there, in the countryside, on a dirt road, surrounded by cows. We laughed so hard thinking of what she was picturing. So we slowed down and showed her her birthplace.
And for proof that she is indeed my daughter, she didn’t care at all about what it looked like. She gasped and squealed and said she loved it.
I love enthusiastic people, Ruthie. Thank you.img_0250

A fun full week. We tired though.

A Review of The Mobile-Homemaker; Or, Someone Actually Read My Blog?

Fair warning, this is being posted purely as a proud-blog-mama moment. You can roll your eyes at any time. I won’t mind. Mostly because I can’t see you. If I could, I’d probably blush and hurry to make fun of some aspect of my life so you’d like me again.

Anyway, for those of you who didn’t know (which I don’t know how you couldn’t know because I basically pinned everyone’s arm behind their back until they ‘liked’ my blog on facebook), I used to write a second blog called The Mobile-Homemaker. Well, because I lived in a mobile home and thought it’d be fun.

And it was! When all Ruth did was nurse and sleep. When she got busier, I started slacking. And then I moved. So I stopped. Partly because of the move, partly because I pressured myself to write every Tuesday and Thursday, and partly because I was feeling a wee bit over-exposed. The facebook page had almost 700 ‘likes’, which in blog world is piddly… but I was still surprised. So after moving, I decided to take down my blog and going private on my personal blog.

Before that happened though, apparently someone wrote a ‘review’ about it. My parents recently sent this to me from an online magazine my uncle reads. It’s been fun to look back at The Shack… so, enjoy!

The Mobile Home Maker


Sometimes I feel as if we are the only family in the world trying to live debt-free in an older manufactured home. Thankfully, there are people like Carolyn to remind me that we aren’t alone. There are thousands in the country doing the same thing, we just haven’t met them all, yet.


Carolyn is the woman behind 2 wonderful blogs called The Mobile-Homemaker and Cue The Banjo. She has a great wit about her and her comedy and straight forwardness is refreshing. Within 3 posts, I ended up feeling as if I had known her my entire life.

Her story is very typical of most living in a single wide. It’s either a stop along the way to a bigger home or it’s the finish line for living simple and debt-free. In her case, it was a stop along the way. She has since moved from this single wide into a town home but we still have the photos and her witty posts to share.

Here’s her story, in her own words:

I’m a 30-something stay-at-home mom who writes Cue The Banjo and forgets people’s names as soon as I meet them. Just warnin’ ya, it’s horrible.

I live with a mustache that has a man attached to it, my husband R, and we have one child (so far), her name is Ruth.

This is our journey of living lean and becoming debt-free. It’s also my personal swan dive belly flop into homemaking – aka, the most interesting job I’ve had to date. (And that includes selling dismemberment insurance at a telemarketing company).

I feel like I’ve started over from scratch as far as my mindset goes. Re-learning what should be valuable to my family and un-learning the Keeping Up With The Joneses mentality. Who do these Joneses think they are, anyway? Someone needs to give them a good kick in the rear, because they’re wreaking havoc on people’s psyches. Not to mention I bet they’re really boring with no imagination at all. Good riddance.

That didn’t sound jealous at all.

So, let’s start with the exterior of the mobile-home, or The Shack, as I call it.

Here she be, in all her glory. Don’t be afraid, she doesn’t bite.

We moved into The Shack in the summer of 2010 and it has taken me until now to upload photos of it, let alone come to terms with living in it. Not gonna lie, it looks like druggies live there. And the scary thing is, we don’t do drugs.

Yes, my friends, we have chosen with sober minds to live here.
Why? Well, I’ll tell ya. Take a seat.

It all started when I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye… too far back? Okay. In 2007, less than a year into our marriage, R and I bought a house in the cutest little area called Prairie Village, a suburb of Kansas City, because that’s what you do, right? Get married, buy a home. The neighborhood was built in the 1940s and huge oak trees lined every street. Another young couple had just moved in next door and everything was quaint.

THEN. Then, less than two years after buying it, R got a job opportunity in Arkansas. Like, we had to move down within a month type of opportunity. And so, with the help of our realtor, we managed to get out of that mortgage within 2 months of listing it despite the already down-shifting of the housing market.

That’s when everything changed.

And when I say everything, I mean We changed.

We realized that our first apartment’s rent was 56% of our mortgage payment with just as much square footage and started paying off R’s undergrad & masters with that extra dough. I also came to appreciate obsessively salivate over passing the buck when something broke down. [In a British aristocratic voice] “Excuse me Landlady – I dropped a crumb on the carpet, please send someone up to shampoo itThanks.

Look, replacing a 60 year old sewer line that broke, while guests stayed for the weekend, will do that to a woman.

When we moved even closer to R’s job, we made the decision to rent the cheapest apartment available… putting us at 40% of our mortgage payment. We called it The Dorm Room because of the shoebox-size and, yes, slept in a loft bed slightly larger than a twin. This allowed us to pay off more of his loans, all the while going on trips, eating out, and donating to charities without feeling pinched.

That’s really the thing of it all, I don’t want to feel pinched. If that means living in a Dorm Room or The Shack, then so be it. It was cozy up in that loft anyway (read: hello Ruth!)
A year later, this beauty showed up. At a whopping 32% of our mortgage payment, we ran around like wild turkeys.

No literally, there’s a turkey farm 100 yards away.

Living off only one income now, that small rent payment is so incredibly worth the ugly exterior.

Carolyn’s single wide was a typical mid 90’s model (I think). Since they were renting, I’m sure she had to abide by certain rules. Yet, she ended up with a very nice home that was extremely affordable.

Here’s what she did:
dsc_4447 Master Bedroom

dsc_4449 Master Bedroom/Nursery

dsc_4844 Guest bedroom (love the shelving!)

dsc_4308 Kitchen Organization

dsc_4309 Kitchen Organization

dsc_4376 Very Stylish!

dsc_4380 Lovely Living Room

I’m sad to see they moved! It was nice to know that someone out there could make a house a home and laugh about it all the way.

No, the druggie reference didn’t offend me (it takes a lot more than that to get me offended). It is a typical association of manufactured homes but we do need to work on getting it gone as soon as possible. She was being funny and honest and I commend her for it.

Some manufactured homes are nicer than others, some just needs a little work and love to make them a great home. As witnessed several times on this blog, you can turn a single wide into a small mansion worthy of an HGTV feature. A home is what you make of it, whether it be a shack or a multimillion dollar estate.

You can still keep up with her through her 2 blogs The Mobile Home-Maker and Cue the Banjo.

As always, thanks for reading Mobile & Manufactured Home Living!