Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pizza grillin' time

Our newest food cooked on the grill is pizza. It has become a yummy adventure! I made a shopping run for a pizza peel to ease the transferring of pizzas and it has made all the difference. I love wood fired brick oven pizza and wanted that taste at home. We came close using these directions from Martha Stewart Living May 2009. Chris Bianco has a pizza place in downtown Phoenix which I understand has a two hour wait in line for a taste of his handmade pizzas. I adapted my grilled pizzas from the directions he shared with Martha for use in a regular oven. I put the pizza stone directly on the rack in our gas grill instead and heated it up to 500 degrees before sliding in the pizza off the pizza peel and baking it for about 12 minutes. I especially like the Margherita style with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil from my garden.

This month's Sunset magazine included these directions for actually making the crusts right on a rack in the gas grill. I haven't tried this yet, but I can see it making things go faster when your guests are waiting for pizza. (I've considered buying another pizza stone so I could do two pizzas at a time in our grill.) You could make the half baked crusts ahead of time and then put the toppings on and finish cooking later and in a shorter amount of time.

When just making a couple of pizzas, I often let the bread machine mix up my pizza dough. When I'm cooking for a crowd, I use the Bosch. TJ, our pizza man, loved these pizzas with just cheese (like always) but declared them delicious and proceeded to eat a couple all by himself!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Great gifts

This book and bookmark were gifts from Nate, Nichelle and Janae. Nate and Nichelle gave me the book for my birthday, Janae the bookmark for Christmas. See how well they compliment each other. It has given me joy just to look at the two together on my chair side reading table. But, the greater joy came as I bookmarked my way through this book one early morning section at a time followed by a thirty minute pondering swim. I received so many insights into the life and mission of Jesus Christ in a simple and clear way.

I especially pondered my way through Chapter 15, "The Cleansing and Healing Power of the Atonement." In a more informal way, David J. Ridges relates his real life experience as a bishop and stake president in helping others apply correctly the cleansing and healing power of the Atonement. He discusses additional thoughts on the Atonement of which I will share a few:

***"Is it true that once you been forgiven, you will no longer remember the sin?"

Brother Ridges relates the story of Alma the Younger in Alma 36 to explain that a memory of the sin will still be with us, but the pain and torment upon such memory will be gone. It is the Lord who will remember our sins "no more."

***Often times those who had had their blessings restored would come to him distressed because "I thought I was doing so well, but now I see so many things in my life that need fixing. I didn't even notice them before, but now they are everywhere! It has become very discouraging." Brother Ridges answer was "Great!" Then he would go on to explain that the Holy Ghost was now gently pointing out things they had failed to notice before.

1 Nephi 8:20 "And I also beheld a astrait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a bworld."

He points out the strait and narrow are basically the same thing. Years ago a colleague had explained that the phrase "strait and narrow path" means, in effect, a "narrow and narrowing path." He continued to explain "that the path leading back to God is narrow, requiring specific righteous choices and obedience in order to remain firmly on it. As we progress and draw closer to God, we tend to make the path along which we are walking toward Him narrower and narrower. In other words, we watch our words and thought and deeds more carefully, trying to be more Christlike. We don't allow ourselves to do things that are 'on the edge' or questionable, nearly as much as we used to. As we tighten our obedience to God's commandments and to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we receive more light and knowledge from above, which serve to illuminate our path more brightly. Thus, things in our lives show up that we hadn't even noticed before. Rather than being discouraged by this, we can look upon it as a sign that we are making significant progress toward returning home to our Father in Heaven."

***Brother Ridges states, "It was my observation as a bishop and stake president that sometimes, members who had been involved in grievous sin did not feel worthy to feel so good, after they had gone through the requirements of repentance and had been cleansed by the Atonement. Perhaps it is one of Satan's effective tools to press the false notion upon such individuals that it is not fair to those who have not committed serious sin that they should join them in feeling worthy and whole." He goes on to say that it is a vital part of the repentance process to accept the miracle of forgiveness from the Savior when He offers it. The devil would want us to feel otherwise. We can look to Enos to explain how this is done in Enos 4-8.

4 And my soul ahungered; and I bkneeled down before my Maker, and I ccried unto him in mighty dprayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5 And there came a avoice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are bforgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6 And I, Enos, knew that God acould not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?
8 And he said unto me: aBecause of thy bfaith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee cwhole.

***Sometimes we become discouraged by overemphasizing one word in this verse:

2 Nephi 25:23 For we labor diligently to write, to apersuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by bgrace that we are saved, after all we can cdo.

Brother Ridges states, "If we place undo emphasis on all, it can lead us to believe that we must be a 'walking nervous breakdown' in order to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. However, if we emphasize we, it provides a healthy balance between what we can sincerely do with honest hearts, and the grace or help of the Savior that ultimately cleanses us from sin and enables us to return to the presence of the Father. Occasionally we meet members of the Church who get so caught up in trying to be perfect that they are forever serious, sad, and often depressed. They worry so much about their faults and imperfections that they fail to enjoy the journey. The Atonement, properly understood and accessed, enables us to find much happiness and enjoyment along the road through life, in spite of trials and tribulations along the way. The Prophet Joseph Smith reminded us that we are not expected to attain perfection during this life. In fact, he taught that it would be a great while after we die before we finish qualifying for exaltation."

***"What must we do to enable the Savior to make us clean?"

We must follow the "principle of improvement." When we "do not improve" is when we find ourselves in trouble. Sincere continual improvement enables the Savior to make us clean through the Atonement. Elder Marvin J. Ashton stated in General Conference of April 1989:

"The speed with which we head along the strait and narrow path isn't as important as the direction in which we are traveling."

Brother Ridges states:

"If we get mixed up in our thinking between "spotless" and "perfect" and decide that we have to be perfect, it can lead to much discouragement and can lead some members to the point where they quit trying to live the gospel. With the help of the Savior and the Atonement, we can all get to the point where we can be made clean, or spotless, and thus qualify to enter back into the presence of God. Christ was the only one who was perfect during mortality, and perfection will come along in due time for us after we have passed through the veil."

I testify to you that the Atonement is real and can cleanse and heal us; both those who have fallen short and those who have experienced great pain and distress through the actions of others. It is a gift of love, the greatest gift.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Heather's American Girl doll dress

Inspired from making Ruby a matching dress for her doll for her birthday, I decided to make Heather one as well using left over fabric from her dress.

It is fun to make something from fabric, trims, buttons, etc. already on hand. You would be amazed at what can be found in my sewing room. So the above dress cost me nothing extra to sew. However, a dress for an 18 inch doll takes about the same amount of time to sew as a dress for a little girl!

Heather, I will deliver this lovely duponi silk dress to you and your doll soon! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Walter Cronkite was a class act

If anyone deserves a memorial service with all the major networks carrying it live, it should be Walter Cronkite. The man was a class act. During the last presidential campaign, I longed for Walter Cronkite. Cool, calm, collected and all about telling the true story was what he was about. I never once heard him rant and rave, but I could count on him to be there with the real scoop. AND I could also count on him being reassuring and even fatherly.

As a "fatherless" child of the sixties, it was helpful to have Walter Cronkite as a guide through tremulous times on the evening news. Long before cable and it gluttony of news programs, CBS Evening News was the gold standard of the major three networks. Walter was there when President Kennedy was shot in Dallas and I was a frightened 5th grader. Walter was there when Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King also took a bullet. Walter was there bringing us nightly word of the horror that was Viet Nam. Walter was there when we heard "The Eagle has landed." He was steady and always there. It made the sixties doable for a teenager without a functioning father. (But who had a very wise mother.)

Tomorrow marks forty years since this photo was taken. (Click here for forty great 40 year old photos!) What a night! Imagine Arizona temperatures just like now but the only cooling source a swamp cooler. Swamp coolers were pretty effective until the moister air would blow in and the temps would hit 100 plus teens, then the best it could do was somewhere in the nineties. The family had gathered in the living room on Bluebell Lane and it was hot, really hot. We were determined to watch this historical event, MAN LANDING ON THE MOON. It was magical if miserable.

(By the time they walked I was in my underwear only. At 16 I felt it was the smart thing to do. I learned on conversing with my sisters this summer that I was also very offensive. Please accept my apologies!)

So, I think it only appropriate that Walter Cronkite finished a wonderful, useful, and memorable life at this commemorative time of when he lead the nation forty years ago in a "gee whiz" fashion as a nation watched Neil Armstrong step onto the moon while stating, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." I am grateful for Walter Cronkite's leadership and courtly manner. I have and will continue to miss him!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ruby Red Birthday

Last Sunday evening we gathered at Ruby's house to celebrate her birthday. Grandpa brought the helium tank and ruby red balloons in her honor. Sadie wants blue balloons on her birthday.

Heather was the most honored guest because she was not only invited for the celebration but was also invited to spend the night.

Do you think Julianna wanted to spend the night, too? I probably should have left out this picture of grandma in the background!!!

Dave seems a bit puzzled. It probably has something to do with that collection of helium balloons rising all the way up to the topmost part of his open ceiling.

It's hard to believe that the birthday girl is already "5" and starting kindergarten in the Fall. Seems like just yesterday when she was born shortly after midnight.

There were lots of girly girl gifts to delve into. . .

assisted by other girly girls. . .

who know what girly girls really like!

The dress fit her American girl doll well, although a bit shorter than the picture in the magazine. I sent an e-mail to "Australian Smocking and Embroidery" suggesting that they double check their directions for fabric dimensions. This link has a picture of the dresses that Ruby picked for herself and her doll. Just go to the preview and scroll through the pages for "Tea for Two."
I promise, Ruby, that your dress is coming!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Idaho winters and Arizona summers plus a birthday girl

Laurel, Janis, Lynette, and Farrell
West lawn of house at
Farm on Moody Road outside Sugar City, Idaho

I am a survivor of several Idaho winters. I am also a survivor of many more Arizona summers. I am therefore experienced enough to write this post. As you can see, my siblings and I spent as much time outside as possible during an Idaho summer. There were trees to climb and swing from, sprinklers to dash through, bikes and trikes to ride, exploring of farm acreage to do, and watermelon to eat - all outside. We even slept outside when parents could be so cajoled; all the kids from the three houses on the Moody Road intersection would spread their blankets out in a row (there was always jockeying to not be at the end position) on the lawn of choice for that night. There is nothing quite so beautiful as a star filled summer Idaho night sky and we would talk for hours about the sky and stars and all the other things that kids talk about. Winters, however, were cold!

I have come to realize that my now Arizona summers are much like my Idaho winters of the past for the following reasons.

It is necessary to bring all the tomatoes inside, red or not, because the temperature highs have reached the triple digits plus teens and the tomatoes are blistering. In Idaho, tomatoes would come inside red or not before the first freeze.

Idahoans mostly look forward to winter because they can ski and snow mobile. Arizonans look forward to summer because they can swim laps - at least I do.

Idaho snowbirds travel to Arizona for the winter. Arizona sunbirds travel to Idaho for the summer.

Either way, Idaho has less traffic in winter and Arizona in summer, most likely because of the fact that everyone prefers to remain inside where the air has been heated or cooled. If they still can't stand to be outside for local errands, they become a snowbird or sunbird.

Which brings about utility bills which soar in the winter for Idahoans and in the summer for Arizonans.

Because both Idahoans and Arizonans hang out in the house more during winter or summer staying warm or cool, it is a time for projects.

Here are a couple of mine. Lynette taught me how to knit again on her visit. I forgot to ask her how to cast off:( I had big plans for Ruby's birthday today, matching dresses for her and her American girl doll. As you can see, her doll will be dressed well for Ruby's birthday. Ruby's dress is soon to follow.

Happy Birthday Ruby girl!
I thought it was safe to post a picture of part of your present, since you are a church right now. Can't wait to party tonight!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Utah summer days & this post will take endurance!

Monday night I slipped into my swimming suit and eagerly stepped outside. I had spent the last week and a half in beautiful Utah with the "Y" in view from my bedroom window. The weather had been, oh, so nice. However, the long car ride home had plumped up my ankles and I was ready for a long cool water swim. As I stepped into the pool and met bath water temps, I realized that our Arizona summer had arrived during our absence. Morning light also brought to view the heat stressed plants as was expected. Special thanks to Jeff and Peyton for keeping most everything alive. It remains to be seen what this weekend's forecast highs of 116 degrees will do. So my swim wasn't so refreshing but Glen turned on the aerators during the night and now I'm back in business.

Are you ready for a rash of pictures? Please hang on until the end - you won't want to miss the final picture.

First fun stop on our drive north on Friday was the rock shop in Orderville. In many ways, we were reliving Utah trips with our young family but now with our grandchildren. Orderville rock shops were always a requested stop in our young family days.

This dinosaur is new. I also didn't remember fossilized dino poop or eggs.

Julianna was mesmerized with the cars streaking past on Highway 89. Sheltered child that she is, this was a new experience. She would experience a lot more before the trip was over.

The plan was to end up farther north on the 89 for a viewing of the Manti Pageant. We thought it started at nine and arrived with time to stake out a grassy spot.

They soon announced a start time of 9:30 pm or so. Julianna and I decided to take a long walk.

Finally about 9:35 the lights on the hill came on and we were given a visual tour of early church history. When it hit 11:00, we decided to make a get away with our sleepy crew so that we might be the first ones out of town. Heather was so relieved to miss the Carthage scene. She told me it would have given her nightmares. We made an after midnight arrival at the condo in Provo. My sister, Janis, who is playing BYU student this summer had made our beds and left out cookies. We felt so welcomed.

Saturday found us taking care of business. Costco shopping, turning in the art contest entries, putting up bunting, and settling in for our stay were the main activities.

On Sunday after church, we had a big family dinner after which Jason was ordained an elder by his father who had flown in on Saturday afternoon from Fort Lewis. The Bunkers were thrilled to be a family all within touching distance again.

They had hoped for a photo session with Janae. Instead they got snapshots from the amateurs.

This was as creative as we got. They are now officially residents of Kansas, at least mom, dad, and Logan are. The other four call Provo home for now. That meant we had lots of dinner guests during the week.

Several of us ended the evening at the Marriott Center with a special patriotic program.

Our next family portraits were taken Monday morning at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house.

It is a beautiful temple and the little ones were intrigued and thoughtful.

Jenny sent her mom to class and joined us for the day.

Kyle and Brittany had work and missed the second Bunker photo shoot.

Julianna toured in her stroller and got to check out all the elevators. Toby loved all the pictures of Jesus. TJ was his usual thoughtful self. Heather liked the crystal chandliers. Aunt Becky taught her how to text message on the drive from Provo.

The location is amazing and the grounds beautiful. We will have to revisit in a year or so to see how the new plantings have fared.

Volunteers out front took our whole group picture.

We left the temple and drove directly to the Lion House for lunch.

Hollyhocks are now the flower of choice near the church office building. We rode the elevator to the top and loved the views. Well, Heather didn't enjoy being high. I didn't think that she was afraid of anything! She was the bravest at Seven Peaks later in the week, however.

Eric's family went on to Temple Square and the Art Museum. Glen and I went with Lynette to drop Lowell off at the airport so that he could return to Kansas and his new job. Glen then graciously sat in the car while Lynette and I explored the wonderful Quilt store on State Street in Sandy before returning to Provo.

Tuesday, we visited the Walter Wick Exhibit at BYU's Museum of Art after attending a devotional at the JSB given by my former instructor at ASU, Lynette Erickson. She was hired by BYU after receiving her doctorate at ASU. She was and is all about social studies curriculum.

Wednesday, we told our Lynette goodbye as she, Becky, and Logan began their road trip to Kansas. Lynette expressed that she felt like she was driving into exile. (Today I took advantage of Southwest's sale and booked my flight to Kansas City for September. She's not in exile! She will have more visitors than she can imagine!)

Shortly after their departure, Jolene and boys arrived from Albuquerque. We had just enough time to wash and change out the sheets and towels. TJ was in heaven to finally have boys to hang out with. Heather soon learned that she would have to be brave and thick skinned.

Thursday morning was our Thanksgiving Point date. Grandpa had been planning it for over a month, so was at the door when they opened. He wanted to make sure to get a golf cart and two Segways. We maxed out the Grandparents season pass we had purchased on Memorial Day. My job was to pass out all 18 stickers.

Heather finished "The Secret Garden" before visiting this secret garden. She and Kate had become friends at Nate and Nichelle's wedding. They were happy to meet again.

There was the sound of water and lovely smells.

Sadie and Ruby had arrived in Utah the night before. We were so happy to see them again.

Later, we would look for the Secret Garden from the lookout hill. We couldn't be sure just where it was. It really is a secret!

Next stop was the Italian garden and this amazing hillside fountain. It was Jason's turn to spend the day with us.

Dave challenged everyone to a foot race, but he cheated and started first so won.

Next stop, the Monet garden. Sadie loved the pink water lilies.

We looked and looked for a frog but couldn't find one.

We fed the fish well. I had been instructed to sort out the quarters from Grandpa's change cup in the car. I found 25 quarters!

This little artist could find much inspiration in this garden.

The rose garden was spectacular! On our Memorial Day visit, it had been sticks with a few leaves. It was now in full bloom and smelled so good. We found roses to match Julianna and her mother.

Julianna wants to touch everything. And then she tries to put it in her mouth.

Silly girl!

All the beautiful girls loved the roses.

Dave and Jason rode the golf cart up for Segway instructions at 11:00. Once Jason rode it down the hill to the rose garden, I don't think he ever got a chance to get back on again. What a good sport!

Eric took a turn.

Then Susan got a turn.

Jolene, Sally, and Amy also took turns. Glen and I decided not to test our luck!

The little girls let me take their picture on the bridge before riding with Grandpa Glen on the golf cart to the waterfalls.

They took a short walk to experience the falls up close.
Everyone met for lunch at the Trellis cafe. We were in need of a rest and nourishment. You should have seen their eyes when we said, "We are a party of 18." There was an audible sigh of relief when Glen told them there would only be one check.

This is what you can see from the Trellis Cafe. Can you pick out the secret garden?

Now that we were refreshed and rested, it was time to hop in the cars and go next door to the Children's Discovery Garden. This pond had viewing windows in a wall enabling this shot (I am not lying on my belly!)

In the Discovery Garden, I discovered this dragon fly laying eggs. I was so excited that the wings stood out in the photo. We watched for quite some time.

There were caterpillar playgrounds.

And a threatening storm.

There were climbing hills.

And rocks and rills.

There were blocks to stack.

And animals to track.

There was a lighthouse to explore.

And there was more.

Noah's Ark, a most impressive splash pad!

Thanksgiving Point was a good, good time!

Friday was Glen and Laurel's day in the mountains. Glen could not imagine leaving without time in those beautiful mountains. Early morning found us at Sundance.

We rode the ski lift with all the mountain bikers. It was a beautiful day!

There were clouds and sunshine and birds. It took your breath away.

After our lift ride, we explored Sundance and staked out the location of our outdoor concert that evening.

We were soon back on the Alpine Loop looking through the aspen groves.

So incredibly lovely and full of texture.

Soon after the aspen trees, we turned left to Cascade Springs.

Seven miles east of the Alpine Loop, the path meanders through the rushing waters coming out of the bottom of the mountain.

There were many families enjoying the Springs. Glen and I were enjoying time with each other.

Upon leaving the springs, we headed east over the mountain to Midway and lunch at The Homestead on the back veranda overlooking the golf course. We reminisced about the anniversary stays of our younger years and of bringing the boys to swim.

After lunch we headed back to Provo for a nap and to get ready for our big date, the Utah Symphony at Sundance's outdoor amphitheater.

We, along with about 1300 other people, made our way up the hill.
We chose seats up close so that we could see the musicians faces.

Look carefully and you can see Glen's head.

Amazingly, we saw someone we knew just one row over. Nate's old seminary teacher, Candance Coople, who was working for the Freedom Festival Committee. We enjoyed the concert so much. Sometimes you forget the sheer beauty of music experienced in person.

During intermission, Glen checked his phone and found a text message telling us that Ruby had won first prize for the 5-6 year olds in the Children's Art Contest for her painting called "Fairy Garden." It's the colorful one high above her head. She is also very colorful with her free face painting and hairdo at downtown Provo Freedom Days.

Heather also shows off her painting "4th of July Commotion" which will be on display until July 31st.

Saturday morning arrived early. Glen woke me at 4:15 am so that we could go stake out our part of Center Street for the 4th of July parade. No one was allowed to lay out their chairs and blankets until 5:00 am, but that doesn't mean that people weren't ready! The street was lined with cars and people standing on the sidewalk. And then the great Provo land grab began at 5:00 o'clock with everyone seeming to rush forward in sync as they claimed their spot.

My reward was watching the sun rise over the mountains.

I also caught a glimpse of a hot air balloom or two over the tree tops.

Glen and I had gone on Thursday morning to watch them inflate the balloons, but they were not allowed to launch that day due to possible rain storms. That morning I forgot my camera or this post would be even longer :)

The crew finally arrived to keep me company with their poppers and bombs. There were pre-parade wars in the streets of Provo.

Children from both sides would venture out with poppers or the CO2 bombs and then quickly retreat.

It was a noisy good time!

And there was an abundance of ammunition courtesy of Grandpa Glen.

It was perfect parade weather, cool and cloudy. No one could remember a better parade day.

Dave's other family was across the street so there was much back and forth visiting when the parade got slow.

My favorite part was the Sons of Helaman. The Provo area missionaries looked and acted like true soldiers of God as they smiled and high fived their way down Center.

I just had to take a picture of Madeline, retired school librarian that I am.

It was a great parade day!

Right after the parade, we loaded up our chairs and took them to the lawn in front of the Provo temple for fireworks in the evening. Our adult sons wanted their children to have the experience of temple lawn fireworks viewing. Dave and Sally are fairly certain that they were both on the lawn at the same time in their youth, what with grandparents living just a couple of blocks apart.

Grandpa Glen now brought out his red, white, and blue necklaces and light sticks.

He is our 4th of July prop man! The fireworks were great and the mountainside route to the condo solved most our post-firework traffic problems.

Sunday was our Jensen family picnic in the park in Draper. It was loads of fun. Elma would have been proud of the impromtu water fight. Her legacy lives on. Everyone flashed away as the five siblings lined up for photos.

This was their sorry attempt at funny faces. Looks like frowny faces to me! Check below to see if they have changed at all in over 30 years! It was good to see them together again.

Faith, Family, and Country
It doesn't get much better than that!