Slow Cooker Baked ZITI

Now that fall is here and the weather is getting cooler, I’m using my slow cooker a lot more.

The slow cooker is also great when I can use one of those slow cooker disposable liners. Especially when we are traveling and don’t necessarily have time to do lots of dishes (or when we don’t have a full hook up site for the camper!) Not to mention, anything you can make in one pot saves a ton of time and space, and space is ALWAYS at a premium in RVs…

This is a first for me though, making pasta in the crock pot, but it came out great! Continue reading

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My Favorite Camper-Sized Things

I have to start off by saying that Charlie is THE BEST camper-sized puppy I could ever wish for! IMG_2807

Now, moving onto camper-sized THINGS

Living full-time in a camper takes some adjusting to but overall I love it. Before I moved in with Allen for good I went through all my clothes and got rid of half of them. Then I went through again and got rid of another half. I still probably have too much, and I TRY to live by the rule that when I get something new, I need to get rid of something, but that doesn’t always work out perfectly!

The biggest challenge for me is staying tidy. Just ask Allen! He sometimes starts twitching (slight exaggeration) coming in the door from work if I have crafty stuff on “his side” of the bench, and let’s not forget walking into the bathroom if I’ve forgotten to put my makeup and hair stuff away… (Let’s just say my tidiness is a work in progress!)

You know that saying: benjamin-franklin-quotes_10351-0Well… This is more like it:

quote-the-trouble-with-a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place-is-that-there-s-always-more-robert-brault-296235

True that!!!

But in a camper, you need to be organized and live by this rule or things can get out of hand rather quickly!

So here’s a list of some of my favorite things that work well for me in our camper. Some I have, some I just really want!

  • I have a set of nesting mixing bowls and measuring cups just like these, but I got mine from Aldi (it’s a discount grocery in Cincinnati) and I only paid around $15. This set is $30. The only thing I wish is that my green bowl had the same little pour spout-that’s kinda nifty! Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.46.38 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.46.26 PM
  • These Magma nesting pots and pans look SO nice! A dream come true! They all stack neatly inside of each other and there are two removable handles so they don’t get in the way! I am in love with them. I’m REALLY hoping my wonderful mother gets us these for Christmas! I saw them first on Shore Looks Nice.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.44.00 PM

Considering my drawer for pots and pans (and my coffee pot) looks like this currently, I can only imagine how amazing these would be!  

  • When we had the other camper, I would do dishes and set them on a dish towel on the stove, leaning against the wall to dry. But with our new camper, the sink is on the island, which means there is no wall to lean plates and things against to dry. So one of the first things I bought was this drying rack. It folds up and fits under the sink when I’m not using it. Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.42.41 PM
  • I’m also in DESPARATE need of a spice rack! I cook dinner almost everyday. 6 days a week, if not 7 sometimes. And I use a LOT of spices. Right now I have them all stacked/falling off of a lazy susan on a shelf in the pantry. I bought this spice rack from Kohl’s when we were in Waynesville, but when I got it home I realized how cheaply it was made so I returned it.Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.17.45 PMNow I’m thinking maybe this will work out better. I can stack things on top of it, and even though it’s not as fancy looking as the one above, I can use my existing spices! Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 2.51.08 PM
  • I absolutely love our washer/dryer combo, but sometimes I don’t have the patience to wait for things to dry all the way, OR they just don’t. This mostly happens with jeans and heavy sweatshirts. So I picked up this drying rack and it gets a lot of use! Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.25.19 PM
  • And, even though it’s not storage related, I think it’s fair to mention that I’ve found some really decent dishes at Big Lots.  I usually look in the picnic section for plastic plates and bowls. And I try to find thicker, better quality ones that will last a while. We had some black ceramic dinner plates and bowls that Allen loved, but it was just too much of a hassle to have to stack paper plates in between them every time we would travel so they wouldn’t break that I finally gave them away. He’s still a little sad about it! But it wasn’t practical (sorry babe!)
  • I don’t have this shoe holder but I want to make one. My friend recently sent me some fabric and I think some of it might work out really well for a shoe holder! I’m sure it wouldn’t be TOO hard to DIY!

  • I know they probably sell the “pop-a-bag” things that hold your plastic grocery bags, but you can just as easily make one yourself. I made mine out of an empty Clorox Wipes container. I just stuffed the bags inside and tore off the little plastic prong-y things. Super easy! I used to have them in a tissue box and that worked too! Here’s the pop-a-plate and pop-a-tissue. (I don’t have or want either one of these, I think they are kind of a waste of money, and now I don’t have anywhere to put them.)Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.39.16 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.40.03 PMThese are both at Camping World
  • Some kitchen appliances that I can’t really function without: 
    Immersion Blender (I actually found this at Goodwill for $3!!!)

    Immersion Blender (I actually found this at Goodwill for $3!!!)


 

 

If you have any ideas that I missed or some favorite camper-sized things of your own, please share!


Tour of Our Home on Wheels (part 3- the living room and kitchen)

The layout of the main living area in our camper is just about perfect for us. It has opposing slides, which open up the space a lot. Also, the ceilings being so high help with that. (We are 13’6″ high.) Some images I’ve taken from Grand Design‘s website and some are my own.

All of the brochures say there are overhead cabinets above the couch. There aren’t. I think there may have been in 2013 and 2014 and Grand Design has just failed to remove that part…

I’ll start with the kitchen…

I really wanted an island when we were looking at new campers. Not only does it add counter space (which in campers, is always at a minimum) but it also let’s me have a conversation with Allen when I’m prepping dinner or my least favorite chore: washing dishes, which he doesn’t do nearly enough of, IMHO.

 The island in our Grand Design Momentum has a marble looking top and double basin sink with sink covers. We usually keep the smaller side covered, adding even more counter space. The faucet has a sprayer that pulls down so you can rinse the whole sink. Under the sink there is room for a small trash can on one side and two shelves on the other. Next to those cabinet doors are three drawers. There are three shelves on either side of the island with blue LED lights under them and outlets on both sides as well. Directly above the island are two chandelier lights that hang down and add a nice touch that I haven’t seen too often in campers.

In the kitchen slide, there is a large pantry with 3 shelves and 3 drawers, an oven and stove- with stove covers that match the island, a storage drawer underneath the stove, a marble looking backsplash, a convection microwave above, and another storage cabinet above that.

The stove WITH the covers on.

The stove WITHOUT the covers.

This would be my attempt at organizing the pantry… for probably the third time…  yikes!

Next to the stove is our “residential-size” fridge. Which means it’s huge in the world of campers, but still not quite as deep as normal ACTUAL residential fridges. (We can’t fit one of those can holders that roll the cans forward for instance). All the appliances are stainless steel. And our fridge is actually magnetic! Another rarity in the camper world…

I think I might be overly excited about the magnetic fridge…It’s getting quite cluttered.  And I’ve been on a post-it note kick lately so those are stuck everywhere!

Above the kitchen there is a vent hatch with a fan. It is controlled by buttons on the wall, has four speeds, and has a rain sensor, so when it starts raining, it’ll automatically close. There’s also an air conditioner that has a heat pump on it. I didn’t know what the heat pump was until I started Googling. It’ll warm up the room by 4 degrees at a time. Any more than that, the furnace will kick on. But that is going to be really nice come wintertime! (And since I’m kind of spoiled with it, and we aren’t paying electric right now, I’ve used it twice here in San Francisco in the morning when it’s chilly – it’s awesome!)

Combine the heat pump with the electric fireplace (I’ve used that too…), and we should be nice and cozy! The fireplace has 10 different looks going from super bright and blazing, to just a small little thing, and 2 different heat blower levels. It also has a remote and a timer that can be set. The fireplace is under the flat screen TV. It’s flanked by two storage cabinets. (Ours contain liquor on one side and dog food on the other.) Above one of the cabinets is a radio/CD player/DVD player/Bluetooth and USB capable thing that plays through the surround sound system and can play in the living room, the bedroom, or outside, or any combination of those three. Above the TV there are cabinets all the way across where we keep our DVDs and books. Above the TV there are light switches and a USB charging port. (It took us a full week to figure out how to turn the LED lights on the island off!)

***Full disclosure: This entertainment system is also junk, but not as bad as the one in the garage. It’s a Furrion radio/CD player and a Haier TV. Furrion products are supposed to be able to communicate with other Furrion products so I’m not sure why Grand Design would skimp on the Furrion TV here. If we watch TV we can’t use the surround sound system. But if we watch a DVD or listen to music we can. Also, every time we switch between the DVD player and our separate BlueRay player, we have to unplug and replug in the TV because it gets all confused and will play sound but no picture. We thought at first it was a faulty HDMI cord so Grand Design sent us a new one… Read about that fiasco in the DIYs & MODs section at the bottom of this post…

That’s our Bug-A-Salt rifle sitting under the TV. It’s pretty awesome!

Across from the kitchen is the other slide that holds the couch, 4 theater style seats. They all recline all the way back. The two end seats have cup holders, massage, and heat. There are blue LED lights under the couch also. There are huge picture windows behind and on either side of the couch, letting lots of light and fresh air in, which I love! We have a table that matches the countertops that we can set up in front of the couch if we want to eat in the living room. We’ve only done that a few times though.


You can get to the garage through a glass door and to the half-bath from the living room. There is a loft bed on top of the bath, that has a pull out ladder to get up to it. There is another vent hatch with a fan up there and a window (just for light, it doesn’t open). Currently we just use that space for storage. We keep our out-of-season clothes in Ziploc Space Saver bags (I love those things). Luckily for us, and Allen’s OCD tendencies, the loft came with a curtain that slides across and covers all that.

I took this one from Grand Design's website. (I don't ever have that many lemons laying around.)

I took this one from Grand Design’s website. (I don’t ever have that many lemons laying around.)

The floor is lighter colored and patterned which makes it like camouflage for dirt. I love it! There is a built in central vac with a plug-in spot on the second step leading up to the bathroom and bedroom and a kick plate so you can just sweep dust and dirt right in! Also, right by the steps is a coat closet with a couple hooks inside. Above that is the “jimmy jankster” – Allen’s term – or the control center.  It’s where the controls for the awning, step lights, porch lights, and slides are. It’s also where you can see how full the tanks are (fresh, 2 gray and 2 black- although I’m always iffy if we should trust those sensors.)

Some sensors I DO trust because I know they work are the smoke alarm and propane alarm! Allen set the smoke alarm off the first time he made breakfast for us, and set the propane alarm off because he insisted on spraying sunscreen on me INSIDE!

One thing I do want to mention that I love about this camper is that when we are traveling, and stop at a rest stop or what not, I can get to the bathroom and one side of the fridge. In our old camper we had to open the slide to get to the bathroom. And in order to be able to crack the fridge open enough to grab a soda, we had to climb over the couch. So I really like this part.

DIYs & MODS

  • I’ll start with the HDMI cord. After waiting weeks for my buddy Jerry in the warranty department to get us a replacement HDMI cord, we discovered that all of the cords running between the TV and speakers and CD player are all enclosed in the entertainment center hutch thing.  So Allen tried to attach the new cord to the old one and pull it through. Well, there’s some tiny holes it runs through inside the entertainment center that we couldn’t get to. So he wound up cutting a small hole and running the cord up behind the TV. It doesn’t look bad at all. Plus it’s behind the TV. Still, one of those annoying little things that come with all new campers.

    This is right behind the pole that the TV is attached to.

    And this is underneath, you can’t see it.

  • We’ve run an extension cord from the right side of the couch, behind, and out the other side to have outlets on both ends. (Allen got sick of handing me my phone when it was charging on “his side” of the couch, and decided to remedy that!)
  • I’ve put up Command hooks on the backsplash of the stove to hang utensils I use a lot. And we put one on the side of the entertainment center to hang MY keys (Allen never loses his…)IMG_1640
  • We’ve also put small pieces of Velcro to hold remotes, since EVERYTHING has a remote and it’s hard to keep track of which remote goes to which device. (But, we were drinking that night -combine that with the Xzilon coating- and we woke up to remotes all over the floor because the Velcro didn’t stick!)
  • I’ve made a few throw pillow covers to add some personality to the living room: DIY Pillow Covers, and DIY Pillow Covers, Round 2IMG_2391

Previously: 

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