Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adventures in the Desert

Little J and I went on our first foray into the desert. It was spectacular. The highs were in the mid-eighties, and there was a nice breeze. Hah! Bet you wish you were here, you Utah folks, eh? The trailhead that we took is only about five minutes from our place. Boo ya!

The desert definitely has its own beauty. It's stark and bare, but still brimming with life. While we were hiking we heard some loud buzzing and I'm pretty sure one of the saguaros we passed was filled with bees. Yeesh. We saw some great wildlife and got some great pictures.

This is the Guadalupe Range. Not quite mountains in my book, but still
pretty to look at.

Sympetrum corruptum. A Variegated Meadowhawk. My question is
who is it corrupting and why?

If the dragonfly knew I posted a picture of his underside on the
internet, he'd probably be pretty embarrassed.

Not even two and already summiting peaks.

Little J loved this little cottontail.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Great Gratefulness

I have been overwhelmed lately at how much we have to be grateful for.

First, let me say that we made it to Phoenix just fine, and we're all settled in. Now, on to the mushy stuff.

When we found out we were moving to AZ, we asked a few friends for suggestions on where to live, and what neighborhoods were safe, and we got a boatload of help. It seemed like everyone had a cousin or old roommate that lived in the area and they were chomping at the bit to get us in touch with them. We were recommended the area in which we now live, and we love it. We feel like we really picked a GREAT location, and we're so grateful for the input of all our friends.

We lived with my parents for two months while Josh was still unemployed, and we feel so grateful that they opened their home to us. Little J loved his time there, crawling around in all the old cars and digging in the dirt with sticks. It was a great experience for him, and I'm glad he got to spend so much time with his grandparents.

Then, when the time came to move, we ended up staying in Utah with our friends the LeSueurs for a few days while we packed everything in the moving truck. We are so grateful that they put up with a mischievous baby (who may or may not have pooped directly on their carpet. Oh my word. That's even more embarrassing now that I type it) who ran all over their house. They were so gracious and kind, and we're so grateful for their friendship and hospitality.

We had help from a member of our new church group help us move in when we got here, and we are so grateful for him helping Big J carry our couches, bed, and other large, extraordinarily heavy furniture up a flight of stairs.

And then there's this whole job thing that we have to be grateful for. Seriously. I feel like we should have Thanksgiving NOW, and not wait until next month. 

Anyway, here are some pictures of our new place.

Gotcha! It's actually a picture of the
always-adorable Little J playing with
a truck.

The view from our stairwell. Better than a poke in the eye
with a burnt stick, eh?

We live on the second floor. Sorry for all the thumps,
downstairs neighbors!

Le living room. 

Moving on from the living room into the dining room.

Kitchen. Dur.

We put the feeder up and no less than two minutes later
a hummer had visited. Yay!

Little J's face when he sees a hummer.

His look after it flies away.
I would post pictures of the other rooms, but they are not quite unpacked, and who really wants to see a bathroom?

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Ok guys, here's my first recipe post. My mom suggested we make corn chowder for dinner tonight, and I couldn't find a recipe I really liked, so I made a Franken-recipe. I combined a few, and added some ingredients of my own. Here we go:

Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

Serves 4 hungry people

2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 whole onion
2 cloves garlic
3 stalks celery
4 fresh corn cobs (or 2 1/2 C frozen corn)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
2 1/2 - 3 C milk
1/2 C shredded cheddar (optional)

Chop up the onion and garlic cloves and sauté them until softish. About 6 minutes. Peel and dice sweet potatoes into bite-sized cubes. Chop up the celery stalks into bite-sized pieces too. Shuck the corn and make sure all the silk is washed off. Slice all the corn off the cob and put it into the slow cooker.

Add all the rest of the veggies, including the softish onions and garlic. Add seasonings, with enough pepper to taste. Remember, in a slow cooker, flavors get more intense with time, so go easy on the pepper. Add enough water so that it's about an inch below the veggies in the crock pot, about 4 C. Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours, or until all the veggies are nice and soft.

Add the milk (enough to make it nice and creamy - the amount is up to you), bring back up to temperature and serve with some cheese grated on top, if you want. It is SO good. Trust me. To make it totally vegan, you can use unflavored rice or soy milk and omit the cheese. And if you're feeling carnivorous, add some rotisserie chicken or snausages.

It was so good that I didn't get to take a photo of it until it was all gone. See?
We went up to one of my favorite places and had dinner the other night - Green Ridge. The sunset was gorgeous, and Little J had a TON of fun walking down the switchbacks, watching birds, throwing rocks, etc. My mom, who is a fantastic photographer, took some great shots of him and our family. Man, this kid has one well-documented childhood.

See, he does have hair!

I love how he's always in awe of everything.

You get a preview of our Christmas card! Yay!