This is a bit of a catch up blog, so forgive me if it’s a bit all over the place. It’s been a busy few weeks and I have some things that I didn’t get the chance to write about and I want to make sure I don’t forget about them. All this sunshine can make you forget things! (For our friends up north: sun·shine:ˈsənˌSHīn/: direct sunlight unbroken by cloud, especially over a comparatively large area, ie; “we walked in the warm sunshine” – Lee)
First, I have to take a moment and say how happy I am that we sold the house and got out before this winter. If I picture myself sitting in the house waiting for it to sell, I get the shudders. Seriously, thank God we took what was offered and sold. They have had four named storms in the northeast in two weeks. They only name storms when the snow comes in multiple feet. Twice I have tried to travel for work and the flights have been cancelled. We dealt with that snow for 13 years, but this appears to be a whole new level and every time I see the weather, or look at pictures posted by my northern Facebook friends it reinforces the decision we made. It was not lost on me that instead of dealing with the piles of snow last weekend I was sitting in a kayak taking bird pictures. I hope I never take these moments for granted.
Cori asked me a question this week and it’s been rattling around in my head so I thought I would answer it here. She said “What will your blog theme be once you run out of firsts and aren’t newbies anymore.?” It was a good question. I think my answer for now is that if I am doing this right I will have enough firsts to last me awhile. There are so many places I want to see and experiences to try, that I will consider this a success if we are out there doing them. That being said, seconds of a really good thing aren’t bad either. As far as being a newbie, I don’t know at what point I will stop thinking of myself as one. Part of that is we had no real camping experience before trying this life, so many basic camping things that others take for granted we are totally clueless about. Add onto that full timing, which no one can truly prepare for, and that is a whole lot of new. At some point I suppose I will wake up and take the newbie off my tagline, but I think that moment will come when it comes. It will be interesting to see how long it takes .
On a completely different note, I’ve tried out all of the local grocery stores (Publix, Winn Dixie etc) and have settled on Walmart Neighborhood Market. Walmart prices are tough to beat, but I find the super centers to be incredibly chaotic and shopping there was something to be endured. So I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere in the Walmart Neighborhood Market. They only carry food and limited non food items (think of IGA’s from our childhood), and are small and very friendly. Because they are less crowded the pace is slower and you can really take your time, and the prices seem to be exactly the same as the bigger super centers. I’m a big fan…and this is coming from someone who went out of her way to avoid Walmart for many years. If you haven’t been to one yet, you should definitely check it out. I went this week and my grocery bill was only $119…can’t beat that. Oh and I got the best advice from my friend Craig. He said to spend the extra dollar on organic milk because it is actually more cost-effective than buying regular milk and throwing part of it away because it expires before you can use it. He’s absolutely right. The organic milk lasts much longer and as an added benefit tastes delicious!!
I also wanted to mention that since I have started walking more, I have been having some problems with my feet and back. I got a pretty nasty callous next to my little toe on my right foot and my back has been killing me. I thought I was just out of shape, but finally I broke down and saw a podiatrist for the first time in my life. Dr. Levy in Largo was great. He removed my callous, checked my walk, and made some suggestions for new shoes. I loved his no nonsense approach and his staff was extremely courteous. It was by far the most pleasant medical experience I have had since I came on the road. After the podiatrist, I went to Foot Solutions (which is a national chain) and they spent over an hour measuring my foot, checking my walk, and trying on various shoes with me. It turns out my foot has gotten larger (I went from a 7/12 W to a 8D) which was causing a lot of my callous problems. That coupled with a high arch was making me walk funny to compensate, hence the back pain. Yes, I spent $129 on a pair of Brooks shoes (which Lee was not so thrilled about), but really can you put a price on walking without pain??? I think not!
What else? Well, I got my quotes for insurance from a couple different places and decided on going with Miller RV Insurance. When you’re living full-time in your RV you need to get different insurance because most standard policies will not cover you if you’re living in the RV. Miller Insurance specializes in Full Timers and the agent I talked to, Stevia, (not a misspell) was absolutely fantastic. Our policy is underwritten by Nationwide insurance (the actual policy is offered by Allied Insurance) which gives me a good feeling especially since Nationwide is a reputable company and also based in my hometown of Columbus. One thing I want to mention here is the basic policy only came with $2K in personal property insurance. After significant discussion we ended up getting $30K in personal property. Lee felt very strongly that if something catastrophic did happen we would be able to replace everything. So think about that when signing up…computers, Ipads, phones etc alone are way more than $2K. The premiums went up a bit but it wasn’t too terribly crazy.
Finally, we are receiving mail at the new “home” address and we have the proof required to establish residency. Now we need to find the time to go to the DMV and get everything changed. With Lee’s school schedule it’s not that easy, so we may need to go once school is done. The main point I want to make here is it was WAAAY more time-consuming than I originally thought, both in hours spent on the task and the time delay to get things mailed to prove residency. If you’re planning on popping in and out of an area to establish residency you really need to do your homework and get everything done in advance. Luckily, we do have plenty of time, but it’s still been a pretty stressful process.
So enough of all the catch-up, now I can tell you about our week!! Linda and Howard of RV-Dreams were kind enough to allow us to crash their boon docking rally on Valentines day so we met up with Jo and Ben and all got there around 10 am. It was so fun having such a large group of the Class of 2014 together in one place. One of the coolest things was getting to meet Jim and Barb in person. We felt like we knew Jim and Barb because Deb and Steve had hung out with them and they knew all about us as well. They have a puggle Daisy May who is such a cutie patooty and a really great blog if you want to check it out. (As an added bonus, Daisy is a very, very quiet dog. Couldn’t get a word out of her. – Lee)
The RV-Dreams Boondocker Rally
We had a wonderful time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I have taken Monday and Tuesday off to spend more time with folks before they leave, and Kelly and Bill are staying in our campground all next week…hooray!!! So because I have to stop this entry at some point, I will pause here, but there is definitely more to come!
Neither of these recipes is what I could consider easy but they are so good for me it’s worth the extra effort. Plus both heat up well the next day
Chicken Pot Pie in Phyllo
- 8 TBL (1 stick) butter divided
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
- 2 TBL flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 TBL parsley
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 12 phyllo sheets (makes two large servings)
- Prepare all your ingredients in advance as several of the steps happen quickly
- In a large skillet melt 4 TBL butter over medium heat
- Add celery, onion, and carrot and cook until onion is tender approximately 2 minutes
- Stir in flour and cook 1 minute without browning
- Gradually whisk in broth
- Cook stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and smooth
- Add chicken, salt, nutmeg, and parsley and stir
- Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Melt remaining butter
- Stack 6 phyllo sheets per packet, brushing each sheet with butter as stacked
- Place half chicken mixture on each stack
- Make packet by folding ends in
- Place on lightly buttered cooking sheet seam sides down
- Cook 30 minutes until golden brown
Daddy’s Special Chicken
This is Lee’s special recipe and the girls always called it Daddy’s Special Chicken. It takes awhile but so yummy. I asked him to write down his recipe hence the extra steps 🙂
- Chicken breasts or thighs (boneless/skinless)
- Lemon Juice
- Garlic salt and pepper
- Cut the chicken into small portions, about 3″ square
- Pound it as thin as you can get it. The thinner the better. It helps to pound them between sheets of plastic wrap.
- In a frying pan, melt butter and get the pan as hot as you can without the butter smoking
- Dredge damp chicken in flour
- Fry the chicken for only as long as it takes to crisp up each side. Sprinkle it with Garlic salt, pepper, lemon juice on each side
- Turn only once
- Once they’re cooked, keep them warm in the oven
- Eat as many as you can before other people can get any!
- Make someone else clean up the mess.
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