The Campground Gourmet

Monday, December 31, 2018

The first recipe that we tested from the Campground Gourmet was the Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes.

The true test of a good cookbook is one that I use for both everyday meals and holiday celebrations.  My new cookbook favorite is The Campground Gourmet by Kate Dunbar.  If you think this cookbook is only for campers, think again.  This cookbook is for anyone and can be used both at home and the campground.

Rethinking the Pop Up Camper Makeover

Friday, December 28, 2018

This is the fabric that started it all for my big makeover.  The bottom two pieces came from Mood Fabrics in New York right after we decided we were going to buy a pop-up camper.

When we decided we wanted to buy a pop-up camper, I immediately created Pinterest Boards full of inspiration for me to get started.  I even bought some catchy, inspiration fabric at Mood Fabrics in New York.  I mean, that's all you need to renovate a camper - great ideas and snazzy fabrics.  Wrong.  I hate to be a buzz kill here, but its true.  If you are about to embark on a camper makeover, slow down and think this through before you start grabbing fabric swatches and paint buckets.  What did we learn from our pop up makeover?

December Links and Loves

Friday, December 21, 2018

Our house is feeling pretty merry right now!

We aren't doing any camping this month, but I'm getting things cleaned up and prepped for a new camping year.  This has given me more time at home with my family to catch up on podcasts, cooking and more.  December has been a banner month for this year.  Here are a few things that I am enjoying right now!

Public vs. Private Campgrounds and more - Our Year in Camping 2018

Monday, December 17, 2018

Buccaneer State Park in Bay St. Louis, MS

Its that time of the year that I'm reflecting on our annual camping trips.  We traveled across multiple states and learned so much along the way.  This year, we explored both private and public campgrounds.  What did we learn from our camping adventures?  And how will this year impact next year's journey?

Pop Up Camper Gear: 7 Essential Pieces I Can't Live Without

Friday, December 14, 2018

The right pop up camper gear will make all of the difference in your camping trips!

Now that we have had a couple of years with Peggy Sue, we have settled into a campsite routine when we are setting up and taking down.  We've gotten much better at this process, and we have also discovered what we cannot live without.  If you are new to pop up camping or if you are getting bogged down in the process, these things could make a difference for you!

3 Blue Ribbon Crock Pot Meals for Cold Weather Camping

Monday, December 10, 2018

"Food is the ingredient that binds us together."
Enjoying meals together at the campground is a treat.  Whether around a picnic table or the campfire, I cherish that time with our family and friends.  However, I don't want to spend all of my time cooking and preparing those meals.  A crock pot is a tool that simplifies meals.  Here are three meals that will keep your crew coming back for more and leave you with more time to enjoy exploring!

Oak Mountain State Park Campground Review

Friday, December 7, 2018

The leaves during late November are spectacular at Oak Mountain State Park.

Preserving parks and open spaces is a winner because it doesn't need to be explained to everyday Americans.
-Frank Luntz 
We camp mostly in state parks.  I love the rustic charm and beauty of state parks.  I think my parents instilled this love on our family vacations out west.  While my family did not camp, both of my parents loved to visit places that showcased God's beauty throughout our country.  My parents also took advantage of local gems like museums and parks in our native state.  We are carrying on this tradition with our family.  Oak Mountain State Park is a short drive from our home, offers a rustic charm and variety of amenities that appeal to our family.

Get Lit with an Electric Charcoal and Fire Starter

Monday, December 3, 2018

"Sometimes a fire built on a hill will bring interested people to your campfire"
-Shannon Adler

Camping, grilling, and campfires are all things that go together.  But, my husband and I have not always been great at lighting charcoal or fires.  I'm not gonna lie, it been a source of frustration for both of us both at home and at the campground.  None of us are born knowing how to build a great campfire or do any of these tasks.  And even if you participated in scouting, sometimes we lose or forget these skills as adults.  Please don't admonish me if you believe that you never lose your skills from scouting days.  We recently changed our fire and charcoal starting skills with an electric starter, and this one tool has made us both feel like a pro!

Camper Inspired Christmas

Friday, November 30, 2018

We have camper themed accents throughout our home.  This serving tray and dip bowl were a gift from a friend last year.

Now that the Thanksgiving turkey is cleared from the table and Black Friday is over, it is time to start decorating for Christmas.  I have been known to go a bit overboard with this task.  It is not intentional.  I just love this season so much!  I also love camping.  Why not combine the love of these two things into Christmas decor?

My Favorite Gifts for Campers at Christmas

Monday, November 26, 2018

What made my list of camping gear for the ultimate RV and campers gift guide?
Have you been eyeing new camping gear for next year?  My husband and I both have.  We have been mulling over potential big-ticket purchases for months.  I'm a deliberate shopper that researches, reads reviews and compares prices before buying new gear.  Today I'm sharing my favorite gifts for campers at Christmas.  I've divided these into big-ticket splurges, mid-range gifts, and stocking stuffers.  So, there is something for every price point.  What made my ultimate gift guide list?

Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwiches

Friday, November 23, 2018

Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwiches are a baked twist on the classic French Ham and Swiss Sandwich.

The Monte Cristo is most simply a ham and cheese sandwich with a side of jelly.  This sandwich became popular in the US as a toasted ham and cheese or French Sandwich.
Specifically, it is a variation of the French Croque Monsuier.  Disneyland helped to popularize the Monte Cristo by placing it on the menu of two restaurants within the park in 1966.  A Monte Cristo Breakfast sandwich is yet another variation of this retro treat!

5 Tips for Planning Your Best Camping Adventure

Monday, November 19, 2018

The South Yuba River where we swam while camping in California this summer.

There is no such thing as the perfect camping trip.  However, the decisions you make before you get to the campground will make a big difference in the success of your trip.  I'm a planner.  It is in my nature.  While some trips are better than others, camping is less daunting and much more fun with some experience under our belt.

Fall Links and Loves

Friday, November 16, 2018

My favorite new fall wreath!  I love making at least one new decorative piece each year!

Camping has become somewhat of an obsession.  I started out with the gear I thought that I needed, and what others recommended.  But, over time I've discovered what I actually need based on the trips we have taken.  I've been re-evaluating my camping gear and updating things throughout the fall.  It's been fun putting these little touches into action both at home and at the campground.  What little camping nuggets have I discovered?

Butter My Biscuit - 2 Ingredient Biscuits for Home or the Campground

Monday, November 12, 2018

2 ingredients can make the perfect biscuit every time.

I failed at making biscuits for years.  It was not until I was nearly 40 and listening to an episode of Splendid Table did I discover a fail-proof method for making homemade biscuits.  These are two ingredient biscuits.  Yes.  You read right.  This simple method makes it perfect for campground cooking.  These biscuits are light and tender.  They are reminiscent of what your grandmother used to make, and you can make them too!

Our First Outdoorsy Rental - Peggy Sue is Up for Rent

Friday, November 9, 2018

A welcoming space is what renters are looking for when you rent your RV with Outdoorsy.
Several months ago, I started thinking about renting out Peggy Sue.  I listed her on Outdoorsy this summer.  Some friends thought this was a great idea.  Others thought I was crazy to consider renting out the camper that I had worked months to renovate.  After lots of research, I crafted my first Outdoorsy listing.  So, what happened when we finally rented Peggy Sue for the first time?

Campground Etiquette - Be a Good Neighbor

Monday, November 5, 2018

Roll out the welcome mat and bring your manners to the campground!
We've had good luck with camping neighbors.  Along the way, we have camped with friends.  We have camped next to complete strangers that were happy to hang out and were very friendly.  And then there is that dreaded neighbor that you are hoping will hitch up and haul out before breakfast.  Which neighbor are you?

Visit the Historic Bridges of Blount County and More

Friday, November 2, 2018

Look out at Palisades Park at Blount County.

Northeast of Birmingham is Blount County, Alabama.  With a state park, a scenic county park, three historic covered bridges, and quaint communities, this a serene setting for a weekend getaway.  When planning our trip to Rickwood Caverns, I started researching the area and looking for local attractions and restaurants.  My research paid big dividends on our fall camping trip.  Here are some tips and ideas for making the most of your time here!

Campfire Apples

Monday, October 29, 2018

Campfire Apples are a delicious camping treat.

Baked apples in the fall are a real treat.  Anything cooked over a campfire seems magical in some way.  I love sitting next to a campfire after dinner while our dessert is cooking.  This dessert is reminiscent of apple pie without the pastry but every bit as delicious.  Make this dessert once, and you'll come back to this comfort food treat over and over.

Take Your Bikes with You To the Campground

Friday, October 26, 2018

Our dual hitch extended has been an excellent upgrade!   If you love to bike, you need to do this!
Long before our camper and our little man, I fell in love with biking.  We were on a beach trip, and I decided to rent a bike for the week.  Eventually, I bought my own bike.  This led to a bike rack and trips just for biking.  Once Peggy Sue came into the picture, I no longer had a place for our bike rack.  Until now.  We solved this problem with a dual hitch extension, and you can too!

Fine Living Shower Caddy for Your Pop Up Camper

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Fine Living Shower caddy has changed our shower game!

How do you tote your toiletries back and forth to the bathhouse at the campground?  Tote bags get wet.  Plastic caddies, buckets, and totes often spill and are difficult to store.  Space for storing these items is also a factor in a pop-up camper.  I wanted a solution that would keep everything together without spilling and getting wet, and I found one!  The Fine Living Shower Caddy is just what we needed to keep everything neat, clean and out of the way.  What makes this product different from other shower caddy's?

Rickwood Caverns State Park

Friday, October 19, 2018

The cave tour at Rickwood Caverns is worth the time and price!
Did you know that in the 1950's Boy Scout Troops in Alabama learned how to use dynamite to excavate Rickwood Caverns?  Yes.  Times have changed!  Eddie Rickles and Sonny Arwood were the troop leaders who combined their names to create the namesake Rickwood Caverns.  Since 1974, this state park has been offering fun outdoor experiences to outdoor enthusiasts.  It is a true gem, and we made lots of memories together over fall break.  What makes this park stand out?

Healthy Camping Meals with Sun Basket

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sun Basket is a little box of healthy, happiness delivered right to your door.
Planning, shopping for and packing meals is a huge part of camping prep.  This past week, I was able to breath easy knowing I had a Sun Basket box being delivered the day before our departure!.  Coming home from work to a box that was ready to open and pack into our cooler was amazing.  You may think that meal delivery kits are just for home use, but I think this service is perfect for anyone that enjoys fresh cooked meals.  We took our Sun Basket meals to the campground, and I think you should too!

New Decals for Peggy Sue - The Big Reveal

Friday, October 12, 2018

The new decals on Peggy Sue look really professional!

As much as I loved the retro look of Peggy Sue, her exterior really needed some TLC.  For over a year, I have carefully photographed her without the view of the ugly Eternabond down one side seam.  Her paint and decals were sad and lackluster.  The interior of our camper and exterior told two different stories.  Finally, both look pretty great!

Pop Up Camper DIY Guide - Peggy Sue Got Painted!

Monday, October 8, 2018

You know that feeling when you have been talking about, dreaming and planning something for a long time and the time has finally come?  Yep!  Me too!  I recently painted Peggy Sue.  I've been talking about this project for so long, and I didn't think it was ever going to happen.  But it did, and I'm going to tell you my easy peasy way to paint your camper too!

Five Fall Drinks to Warm You Up on a Cold Day

Monday, October 1, 2018

There is nothing more comforting than a warm drink on a cold day.  While the temperatures have not dropped in Mississippi, I'm still thinking about the cooler weather the heat and humidity have been brutal this past couple of weeks.  At this point, I'm trying to will fall into being.  Once the weather is cool, what are you drinking?

Repairing Wood Rot and Side Seams on a Pop Up Camper

Friday, September 28, 2018

As an RV owner, the fear of rotted wood is real.  Owning an older and camper, that fear has increased.  But even if you find that your camper has damage, these problems can be repaired.

Never Run Out of Propane Again

Monday, September 24, 2018

Having enough propane in your tanks while camping can be a guessing game.  But not anymore!  Earlier this summer, my cousin Derek, texted me about a propane tank sensor that he had purchased.  I was immediately intrigued.  We have used those little magnetic strips in the past with limited success.  Mopeka makes a propane tank sensor that works with an app on your phone.  There is also a double check monitor that works without a smartphone!  Want to know more?

2018 Fall Gear Guide

Friday, September 21, 2018

This year, I have a jam-packed list of gear for the first day of fall.  Even though the days will be getting cooler and shorter doesn't mean you can't get your camping fix on.  In the deep south, fall camping is second only to spring due to a break in temperatures.  What made my gear list for this fall?

Sew a Weekend Skirt in Less Than an Hour!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Pair your weekend skirt with a simple tee shirt or chambray top!

Quick sewing projects are instant gratification.  Projects that I can make with simple measurements and do not require a pattern are even better.  This project checks off all of the boxes for me to make this a success.  You could easily make this skirt in less than one hour and is a beginners dream!

Pillow Talk - Sew a Comfy Dog Bed in Less than 2 Hours!

Friday, September 14, 2018

"What do dogs do on their day off?  Can't lie around - that's their job."  - George Carlin
Does your dog have the right tools for his/her job?  A comfy bed is a must for any furry friend.  Our dog Bunnie has 3 beds at home that she rotates between.  She does a great job at holding each of them down.  She now has a fourth bed for our camping adventures!  You can make one too with a yard of fabric and less than 2 hours.

Fall Walking Jacket for Your Favorite Pooch

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bunnie looks cute in her new walking jacket!

Our fancy glamping dog, Bunnie, is definitely a pampered pooch.  I've been on a sewing binge lately, and Bunnie has gained a few new items for her camping stash.  First, I made her a little camping jacket for taking walks and the crisp days ahead.  This is a 45-minute project that anyone can complete.  It is a beginner level project that anyone can appreciate.

Packing Your Pop Up Camper

Friday, September 7, 2018

When we first began talking about buying a pop-up camper, our friend Christy reminded me of two things.  First, camping is work.  Second, packing a pop up is like fitting a puzzle together to make all the pieces fit inside.  She was right on both accounts.  So how does all of that stuff fit into our pop up?  I was asked this question by a reader several months ago.  Today I'm sharing how all of our pieces, big and small, fit together.

Pool Noodle Gutter for AC Condensation

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

If you have been camping and find yourself battling AC condensation, this is for you!  That water running down the side of your canvas from your AC can be annoying and messy.  But you can remedy this problem with pool noodles.  Yes.  You read right.

Removing Your Old RV Decals

Monday, September 3, 2018

A heat gun is necessary for removing old decals.

Nate Berkus said, "Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love."  I think the same can be said for a person's camper.  An RV becomes a reflection about how we like to spend our time in the outdoors and our own personal style as well.  From minimalistic to totally glammed up, I see campers of every variety at the campground.  The first thing that you see of anyone's home or RV is the exterior, and Peggy Sue is getting a facelift starting with the removal of her old decals.

Update Your Door for Less than $10

Friday, August 31, 2018

Adding some self-adhesive paper onto my pop up camper door gave a whole new look to my interior.

I've had a complicated relationship with my pop up camper door.  Peggy Sue's door was bandaged up with medical tape when we purchased her.  We finally got the door repaired, but the job was more functional than attractive.  This past weekend, I gave my door a little facelift for less than $10!

Annual RV Maintenance for Your Pop Up Camper

Monday, August 27, 2018

It's time for much-needed fall maintenance with Peggy Sue!

"There's birth, there's death and in between there is maintenance."  I don't think Tom Robbins was describing an RV, but the quote could apply.  Between buying and selling your RV, maintenance is going to be part of the process.  The question is what should you be doing and when?

Slow Down and Enjoy the Now...Pumpkin Spice Latte Can Wait!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Are you waiting for your Pumpkin Spice Latte fix?

Did you know that Pumpkin Spice Latte will return to Starbucks stores on August 28th?  These cinnamon infused drinks will hit stores a full 25 days before fall actually begins allowing you to get your pumpkin fix on this summer and enjoy fall even longer!  Why are we in such a hurry for fall begin and summer to end?  Every year, more and more people are rushing to put up their Christmas trees before the Thanksgiving turkey is carved.  It seems like the rush to get to the next holiday extinguishes the joy of the season we could be celebrating.  I'm left with a feeling of half-hearted celebrations.  I don't want to rush through life at a half-hearted pace.

More Travel? Need Money? Saving Tips to Get You On the Road

Monday, August 20, 2018

Are you dreaming of a dream destination or a new RV but it is out of budget?  Get creative and make some extra cash using what you already have on hand!

"We make money the old-fashioned way.  We earn it."  I can still hear that Smith Barney commercial in my head from the late 1970's.  I just really dated myself there.  Travel requires money.  And at the end of the month when the bills are paid, there isn't always a lot of disposable cash lying about.  So, can you earn some cash without finding a second job?  Look around and use what you have.  Here are three tips to help fund your travel budget while using the resources you may already have at home!

Create a Camper Cleaning Kit

Friday, August 17, 2018

Keep your camper clean with the right products designed specifically for an RV.

Is your camper clean enough to be healthy but dirty enough to be happy?  A clean camper can seem like an oxymoron.  The revolving door of keeping a camper clean never ends.  I read a post online this week where one camper said she sweeps like "100 times a day".  That is me!  Half of the battle is having the right tools for the task.  My motto in life is work smarter, not harder.  Apply this motto to how you tackle your RV and you will not only be a happy camper, but you will be a clean camper.

6 Favorite Camping Meals

Monday, August 13, 2018

We love our camping table and the meals we share together with family and friends!

"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food."  Legendary chef, Paul Prudhomme, knew that good food can stand alone.  I do too!  With the right ingredients and cooking techniques, you can go from ordinary camp cook to campsite chef.  If you are looking to grace your finest plastic cutlery in style, this post is for you!

Summer Health and Fitness Update

Friday, August 10, 2018

Keep those walking shoes handy because you never know when an opportunity to get active may strike!
I stayed off the scales this summer.  When I stepped back on, I lost 5 pounds!  No, my separation from the scale didn't cause me to lose those pounds.  I did, however, focus on what counted - making better choices and staying active.  My daily focus were key components in seeing actual movement in the scale.  How can a break up with your scale help you make up with your own diet and fitness goals?

Happy Camper? 6 Tips to Make This Phrase a Reality

Monday, August 6, 2018

View at Palisades State Park in Alabama.
Our family has been traveling a lot together in July.  We had plenty of time to discuss our camping game last month.  Since this is a team effort, collaboration is important.  We have learned a lot from each other on this journey.  You may see the "happy camper" gear everywhere you look but are you really a happy camper?  Here are 6 tips to make this phrase a reality!

3 Things to Do in San Francisco on an Afternoon Excursion

Monday, July 30, 2018

Iconic San Francisco streets and architecture are two things I love the most!

San Francisco is what I describe as a little, big city.  While somewhat ironic, it's true.  San Francisco is well laid out and easy to navigate.  However, there is a laundry list of tourist traps that could derail your trip and be a huge time suck.  If you are looking for a simple and uncomplicated afternoon adventure, here are my top three recommendations if you are short on time and pack a big punch!

Smokin' and Grillin' with the Akorn Kamado Style Grill

Friday, July 27, 2018

Smoking a rack of ribs for Sunday dinner.
I've been planning to write a review of our Akorn grill for a year now.  Finally, I'm getting around to that task.  However, the timing of this post is just right. As Labor Day approaches, grill prices will drop to a seasonal low as stores make room for fall and winter items - most specifically Christmas.  (Don't get me started!)  But, if you are thinking about a new grill, this post is for you!  And, if you are curious about the hype with these charcoal egg-shaped grills, keep reading.

Explore Nevada City, California

Monday, July 23, 2018

Downtown Nevada City, California

I have a small obsession with Nevada City California that has lasted for nearly 20 years.  When I was first married, our friend Chris managed the law library in Placer County, California.  During those years, we would visit Chris in the spring months and explore the surrounding areas.  I can still remember the first time that we took an afternoon excursion to Nevada City for Vietnamese Coffee.  It is still one of my favorite places in California.

Glamping Tents and More at Inn Town Campground

Friday, July 20, 2018

Inn Town Campground features large safari-style glamping tents for campers to reserve.

There are two types of people in this world - those who like to camp and those who don't!  We just finished a trip that would appeal to both groups.  This summer, we camped in Northern California without our camper, Peggy Sue, or any of our gear.  Inn Town Campground located in Nevada City, California offers camping experiences for anyone.  The tranquil facilities include towering pine trees, exceptionally maintained facilities, and many upscale amenities.

How to Find RV Parts for Your Repairs

Friday, July 13, 2018

Our 2001 Jayco Qwest, Peggy Sue, has needed quite a bit of TLC since we bought her 2 years ago!

If the thought of buying an older pop-up or camper scares you, it shouldn't.  We jumped in blindfolded and feet first.  We have managed not to drown or kill each other.  In my books, mission accomplished!  So, how do I go about tracking down random RV parts?  I've written about this topic before.  Today I'm sharing more tips and retailers to help you begin treading these murky waters.

Misfit Ray Fitness Tracker Review

Monday, July 9, 2018

Misfit Ray with the sports band option.

I recently bought a new activity band.  And while this isn't technically camping gear, it is active lifestyle gear.  Most campers tend to fall into this category.  If you are active or are trying to become more active, this might be a good item for you.

Re-purpose Those Kitchen Gadgets for Camping Meals

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker is perfect for making sandwhiches on the road!

What happens to that little graveyard of kitchen gadgets that are forgotten but you haven't gotten rid of yet?  Before you tag these things for a yard sale or give them to a local thrift shop, take a second look at what you have.  You may have some things at home that would be perfect for your RV.

Top 10 Pieces of Camping Gear

Monday, July 2, 2018

I have lists for overall camping gear, one for our camp kitchen and others for seasonal gear.  But, out of all of these things, what are the pieces of gear that we use over and over and are the most practical?  When looking for new gear to start camping or to update your existing stash, sometimes the options are overwhelming.  Here are my top 10 pieces of camping gear.

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