Mike Brand/ Flickr Creative Commons
The Christmas card is a wonderful part of my Christmas each year. In our family we had a tradition where we would place all the unopened Christmas cards we received in a holder and one of our traditions was to open all of them on Christmas Eve. It was a special time when we would look at the wonderful photo cards, enjoy the letters and the sentiments and walk down memory lane. Unfortunately, the hustle and bustle of our lives along with the electronic world we live in has made many people simply stop sending them. It’s really hard to walk down memory lane reading a multitude of email memos. Not to mention, the card itself says so much about the person sending it. From religious sentiments, snowmen, Santa or puppy dogs to Garfield and Snoopy, each one is unique to that sender.
I would love to say that I am so organized that I have all my packages wrapped, food prep done and cards all in the mail early in December, but that is not me. I am what some refer to as the over achiever. I always add one more thing to my list, one more party to host, one more event to attend, one more decoration to hang or cookie to bake and I really wouldn’t want my life to be any other way. My holidays are always busy and I always plan more things than there are hours in the day. Because of my self-inflicted hustle and bustle I have to admit that I have been known to mail out Christmas cards the day before Christmas (and then there is the one year that I sent Valentines cards instead). It really didn’t matter when I sent them because my friends all know that I am a last minute kind of girl. The message is what really matters. I am one of those people who writes a small book on some of the cards in hopes of bringing a smile to someone’s face.
So, take time to send a card today and, hopefully, it will make you smile inside. After all, friends, family and memories are what make the holidays special! Merry Christmas!
Matthew Juzenas/Flickr Creative Commons
We survived another Thanksgiving y’all! The leftover turkey is carved up into easily stored to-go style containers, the family has wandered off to their favorite Black Friday spots, the grandkids are probably watching cartoons or movies, and now it’s time for a nice, brisk sit. We all have our favorite ways to relax, but today I thought I could give you folks, specifically you RVing ladies out there, some suggestions that you may not have thought of.
The key to getting thoroughly relaxed is to get some solitude, so here’s what you do: while your husband is at Sears buying all the Craftsman stuff he could ever need, and while your kids are out buying that 136″ flat screen TV Walmart had advertised at $49.99, and while the grandkids are curled up in front of the TV, now would be the perfect time to grab a bottle of your favorite wine, sneak the keys to the RV into your pocket, and loudly tell one of the teenage grandkids that you’re going to go walk the dog and would they look after the younger kids while you’re gone? Once they have rolled their eyes and said, “Yeah gramma!” you make your escape!
Walk quickly and quietly out to the RV, looking neither right nor left, swiftly unlock the door, flip on the lights and the AC/heater, and lock the door behind you. Close all the shades, roll out the slide outs, have a nice quiet sit in your favorite chair and pour yourself a much deserved glass of wine. This is a perfect time to purge your mind of all the drama of Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter anymore that your daughter-in-law didn’t eat any of your stuffing, or that your son-in-law insisted on telling awful jokes all through dinner. It doesn’t matter that your husband didn’t lift a finger to help all week long. None of that matters now, all that matters is you’re alone with your wonderful glass of wine, it’s quiet, and nobody needs anything from you… because they can’t FIND you!! Haaaa Haaaa Haaaa! Happy Thanksgiving!
Richard Leeming/Flickr Creative Commons
As y’all know perfectly well, Thanksgiving is one of the most heavily traveled weeks of the year here in America. A lot of folks start to feel hurried, grumpy, stressed, tired, and very unthankful that they have to be the ones on the road going to visit those family members they feel they could do without. We’ve all been there at least once on Thanksgiving. I think as an RVer I have a way to avoid those feelings of obligation and stress. It’s definitely an idea that may cause concern to those of you who prefer to celebrate the holiday in a very traditional manner, but have faith that my idea holds true to the underlying concept of the holiday! Here’s what I propose for next year’s Thanksgiving:
Spend the next few months giving some very careful thought to where you and your family would like to ideally be for next Thanksgiving…and I mean get downright SPECIFIC! Do you want to be by the water, in the pines, or perhaps in a place with no burn bans so a campfire is an option, maybe surrounded by fall foliage, or perhaps down by a beach where it’s still warm and a little humid? Pick out the ideal spot for yourself and your family. Then reserve your spot way early! Now you have a location that the family will look forward to visiting instead of that same old kitchen table or den where that same old football game is running in the background and everybody’s all dressed up and bored to tears.
Now that you have the location sorted out, start asking what they REALLY want to eat for Thanksgiving. I have some friends that cook Tex Mex for Thanksgiving one year, and pasta the next because they understand the sentiment behind the holiday: enjoy your time with family and be THANKFUL for your time together. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating the perfect turkey or cranberry sauce, what matters is that family is together and happy for a couple days. We all know how difficult a feat that can be to pull off at times, so let’s start thinking outside the box and put family before tradition. I bet you’ll see more smiles and that’s what it’s all about!
Dinah Sanders/Flickr Creative Commons
Well folks, it’s that time of year you know. That special season when Texas REALLY still wants it to be summer, but winter peeks it’s nosy nose in our summery business so many times that we end up tanning one week and freezing the next! Ah autumn in Texas is truly a fickle affair. The end result, of course, is it becomes sore throat season. With all the pressure and temperature changes, plus adding in oak molting season, and the occasional camp fire when you can find a spot in non-fire restricted counties…it makes this time of year Hot Toddy Season!
My grandfather used to swear by a small sip of bourbon with honey in it when his throat got achy. My grandmother of course used to say how funny she thought it was that he had a sore throat every night of his adult life! All joking aside, there’s something absolutely wonderful about a hot toddy when you’re feeling under the weather. It’s almost undefinable, like that bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick. Needless to say there are all kinds of recipes, the recipe in the photo at the top of this blog comes from the 1940’s and you’re welcome to try it. As a matter of fact please do! The recipe we’re going to use for today’s blog is an attempt to make a wonderful drink into useful medicine, so here’s what you’ll need:
- a bag of your favorite herbal tea
- 1 tbsp of your favorite honey
- a shot of your favorite bourbon
- 1 lemon wedge
- oh yeah, you’ll need some hot water as well!
So relief is as easy as bringing the water to a boil, letting your tea bag steep for 10-15 minutes, adding in the honey and stirring, then adding the bourbon and squeezing the lemon juice. Sip yourself to feeling awesome! needless to say, enjoy this home remedy AFTER y’all have reached the campsite! And hit us up at PPL Motorhomes.com for anything you might need!
Bill and Vicki T/Flickr Creative Commons
How many times have you driven down the highway and watched somebody dragging a trailer along behind them and that poor thing is just swerving left and right like crazy? How many of y’all thought, “Bless their lil’ hearts, they’re going to crash!” Well today I though we could talk a little bit about a few simple steps that will help to prevent that scary fishtailing motion from happening to you!
The main thing you can do is to ensure that your trailer is loaded in a balanced manner. This could be as small a trailer as a little utility trailer with your lawn equipment loaded on board, to a full fifth wheel luxury travel trailer. They all react more or less the same way to an out of balance load…they get unruly. What your looking for ideally is weight on the trailer tongue at the hitch. No so much that the front wheels of the tractor get light, but enough to ensure positive downward pressure on the hitch. In order to do that you need to add the load onto the trailer in such a way you have the center of gravity slightly forward of the trailer axle (or axles). You may have noticed that most of the heavy kitchen equipment is located on or slightly forward of the axle for example.
Another way to help reduce sway is to install a trailer sway control kit to your trailer. This is usually a series of dampers that help reduce a trailer’s oscillations which could also be caused by wind, bow wave of air pushed by eighteen wheelers, or even something as simple as unequally inflated tires. Sway kits are very common, and fairly easy to install. If you don’t feel up to installing one yourself, any competent mechanic can do it for you at a reasonable cost. Oddly enough we feature several sway kits on our website, come check ’em out!
“Brain Power” by
Allan Ajifo/Flickr Creative Commons
As I stated last article, there’s never a bad time to boost your brain power. RVing actually gives us even more opportunity for relaxation and focus, which is the perfect environment for doing a little brain sharpening. I’ve continued researching and have collected a few more tips on how to keep that old melon nice and ripe.
- Eat Avocados: Go ahead, twist my arm, right? I’ll eat them on the half shell without giving it a second thought. Add a few drops of red wine vinegar and a pinch of sea salt…YUM! Avocados, being rich in brain stimulating medium-chain fatty acids, increase brain power by reducing inflammation.
- Daily dose of Aspirin: First talk to your Dr. before you take anything to make sure it is appropriate. Aspirin continues to prove itself in studies and research as possibly lowering the risk of dementia.
- Fall-Proof Your House: I’ve recently seen a study from Tufts University that suggested that even one major head injury can lead to Alzheimer’s. Now you don’t have to nail down rugs, or put foam padding all over your RV, just know that if there are any slippery, or “trippy” areas in your RV, be aware of them.
- Mind you “B’s” Mister!: Take you B vitamins folks! B vitamins lower homocystine which is linked to dementia. Oranges, pasta, rice, cereal , papayas etc… It’s easy to find a delicious B vitamin source.
- Start Moving: Get up! Move around! That hole you’ve created in the couch is a bad thing, you aren’t active enough. Regular aerobic exercise can actually increase the size of your hippocampus. That’s the part of the brain that helps you learn and remember. You don’t have to relegate your activity to exercise alone either. I prefer to go dancing.
- Be a Tourist: When you set camp at your park, or site, take some time to really see the area around you. Likely you’ll have ample area to explore and town shops to patronize. Again, moving around actually makes you smarter.
I’ll have a few last suggestions for was to boost your brain power while RVing on Friday. In the meantime, stop reading this, get away from your computer and go for a walk,
Once a year, we remember all of those who served our country both at war and at peace. Veteran’s Day. Once a year, we take a few extra moments to think of those who gave so much and received so little. Meaning to say, they deserve much more. They should be honored everyday. Those who serve, so that others do not have to, epitomize the very virtue of selflessness, being men and women for others.
I was around to witness the lack of, not simply respect, but basic humanity towards young men coming back from Vietnam. It was worse than awful, it was a disgrace. Regardless of their political viewpoints, or personal politics, those men were still proud to serve America as both protectors and ambassadors. They did their job.
Copyright Joseph O’Hearn
It wasn’t so long ago that warriors were held in great esteem. There was a deep respect for those who protect. There was a respect for those who had to make the hard decisions. Respect for the ones who had to take action. Does that respect exist today? I’m not entirely sure. I’d like to think positively and say, “Yes, I think it does” because, honestly, I can’t stomach to say the alternative.Making a commitment to serve your country justly with honor and respect for duty, is a sacrifice, but also an privilege. With digital information being so readily available, the plight of the soldier has been a fixture in both media and online. Sure it’s skewed and tainted, but the essence of reality is still there. Because of this, I like to believe most Americans can sympathize better and understand the plight of those that serve.
The thing is, when you get back home, the war is rarely over. It’s right there in your memory to relive millions of times. When a combat soldier, or any soldier for that matter, comes home, the re-assimilation back to “normal” life is long and hard. It can be said that wars can kill men many years after they’ve left the front line.
This is why we remember.
Many of us who take serving our country so seriously that it becomes a family trait (i.e. my family) understand that the sacrifice lasts longer than a tour: it lasts a lifetime, it lasts generations.
It’s no secret that, while it’s fantastic that the majority of the American public embraces those who serve, veterans are woefully mistreated by the government sector. Now, I’m not being political, I’m just pointing out a fact that virtually all those that have ever visited the VA can corroborate. Ask a vet what he thought about his last VA visit and send me his response.
Maybe since the public has seemingly caught up to embrace our young men and women who serve, maybe their service benefits are next? I hope so.
Next time you have the opportunity, thank someone who served, thank them. That smile and handshake might just be the medicine they need.
Happy Veteran’s Day 2015-
Trailnet/Flickr Creative Commons
We all know how easy it is to get fairly sedentary these days. There’s that show we want to watch, or we’re chatting with friends on Facebook, or somebody emailed a funny cat video which leads to other funny cat videos or videos of people falling down on Youtube. Next thing you know, half the morning is gone. Well, in this RV Lifestyle it’s even more easy to succumb to the sedentary, especially when you’re traveling, so today i thought we could talk about a few ways to get around the lure of the chair.
Walking is BY FAR the easiest way to get some exercise! Just putting one foot in front of the other on the way to the store, or to the park, is great exercise. If you’re into challenges, get a step counter and strive to beat yesterday’s record. These days, there are gyms everywhere and believe it or not a lot of them have wifi So if you REALLY need to watch those cat videos, do it on the treadmill! By the time you’ve clicked your way through them all, you will have walked a few miles.. Now that fall is hopefully sticking around, hit the hiking trails near you, go see the leaves changing color, get out of the RV and just breathe!
Everyone knows this is kind of a no-no, but in reality choosing the correct snacks is quite healthy. Instead of potato chips, or snacks loaded with processed sugars, try to graze on some fruit for energy, or even something fresh from the veggie drawer in your refrigerator. Make is easier on yourself by pre-slicing up some carrots, or bell peppers, or celery, it’s not hard!
You’ll hear two words together all the time: diet and exercise. Even though it’s almost a cliche these days, you can’t keep fit without BOTH of them!
oliver.dodd/Flickr Creative Commons
How many of y’all have ever heard of the NFPA? NFPA stands for National Fire Prevention Association, and they are the folks who have established the code by which Recreational Vehicles are engineered, constructed, and inspected with respect to fire safety and prevention. The standard set by the NFPA is in the NFPA 1192 document. Where am I going with all this? Well, if these fire preventative measures have been incorporated when your RV was being drawn up by the engineers, the least we can do as end users is to be fire-wise when it comes to utilizing these awesome vehicles with our friends and families right? Today we’re going to talk about some common sense fire preventing things we can do to keep our vehicles safe, and our insurance low!
Most RV’s have some sort of food preparation devices, correct? Oven, stove, hot plate, coffee maker, something, right? Well the most obvious thing you need right there in sight and handy is a fire extinguisher! When you wander by it every now and then, check the little gauge to see if the pressure is holding up. They also have service dates printed, so check those occasionally as well. They’re pretty cheap to replace once they’ve gotten old, and a heck of a lot cheaper than replacing the RV!
We talked in the last blog about surge protectors, but in a fire prevention scenario they will help remove voltage induced overheating of your electrical appliances and keep you from pulling the trigger on on one of those shiny, red, fully charged, and up-to-date fire extinguishers we were just discussing!
Something that may not get thought about, especially in an RV where storage space is at a premium, is storing combustibles near the stove or oven. And I’m not talking spray paint cans or spare gas cans for the generator, y’all know better than that; I’m talking the sneaky combustible stuff like paper towels or shopping bags.
Some of the older travel trailers and RVs had heat detectors installed that rang fire bells. If you still have them, service them and keep them up to date as well as install more modern smoke detectors please! And check those batteries!
If you need smoke detectors, extinguishers, and the like, come see us at the website for all your accessories!
State Farm/Flickr Creative Commons
What is the one item that every RV owner needs? It doesn’t matter whether your RV is a small trailer or a big diesel pusher, this one, small, inexpensive item can provide so much protection: you need a surge protector! Power surges happen to all of us and they are extremely harmful to RVs. A power surge can destroy something as simple as an electrical outlet or fry all the electrical equipment in the whole RV.
Let’s think about the simple little foul ups that could cause you to require lengthy, expensive repairs to your RV. It could be something as simple as plugging into a miswired pedestal. Or perhaps something as trivial as an over/under voltage situation at the RV Campground. Maybe it’s a hot day in August so everybody at the campground is running 2 air conditioners and the amperage draw is too much of a load for the camp’s supply. Or perhaps it’s an open neutral. Silly little things that could ultimately pry open your wallet and set your dollars free.
Well, we want to prevent those dollars from flying away off into the sunset right? Heck yes! So buy a surge protector and thank us later! We stock all kinds, from the simple inline plug type, all the way to the type you can hard wire in and permanently install. 30 amp, 50 amp, we got ’em! And the majority of them are on sale right now, click the link below to see the variety of stykles we have to choose from and pick one that is right for you:
PPL Motorhomes Surge Protectors
They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and are a “plug in and forget” bit of preventative maintenance that could easily save you from Empty Wallet Syndrome later on down the road. Nobody likes that burnt electrical smell, so order now and thank us later! You’re welcome.