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So. We live an hour away from civilization. Our rural town has 2,000-3,000 people, in contrast to the 1.5 million living in Las Vegas. There’s actually a few reasons why we like living an hour away from town.

1. The obvious- moral objections to what kids see growing up in Vegas. There is NASTY stuff on the billboards and signs. We have to pass the billboards on the way in to church and every time we visit my parents, but we steer clear of the Strip.

2. Smog. There’s a lot of it. Some blows in from L.A., but a lot is generated right in Vegas. There’s an ugly haze hanging over the valley as we drive in sometimes.In Vegas, you can’t even see the stars at night most of the time. No such problem out here!

3. City Water. Ewww. I love our well water! It’s delicious. And I like the fact that there aren’t any chemicals added to it. It filters and comes straight into the house. Just how I like it.

4. The space. For the same price as 1/10th of an acre in Vegas, we live on 2 acres. I have TONS of room for gardening and animals in the future. We’re also zoned for livestock and farming, if we so choose.

5. The lower cost of living makes up for the cost of the gas we use.

6. Quiet. Besides the occasional ATV or coyote, it’s relatively quiet here. No honking, sirens, or backfiring cars.

7. It’s absolutely beautiful here! I am surrounded by gorgeous mountain views and stretches of desert scrub. It’s a beautiful place to be.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention: it’s cooler here. There isn’t much pavement (dirt roads, anyone?), so the heat dissipates more quickly. It doesn’t get hot as fast in the morning, and it cools down faster in the evening.

Moving on, here’s our second-favorite chicken recipe:

Ranch Chicken (adapted from Hidden Valley Recipe)

Dump breadcrumbs into a baggie. Add the dip mix.

Shake it up and add chicken pieces 2-3 at a time. Shake to coat.

Place chicken pieces on a baking sheet and bake at 375º for 45-60 minutes. Boneless pieces will need less time than pieces with bones. Chicken is done when juices run clear.


This recipe really does taste better made with juicier pieces. I think we tried boneless breasts once, but they’re so much drier than other pieces… and more expensive! Leg quarters are only $0.75 per pound here and we like the taste better. A $8 bag lasts us 4-5 meals, plus leftovers for Jim’s lunches. I’ll add a picture of the finished chicken later, but right now it’s still in the oven!