Sunday, September 30, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Every Bloomin' Thing

Arizona landscaping never ceases to amaze me. Something is blooming in the desert all year long, no matter if it's 105 degrees outside. Here's a sampling:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

One Goes Shopping!

What does one do with one's self when one has 4 hours to kill in Scottsdale? One goes shopping! There are a few stores I like to drop into when I'm there:

Crate & Barrel for a platter, an Autumn dish towel and a real, live gravy boat. Now I won't have to serve gravy in that beige 80's era Corning ware casserole dish with the mushrooms on the side. It's going to blow my family's collective mind.
Whole Foods for their Zum lavender soap. Best smelling soap ever.
Trader Joe's. Not for the organic foods that the tree huggers buy there, but for their reusable shopping bags. You just can't beat them. Does using reusable grocery bags make me a tree hugger?
Nothing Bundt Cake for 2 of their Bundtlettes, lemon and chocolate chocolate chip. Heavenly. Delectable. I'm not a huge dessert person, but I'd never say no to these. There's a store in Sandy if you want to track them down. I highly recommend you do.
My favorite horse store, The Pampered Horse and Rider, has gone out of business. Major bummer.

After all that shopping I went back to our friend's house and put my feet up. Since it is an amazing house, I felt like I was in the lap of luxury.
It's easy to feel like that in Scottsdale.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Into The Wide Blue Yonder

Bruce earned his pilot's license way back in the 90's when the kids were just little. After a while he let it lapse, but now he's re-certified and working on qualifying in bigger planes. He rented a plane in Ogden and flew to Scottsdale last Wednesday for a week of intense training and tests. I got to go down for the weekend! :)

He took me to the ultra-ritzy Scottsdale airport to show me the plane he's been flying. Apparently they roll out a real red carpet here and valet your car right up to your plane. And give you ice cream sandwiches.
 As small planes go, it was cute (and newer than I had expected):
But if you know Bruce, then you know there is always a bigger plan. He dragged me over to this much bigger, much faster plane- oh, how he'd love to fly one of these:
And I'm sure that somewhere in the back of his head he has plans for one of these:
(Sigh). You have to give him credit for enthusiasm! When Shannon and I would be at Scottsdale horse shows, we would see shwanky private jets coming in to land at the Scottsdale airport. It's strange to think that Bruce is doing that- maybe not in a private jet, but still doing it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grapefest 2012

Grape picking season is in full swing at our house. This is the time of year when I'll come home from work and find several unknown cars in my driveway. I just assume their owners are picking grapes.
The boys came home for a bit of grape picking. Brian works so fast that his pruners are a blur!
Gus had lots of fun with the grape pickers. He ran under the clippings and bushes and hid, waiting to pounce on hapless victims.
This was after a tough morning of being attacked and stung by wasps and falling into the pool. There's so much to learn about The Big Outdoors.
 If any of you need grapes, let us know!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Suprise Party

We had a surprise party at our house last weekend. Not that the party itself was a surprise, but the fact that it was at our house was a bit of a shock. I found out on Thursday afternoon while at work that we'd be hosting our church's High Priest dinner that Saturday. Funny thing was, I didn't panic. We just tried to clean things up as best we could and that was all we could do.Brian and Peter came down Saturday morning to spiffy up the pool and the yard (and do their laundry!).

I put balloons on the fence to make things festive.
 It was a pool fountain-worthy occasion.
We had about 50 people come, and the group leadership did all of the set up and take down, which made things nice for us.
Bruce's dutch oven cherry cobbler was very popular,
And he always enjoys giving tours of our somewhat summer-weary garden.
Now that it's over it was really no big deal. It's probably a good thing that I didn't have much notice. Maybe I should do all of my parties that way! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stormaggedon, Dark Lord of All

Gus is getting big enough to try out his intimidation skills on anyone who will stand still. Here's what it looks like:
Stormaggedon. Dark Lord of All

Yeah, he's all that. All 3 pounds of him. It's actually a little freaky. I think we might have found ourselves an attack cat.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Zinnias Go Public

My zinnias have been all the rage this summer! They were even the featured flowers at a wedding reception this past weekend:
My VT partner had seen them earlier this summer and asked if she could use some at her son's wedding open house. They looked pretty mixed with some more fashionable flowers:
I took my camera to the reception so I could document their debut:
I was proud of them. (Sorry about all that left tilting!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blackberry Pie Bars

With our bounty of blackberries, I made this tasty dessert! We warmed it and put vanilla ice cream on top and it was a big hit. You could probably use any kind of berry, don't ya think? Plus it has that trendy Greek yogurt in it, and we all know how trendy I am!

Blackberry Pie Bars- 9x13 pan

Crust & Topping
3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
zest of 2 lemons

4 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. Greek yogurt
3/4 c. flour
pinch of salt
5 c. fresh blackberries or 2 16oz. pkgs. frozen blackberries, defrosted and drained.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut with pastry cutter until crumbly. Press 2/3 of this mixture into pan. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes until it is golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes while you make the filling.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, Greek yogurt, flour and salt. Whisk until smooth. Gently fold in berries. Spoon mixture evenly over crust.

Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over filling. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Cool for 1 hour before serving.

Picture Tutorial!

Here's the crust/topping all chopped up and ready to go:
The crust gets pressed into the pan:
 Look at those berries!!!
 Here's the filling in a bowl:
 And in the pan, ready to bake:
 Don't forget to put the rest of the topping on:
 And it comes out looking like this:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Parmesan Garlic Orzo

Have you ever cooked with orzo? I hadn't until the other night. This was a tasty pasta, and with the fresh tomatoes from the garden it was super yummy! I didn't have any fresh parsley, so I sprinkled in some Italian Seasoning .

Parmesan Garlic Orzo- 4 servings
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook orzo in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir garlic in melted butter until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir orzo into garlic mixture and mix in Parmesan cheese, milk, salt, black pepper, and parsley. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Accessories Make The Outfit

So, how did I go about making my new Jeep more "me"? Well, I started with this:
Then I had a tougher decision. Which Disney antenna topper should I use? I know- it was almost impossible to decide.

Mickey Pirate?
Scarier Pirate with skull?
Mickey Sorcerer?
Not the Mickey Butterfly.
Maybe the sparkly Golden Mickey Ears.
Or the Mickey Cruise Line topper.
In the end I chose:
Mickey Superman! Perfect! And just think- I can use the other holiday toppers I have through the year!