Antiquing in Texas

Photo Courtesy of Indiepreneur.org

They just don’t make things like they used to. I have a mix of new furniture and old furniture in my house and you can easily tell what’s new and what’s not. The older chairs are solid, and ornate with designs engrained in the wood, while the new chairs are bland and fall apart easily. There’s a certain draw to older furniture and items that remind you of days past. One of my favorite activities is finding a little known antique store and walking through a warehouse full of solid wood furniture, metal Coca-Cola signs and furnishings from a previous era. Since I love RVing too, we just combine the 2 and head out to some of the best antiquing spots in Texas.

Fredericksburg

The Hill Country is one of my favorite areas in all of Texas. Not only for it’s antique stores, but for it’s beautiful setting. Lush hills and greenery everywhere you turn. It reminds me of a scene right out of The Sound Of Music. Fredericksburg is well known all over Texas as a haven for antique shoppers. There are an endless number of stores and shops to sift through to find that one perfect addition to your house.

Waxahachie

About 45 minutes south of Dallas is another well-known antiquing area. Waxahachie is home to Old Town Village Antiques and Uniques, a 3 story shop that you’d have to visit multiple times to get the full effect of its grandeur. But rest assured, there are tons more shops and stores to visit. Downtown Waxahachie is a sight to behold in itself. The town square is one of the best areas for night-time sights.

Jefferson

Nestled in the Piney Woods of East Texas, Jefferson is the home of more bed and breakfasts than you could shake a stick at. The surrounding area is packed with trees and there’s a handful of wineries within a short drive. Plus, there are quite a few antique malls within walking distance of downtown. Last time I was visiting Jefferson, I made it a point to visit a few shops and the next thing I knew, it was night time and I had missed lunch.

What are some of your favorite antiquing spots in Texas?

 

Spring Cleaning: Change That Water Filter

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I’m so glad that it’s Spring. With the temperature starting to heat up and the sun starting to shine, that means it’s time to hit the road. But, before you do, a little Spring cleaning is in order. One of the most important items you can get to help you and your family enjoy your outings, is a good water filter. When you drive up to a campsite and hook up to their water source, there’s really no telling where that water is coming from or how it’s going to taste. A good filter gets rid of odors, bad taste, chlorine and sediment in your campsite’s water supply. The TastePURE KDF exterior mount water filter is the one I use on my RV. It’s got a 100 micron fiber filter to help filter the gross smells and whatnot out, while giving you clean water. Plus, it lasts an entire season! I started using the TastePURE water filter because my old filter had a problem with kinks and slow water flow. This one comes with a flexible hose protector to eliminate the kinks and a wider body that its competition, to keep the water flow steady and strong. Since I’ve started using it, my water has been crystal clear with no odors or stuff floating in it. I sure don’t want my kids and grand-kids drinking that water. There’s no telling where it’s coming from.

 

  • Larger capacity RV water filter lasts an entire season
  • Greatly reduces bad taste, odors, chlorine and sediment in drinking water
  • 100 micron fiber filter
  • High-flow carbon filter with KDF to help prevent bacteria growth
  • CSA low lead content certified and complies with California’s AB1953 and Vermont Act 193 Low Lead Laws

Order the TastePURE KDF water filter from PPL Motorhomes.

Festival Season Is Finally Here!

Photo Courtesy of DentonRC.com

My favorite season of all, festival season (aka Spring), is finally officially here (as of March 20). It’s time to dust off our RV and head out on the road. We’ve been cooped up in the house too long and need to see some lake views, mountains and wilderness ASAP! In my online searching for new destinations, I came across a few festivals happening this year in Texas that you should put on your calendar, because they almost guarantee a great time.

Texas SandFest

Every year in Port Aransas, dozens of sand sculpture artists and amateurs gather on the beach and create some amazing works. Over 100,000 people head to the beaches during the weekend of April 11-13, to experience sand art, music, and great food. This sounds like a fun time to me! Plus, it’s only a couple of hours away from Houston.

Schulenburg SausageFest

This one sounds like a tasty treat! On April 5, in Downtown Schulenburg, they are having the first annual SausageFest. Polka music, beer and a homemade sausage competition. Does anyone know a good sausage recipe?

Denton Arts and Jazz Festival

If you’re in the mood for some jazz, it may be time to book a trip to North Texas the weekend of April 25-27 for the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. Seven stages of continuous music, tons of arts and crafts vendors and one of my favorite Jazz singers, Al Jarreau is playing!

Chicken Fried Steak Festival / Balloon Rally

In one of the more interesting (and possibly delicious) finds on the festival circuit, there is a get-together in Lamesa from April 25-27, that celebrates chicken fried steaks. Not only do the celebrate it, but they also have a balloon rally, chiken fried steak cook-off, classic car show, a 5K and a pet show. Well that sounds like a full weekend. Where do I sign up?

What are some of the festivals happening in your area?

 

Grilling Season Is Upon Us!

There’s nothing like spending some time with your family and friends around a grill. The outdoors, the camaraderie, and, best of all, the tasty meat you’re cooking. It’s one of my favorite things to do! Almost every family get-together ends up with someone firing up the grill and throwing a T-bone on it. The same goes for tailgating. How can you possibly tailgate without cooking out? With the warmer weather coming on fast, now’s the time to get all of your outdoor grilling needs in order. Here are a couple of recommendations I have on making your grilling season the best ever!

Olympian 5500 Stainless Steel Grill

A Stainless Steel Gas Grill that mounts on the side of your RV or may be set up on it’s own stand. The cast iron smoker plate offers the fullest flavor while minimizing grease fires. After the grill is preheated, the food drippings fall onto the smoker plate, where they vaporize and turn into flavorful smoke.

Also included with this stainless steel grill is a quick-connect hose and valve for use with an RV or trailer with a built-in quick-connect low pressure propane connection.

  • High Quality Stainless Steel Construction for long life
  • Patented smoker plate eliminates ashes and  controls grease fires
  • No greasy and messy lava rocks
  • Even heat distribution to minimize flare ups
  • Convenient portable size
  • Built in combined LP regulator and gas control
  • 21-1/2″ W x 8-1/2″ H x 14-1/2″ D fully assembled
  • Grill size – 16-3/4″ x 10-1/2″

InstaFire Fire Starter

Lighter fluid is such a bad idea when it comes to lighting your charcoal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost lost my eyebrows from trying to light my grill. Lighter fluid ignites at a much quicker pace, so it doesn’t allow you to get away from it. If you’ve put too much in, you’ve created a dangerous situation.

InstaFire is a safe, simple, and versatile new water and wind resistant fire starting product. It has a fifteen minute burn time and a thirty year shelf life.

Use it to light campfires, as a bbq grill charcoal lighter, or as a safe and reliable fuel source for cooking or heating.

Grandpa’s Fire Fork

If you’ve put away your grill and are looking for something quick for dinner, you can use your campfire as a grill! You can cook hot dogs and marshmallows from a safe distance and not have to dirty up your meal with a stick that you found on the ground. Just attach the FireFork to the end of that stick and you’ve got a washable, stainless-steel way to cook in a hurry!

Grilling season is my favorite season! Be sure you have all the necessary products to help make it a successful one!

 

Nana’s Recipes

Cooking is one of my favorite things to do when I have family over. Getting everyone together in the kitchen to eat a hearty meal that I (with some help, of course) cooked mostly from scratch. It’s one of those things that never gets old.

When you’re traveling with your RV, you have limited space and cooking for everyone is a chore. Sure, we can buy all the newest gadgets and space-saving kitchen necessities, but that doesn’t help the fact that you’ve only got a limited amount of space in your RV’s kitchen. I enjoy cooking too much to give it up, so I make it work.

There are plenty of recipes out there that only involve 3-4 ingredients, which leaves more space in the fridge and freezer so you can take longer trips and have to visit the corner store less frequently. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that are a space- and time-saver. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Nana’s Quesadillas

1 small onion, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10 flour tortillas

Place a handful of onions and cheese in the center of a flour tortilla. Fold over and secure with toothpicks. Fry in melted margarine on both sides until golden brown.Optional: You can add shredded chicken on top of the cheese and onions to make chicken quesadillas.

Nana’s Crisp Chicken

4 chicken breasts, halved, skinned, boned
2 eggs, beaten
Crushed corn flakes

Dip the chicken breasts in the eggs, then roll in the crushed corn flakes until well coated. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, place chicken on it and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Double check the temperature with a meat thermometer. 170 degrees internal temperature!

These are just a few of many recipes out there that are perfect for making when you’re on a campsite. What’s your favorite?

 

March is Poison Awareness Month

Photo Courtesy of the National Pesticide Information Center

Millions of kids get sick every year from ingesting or inhaling poisonous substances. This month is Poison Awareness Month and I wanted to discuss ways to keep your kids away from the products that could make them sick. When you’re in an RV, you have a limited amount of storage space so you may have cleaning bottles, or medications out in the open. Here are a few tips to keep them out of the reach of your little ones.

Keep your cleaning supplies locked up

Those cleaning supplies (Windex, laundry detergent, bathroom cleaner, etc..) are a common cause of children getting sick. If you just keep it underneath your sink without a child-proof lock, you’re inviting those rugrats in. Kids love to explore their surroundings and keeping all of those toxic chemicals in one spot, with a good child-proof lock is a great idea. It may be a nuisance for us to get to them in a hurry, but it’s worth it to keep your kids and grandkids out of their reach.

Keep those medicines out of reach

Another common cause of children being poisoned is prescription drugs. Even if you just set your pill bottle down for a minute to get a glass of water, your child could easily ingest a lethal amount of drugs. Always keep them out of reach and educate your little ones about the dangers of taking those prescription drugs.

Carbon monoxide detectors are worth it

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. It is found in combustion fumes, like those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems. Carbon monoxide from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces, such as RVs. A good quality carbon monoxide detector is a must-have for any RVer.

Keep important numbers handy

Make sure you have poison control and emergency numbers handy. If you don’t know them where you are going, contact the RV park ranger and they will be able to supply you with the necessary information. If you suspect someone in your traveling party has been poisoned, don’t hesitate to contact emergency services or poison control services (1-800-222-1222).

Let’s make sure none of our kids and grandkids get sick on our watch. Keep those toxic chemicals and fumes away from them!

 

Great Destinations: Big Bend National Park

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Texas is a huge state. We actually have parks and ranches that are bigger than states. King Ranch in South Texas is 1,289 square miles and Big Bend National Park in West Texas is 1,252 square miles, both bigger than the state of Rhode Island. Big Bend National Park is situated out in West Texas, about 3.5 hour south of Odessa. It’s right there on the border between Mexico and Texas. It’s a heck of a drive out there, so you’d better be sure you have everything you need for your vacation. If you forget something, there’s not civilization for miles around. Stocking up on food and water would be the first priority.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Breathtaking Views

Big Bend is home to the Chisos Mountain range, which is the only mountain range located fully inside of a national park. With Emory Peak rising a whopping 7,825 ft above sea level, you’re guaranteed to get a kick out of visiting.

The Rio Grande River runs through Big Bend and is the cause of some amazing canyons (Santa Elena, Mariscal, and Boquillas) and spectacular limestone rock formations.

A Hiker’s Dream

Big Bend has over 150 miles of recreational hiking trails. If you love the outdoors, then you need to make it a point to visit. The desert hikes can be short trip or even multi-day hikes! If exploring the Rio Grande is in your wheelhouse, sign up for a river hike and see how the river has changed the border between 2 countries. For the experienced pro, the mountain hikes are a wonderful way to view Big Bend from the top.

Campsites

The Rio Grande Village RV Campground is your best bet for parking your RV. They are open year round and have full hookups. They are a 25-site park with 20 available for reservation and 5 available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

In my reading and researching for this blog, I also read that Big Bend is one of the lowest attended park in all of the United States. This park is a gorgeous tract of land located here in our home state. Next time you’re considering traveling to a national park, put Big Bend at the top of your list.