Camping Trailer Organization

Here’s another upcycle for your RV or camper.

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Who doesn’t have one of these from ten years ago, right? This handy-dandy carousel  used to be full of cute little, neat little all sizes of plastic storage containers with lids. Until…you started sending them in your husband’s lunch or filling them with leftovers and sending them home with your kids or melting a lid or two in your dishwasher, and then you are left with this. PERFECT! Even worth scouring garage sales for, if you don’t already have one, because the caddy fits right into your camping trailer cabinets. See!

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It secures your peanut butter, coffee, canned goods (although I don’t take many of these on the road) and revolves when you need access to them.

Just another genius idea that stumbled upon me. You’re welcome!

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Caddo Lake Camping

Our latest camping adventure had three purposes, hence, three campgrounds in seven days. Sounds exhausting, but it was really a fun trip.

First of all, Saint’s doctor scheduled a procedure for him in Little Rock that required an overnight stay…during spring break. Secondly, we had planned a trip to an interesting looking lake in Texas a couple of years ago and had to cancel. Little Rock was almost half way there, so why not? Finally, we store our trailer near Beaver Lake in Arkansas during white bass season so that we can pull our boat back and forth and the camper will be there when we need it. By coming home a different route, we could drop the camper off…and spend the weekend before at our favorite camping spot.

I also planned to show you how we put the new awning on and the cute shabby cottage lights I made to go on the awning. In part III of the trailer makeover, I was going to show you my new camping table and share some recipes.

I made all the plans, the grocery lists…I’m a planner like that, but, as I have learned in the last couple of years, the most important rule of camping is: ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B.

We were pleasantly surprised with the Willow Beach Campground in Scott, Arkansas. It was about 10 miles from Little Rock and served as a great base for us. We drove there on Monday, with plans to tour Little Rock on Tuesday, and finish up the medical test on Wednesday morning. There were plenty of vacant spots right on the Arkansas River.

Second cast into the river and I caught this big Drum.

Second cast into the river and I caught this big Drum.

We fished an hour or so and caught a couple of small bass, also, but the wind picked up, and we decided not to put all our camping stuff out. Also, we were going to be away from the campsite all day the next day. We built a charcoal fire and I used my new pie iron. I’m going to post the recipe because it was delicious, but I can’t say my pie iron experience was totally successful. I made a huge mess. Even though I added foil to prevent it.

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The plan was to try as many low carb camping recipes as possible. This was the first, and worth sharing the recipe.

Low Carb Ruebens in the Pie Iron

Ingredients:

Sour Kraut

Corned Beef slices (I used Budding, a package for each sandwich)

Swiss Cheese

Thousand Island Dressing

Low Carb tortillas (I used  a large one and folded it in half between the pie iron-6 carbs)

Butter or Olive Oil

After lining both sides of the pie iron with foil, I buttered the tortilla and placed it in the pie iron with the buttered side toward the foil. Next, between the fold of the tortilla, I layered a couple of slices of corned beef, a slice of Swiss cheese, a heap of kraut, a dab of TI dressing, and then repeated the layers. I closed the pie iron, and Saint had a nice hot fire ready. We grilled it about 5 minutes on each side, just long enough for everything to melt and blend and the tortilla to brown. I made one for Saint using bread, but I was absolutely delighted with the way the low carb tortilla browned and crisped. I’m not a huge Reuben fan, but this was really yummy!

And then we enjoyed this sunset before turning in for the night.DSC00020

The next morning, we visited the state capitol building, the Clinton Center, the MacAurthur Military Museum, the Riverfront area, and other historic sites in Little Rock. My favorite part was driving through old neighborhoods looking at the variety of houses…no cookie cutter rows of houses there. So many unique and quirky details.

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After a day exploring and having a late lunch at the restaurant at the Clinton Presidential Library, we were ready for a pleasant night at the campgrounds. The only complaint about Willow Beach is that it is close to the airport and the planes were noisy the first night.

After finishing with the medical business, we were on the road to..hermetically sealed in a mayonaise jar…Karnack, Texas. I had tried for reservations at Caddo Lake State Park, but they were full of spring breakers. It was a beautiful place and the fishing was free there with a day use fee. But, it was full! Luckily, I found a place called Backwater Jack’s. At first, I was dubious. It was definitely backwoodsy. And the campsites were very close together…just not the kind of spot we were used to, but the river was pretty, surrounded by live oaks with hanging moss.

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The proprietors were friendly and helpful, there were full hookups, and the river was beautiful. We lost our sewer hose somewhere along the road. I know, right? How could we not see that? A resident camper at Backwater Jack’s told us about a shortcut to Marshall, TX. We Are Marshall, Texas? With a WalMart. We were on our way!

After several essential purchases, we drove on to the Caddo State Park and looked around, determined to return the next day for fishing.

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And we still got back to the campground in time to fix dinner.

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Low carb meatloaf cooked on the grill. This was probably the best meatloaf I’ve ever eaten. It was definitely the best I’ve ever made. I did all the prep work at home, wrapped two “loaves” in foil packets, and froze it. (This made four servings.) I put them down in the refrigerator to thaw the day before. Yum! There is nothing better than caramelized yellow squash and asparagus tossed with olive oil and a little sea salt and cooked on the grill. Here’s the recipe for the Meatloaf:

Low Carb Campground Meatloaf

1 package lean ground beef. (Mine was slightly more than a pound)

1 egg

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (Kraft shaker kind)

1/4 cup oatmeal

2-3 green onions-sliced

1/2 of a green pepper-diced

1/2 cup tomato sauce +more for topping

dash of garlic salt, salt, and pepper to taste

Peppers for slicing into rings.

Mix all together, divide into 4 round “loaves. Cut peppers into 4 rings. Place an individual loaf in each ring and smooth it out. Add a little tomato sauce to the top and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan, if you like. I used foil wrappers and wrapped two loaves in a packet. When ready to use, thaw and place on the grill. I’d say it took about five minutes before flipping and another five after flipping.

We each had a meatloaf with the asparagus and squash for dinner and saved the other two to heat in the microwave. I topped it with a slice of cheese and made a sandwich for Saint and ate mine without bread. It was just almost as good leftover.

The next day, campers started filling up the campground…most from one family. It reminded me of family camping trips to Aunt’s Creek on Tablerock Lake when I was younger. When Saint and I returned from a wasted  almost useless trip to Shreveport for a Cajun dinner, the family had gathered around the fire right outside our trailer and laughed and told stories well into the night. That, my friends, is what camping SHOULD be. We were putting stuff away and getting ready to leave early the next day or we would have been right out there with them.  I did get a couple of pictures (with permission) the next morning. Don’t you love Miss Terry’s chair?

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And Grandma’s boy! What a cutie!

 

Saturday was mostly spent driving back to Beaver Lake Arkansas where we planned to fish and cook all the food we didn’t have time to cook along the way, and put up our awning, and put out our new table, and just enjoy a couple of days before leaving our camping trailer at the storage facility. We tried.

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We really tried. Just when we got the new table set up and Saint started building a fire, he looked at the weather app on his phone and declared that we could probably get everything rolled up and put away before the rain started…if we hurried.

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Our daughter and son-in-law were coming for dinner the next day.

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We have all this food left because plan A for cooking just wasn’t working so much this trip. And that nasty little leprechaun wasn’t finished. Not only did it rain…

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There’s the new table that didn’t get put away. Four inches of snow before it was over and no grilling dinner for the family. On to Plan B! We had heat, covers, food, basketball on TV, books, and sparse phone coverage. The oven, which we almost never use, set off the smoke alarm, but, with the door open, we managed to cook the cowboy chicken grillers for lunch.

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Along with the orange roll we had tried to cook over the open fire at Caddo. We won’t be doing that again, but it heated up fine in the microwave on a snowy day.

And we are not to be defeated! S’mores by candlelight on Sunday night.

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Monday morning, we threw in a couple of hooks, but it was too cold to fish. We packed up all that food and dirty clothes, cleaned up the trailer, and left it there for the next time, when, hopefully, we won’t need that plan B, but, first rule of camping…always have one!

 

 

Trailer Makeover Part ll

I’m in charge of the decor; maintenance is not my forte. Fortunately, Saint is pretty good at fixing things. As I mentioned, our trailer is not vintage, by any means, and had been well-kept by the previous owner, we thought, but the bathroom floor squeaked occasionally annoyingly! We constantly worried that the floor was going to cave in at any inopportune moment. Saint had investigated what he could without removing fixtures and such, and found no glaring problem. One day, however, I went out to remove all the bedding to store for winter, and I felt a “spongy” place in the floor of the bedroom. When we had asked the previous owners if it had ever leaked, they hesitated and then explained that they had never experienced it, but their son had told them that a window in the bedroom had leaked. We didn’t notice any water damage and bought it, anyway, so when I reported back to Saint about the soft floor, he looked the situation over. He pulled off some trim, pulled back the vinyl flooring, and found the problem…right under the window. There was nothing wet and soggy, but the boards had been damaged and then dry rotted from that point. There were no termites, no wetness, and the damage was limited to a couple of outside boards which he removed and replaced, no problem. But, that left the vinyl to be repaired or replaced. It wasn’t that bad, but we decided we might as well rip it out and see about the rest of the floor…particularly by the squeaky bathroom.

Old floor

Old floor

We were pleasantly surprised that the flooring, otherwise, was in great shape. In fact, I considered whitewashing it instead of covering, but Saint thought it would not hold up under our traffic. The problem in the bathroom was so simple it was almost funny. The manufacturers had missed the stud on part of a row of nails; an easy fix with a nail gun! No more squeaky floors!!

We chose Allure Light Elm vinyl planks from Home Depot because we thought they would be easier to install in a confined space, plus, we didn’t want to remove the booth or beds, just floor up to them. In hindsight, we would not choose that. First of all, no one mentioned as we were ordering and inquiring that these are not recommended for sunrooms or camping trailers. Secondly, we paid $1.49 or $1.99 per sq. foot at Home Depot and later saw that Lumber Liquidators had them much cheaper. Lastly, we had to order more boxes than we thought we’d need and there were broken or ripped planks in every box. Whether that were the fault of Home Depot, Allure, or UPS, I don’t know, and we could have returned (an extra trip and an extra wait as they were not in stock) probably, but I got no response when I complained to Home Depot about the product. We worked around the damage, but the floor for this little trailer cost more than all the other updates combined. It wasn’t something we had planned, but it turned out okay…and did I mention, NO MORE SQUEAKY FLOORS?

New Floor

New Floor

While we had things in a mess, I asked Saint to make a minor modification in the kitchen. The dining booth makes into a bed. Well, we know we will never need that, and I toyed with the idea of removing the booth completely and putting in a table and chairs, but that would eliminate the storage under the benches, and storage is a premium in camping trailers. To get to the storage area, however, you must remove the cushions of the benches; way too much trouble, so I had kept only things we rarely used under there. For Christmas, I got the mother load of cast iron and was in need of an accessible place for it. I asked Saint to cut out the end of a booth and put a door on for me.

Before Door

Before Door

After Door

After Door

And the cost? That’s the best part. Saint went to a cabinet company to find a door the size we needed. They had one that was close. It was a sample they had made for a client to see, and they had it on the trash pile. It was FREE. Saint did have to cut it down. He had the boards he needed to frame in the inside. All it cost was a few bucks for the hinges and the latch to keep it closed…around $5.oo, and I loved sliding my cast iron skillet, griddle, dutch oven, and pie iron in. I will love even more, getting it out to use without having to remove half the camper!

Another thing we did to get her ready for the season…we bought a roll of Reflectix Insulating Foil. We measured and cut to fit our bedroom windows and the front door.

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We attached small velcro strips around the windows. They are totally covered by the curtains in the bedroom, and we used inconspicuous white ones for the door. These panels are removed and stored in an upper bedroom cabinet, taking up very little space, and will be awesome this summer for keeping out light at night, and heat in mid summer. We thought we would bind the edges with duct tape, but it was totally unnecessary.  The roll cost about $24.00 which is about what one door panel would have cost to order and ship, and we have about 3/4 of the roll leftover. Not sure what we will do with it, but we will find a use, I’m confident.

Finally, we looked at our outside storage. Well, not really outside, but the area under the trailer that we get to from outside and put all our outdoor equipment in. A few storage containers housing outdoor table cloths, lights, lanterns, oil, charcoal, lighter fluid, etc. really help to contain things for a neater appearance as well as easier access.

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See that new folding table I got for my birthday?
I know, most girls want diamonds, I want cast iron and folding tables. I can’t wait to show you what it looks like in use.

So, there you have parts 1 and 2. Part three will happen when the weatherman stops saying the S word. Yes, here it is, almost March, and we have freezing temps and snow in the forecast. This is beginning to cramp our style, but I will show you our new awning soon. And then. Well, we have some great plans and a few new recipes to try. Roar on in, March, so we can get on with it!

Budget Friendly Update for Camping Trailer-Part 1

When planning a make-over for a camper or RV, it is important to consider how you will be using the space in addition to how you want it to look. If I were choosing something to look at, I would consider something like these that I have pinned to my Pinterest board:

Absolutely adorable, right?

Rv Trailer Decorating | RV Glamping / Shabby chic vintage style camper trailer decor

Or this one. So cute.

But I can’t see Saint moving all the darling accessories out of his way to prop up his feet after a hard day of fishing. So, I had to think about what we could both live with. We needed:

  • A place for everything and everything in it’s place.
  • Something that will travel well without having to be put away and gotten out at each campground.
  • Light and open (as much as a small trailer can be.)
  • Easy to clean.
  • Comfortable with a homey, resort feel.
  • DIY improvements that were affordable.
  • Something that would retain its value.

We decided on a coastal cottage look. The most bang for the buck came from painting the oak cabinets.  We had paint leftover from repainting our kitchen cabinets. We used TSP to clean them, removed the doors and drawers, and used a good oil based paint. We did two coats without a primer and the coverage was fine. The white glossy color was too bright for the tones  of the counter top, floors and walls. I wanted a driftwood tone, so I bought a small can of Sandalwood stain (gray tones) and wiped it on and off, leaving an antique look in the crevices. It achieved that driftwood look I wanted and by using paint I already had, the project cost less than $10.00.

We took the old gold hardware off and sprayed it  with RustOLeum oil rubbed bronze paint. Well worth the $7.00!

The next thing we did was remove the old 80’s valances from all the windows. For all except the bedroom, I used fabric that I already had. Natural and traditional burlap, blue striped “ticking” fabric, and some white sheers I already had were altered. I used lots of inspiration from things on Pinterest, especially the fabric flowers that I cut and stitched and hot glued.

I decided on a nautical navy and white stripe fabric for recovering the booth cushions. We did not remove the old upholstery. It was easy to simply wrap the fabric around like a package and duct tape it to the back. If and when we want to change it, it will be simple to do. We also used burlap to cover the padding around the seats, above the door, and under the sofa.

So, here is a before and after picture of what we have done thus far:

DINING BOOTH BEFORE

Dining Booth Before

 

DINING BOOTH AFTER

Dining Booth After

 

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Kitchen Before

KITCHEN AFTER

Kitchen After

I made the pillows out of the burlap and striped fabric I had left, and I did a faux screen print of a starfish and seahorse that I linked to on an earlier post here. I used a twin fitted knit sheet from WalMart to “slip cover” the sofa; totally removable and washable. Added cost, $17.00 for the set, and I used the flat sheet on the top bunk in the back.

So, what do you think, so far? I’m loving it…and right on budget.

Total thus far: $34.00

Spring Spruce-up for RVs and Camping Trailers

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Nothing announces spring like open windows and an upcoming camping trip. Heck, after the winter we’ve had, even the idea of spring cleaning sounds good. And who can’t use a few helps and hints when it comes to getting your camper ready for that first trip the rest of the summer? (I like a neat place to stay, but I admit I only do those deep cleaning chores a couple of times a year, and that’s usually enough if we do the surface cleaning through the season.)

Where you start is a personal preference, but I suggest starting with something that will make a big difference, right off the bat…just to keep me motivated. I like to organize, but if I started with that, I would probably never do anything else…I’d just keep finding more and more things that needed organizing. Whether you tackle inside or outside first depends on lots of things: the weather, facilities, and how much energy you have. So, just start!

OUTSIDE:

  • Use a power washer, strong spray nozzle, or take it to a gentle car wash. Knock off the dirt and dust first, and then you can use a heavier cleaner to remove road tar and the rust that comes out of the little holes around the windows.
  • Open all the windows and clean the tracts around them. This is the dirtiest spot on our trailer. It’s where the dirt and flies like to collect when we have the air conditioner running in the summer, plus, it is not easily accessible when I’m doing routine surface cleaning. It’s also a great place for mildew to hide. I washed the tracts with an all purpose Dollar Tree cleaner and then used baking soda and a scrub pad to scrub away the mildew around the rubber gaskets around the window. Harsh cleaners and heavy duty scratch pads could damage these, and I want none of that!
  • Vacuum screens
  • Take down blinds and wash them in warm soapy water. (I use the bathtub for that, and then rinse them and lay them flat on a towel to dry.)
  • Wash windows inside and out.

INSIDE:

  • Remove vent covers and clean.
  • Wash appliances and counters with all purpose cleaner. For the inside of the fridge, I use warm water and baking soda. Check for any mildew that might be lurking in the seals and use a baking soda solution to remove.
  • Clean bathroom fixtures. Since most RV and Trailer manuals suggest not using abrasive cleaners, I use the same one I use at home. A mixture of half white vinegar and half Dawn. Heat the vinegar, mix together, and put in a spray bottle. Use it as you would any bathroom cleaner. It is gentle, effective…hmmmm. That’s sounding like a laxative commercial, but this is no BS. It works great and is also greener than most manufactured cleaners.
  • Wash or wipe down walls and trim as needed.
  • Remove and wash bedding. Sprinkle baking soda onto mattress, brush it around, and leave it while you finish cleaning. Vacuum it off the mattress. You can also dab a little essential oil (lavender is relaxing, tea tree oil discourages insects) onto the mattress cover before making up the bed. I actually like to leave the mattress pad exposed to the air and not make the bed with fresh linens until ready to travel.
  • Vacuum and mop floors, wash area rugs.
  • Replenish supplies and non-perishables such as foil, baggies, coffee, peanut butter, toilet paper, charcoal, paper plates, etc.
  • Check/replace batteries in your smoke detector.

I will finish my trailer cleaning this week. Now, about the house? Hmmm, not sure, because I’ll probably be too busy camping. It’s almost March and the white bass are calling.

Organizing in Your RV or Camping Trailer

I am always on the hunt for organizational ideas for our camping trailer. My latest find… total cost = $4 + tax. Yep, for the price of a gourmet coffee, you can save yourself  a bit of precious space, time, and effort. Here are the four items I purchased at the Dollar Tree for a buck apiece.

1. Drying Mat

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This works better for me than a plastic rack. It takes up very little space on a counter or a sink shelf, dries quickly, and can be folded and put away in the linen cabinet or drawer. Honestly, I don’t use my stove inside the camper much because we like to cook outside, so I usually just place this on the stove burners. The vented shelf over the burners helps it dry even quicker.

2. A lightweight plastic coated hanger shelf

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This comes with small screws, but is so lightweight that it could be hung with industrial strength velcro strips, depending upon what you are hanging on it. Hung by the door, it is great for keys, note pads, jewelry, pocket sized flashlights, and any other things you want to grab as you go out.

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In the kitchen, it can hold utensils behind the stove, pot holders, tea towels and dish cloths.

Bathroom towels, damp socks, and other items from the bath and bedroom can be hung up, as well.

3. Mesh Laundry Basket

Look at this! It just pops right up.

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It starts out flat, and returns to the flat position when you are finished. The amount of space it takes up is completely minimal. I just spray it off with Lysol and store it in the linen cabinet with the towels and sheets; so much better than the black plastic trash bag that would begin to smell after a few days. The mesh allows things to continue to dry thoroughly and breathe. It has ribbon handles and is not the sturdiest piece of equipment you will find, but it will last an entire camping season for us.

4.Aluminum pans with lids.

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Admittedly, I don’t usually buy foil pans. I save them from graham cracker pie crusts. I’m all about freebies, reuse, and upcycle. Foil pans are a staple for camping. They stack, are lightweight, can be washed and used again, and I don’t feel badly about crumpling one up when it has been charred or would be too hard to clean and using it to clean the grill grates. I only buy them (three for a dollar) when I need the lids. Sometimes I cook things that need a bit more stability than a foil packet and find these to be more economical and a little more environmentally friendly than using an entire roll of foil.

Make a trip to your local Dollar Tree and let me know what you find that makes your life easier on the road or at the campgrounds. They have plastic egg protectors, covered bowls and storage containers of all sizes, clotheslines and clothespins, candles, in addition to my four faves.

Right now, it is 20 degrees outside. Planning and organizing for our next adventure keeps my mood in check. Happy camping!

Kamping at Katfish Katy’s

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Not our typical camping experience, but the reason for this trip was threefold. First, we wanted to celebrate our forty-second anniversary. Next, we wanted to visit family in the area, and finally, we wanted to see the Mizzou Tigers wrestle gators. Katfish Katy’s is on the Missouri River about ten miles from Columbia. The river is just over the berm from our trailer, and we could view the river from our breakfast table.

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This is the stage for the live blues bands that were coming for a Sunday afternoon concert.

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Saint got to watch a big barge coming down the river, but the picture is on his phone. And we walked the Katy Trail, which was right at our doorstep, nearly, in the mornings.

We celebrated our anniversary at Les Bourgeois near Rocheport. The views of the river from there are spectacular.

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And the harvest is ready.

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The historic buildings in Rocheport…a church and and old school turned into a B&B.

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On Friday evening, My brother and his wife came through on the way to the ballgame. My niece, her husband, and delightful daughter came down from Columbia for dinner. Of course the beautiful weather turned ugly just about dinner time. Good thing Saint persevered through the ridiculousness of setting up a screen room over the picnic table. I think it was Miss Olivia’s first camping outing. She was a great sport and indulged us in roasting a marshmallow for a s’more, but she really liked the “pacorn” better.

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And was smart enough to warm up inside the trailer.

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She was even more comfortable at home the next day when I gladly gave up my ticket to the football game to help entertain Olivia and her cousin, Owen, who came from KC so his dad could enjoy the game.

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Olivia’s Grandpa (my brother, Carl) ready for the big game.

 

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Sharon gladly shared both her grand kids. Owen and I golfed, cooked, and hot-rodded around.

 

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And I still had a great seat to watch the Tigers whip up on the Gators when the kids went down for naps. Win-Win!!

They all went to a celebration party at one of the coaches houses, but Saint and I needed to get back to the campground and tear down that consternation of a screen room before dew settled in and we had to put it away wet.

Sometimes, the prettiest scenery is found in the most unusual of places. This time, on our road home. This old barn. By next weekend, the leaves should be at their brightest, but this is a pretty sight!

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I didn’t try a lot of extraordinary cooking this week. We were too busy and the weather wasn’t cooperating. I did try a new breakfast casserole that I baked in the oven inside the trailer.  I modified a bit . It was tasty. Can’t wait to try it on the campfire. I used to have a camp oven, and now I’m toying with making my own makeshift one. For now, I’ll share the recipe. It was good enough to make at home…and easy!

Bubble Up Breakfast Casserole

1 lb Sausage

6 eggs

1/2 c. milk or cream

1 can crescent rolls

1 can green chiles (small)

1 sage leaf

2 c. shredded cheddar

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook, drain, and refrigerate sausage until ready to use. (I did this at home before we left for camp)

When ready to assemble, lightly grease or spray 9×13 casserole dish. Pinch off nickel sized pieces of crescent rolls and drop them randomly over the bottom of dish. Add cooked sausage. Dice fresh sage leaf finely and sprinkle across sausage. Beat eggs and milk together, add salt and pepper and mix in green chiles and mushrooms (optional). Pour over sausage layer and  top with shredded cheddar. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven until eggs are set and cheese is melted. (30 -40 mins and allow to rest an additional 5 to 10 .)

The crescent roll pieces will bubble up nicely, making this a pretty and tasty casserole. And, oh, my! How easy!

 

 

 

Camping recipes

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Nope. That foxy lady on the motorcycle is not me. I’m the one in the mirror trying to take a picture of the reason we camped at a different campground last camping trip.

I’m not a motorcycle enthusiast, but if you are, I encourage you to check out Bikes, Blues, and BBQ held in Fayetteville, AR every fall. On our trip from Ozark to Fayetteville, cyclists were EVERYWHERE! Our son-in-law and daughter took us downtown to see the beginning of the festivities, because, even if you’re not a fan, you should experience it just once. I have never seen so many Harleys in one place in all my life! And we were very close to the South Dakota event several years ago.  I didn’t have my camera as we were going to lunch at Hugo’s…my favorite black and bleu burger in the world! (Thanks, guys, for the tour and lunch.)

After all that noise excitement, we were ready for a few quiet days of camping and watching football games. We settled in at Lost Bridges Campground with all the supplies for trying a few new tailgating recipes.

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All settled in, but no signal to watch either the Razorbacks or the Mizzou game…which left us listening to the radio and focusing all our attention on the food.

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The GRILLED NACHOS turned out great.

1 lb. Velveeta (melted in microwave

1 can refried beans

1 can black beans

1/2 package Ranch Dressing seasoning packet

1/2 can Rotel

Sliced jalapeno peppers (to taste)

Shredded cheddar

Tortilla chips

Combine melted Velveeta and next 4 ingredients. Place a row of tortilla chips around the outside of pan. Pour mixture into center of pan. Top with shredded cheese and peppers. invert another pie pan over the top and seal the edges. This recipe made two pans full. If you are preparing for a tailgating crowd, double the recipe and heat it in a larger foil casserole pan. Heat over indirect heat until cheese is bubbly.

This was a no mess/no fuss dish that I will definitely do again.

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Black and Bleu Brisket Sandwiches

1 Package precooked brisket (I used the Jack Daniels kind from WalMart)

1 onion, sliced thin and carmelized

Horseradish sauce (I used the prepared kind)

Bleu cheese crumbles

Hawaiian sub rolls

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I added some grilled peppers to this. I carmelized the onions and peppers at home and all I had to do at the campground was heat everything over the open fire and assemble the sandwiches.

This was another great camping/tailgating recipe that I will make again.

The last thing I tried needs some tweaking, to say the least.  It was a breakfast recipe…cream cheese monkey bread. If any of you have “baked” over the open fire other than in cast iron, I would love to hear about it. I’m not giving up on it because the taste was wonderful. After we peeled the burned scorched blackened bottoms off. 🙂

O.G.G!! Candy Crackers!

That’s Carolynese for Oh, Good Grief!! This campfire/tailgating recipe is worthy of my traditional rant.

This is the easiest, yummiest, fastest little finger treat you could ever imagine.DSC00259

Just look at all that ooey, gooey goodness. Saint loved them. And seriously, your 3 year old could make these. Here’s what you need.

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And really…you only need ONE kind of candy and ONE box of crackers. I wanted to test these to see which tasted best.

And here’s all you do.

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Take a large sheet of foil. Or, you may do as I did and use two foil pie pans. Place crackers in the middle, add candy, top with another cracker. Now, wrap the foil around all the cracker/candy combos and fold it down at the top to make a little foil envelope. Now, place the foil envelope on your truck or car hood (if you are tailgating) or on a sunny picnic table or on the deck of your boat(if you are camping.) On a hot day, it takes less than 30 minutes for this melt together.

I originally planned to use Pretzel Flips and Rolos, but  the cute little football shaped HiHO crackers just jumped in my cart, and the  caramel filled kisses screamed from the candy aisle. The science teacher in me always wants to experiment.

The results: Pretzel Flips were the best cracker, caramel kisses had the best flavor, but the Rolos held their shape and were easier to eat.

You could try any miniature candy you like. I’m thinking mini peanut butter cups would be perfect. Suggestions in the comment section would be appreciated.

We tried several different camping recipes and I plan to put some of them, along with our camping pictures in a later post. For now, get out there and cheer on your favorite team. Rah! Rah! Rah! Sis Boom Ba!

Try saying that with a mouth full of candy crackers.

Another Freecycle (or two) for Your RV

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STOP! DO NOT throw this plastic heap in the trash when there are millions tons so many ways to use them. Especially if you are a camper.

I usually have several of these around the house because I fold wad them up and stash them in the closet to reuse. Yesterday, I found some that were perfect for our camping trailer. One was small, having housed a couple of sheer curtain panels, and it had two inner “flaps” where the cardboard pictures of the curtains had been inserted. It was the perfect size to hold all our important camper papers that were previously strewn stuffed loosely in a cabinet. It had plenty of space for the owner’s manual, cooling/heating unit warranty and replacement part brochure, microwave and stove pamphlet, and all the other magazine type folders containing essential information should anything fall apart break go wrong. One inner flap holds receipts, the other secures extra fuses, batteries, screws, etc.

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Everything you need to know about your RV in one handy-dandy bag, and it’s free! Best of all, look at this! It all fits compactly in the BOTTOM of one of my closet drawers, leaving room for pj’s or underwear on top.

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Yay!

Next, on to bigger and better bags. Comforter and blanket bags are also perfect for your camper. I dislike leaving my pillows uncovered in our trailer when we are not using it. I simply wad fold the pillows into the bag. Two will fit inside most of the bags. Before zipping, I sometimes add another freebie. Remember those annoying, stiff pages in magazines that advertise a fragrance? Rip them out!

Cut the sticky strip off, open it up, and place it in the bottom of your pillow bag. When you open the bag and take your pillows out on your next trip, you will smile! Makes you want to lie down and take a little nap, right then and there. If I don’t have a freebie, I use a dab of Tea Tree Essential Oil on a cotton ball placed in a corner of the bag. I’m told this keeps the dust mites away, but I have not researched that. I do know that it smells heavenly.

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Perfect! Now all I need is a road trip.