Saturday, October 8, 2016

PRODUCT REVIEWS

In this section, I will provide reviews of products that I have tried, either officially or on my own.  Items colored this way are "thumbs up."  Items colored this way are "thumbs down."  In addition, I am "yelping" on services.    NOTE:  See update below on  mattress toppers.


MY YELP REVIEWS

My "yelp" reviews are here:  YELP REVIEWS

 MY PRODUCT REVIEWS

AMAZON FIRE TV BOX

Loving it!  It even works with the Jensen 12 volt TV's I currently have in my RV!  The sales rep at Best Buy indicated and strongly felt I could get by with the cheaper Fire STICK.  The sales rep said there wasn't much extra on the Box that you don't get on the Stick.  The reason I bought the BOX is because.... the way the TV's are mounted in my RV in recessed areas leaves very little room to insert a stick and I wouldn't be able to put the TV back on the wall. (I have since heard that you can buy connecting cables for connecting sticks in this situation...)  My front TV in the Entertainment Center has the stabilizing cross bars located in places that cover up the HDMI port.  No way am I removing those cross bars. So, I bought the Fire Box.  Fire Stick at Best Buy was $49, the Fire Box was $99.

It was easy to install!  The directions are very clear!  The issue I have with instruction manuals is that the writers don't want to make the instructions too complex or it scares people away.  So they leave out stuff and make it short, hoping you will "read between the lines."  And sometimes you just don't know enough TO "read between the lines."  I followed the instruction manual and IT WORKED!

You have to purchase an HDMI cable.  The Best Buy sales rep said it doesn't have to be an expensive one.  Just have to get one, as it isn't included in the package. 

The Fire TV box worked very well with the MiFi from my phone provider.  I also tried it with the RV park WiFi where I'm staying, although most RV parks prefer you do not use their WiFi for streaming.  I do notice that occasionally it bogs down on the RV park WiFi.  I try to wait until I know everyone else is asleep late at night.....

There is only one little BUT that I have to mention..... It will use up your gigs if you have limited WiFi.  I went to a Verizon store and changed my plan to 10 gigs.  When I came back to my RV, I had only used up 1.9 of the gigs so far this month.  I watched two episodes of SUITS (love this show!) and next thing you know I had used up 8 gigs.  I watched more episodes of SUITS and not only shot the 10 gig limit but went over by 21 gigs!  I had quite a large bill the next month. Best if you have UNLIMITED Wifi.

This will allow you to have TV in remote areas (as long as you have cell service with your provider).

But, another caveat.  The "Cut the cord" with cable and satellite movement that is being pushed at us.... well..... if you don't have unlimited WiFi, cable or satellite will probably be cheaper! 

Also, I have noticed that you generally don't get the CURRENT shows for free.  You can stream ABC shows for free (as long as you have unlimited WiFi) ONE WEEK after air date.  The Fire Box doesn't seem to carry the CBS shows for free.  If you want to watch CBS shows, you pay for them if it's a current season.  But, CBS does let you stream for free on your computer ONE DAY after air date.  I haven't tried FOX or NBC.

 Another thing.  It helps to sign up for Amazon Prime (at $99 a year) because you will get a LOT more "Freebies" on the Firebox if you do.  This is only worth it if you happen to buy from Amazon a lot.

I ended up signing up for HULU so I wouldn't have to wait a week to see the ABC shows.   If you sign up for HULU online, you will get an introductory rate of $5.99 a month.  If you sign up via the Firebox, you will pay the regular $7.99 a month for HULU.  HULU seems to carry ABC, FOX and NBC shows for free.  But HULU does not carry CBS at all.  Also, you will get some more shows you can watch that don't come free on Amazon Fire.  But, you also get duplication where you get shows that are carried free on both HULU and Amazon Prime (if you signed up for Amazon Prime).

Bottom line is.... "Cut the cord" may or may not save you money from cable or satellite.  Between signing up for Amazon Prime and HULU, my monthly cost is about $14.25 which is cheaper than cable or satellite right now (and this doesn't count the cost of my own WiFi.  If I factored that in (because I have a gig limit), it's about $95 a month as long as I don't incur overages.).  But if you can get by without signing up for Amazon Prime or HULU, then it's cheaper than having satellite or cable as long as you don't pay for individual shows or "seasons."



EGGTASTIC

I bought this item EGGTASTIC  at Smith's in Bozeman, Mt.  The good thing is that it's porcelain ceramic, so there aren't the issues with using plastic.  The directions indicated to "mix your eggs" (and you could add some vegetables if you wanted) in the ceramic bowl.  Most scrambled egg recipes  use a little bit of milk.  The directions did not specify whether or not to add milk, it was "silent."  I used milk as usual, and it came out just very slightly goopy.  I also had to add more time on the microwave (1100 watts).  Perhaps if you do not add the milk it may work.  I will give this another try without the milk.  For now, I am giving it a "neutral."

UPDATE:  I tried it without milk.  I put two eggs and some grape tomatoes, cilantro, green onions and cooked bacon.  It was a little better, but I still had to do two more cookings of 20 seconds each to completely cook the eggs.  I followed the directions for 1100 watt microwave.  Taste-wise........ it was.... meh..........  Therefore, I'm giving it a thumbs down.  


PRIME ROTATING SURGE TAP

I bought this item ROTATING SURGE TAP at Smith's in Bozeman, Mt.  I really like it! This is much better than using a strip on the floor.  However, I still have to remove it if I'm going to pull in my slide.  The plug in where I am using it is on a wall where a slide comes in, where my computer desk is.  The neat thing is that you can rotate the plug ins to accommodate the plugs.  On a strip, if you have a large transformer plug in, it will cover two plugs even though only plugged into one.  This one, you can plug a large one in front and turn the next one sideways so you can plug a smaller plug in that one.  Good space saving surge protector for an RV.
 

SLIME PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSORS

These items are MUST HAVES!   Slime Portable Air Compressors for Tires
Although the various models indicate they can inflate a "standard" car tire (30-35 PSI) in 4 to 8 minutes depending on the model, do NOT use them for inflating an RV tire from ZERO.  You need a high powered compressor for that, as these Slime models cannot be run for more than 10 minutes and they need a 25 minute rest in between.  But they are good for adding air to RV tires.
I have three models:
Tire Inflator with Raft Pump and Light.  This model will inflate tires and rafts.  It will go up to 150 PSI.  It has a dial where you can pre-set the PSI and it will automatically stop at the preset PSI.  This model operates off a 12 volt connector.  Now, if you plug it into a Power Pak suck as the Costco model or maybe a Black & Decker, make sure the 12 volt connection can handle up to 10 amps.  The Costco Power Pak (which they no longer make) that I used to have could handle this.  The Black & Decker Power Pak that I currently have can only handle 5 amp loads.  The one negative is that this model still uses the "tire chuck" which sometimes I found difficult to work with on RV tires.  ALso, this model does not come with any "extension cords" so if you drive a motorhome and plug it into your cigarette lighter, you will only be able to reach the front tires.  You cannot reach the rear tires with this.  Thus, I would plug it into a portable Power Pak such as the Costco model I used to have.

120 Volt Garage Inflator. I love this model!  You can plug it into 120 volt outlet, such as one at an RV pole.  It also comes with an extended air hose.  By plugging this into the 120 volt outlet at an RV pole, I was able to inflate the front and dual rear tires on the driver's side of the motorhome.  By adding a heavy duty extension cord, I was able to reach the front and rear dual tires on the passenger side of the motorhome.  This will inflate up to 120 PSI, but again, do not run it for more than 10 minutes at a time, with a 25 minute "rest." There is no "pre-set" but the guage is easy to read while you are pumping air.  This model comes with the "screw on" hose instead of the tire chuck. I found the screw on hose easier to use than a tire chuck.

2X Tire Inflator.  This model comes with jumper cables to connect to an engine battery if you do not have access to 120 volt electrical outlet or with a sufficient 12 volt power supply.  It also has an extended air hose.  I haven't tried this one yet, bought it for "just in case." 


MR. HEATER BIG BUDDY PROPANE HEATER

I am in an area that doesn't get cold often.  If it does, it's rare and even more rare for two separate cold spells.  When the second cold spell (High in the 20's, low in the teens) started, my two space heaters couldn't get it past 40 degrees in the RV.  I wasn't sure how long my propane tank would last running my furnace.  Decided to supplement with the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Propane Heater .  I purchased the MH18B, which takes TWO propane cylinders.  Oh, the Coleman Propane Cylinders WILL work in this heater.

I have a 32 foot RV.  It put out enough heat for the front and made it quite toasty (on HIGH).  But the heat didn't quite get to the back of the RV.  I placed the heater in front underneath my Fantastic Fan vent, and had the vent open for ventilation.

As reviews have said, on HIGH, you get 2.5 to 3 hours of heat.  When it was 20 degrees outside, HIGH is what you need.  Some of the reviews I have read have specified that running it on Medium is pointless, run it either LOW or HIGH  However, when you first turn it on, you have to put it on Low or Medium. You can't turn it to HIGH until one of the panels turns orange.  Didnt take long to do that.

 If you are running it on low or medium, you can get by with ONE propane cylinder. 

When the propane ran out, I noticed the cylinders had frost on them. It's basically condensation but it looked really cold.  I recommend using chemical gloves (or some type of protective gloves) to remove the cylinders when they have frost on them. I fear you could get frostbite.

Also, when you put the cylinders in the heater, it's important to squirt soapy water on them to check for leaks.

I read some reviews where the reviewer said, "We NEVER run our furnace as this keeps us warm."  Ok, one caution here.  If temperatures get below 30 degrees (FREEZING) then YOU NEED TO RUN YOUR FURNACE!  I was trying to stretch my propane in my RV tank out, didn't want to pack up to get more.  So I used the Mr. Buddy, then when it was warm enough, turned off and used space heaters.  Well, next morning, I had frozen water lines because my city water connection froze (even though I had a heated hose and had wrapped the connection, obviously not good enough...) and my water pump was frozen, couldn't use water in the tank.  Running your furnace at night keeps these areas warm enough IF your RV is "all weather."

One minor thing I noticed.  Apparently, not all Coleman 1 lb propane cylinders are the same.  Some of them are 16 oz (1 lb) exactly, and some are 1.02 lb (16.4 oz).  I found that if you try to "ignite" with the 1 lb (16 oz) one, it will not ignite or "flame." Make sure that when you try to ignite it, you are using the 1.02 lb (16.4 oz) propane cylinders.  Discussion on Facebook kind of concluded that the 1 lb (16 oz) cylinders don't "seat" properly.  I have no idea, just something I noticed.  



ZERO WATER PITCHER AND FILTER


I bought an interesting water filter at Fred Meyer (part if the Kroger chain). It's called "Zero Water."

Here's the Web Site: https://www.zerowater.com/

It's not like the Brita and Pur. It's supposed to filter out 99% of solids, plus the filter is "ion exchange" process. Ion Exchange is not the same as reverse osmosis but it's supposed to remove nitrates similar to reverse osmosis. Plus, you get a free "tester" with the pitcher and with the filters. The pitcher cost me $30 (ok, $29.99) and a pak of 2 filters was $15 (ok, $14.99).

Here's some info I found on "ion exchange":

http://www.watertechonline.com/removing ... -exchange/

I'm working at a park that is having a nitrate issue with their water, so I'm trying this out.  The water tastes really good.  I have read some reviews that complain about a "fish" smell after awhile in the filter.  I am not getting that "fish" smell, but I have found that it's better to remove the filter and dry it out after you strain the water.

I have no way to ascertain whether it does remove the nitrates.  The "tester" I got is a "pass/fail" one (Light ON=FAIL Light OFF=PASS).  I have read that some of the Pitcher kits come with a digital tester.  But this still does not tell me if it removes Nitrates.  But I like it better then BRITTA.   

ADJUSTABLE WATER PRESSURE REGULATOR

Here is an example of this product from Camping World.  I bought mine at an RV Park.  My only complaint is that there are NO directions other than, "do not use past 60 PSI."  I installed it on the water faucet.  The package said "preset to 45 PSI."  Well, the guage shot up to 60 PSI.  So, I turned the "adjuster" using a flat head screw driver like it said.  I screwed it all the way in, only to have it still say "60 PSI."  So, another neighbor in the RV park informed me that when you install this, you need to have an "open" faucet.  So I turned a faucet on, only to have the water pressure go down to 20 PSI (because I had screwed it all the way in).  So, with the water running inside, I adjusted it up to 55 PSI, just under the 60 recommended limit.  The water regulator I was using previously automatically took pressure down to 45 PSI and I got tired of waiting 20 minutes for my bathtub to fill up with 5 inches of water.  This guage is MUCH better!  I love it! 


RAPID OATMEAL COOKER

Bought a rapid oatmeal cooker   for $3.99 at Fred Meyer. I am giving it THUMBS DOWN.  It is supposed to work with either instant or "old fashioned" oatmeal.  There are two lines in the bowl, one for the oatmeal and one for the water.  I didn't think it was enough water.  Directions say to cook on high for 2-3 minutes.  Tried that, didn't like it it.  Tried doing half power for 10 minutes, still didn't cook right.  The best way to cook oatmeal in a microwave is to use the specific amounts shown on the box (1/2 cup oatmeal to 1 cup water) and cook at 50% power for 10 minutes.  Or cook on stove.


 WINEGARD INDOOR APMPLIFIED HDTV FLATWAVE ANTENNA

Here is an example of this product from Amazon.com.  However, I purchased mine for $39.99 from Costo in Omaha, NE and used it during the summer of 2015 in Des Moines, IA.  My RV already has the "Jack" antenna, which is supposed to be great a pulling in channels.  During my summer in Des Moines, IA, using my "Jack" antenna, I had problems getting ION (channel 39-1) and "The CW" (either 23-1 or 23-2).  Those channels would fade in an out no matter where I rotated the "Jack."  I attached the Flatwave to my bedroom TV (which is a Jensen 12 volt which works great!), and I got both the ION channel and "The CW" channels much better, no fading in and out. However, I with the Flatwave, I was unable to get the ABC (5-1) channel.  I rarely watch ABC so it wasn't an issue for me.  So, bottom line is.... you might get some channels better, but you might not get other channels.  The only hassle is that if I need to connect to cable at an RV park, or if I want to watch a DVD on the bedroom TV, then I have to disconnect the antenna and reconnect to my RV system.  Fortunately, this only takes a couple minutes. 

Although I purchased mine at Costco, I notice at Costco Online, they don't seem to sell the amplified version, only the NON-Amplified version.  I'm not sure how much different the non-amplified version might be.   Here are the reviews on Costco for the non-amplified version.  The reviews also indicate that the amplified version is not available at Costco.  I recommend getting the amplified version if you can. 

When I got back home from Iowa, I tried it at my home place.  Still got the same channels I always did, didn't get more, didn't get less.  However, my home area actually doesn't get over the air reception, I just happen to be in a "sweet spot" that happens to get something.


UGO BLUETOOTH MINI SPEAKER

I purchased this mini bluetooth speaker from a vendor at the Iowa State Fair.  At the time, it was $100 but they threw in as a freebie an additional mini speaker which did not have the Bluetooth feature.  (The mini bluetooth speakers are selling on Amazon.com for about $90 as of this writing....) I haven't tried the additional mini speaker yet, just the bluetooth version.   However, I haven't used the Bluetooth feature yet.  At the fair, they told me you could play songs on SD cards.  What they SHOULD have said was MICRO SD CARD.  I bought a "Regular" SD card, only to find I needed the MICRO.  Their owner's manual is not very detailed, you have to do some reading between the lines.  Also, I had difficulty getting the MICRO SD card in the little slot.  Once I figured it out, it was fine.  However, it seems to help if you turn the speaker on BEFORE putting the card in the slot. If you put the card in first, then turn it on, it gets confused.

There are four "modes.  1. Bluetooth  2. Micro SD Card  3.  Radio  4.  "Line in."

I have not tried the Bluetooth mode yet.  Once I figured out how to put the Micro SD card in, I got great sound!  I was able to turn it up loud in my RV and the sound did not go outside the RV where it would bother the neighbors.  Even with the window open.  But the sound was GREAT!  I haven't tried the "radio" mode yet.  My understanding is that you have to "capture" some local radio station somehow and then it plays.  And I haven't tried the "line in" yet, I'm guessing this is for hooking up to a stereo or something.....


If you are using the Micro SD card mode, your files MUST be MP3.  As of this writing, the UGO cannot play MP4 files.  Regardless of how your music files are, you can convert them for for free at this website.  There are other websites that will do this, I found this one useful.  Occasionally a file that was "converted" would skip and not play correctly.  When I found this, I just went back to the website and reconverted the file and replaced it.

The battery lasts about four hours.  The recharger must be connected to a USB port to recharge.  I purchased a 12 volt car charger with a USB port and I plug this into a 12 volt connection in my RV and it works great!   Or you can plug it into your computer and charge it while your computer is "on."

I tried the Radio option, didn't get a lot of local radio channels.


 COPPER HANDS GLOVES

I was recently diagnosed with mild arthritis in three of my fingers.  I had read about Copper Hands Gloves and how "wonderful" they were. THUMBS DOWN!  The gloves do provide great compression which relieves arthritis pain.  But the "copper?"  Just like I read on some reviews.  It's nothing more than "painted dots."  A cheap pair of gloves with fingers purchased at Wal-Mart accomplished the same thing.  I wear those when I sleep and it works fine.  Don't waste your money on "Copper Hands" gloves.
 
MEMORY FOAM CURVE PILLOW


I have tried contour pillows, they hurt my neck.  On a lark, I decided to try the  Curve Pillow purchased at Costco for $24.99.  I am a "slide" sleeper and recently have found that sleeping on my side has caused nerve pinches that make my fingers stiff in the morning not to mention my neck is stiff.  Originally, I gave this a "thumbs up" as I slept on this pillow and had a great night's sleep for the first time in a long time.  No stiff neck.  No stiff fingers.  The one bad thing is that, like all memory foam products, you have to put up with this awful "smell" for about 48 hours after removing from the packaging.  But after awhile (about six months), I started getting stiff necks again.  So, I am changing it to thumbs down.


EGG TIMER

A friend of mine had this AMAZING egg timer.  He bought it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and it looks like this.

I like my eggs soft, but not runny.  I tried the "medium" setting, too hard!  The "Soft" setting was just right.  You put this glass stone in your water along with your eggs.  It changed color, and when the changed color gets to where you want your egg, take egg out.  PERFECT!


 QUICK n' BRITE

The only place I have ever seen Quick n' Brite sold was at State/County fairs.  I heard TARGET may sell this product.  I saw this at the North Dakota State Fair in 2013.  Talked to the lady selling the product.  She ASSURED me that it was WONDERFUL for cleaning RV holding tanks.

I'm giving it a THUMBS DOWN!  I put two ounces in my black tank, added some water, as instructed in the Quick n' Brite instructions I was given by the sales lady for my RV tank.  Then I let it slosh while I drove.  Yeah, right.  Didn't even clean the lights, as I'm still showing "full" when it's completely empty.  Right now,  I continue to use it in my black tank just to get rid of it.


SHARK  CORDLESS PET  HAND  VACUUM

If you have a pet, you must get this:   SHARK CORDLESS PET HAND VACUUM    I paid $39 for it at Wal-Mart.  I only have carpet in one small area of my RV, but it's an area my cat likes to hang out.  I was impressed by how much pet hair it pulled out of the carpet.  Some things to note:

  • User's Guide was very specific about NOT leaving it on "charge" constantly.  Once it is charged up, you are to remove the charger.  You must use it until it runs down, then charge it up again.  Don't just "plug it in" when not in use unless it's completely drained.
  • The filter is plastic, and can be hand washed.  Thus, you don't have to keep buying filters.  On the other hand, the User's Guide was also specific that you "air dry" the filter.  Don't use a hair dryer, don't use a washing machine or clothes dryer.
This model lasted about two years before the battery got to a point where it wouldn't take or hold a charge and I had to get a replacement.  But I still recommend it.

CHAM - WOW  CHAMOIS  CLOTH

I bought this product in 2013 from a vendor at the North Dakota State Fair.  The fair vendor called it a "Chamois Tex Super Absorbent German Towel" but told me it was basically the "Cham-Wow" that you may have seen advertised on an informercial on TV.  The reason I bought it was to use with the Breathing Mobile Washer that I purchased (see "options for laundry" below).  I needed something to help wring out the items I wash.  I didn't want to purchase a  manual clothes wringer   (and I can't believe someone still makes these things!).  I had already purchased a few chamois cloths, but wanted to see how these work.  I was able to wring out two full size towels with these things, as opposed to one towel with a regular chamois cloth.  So, these work ok.


MOSQUITO  REPELLANT  -  CLIP  ON

I tried this product made by OFF .  I paid $6.98 (plus tax) at Wal-Mart.  From my understanding of the directions, it basically works only if you are sitting still reading a book.  The directions kind of "imply" that if you are walking around it won't work effectively.  I used it, but made sure I also had spray on mosquito repellant as a supplement.  I'm not sure this is really worth the cost.  Not to mention, it requires two AAA batteries (included with purchase, but how long will those last, and then you have to buy more......).  Further, the cartridge lasts 12 hours (there is a small narrow window showing you how much is left).  Replacement cartridges come in packets of two, and I paid $6.49 (plus tax) for one packet of two at a "Do It Best" hardware store.  Almost as much as the fan itself.  I used it mostly while walking around, didn't try it sitting still.  

OMELET WAVE

I love omelets but I'm horrible at making them.  I tried out this product:  Omelet Wave .  It has both an omelet maker and an egg poacher.

Omelets:  It's ok......  you have to follow the directions to the letter, but the omelet was still not perfect......  Useful if you are a solo.

Egg Poacher:  The egg poacher part is a royal pain.  You have to start and stop the microwave.  NOBODY wants to do that.  When it comes to microwaving, people generally want to "set it and forget it" (with apologies to RONCO...).  When it comes to poaching eggs, I've also tried This Wal-Mart product and it's the same thing:  constant starting and stopping of the microwave for 30 second increments.  Who wants to do that? 

FASTA PASTA

I was given a FASTA PASTA as a gift.  It is FANTASTIC!  It works as long as you follow the directions to the letter.  You do not put the lid on.  You wait until the pasta is cooked, then you use the lid to drain the water.  (Hint:  I drain the water down in my RV toilet to add liquid to the toilet.) Then, you can put spaghetti sauce in and microwave a few minutes more. 

POCKET HOSE

The POCKET HOSE comes in 25 feet or 50 feet.  I bought mine (25 feet) at Fred Meyer for $12.99.  Basically, I bought it to use on the tank rinser outlet on my RV.  Customer Reviews at Wal-Mart and Amazon are mostly negative.  I agree, the hose ends are cheap plastic that could easily break.  But, the hose did collapse when I stopped running water.  The hose collapsed faster than I could drain it, so I basically got squirted while trying to drain the hose.  Basically, it costs the same as a regular hose, but takes up less space.  I would use it for "light duty" work.

OPTIONS FOR LAUNDRY

Since I don't tow a car, laundry is an ordeal if the place I'm working at does not have laundry.  Once a week, I have to pack up and do laundry.  One of my friend's has been researching some alternatives for me. We have come up with the following:

Two videos on the Breathing Mobile Washer (I have a small but deep bathtub in my RV, the below would work....)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUqACGizd30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhUUxKPWzkg

Here is something called the WONDER WASH:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk-CK_2OmHk

Or, here is a NON-ELECTRIC washing machine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaPdcO2Hwlo

Or, we can go to a reinvention of the old fashioned scrub board....

http://www.thescrubba.com/

I decided to try out the Breathing Mobile Washer.  I washed a towel that contained cat vomit, a couple of "rag" washcloths, and a cap I wear a lot.

I used my bathtub to wash the items.  The directions say to use 4-6 inches of water.  I agree with the directions.  You definitely need 4-6 inches of water or the washer doesn't agitate all that well. If I had been using a bucket, wouldn't need as much water, as the bathtub is "spread out" water. But, the bathtub gave me more room, in my opinion, but this is personal choice.

It's a lot of work to bounce that "toilet plunger" up and down. The directions say two minutes is all you need. I think overall I did four minutes, but it wasn't continuous........

Now for rinsing!  On the cap and the two washcloths, I just held them under the bathtub faucet to "rinse."  I used cold water, as my hot water had run out by then.  I wrung them out by hand and put them on a chrome drying rack I carry.

The large towel on the other hand, was going to be an issue!  I drained the bathtub, then got out my small Rubbermaid tub that I use in the kitchen sink, put the towel in there, ran more cold water, swished it around, then did a manual hand wring.  But, on a big towel, a manual hand wring isn't quite enough. I had purchased two LARGE chamois cloths, (meant for drying cars....) put the towel between the two chamois, rolled it, and got most of the water out!

Now, did the items get clean?

The two "rag washcloths" were kind of stained already. They got as clean as they were going to get.

My cap looks clean!

And, the towel is clean, I don't see any signs of "kitty barf."

If you need to wash a few items at a time, it works.....



FLUPPI

I bought this Hand held sweeper tool at the North Dakota State Fair in 2012.  I travel with a cat, and I get tired of dragging out the Shop-Vac to sweep up cat litter that gets tracked out of the litter box.  I have tried carrying battery operated portable cleaners but they take up space, and eventually the battery goes POOF and won't recharge.  Although I have a litter tracking mat under the litter box (that is SUPPOSED to pull the stuff off kitty's feet), it's not enough as cat litter still gets on the carpet.  Thus, when I saw the FLUPPI, I was motivated to try it.  It works great, even with kitty litter on the carpet!  It will pick up stuff off linoleum floor, but it seems to work better on carpet.  If you have a small spill of stuff and don't want to drag out the vacuum cleaner, this is good in a pinch! 

CLICK**IT**HOT

I bought this item at the North Dakota State Fair in 2012.  It's a Re-Usable Heat Pack.  It's a bunch of gel inside sealed plastic.  Comes in about four colors that I saw.  There is a little silver disc that floats in the gel.  You find the disc, and click it. Immediately, the gel crystalizes and produces heat.  It produced wonderful heat for about 30 minutes.  Now the down side.  When it cools off, it stays crystalized.  To return it to the gelatinous state, you must boil the item.  You need to place a dishrag inside the pot and fill the pot with water.  The dishrag prevents the heat pack from melting against the metal of your pot.  You must boil it until 100% of the crystalized stuff returns to gel.

Plusses:  It gives you a great heat pack without the need to plug in to anything, and thus go against your amperage limit in the RV.

Minuses:  The requirement to boil the item to return it back to gelatinous state is a bit of a "fuss with it" factor, and I'm thinking people will consider it to be a bit of an inconvenience.   

BOGS RUBBER SLIP ON SHOE from Altrec

If you RV to really WET areas, you need theseThey are so comfortable!  I bought a pair in black.  I ordered one size larger than what I normally wear, and I'm glad I did.  I ordered mine through Amazon.com and got them cheaper than the price quoted here.  The BOGS brand goes with a variety of shoe styles, shown here

TRUDEAU   SILICONE   EGG   POACHER

I'm mixed on this product:  Silocone Egg Poachers   I do love poached eggs.  Can use an electric skillet or stovetop pan.  I used an electric skillet, about 200 degrees.  I oiled the inside of the poacher with cooking oil, then put the egg in it, put it in the skillet, then put the lid on.  The egg tasted kind of "flat" although I don't know if the taste was more about the way I cooked it, or the product.  Then, the egg still "stuck" to the poacher and I had to "dig" the egg out.  Not sure this is worth purchasing, not to mention, I'm still not sure whether making cookware out of silicone is a good idea healthwise.  

TRUDEAU  SILICONE  FOOD   STEAMER

I had good luck with this silocone food steamer .  However, it's a bit too big to use in a standard stovetop pan.  If you prefer to steam in a stovetop pan, stick with the metal version.  But if you have a large "stock pot," this steamer can be used in the stock pot and made great steamed vegetables.  Since using this, I have become a fan of steamed vegetables. However, I still wonder if silocone cookware is a good idea healthwise.
 
NORDICWARE   MULTIPOT

If you enjoy rice or pasta, this is a "must have" in your RV: NordicWare MultiPot  If you follow the directions exactly, to the letter, to include the rice "rinsing," it does a wonderful job with rice, gets it just to the correct "stickiness."  If you use it for long pasta, like spaghetti or fettucini, I recommend you break the pasta pieces in half.  Also, no more than two servings in this model for pasta.  This pot also steams vegetables, but I have not tried that feature yet.  Previously to having the MultiPot, I used this model:  NordicWare Microwave Rice Cooker .  This also worked well for rice and was able to handle long pasta without having to break it down.  However, the handle clips eventually broke off, and the rice cooker itself eventually melted, which led me to the purchase of the NordicWare MultiPot.                                                     


POWER STATION PS 5000 from Costco

No RV should be without one of these:  Power Station .  I love mine!  It has jumper cables to start a car, an air compressor for putting air in tires or mattresses, and some 12 volt and electrical connections.  The air compressor should NOT be run more than 10 minutes at a time.  I think I overtaxed it one time when I had a really low tire, and now the air compressor doesn't work right.  But no problem, I bought a portable air compressor from an auto supply store, and I plug it into one of the 12 volt connections.  I have used the electrical outlet to power up my computer when I have stopped at rest stops, thus avoiding use of the generator.  The electrical outlet is good for up to 300 watt appliances, wouldn't try to run a hair dryer or curling iron on it.  And, I have used the jumper cables a few times for starting cars.


BLACK & DECKER CITRUS JUICER

I like this device Citrus Juicer, it does a fairly decent job of squeezing out every last drop of juice from limes, lemons, and oranges.  Not so good on grapefruit.  With this appliance, you can adjust the strainer to have as much or as little pulp as you want.  However, the "strainer" part, to me, was difficult to clean. I'm not sure I got all the crevices clean, had to resort to a toothbrush to clean that part.  Good appliance for squeezing all the juice out, but sometimes I still prefer the old fashioned glass juicer dish that you can find in antique stores, like this glass juicer.

THETFORD STAY-TION SHOWER HOOK

The hook that holds my shower in place (I think it's called a "spray holder") cracked.  I cannot find a replacement, as the replacement parts in RV stores don't have the "installation holes" drilled in the right place.  One RV dealer told me that the kind of shower hook I have is from a place back east that they don't regularly trade with.  Another RV dealer told me that the kind of shower hook I have is "hard to find" right now.  So, I purchased a "suction" hook to hold my shower.  This is a new product from Thetford, the maker of a lot of RV products.  (At this time, I am unable to find a specific link to this product on the web.  Here is a link to where you can purchase this product as a "combo" with other products:  Shower Spray Holder  )  I tried it out.  My shower area has a "grainy" finish.  The suction hook will not stay on a "grainy" finish.  So, THUMBS DOWN on this product!

MICROFIBER  DRYING   MATS

I bought a Microfiber Drying Mat for my RV, I love it!  I use it on top of the "Oak Silent Top" described below.  It stays in place during transit as long as it's on the Oak Top. 

OAK "SILENT TOP" FOR STOVE

Go to Camco.net and do a search on "Oak Accents Silent Top."  I bought one of these from an RV dealer and I LOVE IT!  It gives you more counter space.  It was pretty easy to follow the template and instructions to install the rubber stoppers that grip the grill on the stove to hold it in place.  I have had no trouble with it during transit.  It stays in place!   However, you need to remove it from the top if you are cooking something below in a propane stove. 

READING   SUNGLASSES

So far, even at my "middle age," I don't need to wear regular glasses, just "reading" glasses.  I can see long distances, but I cannot read the dashboard of my car or RV without "reading" glasses.  This presents a problem when wearing sunglasses.  My car dashboard and my GPS unit screen are both blurry, yet I can see long distances through the windshield window.  I have seen people put sunglasses on top of regular glasses, so they are wearing "two" pairs of glasses.  To me, this looks, well, "doofy."  To alleviate this "doofy" look, there is an invention called FIT OVER SUNGLASSES .  This way, you don't have the "wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time" goofy look.  Good concept, and some people look great in them.  Not so hot on me.  So, at Costco, I found another solution.  You can purchase a product called READING SUNGLASSES.  I bought a pair.   Wow, I can shield my eyes from the sun, and still see my car or RV dashboard!  But, the problem went the other way.  Since they are "reading" sunglasses, I now cannot see long distances.

Ok, bottom line.  Reading Sunglasses are great for reading books while sunbathing on the beach, or general walking around.  But don't try to drive with them, or you will have to wear them low on your nose and look over them to see long distances.  Also, do not try to walk with them, because the ground will look like it has "dips" in it, and you will stumble.  And for heavens sakes, DON'T look through them while going down stairs unless you have the ability to train your brain to compensate. 


WEATHER ALERT RADIOS

Two different friends gave me, as gifts, two different weather alert radios as follows:

Eton Weather Tracker Model FR800 

Uses 3 "D" Batteries if you don't want to plug into electricity.

I cannot find a way to turn radio completely off when unplugged.  Therefore, when not plugged in, it uses battery power.   On the other hand, the use of the 3 "D" batteries seems to last a longer time than the other radio with the 4 "AA" batteries.

Programming this is cumbersome, I have to consult the manual each time I want to change the station or the counties I want to get alerts from.

I used this radio when I was in northeast North Dakota, and there was a storm that came that didn't show on either this radio or the TV.

(More to follow)

Midland All Hazards Weather Alert Radio Model WR-300 

Uses 4 "AA" batteries if you don't want to plug into electricity.

Can be turned completely off so the batteries aren't drained when it's unplugged from electricity.  On the other hand, the use of the 4 "AA" batteries didn't seem to last as long as the other radio with the 3 "D" batteries.

Programming is cumbersome, I have to consult the instruction manual each time I want to change programming.

But, the instruction manual is easy to follow. 

Instruction manual has a place for you to write down commonly used county codes.

Used this radio in 2013 when I was in central North Dakota and there was a storm alert on the TV, but radio never picked it up.

(More to follow)
____________________________________________________

Comments common to both products:

  • Both allow you to program in alerts for a specific county or to hear all alerts within your range. 
  • To get your S.A.M.E (and how this works) County Code for alerts, go to this web site: NOAA Weather Radio County Codes
  • Both allow you to tune in the NOAA weather reports that come over the seven radio frequencies .
  • Both have AM/FM radio listening.
  • Both come with an adaptor to plug into an electrical outlet.
  • There are parts of North Dakota where you apparently won't get alerts on either radio.
 I am alternately using both radios.  Not sure which is better than the other.

This website is a good supplement to your emergency radio:

EMERGENCY EMAIL


 
MATTRESS TOPPERS

Mattresses that come with RV's tend to be really BAD.  I tried these options:

  • "Memory Foam" Toppers - I tried two different "memory foam" toppers, one that I purchased at Costco, and one that I purchased at Wal-Mart.  Both were about 2 inches thick.  I found that "memory foam" toppers made it a little more comfortable, but created other problems (like, stiff neck, etc.)  
  • Egg Crate" Foam - I tried an Egg Crate foam, didn't really like it that well.
I finally found something that worked best for me.  It was a "combo."  It was "egg crate foam" on one side, and about a half inch of "memory foam" on the other side.  I purchased this at Wal-Mart.

UPDATE:  Although I found the "combo" to be more comfortable than the memory foam or egg crate, later, I developed "nerve pinch" issues in my shoulders and fingers which I believe are related to the use of these kinds of products.  Can't prove it, but I believe it to be so.  Thus, I discontinued to use the combo.  

3 comments:

Lynne said...

Hi Lady, Well my trip to Oklahoma was awesome. I've taken up birding and it was wonderful. ANYWAY, I bought a Magic Bullet for a blender for the RV and its really nice to have if your into smoothies.

Where is ur next stop. We are heading to Pacific Beach for a week in June and then nothing else planned.

RVing Toadless said...

Lynne! Sorry it took me awhile to publish your comment. I was at SeaQuest SP and had a lousy internet signal. I'm hosting at Ocean City SP next during June, then hosting in North Dakota for the summer. Hope you can come by Ocean City SP while you are at Pacific Beach.

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