Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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One Year in RV: Survival!

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August 20 was our one year anniversary of moving into the RV. And guess what? We made it!

I haven’t taken him (my honey) out, though I’ve sent him out when I need to clean (or write, cook, organize, read . . .).

He still loves me even if the heat factor in an RV – during summer – is higher than my happy tolerance level.

He survived record-breaking snowfall and freezing winter temps regardless of how close I came to helping him build his own snow igloo far far from the RV.

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I managed not to throw out the superfluous (not for him) heating items – throw, bed blanket, heat lamps, floor heater – and we were both able to speak in civil tones. Most of the time.

Long-time RV living is not for the faint of heart, but definitely for the adventurous!

Let’s pretend you just arrived for a fancy cooked-mostly-by-BBQ meal. We’ll fill you in on some observations and interesting events that came about from our inaugural RV year.

– It is possible! One can live without piles of stuff – and survive!

– Storage? Premium. If we don’t use it, it has to go. To storage, to someone, to the thrift store…

– Less is more. Truly. The less we have inside the RV, the more space we have to move about.

– Cooking is a bit tricky. Too hot in the summer for the stove. Very humid in the winter.

– Humidity is an issue. One chore I never dreamed of having? Wiping down windows on a daily basis.

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– Electrical circuits can and will be blown. Until you figure out which items can be used at the same time.

– The electric skillet will most likely blow the fuse if anything else is plugged in and going. Anything.

– Do not use the skillet and the AC at the same time.

– Splurge on the skirting. We only experienced one tiny freeze in a waterline. That’s saying something when we were below zero several times and hovered in the frozen zone for months.

– Cats. Litter. Fur. Toys. Cat tree. A bit crowded. Now that they are free to roam, we are all much happier. The catio is disassembled.

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– Mice. Peek before letting cats back inside. Trust me on this.

– Company. Things will be different when guests arrive. Say, for instance, seating. Or standing. Finding room to maneuver. But that’s what makes entertaining exciting.

– Breezes in the bedroom. This is awesome. Open both windows and the wind just blows across our bed. As does dust, smoke from fires, and stinky skunk fragrance, but still!

– My office. A drawer. Half the dinette bench plus the table. That’s it. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I yearn for a bigger creative area.

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– All of outdoors. Right here.

– We have everything we need. Running water, electricity, internet, laundry facilities, bathroom, bed, fridge, grands in and out.

– Our home moves. We can hitch it up anytime we want and hit the road.

I’d say our inaugural year was pretty successful. So you’ve seen me wear the same clothes over and over again. I am dressed, right?

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Happy RV anniversary to us! Come on by, we’ll cozy up and share a seat. Maybe even throw in a meal or tour of the facilities. Feeling up to the challenge? Either the visit or the RV living? Love to hear about it.

 

 

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RV Life: 4 Household Necessities

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Welcome to the RV life.

When we decided to sell our stick house and move into an RV while preparing to build a small home, we knew space would be an issue.

In an RV, storage is calculated in square inches. Each tiny fraction of space is required, necessary, pondered, and strictly enforced.

Take, for example, my enjoyment of the toaster. On those days I want a toasted bagel or whole grain bread, I want it evenly browned, not charred in some areas and barely tan on others. The normal toaster from the big house (our old house, according to the grands) would not even fit in a cupboard. Hence the knowledge of charring and tanning acquired when using the method of a gas flame.

I also knew we would not be happy without a coffee pot. But our huge clunky version did not a) fit in a cupboard, and b) fit on the counter. I considered pour over, but was saved by a shopping discovery.

Yet another ‘what can we not do without’ moment was centered around the stove top where there really is room for only one pan, occasionally a tiny second pan. Cooking space was in high demand.

Humidity. The fourth requirement. As in DE-humidity, also known as dehumidfying. This need became increasingly evident as the winter embraced our valley, temperatures dropped, and snow began to fall. One can wipe down the windows only so many times without sinking into despair.

Should you ever be in need of RV advice, feel free to get in touch! Here are four solutions I’ve found to the above problems. While not perfect, each contributes significantly to our RV lifestyle.

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Mini-toaster. I love this! It doesn’t perfectly toast our food, but it works just fine. And like I said, charring over the gas flame does not work.

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Mini-coffee brewer. This four-cup beauty fits beneath the sink and makes a decent cup of joe. Check that off the list.

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Small electric skillet. One of the first things my mother-in-law told me was to get an electric skillet. I forgot that advice in the hustle of selling, packing, and moving. Once my stove top frustration built to a respectable level, that bit of advice popped right back. Works just fine other than needing to always be counting the total wattage of energy use at any one moment to avoid blowing the fuses. This took practice.

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Small dehumidier. We caved. It’s better to spend some bucks up front and get an electric dehumidifier than ruin the inside of the RV with mold. We have this plugged in all the time, moving it back and forth from the table to the counter. It doesn’t remove every drop of humidity, but it helps. We also employ disposable containers of Damp Rid. Looking forward to warmer air and open windows.

We picked a fine year to move into an RV. Record breaking snow fall, long damp wet winter, and a steep learning curve made some days a little tense. But now with the spring sun occasionally peeking through (snowed ALL day yesterday), we can see the (sun) light at the end of the winter tunnel. Drying out and deep cleaning are our spring goals.

I find it necessary to add that we are still married. To each other. Despite storms of frustration inside the RV.

How about you? Any favorite RV appliances or necessities? Let’s help each other out. Maybe you have a suggestion that would enrich our tiny living lives. Thanks!

 


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Blanket Wars

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No. This is not THAT kind of post. Sorry to disappoint.

This story does take place behind closed doors. Bedroom doors. And it involves blankets.

Backstory: We live in an RV. While this is fairly new, having moved in last August after selling our home and getting rid of most of our belongings, we are pretty settled – as much as a couple plus two cats can be living in an RV – and have dealt with enough RV issues to allow us to feel somewhat competent and resourceful.

Some things we’ve experienced: sub-zero temps, above 100 temps, blown fuses, broken microwave (rough, I know), broken entertainment system (again, tough to handle, right?), frozen water hose, condensation like there’s no tomorrow, broken toilet (equals running, not stopping, water), frozen closed door (with us inside), and broken window shades (thanks, kitties).

Usually Mr. Q gets right on the problem and we finagle a way to make it work or fix it. Often this involves a call to Skyler, the fabulous service manager at Broadmoor RV where we purchased our home on wheels. Skyler is on speed dial. Skyler knows Mr. Q well, and after the recent broken toilet fiasco, my respect for him has quadrupled. Mr. Q was well and ready to pull the RV plug and throw in the towel. Skyler talked him off the ledge and assured him of solutions and assistance. Thanks to Skyler, we still live in the RV.

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But there is one mystery we have not been able to fix. The blankets. The moving, twisting, weird blankets.

Setting: Queen bed. Sheets, both fitted and top. Kind of fuzzy dual-controlled electric blanket. Quilt. Second quilt. Small fleece throw for kitties.

Bedtime finds us tucked in cozily, snug as bugs in an RV rug. Staggered morning wakings ensue in a twist of layers and colors. He goes to work, I make the bed before digging out my computer.

Make. The. Bed. Every. Day. While this is challenging in itself – half cupboards at head height, sharp corners, floor cupboards, more sharp corners, narrow alley around most of the bed, electric blanket cord, and doorknobs – what happens to the tucked in bedding is most confusing.

I end up with the sheet. And sometimes one of the quilts. His side of the bed has the majority of the electric blanket, no sheet, and maybe a quilt. This happens every day. I don’t know how we do it, but it’s as if Mr. Q performs some magic trick to pull out the middle layer of heat and shuffles the rest my way.

The blankets are still tucked in at the foot of the bed. The plug is still attached. Even the kitty throw is in place. But that middle layer? Totally separated as if plucked and sorted by a giant’s hand while we sleep.

The blanket wars are on! I tuck with a vengeance, both when making the bed and when I get in at night, just to make sure I still have some covers left in the morning. He settles in while firmly grasping blankets over his head. Despite our efforts, the sheets still come my way, the electronic warmth goes his.

A mystery of epic RV proportions. Who will win? Will she freeze? Why do the sheets go east, the blankets west? Does he figure a way to make them stay layered? And what about the kitties? Whose side do they stay on?

Tune in this spring to discover if the warming trends of the season solve the blanket wars, once and for all.

Until next winter.

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The Welcome Mat is Out – RV Life

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The snow that has fallen would easily reach the second step, but diligent shoveling makes finding the welcome mat possible!

The welcome mat is out. Snow covered. But out.

Bundle up, jump in the one-horse open sleigh, and drive over the river and through the woods to Nana’s house. I mean Nana and Papa’s RV.

First, we’ll visit and catch-up. Of course, in our tiny space, this may require sitting in shifts or booting a cat off the chair. Speaking of cats, the floating fur is free.

For the exercise portion of our gathering, shall we shovel some snow? As it seems to fall continuously, there are a couple of acres ready for your attention. We’ll add in a bit of slip-sliding our way up the hill to the irrigation ditch, view the wildlife, and sled back down into the pasture.

To conclude our fun times together, toasty hot tea or coffee and perhaps a snack or two shall be served.

As we wave you out of sight, know our hearts and RV are warmer and happier. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon.

Just aim for the welcome mat.

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The Christmas tree that shall stand in place until probably March – or until the snow melts enough to get to the base. It’s still beautiful, so I shall enjoy it until then!

Snow, glorious, snow.

Falling, drifting, growing

Into mountains

And triathlon driving adventures.

 

Snow, fabulous, snow.

Beautiful, peaceful, blanketing

Covering all

And putting to bed those who live under.

 

– By Angie Quantrell


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Foot Warmers: A Letter to My Cats

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Dear Kitties,

I know it’s cold in the RV. In fact, sometimes it’s Jack Frost icy. I realize that furry coats don’t always do the job in the warm-me-up department. I even acknowledge that though there are only 2 of you (and you are sisters from the SAME litter), touching each other often causes undo excitement, hissy fits, and flying bits of gray fluff.

We have a queen bed. In the RV. Crammed into a tiny alcove. Six-foot two-inch hubby requires most of the square footage available on said bed. That leaves me a tiny sliver, I’d even say the edge is my only slumber real estate.

I know we have an electric blanket. I admit to enjoying the toasty slide into pre-warmed sheets. The heater ducts blow comfortably hot air into our bedroom. This makes our room the most desirable location during long winter nights.

It also makes me be squished.

Sliver of bed. Closet alcove for darkness naps. Tall husband. Two cats.

Kitties. I have short legs. But even then, when you are both snuggled and sleeping like furry gray rocks along the bottom of the bed, I am left with nowhere to put my feet.

Out of the covers? Brrrr. Between you? This is one event where you allow yourselves to touch, even become glued together with your sibling. Beneath you? Your elephanty weight belies your small stature. Against the hubby? Uhm, his long legs leave no room. Up against your warm bodies it is then.

A ball. You will find me rolled on my side up near the outer wall of the RV. Sushi roll style, head wedged against the “dresser,” shoulders along the “headboard,” hands and knees tucked into the middle like bits of julienned carrots and radishes. The seaweed wrap of electric blanket coccooning me. And there the sushi mama roll will stay all night, on her less than 1/4 of the bed area.

You, my kitties, will have plenty of sleeping room. Purring contentedly, stretching at ease, lengthening and contracting with the rise and fall of space and temperatures.

Thanks for keeping us company and for blanketing our bed with your heat and snuggles. I don’t mind sharing with you. Not a bit.

Sleep well, feline foot warmers.

The Sushi Kitty Mama


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RV Cooking – Tater Tot Casserole Revisited

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Creamy tater tot casserole (without the tater tots)

Living in the RV, I am constantly challenged to adapt old recipes or create new combinations. With winter upon us, well literally in a few short days, plummeting temperatures – single digits next week! – care must be used when cooking in the electric skillet. As we creatively balance what can be plugged in, turned on, and vice versa in regards to heaters placed below the RV to maintain water flow, let me say the breakers have been tripped on a daily basis.

That being shared…here is a fun new way to make a classic.

RV Electric Skillet Tater Tot Casserole

(1 dish cooking)

Ingredients:

olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

a small scoop of minced garlic

2-3 small potatoes, diced

1 lb. ground turkey

1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets

1/2 cup frozen peas

Mrs. Dash, about 1 T.

black pepper, about 1 tsp.

dried sage, about 1 tsp.

crushed peppers, optional

chicken broth

grated cheese, optional

 

Directions:

1. Add olive oil to electric skillet and heat it to about 250-300 degrees. I constantly adjust my temperature setting depending on speed of cooking, so play with your temps.

2. Add onions, garlic, and carrots. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned.

3. Add potatoes, cream of chicken soup, 1 can of water, and 1 can of chicken broth. Note: I like my casserole creamy as opposed to thick. Add more broth as needed to taste.

4. Add black pepper, crumbled sage, Mrs. Dash, and crushed peppers to taste. We love spice, so I am heavy-handed with the peppers. Stir, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir often.

5. Add broccoli, beans, and peas. Adjust liquid content with broth, again to taste.

6. Cook until all ingredients are heated through and potatoes are soft, perhaps 5-10 minutes more.

7. Serve immediately with grated cheese.

 

There you have it. Tater Tot Casserole without the tater tots!


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Tea with Me

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Special Mickey dessert we enjoyed after a delicious lunch.

Let’s catch up! It’s been that busy lately.

Blog? What blog? It’s more like suitcase? Where did I put my travel bag? Where are the luggage tags? Gotta do the laundry so I have clean undies. Need to remember to pack this and that necessity. Unpack, repack. Lists, lists, and more lists.

Pause. Bring out the teacups. Heat the water. Squeeze in a bit of honey. Choose a teabag. Pour. Steep. Relax.

How has life been treating you? Are you enjoying fall (or spring, depending on your hemisphere)? What plans do you have for the holidays?

We thought life in an RV would be simpler, less to care for, smaller requirements of energy, more free time.

That has not happened. Yet.

Indeed, it seems to take longer to live. Less stuff, but more thinking and decisions to be made regarding purchases, storage options, and mulitple use items. But enough about that for now. More later.

Life has been busy, so having a small space to place our heads at the end of the day has been wonderful. A few things we have been enjoying:

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We found Chewbacca!

Disneyland. Happy anniversary to us! I’m sure I have everyone confused about the date of our actual anniversary, but we have gotten out of the habit of celebrating it on or even near the 22 of June. November? Sure, that’s a great time to head south with thousands of our best friends (and we thought we had an original idea – nope – crowd factor was quite high).

Rubber stamping. I know – hand crafts are fabulous! I decided to make our Christmas cards this year, since my stash of every day cards is quite high and I need to use some of them up before adding more. So off I went to meet the girls and co-conspirators. 94 Christmas cards ready to be used. Merry Christmas!

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The leaves win!

Grandkids. One of my favorite hobbies. I love seeing them and spending time with all 5 of our precious jewels. Photos have been taken, treats given, hugs and kisses enjoyed. Every day is an adventure with grands!

Amplify. We are headed into the busy season, as most churches are right now. Harvest Party, Thanksgiving baskets, Caroling and nursing home visit, Candlelight Service, and so on. Despite the bustle of the season, I adore this time of year.

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Writing. Deadlines are among us. If I disappear for a few days (or weeks) and forget to answer emails or phone calls, it’s the deadline factor. I am blessed to have quite a few on my master schedule, so off to work I go.

Walking. Not so much when I’m home. But if I’m in, let’s say Disneyland, I’ve enjoyed upwards of 8-10 miles a day. Or with friends, 2-3 miles is a nice happy medium. At home, we are still working out the kinks of safely reaching a good walking location (without having to drive somewhere to walk).

Family. Keeps us busy. Grands, siblings, children, parents. It’s lovely to have all of our family close. That doesn’t always translate to seeing them often, but if something pops up, we are near and can help or attend an event or gathering. I don’t know of many families that have so many members this close. For that, we are grateful.

And coming up soon – birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the new year – the seasons of the year. Each is a gift from God.

How about you? Refresh your cup and fill me in. What plans are on the calendar? What’s been going on?

Have a blessed day.

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Day 29 of RV Living ~ Plastic Sinks

Plastic sinks and all – it’s the RV life!

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

RV sinks are plastic. Did you know that?

Why, you ask, is this even important?

The last several days, 5 to be exact, we’ve had to boil water to do dishes in the plastic sink. Dirty dishes require hot water. Plastic sinks do not. The whole process was a delicate balance between boiling water and cold tap water.

We had to boil water (in the electric teapot) because the gas was off.

The gas was off because the carpet got flooded.

The carpet was soaked from the leaky hot water tank.

The hot water tank leaked because it had a tiny hole.

It’s a wonderful thing that we have an extended warranty. First, for the microwave that decided to retire early after only 3 days of us living in the RV. Second, for the leaking and flooding hot water tank.

Kevin’s trip number 2 (not including the shopping trip and picking up of said RV) back to Broadmoor RV Superstore in Pasco where the customer service was phenomenal resulted in a brand new hot water tank and assorted necessitites required for repair.

The Kevster strikes again! After a few phone conferences with the service center manager, we are back in the hot water business. Thank you, Kevin and warranty and Skylar of the Superstore, for excellent customer service and my hot showers and soapy dishwater.

The plastic sink thanks you as well.