Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin Season Is Here!

Today we got greeted with a nice cool weather. It had been raining at night, which we are excited about. The watering of the lawn and plants had started to feel like a second job. The rain has cooled down the temperatures that had been soaring at around 100F all summer. It feels wonderful to go out without having to wear shoes around the pool just to prevent your feet from burning up on the hot concrete. Now we can keep the doors open and let the breeze to get in. Aah, how I love the first cool days after the toasty summer. My plans were to finish up some yard work as soon as the weather like this arrived, but instead  I decided to just lounge on the couch and be useless. Man, it was tough, but I think I achieved my goal.

 After few sweet recipes, I thought it was time to straighten up our diets and stir away from the sweets and try to eat a bit healthier, and suddenly after today's lunch in Vietnamese restaurant the curry chicken pho made me crave for more curry, and suddenly I remembered that it is almost time to dust of your holiday recipes, and I happen to have one that I just one day pulled out of my sleeve, and it made into a hit at a Thanksgiving party, even kids loved it.

So get ready for fall, the pumpkin season is here. And even though I will try to stick to the healthier stuff I think I will occasionally slip in few recipes that will also satisfy the sweet tooth. But for now I am going to share my recipe for curried pumpkin soup. And since I like the easy cooking, this is once again one of those recipes where most of the ingredients come straight out of the can. And it is really good too!!!

Pumpkin Soup with a little side kick!

2 tbs butter
small onion
2 cans of pureed pumpkin
2 cans of chicken broth
1 can of coconut milk
bunch of cilantro

Melt butter on a large sauce pan, add finely chopped onion and spices to taste, I usually start with about 1/2 tsp each except nutmeg 1/4 tsp and add later on to taste I like mine more flavorful, so I usually add another round of the spices. Stir for a minute or so and add broth and pumpkin. Let mixture warm up to a boiling before adding the coconut milk. Let boil for a while (10-15minutes) and add spices to your taste if needed. Just when done cooking, add fairly generously chopped cilantro, stir in. Garnish with some more cilantro and a dollop of sour cream. Tadaa!

Yours to try, let me know how you liked it.


Mixed Emotions And Video Intro Of The Beast

While I am excited about the Revcon, I can't help but think how many of my boxes it actually ticked. Well, not too many. However I know that Lee is very excited about it, and I am ready to give it a good try, I will try to get over the fact that the kitchen does not have an oven, and has only two burners, the fridge is one of the smallest possible RV fridges, and the storage is minimal. The fact that the bed is above the cabin will create problems too, but maybe we can adjust to all that. The cab of the truck takes almost half of the space, so I think on top of the one removed seat, we are going to have to remove another one too, and make best use out of that space. But this is where I think my inner interior designer will get a chance to do its magic.

Here is the video intro to the belly of the Beast, it is pretty home quality, and please, don't hold it against us, it will give you maybe a bit better idea of the space and what we have to work with.

This all will be a huge change not only for us two, but also for our pets who have had a run of the huge house and a gigantic yard. They will have to deal with a minimal space with no yard to run around. I see frequent trips to dog parks in our future. The cat who has been indoor/outdoor cat, will have to adjust to live in a small indoor space with 3 dogs and two humans. Right now he has a pet door to go in and out as he wishes, his own room, bathroom and climbing trees on both ends of the house. We are wondering where is the limit for our adjustments, and who is going to actually need to adjust the most. It will definitely be a challenge to stuff the cat with three dogs into a small space, especially since the greyhounds like to chase him, and he does take it as an attack and will defend himself in that situation. At 18 lbs, Zubie is not likely going to take any prisoners, it could get bad if we didn't make sure that he has his own area where the dogs are not allowed.

Zubov, see how vicious he is?
We are tossing all kinds of ideas around, and once we decide on something we are pretty guaranteed to back out as soon as we get a chance. We are reconsidering selling the house, at least to start with we might want to hold on to it, and if we really want to stay on the road, maybe then we will let it go. I am just worried if the life on the road doesn't fit for us and we sold the house, then what? If we were able to rent it, or just rent a room out of it, then nothing would be so permanent that we couldn't change our minds and come back home if we wanted to.

the nightly race around the pool 
We don't seem to make tons of progress, but we have received the title to our other RV and can sell the old faithful Chinook. I bet selling it will be a bit emotional, not because we had it for a long time, no, we have actually had it less than a year, and used it only couple times... drove all together probably less than 1000 miles with it, but because it actually does have all we need, just not enough space on a long run. But in order to get the house fixed, we need to let her go. So I think tomorrow we have to remove all of our belongings out of it and make her ready for a sale. It is perfect for a couple or a single person, but not for couple with tons of junk and 4 pets. Stay tuned if it is something you'd want to consider, it will likely sell fast.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Into the Belly of the Beast

Now time to share a bit more about the Revcon:

For one, the shell is made of aircraft aluminum and should in theory last damn near forever (think Airstreams).  It is rated at R-20 Insulation as well, so it should keep it cool or warm inside as needed.  Not sure how the black paint will affect the temperature yet.

As you walk into the side door up the automatic steps, you come directly to the dining area, a booth dinette with leather seats.  The TV is mounted on the wall on the left.

To the right is the master bed, which is the king size bed above the truck cab. Doesn't appear to be a California king, but still, not too shabby for an rig of this size.  Kings are hard to find even in huge class A's.  It has sliding screen windows on the left and right as well and the screens and the windows both slide in case you are in an area without bugs.

The 'kitchen' consist of a 2 burner stove, convection microwave, good sized sink with telescoping faucet and a double filtered water dispenser.  It has a standard dometic 2 door fridge/freezer that runs on AC/DC or propane.

Behind this is an electronics rack with the satellite equipment, stereo, DVD, VCR, and hidden behind it somewhere is a wireless router in case you have satellite internet to share. Next to the electronics rack is a full size Maytag stacked washer and dryer. This is something that's even more rare than the king size bed in any sized RV.  Most RVs that do have a washer/dryer, it is normally a very small unit that is both in one, so loads take a really long time to wash (3 hours for a single wash/dry cycle and very small loads.)

The back room has a small futon-like sofa that makes into a single bed or so.
The closet in the back is rather large, doesn't look like much, but they are rather deep, and hopefully sufficient for our needs.

Across from the sofa is the restroom, stand-up shower and restroom area.  Currently there is a curtain instead of a door to the restroom, we plan on putting in a sliding or accordion style door there. And just to make it a bit more pleasing to eye, white toilet seat is in plans.

You can crawl under the main bed into the cab of the truck, where currently there are 3 seats, the 4th removed for extra storage space (we have the 4th seat as in the garage, never been used).  Doubtful we will be replacing it as it does provide a good amount of storage space that we will need. To be honest, we will likely remove the 3rd seat also.

Storage space is about the only thing this RV lacks.  As it only stands 10.5 feet tall, it doesn't have the under storage the bigger RVs have, but those RVs normally sit around 14 feet tall as well. There are a decent number of overhead storage bins though, so I think we'll be able to get by.

A rooftop view shows the self-stowing satellite dish, a solar panel, the 2 A/C units, and the 2 fan vents.  I hope to add more solar to the top eventually to make this unit almost completely independent. We'll still need diesel and propane from time to time.

Here's the main electric awning. That's most of the stuff that is visible.  I'll have to get into some of the inner workings in the future.  Mostly I need time to figure it all out myself.

We will add a video of the insides later on, once we have had a chance to remove extra stuff and do a good clean up in it and maybe add some of our own belongings to make it feel more like ours.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Beast has Arrived

 After a 700 mile flight and a 780 mile drive, the Beast is here.

Introducing a 2002 Revcon Trailblazer Diesel 4x4 RV!  Practically new at 21,000 miles.

 And a perspective shot, next to my 20 foot long Avalanche, think I waited a bit too late in the day to take the pictures, will post new ones soon.

This is one of the Rarest of RV's, one that I've been trying to find for a few months now.  I had all but given up on finding this model of Revcon when a bit of persistence paid off.  This Beast gets what I'm told is @15mpg, I was too tired with learning to drive it and staying awake to pay much attention to the mpg, so I will test it out over the coming weeks. To top off the rare factor of a Revcon 4x4, it's even rarer to find a Diesel one.  It may be a true one-of-a-kind.

So Monday night I flew out to Illinois and after checking out the Beast in person, I plopped down the cash and signed the title, added it to my insurance and hit the road.  The seller was nice enough to give me a Tom-Tom GPS, which I quickly found to be next to useless except for showing my MPH.  I turned to my Iphone 4 Google Maps, and used it all the way home with nice clear cut directions and following my little blue dot. About 220 miles into my trip I pulled into a gas station to fill-er-up, as the reserve tank was empty (was empty to start) and the main tank was at a quarter full.  56 gallons of Diesel later I was back on the road (Swiping my credit card 3 times in the process, $206 dollars or so).  Around the 330 mile mark I was out of gas, so I pulled into a Rest Area and parked behind a Class A Motor home.  I gotta say, the Revcon was about the same Length, but it sure looked a hell of a lot cooler than the rectangle unit.

 I had a nice nights rest at the Welcome to Missouri Rest Area (which by the way is one of the cleanest I've seen) in the King Size bed that is over the cab.  After a delicious dinner of 2 Deli-fresh (uh huh) sandwiches from the gas station mentioned above, I fell asleep a bit after midnight to the peaceful sound of the 18 Wheeler diesel engines about 30 feet away ticking away the night.  Or at least I finally passed out after about 2 hours of listening to that sound anyhow.

 Got up around 6:20am. Treated myself to a delicious hot black coffee from the vending machine at the rest area, grabbed a bottle of colored/flavored water(Power-aid or something) and hit the road.  Saw a few cool sights along the way, but with near 500 miles to cover Tuesday, I didn't stop to admire them.  The St. Louis Arch was pretty cool, I went right by it on I-44 on the worlds crappiest paved bridge in the world.  The pictures and TV don't do it justice, it was HUGE.  So I will do it justice by not showing you the pictures I didn't take of it as I bounced by(again, horribly paved road, I imagine just to make it impossible to take a picture as you drive past.)

 I believe I finally pulled into Plano a bit after 2pm.  My Odometer was only showing around 730 miles covered but I did discover something was up with the Speedometer as I drove.  When it was showing 65mph, GPS was showing 70.  So, that's about 7.5% difference or so. Meaning I had covered the 780 miles or so in which the directions showed, my odometer is just a little off because of the variance.  I guess the monster tires never got synced to the speedometer correctly.  65mph on the speedometer was really the top cruising speed for it anyhow.

 Today I spent a good portion of my day getting it inspected, the title swapped over, and giving it a quick bath.  Cool fact about the Texas State Inspection for a Diesel: it was only 15 bucks instead of the 40 for a gas powered vehicle.  Apparently they don't have to use their emissions equipment on Diesels.  The guy who did the inspection had never seen one like it, to which I told him he never would except mine every year when he re-inspects it.  It definitely gets attention.  Even the mailman stopped my wife to ask her about it.

 For such a big rig, all 32 feet of it, it actually handles pretty much like a large truck.  Has a handy video camera on the back so I can see everything behind in a 180 degree field of view for a good 20 yards or so.  I got put through the ringer on the drive as I went thru at least 50 different construction areas with narrow lanes, single lanes filled with cones, no shoulders, and the concrete barriers and I didn't bump a single one.  And there were some serious hills to climb as well.  The Chinook will beat it in a race any day of the week, but for the slow and steady race, the Revcon wins.  Plus it holds about double the fuel and gets better mileage(in theory)

 Next on the list of to-do's is to go thru it and take inventory (the guy left everything in it, pots, pans, the works).  Also the marine deep cycle battery needs to be replaced, it holds a charge for about 30 minutes with barely anything drawing on it.  Gonna have to beg my electrician neighbor to work thru it as well, I believe it has some minor electrical issues going on that are constantly draining power.  It apparently doesn't have the feature that the Chinook has that protects the main engine batteries from getting draining by the Cabin area, so something else to look into.  Already had a boneheaded moment last night when I tried to crank it up about 5 hours after I arrived to find the main batteries drained.  I may have left something on that drained it, or it could be a mysterious power drain.  Either way it spent last night on a trickle charger and so far today has been fine, though I did turn off the main cabin breakers and the master kill switch.

I'll go thru the features of it over the coming days, some will surprise ya!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Options

Just wondering what kind of options we have. Lee had the idea of the century, we could make the RV to look like a Mutt Cutts van from the Dumb and Dumber. I loooove that movie, and I would be honored to drive the Mutt van around. So what ya think? Looks pretty, hmmm... plush and maybe it is just lucky that we did not end up with the toy hauler, it would be kind of... inappropriate to ever have to use that ramp.  Just worried about the mildew on it if we ever visit Washington state.

Ok, joking aside. At the moment Lee has just purchased our new RV, and has hit the road to drive it down from Illinois to Texas. We have had very mixed emotions about this rig, Lee absolutely loving it, and me, well, not being sure it had enough room for all of us, big enough kitchen and enough storage. And since my manager did not want to change my work days, so that I could see this rig before us purchasing it, I have to just trust Lees judgement on it. But I believe I will see soon myself what we got ourselves into. Lee should be home in about 15 hours depending what kind of breaks he is going to have to take. All that I know, he might be driving home the Mutt Cutts van. I am so crossing my fingers, legs and eyes!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chick Pea Salad by Moi

Another recipe by me. This one came around just from the attempt to imitate something I had eaten. Well, what I ate before was more like marinated chick peas, and I had no idea how to make a marinade for them, so I decided just to throw in some stuff and see what came out of it. This recipe has been requested by so many, that I think it is best to be shared here, no more writing down it for me. This is easy to modify to include or exclude what ever your likes are. I love cilantro, so I use it a lot. Not everyone likes it, and you can easily replace it with parsley, and you don't have to use it as much either. You could add a bit more olive oil, and put everything into the food processor to ground it up into a dip for pita chips or what not. Chick peas are so good, and you can make almost anything with them, even patties to fry. I guess I just made myself hungry for some falafels. But here goes the recipe:

Chick Pea Salad

4 cans of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 bunch of cilantro
1/4 c of red onion minced
1/2 c of chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/2 c of parmesan cheese
5 tbs olive oil
pinch of salt

Use a large mixing bowl, toss everything in there, season and mix. Tadaa, that was difficult. Yours to try now, let me know what you did and how you liked it. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Chase For 75 Pauses... It Is Here!!!

As it always happens, the fall does bring the nice cool weather. And it looks like our chase for the perfect weather of 75F has taken a break. It seems to be perfect enough right here, right now. Few days of occasional slow drizzles and cooler night temperatures, and suddenly this seems to be my Texas in all the possible positive ways. This has brought us to reconsider selling the house and maybe just rent it out. There are so many pros and cons, it is difficult to make the right decision.

Pixie catching some rays
The weather is wonderful, and I would love to be enjoying it with my family. Alas, we work, and we work at different times, so on those days that we do work, we don't have any time together. This could all potentially change for us if we dared to take a leap into the life without boundaries, life where we can be together as a family. This house is awesome, and that is one of the reasons why we are hesitant to rent it out. To have strange people to live in your house and see that it is perfect party house could possibly make it not so perfect from the land lords point of view. There are several things that do need constant maintaining, like pool and hot tub and what not. I do not want to get the house all prettied up with tons of money, rent it out, and return to a torn down and worn out ruin. Lots to think about and consider.

Louie looking into the future, and pondering RV life
Travelling and having good time... does it get any better than that? What are we still waiting for??? This all gets more and more tempting for us as we follow the other full time RV'ers blogs and see all the amazing places they get to go to. Soon, I hope, it will be where we go too. Right now we're in process of purchasing a new (for us) RV, and if everything goes well we will have exciting news next week. This means, that we are doing everything backwards. Right now we still have our old RV Chinook that we really love, but need to sell soon, we are just waiting on getting the title for it so we can sell it. That will finally put the gears in motion, and we can get done with the renovations to the house, and hopefully either rent it out sooner than we expected, or decide when to sell it. Either way, the progress seems just too slow.

Nelli just wants to be with her family, and eat and sleep. End of story
And then on the other hand, we do not have exact date left as to how much time Lee has still left at his work. If they decide to be outsourcing sooner than later, we might be only about 3 months out until the, er, happenings hit the fan. If it all happens on a bit slower pace, we might be talking about almost another 6 months. I would rather have more time left, just so that we do have enough time to get ready.  It is an awful lot to  deal with to clear this houseful of our belongings.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nutty Banana Bread Day Is Here

The day finally came that my bananas got ready for being baked into a bread. I was supposed to clean all day, and do laundry, then some baking, and finish up the yard work, that is still waiting on us to make a move. Well, after last attempt to wreck my back, I wasn't too keen starting on that  show. But I did plan on cleaning and baking, and making some laundry.

I so love my friends, they do come to the rescue always when you need it, and my dear friend delighted my evening by stopping by. Us two sitting down and enjoying of nothing (but beer) was long over due. So I junked the plans of laundry and cleaning, but I did manage to get the banana bread out of the oven before she showed up with pizza. So that's what was for dinner, beer, pizza and banana bread.

My friend gave the thumbs up, so did Lee and I feel pretty confident that it is ok to share the recipe with y'all! This banana bread is good.

Banana bread

1 c shortening
2 c sugar
6 ripe bananas
4 eggs
2 1/4 c (2.25 c) whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda (I used only 1 tsp)
1tsp vanilla (I used vanilla sugar, Scandinavian thang)
1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Cream shortening and sugar together. Mash bananas and add to the creamed mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together and add to banana mixture (if you use vanilla sugar, add it with the dry ingredients) Add vanilla and pecans. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9x5x2 inch loaf pans and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until the toothpick inserted to the center of the loaf comes out clean. (took 1h for me) Tadaa!!!! 

Make it and let me know how you liked it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I was kind of surprised to find out how much my younger brother resisted our plans. I totally understand why he feels like that, I used to think it was absurd too. He thinks we are insane to sell the house, he seems to like it a lot, and I can't blame him, I love our house too, but I know that there are houses that I could love right now, not after we have done this and that kind of renovation for it. He is worried of not having actual home, and I still get a good giggle out of his words when I told him that we can get much cooler house that we like, and his answer to me was: "No you can't, you'll be hobos forever".

The trick to letting go of something you love is to just simply realize that there is something more exciting to gain out of it. I thought first that my husband wanted to sell the house, buy a trailer and live in a trailer park to save money. In that case the only thing to change would have been that we would have been living in cramped space and we continued to work our lives away and do what ever we used to do to stay alive. My answer to this was absolute no, I think I said something like: "Hell no!" But I guess you get the idea, I wasn't too thrilled about it. But once I realized that he is not talking about us just moving into little box parked into the woods next to the high way, he is talking about us quitting our jobs, selling extra stuff (zeesh, there is some of that... tons of it to be a little more specific) and go where ever we wanted to, to all those places we have always dreamed about, but couldn't leave the dogs behind, or didn't have time for. Now we could live in all of them, if that's what we desired, or at least visit them, and then move on to what ever we set our minds to. Sure we would have to figure out a way to create income, but maybe I could finally tap into arts and jewelry design a bit more seriously, and Lee has always been able to work from the road, one way or the other. So this sounded not just almost doable, but rather necessary to do.

We would be even saving some money, and once we feel that we had enough of the travelling, or find a place we would like to call home, we could just settle down there. Once you see openly the possibilities it is almost impossible not to realize how amazing it would be, and how unique experience we'd have ahead of us, and it would be insane to ignore this kind of opportunity. And we want to do this while we are still healthy and are able to do it. And right now we seem to have a place in our life where it is possible to explore a bit, and it wouldn't put anything on hold, rather it seems that everything else is now on hold, just waiting for this to come true. The best part is, if we don't like it, then we will just stop. But it is pretty tough to top living your days exactly the way you want to, and not worry about everything that owning a property and maintaining a competitive career brings to you. I am ready to hit the road today, too bad that it will most likely take still several months.

Hobos or not, I still think it will be so awesome. And maybe once I will be able to start posting about our adventures, and show some images of places where we were, maybe my brother will change his mind about it. Maybe one day he will be taking some time off from work, once he realizes the possibilities, and will make a trip of a lifetime with his wife. 6 months on a road trip across USA and then he could go back to Europe and dream about spending rest of his life like we will. So many dream about this, and not all of them have the way to make it happen, we are blessed with some uncertainty that we are trying to change into a life changing opportunity.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fanfares for Southern Cooking

The banana pudding ended up on the table of the Southern potluck today. Man, I don't care how unhealthy it is, but I just love Southern food, it is made out of deliciousness and sweet intentions to make people happy. And I sure got happy. On the negative note, I have tomorrow a health screening, where my cholesterol will be checked, and I am not expecting to score as well as I would have before the potluck. And on the other hand, I don't really even care, since I got my belly full of yummies, and that's when I forget the worries. Hah!

I am kinda perfectionist, and it doesn't matter much what is being measured, I would like to be the best possible what ever at any given situation. But the cholesterol... yeah, I made peace with myself before I attacked the crispy chicken, corn casserole, sweet potatoes and Dorito salad. I had never even heard of such, but it was so good, and I will be finding out how to make some myself, maybe I will share the secrets with you too. So you will have to learn to be more forgiving for yourself too, life is too short to worry about the comfort food.

The banana pudding got thumbs up, but I personally think it was quite sweet, and maybe the problem was me substituting the milk to almond milk with vanilla flavor. The pudding had lots of vanilla in it, but that is what I had, and thought that it had to do, it just adds sweetness to it. And maybe unsweetened condensed milk would allow you to add sweetness to your own liking, but I didn't want to risk it with too many changes, since I am no expert with such things. Either way people seemed to like it, I just personally would prefer less sweetness. So if you like less sweet stuff, you might want to consider regular milk and regular condensed milk.

My work, still trying to figure out if I can
continue while RV'ing
But I have gotten for some reason really into trying to figure out RV friendly cooking, which basically just means, easy, no mess stuff, and I will probably start more often blogging about the ones that were successful, and worthy of blogging. Right now we just are chilling out and waiting for dinner to cook. Meanwhile I will try to find out some recipes, that I desperately want to learn, not necessarily cause they'd be RV friendly, but cause they are delicious.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

No Bake Banana Pudding

My quest to make the worlds best banana bread was sabotaged by my DH, hungry hubbies can be devastating for a girls baking plans. But I decided to post another recipe that I talked about, banana pudding that does not need baking, and to be honest, since I am not native, I had actually no idea that it would be ever even baked, but this is way faster, and also in a small space of RV will not create too much heat. The recipe that I used was found online, and it was for 20 servings, and I made some changes for it. Maybe I shouldn't have, since I am not used to making banana pudding, but I kinda ran out of the pudding mixture before I had even one third of the bananas used. So my version probably has much more pudding than what you all who know more about the matter would prefer. So maybe renaming the dish would be in place... Some Bananas in Pudding?

No bake banana pudding
I will post the recipe as I should have followed it, but will make notes about the changes to the recipe. This recipe comes together so fast, and especially if you would be RV'ing too, you would appreciate the fact it it takes very little dishes. I love easy, no mess baking and cooking. I prefer recipes that require nothing but throwing whole things out of fridge straight into the pot and get heated. This is one of those, or at least very close to one of them. All dishes to wash that I had were small cutting board, knife, measuring cup and measuring spoon, spatula, beaters and bowl. And next time I don't even need cutting board, bananas are easy to cut in your hand, as long as you use regular knife that you would use with fork. No trips to ER, especially if you're RV'ing. But let's get to business:

Essentials, minus the condensed milk, ooops! 

No Bake Banana Pudding


1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk (I used vanilla flavored almond milk)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (16 ounce) package vanilla wafers (I didn't use quite all of these)
14 bananas sliced (I only used 4 to 5, don't ask, it is still delicious!)

Just to add here a note I got from one of my glass friends, she thought that there had been typo in the original recipe, that 14 bananas just sounds way too much, she thinks that 4 sounds more about right. Yay me, accidentally might have gotten it right. :D


In a large mixing bowl, beat the pudding and cold milk for 2 minutes. Mix in condensed milk until smooth. Stir in vanilla and fold in whipped topping. Layer wafers, bananas and pudding mixture into the glass serving bowl. Chill until serving.

I either didn't put thick enough slices of bananas, or I didn't overlap them, or I put too much pudding mixture, either way, I am pretty sure it will be quite delicious, at least what I licked from the spatula was yummy! One more victory to my RV cookbook! I am pretty stoked and can't wait until tomorrow to see what my coworkers will say, I am no expert in any Southern foods, and they are, so this will be quite a test for me. The good thing is that they are probably not expecting much from my Southern cooking, but I hope they will be pleasantly surprised. Even though it is missing most of its bananas. I ain't telling if you won't.

Well, the good thing about not using as many bananas as the recipe called for is, I will now have enough bananas to make my banana bread, assuming that Lee will leave them alone. Wish me luck!

Another Week Goes By

There will be lots of things that are going to be very different, or things that we had to give up totally in order to transfer our lives to living in an RV. Today while I was sitting on the court yard with my husbands cousin, who came to harvest some of my basil, I noticed that there aren't going to be visiting friends and family members anymore. I am sure we will make lots of new friends, but the ones we have are all dear to us, and nothing can of course replace the family.

Morning sun on the courtyard
One thing to be missed for sure is going to be the pool, that will be totally gone from our lives. We had done lots of changes to our pool, including changing it from regular pool to saltwater, and adding a heater to it, so we can extend the season a bit, or continue it through the winter if we wanted to. Not having one seems like a loss, and for some reason I keep thinking that the next house we will own one day will not be as outdoorsy as ours. The Pessimist in me is proud from planting foolish thoughts into my head.

Lee grilling by the pool
Another thing that we will be missing is our courtyard. It is not anything special, just a closed in yard in the middle of the house, but it is nice place to sit down and relax, eat dinner and drink a beer or glass of wine. We live close to a busy street, but in our courtyard you can't hear it almost at all. It is somewhat safe from the hottest sun, and also from strong winds. It also is a place where the greyhounds love to race around the table, the outside turf is a great grip for their feet, since their speed can be very high while they run and turn around the table. We have a had few people just stare at them without blinking an eye, just not believing what they are seeing, the sight is funny when they tear around the courtyard. They also like to go there in the mornings to sun bathe. The courtyard is also perfect place to host parties. We have hosted plenty of crawfish boils and pool parties. We usually haul our kegerator and margarita machine there (two more things to be missed there), and entertain lots of people. And I bet even neighbors agree that it is nice that our courtyard is kinda closed area, the sound doesn't really travel out of there either. Fun memories there. We had big plans for this area, but only few of those got put in action. I am still feeling a bit sad that I will never see the house the way I imagined it to be.

Piece of courtyard
I will also miss being able to just let the dogs run out free, since we have all fenced in yard, well, we actually have two fenced in yards, we live on the cul de sac, and on the other side of the house is a huge area, that was supposed to become the place for dogs to run free, and for me to have a herb and vegetable garden, that never happened, we just got it fenced in totally (which was lots of fence). The plan was to make it into bigger entertainment area, adding gazebos or decks and trellises with some water features to keep the street noise less noticeable. And of course that garden with few fruit trees.

One of our crawfish boils on our bigger yard
And that brings me to another thing I will miss, which is herbs. I always have a bunch of herbs growing and most of the time the Texas summer is too hot, so the potted ones dry too much. I will miss my opportunity to use the oregano, cilantro and thyme before it is too late, but my basil has taken over pretty much the whole pool area. And I love the scent of it when you walk by, yum. It is so nice to go out to harvest the basil and make your own pesto, and I make pretty good one too, no, not really that proud of it, oh heck, yeah, I think I am. It kicks some serious butt! Maybe I will make some tomorrow and let my secrets out.

The end of the diving board is our cats Zubovs favorite hang out spot
Most of the things that I seem to have the attachment to are outside. And I think that is also why this all feels so silly, and at the same time exciting, cause I can have the biggest back yards once we start travelling, on the beach, or on the mountain, where ever we choose it to be. The dogs will be visiting lots of dog parks and will have to learn to walk on the leash several times a day. I have already downloaded an app onto my phone that will tell where the closest dog parks and vet clinics are, and other dog related things, like places to buy their food or get them groomed. Pretty handy if you ask me. 

Lots of fun memories at our house

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sabotage! I'm Sayin' It Is Sabotage!

I was prepared to try today a recipe for a banana bread I got from my coworker. The recipe is in her church cookbook, and I can tell you, the banana bread is amazing. And I do not like banana bread. I have been proven wrong once again.

 I bought some bananas last weekend, and was hoping they would be ripe enough for this delicious bread before I started my work week. Seems like this is the only occasion known in history when the fruits are not rotting fast enough. Well, yesterday before leaving to work I peeked at them and noticed that they are getting there, almost week later than I expected, but they should be ready by the next morning for my plans.

Stealth kitty did not find bananas in the bag
Lee had been working all evening and it was time for a short lunch, that's when I saw him devouring my rotten bananas. No, this can't be true! How am I gonna blog about my awesome banana bread now? I bought some more bananas on my way home from work, but was planning on using those for banana pudding that I would take to work for our Southern potluck, plus they weren't anywhere ripe enough for a banana bread. Disappointment! But I guess it is my fault, since the peaches I bought were not ripe enough to be eaten, and the bananas were just about to go bad... that's what Lee thought. Oh well, I guess the banana bread will be my post next weekend, and instead I got to whine today.

 On another note, there is plenty of stuff I need to do around the house today, but I am sworn to silence for now, since Lee is sleeping through the day, trying to prepare for his next graveyard shift. And this would be the perfect day to cut the hedges and trim the tree on the court yard, after few over 100F days, it is supposed to stay in mid 80's. The weather felt so nice in the morning, almost could have worn longer pants, but I wanted to soak in the coolness in the air. Be blessed Ms. Autumn, we have been waiting for you!

The part where we actually get closer to being full time RV'ers, is getting closer. But we didn't make any progress, after all, the days we work are very long, 13 to 14 hours, so it is almost impossible to do anything else.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Overwhelming to do list

So today after lunch we decided to sit down and start writing down the things that we need to do before we are able to sell the house, and think about hitting the road. It didn't take long to run out of the space on the paper. The list is really quite long, even before we go into fine details.  For now it is just in very generic form, like: landscaping, or painting. I am sure it will get much more intimidating once we start breaking it down to actual things that need to be done to get those certain steps done. Whimper, whine and moaning!

Louie, the love muffin

We made the decision to change our lives about two months ago. Not much has happened since then, I have gone through couple closets to clean them out of junk, but what is left there can't really be called treasure even by the most optimistic person ever. Some of it is very useful, and has been in use for sure, like Halloween and Christmas decorations, but if we were to live in an RV, I doubt that we would be hauling any of that around with us. My Christmas decoration will be snowflakes cut out of folded Kleenex... after careful decision making that I won't be needing it for my nose anymore.

My glass studio has been reorganized, and unnecessary stuff has been moved aside. Ok, stuff that I don't have room in there anymore has been moved out of the room to the hallway. Way smart, especially since the light bulb blew up in the hallway, and it is dark now, so we keep tripping on the stuff. I swear I will move it all to the garage into the bin that will go to good will.

We will start as soon as the weather cools down by organizing the garage, we have to divide everything to piles of garage sale material, and to be junked or donated pile. There is lots of good stuff, that we definitely would use ourselves, but it will not sell on any day... ever. So some of it just really needs to go out of the way as soon as possible.

We will also need to figure out how to store the stuff that we don't want to get rid of. There will be some furniture for sure that needs to stay, in case there is an occasion that we will want to settle down somewhere. For now it is going to be crucial that we just get rid of stuff that we don't need. Watch out elliptical, you will be listed first!

On a visit at NASA center in Houston

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On the other hand...

As soon as we thought that we had made the decision on what kind of  the rig we were looking for, we are now backing out of that decision. Lee started to get a little hesitant about the cost of the toy hauler, it being about $30k more expensive, it really needed to be worth the expense. I agree. And I started to think also that the living space definitely did shrink from the added garage, we really need all the living space we can have with 2 young greyhounds. If I wanted to take the glass studio with me, that would be on the expense of the other space. And I think I would love to enjoy living comfortably also outside the work.  So it looks like we are back to the square one.

This is most likely going to be a long and winding road of decisions that will be exciting and at times little consuming too. And once we make the decision and we have time to absorb it for a while, we will most likely find out that we need to look for something else. But it is all good, luckily we do have time, and nothing would be worse than spending our savings on an RV that is nothing we wanted it to be.

Changing our minds about the basics on this life changing event can be rather disappointing, since it does not feel like removing one of the options is taking you actually any closer to the big moment. I was a bit worried about the loft bed in the toy hauler, knowing our crazy dogs, they will sneak in there to sleep with us, and maybe not have so safe exit. I feel that it would be cruel to crate two almost hairless dogs in an RV, especially if they were allowed to bunk in with us before. And Nelli, the old fart, she has only ever been crated once, on the flight from Europe to here, so I don't think it would go too well with her either. We are not willing to add the expenses of our trip with any vet visits due to the layout of the RV, safety of our pups is important for us.

So we are going to look for a regular RV once again. We will be focusing on one with nice kitchen and enough space to store our clothes and what not. I might be able to find a way to work with the glass on a small scale, but right now it looks like I will be concentrating on other things. It is kinda disappointing to realize that the glass studio is not going to make it onto this adventure, at least not on the grand scale. But I am sure I will be glad that I can finally concentrate on other things. I always wanted, but there was never enough time left.

One of the things I need to concentrate on is exercising, and it shouldn't be difficult, since the dogs will need to go for long walks at least 3 times a day, especially if there isn't any dog parks for them to run in. But I am not really talking about just walking, I need to really exercise, and that might take some serious getting used to. Seems like last years have passed by and I have done absolutely nothing, this will have to change. I am sure Lee will be looking into something too, since he has been playing hockey for years now, and that has kept him in shape, but when there is no hockey, things can get a bit hairy on the fitness section. We need to find something that we can do together, and preferably include the dogs too. I bet the next door boon dockers will find a giggle or two when we bust out the exercise video and our 80's gym outfits in front of the RV. Unforgettable memories are must on a journey like this, but I bet they weren't expecting that. Heh!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Practicing the RV Living in the Kitchen

I am so confident that we need an RV with an oven. Lee is not quite convinced that I would actually use it, since we have now 2 ovens, and they don't get used as often as I thought when we bought the house. But if we lived in an RV, I think we need to actually cook more, and eat less out. Especially while boon docking, there really isn't always any place to go to eat, and if you plan on saving money on your journey, then you might as well live according to it. Now it isn't that I can't cook, I sure can, but I learned to cook everything from scratch, so it takes an eternity to do anything. My mission is to learn to take short cuts, so I have time to enjoy the life too.

Met these guys at the Canton swap meet. Bet they know about
Southern foods
Today I am going to make sopapilla cheesecake, something that I have done before, but decided to make it  again, since it is very tasty and so easy to make. I also decided that I have to learn to cook some of the Southern foods, main dishes and desserts, and I am hoping that the bananas that I bought the day before yesterday will be ripe enough before I have to go back to work next week, so I can make banana bread or banana pudding.

Bluebell ice cream was not on sale, so no vanilla
 ice cream for us! Just sopapilla cheesecake.
Sopapilla cheesecake is ready now... and smells good. I am also hooked up on Pinterest, that is where I got this recipe from, and I think it would be perfect for RV baking, fast and doesn't take much to throw it together.

Sopapilla cheesecake:

2 cans of butter Crescent rolls
2 packages (8 oz. each) of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
1tsp of vanilla sugar (if you are a Viking) or vanilla extract
2 to 3 tbs butter
some sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle on the top

Just line the bottom of a 9x13 pan with one can of rolls. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and spread the mixture on top of the dough. Add another can of rolls on top (if you have the ones with seams, pinch them shut). Melt butter and brush it on the top of the cake and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. The original recipe calls for 1/2 of butter, and 1/4 cup of sugar cinnamon mixture, but that is just diabetes waiting to happen, and tastes just as good without the ton of sweetness and grease. Now just shove it into the oven for 350F for about 20 to 30 minutes and enjoy warm or room temperature once done. And it really doesn't even need the ice cream, even though it would look better that way. Hah!

One thing that kind of worries me about the toy haulers kitchen is, that it does not have much room to store anything, but I am thinking that since we have the garage, I could store some items there. The only problem is that I seem to think that about everything, clothes, kitchen items, art supplies and of course the toys that the hauler is meant for. I would be happy with just some fishing gear and canoe, and maybe mountain bikes, but I have a feeling that it is too much stuff to be shoved into one toy hauler.

We are looking for a diesel rig for now, but we are worried that our budget is not big enough to afford one that we like. Often the diesel versions of these toy haulers are more difficult to find and they are pricier. The advantages of a diesel seem to be that they are longer lasting motors, and if taken care of, can last forever. They also are capable of carrying a heavier load, which would mean, that we could take more of our things with us. So much for pairing down. But to be honest, just moving from a 3000 square foot house into a 36 foot RV does require more slimming down than I know how to do. I guess I will find out how to...