OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING MADE EASY

 

A few years back we were deep-sea fishing off the coast in Washington State with a very lovely family-run charter business, when hubby decided to invite the captain, his crew and their families to come and join us back at camp for dinner.  “I’m sure Monica would love to cook up the catch of the day for you all!” He beamed (it was a very good day fishing, after all).  To set the record straight, the catch of the day happened to equate to one very fat 12-pound salmon, an extremely large bucket of over flowing prawns and no less than 12 extra-large Dungeness crabs.  As the boat rocked from the force of the waves, I grabbed the handrail and took a good foothold while taking a deep breath. I had visions of my tiny kitchen overrun with all this seafood and myself in the middle in utter despair. How on earth am I going to prepare a seafood feast for all our guests?

In the end, I survived that evening. As I look back, I’m not sure how, after all, I forgot to bone a freshly caught fish, forgot the salmon dip in the oven (which I discovered the next morning) and had no choice but to serve wine in coffee mugs.  Regardless of all that, everyone had a great time. I also realized that evening just how capable my RV kitchen was.

Since then we’ve enjoyed many great evenings with friends of ours along the way. Take for example the time we returned to Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State where we entertained over 25 of our friends. This is when I learned that when your guests offer help, you take it. I also realized it’s quite alright not to cook every course from scratch. My friend Gavin who runs Asher & Olive’s catering business on the island came to my rescue with Bananas Foster for all of our friends. Thank you, Gavin!

 

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HOT WEATHER TIPS TO KEEP YOUR RV COOL

 

There is no doubt summertime is primetime for RV camping. The weather is great, the kids are out of school and exciting new adventures await you around the next bend. What more could an RVer ask for? How about a nice cool RV to beat some of the heat? It can be challenging to keep your RV cool when the mercury is rising, but following these simple tips is a good start.

The first thing I like to do is make sure the RV air conditioner is operating properly. Lots of folks don’t know this, but an air conditioner that is working efficiently will condition the air 16 to 22 degrees lower than the ambient temperature. This simply means if it is 90 degrees in the RV, a properly operating air conditioner will cool the interior space somewhere between 68 to 74 degrees. Testing the air conditioners performance is not that difficult, click here to view video.

Now that we know the RV’s air conditioner is operating efficiently, we can move on to some other ways to keep the RV cool in the summer heat.

 

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HOW SWEET IT IS!

When Natalie Campanella left the cold corridors of NYC life for sunny southern California in her early twenties, she knew that she wanted to live in a place in which she could “be outdoors” year round. In her mind she harbored the idea that someday, somehow, she would be in a place where she could explore the west coast from San Diego to Canada and beyond. She imagined the sweet life songwriters and poets wax about when extolling the virtues of southern California, a place where it never rains and the days are longer and the nights are stronger than moonshine, a place where dreamers go to live.

 

Natalie grew up in the Midwest in a camping family, the youngest of seven siblings. She took into adulthood vivid childhood memories of the rocky Canadian beaches of Newfoundland and of spelunking in the cold, dark caves of Kentucky with her six siblings and five cousins who joined her family each year on their camping pilgrimages. Long car rides in the family station wagon before seat belts and air conditioning. Rolling through the miles with the windows down and kids sprawled all over each other. Eight track cassettes with the Beatles Greatest Hits. Coleman lanterns and the parental warning to not touch it when lit! Mosquito bites dotted with calamine lotion and with an “x” dug into them with a fingernail. That and moms sympathy being the standard remedy of the day. Shorts and tees by day, and jeans and hoodies by night. Campfires, sing-a-longs, toasted marshmallows and lightning bugs in jars. Natalie stored all these memories and hoped to one day add to them.

 

Natalie (the middle hooded child!) with her siblings on a family camping trip in Fish Creek, Wisconsin

 

Post-college life has a way of getting really busy, really fast and Natalie’s life was no exception. Natalie’s move to the West Coast took her to Santa Monica where she continued pursuing the performing arts while working in the legal department of a large corporate real estate agency. In New York she had been a regular performer at the 1980s famed punk rock and improv venue, CBGB’s, in the East Village.  Her free time on the west coast was spent at an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico where she helped the founders raise not only money, but also the spirits of the 100 children who lived there. She was free to “be outside” all the time and ran the LA marathon with her Tijuana “kids” in mind. She raised enough money through sponsorships to contribute to the purchase of a used school bus to take the kids on outings off the orphanage grounds. She knew that exposure to nature has healing effects. She went to her bosses so often with charity projects and fundraising ideas that they eventually made her the manager of the nonprofit within the company. For the next 10 years, she raised funds through the company real estate offices and provided services and assistance to countless individuals and groups until the corporate office changed its structure in 2015 and the job was eliminated. For the first time since graduating from college, she was unemployed.

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HOW TO RV WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER

It’s not uncommon for new full time RVers to wonder what they got themselves into once they hit the road and run into their first relationship speed bump. When people find out we live and travel together full time in an RV we get mixed reactions. Most people think it’s a cool way to see the country, others think we’re nuts to be around each other so much in a tight space!

Traveling with your significant other should bring you closer together and increase your overall life satisfaction. A few years ago I read that the #1 determining factor of a person’s happiness is the quality of the relationship with their significant other. If that’s true, than it makes sense to me that we should be intentional in how we manage that aspect of our lives.

 

 

After traveling for 2 years, visiting 36 states, having a baby and growing stronger in our marriage than ever before, we’ve put together a few tips on things that work for us in hopes people can get a gem or two that works for them.

 

Communicate

I believe that communication is the key to any relationship. When you’re living in a small space, it’s even more critical. Everyone has their moments, moods, hormones. When you know you’re feeling stressed or just need some time, let your partner know. Most people don’t mind accommodating others, but they hate surprises. I’d rather know someone is in a bad mood and prepare to be the diffuser/bigger person than be thrown off and react.

 

 

Camper Tip: Just relax. Most likely there were things you thought were the end of your world 10 years ago and they ended up being a small blip on the bigger picture of your life.

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SPRING-HOPPING AROUND FLORIDA WITH THE FAMILY

From Blue Spring and Silver Spring to Wekiwa Springs and Juniper Spring, this is the ultimate Florida “spring” break!

 

Image via Flickr/National Forests in Florida

 

Swimming in a natural spring is like nothing else. The water is so clear and perfect; you’ll never want to settle for a swimming pool again! Florida has an abundance of gorgeous springs, so pack your reusable water bottles and swimsuits and explore some of the best spots in the state.

 

Warm Mineral Springs

 

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