Ducks in the Desert?


I am still in search of signs of spring for Roda’s Challenge, so last weekend the hubby and I set out, once again, to hike in Sabino Canyon. This time we went further and higher into the canyon.

We went to Seven Falls, which was 1800 feet up and an 8 mile round trip. I had been assured that there would be water when we arrived, but being from Washington, I was skeptical for what passed as a waterfall in Tucson. I was completely amazed at the transformation!

Everything looked pretty normal as we entered the trail.


A mile or so in, we saw our first pools.


We actually thought that this may be the most water we would see. Along the way I tried to snap a couple shots of the stream.


We were rather impressed by this! Normally this is dry sand. As we continued up, and up, we were moving above the Saguaros. These are huge and we normally can not see the new growth on the top of the cactus branches. But now the spring growth was visible. It looked as though they were covered with cotton.


We could hear water, and then as we rounded a switchback, we saw the source of the sound. Can you see the multiple falls!


Getting a little closer.


This is where everyone was hanging out! It was like an oasis 🌴🌊🌡

Kids, and some crazy adults, were jumping into the freezing water. A few folks were feeding the ducks! What are Mallards doing in Tucson?? They had to be lost, of course men never ask for directions 😏





I took a video and happened to capture one of the boys jumping in around 20 seconds, see if you can spot him!

Everyone was having a great time, as we all know this won’t last forever. Already the temps are in the 80Fs and by late May it will be closer to 90F.

I am so glad we went up this trail, it is currently one of my favorite hikes in Tucson πŸ˜ƒ

Roda’s Signs of Spring ChallengeπŸ€

There is a very short window for spring in Tucson. This week is in the 80Fs already and it is only March 9th. That means it will be too hot (for me anyway) to be hiking at the end of the month. So the hubby and I are out as much as possible right now. Soon there will be rattlesnakes 🐍 and scorpions πŸ¦‚Β out and about too!

We set out to hike Soldier Trail on nearby Mt. Lemmon. The out and back trail is just under 6 miles, but has some hefty elevation gains. It was rated difficult with an 1800 ft. climb. Eventually, it does crest! And, that is where we recorded our evidence of spring in the desert 🌡

New growth on this prickly guy!


And at the tips of this spiky plant!


As with Sabino Canyon we found water flowing in Soldier Canyon! Look at that green color near the top of the steam, leading to a series of pools. That color won’t last long.




The canyon itself is quite deep, and plants grow in any crevice they can find. This one is hanging off the edge.


We went on our way and saw many examples of foliage that, somehow, thrives in this harsh environment.



Here is an old, craggy life form, hitting a modified tree pose now 😜


We are heading back to Sabino Canyon this weekend, to the Seven Falls Trail! Hoping to find some bigger waterfalls before they dry up for the season πŸ€žπŸ’•


Roda’s Signs of Spring Challenge!


I hope this works! This is my first post from my new, and highly improved, computer!

I am so sorry to my blog buddies, I am so behind on many of your great articles, recipes and stories!! My old lap top just couldn’t keep up with anything anymore πŸ˜’! So after 2 hours at the only Mac store in Tucson, and a few grand lighter in my wallet, I am back online 🀞.

The amazing Roda, from Growing Self Blog has issued a challenge! The mission is to find signs of spring as we say good bye to winter!Β πŸ¦‹

The weather is fabulous in Tucson (80Fs all week!). I had to get outside the other day and decided to head over to nearby Sabino Canyon. I have been there many times and while it is a great place, it has always been extremely dry. Not this time! Apparently spring in the desert means water, and lot of it.

This is the Sabino Creek trail, where I usually walk straight through the dry sand. Today there was no way to cross over to the other side.


The top of the dam, which is never wet!


We have never seen water trickling over the dam, but now it is in torrents!


There were families out enjoying this anomaly!

I had to take a video to prove to my family that this really did happen! Remember this is dry and dusty most of the year, and this was the first time we have had any evidence that the dam was more than just ornamental ☺️

I will be out looking for more signs, if this post works! πŸ’•


Slow Cooker Lasagna, A Healthier Version of my Favorite Comfort Food!


One of my favorite things to do on weekend mornings is to watch cooking shows, mostly on the Food Network Channel. I sleep a little longer and my hubby gets up first. He puts on a pot of coffee and I get up when I smell the brew! Β I flip on the TV and do my morning stretching/yoga routine, while sipping Starbucks coffee and watching chefs whip up various dishes. I often draw inspiration for my weekly menu planning this way. Last weekend I hit on a great one!

I was watching The Kitchen and Katy Lee demonstrate her recipe for “slow cooker lasagna soup.” What drew me to this was the ease of the slow cooker-I could assemble in the morning and have it ready for the end of the day. Also, I love the idea of controlling the amount of overall carbs and calories! This method would greatly reduce the number of lasagna noodles and amount of cheese in my regular lasagna recipe. Another huge bonus is that not all of my family eats cheese. The traditional lasagna is layered with cheese and noodles making it hard for people who want to avoid the cheese to pick around it. The cheeses are added at the end with this method, and if you want to skip that step all together, you still get all the great lasagna flavor!

I set out to modify my current recipe for this technique. Super easy and tasty!

I started by browning 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. This was drained to remove any extra grease, which I did not want in the final dish.


While the sausage cooked, I set to work on the slow cooker ingredients. 1 yellow onion, medium diced, went into the crock pot.


From here we just start adding ingredients! Granulated garlic, 2 cloves of fresh garlic, Italian seasonings, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes in puree, tomato paste, tomato sauce and the sausage. I like to mix dried and fresh herbs, so chopped basil and oregano are included. Be careful with fresh oregano-it is much stronger than dried so a little goes a long way!



We need quite a bit of liquid because the lasagna noodles will need to cook in the sauce, near the end of the cooking time. So, 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth was added, along with salt and pepper.


This gets a big stir, covered and then set on low for 8 hours, or high for 6 hours. The noodles are added during the last hour to 30 minutes of cooking time. I like traditional lasagna noodles as opposed to the “no bake” variety, but I suspect that they would work too.


The number of noodles you choose to add is really up to you. You could use other noodles as well, as long as it is a hardy version. Raviolis would be wonderful too!

I broke up 8 lasagna noodles and stirred them into the sauce mixture.


40 minutes later, it was looking and smelling like lasagna!


This was spooned into two soup mugs, that were oven safe, and we covered it with grated mozzarella, shaved parmesan and Italian parsley. I put them under the broiler for about 6 minutes. This is completely optional! You could save the calories and fat and dive right in!






We were thrilled to get the lasagna flavors in a healthier version! I am not going to pretend that this is good for you, it is comfort food. However, you really can alter it for your own health goals. Give it a try and let me know what you think πŸ™‚


Slow Cooker Lasagna

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

All the great lasagna flavor from your slow cooker, with less carbs, fat and calories than the traditional layered dish.



-1 to 1 1/2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage

-1 medium sized yellow onion, med chopped

-1/2 teaspoon granulated of powdered garlic

-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

-1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

-1 bay leaf

-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

-1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes in puree

-1 6 oz. can tomato paste

-1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

-4 cups low sodium chicken broth

-2 to 4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

-1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

-1/2 teaspoon black pepper

-8 oz. fresh mozzarella, grated

-Shaved or shredded parmesan, for sprinkling

-chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish



  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the italian sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. In a slow cooker, combine the sausage with the garlic, both fresh and powdered, the dried Italian seasoning, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, chicken broth, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook on high for 5 1/2 hours or on low for 7 1/2.
  3. Stir in the lasagna noodles and continue to cook for another 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to broil.Β Ladle the lasagna into ovenproof bowls. Top each with a few tablespoons of shredded mozzarella, a sprinkle of Parmesan and the parsley. Place on a baking sheet and heat under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly, 5 to 8 minutes.Β 

Enjoy πŸ™‚



Roda’s Critter Connection, Winter Edition!


I really lucked into this one! I was sitting in our front room and this roadrunner hopped up on the wall in the back yard. He ran along the top and hung out just long enough for me to grab a picture.

It has been cold, by Tucson standards, and we have not seen a whole lot of critters, so this was a gift!

Have a great week everyone πŸ™‚

A Precious Gift!


Look at this beautiful necklace that just arrived from my dear, dear friend Roda of Growing Self Blog!

It arrived in this package


Roda had told me that she was sending me something for my birthday, which was earlier this month. It was such a hassle for her because we were bouncing between homes. Mail forwarding messed up the delivery and she had to resend it! I told her how sorry I was that this was turning into an ordeal, but Roda persevered!


This amazing woman also included a heart felt note that made me tear up!

What Roda did not know, what she could not know, was that due to the delays this arrived on the anniversary of the worst day of my life. The day, two years ago, that threw my life into a tailspin, one that I was not sure I would recover from. The day that caused me to, 6 months later, begin this blog, and the quest to become visible again. I did not feel “strong, bold and brave” that day. Β I felt alone, invisible and irrelevant.

I look at my life today and it is so different from that time, but then other days the pain can hit, and it is as if it was only moments ago. For Roda to send this to me now, means all the world to me. It is more than just a sweet thought from a kind and warm person.

I will wear this and think of you, my dear, dear friend! One who has touched my life and helped me through the fire. Love you lady!