Five Favorite Finds

Five Favorite Finds

Happy Sunday everyone! It has been a busy yet productive week around the RV this past week. First off, I’ve been in major cleaning mode and the RV is smelling fresher than ever. It started with cleaning out my closet and then diving into cabinets and drawers. It’s amazing how much stuff two people living in less than 300 square feet can accumulate.

Mid-week I ended up doing seven loads of laundry. Only two loads were filled with the everyday clothes that we wore that week, the rest of the loads were bedding, towels, blankets, and jackets. I didn’t start out the day with the intention to do all that laundry, but when I checked the laundry room here at the RV park at 7:00 in the morning and found the place empty, well let’s just say, I took over the machines.

It felt good to get caught up on that part of my to-do list, and what was even better was getting all that laundry done in two hours while chit-chatting with my good friend Faye. She and I could not have timed/planned our laundry day any better. Lucky for her, I didn’t take over all the machines and she was able to do a few loads herself. Love those serendipitous encounters!

a bird on a wire fence

Okay, with some of the chores out of the way, let’s get back to blogging. I’d like to start a new feature here on the blog, and I’d like to know what you think. Once a month, I plan on sharing some of my favorite things. Thanks to other bloggers sharing their favorites, I’ve discovered interesting products, delicious recipes, entertaining books, TV shows, and even places I’d like to visit.

Perhaps this is a topic some of you would like to join in on and share your favorites on your blog. This could be a blog subject similar to the photo challenges that allow us to engage and share. So once a month, we can all post about a favorite find, a thing, a moment, a tasty restaurant, a great book, or any other subject that you are enjoying and think others might also find interesting. What do you think? I’d really love your input.

Without further adieu, let’s jump into my five favorite finds for the month of January.

1. Hangers

I know, I know, how boring are closet hangers? Well, let me tell you, these thin hangers have been a lifesaver. Ok, well maybe not a lifesaver, but a space saver. Just making the switch from those round plastic hangers to these thin guys has eliminated my morning battle of dealing with a jam-packed closet. By simply switching the kind of hangers I was using, I gained about six to eight inches of hanging space which is huge in an RV closet.

While cleaning and reorganizing my closet, these flat plastic clothes hangers allowed me to hold onto a few more clothing items … which may or may not have been a good idea. Although I must say, I’m proud of myself and did end up parting with a pile of T-shirts. Yep, a pile! This gal has a serious T-shirt addiction that I’m working on rectifying in the new year. 2020 is my year not to succumb to purchasing any more of those location tourist T’s. It helps that we won’t be visiting too many new places this year.

I happen to purchase the hangers at Walmart and bought some with the rubber grip while others are just plain. The rubber grips are great for shirts that have a wide neck or for items that require a little more hold. I like the plain ones for my everyday T’s. You can also get the thin hangers covered in a velvet kind of finish, but I’m not a fan of those. They seem like they could be dust collectors plus I’m just not a fan of the way they feel.

(By the way, some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The price remains the same. Should you use a link, I thank you and appreciate your support. ❤)

2. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I spent my weekend alone at my daughter’s apartment. No, Al and I did not have a fight … besides, he can’t get rid of me that easily. I was doggie sitting. My daughter agreed to watch her best friend’s two chihuahua’s for the holiday weekend but was later offered an excellent money-making dog/house sit gig. So she was faced with a scheduling dilemma. That’s when I stepped in and offered to watch her friend’s dogs at my daughter’s place. Trust me, there was a little bartering involved. So it wasn’t totally out of the goodness of my heart.

Along with the bartering were a few perks while residing at my daughter’s apartment. Aaahhh, a weekend to myself with a ‘normal‘ toilet, a 40-gallon water heater instead of the 6-gallon in the RV which allowed me to take long hot showers without turning off the water while sudsing up (luxuries nonRVers take for granted), and then there was every streaming service available with unlimited internet. Yeah, I was living in tall cotton!

It was during this dog sitting gig that I discovered the Amazon Prime series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I ended up binge-watching season 1 and 2 and now that season 3 is out, I’m trying to convince my daughter that I need to come over to her place and spend the weekend. So far, no luck! BUT I may have another option up my sleeve soon. Seriously, this show is super entertaining.

3. RV Water Filter

Safe clean drinking water is a subject that affects all RVers and some sort of water filter should always be used. With that said, the size and type of RV that you have will have a direct impact on what kind of filtration system you choose. Most RVers start off with a carbon type of filter; ease and size are usually the number one reasons. Large RVs may have a more complex filtration system installed, but most of us struggle with space making a carbon inline water filter the best option.

Drinking water

We were recently gifted a CLEAR2O® RV inline water filter and have been super happy with its performance. The tap water in Phoenix usually has visible particles floating around in it. So when I filled up a glass with tap water directly from my RV kitchen faucet and saw how clear it was, I was impressed.

I’ll admit, I was unfamiliar with the CLEAR2O® product line so I ended up doing a little research namely to see what the differences are between this filter and the blue Camco filter that so many RVers seem to use.

So what are the differences?

  1. Camco uses Granular Activated Carbon for filtration. The CLEAR2O® CRV2006 RV filter uses solid-block carbon for filtration which is said to be a much better filtration medium due to its density.
  2. The CLEAR2O® filters down to the 1-micron level. Camco has several RV filters and only one filters down to 5 microns.
  3. Because of its low-micron filtration level, CLEAR2O® CRV2006 is particularly effective against chlorine, sediment, heavy metals, lead, mercury, chemicals, and pesticides.

clear2O Dirtguard RV filterIn our personal opinion, we think this filter does a better job than the Camco carbon filter. If we change our minds in the future, I’ll be sure and let you know, but so far, so good. And since we’re still in the first month of use, I’m unable to know for sure how long it’ll last, but I’m guessing at least six months or more.

The company is also coming out with a new product called DirtGUARD which will be the first RV inline prefilter that snaps on to any existing RV carbon inline filter (including Camcos), essentially turning it into a dual-stage system. This sounds promising and a product that would be beneficial to a lot of RVers especially for those of us that struggle with extra storage space.

4. Books

Ok, it’s January and a lot of people made a resolution to lose weight, me included. I first came across The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease at Costco which then lead me to discover the author’s first book; How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. With my curiosity piqued, I headed off to my local library and checked out these two books.

                     

I’m always fascinated by the science behind the power of food and truly believe, we are what we eat. Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that we consume, the better our skin will look, and the better our body will be able to ward off disease.

I’m still working my way through these books and although the focus is on a plant-based diet, I assure you I won’t be giving up my carnivore status anytime soon. I’m one of those people who believe in all things in moderation. Will I go a day or two without consuming meat? Sure, but I believe going strictly meatless can have its negative effects especially if one isn’t consuming enough proteins found from plant-based foods. That’s my two cents, anyway!

In future posts, I plan on sharing how Al and I eat these days and the diets we’ve followed in the past. The RV mobile lifestyle can be challenging when it comes to diet, exercise, and focusing on healthy habits, but we’ve found a system that works for us… well kind of, we’re still a work in progress!

a female hiking across a creek in Arizona

5. Hiking

One of the activities that fall into that healthy category is hiking. Hiking is my favorite form of exercise and I’m loving being back on the trails this winter. Before we embarked on our full-time RV adventure, I rarely hiked. Sure, I walked plenty but mostly city stuff or the occasional vacation trail exploration that I did in tennies. I didn’t own a pair of hiking shoes until seven years ago. After all, you’re talking to someone who used to live in 3-inch heels when she was younger, and the thought of wearing a pair of ugly hiking shoes would never have crossed my mind.

My how times have changed! These days, I live in my Merrells and don’t even own a pair of high heels anymore, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s nothing like strolling in natural ingesting the sights, sounds, and smells. It makes me feel alive, it’s my church, my escape, and one of my favorite things to do.

I’m lucky that we spend our winters in Phoenix, Arizona. The valley has one of the best trail systems around offering everything from flat easy hikes to challenging uphill climbs and everything in-between. Phoenix has more land designated for parks and preserves than any other major city in the country. While out on these trails, it’s hard to believe you’re in a metropolitan area. The topography and views vary such that boredom is unlikely to be a factor, and of course, the winter weather in Phoenix is perfect for hiking as well as other outdoor activities.

So there you have it, my five favorite finds in January. Please share some of your favorites!

barrel cactus

 

The Fun Side of Pumpkins

I’m not a huge fan of Halloween in general and never have been. The whole scary costume thing and gory decorations isn’t something I embrace. Scary movies? Not me!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Carefree Arizona

My tastes fall along the lines of cute and funny. I enjoy seeing little kids dressed up as princesses or cartoon characters. Keeping things light and funny is much more to my liking. Throw in some fall colors, the smell of apple cider and cinnamon, pumpkin carvings and there ya have it … I’m all in … fall fun!

In my last post, I already shared photos from my visit to an engaging pumpkin exhibit, but since it’s Halloween, I felt compelled to share even more images from the pumpkin event.

Pumpkin Carvings

Visiting the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden in Carefree, Arizona, was my kind of autumn entertainment. These pumpkin displays are a delight for people of all ages, but especially for those of us on the mature side. To compliment the amusing display is an equally humorous newspaper.

Check out the Stem Enhancement Clinic

And even a coupon for stem enhancement in the newspaper …. This is too funny!

(To enlarge photos in a gallery, click on any photo. To return to the post, click on the x at the top. To read the newspaper articles, you may have to zoom in via your internet settings. Sorry, I tried my best scanning the newspaper.)

The jail exhibit was comedic. While the sheriff bends over to pick up money on the ground, a mouse on a stick is lowered down to grab the jail keys from the sheriffs hip. Someone is trying to escape from jail with the help of his buddies!

I had the opportunity to visit the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden on three different occasions, and during each visit, I noticed more pumpkins carved and a few changes here and there in the scenes. Talk about creative, imaginative, and talented!

I really appreciate all the hard work that goes into putting on such an entertaining exhibit. The show ran from October 19-28 and every evening the pumpkins are collected by the local fire department and floated in the fountain pool … 1. to keep the carved pumpkins hydrated and 2. to keep them out of reach of javelinas.

Near the end of the exhibit, rumor has it, the night guard fell asleep in his truck and javelinas started noshing on the 693 pound pumpkin that the sculptors had yet to complete carving.

You can see where the javelinas started eating this 693 pound winning size pumpkin, bottom left.

Every morning, the pumpkins are returned to their display/scene. The sculpted ones are sprayed with water periodically throughout the day to help keep them from dehydrating, but many do not last for the entire show. Thus, new pumpkins are carved regularly. Yep, it takes a lot of talented people to provide us with this free entertainment.

And a few more photos just for fun …

Happy Halloween everyone …. hope you enjoy YOUR kind of day!

(affiliate links)
Too Many PumpkinsLEGO Seasonal Set Thanksgiving Feast

Harmonic enlightenment, and then some

I glanced down at the open book of Hymns on my lap and pondered the fact that I’m clueless when it comes to music.  Oh, I quite enjoy listening to it, but I’m oblivious when it comes to the understanding of notes, composition, tune, rhythm, etc.

It wasn’t my intention to attend church services that morning.  I’m not normally a church goer, but I do occasionally get drawn in by architecture and every now and then the need for a little spiritual enlightenment.  It was a lovely morning, and I was out and about visiting a local historical landmark.  The Lamar, Texas, cemetery has gravestones dating back to the Civil War and all the local tourist brochures listed this as a site to visit.

So, there I was on a Sunday morning strolling through a cemetery when I realized the neighboring little Catholic Church’s’ doors were open.  My curiosity was such, that I found myself entering the Stella Maris Chapel and taking a seat in the second to the last row of pews.  I was a little music_clipart_notesearly and only the fifth person to arrive.  I glanced around taking in my surroundings and noting the Hymn numbers posted.  I turned to the appropriate page to glance at the first song to be sung.  I already knew I wouldn’t be singing out loud…..

My first real exposure to the education of music was somewhere around the seventh grade. It was a semester long, daily one-hour class exposing students to all aspects of music including singing.  This sounded like a fun class to me, especially since I could sing really well…. or so I thought.  After all, what teenager doesn’t like singing along with their favorite artist?

The first day of this new class, the teacher wanted to get to know the students and their abilities.  She had the left half of the class sing the first verse of a song and then she had the right half sing it.  She’d select different students to sing a line while the rest of us remained silent.   Recommendations were made and it was obvious these first few students that had attracted her attention were talented singers.

this little gal sings beautifully
this little gal sings beautifully

This process continued and when the teacher finally called my name, I proudly stood erect thinking she’d want me to sing by myself.  Instead, I was told to sing a little softer, which I did, but apparently not soft enough.  She stopped our group two more times to tell me to sing a little softer.  Once my volume was down to lip-synching level and not one vocal cord in my throat vibrated, I was given a big thumbs up… “That’s perfect, Ingrid.  Keep singing at that volume for the rest of class”.

gumby and poky“Seriously”, I thought?  “What did she know?”  I couldn’t wait to get home and sing my heart out into my little cassette player-recorder, proving that the music teacher didn’t know what she was talking about.  And sing I did, and in my head I sounded fantastic!

With a smile on my face and child-like exuberance, I rewound the cassette and hit play to hear my wonderful rendition of I Think I Love You.   Come on, who didn’t want to be Susan Day back then?  I even played an air piano while singing and had taken an iron to my unfashionable curly hair an hour earlier.

Alone in my room, I listened to the singer on the cassette player.  I didn’t recognize the voice, yet I knew it was mine.  I continued listening figuring it had to get better, because it couldn’t possibly get any worse.  Or could it?  My faced flushed with embarrassment at the realization I couldn’t sing…. or rather I shouldn’t sing.

Oh well, I never had any aspirations to be a musical performer, thus I focused on being the best lip singer in class.  Ever since discovering my inability to carry a tune, I rarely sing.  Even today when we’ve joined friends for karaoke, I won’t sing, but I will gladly get on stage to be a background dancer for a Robert Palmer song!

Vultures can't sing, but they do hiss
Vultures can’t sing, but they do hiss

Back to church….. After a little fire and brimstone which included why parishioners should sing out loud (egad, did the priest imply me?) services were over and I exited the church.  I immediately noticed a turkey vulture in a tree.  I first became intrigued with these unique birds a couple of years ago during a visit to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  My fascination lead to a series of Google searches to learn about them.  Did you know, vultures lack a syrinx and are nearly silent?  Their vocalizations are limited to grunts and hisses; no harmonic singing from these birds.

We glance at each other knowing we share a common bond - we can't sing!
We glanced at each other knowing we share a common bond – we can’t sing!

As I approached the tree located between the church and the cemetery, Vivian Vulture hissed at me.  I hissed back, “Come on Viv…. we’re kindred spirits…. neither one of us can sing”.vulture

Vultures serve an important role in the circle of life.  Some may say they’re ugly.  I find them beautiful.  I shared my unusual infatuation with these birds before along with some intriguing facts.  If you’re interested in reading a few more tidbits about vultures and seeing more photos, you can read my post here.

I may not have felt any spiritual enlightenment from the church sermon, but I did experience a clarity that morning with my encounter with Vivian.  I was reminded that we are all created with a distinct purpose and rare beauty; created with special talents or gifts; created with uniqueness that should be embraced.  How boring would it be if we were all able to sing like Adele?  Or worse, what if we all sang like Cameron Diaz in “My Best Friends Wedding”?  Oh yikes, I do 😉

Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution – Deepak Chopra

vulture