A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Disney Pep Talk Great For RV Families

Mom and children's book author Eileen Wacker hits the nail on the head when it comes to planning a summer (or anytime of year for that matter of fact) vacation with kids - be it an RV vacation or another type of getaway. Have a read and see how you can work this into your family's RVing plans.

Summer Trip Pep Talk 101
       Contributed by Eileen Wacker

Oh the sweet anticipation…

I am a mom with four kids aged 7 to 13 and I approach summer trips with trepidation. The end of the school year is arriving fast and summer vacations are around the corner. We save money all year and make sacrifices to ensure a summer trip is possible. We carve out precious “days off” from work and align everyone’s schedules, never an easy task given camps, events, activities and family commitments. So the stakes are as high as the expectations.

Reality sets in… and the Disney Pep Talk

My husband and I, first and foremost, abide by the “Disney Pep Talk” rule. Several years ago, we were visiting my brother’s family in California. They also have four children roughly the same age as ours so there is always lots of excitement when we get together. The night before we embarked on a Disneyland adventure, we received the equivalent of a pep talk from my brother as our elated children busily planned out departure times, the order of the rides and the foods they would eat, all in squealing, happy voices. 

Dan said, “Watch the families tomorrow. They have saved endlessly and looked forward to this trip to Disney FOREVER. But watch, inevitably many parents get stressed and yell at their kids. And this is at Disney which is probably the most fun place in the world.” From there, my husband and I started discussing a critical parenting question: “Why do kids, at times during every vacation, refuse to have fun or be fun? Or is it us and our approach?”

Sure enough, the next day in Disney, we saw children weeping in long lines with sweaty, sunburned faces. We saw disappointed parents watching children dropping or wasting their expensive food. We saw tired, writhing kids that could not be convinced to go on a certain ride with the parents yelling, “How can you not want to go on this? It’s why we are here!” We saw other parents shout, “We are on vacation in Disney. You should be having a great time and instead you’re complaining.” And, several parents were observed getting infuriated when their little one announced 45 minutes into a wait that he/she had to go the bathroom and could not hold it any longer. So my husband and I decided to create some strategies to enjoy vacation moments because our kids, like most kids, can act ungrateful and refuse to have fun in the most wonderful places.

We now have “Disney Pep Talk” before every vacation and use the tips below.

Seven strategies for traveling families:

1) Don’t expect kids to be grateful for all the sacrifices it takes to go on a trip. They are not going to thank you profusely or act wonderfully. Instead, watch for the moment of wonder or the “pure joy” smile – it is these “moments” that make the trip happy and memorable. Photograph those moments and it is all you will remember later.

2) Leave a little give in the schedule. Most kids are not naturally continuous “do-ers” on a vacation. If you have an agenda packed end to end with activities, the kids will start complaining and wish to stay somewhere and just hang out. Think of your kids sweating in Washington DC, hiking from monument to monument in the blistering heat and waiting in the sun at the Spy Museum. All good ideas but some down time is needed for them to retain their trip enthusiasm.

3) Let each person choose one event/activity and one restaurant destination during the trip. After we select our destination (even if it is a repeat), we put out a menu of options and each child can choose one of the options or propose something else. If one child chooses swimming, we make sure we get some swimming into the vacation, whether at a hotel pool or a beach. They also get to choose one type of food that we will be sure to eat. This is a huge hit with our kids and helps us minimize complaints during the trip. Our youngest and oldest like to do very different things but each knows that their treasured turn will come.

4) Set the expectation - traveling is a nightmare. Whether by plane or car, summer vacations are filled with other people on vacation and there are inevitable delays, traffic and waiting. Have a plan for the long waits. Don’t expect the perfect trip; if everything goes swimmingly, then it is a bonus. Electronics may be your best friend during these moments.

5) Everyone has to bring a book.
This is a big rule and my kids now look forward to going to the bookstore to select a special book for the trip. We have a kindle and the kids love to borrow the kindle to read. I also give extra credit for creating and writing in a journal; they can write words or draw or both. I give them $1 a page for quality journal writing. It is almost certain the kids will be asked to write something about their summer when school resumes so they are getting a head start.

6) Try to pack light and smart.
This is a basic but we all continue to “overpack” and drag around things we just don’t need. So now we sit down and make a list together, then make it an event. “Okay everyone bring down three pairs of pajamas”, then “everyone go get five shirts and one has to have a collar”, etc. And they have to carry what they pack.

7) Electronics are awesome but you need to set some ground rules about usage. The ipods, phones, ipads, DSs, and other devices are amazing and really help children stay distracted during the hectic travel challenges but they should not check out and not participate in the trip.

So, in summary, have the "Disney Pep Talk" and always take time to savor your moments of joy on the trip. Oh and make them go to the bathroom before you go anywhere. Happy travels!

Eileen Wacker, a Harvard Business School graduate, lived and worked in seven different countries, including the United States. Wacker now resides in Honolulu, Hawaii, with her husband and four children, one of whom is a daughter adopted from China. She is the author of the new children's book , Silent Samurai and the Magnificent Rescue, the third installment of the Fujimini Adventure Series.

For further information on the series, please visit

What do you RVing moms and dads think? Is this a strategy that might work for your on-the-road vacations? What other RV travel strategies have been successful in your camper? Leave a comment below.

Summer's just around the bend...start planning your summer family RV vacation...it'll be here before you know it :>  


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

RV Cooking Show Partners with RV Education 101

Hello RV Cooking Show friends,

We are so pleased to announce our latest RV TV partnership!

Combining forces to offer RVing consumers a learning resource for using and maintaining their RVs as well as discovering interesting RV destinations and delicious dishes, RV Cooking Show and RV Education 101 aim to help RVers become RV savvy in more ways than one.

RV Education 101 is the premier provider of educational videos, books and RV information and is also the producer of Mark’s RV Garage (watch Episode 1 here), an internet television how-to series teaching RVers the ins and outs of RVing. The RV Cooking Show, as you already know, is part RV travel guide, part cooking class on wheels, widely available across the internet on a number of popular RVing websites as well as the RV Cooking Show site, shares information about not-to-be missed RV destinations and shows RVers how to create fantastic destination-related dishes in their own RV kitchens.

"It’s a great fit for both of our audiences. There’s more to RVing than the RV itself," said Mark and Dawn Polk, co-owners of RV Education 101. "We want to offer technical information but we also want to provide relevant information on the entire scope of RVing. The joint venture with RV Cooking Show is a great way to help educate consumers about many aspects of RVing and for people new to RVing to see firsthand what it’s all about."

"Partnering with industry experts such as the Polks is a tremendous benefit to our audience. Their experience in RV know-how paired with our traveling and dining expertise serves viewers a well-rounded diet of RV smarts," remarked Evanne Schmarder, producer and host of the RV Cooking Show. "We are absolutely delighted to be associated with RV Education 101 and Mark’s RV Garage."

Dawn adds, "RV Education 101 is the industry's voice on operational and safety issues and RV Cooking Show is the industry’s voice on must-see destinations and location-related food preparation in the RV kitchen. RVers are hungry for both categories – travel and meal planning/preparation along with RV knowledge and information."

Here's to getting our RV-smarts on!!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

RV Kitchen Question

I recently received this RV kitchen question from a soon to be RVer:

We are avid RVers who are about to take off for a year or so with the goal of seeing all fifty states. My husband, three children, two cats and will be traveling in a travel trailer.

Our youngest child is gluten-intolerant and sensitive to a laundry list of things. I have all of her special flours/sugars in glass canisters (Pyrex or Anchor Hocking). I noticed that you cook using glassware. I’d prefer to stick with glass over plastic. How do you keep them from breaking while you travel?

Also, I’m concerned about some of the expensive flours not doing well under humid conditions or getting bugs in them. Do you ever experience this?

Here’s what I said:

How exciting your trip sounds! It may sound odd but a big part of it is where your kitchen is located. Rear kitchens tend to bounce more so cupboards may open and items may clink together. RVers combat this by using spongy shelf liner between glassware and placing items in a basket. They’ve also have been known to bungee the cupboards shut when traveling.

I have a middle kitchen and have had terrific luck. My shelves are lined and we take rough road/bumps pretty slow. Fortunately I’ve never broken anything. I set the clear Pyrex glass mixing bowls atop one another with the lids on them in the over the sink cupboards. The heavier Pyrex bowls go in a cupboard on the lined floor with shelf liner in between them. Glass wine glasses get laid on their side and wrapped in a dish towel when we roll. Small juice glasses and shot glasses sit upside down on the lined shelves above the sink. It’s a tight fit in there and that deters them from falling over and rolling around.

As for flour, etc. yes, you may get bugs. Humidity has not been a problem for us at all, though. I keep all my dry storage goods in a container (or the original package) and then in a large Ziploc bag – all air squeezed out and sealed tightly – and critters have not been a huge issue. If they are left anywhere air gets to them trouble could ensue. I’d suggest you put your glass containers in Ziplocs just in case.

I hope this is useful and I wish you safe and exciting journeys.

What do you think? Can you add any words of wisdom for our soon to be traveler? Do so in the comments section below.

If you like this post you might also like Top 10 RV kitchen Storage Solutions by guest blogger Kay Hasty.

Summer camping season is just around the corner. Are you getting your RV kitchen ready to roll?


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