Making a Monster High skull with resin bow – Shogun Jimi Skull Challenge 2017

This is my entry to Shogun Jimi’s skull challenge 2017. I was initially planning to go in a different direction, but decided at the last minute to make something for my youngest daughter. So here it is, a Monster High skill with an Alumilite resin bow!

Skull Challenge 2017 Playlist
Shogun Jimi’s channel

500 Subscriber GIVEAWAY and our first Q&A

After 11 months, 53 videos and almost 90,000 video views we finally hit 500 subscribers! To celebrate, we answer your questions and are having our first giveaway.

 

 

500 Subscriber Giveaway

Anniversary trip, trailer project and new camera gear

We’ve been busy prepping for this weeks road trip, so we didn’t have time to complete a proper video.  We didn’t want to skip a week, so we decided to do an update on our latest trip, the trailer project and some new camera gear we picked up to improve our videos.  Checkout the video below for the details.

Here are some Amazon Affiliate links the camera items we picked up.

DJI Phanton 3 Standard – http://amzn.to/2aKrBop
Panasonic Lumix G7 – http://amzn.to/2aKxfE8
Joby GorillaPod SLR – http://amzn.to/2be5k0W
Takstar SGC-598 – http://amzn.to/2b75qIg

Top 10 must have tools for RVing

After completing the overhaul of our travel trailer last year I began to carry a large amount of tools on our trips.  Because we had so much torn apart at the same time I really wasn’t sure what could potentially go wrong and I decided to prepare for the worst.  I carry most of tools in the truck which has turned out to be really convenient while not RVing and all trailer specific tools in the trailer.  In my toolbox is everything from brake spoons to a circular saw.

Knowing that this is overkill I’ve decided to thin out our RV tool herd and I’ve started by coming up with our top 10 tools.  I’m certainly going to carry more than this, but these are the tools I wouldn’t leave the house with.  So, without further adieu, here’s our list.

 

One – Tire Pressure Gauge
We never pull away from the house or a campsite without checking tire pressure.  I do this before ever hooking the trailer to the truck.  I prefer a nice dialed gauge, but I use a digital gauge because I’m lazy.

Two – Torque Wrench
At the same time as checking the tires I also check the lugs.  I keep a 1/2″ torque wrench in the trailer specifically for tightening lug nuts.

Three – Level
I use a small level when setting up the trailer on a site.  I have a bubble level on the front of the trailer, but use a small level to double-check side to side level and set front to back.

Four – Flash Light
This is a no brainer.  You can never really have too many flashlights when something breaks in the dark.  I went back and forth over moving this up in the list and settled on #4.

Five – Electric Drill
I seem to always have a use for an electric drill.  I use it to put my stabilizer up and down every trip and then all the typical drilling & screwing around the trailer.  I blame the electric drill for a generation of men with weak forearms, but it’s so worth it.

Six – Common Hand Tools
I consider this everything you should already have handy.  Wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, tape measure, etc.  I lumped these all together because listing each one would have made for a mighty boring list.

Seven – Razor Knife
I prefer disposable razors to avoid messing around with swapping blades.  I bumped this down to number 7 because any self-respecting man should already have a pocket knife on them at all times for quick work.  The razor really just helps me avoid dulling the blade on my good knife.

Eight – Hammer
When something needs to be beaten it’s hard to do it without a hammer.  I’ve never driven a nail with a hammer in our trailer, but I’ve used them to smash things into or out-of-place many times.

Nine – Multi Meter
Whether it’s checking voltage or continuity, a multi meter is priceless when you need it.  This is also the one tool that requires some “know how” to get the most out of.  If you don’t already have one, go buy a multi meter right now and learn to use it.

Ten – Jack
I’m certainly not strong enough to lift the trailer off the ground and change a tire without a jack, so this make my life much easier.  We use an Anderson Rapid Jack for emergencies and it works great.  Just throw it under one of the tires and drive up on it while it lifts the other tire off the ground.  It would take a pretty large traditional jack to so the same.

Bonus! – Caulk Gun
I hate water leaks!  We had a ton of water damage when we bought our trailer and I’m not going to let water ruin all my hard work.  I keep a caulk gun with Dicor lap sealant and Geocel Pro Flex handy at all times.  When it comes to water…Never Forgive, Never Forget.

If you think I missed anything or have any more suggestions leave them in the comments below.  If you haven’t watched the video check it out and you’ll have plenty of ammo to make fun of me with.

Tour of our travel trailer

Over the past year we’ve posted lots of photos and details of the work we’ve done to our RV, but haven’t really shown the finished product.  Realizing this was a bit of a tease we decided to do a walk through video to show what it looks like now.  With the help of Vanna White Sandie, come along as she takes you through our KZ Sportsmen 2505.

For those that haven’t read through our older posts, here’s a summary of work we did on the interior of the trailer:

  • Replaced the entire roof including some of the rafters (couldn’t have done the inside without this)
  • Replaced a 3’x8′ section of floor and sister floor joists
  • Rebuilt the entire rear wall around the slide
  • Rebuilt the rear 4′ & 10′ of the side walls
  • Rebuilt part of the dinette that was rotted
  • Rebuilt the base of the jack knife sofa that was rotted
  • Disassembled and clean toilet while replacing seal & blade
  • Installed new vinyl flooring
  • Installed Smart Tiles backsplash
  • Painted walls and ceiling
  • Painted cabinets
  • New short queen mattress
  • Replaced all bulbs with LED’s
  • Made new curtains

I’m sure I’m missing some things, but that will give you an idea of what this journey has entailed.  If you’re interested, all of our old posts can be viewed by going to Interior Repairs or Exterior Repairs in the “Our Trailer” menu at the top of the page.

It’s been a long road from the start of our search until now, but this has brought our family closer and has given us the opportunity to make lasting memories.  If you have any questions leave them in the comments below.

 

The kids secretly recording “Let it go” from Frozen

It’s not exactly camping related, but it’s hilarious and worth 45 seconds.  When Sandie was going through her phone she found this video on there.  While visiting the grandparents the kids swiped her phone and recorded this performance without us knowing.

2015 Hershey RV Show

We look forward to the Hershey RV show each year, but as it got closer it started to look like we were going to miss all the fun this year.  We were finally able to get out there for the last day, but were forced to try to squeeze 2-3 days worth of exploring into just 5 hours.  On top of that we had the kids in tow which made moving through the sea of RV’s at a reasonable pace almost impossible.

When we arrived we parked across the street in the free show parking area and headed over.  Once through the gates all the kids needed to get a free tote bag and they all needed to fight for the right color.  From there we needed to track down the registration tent to get our “Press Badge” that allowed us to film for the day (it also seemed to attract some discussion from friendly dealers and repel some making snap judgments looking to make a sale).

Because of the time crunch dilemma we had we decided to skip over areas that didn’t apply to us.  Since we’re towing with the Suburban we skipped most 5th wheels and truck campers.  We turned our attention to bunk houses between 24-29′ and under 6,500 lbs dry.  This allowed us to move through the show at a speed that gave us a chance to see what we came to see in a short period.

Follow along as we take you through 30 RV’s in 12 minutes.

For the record our favorite trailers at the show, in no specific order, were:

Dutchmen Aerolite 242BHSL
Forest River Surveyor 245BHS
Evergreen Sun Valley S283BH LTD

Test trip for the start of the 2015 season

We’ve been wanting to take a quick trip locally to blow the dust off the camper before any longer road trips and decided a driveway camping trip to my cousins house was in order. After a few beers we decided the kids would want to all sleep in the trailer after their communion party and we then dubbed this “Communionstock”. On Saturday morning I texted my cousin to make sure this was still a good idea after we slept off those beers and then proceeded to cleanout the trailer for the first time after the long (way too long) winter. We cleaned it up a bit, made the beds, and aired the tires but left the water lines winterized since we were short on time.

On the drive over we did run into one unexpected problem.  As I rounded a turn I noticed an emergency exit window flapping in the wind.  It turns out my son was playing with the latch before we left and I didn’t catch it, so I now have an addition to my pre-trip checklist.

Once we arrived at their house the kids at the party went nuts!!!  I think we may have inspired a few of them to start on their parents to come camping with us.  During the party we let them use the trailer like a clubhouse and the girls quickly gained control.  At one point the girls had the doors locked and were questioning anyone that entered.

After the party my wife and I slept in the trailer with eight kids which went surprisingly well.  There was no fighting and everyone quickly fell a sleep, so they must have played themselves out during the day.

In all it was a good trip.  The kids had a blast, we may have made some new campers, and the wheels went round.  We’re now ready to start the season and are planning for our first real trip in May.

5 things we don’t love about our RV

It’s been a few months since we made our “5 things we love about our RV” post and now that things are thawing out here in Pennsylvania we’ve begun thinking again.  We’ll be prepping our trailer over the next few weeks for the season and have started thinking about things we’d like to change.  So, here’s our list of 5 things we don’t love about our trailer.

  1. No slide: This isn’t something we can change, but it would be REALLY nice to have a side slideout. We really discovered this when camping for Thanksgiving and squeezed 6 people into the dinette and sofa to eat. We’d like to have some extra space to move around in the kitchen and dinette area for sure.
  2. Master bed position: It’s great that we can have a bunkhouse and queen bed in a 25′ trailer, but because the queen sits in the slide sideways I need to climb over my wife in the middle of the night for any trips to the bathroom. It would be nice to have the bed situated long ways, but this it another limitation we can’t change.
  3. Rear bumper: This is a small one, but the rear bumper is stamped and cannot hold a sewer hose. We also don’t have a receiver to mount bike racks, etc. The bumper is mounted on the frame of the slide, so I’m not sure I want to put extra weight on there. I’m considering a 4×4 bumper and a hitch, but I really need to decide if I want the extra weight back there. This isn’t a show stopper and we’ll get around to this eventually.
  4. Lack of insulation: When we purchased the trailer the water leaking through the roof was retained in the underbelly by the waterproof membrane. When we completed the repairs all the insulation was removed and left off for the time being to air out. When we went out for Thanksgiving you could really feel how cold the floors were and we used throw rugs as a temporary barrier. New insulation is on our list of fixes for this season.
  5. Worn decals: The 14 year old vinyl graphics have seen better days. We own a large vinyl cutter and this is on our list of things to do, but it’s not a priority. We’ll have new graphics at some point when I decide I feel like peeling the old ones off and I think we’ll be sticking with the circus theme.

 

Luckily it was much harder to come up with the list of things we don’t like about our trailer. We still love the trailer, but have started looking for our next unit which may be a few years off.

What would you change about your RV?  Leave a comment and let us know.

Our trip to the 2015 Oaks RV show

We know the new purchase is at least a year away, but we went to our first RV show of the year today.  We typically attend two RV shows each year (Hershey & Oaks PA) just to browse, but now that we know we love camping we started looking for the next great thing.  This afternoon we spent a few hours without the kids looking over RV’s at the Greater Philadelphia RV Show.

We love our current trailer and it was a labor of love getting it back on the road, but we know there are a few extra features we’d like to have.  Another issue is that our current trailer is 13 years old, isn’t getting any younger, and I expect on-going maintenance issues.  Given these realities, we started our search for the next family RV.

Some items we’re looking for that our current unit doesn’t have are:

  • Dedicated bedroom for mom & dad.  It’s great that we have a queen bed in the rear slide which keeps our length at a minimum, but we don’t like climbing over things to get in bed and we have no storage of our own.
  • Slide out in the living area.  Right now we have a dinette and jack knife sofa, but there only about 2′ between them.  It would be great to have a living area that didn’t require us to climb over each other.

Some items that we love and are a must have in the new trailer:

  • Double bunks!!!  We love that the kids have a separate bedroom and they all have their own bed.
  • Less than 30′.  Due to our driveway situation we’re limited to approximately a 30′ overall length.
  • Spring over axle suspension.  Again, due to the driveway setup we need the extra height.  This will likely be a modification we make post purchase.
  • Decent size pass through.  Although we don’t back a lot, with a family of six we don’t want to run out of space.

With these requirements in mind, our favorite travel trailer of the afternoon was the Evergreen Sun Valley S283BH LTD.  This trailer may be a foot or two over out length limit, but the features all fit our family needs well.  We’ll be spending the next season enjoying our current trailer as we continue our search.  Wish us luck.