Great Destinations: Jefferson, Texas

East Texas is beautiful. Pine trees everywhere, small towns that have yet to step into the 2000’s, and plenty of history. When I am in the mood for a laid-back weekend, with some antiquing in mind, I set out for Jefferson. It’s a tiny town with just over 2,000 people. That’s a big difference, going from the 4th largest city in the United Stated, to a quaint little town. But it’s worth the trip out there and you won’t feel like you’ve wasted any time or money when you leave to head home.

Antiquing

It’s very easy to get lost in a few of the antique dealers warehouses. Pretty much anything you could be looking for is probably sitting there, waiting for you to come pick it up. If antiquing is your thing, you won’t be disappointed. They’ve got over 10 antique shops, just within the city. You could spend an entire weekend there and lose track of time.

Wineries

If you love a good glass of Cabernet, then you should visit the Enoch’s Stomp Winery, just outside of town. They host dinners, winery tours and have a wide array of wine selections for you to peruse. Visit them during wine tasting hours and try all of there wines, you’re guaranteed to find something you like. If you catch them on a holiday, you may get the chance to join them for a pig roast!

Home Tours

One of the great things about going into small towns, like Jefferson, is that they take pride in their history and architecture. Take a historic home tour and you will find out quickly that they are very proud of their houses and don’t intend on becoming a modern city. Gorgeous houses from the 1800’s are spread out all through the city. If you’re feeling tough, you can even take a ghost tour!

Have you ever been to Jefferson? What did you do out there? Let RV Nana know in the comments!

Staying Connected When Away From Home

We depend a lot on access to the internet. Our most important details are online. Our banks, our email, our social media accounts. How we connect to each other and make sure we have enough funds are all at the mercy of us having an internet connection. I can’t imagine how it must be for full-time RVers, not having a constant internet connection. I mean, I can understand taking a week or so off of the grid, no cell phones, no internet. But full time? Not for me. I need my Pinterest. Not only do we use it to keep up with the details of our lives, we also stream movies and TV shows with it using Netflix, Amazon or Hulu, too. In fact, you’re probably reading this on the internet!

We all know too well, that even the best RV parks across the country can have poor Wi-Fi signals. It’s part of the deal. It comes with the territory. With most RV parks, they have 1 or 2 hotspots and then the closer you are to it, the better signal you get. That means, if you get too far away, your signal degrades and it takes you longer to download information. For instance, when you’re watching a movie on Netflix and it pauses for a few minutes, it’s running into a problem downloading the movie, so it has to pause so it can catch up. Can you imagine watching a movie in your RV with a bad connection? It would take 4 hours to get through a 90 minute movie!

Luckily we carry a product that you need if you can’t stand to be away from the internet. The WiFiRanger WiFi Signal Booster is designed to find the closest internet connection and multiply it, so you can stream movies, surf the web and check your Facebook account without ever slowing down.

Read more on the WiFiRanger WiFi Signal Booster.

Making My Life Easier In The Kitchen

The kitchen is where I spend most of my time when I’m out with family and friends. There’s just something about cooking for all the people close to me that makes me happy. Since I’m always in the kitchen, I’m always on the lookout for space-saving and time-saving gadgets. What can I say? I’m a gadget hound. The easier it makes my life, the more likely I am to buy it. Luckily enough, we’re running a special on kitchen gadgets and rest assured, I’ve already tried them out and they work wonders!

Collapsible Mini Colander-Bowl Combo

When I’m in the mood for some fresh fruit, I like to give them a good rinse before I start eating them. That’s where this handy little contraption comes into play. I can turn it one way and it’s a colander, for me to wash all those pesticides and dirt off, then turn it the other way and it’s a water-tight bowl. Saving me the hassle of having to have 2 bowls. Less to carry and less to clean.

Bacon Cooker for Microwave

Who doesn’t love bacon? Not anyone in my family, that’s for sure. There’s always a package of bacon in my refrigerator when we’re out on a campsite. I can put a few strips on this handy little plate and microwave up some bacon in a hurry, which is how almost everyone likes it. Not only can I use it for bacon, but I can also reheat pizza and make homemade potato chips. I’ll take 2, please!

Collapsible Salad Spinner

After a rough day, sometimes, I just need a good, fresh salad. It’s OK, I still love my bacon, but I can’t deny my body the tasty vegetables that come in a well-made salad. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and whatever else I dream up. I can throw it all in this Collapsible Salad Spinner and have it made for me!

Get all these gadgets while they’re on sale!

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Nana’s Recipes: Springtime Beverages

 

Photo Courtesy of bettycrocker.com

Spring is such a great time of year. Not only is the sun starting to warm us up, but there’s fresh fruit everywhere! There’s nothing like a tall glass of fresh made lemonade or punch on a sunny day. Here are a few recipes I have for your springtime drinks!

Strawberry Punch

10 oz. Fresh strawberries
12 oz. can of frozen pink lemonade concentrate, diluted, chilled
2 liter bottle of 7-Up or ginger ale

Blend fresh strawberries. Pour lemonade into punch bowl and stir in blended strawberries. Add 7-Up or ginger ale and well until blended. If it’s too tart, you can add sugar.

Pineapple Tea

1 (46 oz) can of pineapple juice
2 packages sweetened lemon-lime flavored drink mix
1 tablespoon instant tea

Place all ingredients in a gallon jar. Fill with water, stir and allow tea to sit overnight in refrigerator. Add more tea to taste if needed.

Pink Grapefruit Punch

1 (46 oz) can pink grapefruit juice, chilled
1 (46 oz) can pineapple juice, chilled
1 (1 liter) bottle 7-Up, chilled

Mix juices and 7-Up together in a punch bowl. Serve ASAP.

Cranberry Limeade

3 cups of cranberry juice cocktail
2 cans (12 oz total) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
2 bottles (40 oz. total) sparkling water, chilled
Lime wedges
Cranberries

Mix cranberry juice and limeade concentrate in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Before serving, pour in sparkling water and garnish with lime wedges and fresh cranberries.

What are some of your favorite drink recipes?

 

Great Destinations: Marfa, Texas

Photo Courtesy of kishaniperera.com

I’m always looking for new places to visit in Texas. I’ve heard from several of my friends and customers that Marfa is a area that is not to be missed. About 100 miles southwest of Fort Stockton and 200 miles southeast of El Paso where Marfa is located. It’s just south of the Davis Mountains which is home to 2 spectacular mountain peaks, Baldy Peake and Mount Locke. Here are a few reasons to consider Marfa.

Art

If you’re an art buff, then you can’t go wrong in Marfa. The city prides itself on its art scene and you’re guaranteed to find something you love. Between the displays of public art and the multitude of galleries, you’ll have to make multiple visits to Marfa to see all of it.

Proximity to State Parks

Big Bend, Balmorhea, Fort Leaton and the Davis Mountain state park are all within about an hour’s driving time. It’s an outdoor lover’s dream being that close to all of these national parks. You’ve got mountains, lakes, hiking trails and plenty of scenic views.

Marfa Lights

The Native Americans knew about the Marfa Lights and we still are amazed by them. We can’t tell you what they are, but we can certainly tell you that they are a sight to see. Just 9 miles outside of Marfa is the official viewing area where you can watch in awe. If you happen to travel there in September on Labor Day weekend, you can attend the Marfa Lights Festival that includes a parade, concerts, arts and crafts, and street dances.

Glider Rides

Just outside of Marfa is a fun attraction for you and the whole family. Gliders! Wouldn’t it be an even better vacation if you could come back home and tell all of your friends that you rode in a glider?

Have you ever been to Marfa? What did you think?

 

Keep Those Mosquitoes At Bay

Photo Courtesy of Activistpost.com

The mosquitoes are back! Ack! I can’t tell you how much I hate those little bugs. They make me itch and look like a crazy woman, swatting and scratching when I’m outside. Not only are they a nuisance, they’re a deadly nuisance. The spread of West Nile Virus is getting worse and worse every year. This year, when you’re out on a campsite and enjoying your evening outside, don’t let those pesky mosquitoes take over. Here are a few ways to keep them at bay and away from your kids and grandkids.

Get Rid Of Standing Water

If you get to a campsite and notice a puddle of water, you can almost guarantee there are mosquito eggs in it, ready to hatch. Get a bucket or a shovel and spread the water out so there’s no longer a puddle. Mosquitoes only need a thimble’s worth of water to lay eggs and make you miserable for your entire vacation.

Insect Repellants

If you are ok with using DEET, there are quite a few sprayable repellants out on the market. All of them work wonders, but you will smell like chemicals until you take a shower and wash off. “Off” is a great brand and I’ve never had any troubles with it.

Citronella Candles

Citronella is a natural repellant that mosquitoes hate the smell of. If you surround your campsite with these candles, you can rest assured that you’ll get stung less. I recommend the Tiki torches, so you can put several of them around the area where you and your family are sitting.

Mosquito Traps

If you’re in an area that’s not too windy, a mosquito trap is a great addition to your RV vacation checklist. You can use suction traps, bug zappers or insect electrocutors to keep them away, but if it’s windy, the usefulness of these traps gets worse. Using an insect repellant along with a trap is a good 2-pronged attack.

Essential Oils

If you’re not keen on using chemicals to keep the bugs away, you can always use diluted lemon-eucalyptus oil on your skin. But don’t apply them to small kids, it can cause a rash and that’s worse than a mosquito bite. You can also use cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, and a host of others.

Wear Pants and Long-Sleeved Shirts

The best way to stop getting bitten by mosquitoes is simple, don’t give them any skin to bite! This may be a little harder for us Texans to do during the Summer since it hardly gets below 80° at night, but if you’re in a more moderate area, where the nights are a little cooler, you may consider bringing those Winter clothes to keep from becoming mosquito food!

What do you do to keep the mosquitoes away?

 

Tornado Season Is Here

Texas is a big state. It’s so big that we record, on average, 132 tornadoes per year. That’s an astonishing number. What makes it even more astonishing is the fact that 63% of those are recorded in April, May or June. With tornado season here, it’s always good to be prepared for the threat of inclement weather and especially tornadoes. Tornadoes and RVs are a deadly combination. If you think the shaking and shifting is bad when it gets windy, you definitely don’t want to be inside one when there’s a full blown tornado warning in the area. 60-70 mile an hour winds could easily topple over an RV. That’s why I suggest getting on your smartphone and downloading a few apps from the Red Cross. They’ve taken it upon themselves to create a few necessary apps for us RVers. All of these apps are designed to warn its users of impending weather related events in relation to your location. The ones that I recommend for the RVing bunch are as follows:

Red Cross Tornado App

This app is, quite possibly, a life-saver. Not only does it warn you of tornado warning and watches in your area, it also tells you where the closest shelters are located, how to put together an emergency plan and a bunch more. This app is always on my phone and I can’t imagine RVing anywhere in Texas without it.

 

Red Cross Wildfire App

Another important one to have on your phone. During our brutal summers, wildfire are almost a way of life. At any given moment, a wildfire could break out and cause mass destruction. Wouldn’t you like to know if you’re in the path of destruction? Much like the Tornado app, this one gives you access to shelter locations and emergency preparation instructions to make sure you and your family are safe.

 

Red Cross Flood App

During these next few months, April, May and June, storms are more prevalent than the rest of the year and you never know when you’ll get caught out at a campsite when it moves in and puts a damper on your trip. Not only does it limit your time outdoors, but it could also mean flooding. Stay on top of the breaking flooding happening in your area and don’t get caught!

What weather related or emergency apps do you use?

All images courtesy of redcross.org.

 

Nana’s Recipes: Chicken Specialties

Cheez-Its Baked Chicken. Image courtesy of wayofthespatula.com

Chicken is quite possibly the easiest meat to cook and it keeps so well that it could spend months in a freezer. I like to buy the bags of frozen chicken breasts at the grocery store and stick them in the freezer when go RVing. There’s so much you can do with a chicken breast that’s filling and puts smiles on all of our faces. This edition of Nana’s Recipes focuses on the versatility of chicken and some of the delicious flavors you can get out of it with only a couple of ingredients.

Chicken Lemonade

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of lemon juice
1/3 cup of margarine, melted

Put chicken in a 9″x13″ glass dish. Cover with lemon juice and marinate for 1 hour in refrigerator, turning over often. Drain juice off of chicken and pour margarine over chicken. Bake at 350° for about an hour or until tender.

Nana’s Orange Soda Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts1 (12 ounce) can of orange soda (I like Orange Crush)
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

Put chicken breasts in a microwave dish. Pour orange soda over chicken. Sprinkle with worcestershire sauce. Cover with plastic wrap, folding back the corner to vent. Microwave in high for 4 minutes. Rotate dish 1/2 turn, then cook again, 4 minutes. Chicken should be cooked until juice is clean and meat is not pink in the center. Use a meat thermometer to check that it’s cooked to 165°.

Cheez-Its Baked Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup sour cream
1 cup crushed Cheez-Its crackers

Roll chicken breasts in sour cream, then in Cheez-Its. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until tender.

Chicken Dijon

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 cups finely crumbled, seasoned breadcrumbs

Place chicken breasts in a greased baking dish and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Generously spread mustard on both sides of chicken, then coat with breadcrumbs and return to baking dish. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. The mustard gives it a tangy flavor and make it moist.

What are some of your favorite ways to cook chicken?

 

PPL Motorhomes Newsletter April 1st, 2014

PPL Motorhomes Newsletter April 1st, 2014