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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Exploring Arizona: Kartchner Caverns

How long can you keep a secret? 

Do these hills look like they are hiding anything special?

Pictures and text by Kathryn
In 1974 two college friends stumbled upon the find of a lifetime, a hidden cave.  And not just any ordinary cave, one filled for miles with stalactites and stalagmites, formations called soda straws, bacon, and moonmilk.    For years they carefully explored the cave, making a third friend stay at the entrance to ensure that they actually made it out alive.  They had secret codes so that no one knew where they were going or what they were doing.  In 1978 they decided to notify the land owners, James and Lois Kartchner, of their discovery.  Thankfully James worked in education and understood the value of keeping the cave protected.  They knew that historically, once discovered by the general population, caves were often destroyed and vandalized.  They wanted to keep this cave preserved in its natural state.  In 1984 secret talks began the process of turning the cave into a state park.  More than a decade later, in 1999, KartchnerCaverns was open to the public.  In 2003 the lower caverns were also opened to the public.    

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Favorite Places: Top 5 Arizona Date Night Ideas

We are happy to have a guest writer today to kick off a series of posts all about date night. Check back next Tuesday for lots more ideas for enjoying a night out in Arizona.


Camille here, from Friday We’re in Love- a blog all about date night and keeping love alive in marriage. My husband Jacob and I happen to be located in Phoenix, and we love so many dates that are unique to Arizona! We’ve been doing this for over three and a half years, so we’ve seen some great things and experienced some of the best! We rarely repeat, but have a list of places we always seem to go back and love each time. Today I’m happy to share five of these places with you!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Be Prepared in Case of Flooding

As you probably know, another storm is brewing - Hurricane Odile.  It is predicted to follow the same path as hurricane Norbert, bringing thunder storms tonight and tomorrow with heavy raining Wednesday through Thursday and possible repeat showers this weekend.  However, tropical storms are extremely hard to predict.  This could be a drizzle, or this could be deja vu.  As a precaution, there is a flash flood watch issued through this Thursday, September 18th.

Officials warn that now is the time to prepare if you are concerned about flooding in your area.  Here are some things you can do to be prepared:

Have sand bags on hand. Sand is available at various locations around the Valley to make your own sand bags. These can be used in order to barricade your doors and garages in the event of flooding. Go here for a list of locations.  Actual bags to bag the sand are running out, so be prepared and bring your own bags.   

Clean out rain gutters and fix landscape problems that might lead to water backing up and causing problems on your property. I know my brother-in-law is working on making a clear path for water from his back door since they had water pooling up there and entering the house during last week's storm. In addition, make sure your streets gutters and storm drains are free from debris.

Move important items to an upper floor if you have one. If not, place valuables and important documents or other items up high.  Back up computers with important document and other electronic equipment. 

Pick up your yard.  Secure outdoor toys and furniture, bring them inside or under your porch.

Get out the flashlights and restock batteries.

Have a plan.  If the power goes out for too long or if you have flooding, where are you going to go?  Where is your meeting point if your lines of communication are down?  What is the plan for your pets?  Do your pets have proper identification?  No one wants their pets to run away because they are scared of all the thunder, rain and wind.

Stay away from power lines and electrical wires.  And do NOT cross those flooded washes.

If you need to evacuate your home, turn off your electricity at the main power switch and close your main gas valve. 

Also, check out this article to understand why many of our Mesa, AZ homes flooded.

Thanks to Kathryn's post here and this article from Arizona Capital Times for help in research for this article.

5 Easy Ways to Shop Locally

Are you interested in spending some money locally but worried that it might just be too much work? Here are 5 easy ways shop locally. Even just making one small change is a good start!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rock Springs Cafe, Arizona

Words and Images by Kathryn

For years I've driven past the signs located in what seems the middle of nowhere, "World Famous Pies!"  For years my mouth waters, but yet we keep on going, intent to get home or intent to get to our destination.  However, Monday I was determined to finally check out this place for myself. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kid-Friendly (and Pet-Friendly) Hikes in the Phoenix Area

We are looking forward to cooler weather, aren't you? This is the time of year when the Desert-Dwellers start itching for fall. On those perfect fall-weather days, there is nothing better than getting outside and enjoying all of the hiking and outdoors the Valley has to offer.

Today, we're focusing on hiking with kids or pets. We also have an exciting announcement at the bottom of the post--so keep reading!

Most of these hikes we have personally done with real-life, actual human children. Although neither of us have a dog, hiking with dogs and kids generally means you are looking for an easier trail so it's a similar search.

In general, dogs are allowed at all county, city, and federal parks but must remain on a leash. And of course, don't forget to clean up after your pet (and/or child)!

Here are a few places to try for an easy hike with your favorite short-legged friend:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Buying from Local Farms the Easy Way: A List of Arizona CSAs

Written by Marily. 

Our family just finished our first week out of this month's commitment to shop locally. Keep reading for an update on how it went. First, to help myself and you out in buying local produce and farm products, I wanted to share some information with you about CSAs and how to get started buying local produce boxes.

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Generally, members of a CSA contribute to a subscription program for buying local produce boxes from a local farm. Members pay a set amount each season or each month and receive offerings from their farm on a regular basis. Each farm does theirs differently, but you will have produce for certain and sometimes dairy and even meat options for buying, depending on the farm. 

For farmers, a CSA program means pre-paid commitments that help keep their farms operating all season long. For customers, it means an easy way to buy local produce at a savings. 

Here's a list of Arizona CSAs throughout the state, by region. 

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