07 Dec

Spending the Holidays in Your RV: Tips and Tricks from RVFTA’s Facebook Live Chat

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Have you ever gazed longingly at your RV during the busy, stressful holiday season? We know that your RV is your happy place, and we believe it can help your family enjoy the holidays, or maybe even help you rediscover that joy you used to have back in the day.

Everyone’s holiday traditions are different. Some of us enjoy large family gatherings with tons of extended family. But many of us now live far away from family, or have work commitments that keep us from traveling during this time of the year. We believe your RV might be the ticket to opting out of the stress and embracing the true holiday spirit, which of course is all about the love of family and friends.

We recently hosted a Facebook Live Chat for Go RVing on surviving the holidays by embracing the fabulousness of your RV. You can watch the entire chat here:

We talk about the following topics…

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22 Nov

Shopping for the RV Enthusiast: RVFTA Holiday Gift Guides from the Past

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Are you excited about the 2016 RVFTA Holiday Gift Guide???? We certainly are!

The 2016 Holiday Gift Guide podcast will be released this Friday, November 25th and it is jam packed with something for everyone on your list. But in the meantime, we thought we would give a shout out to our Holiday Gift Guides from 2014 and 2015. Looking back at these products, there are so many items that we still love and use all the time.

In fact, we will be talking about some of our all-star favorites on this year’s episode!

So want to get a jump start on the giving? Check these posts out…

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20 Nov

Thanksgiving at the Campground: Corn Casserole, InstaPot Mashed Potatoes, and Apple Slaw

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In this series of blog posts, I am sharing my family recipes for enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at the campground. There are so many ways to bring festive holiday cheer on the road, and this year I am focusing on dishes that offer those classic Thanksgiving flavors, but can be made mostly in advance and with minimal fuss.

You can also check out my posts on Turkey and Stuffing Sandwiches and Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

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16 Nov

Thanksgiving at the Campground: Turkey Sandwiches with Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce on Brioche Buns

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There are so many ways to make a great Thanksgiving dinner at the campground. This year, my goal was to create a menu that is simple and made mostly in advance, but still features all the tastes of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

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Turkey Sandwiches with Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce

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For years, I prepared a ‘leftovers’ meal on the Friday after Thanksgiving to bring to my grandmother who lived a few hours away. I piled rolls high with sliced turkey, stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce. I also added a little horseradish cream to my own sandwich, but that’s just because I like everything to have a little kick. You won’t find my young boys buying into that flavor profile.

So how do you put Thanksgiving dinner on a bun with only about 60 minutes worth of prep time in the kitchen? Here are my steps…

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15 Nov

Thanksgiving at the Campground: Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

img_7813 In this series of blog posts, I’m sharing my personal recipes for simple menu items that can be made ahead of a holiday RV trip, but still hit all of the classic holiday tastes that we crave in a Thanksgiving meal.

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Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I first started making these cupcakes when we would visit my grandmother on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Everyone already had their fair share of pie on Thursday, so I wanted to bring something festive but different. So I turned my mother’s classic pumpkin bread into a cupcake and topped it with cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts. These turned out to be one of my grandmother’s favorite desserts, and I think of her every time I make them.

This recipe traditionally makes 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, which translates into about 2 dozen cupcakes. To be honest, I usually make one loaf of bread and 1 dozen cupcakes. To be even more honest, the bread makes a yummy breakfast option as well…

Pumpkin Bread Cupcakes

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10 Nov

RVFTA #114 Holidays at the Campground

hol On this episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are gearing up for the season by talking about holidays at the campground. We spent last Thanksgiving in our RV and just can’t wait to do it again this year. Listen to hear why this might be a great option for your family.

And set a reminder for our next Go RVing Facebook Chat on November 17th at 4 pm Central Time all about RVing and the Holidays!!! We had so much fun doing a live Facebook event this past August and we can’t wait for round 2!

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If you want to read a bit more about our first foray into holiday camping, check out this post from last year. Stephanie wrote it after spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas away from home in 2015. It was definitely different…but it was also exhilarating!

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Play
06 Jan

Holidays in the RV: Reflections on a New Adventure

It is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, and I am ready to throw my Christmas tree out the window.

Don’t get me wrong…I really do think it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But by New Year’s Day, I’m always ready to sweep up the last of the needles and call it quits on the holiday season.

This year, the holidays looked quite a bit different for us. We traveled on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, spending one in the RV and one in a hotel. So of course I have some thoughts and opinions. You have come to expect that from me.

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When Max and Theo were three years old, we traveled south to visit family over the Christmas holiday break. To be frank, it was a nightmare. Instead of enjoying our own family traditions and relaxing, we ended up tired and stressed. The trip ended and we said, No more. From now on we celebrate holidays in our own home.

And we did. Until this year. If you listened to the Thanksgiving podcast episode of Girl Camper, you heard me talk about how we have struggled to answer the question of what holidays will look like now that our extended family has moved far away. We have slowly let go of what a holiday should look like, and have started asking ourselves what we want it to look like.

This year we decided to try camping on Thanksgiving. I honestly did not know how I would like it, but I’m going to cut right to the chase…it was marvelous. The next month, my mother in law offered to send us to Great Wolf Lodge for Christmas…and it was just as awesome.

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So I’ve been thinking: Why did I enjoy holidays away from home so much? Why were these holiday travel experiences different from ones in the past?

Holidays are supposed to be about spending time with loved ones, right? But so often we get caught up in the planning, preparations, events, cleaning, baking, and general running around, and we end up stressed and exhausted.

When we spent Thanksgiving in the RV, 100% of our focus was on spending time together with family and friends. I wasn’t worried about a clean house or making 5 different desserts from scratch. I actually experienced more sustained gratefulness over this Thanksgiving weekend than I ever can remember in the past. We were doing fun things together, enjoying the last of the beautiful fall weather, and gathering with friends who we don’t often see.

On Christmas, we spent the morning at our house, opening gifts and enjoying a holiday breakfast. By noon we were off to Great Wolf Lodge. Again, I didn’t know how I would feel about the experience and again, I ended up feeling an overwhelming freedom spending time with my family instead of worrying about all the holiday busyness that can be so distracting. We were in bathing suits going down watersides instead of sitting around the living room feeling over stuffed and overstimulated. We weren’t installing batteries and breaking down cardboard boxes. We were just having fun.

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Don’t get me wrong, everything wasn’t perfect. I think if we did it again, I might want to develop some roadworthy traditions because I’m sentimental and love that stuff. Next year on Thanksgiving, for example, I would definitely do a campground meal instead of eating out at restaurant.

I was worried that spending the holidays away from our home would leave me feeling unfettered and strange. Instead, I felt more rooted than ever. Because I was completely experiencing the most important part of the holiday season…time with family.

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Happy New Year, and we wish you joy.

~Stephanie

24 Nov

RVFTA #64: 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

2015 RVFTA HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE! blog

On this week’s episode of RV Family Travel Atlas, we are rolling through our holiday gift guide: 33 items that are perfect for the RV enthusiast in your life. Some we picked ourselves and some recommendations are from other RV experts–correspondents and listeners from this show.

subscribe on iTunesTune in to hear gift picks from Brett, Kerri, Evanne, Chris, Val, Rachel, and Kate. There is definitely something for everyone, and a price point for every budget. Books, DVDs, hats, hoodies, spice holders, mixing bowls, awning lights, and apps. Click on any picture below to purchase that item.

Not a single item on this list is a sponsored item, and we do not have ANY affiliate links.

You might think we couldn’t possibly top last year’s holiday gift guide. But we here at RVFTA believe that bigger is (sometimes) actually better. This is Episode #64: 2015 Holiday Guide Guide.

1. Camp Casual Serving Bowl and Servers ($22.99)

2. AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography ($19.95)


3. Ansel Adams Yosemite ($22.00)


4. Fromer’s Easy Guide Series ($12.95)


5. The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition ($40.00)


6. Outdoor Photographer, 1-Year Subscription ($14.97)


7. The Andy Griffith Show Complete Box Set, also available on Netflix ($101.00)

8. National Parks Passport ($8.95)

9. RVFTA Distressed Hoodies (40.00)

10. L.L. Bean Fleece-lined Flannel Shirt ($69.00)

11. L.L. Bean Men’s Wool Ball Cap ($29.95)

12. North Face ETip  Gloves, Men’s and Women’s ($45.00)

13. Igloo Freestanding Ice Machine ($159.95)

14. Roadside America App, iTunes ($5.99)


15. Threshold Stainless Steal Mixing Bowls from Target ($19.99)

16. Kleen Kanteen Vacuum Insulated Tumbler (23.95)

17. Camelbak Forge 16 oz Travel Mug ($21.00)

18. Bialetti Saute Pans ($22.00-$50.00)

19. Motorola Two-Way Radios ($42.00)


20. Campsite Rope Lights, Christmas Tree Shops ($8.99)


21. Andersen Camper Levelers ($40.00)

Kate’s List…

22. Deluxe Camp Kitchen from Bass Pro Shop ($139.00)

23. Table Top French Press from REI ($44.00)

24. GSI Spice Rocket ($12.95)

25. Duracell 600 Watt 1300 Amp Powerpack Pro ($163.00)

26. Rand McNally Tripmaker RV GPS ($240.00)

27. Orion Starblast 4.5 Reflector Telescope ($210.00)

28. Happy Camper Wine ($8.00-$12.00)

29 Awning Lights from Ooga Lights (prices vary)

30. Faux Fur Throw from Pottery Barn ($50.00 and up)

31. Aquaflops Shower Shoes ($16.99)

32. Moroccan Lanterns ($15.00 and up)

33. Custom Made Replica Vintage Trailer from CHcampers.com ($6,995 and up)

If you buy any of these items for a loved one or yourself, please do let us know!

And have a wonderful, blessed holiday season with friends and family.

Cheers,

Jeremy + Stephanie

Play
09 Dec

11 Classic Christmas Albums for Hipsters and Holy Rollers

Yes, I’m an RV junkie…but I’m also a Christmas music junky.  After taking that last bite of Thanksgiving turkey I dust off my albums and crank up the tunes.

Are you throwing a Christmas party this year?  Or just looking for some new sounds to help you celebrate the season?  I have you covered with my 11 favorite Christmas albums, from Satchmo to the King and everything in-between.

Click on the album or song titles for iTunes and start making your own festive mix that will bring you good cheer for years to come.

Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful Christmas 

Satchmo was hip and holy.  He believed his talents were given to him by God.  He was right.

Favorite Track: Christmas in New Orleans

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Doug Munro & La Pompe Attack: A Very Gypsy Christmas

Bored with another suburban Christmas? Let this album bring you to a magical land far, far away.

Favorite Track: Let it Snow

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Kermit Ruffins: Have a Crazy Cool Christmas!

Crazy? Check. Cool? Check. Bring the sights, sounds and smells of modern New Orleans home for Christmas.

Favorite Track: A Saints Christmas

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Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, JR: Christmas with the Rat Pack

All of the boys are in fine form here, and behaving for once.  But if you ask me, Dino steals the show.

Favorite Track: I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

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A Christmas Gift For You: From Phil Spector

You won’t need mistletoe to get soulful kisses with this warm and romantic Christmas album.

Favorite Track: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

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Christmas Grass: A Celebration of Christmas, Bluegrass Style

Head to the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Holidays. Don’t spill the egg-nog when your toes start tapping.

Favorite Track: Winter Wonderland

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The Beach Boys: Christmas Harmonies

The angelic harmonies of summer’s favorite sons are surprisingly perfect for the holidays. Let some California sun warm up your Christmas party.

Favorite Tracks: Frosty the Snowman

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She & Him: A Very She and Him Christmas

Are your holiday guests garbed in beards and skinny jeans? Then this one’s for you. M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel are hip without being haughty.

Favorite Track: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

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Oscar Peterson: An Oscar Peterson Christmas

Oscar Peterson was a jazz giant and a keyboard wizard. Let him bring some magic to your Christmas mix.

Favorite Track: White Christmas

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Andy Williams: The Andy Williams Christmas Album

Classy without being corny.  Put on a jacket and tie. Your grandfather’s Christmas music really was better than yours.

Favorite Tracks: Happy Holiday / The Holiday Season

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Elvis Presley: Elvis Christmas 

Elvis really feels every single one of these tracks. The King was also the King of Christmas music. Who’s surprised?

Favorite Track: Oh Come, All Ye Faithful

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Do you have a favorite Christmas album?  Drop us a note and let us know. We are always looking to add something new to our Christmas Mix!

26 Jul

A New Way to See a Downtown: Find a Parade…

My enjoyment of cute, artsy downtown areas has plummeted sharply since the little campers came along. There are basically three main things to do in any given downtown area: shopping, eating, and drinking. All three of these activities suffer dramatically when you throw small children into the mix.
We have found ways to adjust. I’m not a big shopper anyway and my husband usually prowls around the local bookstores during naptime while I recharge the batteries back at the campsite.
We get a lot of takeout and find nice grassy locations where the boys can make noise without getting nasty looks from other diners. And lets just say that a local microbrew might just taste even better around the campfire than in the pub.
If we had gone into Brattleboroon a regular weekday, we probably would have walked up and down the streets noting all of the cool looking shops and interesting menu options. The boys probably would have given us a hard time about being in the stroller and then given us a hard time about hand holding when we let them out. All together we might have spent an hour there before packing it up and heading to a Butterfly Conservatory up the road where we could all breath a sigh a relief while the boys ran free.
Instead we were lucky enough to be in downtown Brattleboro for their 4th of July parade. Now we are not big parade people; Jeremy and I can probably count on one hand the number of parades we have gone to in our lives. In general, we are way to cool for things like flag-waving and cheering and general patriotic fervor. Brattleboro converted me. What a way to see the local culture…every imaginable civic group marched by including church groups and nuclear energy protesters, musicians, firemen, skaters from the local skatepark, and snow mobile rescue squads.
Between the marchers and the crowds along the sidewalks, I felt that I had experienced more of Brattleboro in a couple of hours than I would have if I had shopped in every store and eaten in every restaurant. And the boys, of course, had a blast waving their flags and clapping their hands the entire time.
I now have a new goal: see a 4th of July parade in a new town every year. It hands down beats fireworks in my book.