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Thursday, January 27, 2011

PEE NEW MOAN YA and Pressure Cooker Rice in 8 minutes -

Dang... still struggling with this flu/cold/whatever ...  been going on now for two weeks and it just don't LEAVE!   First it was like a flu, then it went into lungs and congestion, now it's in the head and sinuses.  

Okay, enough complaining.   So I called the doc and went in, sure nuff, I gots PEE NEW MOAN YA ....arggghhh.   I happen to catch almost anything bronchial since I damaged my lungs in a chemical spill in 2002.  I end up with pneumonia about once a year, sometimes twice.   So home again home again jiggety jigg with a shot, some strong antibiotics and some codeine cough syrup.  I am sure within 24-48 hours I will be feeling a lot better.    

Gotta get myself whipped into shape, Erin and Mark are leaving tomorrow night for 8 days to Cancun, so we will have the beedle bug Chelsea granddaughter here 24/7 till they come home.  Not to mention, the two rat dog chihuahuas too! 

Anyhowwwww  === Last week I whipped up some rice in the pressure cooker and decided to take some pics of how I do it and the chicken stir fry I had to go along with it.   So I will fill up the rest of the blog with that. 

First I put the bottom rack thingie in the pressure cooker, along with an inch of water.

Then I set a small metal bowl in the center of the pot, and measure in one cup of white rice

Then I pour in 2 cups of water into the rice

Put the lid and the rocker on top, turn on the burner and heat it up. 
Once the rocker starts rocking, let it simmer for 8 minutes....

In the meantime, in another frypan I am putting in a dollop of extra virgin olive oil, some garlic, some parsley and some Lawrey's seasonings.  I start heating this up while the rice is starting

Now I chop up onions, and boneless skinless chicken breasts into thin slices.  
If the breasts are still partially frozen, they cut easier.  I add a couple tablespoons of water too.

I stir fry the meat and onions and garlic, and keep stirring it and flipping it around. 
Once that is almost fully cooked through, 
now I add fresh mushrooms, and chunks of broccoli and cauliflower.  (sometimes a little more water) 

and toss the lid on the pan to steam them through.  

About now the rice is done, so I turn off the burner and carry the pressure cooker over to the sink.
I run it under cold water to release the pressure,

and the rice is done to perfection!  

One cup of  raw rice makes 2 cups of cooked rice, just enough for Steve and I.  
We scoop up rice into a bowl, and dump a ladle of the chicken and veggies on top YUUMMMMM

And this is a good quick meal to make when in the motorhome too, 
in case of a rainy icky day when we can't cook outside. 

Now I am gonna get in my flannel jammies, curl up in bed with that good book "A Cowman's Wife"  that I mentioned yesterday... and gonna take it easy and let these antibiotics take hold!  

Got too much to do to be sick, ya know?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

RVing - Trip Preparations and Chelsea off to daycare this week

Oh boy... 28 days and counting!

Right now I am starting to assemble summer type clothing to bring out to the rig.  That is REALLY optimistic, right?   I have some capris I need to shorten or take in, some tops to sort through and pack and then take out some of the heavy winter type clothing that we keep in the rig all year round.  We will have some cooler weather clothes of course for evenings and early mornings.  But I think the huge Iceman Sorrel snow boots and heavy winter parka, chopper mitts, and earmuffs can stay at home?

I am packing sandals, moccasins and then a pair of rubber flipflops for public showers if we use them at a campground.  We do like showering in our own rig, but if water conservation becomes a concern in some areas, or distance between filling our freshwater tank, and if there are public ones, we will do what we have to do.  And the rubber flipflops are necessary for that.

Steve and I bought some New Balance hiking/walking shoes too.  Better than the beat up old Nike's I had been wearing when camping, and Steve needed a new pair too.  Now we *MATCH* ... oh gosh, I said I would never ever ever dress us alike!  

My mom and dad used to wear matching Ski-doo snowmobile jackets, then moved on to matching Arctic Cat sweaters and jackets, and they would go out in public like that.... no doubt a style of the 70's.  But as a young teen, I swore I would NEVER do that!    Coming back to bite me in the butt?

The other day, my childhood buddy, Cella, was scanning in some old photos and shared this one with me.

It's our family (yes I am that tall Marcia Brady center parted stringy straight haired teen in the back left corner next to Mom). I remember that day, and mom had us all pose while the photo was taken with her 126 instamatic cartridge camera, and sent the cartidge off to Rex Photo in New York for processing.  Using a coupon from their mailers, she opted for the Holiday Card Special.  By the clothing in the photo, I am thinking this is 1975.  I remember that dress well, and dug out another photo of how short we managed to wear our dresses back then.  

This is 8th grade at the middle school. (Polariod pic, sorry its fuzzy)  The dress was silky polyester, the shoes were patent leather clogs with a back heel strap.  Funny thing too, that boy in the picture was my boyfriend at the time, and now my older brother dates his older sister! 

Speaking of pictures... Steveio once bought me this print way back when we were dating.  It's called April Storm by Robert Duncan.   It reminds me of myself, and Steve could see that too when I mentioned it to him once by seeing it on a calendar.  He bought me the print and had it framed for a Christmas Present.  

It's hung over our fireplaces in both of our homes since 1995.  With the pine walls of this house, the surrounding area exposed to UV sunlight has darkened on the pine, but behind the print is a lighter area.   So we plan to take it down and have it reframed to a shorter size and mount it in the motorhome in the near future.  His friend owns a framing shop and will do it for us.   It can only be 21 inches tall so it fits between the headboard and the upper cabinets that it will be fastened to, over the mirror that is there now.  That way we can take it with us when we fulltime, and also give the wall a chance to darken to a matching color on the pine wood in the house. I will lose some of the matting and some of the print, but it will go nicely in here, and the color of the wood is almost an exact match! 

I don't like changing clothes with the big mirror right there anyhow, and sometimes if someone is sitting in the front of the rig, and can see to the back, even if you dash around the corner of the bedroom to change if you didn't slide the door shut.  So the mirror can get blocked out, just as well. 

Steve is still looking at types of hoses for his PoopEater device (mascerator)   The good rubber 1 inch hose will run him about $50 or more for the lengths he wants to have.  But if we go with cheaper plastic sump pump hose, it would be under $15.  For how often or how rare we will use it, we don't know yet.  So I said let's start out cheap, and then go better quality if he feels we need it and use it more often?  We can always buy rubber hose on the road somewhere.  Such a dilemma for a man to decide on cheap poop or rubber poop hose?  hahahahahahha

Been suffering a flu bug last week that started up, and now settled in my lungs and my head.  Dosing with Claritin D in the mornings, Nyqul at night, and using up boxes of kleenix and bags of cough drops.  YUCK!

Was vacuuming out my keyboard on the laptop the other day, and the K key came loose!  It gets crumby and dog haired in between the keys.  Trying to put a key button back on a Dell is not as easy as snapping it into place.  I even looked up the directions as there are two tiny intersecting nylon pieces that are under each key.  Of course one of the tiny pivot point axles snapped off and now the key won't stay in place.  I ordered a new aftermarket keyboard from Ebay that should be here today.  My last Dell with through three keyboards, so I am sure to be able to change it out myself.  Hope it comes soon, typing without a K means I have to wiggle the little rubber nub to make it work.  LOL

Little Chelsea is off to her big day care again today.   It only took a 20 minutes drop off time with her mommy there till she felt comfortable and off to play with the other 1 year olds.   I took her on Monday for her first day, and she was a little weepy each time I would pop outta the room, but I hung close and filling out paperwork, and checking on her.  After an hour and a half, she was ready to be with the other little ones.   She has been here in my home since Erin went to work at 6 weeks, so she never went to a day care before.  It will be 2 days a week till we leave for vacation, then it will be full time weeks for her there.  Here are a few pics of her getting settled in.  I popped them off on the cell phone fast and emailed them to her mommy who was busy at work doing a store inventory at 6am .

So it's been quiet around here without my little buddy, but I am adjusting.  Slowly.

Been reading a good book recommended by Al over on  Travel with The Bayfield Bunch   it's called "The Cowman's Wife" by Mary Kidder Rak,  and it's set at the Fort Rucker Ranch House in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona near Douglas.  He has written about it a few times on his blog, but here is the post where they actually found it and walked around the old ranch location.  In Search of Old Fort Rucker     I am finding the book fascinating so I am reading it slowly, savoring each page.  I am also jotting down little flags on the GPS in case we get out that way and want to do some 4X4 running around in the Toad.  That is our Geo Tracker we tow behind the motorhome (a towed car is called a "toad" in RV terminology)

Sitting here in my snowy little log house, on the river, and watching a couple snowmobiles whiz by.  Our river is a race course once it's frozen over with enough ice to support the machines.  We used to snowmobile too when the kids lived at home, and could spend hours out in the wintery weather.  

Now, just thinking of the desert
 and the sunshine and 
Tshirt weather 
is taking up all my attention 
and daydreams....

28 days to go


Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Month Vacation Countdown - and cooking stew in a pressure cooker

Yes... one month ... one month!   The countdown has begun!  As I look out our windows at the dreary snow, and feel the subzero temps blasting us, we know how much we will appreciate hopping in the rig and heading south and west to where it's WARM!  I think we just want to open up our lawn chairs in the desert, sit in the sunshine, turn our faces to the sun and relax!!!

Yesterday we drove to frozen Green Bay for some errands, and bought some New Balance hiking/walking shoes for our trip.  We plan to get in a lot of walking and the dogs will be enjoying it too.  We found some nice ones on sale from $70 down to $21 clearance!   They didn't have them in woman's size on the clearance, just men's.  But Steve found a pair for himself, and I thought what the heck, let me see if there was a men's pair that were small enough for me?  Sure Nuff!  So now we are sporting matching shoes!

We skipped going to the big Green Bay RV and Camper show this weekend.  It was held indoors and they charge $8 a person to enter the building. We know of the two local dealers, only one carries motorhomes, and he only had 2 on the lot all winter. Our friends Sharon and Fred went, and said there wasn't much to see anyhow.  Just lots of booths of private parks that we never go to anyhow. So we saved our money.

Last week I posted about using my pressure cookers in the house and in the motorhome.  I have a larger one in the house and a smaller one in the motorhome.   Note-- this is not the big canning pressure cookers with the dials and levers.   This is a smaller stove top version for cooking foods faster and seals in the flavor better than conventional cooking in a kettle.

The one in the pics below came from a tenant of mine. He was an older man who was moving to Nevada, and I helped him sell off a lot of his antique furniture and things before he left.  One of the items he gave to me was this pressure cooker, complete with the old original recipe book that was printed by the company, Presto.  I know new ones in the stores run upwards of $70-80 ... so keep an eye out at thrift shops or rummages for a more reasonable priced one.  You can get replacement gaskets and rocker weights in many hardware stores or online.   The smaller one in the rig came from a rummage sale for $2.

We use them a lot, and it makes cooking easier and faster, in my opinion.  So while I was making beef stew this week, I snapped a few pics for my blog.   I timed myself ... it took 28 minutes from beginning to end!

First, I browned up some tenderloin chunks of meat 
in the bottom of the pan with a bit of water and spices. 

While that was browning, Steveio peeled the taters and carrots. 
I gathered garlic, mushrooms (I was outta fresh so used canned) 
and 2 packets of gravy mix. You could use jars of gravy too.
That purple thing is a plastic onion holder that I just LOVE.. 
keeps half cut up onions in the fridge without them stinking up the other foods. 

Once the meat was browned, I tossed in the carrots, 
onions and shrooms and about 2 cups of water

Stick on the lid, turn the burner on Med-Hi and set the rocker weight in place
12 minutes of psssh psssh psssh rocking on top.

While that was cooking, I chunked up the potatoes 
and mixed up the gravy mixes with 2 cups of cold water
(see that small wire whisk?  World's Best Invention as far as I am concerned) 
gathered the spices and a dollop of steak sauce too.....

When the 12 minutes were up, I set the pressure cooker under cold running water in the sink....
the pressure lets out and then I can open the lid

I dumped in the gravy, the spices and the potatoes, and the dollop of steak sauce.  
Stir it up and I set it to cooking for 8 more minutes. 
(if you add the potatoes at the beginning, they get too soft and mushy)

Take it off again, cool under the water in the sink... and open up for 

The house smells soooooooooooooo good after making stew!   And sometimes I add to that a loaf of home baked bread from the bread machine.  Now that is a double whammy on making the house smell extra special!

Last night I made up rice in the pressure cooker, (7 minutes to fluffy perfection) and took pics but they are still in the camera... will save them for a future blog post when I have nothing else to write about.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Replies to last blog - Coupons on the Go!

We are suffering through a big sub zero freeze here in in Wisconsin today.  It's about 3 below right now, and going DOWN ...  should be about 15 below tonight and wind chills of 25 to 30 below.  ACK!   I hate the word *wind chills* !!! When I was a kid in the 60's and 70's we never had wind chill reports.  We just said DANG, IT'S COLD....  

I thought rather than replying to the comments on my last blog back on that blog page, I decided that I would reply here instead. After all, who goes back to see what anyone replied to a reply?  LOL

Judy and Emma said...

Are you coming down through Mississippi on your way to AZ? Sure would like to meet up with you folks and maybe get me some socks!!
(my reply) Judy--- Not sure yet of the exact route yet, we are gonna go south as fast as we can on the first day to avoid any weather.  We normally don't like to drive more than 200-300 miles in a day, but if we get a good break in the weather with dry roads and no ice or snow, we will make tracks for as many hours as we can.   Did you know that you can go to my Etsy store at any time  http://kareninthewoods.etsy.com/ or just email me and order up some socks and I can ship them to you! 


Karen and Al said...

Do you think it might not be a good idea to put your address out in blog land in case anyone reads your blog may decide to rob you blind while you're gone? I don't think you'd have any problem with the regular blog readers, but I know I get some anonymous comments that are just wacky.
Where the heck are you going anyway! Florida??? We'd love to get together if you're in the area. 
(my reply) Karen --  Yes, good idea on omitting our address... I do give out my fiber artist business card for over 15 years without a problem, which has both my address and phone number on it.  But perhaps it's best to just have the email and blog addresses on it.   (p.s. really there is nothing of value left in the house, we are taking the important stuff with us, plus the kids and neighbors are taking care of the house for us)   We are not coming to Florida this winter, instead we are heading south and west...   leaving late February after business and doc appts. are done will be gone for 7 weeks!   Probably end up in Texas, then New Mexico, then Arizona and then S. California.   2 "must-see" things are the Pacific Ocean and the Grand Canyon.  Also a stop at The Slabs is a must to meet up with RV friends there.


Cyndi said...

I like #2; though for either one you need to delete the ' in your name. You're just two of you, plural, without a possessive. It's the English teacher in me. I am soooo glad you've posted this detailed list - there are a few things that I need to put on mine now. I especially like the one about calling the credit/gas card companies. We've never done that - and last summer had our Shell card cancelled in the middle of a trip. We never knew that we were supposed to let them know we were going out of state.
(my reply) Oops thanks Cyndi!  See, I needed a proofreader to help me out!  Yes, one time we had a charge card denied for a larger purchase when on the road, and it was embarrassing and time consuming to get it all straightened out.  It was the first time we ever used that card out of state, and the credit card company was just protecting us and them from a big hassle if it had been stolen.  I just recently paid for my website domain renewal to a company in Australia, and the credit card company called in 2 minutes flat to verify that I was really purchasing something in Australia.  How cool is that?  

Kevin and Ruth said...

Another suggestion for the credit cards, is that you can take a picture of them if you can't photocopy them. Also make the photocopy into a document and then email it to yourself so that if your unit is stolen you are able then to access it from any computer. We have also done this with any other important info, passports, insurance, licenses etc.  Kevin and Ruth   www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

(my reply) That is a great idea!  I am going to do that with the digital camera and then email them to myself---  never thought of that!


And to all of your votes on which version of the RV calling card, 
-I am going to use number 2
-I am going to remove the address and phone number
-I am going to add the pic of the doggers

I also had a few emails asking me about my pressure cooker... so I did a series of photos making beef stew the other night and will do a future blog post about that.


~~Mike~~ said...

Congrats on breaking 100! I knew you would though, you always have cool stuff to post :) I vote for the second version of the card more because I like the layout. I think the picture in the lower left should be of you with the furkids as others have mentioned too. Chelsea looks like she had fun! Great pics of her! Your lists are very well thought out too! Heidi wrote a blog on our other site yesterday that you might be interested in considering the "club cards" you mentioned. Her blog is http://vansteaders.blogspot.com

97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

(my reply) So here is what Heidi from Vansteaders wrote:  (reprinted with her permission) 


Coupons on the go!

Couponing... you clip the coupons for items you use from the Sunday paper, then take them with you when you shop and save money!  What's not to love?  Well, quite a lot actually.

First of all, I don't read the Sunday paper anymore.  Secondly, how do I get those weekly coupons that come in the mail, when I don't always have a mailbox?  Thirdly, do I really want to use expensive ink for e-coupons? Also, I always forget to use that coupon I brought with me!  These are just a few of the issues I have with using coupons!

Click "add" and the coupon is stored in your grocery store's club card

Okay, maybe *you* all knew this, but I was completely in the dark about all the great modern couponing options that are attached to the little club card you pull out at the check-stand!  Then, a few days ago I was looking for the online flyer for the local Port Angeles (WA) Safeway, and I saw the light!  Did you know that you can view local weekly sales flyers online, then click on the coupons area and load the coupons you'd like to use?  The coupons are then "stored" on your card... so if you buy the item before the expiration date the coupon amount is automatically taken off the grocery bill.  You don't even have to tell them you're using coupons! 

There are many stores that have this couponing option... Fred Meyer is another one that I specifically checked on.

If you don't see all the coupons you want at your "regular" store's site, I also found out there are other sites that will add coupons to your store's card: 
Cellfire.com, PGeSAVER.com, Shortcuts.com, Upromise.com...
I haven't used these sites yet, but I'll check them all out before my next shopping trip.

I don't know if I'll ever be one of those extreme-super-coupon-saving-shoppers, the kind that get their groceries for free and speak in a language I don't understand (with lingo like "price matching" and "doubles"), but it's progress!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

OVER 100 Followers - LISTS for packing RV- and Chelsea's First Birthday family celebration

WOW...  ONE HUNDRED AND THREE FOLLOWERS????    Yes, you wonderful followers of my blog now number over 100~!   Whoddah thunk it?   So, in copying   Al's  and Sam's newest blog style change--- I too will list my followers across the top of my page.  After all, YOU FOLLOWERS are why I am writing this blog!

At first I thought I would be writing my blog for my family and close friends, but now I realize I am writing it more to share our journeys, our motorhome modifications and our camping places.  Most of my followers are either RVers or my Fiber Friends whom I have met around the country.  I hope that you find the pages helpful, if not a tad a bit entertaining?

Yes, we are still frozen and cold and stuck in Wisconsin on a dreary January day.  After that wonderful Packer playoff win over Atlanta last night, we are cheered on a bit by something to keep us occupied until our departure date for escaping to warmer temps.  The playoffs will be front and center until the Super Bowl in early February.

We have a few obligations in February that we need to handle, between working, business, meetings, doc appts. and taking care of granddaughter Chelsea and the two rat dog chihuahuas while her parents run away for a week on the beach in Mexico!   Once those things are all done, Steve is able to take a big chunk of his vacation, and we are going to hop in and GO!  

My list is growing of things to prepare for our 7 week trip,
so I don't forget anything.  It goes like this:


call credit card companies and debit card to notify we are traveling to other states
This is done so they are aware of our traveling mode, otherwise they deny out of ordinary charges and call us to verify any charges made that are unusual to our account and normal spending habits and locations.

split up credit cards between us 
We normally each carry the same cards from 2 credit card companies (and our debit cards which we barely use anymore)   If, when traveling, by chance one of us were to get our wallet stolen, that would make ALL our cards worthless if we had to report one of our wallets stolen. By splitting them up, we would be ensured of at least having one card still usable while waiting for a replacement of the other card. Example, he takes an American Express and I take the Master Card so we are not both having the same cards in our wallets.   I read about an RV couple who had that happen and had to have family wire them $500 to get enough gas to get home.  Most credit card companies will only mail a replacement card to the home address too.  Hard to get one mailed to you if you are on the road.  

Another good hint is to take all your credit cards, driver license, insurance card and club cards and lay them on a photo copy machine.  Take a scan of the fronts of all your cards, then flip them over and take a scan of the backs.  Then you have all the phone numbers, acct. numbers and correct names and spellings needed to report a problem or a loss.  Keep the photocopy in a safe place too.

stop mail
We will stop our mail while we are gone, but have Erin pick it up every week or so at the post office and look it over for us.  We live rurally by a tiny town and they said it was fine for her to pick it up. The post office will only hold it for 30 days by policy, so after our 4th week she will submit a new hold card for us that we can sign ahead of time.  Most of our bills are paid online, but in case something else were to come along, she will be able to open it up and tell us what it is.  She and Mark will also be checking at the house and the neighbors shoveling the snow and keeping a close eye on the house.
(like I said in a past post, anything of value will be with us, 
so robbers and thieves,
 don't bother breaking into our house) 

get a gift card for heathers birthday
Yes, we will be gone for our daughter's birthday in March.  So we are going to give her a gift card and tell her to go shopping. She can email us photos of what she chooses to buy for herself.  If we were to buy her a present now, she would not be able to wait to open it, I know she would peek!

update our Flying J card
We just got an email from Pilot/Flying J that their RV Real Value Club has changed to a new program.  It's now called the Frequent Fueler Advantage.  Although we don't use them that much here in Wisconsin, because we don't have any Flying J's or Pilots around here.  They said we can update our present card status into the new program:   Already have a Frequent Fueler, RV Real Value Club, or Driver Payback card? No need to get a new card! Register your card today at www.frequentfueleradvantage.com or at any in-store kiosk. With registration, you can now earn special members-only benefits such as:
  • Pump Start: Ability to start pumps without having to prepay
  • Special offers on retail and restaurant items
  • Automatically enrolled in our Coffee Club: buy 5 hot beverages and the 6th is on us! 
  • Bonus Points after registration is complete (for Professional Drivers only)
Now earn shower credits! 1/2 credit on every 14-49 gallon gas or diesel purchase and earn points on diesel fuel purchased. Instant fuel discounts (gas, diesel & propane) & discounts on dumping fees

print up RV Calling Cards
We have met RVers in campgrounds who have handed us their RV Calling Cards....  so I made up some on my Microsoft Publisher and will print them out and cut them up this week.  On the back I will print our FMCA and Good Sam membership numbers.  Nice way to keep in touch with folks you meet out and about, and refer back to their email address, cell phone or names.  One couple featured their pet's names too, so I added ours.  I did two designs, these two images are just a screen capture of the layout, and the printed final card with be clear and sharp. Let me know which one you like better?

Version 1

version 2

now for the next part of the list.....


extra speakers for ipod/mp3 player
I already own two sets of these neat little speakers, but I took the motorhome set into the house for my studio and have to remember to bring them back out again.  You can plug in an Ipod, Iphone or mp3 player and they work quite well. Not a loud volume speaker, but nice for quiet soft music in the background without using electricity.  Great for boondocking.

batteries from drawer in house
We never have enough batteries along... AA, AAA and big D cells.   So I will clean out the stash in the house and pack them along in the motorhome.  It's Murphy's Law that whatever flashlight is dying, you never have the right batteries to reload it!  LOL

Lila and I plan to get some beading done when we meet up with her and Roger somewhere along the way... she does wonderful beading and I need some new ideas too.  Beads are such a nice small portable craft to take along in the RV, as is my knitting by hand on needles.  I also plan to take along the antique sockknitting machine, but not so sure if I will take a table loom or the spinning wheel.  Still thinking about that.  We will be so busy seeing stuff, not sure how much time I will to play with the bigger fiber toys.

swapping out the pressure cookers
We use a pressure cooker a lot for cooking on the stovetop (not a big canning pressure cooker, but a smaller kettle style with a rocker weight for pressure regulation)   I even do steamed rice in a pressure cooker by setting raw rice and water in a metal bowl and putting the bowl inside the cooker with an inch of water.  7 minutes later you have perfect rice!   The one in the motorhome is fine for the two of us, but the one in our house is a bit bigger.  In case of those impromptu pot lucks or gatherings, I think it would be nicer to have the larger one along. So I think I will swap them out for the trip. We LOVE the tender way it cooks meat fast, like turkey breast, tenderloin tips or lastly, BBQ ribs - which we don't have that often any more due to high fat.  But it makes them fall apart tender and we add a bit of BBQ sauce and set them under a broiler or on a campfire to *brown up* a bit.

dog brushing tools and nail clippers
Being gone 7 weeks will mean those silly doggers still need to get brushed and groomed while on the road

membership cards for camping clubs and discount cards for RVing
I gathered all of our cards and put them all in one handy folder.... all of the cards for Passport America, Good Sam, FMCA and Camping World and our AARP cards.  We also added the card for our insurance agent, hopefully not having to use it.

call our insurance agent to double check our policy.  (done last week)
Our good friends Sharon and Fred went through a horrendous battle with their insurance company after the wreck of their fiver and truck, we don't want to run into some of the troubles they did.  We doublechecked on things like towing...
is it only for a wreck or is it for roadside assistance?
does it only pay a set amount?
does it pay only to get towed to the first place?
what if they can't fix it or it's after hours and nobody knows if they can fix it till they open two days later?
who pays for the second tow to the next place?
what if diesel fuel leaked all over in the case of a crash?  who pays the HUGE cleanup fees being imposed in some areas for hazardous waste   (which can run well over $5,000 in a single crash and some insurances won't pay for it)  

We got all of our questions answered and have updated our list of personal items as well as normally kept items in the motorhome.  We carry an extra rider for those possessions, because most RV policies only cover $500  worth of personal items.  In the event of a loss, you either have to eat it or prove those items were from your home that you brought along and hopefully your homeowners policy will cover some of them.  Whew!

bottles of wine
Steveio is bringing along some of his stash of homemade raspberry wine for our special RVing folks we run into on the way.... and I am bringing some of my Michigan Wild Blueberry Jam!

Very important to take these along, not only if we decide to hop down into Mexico for a day or two, but also we read on Al's blog that sometimes there are checkpoint stops in some of the southern states and showing a passport is good proof that you  are a US citizen.  Though neither of us look very Hispanic, it's nice to have them along!

I am getting all of my prescriptions refilled for 3 months worth so we don't run short.  Avoids the hassle of trying to refill while on the road.  We don't use a major chain, we use our small town pharmacy at our local tiny hospital for most of our refills.  They have to pre-approve with the insurance company to get some of the prescriptions filled ahead of time, citing "7 week vacation" as a reason for the earlier refill.  Some of my drugs are from Walgreens Mail Order.  Last time we were on vacation, we thought we could just stop in a regular Walgreens store and get them filled at the counter. Nope... those are two separate entities and not transferrable between the two systems of Walgreens.  So we had to call the doc office, get them to call in a new one to the physical store, which we had to pay for IN FULL PRICE because the insurance would not cover duplicate prescriptions.   This took over 2 hours of sitting in a sweltering hot parking lot with the generator running to keep the motorhome cool with the AC units   We were later told if we reported the first prescription damaged or lost, we could have had a refill without paying the full cost.  Oh well, we were honest and had to pay the big bucks.

water jugs in basement
we often take along 2 big five gallon water jugs of our well water from home that our dogs are used to.  We can use these for the dogs drinking water when on the road.  Our collie Dumb Ducky has a sensitive stomach and tends to end up with diarrhea on her hindquarters from any changes to diet or water.  We can also buy bottled water in big jugs too if we run short.   Long haired dog butts are not pretty if the dog is sick.  Even with the outside shower unit, that is still a wet doggie butt in the rig stinking like "wet dog" as we travel.  Not fun. Been there, done that.  We have along their shot records and rabies tags on the collars.  Their collars also have tags on with our cell phone number in case they were to ever wander off.   We always planned to get them microchipped, but never made it to Petco on the clinic days where they had it being done.  Might do that before we leave, which entails a 70 mile round trip to the nearest Petco to have it done.

fiber inventory
I have a couple large rolling suitcases that I will pack up with some of my most popular handwoven rugs, towels and knit socks for selling along the way.  Many times folks wonder about my crazy contraptions if we are set up in a campground and I am weaving or knitting or spinning under the awning.  Having a stash of pre-priced and finished items available for impromptu sales is an added bonus.  The sales add to the traveling budget!   I have business cards and brochures along too.  I can also ship out if any of the items are sold from my online Etsy store   http://kareninthewoods.etsy.com/    People pay me via PayPal, and I ship them out from the nearest post office when traveling.  I am also taking along a stash of yarns for knitting which are easily shrunk down in those wonderful Space Bags.  I LOVE those things! I can stack a lot of yarn or fiber in a small space using those bags.  We have a vacuum cleaner with a hose to reshrink any bags if I take some out.

backup drive unit for my laptop
I am kinda debating on this one.... I will do a complete backup right before we leave, but should I leave my backup drive at home where it's safe, or should I bring it along in case of a computer crash to restore my laptop while on the road?

small dvd player and dvd movies from in the house
Our present DVD player/recorder deck unit in the motorhome is an older model and more *sensitive* to playing back certain brands of home recorded dvds.  Some it will play and some it won't.   Same with it's recording feature, it will burn a DVD of home made video content, but only on certain brands of blank DVDs.   Sometimes I like to copy video that we film on trips, day by day, right onto a burnable DVD blank so I can clear the video camera's SD disc each time to film again.  That is why we have a player/recorder unit in the motorhome.   We have a lot of purchased and copied entertainment movies that we found will not play back on that particular player.  So I think I will bring along the unit from the house that is a small player only, and hook that up if need be.  The small one is newer and seems to play anything.  We will probably be out in the boonies a lot and possibly out of digital tv station range.  This way we can pop in a movie on a dreary day or a long rainy night with no campfire going.  Without having satellite for tv (we really don't watch that much)  we can at least pop in a DVD to watch if we want.

fleece pelt for Ducky to lay on
Dumb Ducky who is now ten years old, has been laying on a big sheep fleece pelt at home from time to time for her aching joints on damp or humid days.  So we will have to remember to toss one in the motorhome for her to get comfy on.  Other days she rams around like a young puppy, so who knows.  She just may be a spoiled princess?  All Duke needs along is his frisbee and some doggie biscuits and he is happy.   Of course, also their leashes for walks.  We added these to their flexi leashes.....


postage stamps for postcards
I have to pick up a few pages of postcard stamps, to send cute postcards home to the grandkids as we travel.  We will also visit with the grandkids via Skype on the webcams too, but only when we find some wifi somewhere.  The Skype uses up a LOT of bandwidth on my 5gb limit aircard, so to conserve, we will just locate hotspots here and there to do our special visits.

macerator hose
Tomorrow Steveio is going to locate the macerator hose he wants and get that all configured and stowed in a tote underneath that is labeled just for black water drainage use.  We have a variety of totes, each labeled  as to the contents so it makes it easier to sort and find things in the basement compartments.  I did a previous blog post on our basement organization if you would like to see it at:

Don't worry, we are still below our CCC capacity on the things we are loading up.....   The only other things are more clothes and food, and we are good to go!  Toss in the laptops, the cameras, the router, antenna and aircard....    hook up the Tracker toad and hit the road=================

Now, if you think I am over-planning ... well you should see what Steveio is trying to add to my list!   He wants an extra rebuilt alternator, extra RV water pump, extra sensors and belts and hoses and gosh knows what else along.  He figures if you DO have the parts on board, then the item you are preparing for will NEVER break down.  It's Murphy's Law!


Yesterday we had a wonderful time at our daughter Erin's house... it was the family party for little Chelsea, the youngest of our three grandchildren.   All the kids were there, and we had a wonderful time.  She chowed down on the birthday cake and was delighted with all her new toys....

Cake made of cupcakes in the shape of a number 1       Handmade crocheted bee toy by Auntie Heather

 Jameson wants the CAKE!                All the cousins came, and so did Great Grandma!

Cousin Jameson giving her a Birthday Kiss                  Cousin Allegra came to PARTY!        

Sooo  Where is this CAKE thing?              In no time at all, she got into the cake-eating-routine.

"Thank you for coming to my Birthday Party!"