This is an ongoing, updated constantly, list. So bear with me as I continue to organize and add to it! Lots of these are national businesses, but some are local Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky companies.
Today, March 6th, is “Black Balloon Day”. It was started by Lauren Hurley, who lost her brother-in-law to a drug overdose on March 6th, 2015. Continue reading
So I’m pretty sure I’ve hit my first slump in the world of blogging. I’ve had this thing going since May and for the most part, posting has come fairly easy. Whether it’s something about moving to a new state, some recipe I tried, a project I started, cute pictures of the pup… I’ve always had SOMETHING to ramble on about! Continue reading
After about 3 weeks off, visiting family and getting things done on the camper, we are back in Texas and back to our normal routines. Allen is back at work (his body definitely knows this!) and me and Charlie are back to killing time together.
I feel like I’m getting a lot done, even if it’s little things…
- I fixed our pantry drawer that was acting up (the middle one) and now all three of them open further than they did before – definitely a plus!
- I reorganized the pantry and everything fits a lot better now. I posted a while back about my favorite “camper-sized” things… Well, my mom is awesome and got us the Magma nesting pots I was dying to have! So I was able to get rid of all our old mismatched pots and pans that were crammed into one drawer and make room for the k-cup brewer she also got me (Allen isn’t grown up enough to drink coffee yet, I’m still working on that!).
- Allen picked up some LED lights for the pantry also so we put those in and now I can actually see what’s in there!
- I liked those so much that we got another pack for the bathroom closet. Once I put them in there I saw how much of a hot mess that area really is so I had to reorganize that. I only tossed about 3 bottles of stuff but I somehow have way more room!
- Since we put the toolbox in the cubby, our garage is a whole lot bigger! So we got that cleaned out when we got down here and set it up.
- Now I’m in the process of trying to get this hideous sticker off the front of our washer/dryer. We didn’t take it off when it was brand new so I feel like it got baked on with use. Goo Gone isn’t working so it’s just the sticker vs my fingernails… I. Will. Win.
We are also trying to eat healthy, and very inexpensively… Which is a little difficult to plan out, but I’m trying. See: Cheap, Easy, Healthy, Delicious Black Bean Soup. I’ve also kept us stocked with a wannabe 7-layer salad (wannabe because it doesn’t have nearly 7 layers but it’s still delicious).
I also started keeping a written budget. I had one going for the last couple months of 2015 but kind of let it slip in December. It’s difficult to do while traveling and expenses and income changes dramatically depending on what part of the country we are in at the moment. So we are starting fresh. So far we are most definitely in the red! But I’m hoping to get a better idea of where our money goes and trim it back here and there wherever we can. After all, we have a Smart Car goal to get to in a little over a year!
Our leveling jacks are not working. The system has lost its little bitty mind!
We have the Lippert Components Level Up 6 Point Automatic Hydraulic Leveling System on our 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH. Basically you are supposed to be able to push a button and the camper will level itself. This used to work just fine.
Recently we’ve been hearing a popping sound and it feels like the front jacks are slipping. We opened the manual and started to diagnose the problem. We checked the hydraulic fluid level. We checked that all the knobs and Allen screws were closed where they were supposed to be closed. Some were open so we closed those. Then we tried to hit the automatic level button.
The jacks lifted the passenger side of the camper all the way off the ground! I could literally spin all three tires! So we canceled that. Then Allen went through the process of overriding the system to manually level the camper. You have to push a button ten times and then it lets you move the jacks separately however you want. Or, it’s supposed to.
When we try to retract the rear jacks, the front ones come up. When we try to extend the front, all of them extend. If we try to retract or extend the left side, all of them react. The whole thing is wonky and it’s not making any sense!
Has anyone ever had any issues like this?? It’s so frustrating and now we are living in a camper where doors shut by themselves because we can’t get the thing level!
The closest Grand Design dealer is 2hrs away in Sacramento. And with Allen working, that makes it a little tough to get over there.
UPDATE: We got the problem fixed on our own, with phone help from Lippert! Here’s what happened.
Ever since we got the new camper with a convection microwave, I’ve been wanting to make homemade pizza.
My first attempt at cauliflower pizza did not turn out so well. The directions said to steam and drain the cauliflower, getting rid of the excess moisture, before grating it and maxing it with cheese and egg and shaping it like a pizza crust. I skipped the steaming and draining part so the “crust” never got crispy enough to hold together. I still want to try it again…
After that didn’t work, and I got the Breadmaker, I decided to make actual pizza dough. This time it came out super delicious! I think the only thing I will do differently next time is bake the crust on its own with no toppings for ten minutes or so beforehand, so it gets a little more done without the cheese and toppings getting too brown.
And by the way, Allen took his very first blog photos for this post! 😉 Good job babe!
Here is the recipe I used for the dough:
1.5 pounds: 1/2tsp salt, 3cups all-purpose flour, 1-1/2tsp active dry yeast, 1cup water, 2tbs EVOO, and I added about a tbs of Italian seasoning
- Measure all ingredients into bread pan.
- Select the dough cycle on the breadmaker.
- Pat dough into a 12″ round pizza pan.
- Preheat oven to 400• (I did the convection oven to 375• because you always go 25• lower than the recipe calls for.
- Spread sauce and toppings over dough.
- Bake 15-20 minutes. (I went 30 because the convection oven seems to take longer.)
***As I mentioned before, next time I will bake the crust on its own for about 10minutes THEN add the toppings. OR I could bake it in the regular oven. Since camper ovens are so small, they tend to burn the bottom of everything, since that’s where the heat comes from. We usually try to avoid using it altogether. But that might be perfect for pizza!
On another note about the camper oven: we discovered in the old camper, before we had a convection oven in our lives, that if you cover the oven rack with aluminum foil, it helps to distribute the heat a little more evenly, but it also takes longer for things to cook.
Especially in campers. But, you pay a price for living the RV lifestyle…
Our old camper (2010 Forest River Wildwood) ALWAYS leaked under the bathroom sink where the water first came in. Every time the weather would change, the hoses would shrink and we’d have another puddle. We decided not to get another Forest River.
We went with Grand Design because we thought it was the highest quality product on the market. Well, it still has the same crappy water hoses with poorly designed hose clamps.
We noticed a puddle under the camper and started to investigate. Once we got into the big cubby, we found a puddle. We took two walls out that were blocking the water hoses and hot water heater and found the drippy source.
My neighbor Carmen recently got us (and by that I mean me, because really, Allen will never touch the thing…) a bread machine! I love it! I’ve been wanting to get one since we were in Florida this last time. Our neighbors Lyne and Terry had one and it smelled so good. They bring down their own flour every year from Canada because they don’t like the way American bread tastes. Anyway, I’ve been comparing models, and Carmen said she really wanted to get us something for sort of a housewarming gift, so, I’m the proud new owner of an Oster 2LB. Expressbake Breadmaker.I started with the traditional white bread in a 1.5LB loaf and it came out delicious. Then I moved on to the flavors… I’ve mostly used the recipes that came with the breadmaker but I’ve also ventured into Google territory for some yummy ideas.
I made a super scrumptious cheddar/garlic/herb type loaf that we ate one day then the next day sliced and drizzled with EVOO and stuck on the grill for a few minutes – SO good! We had the bread with a bacon-wrapped pork loin…yum!I tried Honey Wheat because that’s the kind of bread we like on a daily basis, but the recipe was a 2LB loaf, which is just too big for sandwiches. And I had not mastered the art of slicing by then. The next day we took off for Tahoe so it was moldy by the time we got back.
The latest was a 1LB Italian garlic and herb loaf which came out perfect! It’s the perfect size for sandwiches. (Allen’s taken two to work already.) And I let it cool longer this time before slicing. I also didn’t use my fancy bread knife and bamboo bread slicer that I bought.
I just used a non-serrated knife I got from the Dollar Tree a LONG time ago, and it worked great… Surprising, but true… So we have decided that the 1LB loaves are the way to go… My goal is to never buy grocery store bread again.
On another note, I felt my very first earthquake ever!!! I went to school (this super expensive one) out here in San Francisco for 4yrs and never felt one (I think I was on a barstool for most of them…) and then last year we were out here for about 5 months and I didn’t feel one then either. This one was crazy! I was laying in bed with Charlie, probably blogging or Pinteresting, and it felt like someone hit the camper. It actually felt like Allen backed up and hitched up to the camper, but I knew he was at work. So I thought A) someone was trying to steal our house with me and the dog inside! or B) one of these tourists driving a rental RV must’ve clipped our nose… Charlie and I both ran outside but nobody was out. All was quiet. I texted Allen and he then informed me it was an earthquake, that they felt it by the tower too. Yikes! But it was a smaller one, nobody was hurt, so that was good.
I’ve also been on the phone trying to order parts for the camper from Grand Design. We have a 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH. We just bought it at the end of March. It’s still brand new. You’d think it would be fairly easy to get simple parts for it. Almost two weeks after sending the first “inquiry form” to Grand Design, we finally have parts on the way! (I honestly thought they would have excellent customer service being that they are still a new and fairly small company…)
While I was back at my mom’s house for my brother’s funeral and Allen and Charlie drove from Texas to San Francisco alone, a yellow pole at a tiny gas station jumped up and grabbed onto the ladder on the side of the camper, yanked it a little and busted the red light that’s back there. So we need a light, and the bottom brackets that hold the ladder onto the camper.
We wound up having to get the part numbers from Grand Design then call a dealer to order them because Grand Design is not set up to sell directly to actual people. I find this silly. Luckily, Shelly at Lazydays RV in Florida was super nice and helped us out. I probably should’ve called Palm Beach RV since that’s where we bought the camper, but oh well.
Anyway, while I was on the phone with Amanda at Grand Design I had her switch me over to Jerry in warranty (yes, I’m on a first name basis with these people). I spoke with Jerry multiple times when we were in Louisiana trying to take care of the radio/tv situation. Grand Design had the bright idea to put some Furrion products, and some Haier products in here. (To save money I presume..) But they don’t communicate well with one another. The radio in the living room is also a DVD player and that wasn’t working so Jerry sent us a new HDMI cord. It worked then, but in hindsight I don’t think the cord was the issue. We still have the same problem with having sound and no picture when we play a DVD but now we just unplug the TV then plug it back in. It’s the cheap Haier TV. In the garage (toy hauler) there is a car stereo that also plays DVDs. But it constantly sounds like it is skipping around a CD in there or trying to spit one out. Jerry also sent us a new radio that we swapped out. That worked for a while. I noticed Monday that it started making noise again. So he is supposedly sending us ANOTHER radio to swap out and says if we have more issues we will have to take it in to have it looked at. I’m trying to avoid that because we live in here full time and I’d rather not live at a dealership for days. Also, the closest Grand Design dealer is in Sacramento. And Allen will not be commuting to from Sacramento to San Francisco to work! Anyway, last time, Jerry took forever to send anything out, I mean he said he sent it then a week later I called to see where it was and he still hadn’t sent it. So fingers crossed he actually put it in the mail yesterday!
Before we left for Tahoe, Allen’s buddy was flying home for the weekend and gave us a 10LB bag of potatoes. (He lives alone. Why he would buy a 10LB bag of potatoes eludes me. I’ll have to talk to him about that.) Anyhow, I’ve been looking at this bag all week. Then I decided that instead of letting them go bad, maybe I could freeze them. So I Googled… Then I made some frozen hashbrowns (you just dice them, drop them in boiling water for about 2min, drain and cool them, bag them and freeze them) and some frozen fries (same as above but you also fry them in oil for about 3min after blanching and drying, then cool, bag and freeze). Easy peasy. I still have over 5LBs of potatoes left but at least I got rid of some of them!Last night I made 3-ways for dinner. Technically, 4-ways. If you don’t know what that is, it’s because it’s a Cincinnati thing… We are weird like that. It doesn’t matter where we move to, where our domicile is, Allen will always love 3-ways and goetta. (I on the other hand despise goetta… The taste, texture, cooking it, yuck!) The night before last, I came up with a new concoction that was pretty tasty… Rum and Kool-Aid! My brother loved Kool-Aid so I named this “Ode to Adam”…
And just for fun, here are a couple shots of Charlie hanging out with her buddy Samantha in the old parking lot that is our “yard” here at Candlestick RV Park…