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2013 craft party

Happy October

I am so happy that it is finally October!

anne of green gables

I love October!!!

getty image

Now that I got that off my chest, allow me to invite you to the …

bean stuffed

2013 Fall Craft Party


If you join us, you’ll be armed with glue guns, burlap, mercury glass paint, booze, twine, yummy food and much much more!  It’s time to get busy making fun home and holiday decor. (That rhymed accidentally, don’t expect it to continue!)

herb bundles

Thursday, October 17, 2013
5 PM
$20 per person plus individual project fees
Hopkins’ Home in Equestrian Manor
12007 N 62nd Place
Scottsdale, AZ 85254


Here’s the scoop – The basic class fee is $20 per person. You pay that to register and just for the opportunity to bask in the glow of “fall crafting”!!!  OK, it actually covers the food, booze, and some of the most basic supply costs, such as glue sticks and cheap paint brushes.

cloche pedestal

When you arrive, you’ll receive a number. The first to arrive (on time, not like 2 hours before, for God’s sake!) gets #1 and the last gets #18, or whatever is the last number, determined by how many people sign up.


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October 1, 2013   4 Comments

package dinner

thighs and veggies

It’s hard to get back into the groove of making dinner after a 3-week trip away from home. This all-in-one meal was the perfect “ease into it” dinner to get me up and going again.

lots o rain

I had planned on cooking the chicken and vegetable foil packets outside on the grill, but we had torrential downpours all day long. Not that I’m complaining! We LOVE rain in AZ and using the oven worked just as well.

carol's porch

Yes, we love rain in the desert, even when it floods our backyards and patios – as it did at my neighbor, Carol’s, house. Carol posted this on her Facebook page yesterday and graciously allowed me to use it.

I was out driving around in the flooded streets, determined to get to Sweet Salvage this month. More on that tomorrow.

AZ arial

I not only love rain, I also LOVE coming home, no matter how wonderful a trip we’ve had. I try to get the window seat on the plane because it brings me complete joy to look at my beloved Arizona and my hometown when we fly over it. Yep, it may be cliche, but there really is no place like home.

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July 22, 2013   2 Comments

Superstition Farm

Before I tell you about Superstition Farm, I must mention my shock and sorrow over a tragedy that occurred here in Arizona late yesterday.

Nineteen firefighters – all members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots – an elite response team, were killed Sunday battling a fast-moving wildfire near Yarnell, marking the deadliest single incident for firefighters since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The fire, which investigators believe was sparked by lightning, also destroyed more than 200 homes and buildings in the town which is home to about 700 people.

A photojournalist friend of mine was there and posted this on his Facebook page yesterday at 7:30 pm.

Chenco FB photo

via Chencho Flores

This morning, Chencho said it best on his Facebook post:

“Finally home after one of the longest and most heartbreaking days of my career. Say a prayer for the families of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots.”

Offering my thoughts and prayers for the heroic souls lost and the families and friends left behind. God bless them all. Absolutely heartbreaking.

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July 1, 2013   3 Comments

worth repeating

This is a recipe I posted nearly four years ago, very soon after the birth of this blog.

Since it’s been so long and is buried deep in the archives, I feel it’s time to remind you about the summertime goodness and refreshment of my cucumber martini.

Cool cucumber, tart lime, luscious lime-simple syrup, herbal gin, and a boat-full of ice  …  what more could a parched girl living in a sweltering, arid, suffocatingly hot, dry, scorched, oven-like desert want?

OK, honestly, maybe a bowl of ice cream … but even without the ice cream, this cocktail will do just fine!


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June 29, 2013   No Comments

Poached Peaches with Streusel

ripe on the tree

When we left for Hawaii on May 22, the peaches on my tree looked as if they would be ripe any day.

Connor would be coming home on the weekends while we were away and Marissa was home one short weekend for the wedding shower of her college roommate, Paige.

marissa and paige

The wedding is in August and Marissa is a bridesmaid.

I told both the kids and my dad to keep and eye on the peaches and to please please please pick and eat them. I hated the thought of the luscious fruit going to waste.

If not picked, they’d either fall off the tree and rot, or more likely, the bugs would get to them as soon as they ripened. The idea of it made my stomach actually ache.

the perfect peach

When we arrived home on June 3rd, surprisingly there were still peaches on the tree! My dad said that they were always hard as rocks when he checked and I never did remember to ask the kids if they had any.

box of peaches

The little fruit flies, gnats, or whatever those nasty little bugs are, had already been to work on more than 2 dozen of the peaches, but I was able to pick a decent boxful! Joy!

I made a delicious Peachy-Chicken entree one night (coming soon to a post near you) and today I am using the last of the peaches for this dessert.

It’s a partially-make-ahead dish. I’m starting it today and we will be enjoying it on Sunday for Father’s Day.

Of course, I had to make one serving from start to finish so I could photograph and post it for you today.

The things I do and the sacrifices I make for you people!

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June 14, 2013   3 Comments

from trash to treasure

While riding our bikes home from Lisa’s Cinco de Mayo party a couple Sunday’s ago, we spotted a neighbor’s “trash” on the side of the road. Amy, Scott, Ronnie, Dave, and I made a u-turn on our snazzy wheels to check it out.

the crew on the couch

There was a big screen television, a satellite dish, four Adirondack chairs, a bunch of boxes and toys… and a rustic outdoor couch. We moved the TV to the street, piled onto the couch and snapped a photo of our intoxicated selves. What can I say… that tequila punch was really potent… and tasty!

Then we rode our bikes home and Scott and I went back with my car, because I needed that couch! Either Dave was too tipsy or more likely, too embarrassed, because he wanted nothing to do with my dumpster diving ways.

Note: Drinking and driving don’t mix… this house is in our gated community, no intersections or major streets were involved in the excursion… it is only two cul-de-sacs away.

so close

As a point of reference, in the photo above, I am standing in my backyard looking across at Ronnie’s house. The “trash pile” was in the next cul-de-sac – just behind her house. The big trash pick-up was the next morning. Please forgive.

When we drove around the corner, we were aghast! There was another car there, picking up stuff. They better not lay their grubby hands on that couch of mine! Alas, all they wanted was two of the Adirondacks.

We loaded up my couch, I dropped Scott off at home, and then forced Dave to help me unload it. He begrudgingly obliged.

rustic not trash

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May 14, 2013   6 Comments

up up and away

Since we moved our Mom and her 90 year old husband, Bill, into assisted-living, things have been swiftly going downhill for Bill. I’ve had him in the ER and Sloane receives dozens of phone calls a day from him, as he repeats the same concerns, problems, and fears over and over again.

Sloane stops by to check on them every single day after work (and sometimes before). Every Day! On her way home from a full day’s work! She’s been doing this for months! I know… she is amazing and I try to tell her so!

Anyhow, Bill is extremely unhappy, completely confused, very anxious, and his health is rapidly declining before our very eyes. It was decided last week (when I had him in the ER) that he would go back to Michigan to be with his family, at least for the time being.

Sloane has a demanding full time job and since I do not, I volunteered to be the one to get him there.


As a result I shall do my best to repeat the Dalai Lama’s wise words to myself for the next 20 hours! You will understand why when you see my itinerary for today:

Arrive at my sister’s home at 5:30 AM. Leave my car there. Sloane and I pick up Bill and she’ll drive us to Sky Harbor International Airport.

Bill and I depart Phoenix on Southwest Airlines at 7:40 AM
Arrive in Chicago Midway at 1:00 PM

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April 10, 2013   10 Comments

salty sow

For years there was a terrible Chinese all-you-can-eat restaurant not far from our home on Cactus Road. I scoffed at it each time I drove by, wondering how such an awful place could stay in business for such a long time.


Then one day, last month, I drove by and if by glorious magic, it was gone! In its place stood a new intriguing looking eatery called Salty Sow, with the subtitle Swine+Wine+Beer.


Sounds like a kingdom of bacon, count me in!


Before I got around to making a reservation, our neighborhood Birthday Girls Group scheduled lunch there for Amy’s birthday. Yay!


Yay, because birthday lunches are fun…


…and yay, excited to go to a new place…


… with good friends!


I didn’t take photos of all the food, that would be tacky… just of mine, Amy’s and Robyne’s, who were sitting next to and across from me. Very discrete!


The Birthday Girl had the the Pig Panini, which she thoroughly enjoyed.


Robyne had Open Faced BLT with Egg.


I had the Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad – delicious!

Connor and I ordered take out from the Salty Sow on Saturday night.

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April 8, 2013   8 Comments

Yesterday, I saved a life

Do you remember back in April 2011 when I saved 9 little quail chicks? If not, HERE is that story.


Yeah, that’s a sweet little tale.
I like quail.

But… I LOVE hummingbirds.
Love. Them.

I feel that hummingbirds and I are kindred spirits.
We are naturally attracted to each other.


I’ve blogged about my love for them before. Here, here, and here – to show but a few.

Yesterday I spent the day better part of the day bringing a beautiful little hummingbird, that was on death’s door, back to life.

love him

Yes, this is him.

This was not the first or the second or even the third time I’ve held a hummingbird in my hand. It’s the forth time! But it was the first time I saved one’s life. Here is what went down -

I was in the backyard, watering plants, when I heard a rustling in the brown crackly canna lily that is frozen to a crunchy crisp from last week’s arctic blast.


Before the freeze, the plants looked like this, and now they are trashed. No worries, they’ll come back better and bigger in the spring. But for now, yuck.

So, I hear the noise and look over and see a hummingbird fly up, up from the gravel and dead leaves. I think, “What was he doing down there?” You don’t often see hummers on the ground.

hurt hummingbird

I walk over to see what he could have been attracted to and I see another hummingbird laying there with a hurt wing.

ouch bird

I pick him up and put him on a towel on the kitchen counter. Then I mix up some sugar water to feed him.

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January 24, 2013   9 Comments

frozen tundra


In case you’re not local and just in case you haven’t heard – we’ve been freezing here in the desert this past week.

Literally freezing.
It’s not right.
This is the desert!
That land of saguaro cactus and yucca, not ice and snow!


Winter is our prime time! It’s what we live for, perfect weather! Not freezing temps that damage our desert loving plants. (Yes, those are sheets covering plants and trees in my backyard.)

We aren’t supposed to be moaning and groaning about the weather now, that’s what we have 6 months of summer for … 115+ degree days … that’s our moaning and groaning time.

small portion

I am not happy! Not happy because it forced me to get out and try to pick as many of my Meyer lemons as I possibly could pick in one day. I wasn’t able to get them all. Close, but not all. The photo above represents about 1/4 of the crop I got off the tree.

My dad took home a full crate plus a full shopping bag.


The tree was the most prolific it has ever been. Here is what it looked like on Thanksgiving day.

so many meyers

So many lemons, that they were laying on the ground, still attached to the tree. The weight of them brought them down that far.

In late November and early December, I picked all the low lemons and took several bags to Les Gourmettes, to share with the teachers and students there.

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January 16, 2013   5 Comments