Christmas Crafts and Games for an RV Road Trip

pirate johnny/Flickr Creative Commons

While traveling, kids, though excited, are often antsy because they want to arrive at their destination now. To keep them from beating each other up and to keep your sanity, give them something to do while you are on the road. Be sure you have everything you need before you leave, including any accessories you may need to pick up at PleasureLand RV.

Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes

Have the kids twist red and white pipe cleaners together to make candy cane decorations. To make the craft last a while, make a game of it. Whoever sees a yellow car must yell “Yellow car!” That person can make a candy cane. Though taxis and school busses usually don’t count, for this game, you can let them count.

Cardboard Gingerbread People

Before you leave, make gingerbread people cutouts from cardboard. Cut out decorations and faces for them from construction paper. Get each child a glue stick – they are less messy than regular glue and won’t spill – and let the kids make gingerbread ornaments on the trip. When they are done, you can string them together to make a garland to decorate the RV.

Christmas Memory Game

This is a typical memory game, but you can make it more fun by providing a pattern for Christmas trees. Instruct the children to trace the pattern on green construction paper, and then cut out the trees. Glue a button on one side of each tree. Then, on the other side, put the memory clues. You can use the alphabet if your kids are just learning that. You can match a math problem with an answer. Or you can match a color word with the actual color. Adapt this game to whatever the kids are learning.

It’s probably a good idea to make the trees and put the text on them before the trip – this would be something that will get the kids excited for a trip and excited to play a new game.

Stop by PleasureLand RV

Stop by PleasureLand RV to pick up any necessities or accessories you may need. And, if you don’t have an RV but are considering one, stop by to walk through the many floor plans. If you are still undecided, you can always rent an RV to see if RVing is something you would like to do more often.

Taking Thanksgiving on the Road

Colin Campbell/Flickr Creative Commons

If you are on the road during the Thanksgiving holiday you don’t have to try to make it home or to a relative’s house unless you really want to – you can take Thanksgiving on the road with you. Even if your RV is not equipped with an oven or convection microwave, you can still enjoy turkey and all of the “fixins” on Thanksgiving Day.

Turkey Cooking Options

You’ll have to think a tad outside the box if your RV doesn’t have an oven. Stop by PleasureLand RV to pick up a gas grill or pick up a turkey fryer. If you want to go 100 percent traditional and prefer not to use the fryer, you can still roast turkey on a grill. Gas is easiest, but you can also use charcoal or wood.

Instead of picking up a whole turkey, pick up turkey breasts. Season them and inject them with a light garlic sauce, wrap them in foil and bake them on the grill. So they don’t burn, set them on the cool side of a covered grill. In other words, if you are using gas, turn on the left burner or burners and place the turkey all the way to the right. Adjust the burner until the temperature stays at 325 degrees Fahrenheit with the hood closed. Do the same if you are using charcoal or wood – keep the turkey away from direct flames.

Pies and Cornbread

Bake pies the same way – on the grill – or you can buy pre-made pies. Cornbread comes out great on a grill. Make your favorite recipe. Coat a cast iron pan with bacon fat. This brings out the flavor of the cornbread. Pour the batter into the pan and put it on the cool side of the grill after you have adjusted the temperature.

Vegetables

Cut butternut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Wrap it in foil and cook it over coals or on the cool side of a grill. When it’s tender, unwrap it, fill the cavities with butter and brown sugar, and then put it back on the grill until the butter and sugar melt.

Potatoes are great if you wrap them in foil with some butter and garlic and cook them right in the coals. Use oven-safe pans to cook other vegetables over a flame or heat them up in the microwave.

Stop by PleasureTime RV

Stop by PleasureLand RV to pick up anything you might need to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner in your RV.

Convenient Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Cameron Nordholm/Flickr Creative Commons

Some Thanksgiving recipes may be difficult to make in an RV when you are trying to make 17 other sides and bake or fry a turkey. Thus, making some things ahead of time goes a long way to reducing the stress of trying to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner in an RV.

Before you head out this holiday, stop by PleasureLand RV to pick up any accessories that might make cooking in an RV kitchen easier. Extra coolers to hold pre-made food, extra storage options for the RV and collapsing bowls save a ton of space.

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 teaspoons Canola oil
  • 2 large turkey wings
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Instructions

Chop the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the vegetables and the oil in a large roasting pan. Toss the vegetables to coat them with the oil. Add the turkey wings.

Cook the mixture until the turkey wings are browned and the vegetables are caramelized and softened – about 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables and wings to a stock pot. Place the roasting pan over a stovetop burner on medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons cold water and bring the mixture to a boil. Scrape up any browned bits, but don’t remove them. Pour the mixture into the stockpot with the wings and vegetables. Add the 10 cups water, thyme and garlic.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and then simmer the mixture – uncovered – until the meat fall off the bones. This takes about 3 hours. Skim off the turkey fat while the mixture is boiling, setting aside 2 tablespoons.

Strain the turkey stock and discard all of the solids. Measure out 6 cups of the stock. You can freeze the rest for next time.

Heat the butter and the 2 tablespoons of turkey fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour – use a sifter to reduce the chance of lumps – and cook the mixture whisking continuously about 3 minutes. Slowly add the turkey stock while continuously whisking. Increase the heat to high. Simmer the mixture until it is thick and warmed through – about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Visit PleasureLand RV

If you are going to make this ahead of time in the RV, stop by PleasureLand RV to ensure you have all of the utensils needed. And if you are making it at home to take with you, pack it in leak-proof containers and keep it in the fridge or iced down in the cooler.

Thanksgiving Events in Minnesota

If you’re looking for something to during the Thanksgiving week or weekend in Minnesota just so you can have an excuse to travel in your RV, consider doing some multi-holiday events or a Turkey Trot. Stop by PleasureLand RV – on your way out to pick up accessories or on your way back for service – when you plan your trip.

Make Your Own Snowshoes

bulldog1/Flickr Creative Commons

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make your own snowshoes, take advantage of these classes at the Wood Lake Nature Center, 6710 Lake Shore Drive, Richfield, Minnesota, 55423. Depending on the style of snowshoes you are making, admission is $140 or $110 per person. You’ll learn to make aluminum urban-style snowshoes or Ojibwa-style wood snowshoes. Classes will run on November 19, 2014 and November 26, 2014. Call (612) 861-9365 for times and pre-registration.

Minnesota History Center’s Black Friday

The Minnesota History Center’s doors open at 6:00 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving, giving you the opportunity to pick up some unique gifts relating to the history of Minnesota. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up free memberships, free gift bags, free knit caps for kids and grab a donut and coffee.

University of Minnesota – Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The Learning Center at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is featuring two events. The first event is 4×4: Northern Heartland Harvest Dinner and Minnesota Wines on Thursday, November 20, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. This is a watch-learn-dine experience with Beth Dooley, a restaurant critic and food columnist. You’ll also be able to taste some Minnesota wine and have her books signed.

The second event is Make a Thanksgiving Table Centerpiece; and this event takes place on Saturday, November 22, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. until noon at the Learning Center. You’ll create a long-lasting arrangement with pears, artichokes, trailing vines and fresh-cut flowers in a footed, dark container. Ashley Fox, an acclaimed floral designer and former Arboretum horticulture educator, will be hosting/instructing.

Visit PleasureLand RV

Stop by PleasureLand RV, whether you need service, need to pick up accessories or parts, or just want to share pictures of your latest RV adventures with us. If you are thinking of buying your first RV or upgrading to a larger RV, now is the time – ask one of our salespersons to show you several floor plans.

Fun Summer Destinations

http://www.pleasurelandrv.com/DesktopModules/PropertyAgent/ImageHandler.ashx?width=300&height=242&HomeDirectory=%2fPortals%2f10%2f%2fPropertyAgent%2f776%2fImages&fileName=575049.jpg&portalid=10&i=575049&Q=False

If you are taking your vacation during the summer and have the time to drive, load up your RV and take a trip to Sevierville, Tennessee. The trip takes about 16 hours if you go through Chicago. If you want to skirt Chicago, it takes about 17 ½ hours. On the way down, take your time and visit some destinations on your way.

Before you leave, stop by PleasureLand RV to have your RV service or checked since this is quite a long drive. Also be sure to pick up any accessories you may need for your trip.

Once you get to Sevierville, you have numerous places to camp, including places in Pigeon Forge. Places include River Plantation RV Resort, Riverside RV Park and Resort, Up the Creek RV Camp and Riveredge RV Park. Since Sevierville and the surrounding area is a popular destination, it is advisable to make reservations before you leave.

Once there, you’ll find tons of shopping and activities, including hiking, fishing, boating, swimming and more. Don’t forget to spend a couple of days at Dollywood, even if you don’t have children.

Other nearby places include Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of Jack Daniels Distillery. If you take I-40 West, you’ll pass close to Oak Ridge, America’s Secret City and Muddy Pond, which is just outside of Monterey. Muddy Pond is a Mennonite community that has a leather shop, outdoor furniture maker, general store, and, if you visit in the Fall, you can see how to make sorghum the “old-timey” way.

Also in the area – within a 1- to 3-hour drive from Monterey, you’ll find tons of state parks – some that offer RV camping – such as Burgess Falls, Sunset Marina, Caney Creek and more. If you want to go about 2 hours out of your way, you can take 101 out of Crossville to Fall Creek Falls State Park to see some of the best waterfalls in the area.

Dale Hollow Lake, accessible from many points including Sunset Marina and East Port Marina offers big fishing opportunities – the lake is huge. You can rent pontoon boats, bass boats, ski boats, house boats and jet skis at both marinas. Sunset Marina is about an hour from Monterey while East Port Marina is about 45 minutes from Monterey.

Before you leave for this large trip, stop by PleasureLand RV for service and accessories, and be sure to visit our Facebook page to tell us about your trip.

March 30 is National Take a Walk in the Park Day

Photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Rock_State_Park_outside_of_Bryce_Canyon_%288120854075%29.jpg

March 30 is National Take a Walk in the Park Day, and while it may still be a little too cold for a stroll here in Minnesota, these warm national parks are perfect for your family’s much-needed RV getaway.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Take your family on the adventure of a lifetime at Big Bend National Park in West Texas. Experience the feeling of the Wild West with comical cactus plants and the rustic beauty of the desert canyons. Best of all, you can park your RV right on-site and spend your days exploring the countless trails and swimming holes.

Kartchner Caverns State Park, Arizona

Experience a walk in the park unlike anywhere else at the Kartchner Caverns State Park in Southeastern Arizona. Enjoy a guided tour through the .5-mile hike through the winding underground caverns and discover the wonders of cave life. With a variety of tours available, including a Saturday helmet and headlamp tour, it’s worth staying a few days.

Bottomless Lake State Park, New Mexico

Bottomless Lake State Park in Roswell is known for its gorgeously sunny atmosphere — something just about everyone in Minnesota is seeking right now. If you’re really up for an adventure, scuba diving is offered, but hiking, boating and fishing are also available for more low-key travelers. The drive-in camping sites rent for as little as $10 per night, so book your reservation today.

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park is known for its hot climate, which makes it a top spring destination for hikers escaping the brutal cold. Take a walk on your own or head out on a guided hike to spot creatures from beavers to mule deer, mountain lion and coyotes. Your trip to Zion this spring for National Take a Walk in the Park Day is guaranteed to be a memorable one.

Before You Hit the Road

Before you hit the road to your warm walk-in-the-park destination, bring your RV by PleasureLand RV Center to ensure your motorhome or travel trailer is in top shape for the journey. Make us your go-to Minnesota RV dealer, and we’ll be here to handle all of your RV lifestyle needs.

Try These Irish Recipes to Get in the St. Patrick’s Day Spirit

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbplusjessie/3365500234/sizes/z/

St. Patrick’s Day is as much about the food as it is about the Guinness, and whether you’re spending the holiday on the road or cooking for friends and family at home, these simple Irish dishes are guaranteed to be a hit.

Irish Soda Bread

This amazingly easy bread recipe can be thrown together with items you probably already have in the pantry.

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup margarine (softened)
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Mix sugar, baking soda, flour, salt, margarine and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the egg and 1 cup of buttermilk
  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough into a round.
  5. Mix the melted butter and 1/4 cup buttermilk together in a separate bowl.
  6. Move the round to the baking sheet and brush it lightly with the buttermilk mixture.
  7. Cut an “X” in the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes, then brush the round again with the buttermilk mixture and let cool.

Irish Champ

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 pounds potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1/2 pound green onion (chopped)
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Boil potatoes until soft (roughly 10 minutes).
  2. On low heat, cook the green onions in milk for about five minutes.
  3. Drain and mash the potatoes.
  4. Stir the milk and green onion mixture into the potatoes, then stir in salt, pepper and 2 ounces of butter.
  5. Separte into servings, and dot each serving with the remaining butter.

Here at PleasureLand RV Center, we hope you’re out enjoying St. Patrick’s Day in your RV this year. And if you’re still not in the RV of your dreams, come see us — your local Minnesota RV dealer — to browse our huge selection of new and used fifth wheels, travel trailers, motorhomes and more.

Photo by Robb and Jessie Stankey (Flickr Creative Commons)

Recipes courtesy of allrecipes.com.

Family Friendly St. Patrick’s Days Festivals in Minnesota

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/425314518/sizes/z/

St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t always have to be about green beer and bar crawls. Try something new this year, and you’ll discover that St. Patrick’s Day can be a family-friendly holiday too. Check out some of these unique events happening throughout our state, and we can guarantee that your kids will have just as much fun on St. Patty’s Day as you.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Downtown St. Paul

Experience the true spirit of St. Patrick’s day in downtown St. Paul at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Your whole family will love the live music, various Irish clans, honorary Irish royalty, and a slew of other entertaining Irish acts. And when the parade is over, don’t forget to stop by the Landmark Center to learn more about Irish culture and enjoy even more music, dance, crafts, and cuisine.

St. Patrick’s Day Human Race

Get outside and embrace spring with the 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Day race in St. Paul. The event will take place on Sunday, March 18 at 11:40 a.m. and will feature 5K, 8K and youth run events. You don’t have to take this run too seriously either, so get your whole family involved because runners and walkers of all ages are welcome to join the fun.

Minneapolis St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The St. Patrick’s Day Association of Minneapolis is throwing some amazing events to get you and your kids in the St. Patrick’s day spirit. The Minneapolis St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Monday, March 17, and you won’t want to miss the Barney Blast at the Normandy Inn and Suites immediately after the parade. Fun events like silent auctions, an Irish fair and shamrock painting will make for a family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day you’ll never forget.

Cruise By PleasureLand RV Center

Here at PleasureLand RV Center — your Minnesota RV dealer — we know that your family is the most important part of your life, and you need an RV center that will always keep that in mind. Here at PleasureLand, our goal is to get you in an affordable and top-quality new or used RV that your family will enjoy for many years to come.

Photo by William Murphy (Flickr Creative Commons)

Show your Olympic Spirit in your RV

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunchesandbits/5800479999/sizes/z/

Photo by Bunches and Bits (Flickr Creative Commons)

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are well under way, and there’s no better time to decorate your RV or have an Olympic party at the campsite than now. Your family will have tons of fun creating these decorations, foods and activities to celebrate the Winter Games, and with all of the supplies available at your local grocery or craft store, you can get started today.

Decorate your RV

Have a favorite country you’re rooting for in the Olympics? Decorate your RV with streamers and balloons to celebrate your patriotism. And don’t forget about the Olympic rings. Pool noodles (held together with duct tape) work great to create huge rings for the exterior of your RV, but items as small as pipe cleaners can be fun for your kids to assemble as well.

Make Olympic Snacks

Create small Olympic torches for your guests to enjoy by filling ice cream cones with buttered popcorn. Let the popcorn stack as high as it can without falling, and everyone will have their very own Olympic torch.

For a sweeter take on the games, bake sugar cookies into ring shapes (similar to a donut) and frost them with the colors of the Olympic rings — blue, black, red, yellow and green. You can even dye the dough with food coloring instead of using frosting.

Indoor or Outdoor Competitions

Nothing gets your guests in the Olympic spirit more than a little competition. Hold a few sets of games, whether they involve an indoor snowball fight using rolled up socks, a set of trivia questions for adults, or obstacle courses and relay races outside. And don’t forget to hand out gold medals to the winners, which can easily be made with a little bit of cardboard and ribbon.

Pleasureland RV Center

Here at Pleasureland RV Center — your Minnesota RV dealer — we are loving the 2014 Winter Olympic games, and we hope you’re enjoying them in your RV too. We hope you’ll turn to us this camping season for all of your Minnesota and Canada RV parts, accessories, sales and service needs. We’ve got four locations in St. Cloud, Ramsey, Willmar and Brainerd, so stop in and see us six days a week.

(Photo Source)

National Hobby Month

January is an important month. It brings in the new year and new resolutions, and it celebrates the extracurricular activities we enjoy doing. National Hobby Month is ALL month long (hence the name) and this year we are going to kick it into high gear and enjoy the things we really love, such as RVing.

First, we need to decide what your hobbies include. Besides hitting the open road in your trailer and traveling around the country, what are some activities you can do during your journey?! Luckily for us, Minnesota offers it all. Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” it is optimal real estate for outdoor fun!

Maybe this year you are going to pick up golf or, if you are an avid golf player, you’d like to venture out and try a few new courses. With over 500 golf courses available there is no need to travel outside state lines. Whether you’re  looking for an easy-paced game or one that challenges your putting skills, you are bound to find one course that fits your wants and needs.

The beautiful terrain of this great state is perfect for anyone who is looking for some outdoors fun. If you are into hobbies that are calming and relaxing, then fishing should be on your list this year. With the abundance of lakes scattered throughout the state, traveling to a new campground destination with the fishing poles loaded up would be a peaceful way to spend this month.

Have you ever thought about collecting? While you are traveling around this month, pick up a souvenir at each rest stop or destination. Attach a story to each item and document it in a scrapbook or on the computer. See how many different items you can come back with. Or, if you are traveling outside of the state you could start collecting stamps. Each new destination you travel to, buy a stamp that depicts that states symbol. Let it represent what each state is known for. Maybe find a stamp with a casino chip on it for Nevada, or a bluebonnet for Texas. See how long it takes you to collect 49 stamps! Assuming you won’t be traveling by RV to Hawaii, though that would be fun!

Cooking is even considered a hobby. While out on your Pleasureland RVing adventures you could create meals representing the areas you’ve traveled. If you are down south, use the space you have in your trailer to cook cajun food or comfort food. If your travels take you towards the New England area you could learn how to perfect a clam chowder recipe. This hobby would spice up your meals and is another way to give your journey a little zest.

Wherever you are headed this month, let Pleasureland RV know about your hobbies and travels. We would love to hear what other hobbies others enjoy — happy National Hobby Month!