HOLIDAY GIFTS TO MAKE FOR CAMPING FRIENDS

Every year I try and hand make gifts for the special people in my life. There is such a temptation to just log on and “swipe” a gift to the friends and family on your list but I feel that the old fashioned sentiment of offering good cheer is lost in that transaction. This year I went old school with my Girl Camping friends and made each a bucket of fire starters. After all, sitting around the campfire with these women is just about my favorite thing. Here are a few of my offerings.

 The dried leaf and flower bouquets.

You will need: Branches with dried leaves on them or dried flowers, melted wax, parchment or brown paper for wrapping the bouquet and string to tie it.

The basis for most fire starters is wax and that’s what I am using. I started by gathering all the old candle stubs, birthday candles and flea market and garage sale wax finds I could get my hands on and placed them all in an aluminum disposable pan. I placed it in a 300 degree oven at home and melted the wax. Don’t go too high with the temperature and get it out as soon as it is melted.

I gathered fallen branches that had lots of dried leaves on them. I added to this a good pile of dried roses that I had saved over the course of the year. When I see that a bouquet of roses is about to droop I tie them up and hang them upside down to dry.

I dipped each branch of leaves in the wax and placed them on a sheet of waxed paper to solidify. I did the same with the roses. I then wrapped them in parchment paper and tied them up as pretty bouquets. The whole spray can be paced in the fire to help get it started.

Brown Paper Wreath

You will need: A roll of brown craft paper that is about 18 inches wide, petroleum jelly, a spoon, twine and a sprig of greenery to embellish.

I thought a Christmas wreath would make a nice addition to the bucket for a seasonal gift. I bought brown craft paper on a roll and cut the pieces at about 30 inches each. The paper is about 18 inches wide. I then used the back of a spoon to add a line of petroleum jelly to one edge of the paper.

After applying the petroleum jelly,  roll the paper lengthwise and then twist it. I tied three twisted pieces together and tightly braided them. I connected the ends to form a circle and added a sprig of green and some rose hips from my rose bushes. You can toss the whole wreath in the fire and it will burn for quite a while thanks to the petroleum jelly.

Waxed Fall Leaves

You will need: Large pretty fall leaves that are dry, melted wax, brown waxed sandwich bags, scissors, and straight dry sticks to close package.

On my last campout of the season I walked around the campground gathering the big pretty fall leaves. I individually dipped each one in wax and placed them on brown paper to dry. I gathered them in piles of seven or eight and put them in brown waxed paper lunch bags that I found in the supermarket. To add more burning power I folded over the top and made two cuts. I secured the bag with a straight dried stick that I cut to size and dipped in the wax.

Pinecone Boats

You will need:

Cardboard food boats, dry pinecones, melted wax, crinkle cut paper or torn newspaper for the bottom of the boat, waxed paper and string to tie it up.

On the same campout I was lucky enough to be in an area heavily wooded with evergreens. I grabbed a bag and picked up all the pinecones with branches still attached to them. I dipped them at the campground after heating up the wax on the edge of the fire pit. You can reheat the wax over and over. I found cute cardboard boats meant for cakes or cookies and I added a heaping tablespoon of the melted wax and crinkled paper to the bottom of the boat.

I placed all the dipped pinecones on top of the paper and wrapped the whole thing in waxed kitchen paper and tied them with twine. You can toss the whole boat in the fire.

Cardboard Roll and Lint Poppers

You need: cardboard rolls from toilet paper or paper towels, scissors, lint from the dryer, tea light candles, parchment paper, melted wax.

This is a little “twist” on the classic Christmas poppers. I cut paper towel and toilet paper rolls into small (about 3”) circles and lined them up on a piece of waxed paper. I added a small amount of lint to the bottom of each and then placed the wax from a tea light candle the metal and wick removed on top of the lint. I topped it off with more lint and then rolled it around in the melted wax.

I precut the parchment paper about 7 inches wide and rolled up the dipped cardboard and lint while it was still very hot. I twisted the ends in opposite directions and held it for a moment to set. The oozing wax held the ends closed so no string ties were necessary.

Do you use firestarters?

 

 

 

20 TIPS FOR NEW RVERS FROM 20 YEARS OF GO RVING

Our 20th Anniversary celebration continues! Written by Go RVing fans, check out our top 20 tips for first time RVers.

Have any additional tips? Leave a comment below!

RV on the road

 

  1. “Whatever you can afford, doesn’t matter if you’re towing a pop up tent camper or driving a diesel motorhome or anything in between. Load up your family, or your friends and head out. Nothing is like RVing with friends or family and enjoying the amazing things this beautiful country has to offer with your home with you.” – Dave R.
  2. “The first time, go within 45 miles of home and preferably near a store. Keep a list of items you run out of so that you will be well stocked for the next trip.” –Christine K.
  3. “Just go! Don’t be one of those people who lets their trailer sit on the side of their house…that’s just sad.” – Valerie H.
  4. “Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination, that counts. Stop and smell the roses– they are NOT on the Interstates.” – Rhonda K.
  5. “Get a system in place. Everyone has a job, from chocking wheels to opening cabinets to making sure nothing will fall out. We also use walkie talkies for communication upon arrival.” – Jennifer E.
  6. “Stay flexible. Don’t lock yourself into a schedule if possible. Stop if something unplanned interests you. You never know when you will be back that way and returning later will always be more expensive than stopping now.” –William T.
  7. “Don’t be afraid to ask fellow RVers questions. Most are very helpful and happy to share their experiences!” – Crystal L.
  8. “Keep the RV dealer’s number handy! On your first trip go somewhere with full hook ups. Our first RV trip we had no idea what we were doing.” – Chris C.
  9. “Drive slow, always check your tire pressure, and top off the propane!” – ScenicRouteTravelers 
  10. “Always remember that in a trailer the black battery cable is the hot lead, which goes against everything we grew up knowing about car batteries…black was always ground!” – David T.
  11. “Make sure you are handy and remember to have money saved for regular maintenance and unexpected repairs.” – Joe D.
  12. “Make yourself a checklist for setting up and breaking down.” – Jeannette S.
  13. “Take a spare long sleeve shirt, short sleeve, summer/winter pjs, a raincoat and a jacket. Leave them in the RV. You will never be able to predict the weather on an outing, so always be ready to be dressed right. Leave them in the RV all year ‘round.” – Karen C.
  14. “Get a camping diary. They usually have a “form” to fill out about the campground and a space to write notes, likes and dislikes, spots to try for next time, etc. Very useful for planning to come back to the same place.” – Jeff G.
  15. “Renting before you buy is a great idea. If you buy, do all you can to buy new/next to new from a dealership.” – Cynthia Z.
  16. “Take extra time flushing your grey and black water tanks. 10 more minutes spent is hours and $$ saved later. The most glamorous part of RVing!!” – Jeff G.
  17. “Practice driving with the RV. When you first get it, take the RV to an empty parking lot. Practice making turns and backing up. Take some cones (like the ones they use for soccer practice) and set them up as if it was a curb at an intersection. Be sure you can make left and right turns around the cones without hitting them. Also set them up and learn to back up without hitting the cones.” – Chuck R.
  18. “Plug in and set up before you Go RVing and learn about everything then 😉” – Liz S.
  19. “Kitchen appliances! If you’re camping at Thanksgiving time and don’t want to be a slave to the camper kitchen, buy a turkey breast and bring a crockpot! Then, you have time to go look at fall foliage while your juicy, tender turkey is cooking! Also, bring a waffle iron! It cooks in minutes and there are other things you can make in it on the go like an omelette or waffle iron cinnamon rolls!” – Kristi P.
  20. “Take your time, and slow down. Unlocking the joy of RVing can cause you to try to do too much too fast. You never know when the force will grab you.” – Soulful RV Family

JENNIE GARTH GOES RVING WITH THE MOM SQUAD

I recently went RV camping at Campland by the Bay in San Diego with The Mom Squad – a group of 10 moms and 20 or so kids who take a vacation together every year. They were camping novices, and thrilled to give it a try. It was a perfect example of what makes RVing such a fun, easy and affordable alternative to traditional vacationing. Can you imagine the effort, cost and sheer exhaustion of these moms and all their children packing everything they need, flying somewhere for a vacation, eating all their meals out and being stuck in cramped hotel rooms?

 

 

I gathered up my youngest daughter Fiona, two of my dogs, packed the fridge with delicious healthy food, and left when I was good and ready (no baggage check and late rush to the airport for me!).

 

 

I drove my Winnebago Sunstar down from Los Angeles, and the Mom Squad had beautiful RVs waiting for them. Many campgrounds have RVs on site available to rent and include electricity, water and cable TV connected and ready when you arrive. One of my favorite things about RVing is that you can bring anything you want from home – and these ladies did! Their main campsite was decked out with twinkling lights, banquet tables, coolers packed with their favorite foods (and cocktails of course), a huge fire pit and camping chairs for everyone.

 

 

Campgrounds are the neighborhoods of our youth where kids can just take off and play, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of scheduled activities to keep them busy too. We started our weekend adventure with a tie-dye class, learning all the different ways you can twist then dye your shirt into exotic designs. Then it was off to the sandcastle building contest with Fiona. Our castle had dragons guarding it and a queen searching for her king. Don’t worry, the dragons didn’t hurt anyone, this isn’t Game of Thrones. The beach was stunning and Fiona and I had a great time, even though we didn’t win.

 

 

As I sat with my daughter and dogs, I was able to truly relax in my RV, which has become a home away from home for me. I didn’t have to take time to set up a tent and camping gear, it was all right there for me in my motorhome. I was on vacation but still at home with all my favorite things, my own food, my own bed and my family – so comfortable in such a picturesque setting.

 

 

The RV allowed me to make easy, healthy and affordable meals instead of having to find a nearby (and undoubtedly expensive) restaurant. I could have my spoiled dogs Roxy and Pinky with me, which makes all the difference in the world when vacationing – they’re a nervous wreck when I leave them alone, and they hate flying! To those that say “I’d bring my dogs if I could but it’s just too hard, or too expensive” try an RV. Being able to bring my pets is one of my favorite things about traveling in an RV.

 

 

Listening to the waves ripple on the beach, building memories with my daughter and watching my new friends in the Mom Squad discover how their kids detach from technology and connect to nature really brought home how amazing it is to Go RVing.

 

 

SOLAR ECLIPSE 2017

Our RV trip planning can take so many different forms including national parks, experiencing the magic of Disney, a beach vacation or a simple weekend getaway. No matter the trip, we always try to work in a little bit of homeschooling education. We’re not always successful but you have to try, don’t you? When I first learned of the full solar eclipse, I knew I had to be there to see it in person. I knew this would be a different kind of trip, having grown up kind of a science geek, and wanting to be an astronaut.

 

This is as close as I get to be a real astronaut.

 

Read More

Top 20 #ThingsRVersSay

To celebrate 20 years of Go RVing, we asked YOU to share your favorite #ThingsRVersSay. What’s your favorite “RVism”? Let us know by leaving a comment!


Happiness in a camper

 

RV there yet

 

 

 

Just want to go camping

 

 

 

At home wherever we roam

 

Slow down and turn here

 

this is how we roll

 

drive this by myself

 

CDL

 

best way to travel with family

 

don't unpack

 

Less is more

 

the journey is as important as the destination

 

no rush

 

miles and smiles

 

road trip

 

not all who wander are lost

 

no phones or tv

 

 

time to Go RVing