Not Just Another Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Egg-Free and Egg versions

Pumpkin Pie Squares Recipe

Now that the weather is turning a little cooler, our cravings are starting to change. Pumpkin pie is near the top of the list right now. These bars were great! Perfect for your autumn camping trip or visiting friends next to a campfire. Be sure to read the instructions – I highly recommend making these pumpkin pie squares in advance so they have time to chill in the refrigerator and solidify.

BOTTOM LAYER:

1 can (15.5 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
½ cup half and half
1 cup whole milk

6 Tablespoons water
3 teaspoons water
6 teaspoons baking powder
(Or you can use 3 eggs)

1½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ tsp. salt

MIDDLE LAYER:

1 package Yellow Cake Mix
1 cup melted butter

TOPPING:

1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
½ cup flour
¼ cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper OR grease and flour the pan. (If you have never used parchment paper, I highly recommend you give it a shot. The few dollars has been worth it.)

In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the bottom layer. Stir until blended. Pour this into your prepared pan.

Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture, evenly.
Next, drizzle the melted butter all over the dry cake mix.

Bake 25 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped pecan mixture.
Tightly seal with aluminum foil and bake an additional 25 minutes.

Cool completely-I recommend letting it chill in refrigerator overnight. To serve, cut into squares. Enjoy!

Adapted from DuncanHines.com

How We Work From An RV

Tips to be More Productive

Until recently, we were living to work.  Our days were determined and scheduled around our employers.  Time schedules were predictable and it was easy to know the time to get up, when to have dinner, pay bills, run errands, and go to bed to do it all over the next day.  Weekends were filled with catching up on what we missed on our “To Do” lists and with the time left over, then we could relax.  Relax.  Hmmm.

Now, as we are working to live, we needed to create income around our lifestyle.  Let’s just be direct here.  This is not easy.  Especially when we need to break some old habits.  Honestly, at first, nothing was accomplised because we took advantage of the situation.  LEt’s face it, no one is watching when we show up or leave.  We put our watches in a drawer.  Procrastination and incomplete tasks run a muck.

Through our experiences, here are our HABITS to be productive while on the road.

1. On Sunday, Set Goals for the Week

Even though days often just blend in together while on the road, the rest of the world still operates in a traditional work week. This allows us to be mindful of our family & friends and their reality. It keeps us on track and on the pulse of what the date is. Heck, its good enough to know the month. Plus, as we move on to the next steps, we know where we have wiggle room and when we need to really focus.

2. Write Dates and Times on a Calendar

We tried scheduling our calendar verbally. No go. The places we visit and the great people we meet can trump our work too easily. There is something about writing times on a calendar – (tactile task), and seeing it daily – (visual indicator), that makes it real. When we see it, talk about it, hold each other accountable, only then does our work truly get done. This is a critical element to successful scheduling.

3. Calculate the Hours/Minutes

Everyone should love math! This is a no-brainer. If you are planning on setting aside 18 hours to accomplish your work, while relaxed on Sunday, you are probably pretty close for the amount of time needed. So, if you end up stopping at a cool location that you stumbled upon, well, then you need to plug your time in elsewhere. Hey, and if you get your work done in less time – Congratulations! More time to play!

4. Define Your Work Space

Sparky can just about work anywhere and at anytime. On the other hand, I need predictability, habit, and quiet (Sparky is trying to edit this to say – pure silence!). We struggled a bit with this environment at first. It’s getting better but still has a way to go. Can’t deny, we love the life we are living and get excited about our experiences. We chat and digress way too easily. Kind of like now…so, back to topic…

We work in three hour chunks with mini breaks. Then a big break after the three hours pass by. I ALWAYS sit in the same place to work. Kitchen table, right side, plug under the couch for my technology and a hot tea behind the left side of my laptop. Sparky, well, sometimes he is on the couch, outside at the picnic table, next to the fire pit or even propped up in bed. Find your space and be sure to claim it!

5. Revisit Your Goals on Sunday

So, you juggle your week.
• How did you do?
• What went well?
• What should have been handled differently?
This is our conversation at the end of the week. Reflection is key. We learn and grow together. I want to mention that even though we may answer these questions as the week progresses, we still visit this on Sunday. It is the conversation that happens before we goal set for the next week.

So, looks good and sounds good.  We are human so, we have learned to be flexible while on the road.  However, this is the foundation in which our income is built upon.  Without a strong base, the house crumbles.  If you are struggling with either working from your RV, or even working from home, your productivity needs to be built on a strong foundation.

Question: Have you ever struggled with a job where you determine your own schedule? If so, what strategies do you rely on so you get your work done? Share your answer below…

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I say, it’s really not, “not camping.”
(Referring to those who are critical of families who camp.)

Sindy, from NY

Fireside Chat – Sindy & Mike from New York

'Moral of the Story...Plan Ahead & Be Prepared for Anything!'

Sindy grew up camping. Her favorite memories with her family were formed at Pot of Gold Campground in Upstate NY. As she grew up and now has a family of her own, camping is still a major part of her life. During all these years, Sindy would still camp at Pot of Gold until the owners decided to retire and close the family business. She would take her brood plus the other families in her camping tribe to other campgrounds in the Adirondacks, the Catskills and even North Carolina. While traveling around to various campgrounds is exciting, this extended family of 20 prefers to set up camp for the season at one place. After much visiting and shopping, the crew on this date just committed to the 2016 camping season at Indian Ridge Campground in Catskill, NY.

Q: When camping with four families, do you plan together or just show up and make it work?

Sindy: We definitely plan together when it comes to cooking and food. The weekend before we set out, the women all email each other. In this group email, everyone will list what they are planning on eating for the upcoming weekend. When we are there, we all cook together and share all the food.

Q: Do you have any menus that you would like to share?

Sindy: Sure! We have had fish bakes and chicken bakes. Oh, and we had so much fun with our pig roast!

Q: So, how does this work? Do you share costs?

Sindy: Here is what we did with the pig roast. This was our big end-of-season meal one year. All season, we would save up all our cans – all of the families. At the end of the season, we cashed them in and used this money for the pig. We were a little short so we just divided by 20 (because that is our total number of adults and kids) and figured we need to pitch in $5 each so we had enough for the pig and supplies. Then, each family made side dishes for the big event. We had so much food that we ended up inviting the entire campground! It was so much fun! We still talk about it to this day!

Q: Wow, sounds like a fun group! What else have you planned together? I imagine there is more collaboration then just meals.

Sindy: Oh yes! Entertainment!

Q: I bet you have some great memories to share…

Sindy: Yes. Especially the Scavenger Hunts (she says with a devilish smile!). We go online and find some lists that others have already created….We then pair up the kids – there is a match between an older child with a younger child. Prior to the trip, we do buy prizes, like ice cream coupons from the camp store. Sometimes they go fast but sometimes they take a few hours.

Q: Really? What was the Scavenger Hunt item that had the adults laughing the most, while watching the children?

Sindy: Four leaf clover! To see them all crawling around was hysterical and it took them FOREVER!!!

Sindy: We also have had some other great fun activities for the kids…and adults too…

Q: Great! Do tell!

Sindy: We have made a slip and slide. We just linked together plastic bags and hooked up our hoses to keep them wet.
Kickball. Adults vs. Kids was a blast!
Frisbee Football.
We make our own fun. Not all campgrounds have activities so we make them ourselves.
Polish Horse Shoes and BINGO too!

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to other campers?

Sindy: Be Prepared! If you have children, you need to plan your weekend thinking there is nothing there to do. Make your own fun and do your own things so everyone has a great time. Yes, make your own fun and memories. Not only have we had a blast with our own families but our activities bring others around as well. Another great thing about camping is the people you meet. Games and big meals bring people together!

Q: Tell me about your camper. This looks new.

Sindy: Yes, it’s a Connect Spree by KZ. We bought it from Diederich’s in West Coxsackie, NY. It is a small family owned business. We initially went to one of those huge dealerships but got such a run-around. At Diederich’s there was no hassles, no haggling. Seriously, we got the deal done in just 10 minutes! The price was great too – much better than the large volume dealer, who was overcharging and wasted hours of our life. It was a great buying experience at Diederich’s and we would send anyone there looking to purchase a camper.

Q: Great to know. This is beautiful, what were your bucket list items when purchasing a camper?

Sindy: Room to accommodate a large group. We were looking for a camper with great sleeping space so others could visit with us. Also, with many of us together, having an open floor plan was important in making our decision. Sometimes it rains, and we need space to be indoors if necessary. The third non-negotiable was having a master bedroom with privacy. So, you can see our room is on one end and the kids are on the other end.

Q: Now that you have used your camper, what features have been pleasant surprises?

Sindy: The outside kitchen! I like to get up early. Mike can sleep in and I can get our coffee going and start breakfast. The outside kitchen was a very pleasant surprise.

Q: If you could recommend one campground, which one would you tell everyone about?

Sindy: INDIAN RIDGE CAMPGROUND in CATSKILL, NY!!!
(NOTE: Without hesitation, Sindy goes to happily chat about her family’s favorite place…) We really enjoy ourselves here. This campground is very comfortable. You know, when we first drove into this place, we could really feel it. Can’t you? (I absolutely agree!) The people here are so nice. The owners, the campers, everyone is just great! Once you pull in, you see the store on your right. It is well stocked and have anything you may need and they do not price gouge you. That’s nice. (CLICK HERE for IRC’s Facebook Page)

Sindy: Every weekend, there are TONS of things to do – both for adults and for kids. I have to say again, the people here are great. The owners are very personable and fun to be around. They are here and truly enjoy what they do and make this place an extended family.

Q: Any final thoughts you would like to share? Looks like your breakfast is ready and the kids are hungry…

Sindy: For people thinking about camping or just starting out, be open minded. There are so many people who have misconceptions about what camping is nowadays. Like, you don’t shower, no toilets available, camping is dirty, can’t live without room service…if you think ANY of this, you need to come into reality. Honestly, if you have never experienced camping, you do not know what you are missing. This is not the 1940’s and you sleep in a canvas tent on the cold, hard ground. Seriously, there are so many people just missing out on such fun! Keep in mind, you can camp with electric and water. It is a house on wheels. Check this out (Sindy points to the table) I use real plates and we have a TV. Ok, that is rarely used; we are too busy having fun. But it’s a creature comfort that is nice to have. It is nice to have all the amenities from home and we can share time with our long-time friends and new friends we meet along the way. So, for the nay-say-ers, I say, it’s really not, “not camping.”