The Camper Solution

My youngest is afraid of dogs – and my mother has lots of dogs. We had dogs growing up and they were everywhere.  Having them in the house wasn’t perfect, but it was something we put up with to see my mother. The dogs would come in and have to follow my mother everywhere, then they would try to escape every time she left and if she wasn’t in the house they would try to escape anytime we tried to go in and out.  Not making it easy for any of us.  The final straw came when the dogs brought some fleas in the house and we couldn’t get them out.  The dogs were treated, but the fleas seemed to be super fleas.  They were on everything and everywhere. We tried everything from lighted flea traps to borax acid.  We even started a contract with Terminix to try to clear the house of the fleas.  (Terminix was probably the least helpful of all)  I’m allergic to the smell of bug spray too, so it went very poorly.  We didn’t want to go through that every time my mother visited, but we wanted my mom to be able to visit… so my mother bought a camper.

My mother wanted a C Class Camper, but couldn’t find one, so she settled for a 17 foot 2017 Jayco.  The dogs seemed happy, my youngest was happy that they were staying outside, and mom had her own place.  The camper had a full bathroom with a tub and shower, kitchen, and separate bed and table.  The AC worked so well it had to be turned down each time.

My mother ended up finding a Class C a couple months after getting the Jayco, so we are now in the process of selling the Jayco and replacing it with the RV.  (Anyone know someone that wants a 2017 Jayco 17′ Camper? )






Sold Out – Favorite Meal

When you have a person that will only eat certain foods, it’s tough when they sell out. We have a tough time also when the company changes their packaging (that’s actually worse since the food is off the menu permanently)….  Some kids (and adults) with special needs have difficulty eating different foods. They have very sensitive tastes and are sensitive to texture. Asking them to eat something different is the equivalent to asking someone without their sensitivity to eat food that has been rolled around in the mud.

They look at the food and can’t handle the thought of how bad it will taste to them.  The thought that the food might great in their mouth like sandpaper in some cases.  Once in a while, in the right place, at the right time, they will work up to trying something…. but like getting you to eat something that you know was swooshed around in a toilet they will hold out forever if you try to just wait them out for dinner.  Looking at the offending food, what they actually see is the equivalent of food that has been swooshed in the toilet.

I’m frequently faced with people just saying, just make him eat.  It’s hard to explain to people why that’s not realistic.  In our house we have a few foods that are popular, but these Pop N Chicken are the most popular for dinner.  Someone else seems to really like them too and clears them out pretty frequently at our Kroger.  I buy even more when they are on sale and keep our freezer stocked with them.  My youngest knows how to cook them himself even!

The picture is from Kroger and I wasn’t the one that cleared the shelf. It was empty when I arrived.  We have three Kroger stores in town and I’ve had some desperate days where I’ve run a little too low and had to run to all three.  I’ve also had people make snide comments when there have only been three or four left and I’ve taken them, and they have been looking…. the grandfather who apparently was looking for the same thing made comments when I offered to let him have a couple from the coveted few that I had managed to find. Comments about how he grew up on a farm (yo, so did I) and if I starve my child he will be forced to eat anything offered. My word for that is child abuse.  Starving a child with special needs in the desire to force them to eat food that they have issues with…..


I’m amazed with how many people make comments that are insensitive and intrusive.  I also remember as a child my father refusing to take us out to eat because he felt that I was too difficult to manage.  We will never do that to our own children and personally I won’t let anyone make them feel bad about having a brain that is wired differently.  Our solution going out to eat usually just involves bringing a meal for our youngest.  I’ve even gotten washable containers that I can put his meal in and fill a compartment with ketchup.  Nothing like walking into a pizza place carrying McDonalds for your son, and always taking a meal from home to a Mexican restaurant.

My favorite containers have compartments and are washable.  We don’t eat out often, but when we do it’s a perfect solution.   BTW: my youngest calls these smiley fries, because the popn chicken comes with French fries in the shape of smileys.

iCoffee – Review

I love coffee makers.  I decided to try the icoffee after hearing about it from some friends!   It does use the Keurig K Cups, so that was a big plus.  I was excited to try a new maker that was rumored to have less bitter tasting coffee.


The first thing you notice is that the iCoffee has a pretty neon color glow. I loved that!  It didn’t have a clock, which was okay given that we have a bunch of clocks throughout our kitchen anyway…  So I was set up and ready to go!

Cup Size

Before making your coffee you need to turn a dial to choose what size cup you would like to fill. You can see on my picture I had chosen 8 ounces.  The selections went down to 4 ounce, but won’t fill a big carafe.  I think 12 ounce was the biggest I could fill in one go.  Each new friend that dropped by, I had to give instructions on making coffee.  Turn the dial to pick your coffee size and then press the unmarked center of dial.



Unlike my Keurig which seemed to always have hot water ready, the iCoffee took a while to make a cup each time.  My morning begins with walking in, picking a cup, sticking it under the maker, put in a Kcup and hit the button.  I’d love instant coffee.  Keurig pretty much provided quickly…. iCoffee didn’t have as quick of a gratification.  Later in the day puttering around the kitchen I can live with that, but seriously, first thing in the morning…  UGH… I want coffee.


To me they taste the same.  I’m probably not the best to rate taste though….  I do drink my coffee black, but I drink coffee because I love Mt Dew!  I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar and when comparing the calories between black coffee and soda, it’s an amazing difference.  Keurig also has options for Hot Chocolate (not as calorie conscious), chicken noodle soup, teas, and more!  For coffee though I tended to stick to the milder coffees normally.  I did find one that I love, but it’s a bolder flavor – Death Wish Coffee!  It’s now on my favorite list. The iCoffee claims a taste difference because of it’s spin brew technology.  Spinning the water through all the coffee so that the coffee beans are used evenly.  I’m not really sure how much that affects taste in reality.  I think so many other things with the beans make more difference, age, acid level, and more!


I love the look of the iCoffee and I love that I can choose the size of the cup… but the instant gratification I feel with the Keurig rates high on my list. Buying a new coffee maker now, I would go with a Keurig.  The K475 was what I previously had which also allowed for – K-CUP POD BREW SIZES: (4, 6, 8, 10, 12 oz.) and a Carafe (22, 26, or 30oz).  The only thing left that the iCoffee had on my Keurig was the cool neon look and I think I can live without that for a quick cup of coffee.

Homemade Whipped Cream

I decided to make my own whipped cream! It’s really easy to do and tastes great! I can control the ingredients too.

I used cream for mine and vanilla.  I have my kitchen aid mixer, but a blender or food processor would have worked also. To mix it up, I added my cream and put in little vanilla. I didn’t really measure but I would say it was about a tablespoon of vanilla.

I then mixed everything until the whipping cream was the right consistency.  If you would like the whipping cream sweeter – you could add sugar… I didn’t though.  I was planning to put my whipped cream on strawberries, so I was pretty excited just to have the vanilla flavoring added.  I did take a little of the extra left over and froze it. I’m going to see if it works out as a replacement for ice cream. I think maybe a little sugar would have worked well with the frozen cream?

It did work out well though!  I haven’t tried it with low fat cream yet, but that may be my next try.

iFit – With Treadmill

iFit finally started working with our treadmill!  It took many calls to the company and a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, but they finally got the software working.

iFit does have an entire community that you can interact with.  Additionally in the software you can design your own route and download it to your iPad to work with your treadmill.  The iPad hooks to the treadmill through Bluetooth.

The Set up:

While trying to get it to work we started with our original iPad.  After many tries the company informed us that the treadmill wouldn’t work at that time with an older iPad.  Newer iPads were expensive, so we decided to try an Android tablet.  We ran to Best Buy and got a cheap tablet, only to find that the Android tablet got an error too.  Knowing the iPad better, we invested in a new iPad – we had already spent too much on the treadmill, so figured may as well go for the iPad too… and I’d use it for other things.  Shortly after, we found that the iPad was getting the same error.  The company then informed us that despite the box saying iOs ready, it wasn’t… and since the Android didn’t work either, they would have to investigate.


The investigate went on for a few months.  Every week I would receive the story that the system would work next week.  Needless to say it didn’t.

Finally working:

When it did finally work, it was just happenstance that I tested it and it worked.  I already had the routes downloaded and the iPad had already been connecting.  The system had been giving a firmware update all along.  It finally resolved itself and the app moved on. Inside the app,  I can choose where I would like to walk.  The app then adjusts the speed and elevation of the treadmill to match the training program.  You can manually change the adjustment, but as it goes through it’s paces it will change as you move along.

The system does have different views that let you see the map that shows the route, or you can see the view.  Only some areas are available, and we found that you have to have a really good internet connection to view the location.  For us it only worked a couple times.  – I have to say I was not impressed and can’t recommend it.


The treadmill adjusting itself with the app was cool!  – but the lack of support, difficulty in getting the system working, and much higher cost definitely made it not worth the cost.  BitGym definitely won out!