Monday, November 30, 2015

11 Cool RV Gadgets for your favorite RV’er…

We have put together a list of some cool gadgets we have found that are available now that weren’t available when we first started RV’ing. It is amazing to think about how much more fun RV’ing could be with these gadgets! Here is our list:

Dash Camera  - A compact dash cam is great for recording your travels and it can also be used for security. Dashboard camera reviews is a great web site to catch up on all the features they have. I am thinking about getting the Mini 0805 as it was rated the best mini dash camera for its price. I think it would be pretty cool to add some video of some scenic drives in our blog during our travels.

GoPro -  I don’t have one of these but think it would be pretty cool to have one.  I have seen some amazing shots taken from so many different perspectives and the video it takes is amazing from these different points of view.

Product DetailsGoPro HERO

TILE - What is TILE? It is a simple invention that takes away the stress of losing your things. All you have to so is attach it to your keys, wallet or any other item and if you lose it you simply use your phones Bluetooth to find it. Pretty cool gadget…

DART Universal laptop charger  -  The newest technology that I have found that is pretty cool is the DART. It is four times smaller and lighter than your current laptop charger. This is new technology so as far as I can tell you can only get one from the maker of it.

Image result for dart finsix

Qi-enabled Wireless Phone Charger - Tired of having to find a plug for dell charger? Tired of tripping over the cable and knocking your phone on the floor (Sharon)? Then this gadget is just the thing! Qi-enabled wireless charges work on most phones. Check this site to see if your phone can be charged wirelessly. Yes, Sharon wants this one for sure as she really dislikes the clutter of so many charger cords.

Product DetailsRAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual... 

Solar Cell Phone Charger - Another great cell charger especially for those that like to use their cell phone as their camera. There are a lot of compact options for just about any pack or bag. Take it with you hiking and you never run out of batteries  This was another "like" from Sharon. 

Wilson Electronics Sleek Booster - This gadget is especially for the Boondockers!  This booster would be ideal for those of us who want to camp in pretty remote places yet still want to stay connected to the world . The cradle-style booster works for both Verizon and AT&T 3 as well as 4G signals.

Wilson Electronics 460106 Sleek - Vehicle Cellular Signal Booster for Single User - Retail Packaging - BlackETL 26781 White Body Spa Oxygenics Shower with 60" Hose

Google Chromecast or Amazon Firestick -  For those that love streaming these portable media hubs plug into the HDMI port of any TV giving the ability to stream such things as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, and Hulu, plus games, music, and more.

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

Eton Rugged Rukus –  For some good sound when you are outdoors this solar-powered, Bluetooth-ready, smartphone-charging speaker is a great gadget. Its high efficiency mono crystalline Solar panel has an internal Li-ion battery will provide up to 8 hours of more power for listening. 

Eton Rugged rukus The solar-powered, Bluetooth-ready, smartphone-charging speaker

Wireless Activity Wristband -  While Fitbit may be the most popular there are many other vendors that make a similar product.  These gadgets easily track your walking, biking, hiking etc. activities as well as your sleep automatically. Sharon has the less expensive Jawbone UP and is very happy with it.

Product DetailsUP2 by Jawbone Activity + Sleep Tracker, Black Diamond, Classic Flat Strap

Who wouldn’t be happy with just one of these gadgets? Then again who wouldn’t be happy with more than one of them…I am thinking Santa may be bringing us some of these for sure...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A day at the dog track and a good Thanksgiving…


While we may not be huge gamblers one event we enjoy is an occasional visit to a racetrack. When I was younger and living in South Dakota a friend of mine invited me to watch the greyhound racing in Rapid City. I remember placing a few bets, winning a little cash and after that day I was hooked. I have loved watching the dogs or the ponies race many times since that day. Although there may be a slightly darker side to racing I have concluded, to my own satisfaction, that it is no worse than many other things I enjoy seeing and doing.


In Naples there is a greyhound track that on every first and third Friday sponsors what they call Dollar Days… however we refer to it as Dollar Daze! Why Dollar Daze? Well not only are hotdogs, soda, popcorn and pretzels a dollar but they even sell beer for buck as well. It does cost $2 to enter and a racing book is a buck as well. So for five bucks for the two of us we have an entire afternoon of enjoyment while also having an occasional one buck beer!


We have been to the track twice since we have been here and the first time we only won two of our bets. Now we are not heavy gamblers so we typically bet the minimum $2 per race. We may not even bet on a particular race if we can’t agree on a good one to bet on. We also aren’t expecting to get rich so we typically only bet a dog to place or show. We have found this works best for us and even if we don’t win any races a typical day at the track with lunch and beers would cost no more than about $30.00. But, since we usually win a race or two it is often much less. We typically carefully consider which dog looks ready to race, compare notes and settle on one we feel confident to bet on.  Our first trip after our consideration regimen we placed our bet and then had to laugh because our dog came in dead last.  We certainly had some rust to knock off....


The second time we went we got on a lucky streak and won several bets including three in a row. By the end of the day our out of pocket expense was a bit over $5.00. A great value for a lot of fun!


Suddenly the calendar slipped up on us and we noticed it was Thanksgiving. We had no real plans other than making our own super feast just for the two of us. We had scored a turkey at the local Publix grocery store for 59 cents a pound. We figured we would cook this 8.5 lb. turkey in the convection oven since we no longer (because of lack of storage space) have our favorite cooker for turkeys. We also had purchased some other fixings for our traditional feast.


Then a couple we met two years ago here at Imperial Bonita Estates (IBE) invited us to a small gathering of folks converging for a Thanksgiving dinner. So we scrapped our solo plans and tagged along with the group. Sharon made our favorite (and very fattening) southern style sweet potato casserole (with the pecan praline topping). Oh my this is a yummy way to make a very healthy sweet potato into a very fattening yet truly delicious side dish!


Well we had a fun day with all the other IBE folks and many of them were snowbirds we had remembered from our last stay here. Another great day to be thankful for and as always we are grateful to our RV family and friends who enrich our lives daily… Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Buying Guide for RV Kitchens…

With Black Friday looming I thought this would be a good time to come up with a list items we have found invaluable in our kitchen over the five years we have been full timing. For those of us living in small spaces with limited storage space and continually moving around we have acquired things that fit this lifestyle to a “T.” Most of these items will either be lightweight or take up little space as those are the two major factors one must consider when purchasing kitchen items for RV’s. A few items on the list will simply be those that make life much easier for us in our confined spaces. So what are they?

Collapsible Kitchen Items – We have several of these Items such as a the collapsible strainer,  the collapsible measuring cups and the collapsible salad spinner. These collapsible items take up so little space and are easy to clean and sanitary. The colors of the measuring cups also makes it easy to grab the one you want… well, that is after you remember which color goes with which measuring cup!

Premium Collapsible Colander, Strainer, Red, Silicone 1" Flat Space Saver, Hot or Cold Food

NonStick and Heat Resistant Baking Mat Set

We use this all the time when baking as it can be used in the oven, microwave, toaster oven or even freezer. This simply turns any baking sheet into a non-stick surface without having to use oil or cooking spray.  It can also be used as a flexible cookie sheet. They are flexible so are easily stored anywhere!

Heat Resistant Kitchen Spatulas

We love these flexible silicone spatulas that are heat resistant so they won’t warp or melt like plastic ones do. Also since they are solid silicone they have no crevices like wooden ones for bacteria to collect and grow. We like having multiple sizes so we can get all the goodies out of any size container with one of these!

Below are some other kitchen tools that make our life easier and help keep our non-stick pots and pans protected.  These are rated up to 480℉ for handling heat. Now while we don’t have this complete set we do have several of these tools and if I were starting all over this is the set I would want in our RV. Add to this a Silicone Whisk Set and the utensil list is pretty much complete.

We currently still have heavy cutting boards but I would trade them in for a set of these flexible cutting matts. By purchasing a set of these matts in assorted colors with nifty food icons means we could use separate mats for different raw foods thus avoiding any cross-contamination. Cool!  I really don’t know why we don’t own these… maybe I should get us a set for Christmas!

Another item we have that we love for their durability and light weight are our Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls. They are light weight and easy to use and with the polished finish they are easy to clean as well.!

CounterArt Flexible Cutting Mat with Food Icons, Set of 4(Set of 6) Dozenegg Mixing Bowls Standard Weight Stainless Steel, Mirror Finish, 3/4, 11/2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 Qt.

Since we are both short our must have is a Folding Step Stool. Without this much of our storage would simply be unusable. It is great for reaching the higher cabinets and cleaning those otherwise out of reach places. Sharon also loves it for resting her feet on when we are traveling since her feet don’t touch the floor when she is seated in the passenger seat.

One of the things we quite often reach for is our Hand Held Blender.  While this is not the one we have this Hamilton Beach 59765 2 Speed Hand Blender is an almost exact duplicate of the one we bought five years ago. With the attachments we are able to do everything from puree sauces, chop a small amount of vegetables or nuts and even beat egg whites to a a peak. So this is also used as our mixer.  We wouldn’t leave home without one…

Home-it Super quality Folding Step Stool great for kids and adults 11 Inches. Black, holds up to 300 LBSHamilton Beach 59765 2 Speed Hand Blender

While we don’t have one of these many of our RV friends swear they couldn’t live without an Electric Frying Pan. We simply don’t have the storage to have one of these so we list it here simply because so many others love their electric fry pans. They do make them as small as 7 inches which has tempted us but we still have never purchased one. We love our Cast Iron Skillet.  Ours is a small 8” skillet but they make larger ones as well. While these break the rule of lightweight items, we really wouldn’t be happy if we didn’t at least have a small one of these to cook with. Best of all they now sell these pre-seasoned making them ready to use right away!

Product Details

Another item we don’t have that a lot of RV’ers say they love is a toaster oven. Storage is the big issue here for us but for those with more storage space you may want one of these! I think if we were to have one we would probably buy this one -  Hamilton Beach 31334 Easy Reach Toaster Oven. We do have a regular toaster because sometimes we crave toasted bagels! We store ours inside our oven when we travel.

A bulky item we do have but really love is our countertop double burner. The one we currently have has two burners, one at 600 watts and one at 900 watts. We love using this as it frees up counter space and also, let's be real… why pay for propane to use our gas stove when we mainly receive electricity for free. Our one complaint is that it takes a long tome to boil water on 900 watts so I would prefer more wattage. In fact when this one dies we will likely buy one of the newer induction burners. While these are pricier than the one we have the safety it offers is more than worth the additional cost. And we would get one that ranges up to at least 1800 watts as well.

Brentwood Appliances TS-360 Electric Double Burner, 1500-Watt, WhiteDUXTOP 1800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner 9100MC

Two items we don’t have but wished we did!

A couple of other small appliances that are nice to have are a compact blender and a nice coffee machine. While we have items that perform these tasks these are two items we would love to get! For RVers short on storage space it pays to find a good compact blender. Having yourself this powerful micro blender means not missing out on smoothies or your favorite frozen cocktail. The Ninja Master Prep is, we feel, the one to get for RV’ers.  Not too small and not too big this blender can whip up favorite beverages in its 48-ounce pitcher. After all any bigger and you might just imbibe a bit too much!

Coffee drinkers typically find space for their favorite coffee maker. We are still using our old trusty Cuisinart while many others make space for their Kuerigs or Expresso coffee machines. We figured we would use the Cuisinart until it died. So what would we like to have to replace it? We would love to have a the Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker. This compact coffee maker uses an air pressure brewing process to make 1 to 4 cups of American or espresso style coffee. Boy, as coffee lovers, we would love to have one of these!

While this is not a comprehensive list we thought this would be a good time to share per the request of some of our readers a list of some of our favorite items and a few items we would love to have as well… Hey, fellow RVers, chime in with what items you have in your kitchen that you simply can’t live without?