We Moved!

Hi Guys! So a lot has happened since our last post, including us leaving the desert!
We made the trek the last week in November, and spend Thanksgiving with family along the way. img_8253

If you have been following us on Instagram, you may have seen our name has changed to @WorldinourBackyard. We changed the name for a couple reasons, mainly because we wanted our blog to be more friendly for both Joe and I to post to it, but also because we moved right around the corner from Walt Disney World! 58dfde99-a628-4b25-b499-f40a554ec611

We’ve also had other big changes. I got a new job! We are now a family of telecommuters and are enjoying the freedom that comes from working from home. img_9691

Lil Rocket Man turned four! We celebrated with the Grands at Disney over the weekend. He is really becoming a Disney Kid, since we have AP we go once a week/bi-weekly. He has distinct favorite rides and parks, and he gets excited about characters like Figment and Duffy that only true Disney Parks fans care about. He tells everyone we meet that we live in Florida (but we know he still misses his friends from Arizona because he asks to go to their houses.)



With all these changes we decided the blog was in need of a change too! We are moving it to www.worldinourbackyard.com to give it a facelift and let it reflect our new surroundings. We will be blogging about our adventures, living in central Florida, and what it is like with all the different “Worlds” just a few minutes away. We hope to give tips and reviews of current places and events happening at Disney World and beyond but also practical stuff like how we save money and get out of debt. We still love libraries and kids lit so you can also expect to see some of that too! Join our Adventures on Instagram @WorldinourBackyard and Facebook @TheWorldInOurBackyard ! We hope to See Ya Real Soon!

Ana and Joe



Comfort Food

Hey Everybody! So I’ve been playing with what day on the week to post on with, and with school starting back up it may move around some… but since I had been planning to post about food in the desert today, Free Tea Day 2016 seemed like a perfect day to share. IMG_7196

Growing up mainly in the South, and on the gulf coast more specifically, I didn’t know quite what to expect when it came to food options when we moved out here. I didn’t think that we would find sweet tea, or really any “Southern” foods. I had no clue what were typical Arizonan foods… the only thing we were really warned about was the white queso, which just so happens to be lil man’s favorite food… Yikes! IMG_7174 So here’s the fun thing about living in a large metropolitan area, there are a ton of transplants (like us) from all over the country. And do you know what happens when a ton of people from different places show up? They all bring their favorite foods, stores, and restaurants with them, and with so many people, businesses jump at the chance to join the area. There are only two McAllister’s Delis in Arizona, but they are here, and we could enjoy Free Tea Day! Do you know what? There are a ton of chain restaurants that serve sweet tea! Not everyone of course, but Cracker Barrel, Raising Caine’s, Culver’s, Rudy’s BBQ, Chick-fil-a, McAllister’s Deli,… all serve sweet tea and there are probably more I have forgotten. IMG_7200

We also get to enjoy new things, like Hawaiian BBQ, fry bread tacos, cactus fries and rattlesnake. But if we get a craving for red beans and rice, there’s a Cajan place. I have even heard about a place that serves blue crab! It has been fun to be in this melting pot that includes people from all around the world, including people from close to home. IMG_7134

Speaking of melting pot… This weekend, we found white American cheese to make White Queso!!! We are still playing with the ratios, but lil man was over the moon. If you want to try our tweaked and maybe tweaked again recipe because you like us are no longer in the land of melty amazing white queso, here it is. Enjoy!

White Queso

White cheese dip, just like you find at Mexican restaurants east of the Mississippi


1/2 lb White American Cheese (can be found in the deli)
1 oz of the juice from a can or jar of jalapenos
3 or 4 jalapeno slices diced finely
1 cup whole milk
Salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.
Restaurant style or lightly salted corn chips to serve


  1. Slice or cube American cheese
  2. Place all the ingredients in the crockpot on low for 1-2 hours or until melty.
  3. Add more milk if needed to help with consistency.
  4. Enjoy on lightly salted or restaurant style corn chips.

Hope everyone is having a great summer! School starts next week for lil man and tomorrow for me. Life is going to look a little different around here, but we will still be cooking and going on adventures in our free time. Follow along with us, on Facebook and Instagram.


Embracing the last drops of Summer Vacation

It’s that time of year for us. School related emails are coming regularly. One IKEA trip has been made. I am planning out school lunches. We register lil man for preschool Wednesday! And I am trying to rest that God is going to give us our Daily Bread, not that he will give me strength for the whole year right this moment. So I am embracing today, my last Friday of Summer. IMG_7058

This week, to avoid freaking out, I have been trying to rest in one day at a time. I am resting in impromptu trips with friends, a day at the Children’s Museum, game nights, dinosaur movies from the library, weekly Bible studies, moments of drinking coffee, and spending time God. I am avoiding Pinterest, and I’m spending less time on Facebook and Instagram. I haven’t darkened the door of a school supply store, because those things will come, probably sometime next week. God is teaching me to trust that He is enough for today. He is enough for tomorrow. And He is enough for every single day this school year. IMG_7062

This is big for me. In years past, I would spend hours on Pinterest all Summer, and I would be overloaded with all the “best things” to do in my classroom, but walk away exhausted and my head full of ideas that were rarely used. I’m getting overwhelmed even thinking about it. I would worry and wish time away, instead of enjoying the moments and days that I could enjoy with my family and friends. Even when I was with friends, I was worried about what I wasn’t doing to get ready for the next year. I would spend hours staring at blank classroom walls and the computer, because I felt I had to have the whole year planned before school began. Daily Bread.

IMG_7063So today, we may stay in PJs all day and watch movies, read books, play with Legos… Today is a day for resting and not worrying about next week or the week after. Today is for filling my mind with God’s promises. Today is for giving myself grace and enjoying the now God has given me. I hope your today is filled with good things too. IMG_6809

I have really enjoyed getting to share our life and adventures this summer, and I am planning on still posting once a week, with grace, during the school year. We are on Facebook and Instagram  if you want to follow our adventures between posts. We would love to hear from you, so please leave comments and questions below. 

Wind, Water… Dirt?

Happy July! Hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th. Our community/neighborhood does a big todo with a bike parade, party with different contests, a pool party, and fireworks. So we got to be festive, which if you have been keeping up with us for very long you know we like to embrace the cheese. (That reminds me, Cow appreciation day is coming up on July 12th, pardon me while I pull out my cow costume for free chicken.) Anyway… After kicking our day off with the parade and party, we enjoyed some of Hubby’s awesome BBQ skills, I made my first apple pie, we partied with friends, and finished the night watching fireworks with neighbors. Great day doing things we enjoy with people we love! 13612337_10100140440288948_3622525965224817340_n

I had planned on just doing this fun post about the holiday, and all the fun baking, ect…But then Friday happened and I just have to share about our crazy trip through a Monsoon! IMG_6624

It’s Monsoon season here, kind of like how we have hurricane season for the coast. We had been told a bit about Monsoons, some people love them, others hate them, so needless to say we got a few mixed messages. For friends who have no clue what I’m talking about, monsoons are large storms that while they can dump a ton of rain, are also known because they push up crazy dust clouds called haboobs. For example, in the picture above you can see half the cloud looks like a crazy amount of rain, some of the other half is dust. When I took it I thought I was just taking a fun rain storm picture… then I kept driving.


I realized the closer I got home that I would be driving into the crazy cloud of dirt that the storm was kicking up. (Click on the picture to see video of driving through it) The longer a storm blows through the more dust it picks up, thankfully this storm hadn’t been going for very long, so while it was a bit freaky to drive through dirt were I could barely see the cars on the other side of the road but it was only for a few seconds. Birds were having a hard time flying because of the wind, and the temperature dropped from 103 to 77 in less than 10 minutes!


The rain was crazy cold! We are so used to the hot, nasty, just makes the air muggy kind of summer rain back on the coast. This was amazing and refreshing! Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t want to be driving through massive clouds of dust, but the rain makes it all worth it. The cool temps don’t stay around forever but a short reprieve even if for an hour or two is just good for the soul. IMG_6659

Monsoon season is from June 15 through September 30, so hopefully we get to enjoy a few more of these reprieves before the season ends. Wondering what we’re up to between posts? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see our crazy adventures.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

Can you believe it? In one week it is the 4th of July! We are over half way through our “summer,” since I go back to teaching and lil man starts PreK at the end of July! We have been enjoying our bits of freedom, like hanging out with friends on weekdays, borrowing loads of movies from the library, baking like there’s no tomorrow, and taking naps in the middle of the day for no other reason than we can. It is glorious, and probably even more so because I know it is coming to an end way too soon.


One of my absolute favorite memories of the summer growing up was picking blueberries at a family friend’s berry farm. I even tried my hand at selling them to family and friends a couple summers… I’m no sales person, so that didn’t last long. Really the best part of picking gallons of blueberries was that my mom would make blueberry cream cheese pie. I looked forward to this every year! There is just something about it that screams summer for me. Maybe it’s the juicy blueberries or the sweet creamy filling… it was perfect on a hot day after swimming in the pool. We got a couple blueberry bushes eventually, so this became an even bigger Summer staple since we had to use them up some how!


The first time I saw dry pints of blueberries on sale this year, my mouth started watering for this pie. So I researched and found a couple recipes, but none of them really hit the mark. So I tweaked and combined and I think I hit the pie I remember. The crust is just the right amount of buttery/crunchiness, the filling is just the right amount of creamy and sweet, and the topping is loaded with blueberries just like I like it. It is pretty simple, but I highly encourage trying to make your own graham cracker crust and using name brand ingredients. Seriously, Honey Maid Graham Crackers are so much better than store brand, there is no comparison. The brands I normally use for the other main ingredients are Challenge unsalted butter (super creamy), Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (yum), and Philadelphia cream cheese. This is my first attempt of sharing a recipe like this, so let me know what you think!

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A perfect Summer treat!


For Pie Crust
1 pack, or about 9 graham crackers
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
7 tbsp of unsalted butter melted
1 pinch of salt

For Filling
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz of cream cheese softened (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup of lemon juice

For topping
1 pint of blueberries
heaping 1/4 cup of sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch

For best results, use name brand ingredients. For example store brand graham crackers don’t have the same flavor as name brand.


    For Graham Cracker Pie Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place graham crackers in a zip bag and crush by rolling over them with a rolling pin until fine.
  3. Combine light brown sugar and melted butter in with the crumbs and mix together until crumbs are completely coated in butter.
  4. Dump mixture in the pie dish and press it into the bottoms and the sides using a stemless wine glass to make for a well compressed crust. (If you don’t have a stemless wine glass, you can use a regular glass for the bottom and fingers for the sides.)
  5. Place crust in the oven for 10 minutes at 325.
  6. Let crust cool completely before adding filling.
  7. For Filling
  8. In a stand mixer, use the wire whip attachment (looks like a whisk) to mix together the sweetened condensed milk and the softened cream cheese until smooth.
  9. Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix until combined. Continue to mix for about 5 minutes to help the filling set.
  10. When the crust is cool, pour filling in crust.
  11. For Topping
  12. Heat Blueberries and sugar on medium heat stirring regularly.
  13. After syrup forms and blueberry to syrup ratio is about equal, add cornstarch and stir until completely combined.
  14. Remove from heat and allow the topping to cool for a minute or two.
  15. Pour topping over filling and place in the fridge for about 2-3 hours to set.
  16. Cut, Serve, and Enjoy!

I can’t wait to hear what you guys think of it! Don’t forget, the Anchored Press Giveaway is still going on until June 30th.

Planning around Peak hours and GIVEAWAY!

Oh Hi there first day of Summer! I keep seeing pictures of everyone’s trips to the beach and I am going to be completely honest, SUPER jealous! Oh don’t mind us hiding out in our dark, shade drawn apartment… I only wish I was kidding. Guys, we had a break last week where we were in the upper 90s, it was amazing but cruel. Going from 99 degrees for the high one day to 110 or 118 over the next couple of days means there is no adjustment period, which means it just feels that much hotter.IMG_6441This whole Summer thing probably wouldn’t be so bad, or so expensive, if it wasn’t for Peak hours. Peak hours, between noon and 7 pm Monday thru Friday, are the times when we get charged a crazy amount more for using power, aka AC, dishwasher, laundry, water heater (um, don’t have to worry about that one, but I’ll save that for a different post). The idea behind it is that because businesses and offices use a lot of power, mainly AC, during that time, they highly discourage residences from using a ton of power and overloading the grid, then causing blackouts and brownouts, which no one wants. We could opt for a different type of billing, but we would just get charged a mostly crazy rate all day… so we learn to live with Peak hours. Basically, we try to get everything we can done before noon and after 7, like laundry and dishes, and we also turn the temp up on the AC to the low to mid 80s between noon and 7 for as long as we can stand itIMG_6439To get everything done during the summer while it’s still mostly cool outside, we have to get up early. Like 6am, before the kid or dog gets up, in the Summer early. And even if I gnash and wale at my alarm clock for the first minute or so when I get up… I love my early morning time, before I see 100 degrees flash across the bottom of my watch, and I can drink my warm coffee and have some quiet time to read and plan the day. IMG_6328

I am trying to make it a habit to get up early, which right now is about 6am but will get earlier closer to school starting, so that I will be still able to have this great time once I start teaching again at the beginning of August. I get a chance to sit and enjoy quiet moments, do my Bible Study (5 Habits of a A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit), and take a chance to plan out my day. I love this time before lil man is awake, and it’s not too hot to have the blinds open to enjoy the view. It’s not to say that I don’t throw in a load of laundry right before I sit down, you know all nonessentials shut off at Noon, but I try to take a chance to breath and pray before the day really starts. IMG_6274

As you may or may not already know, I am a paper girl. I love reading off of paper books, and making notes in my Bible study. I make grocery lists in an actual notebook, and I love using a real planner. There are no other distractions, and I’m not connected to the world when I do it. I get a chance to just do one thing. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it keeps me sane, even if my hubby thinks it’s crazy. It just so happens, that about a month ago I was asked to try out the Anchored Press Daily Planner for 2016. About this same time, I realized that my planner was ending in July because it was a school year planner for 15-16…oops. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to test drive this beautiful, pink and blue, paper planner wonderlandAnchoredplannerI love that it has super large squares to plan out the month, a place to write out prayer requests, daily quick devotions, plenty of space to plan for the day, and a specific place to write out my first four, which is a huge plus when I have to plan around peak hours… This planner is heavy duty, and can handle my favorite Sharpie Pens without bleeding through the pages. There is even a space to “pray, ponder, pencil” everyday, which I know my doodling friends would love. It’s really meant to be lived in with memories and prayers recorded. It is meant for wasabi tape and glue sticks, with pictures and colored pencils. My crafty, wannabe artsy, side loves this, but not quite as much as my quiet, wrap my mind around what’s supposed to happen today side. Either way it is beautiful, sturdy, and really well designed. about-photo1-new Here’s a bit about how this really cool planner came into being, seriously, I haven’t seen anything like it. Deana said, Owning a stationery business for three years, while professionally satisfying, brought me little ‘soul growth’ and God, little glory. This fact led me to start writing devotions during my morning quiet time. Two months passed by and I had written over a hundred devotions. GOD GAVE ME THE WORDS and I didn’t know why. But, then the doors started opening, one after another. At this same time, I also realized I really needed a one-stop spot for everything that kept me organized, and my family running smoothly. Over the years, I have turned my day planner into a place to keep my schedule, devotional, prayer journal, meal plan, goals and memory keeping in one tidy place. Well, let me rephrase, one busting at the seams “tidy” place. All that I added into my tool to keep me organized, actually made it appear and feel as if I wasn’t organized at all. So through prayer, and being obedient to walk through the doors God was opening for me, The Anchored Press Planner CAME TO LIFE. The Anchored Press Planner was faithfully designed for women looking for a way to stay organized, and anchored in God’s Word.”

Ok, so who is ready to win one of these? Yes ,I know we are half way through the year, trust me, it’s worth it! Anchored Press is giving away 10 of these beauties, and all you have to do is click the picture below and fill out the form by June 30th. Don’t want to wait to get your hands on one? Head over to the Anchored Press Shop and pick it up for 40% off!


I can’t wait until late August when they release the 2017 planners. I have already been told that there are going to be different color options, two formats, one specifically for prayer journaling! Deana has even worked with some amazing women to write weekly devotions including Christine Caine and Jenni Catron. Keep an eye out on Anchored Press’ Facebook page and Instagram for more information.

Just checked the weather and it’s 105 degrees at 9 o’clock at night! Time to kick the AC down a bit more, and enjoy a very short Netflix marathon of Gilmore Girls, who am I kidding… I’ll be out after one episode.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Anchored Press for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Anchored Press in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” 

Fruits, Veggies, and the Price of Milk

Hey everyone! We had a beautiful day today, with much cooler temps at only 98 degrees and 20% humidity. I overheard someone in line ahead of me complaining about the humidity, and all I could think was today was so beautiful I didn’t even notice! I just checked the Coast’s weather for today and it was 92 degrees with 100% humidity, ouch. I’m sorry guys, thats rough! Before I tell you guys more about our beautiful day and elaborate on the price of milk, I wanted to remind everyone to enter the Owlegories giveaway by June 15th. Check out a free episode, set in the Sonoran Desert, and enter the giveaway here.


Confession here, before we moved to the desert (even though I had visited the area three times), I really thought all of the desert looked like this….


Except, forget the mountains, palm trees, or any kind of plant life except tumbleweeds hanging out in the background… Raise your hand if you thought the desert was a barren wilderness that looked a bit like the sand dunes in Lawrence of Arabia, yup, me too. Truth is, that picture is of a lot that was bulldozed and ready for development.


Instead, we see fields of corn, hay, alfalfa, onions, roses, cotton, spinach… because believe it or not, even with 110 plus degree days, things still grow here, with irrigation of course. Goodyear, Arizona is even named after the tire company because the cotton for the tires was grown there. So what does this have to do with us or the price of milk? Well I’m glad you asked! Because of the over 1 million head of cattle and calves in the state, most of those for beef but over 150,000 of those being milk cows, milk is super cheap here! We have only paid over $2 a gallon once or twice in the past couple of months! Every week I check all the grocery adds and look for the deals of produce, and I try to never pay over a dollar a pound or pint for produce. Strawberries rotate through out the stores between about 88 to 98 cents a pint, Peaches this week are 88 cents a pound, heads of lettuce were 87 cents… To top it all off, living close to Mexico (which parts have a similar climate being part of the Sonoran desert and all) means we have access to even more year round growing and produce!


All this produce is actually from Boarderlands Food Bank where they rescue great food that has come in from Mexico but can’t be sold to stores because of scaring or imperfections so the shipping companies would dump this in the landfill if not for Boarderlands! So for $10, we have the opportunity most Saturdays around the Valley to buy a 60 pound box fill of great produce. Thankfully, we have a great friend who likes to split the box with us. Because of this box, we have found some amazing recipes on Pinterest. You know when you have 4 large spaghetti squash, and the hubby can’t eat it as a pasta substitute, you have to find something to do with them.


I am so thankful I stumbled over this recipe at Juliasalbum.com for Bacon Spaghetti Squash fritters, and thankfully found this quick way to cook the squash in the microwave in 15 minutes! Turns out that spaghetti squash works super well as a hash brown substitute, and when it is drained well these are awesome!


Today’s new recipe hit two big needs for us, use up some of the many tomatoes hanging on our counter and not heat up the kitchen or us. Even with today being milder than most, when it gets hot, there is just something about eating hot things that just is Not Ok. Its not just about heating up the kitchen when we try to run our AC minimally to save money, its about the fact that the sound of eating a warm plate of pasta when you have to remind ourself that the house is not on fire when you open the front door and the door handle is scorching hot sounds disgusting. All that to say, Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Salsa, was a great summer hit. Instead of cooking the whole chicken breast, we made them into kabobs and grilled them while we took a dip at the neighborhood pool. With the strawberry salsa over spinach (also on sale this week) it didn’t even need salad dressing! I’m always on the look out for great summer recipes that aren’t super hot, feel free to check out our boards over on Pinterest and send your favorite summer recipes our way! I know two guys who would be grateful.

As things heat up more here… forecasted to hit 120 on Father’s day, yuck… we will try to stay cool, even if we do hit the all time recorded high for Phoenix. Might just have to make my mom’s blueberry cream cheese pie for supper one night to stave off the heat. 😉 Have a great week!

Questions about life in the desert? Leave your questions in the comments below! 

Animals in the Desert and a Giveaway!

Hey guys! June is really holding true to its summer roots of being really stinking hot, but for the most part it isn’t too bad, we just limit time outside during the worst heat, starting at about noon and it continues to climb until about 4 or 5 when the sun isn’t as direct. With about 5% humidity, it doesn’t feel as oppressive as 100 with 80% humidity, but it is a heat that can sneak up on us and before we realize it we are dehydrated. So we have been looking out for cheap and fun activities to keep us busy and cool.   IMG_6269

Speaking of which we are loving the summer reading program out here! We had a chance to go to the kickoff party at our favorite branch and learn about some awesome animals from World Wildlife Zoo and Aquarium. Lil man is on a huge bug and animal kick right now, so it was a hit in his book. He may have had some unrealistic expectations on the size of the animals we would see. Every time I asked what animal he thought she would show us next, he said either a giraffe, a baby giraffe or a baby elephant. Just so we’re clear, no giraffes or elephants made it to the library that day. But they did hit a home run when she showed the baby tortoises, baby animals are really hot right now, lol. His absolute favorite animal was the fennec fox (the same type as the “baby” fox in Zootopia) and he couldn’t wait to meet it.IMG_6226

We love animal movies right now, wether it be from the Disney Nature series or cartoon animals. Even  when we are trying to beat the heat by having some movie time, we are really trying to make the tv time count. Don’t get me wrong, lil man would be in heaven if we left the tv on Disney Junior all day everyday, but we really want introduce more Truth from the Bible. Needless to say, I was super excited to get to check out a new Christian series called Owelgories. With lil man loving animals, especially owls since they are a desert animal, he kept begging to watch it. Because I am cautious about letting my kid watch what is labeled “Christian” these days without checking it out first to make sure it is sound and really teaches about God and not just how to be good, we waited to watch it as a family.


We were all super impressed by this series! Not only was the animation great, we kind of have high standards being Disney nerds and all, but the topics and teaching about God were clear and to the point. Every episode the owls go on adventures set by their professor to learn more about God, and they come away with three truths about God. I loved how at the end of every episode there was a recap about what we learned, and then there was a message from a real person about how the lesson connects to the big picture and Jesus. “I wanna watch owls again!” was said over and over again every time and episode went off. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there may have been a special guest duck named Uncle Fly in one of the episodes that was hilarious. The Best part for me, along with it being funny, is there is always a key verse that goes along with the main focus and all the truths are gospel centered! There are two other DVDs out right now and we can’t wait to check them out.

OK so here’s the fun part, Right now, until June 15th Owlegories is doing a GIVEAWAY!! You can win 1 of 10 of this DVD, you know the one with “Uncle Fly” the duck. Just click the picture below to enter to win.


Interested in checking out the series for yourself, watch a free episode Here! I thought it was super fitting that the first episode is called The Sun, and their adventure is to the DESERT! I mean how awesome is that! And we know they are in the Sonoran Desert because of the Saguaro cactus, so there’s that too. Owlegories has also been nice enough to let me give you guys a coupon code for 20% off anything in their shop! Just put in FRONT20 at checkout. I can’t wait to hear what you guys think about this series!

What is your favorite series for kids? How do you beat the summer heat? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below! 

Many thanks to FrontGate Media and Owlegories for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Selection of winners are chosen by random.org and require no purchase to enter.  Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.



The Summer Begins

Welcome to June. May was mild with a handful of days hitting above 100, and it was absolutely beautiful. We enjoyed more hiking and time with family. Mornings are still cool, and driving a couple hours north means even cooler temps and completely different scenery. IMG_6135Arizona is such a diverse state. Before we moved we would talk about all the day trips we could take to national parks or different climates, but I don’t think it hit me until we took our first trip to Sedona. Driving two hours through the mountains is a much nicer drive and felt much quicker than a drive across I-10 in Mississippi where all we would see was trees. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the beach views along Highway 90, but the ability to drive a couple hours to get out of the heat would have been nice. weatherSaturday, for example, we went about 2 1/2 hours north to Flagstaff, gained over 6,000 feet in elevation and it was 30 degrees cooler! While it’s getting a little hot for our family to hike in the valley, we can still drive a few hours and enjoy hiking through the summer. Speaking of summer, it is here…IMG_6211 (1)Which makes me very thankful for being able to watch the Diamondbacks in the Air Conditioned Chase Field! Little tidbit about me, I enjoy watching baseball live, but I tolerate it on tv. I think it is the drone of the announcers’ voices and the constant talking… Live is so much more relaxing, and I love to try out new ballpark foods. Monday we hit up our first Diamondbacks game as an early Father’s Day present for my dad. 13325632_10100129452363838_6361808078843761931_nI was not disapointed when it came to the food selection, Chicken and Waffles, fried okra, and sweet tea from Lo-Los hit the spot. I may have also eaten a Churro Dog… a churro on a donut bun topped with ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate and caramel sauce… I may have shared (and forgotten to take a picture).13269280_10100129360882168_447692065223367519_nLil man loved checking out the Sandlot, and took his turn on the wiffle ball field for a little batting practice on the upper level before the game started. IMG_6145We also signed him up for the Kids Club, which means he gets a prize for every game we go to. This game he got a fun lanyard and a toothbrush from Delta Dental. He also gets in free on Sundays with the purchase of an Adult ticket in certain sections. We know lil man had a blast, and he even got his first foul ball.
13344562_10100129452313938_3620314834623542763_nI think it is safe to say that we will be going back. It did take a little bit to get used to watching baseball inside, but when they opened the roof after the game was over it was crazy how bright the sun was in comparison and I was sold. Great way to beat the heat, enjoy baseball, and make lil man’s day! 13335878_10100129360976978_3821862541590348804_nWith summer upon us, and this being the time of year most people are curious about, I am going to be posting once a week starting this month! Be on the look out next week for another post about our Desert life and a giveaway!

Puddles in the Desert

Happy May! I can’t believe we have been here for over two months. This past month has been fun, crazy, and full of adventure. We even got a couple big rain storms, and lil Man got to stomp in puddles! The first real rain storm came through during his nap, so after days of him asking about rain, we woke him up and let him watch it pour from the balcony. We went down right after the rain stopped, and he was in heaven.


Puddle stomping is good for the soul.

Fun tidbit, the rain smell in the desert is not the same as the coast. I’ve heard people describe it different ways, but to me it has the slight smell of campfire with an earthy, dirty hint. We’ve had a couple days where it didn’t rain, but the smell was still in the air… not sure how it works but I’m beginning to love it.


“Don’t you forget about me!” Catching rain drops

A couple Saturdays ago we had a bit of wanderlust and wanted to get out of the valley, so we took about two hour trip north to Sedona.We ate at Cowboy Cafe on the main stretch of Sedona. We ate rattlesnake sausage, cactus fries, and buffalo. I highly recommend Cowboy Cafe if you are planning on eating in Sedona and want to try something new. They even have a Rattlesnake corndog on the kids menu, with real rattlesnake sausage! The prices were reasonable for a tourist town, and the food was amazing.


Enjoying the view in Sedona.

Since Sedona is a part of the National Parks, we went by the Visitor Center and picked up a National Parks annual pass before heading toward the trails. The weather was beautiful, and about 10 degrees cooler than in the Valley. We made our way down to a fun watering hole, and let lil Man splash to his heart’s content.


Splashing without a care in the world.

It is awesome to be so close to so many amazing national, regional, and city parks with great hiking trails and gorgeous views. We really have enjoyed getting out in to nature and getting to know a little more about Arizona by experiencing the paths and not just the roads. (Don’t worry, we are staying on the beaten paths. I’m still a bit nervous about the creatures that live off it…)


The family that Hikes together takes great pictures together.

We know the heat is coming, so as much time we can spend outside now, we embrace it. Lil man has even taken some pretty long bike rides around the neighborhood… looks like a real bike may be in our pretty near future.


Lil Man took a mile bike ride around the neighborhood.

May is going to be a pretty crazy month… Joe graduates with his MDiv, the Grands are coming to visit, I’m starting a class for my license, and we get to celebrate a couple birthdays and Mother’s Day. Can’t wait to see what adventures this month will bring.