Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday in Tucson

We started Sunday by attending Sacrament meeting in the Catalina Ward. They not only had a beautiful new building, but a real spiffy sign out front inviting people to worship with them. So, we did!

In the afternoon we went over to see Melissa's house. She is going to rent or sell it and move into Stephen's house. It is a terrific problem for a newlywed couple to have--too many houses.

We met Tom and Tina for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Oro Valley. It was highly recommended, on the list of top 100 Chinese restaurants in the country. We ate as much as we could, but Tom and Tina are going to have a little leftovers after we leave tomorrow.

Tom and Tina have landscaped their back yard since I was last here. It was like a mini-botanical garden.

They might have a mini-botanical garden , but they have a maxi cat--Zipper, a Mainecoon. He was not very friendly, but it was fun listening to how he likes to shower with his owners. I'm surprised there's room for anyone else in the shower after the cat gets in!

Dinner at the Ziel Home

Tina invited us to join the rest of the family for dinner at Melissa's new home. They whipped up leftovers from the rehearsal dinner. It was fun to see Tina with Melissa and Laura all together.

Ed and his brother Tom look even more alike since Tom lost 60 pounds and Ed 20!

We enjoyed hearing Melissa play a love song on the harp for Stephen. She did a beautiful rendition of "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You." Any husband that would put up with 20 relatives running around his new house the day after his wedding must be a real keeper!

Natural Tucson

Yesterday we went sightseeing in Tucson. We started out at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

In addition to a lot of beautiful spring flowers, they also had some terrific cacti. Crystal said she just doesn't get the point of a cactus! (That's a joke.)

The weather was perfect, and Crystal took a terrific selfie of all of us as we rested in the shade.

We also visited the International Wildlife Experience so Brittany could see what's happening at another life science museum other than the one she works at in Provo.

When I told Crystal and Ed we were going to see stuffed animals they were thinking more along the lines of teddy bears than grizzly and polar.

We had enough time in the afternoon to take a quick dip in the pool and sip soda from the silly straws that Crystal had bought for us. The straws were long tubes that fed the soda up around a pair of glasses and into your mouth. Practically everyone in the hotel asked us where they could get a pair of sippy straw glasses for themselves!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Melissa and Stephen Wedding

 Ed's niece, Melissa Bush married Stephen Ziel today. They are both in their early 30's, and seem so well matched that it was definitely worth waiting to find one another.

Melissa is the daughter of Ed's brother, Tom and his wife Tina. They looked great, especially since Tom has lost about 70 pounds in the past year!

Several people at the wedding noticed how much Brittany and Melissa look alike. I don't know if you can tell it from this short of the bride and groom with the Bush cousins.

The weather was beautiful, and the gardens at the reception center were beautiful. It was fun to be somewhere where spring had already sprung. It was just as pretty inside the dining room.

After dinner the bride and groom led out with the first dance. They looked so much in love. It was very romantic.

One of the more touching moments of the day was Melissa dancing with her dad as he wheeled her around the dance floor. It was a real day of celebration, and a wonderful start for Melissa and Stephen as they start their new life together!

Meet me in Tuscon

We're in Tucson this weekend, but we actually picked up Crystal in Denver. We had a layover in Colorado,where we caught up with Crystal at the airport. We were lucky to be able to get on the same plane as Crystal, which took off only about 45 minutes after our plane landed! After arriving in Tucson, we stopped in to check out the much bally-hoo-ed In-N-Out burger to see what the fuss was about. It was just fine, but no Five Guys!

Budget gave us a nice rental car upgrade--a beautiful red BMW. It's nice looking, but Crystal likes the giant back seat in our rental Cadillacs better!

Ed and I are running on Eastern time, so had to dawdle a little before it was time for breakfast. It's hard to sleep in late when you move three hours west in time zones!

Brittany and John, on the other hand, slept in. They had driven from Utah and arrived in Tucson at 2:30 a.m. The slept in just late enough to still get breakfast before the hotel closed it up. We were happy to be all together, except for Amanda (in Minnesota), to celebrate our niece Melissa's wedding this afternoon.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tea Time in Sykesville

Suzanne got together a group of friends to join her for tea, lunch and a scone-making class at Sweet Simplici-Tea in Sykesville. (visit their website at She was surprised to find out she had 8 friends, and they all wanted to come make scones!

After a cup of herbal tea (the blood orange was terrific), we got to work. We had wisely chosen the white chocolate chip recipe!

The other secret ingredient was 2 cups of cream (no butter to cut in). Robin, the store owner, had everything laid out ready for us to add the ingredients.

We divided into three groups of three, and patted our dough into a big circle. Robin told us not to worry about over-kneading it. It was a fool-proof recipe!

We cut our circles of dough into 18 scones so we could each take 6 home with us!

While the scones were baking, we ate quiche, cucumber sandwiches and tiny pieces of carrot cake. There was one unnamed member of the party waiting for the dessert course afterwards. She didn't realize we had already eaten it!

Lucky for her, we all had 6 yummy scones to take home with us. Strangely, my box only had 5! (At least that's the story I'm telling Ed!)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book It Sisters at Camp 14

Suzanne hosted the Book It Sisters Tuesday night for our second book club. We read Escape from Camp 14, about a man who escaped from a prison camp in North Korea. She had a complete Korean feast ready for us. It was so beautiful, festive and delicious too!

Harper was hoping (unsuccessfully) to partake in the bounty as well!

We enjoyed reading the book, if you can say that about a very terrible story. We were all glad not to have been born in a labor camp! For our full reviews, check out the Book it Sisters blog page at!

Strings Attached

Barb Reger suggested we teach the Activity Day girls how to finger knit. We thought it was a great idea, and even greater if she would teach it! So, last night she was our guest instructor. She already knows half the girls, as she is their Primary teacher.
We had 15 girls there, so it was a good thing we invited Kaylene Stephens as well. It took all four of us to help get the knots out when someone got tangled! Once they got started, the girls were very focused and really got to work!

The girls that finished early got to learn how to finger crochet from Kaylene. Heather and I learned just enough to help out a little. Look at all the great work they did in only one hour!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Snow Time to Exercise

More snow! And it's March 17th! Hopefully, this is the last time! Suzanne and I have had a dickens of a time getting our walks in this winter.

Fortunately, I got my new Jump Sport trampoline delivered on Friday! Just the thing to get some exercise at home when I can't go outside. It took me about an hour and a half to get 10,000 steps on it this morning, very similar to the amount of time to get the steps in by walking.

I went through the training video first, then watched part of a movie while I worked out. Other than having to stop and go to the bathroom frequently, it was lots of fun!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Warm Before the Storm

Ed and I took Coda out on the fire trail yesterday. It was a beautiful day. Most of the snow is melted, although there were occasional snowy and icy spots. The best part is that we were able to walk without a jacket on! The sad part is, we are going to have snow again tonight and tomorrow! NO MORE SNOW, PLEASE! We are so ready for spring!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mother Daughter Day at Relief Society

The Relief Society had a mother daughter activity Tuesday night for all women 8 years old and up. What was the point of having 3 daughters if none of them lives at home with me anymore? Jen, on my left, has 5 sons, so we decided to be buddies for the night. We started out learning how to paint nails.

Then, we progressed to how to braid hair. I wish I would have had all these creative braiding options 20 years ago! I could have had so much fun on my girls' hair!

We then progressed to cake (and cupcake) decorating. The best part of that was eating our cupcake afterwards! 

We barely had time to finish a set of earrings in our short 15 minutes in that rotation!

At the end I practiced my new braiding skills on Jen. It looks like I could use some practice! Where are my daughters when I need them?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bao Bao

We dropped by the National Zoo on our way home Saturday, and stood in line for an hour to see Bao Bao, the panda bear cub. We had read that panda bears sleep 20 hours a day, so we were thrilled to find him awake and munching on a piece of bamboo!

We were rewarded for our patience by getting to see the mama bear pick him up and drag him across the rocks. Everyone oohed and ahhed, us included!

The mama picked up little Bao Bao by the scuff of the neck and brought him down from his rocky perch. I guess it wasn't dinner time yet. After that, Bao Bao picked himself up again and started the whole performance over again!

Hillwood Estate

On the very good advice of my friend, Jannet Downs, we dropped by Saturday to see the Hillwood Estate Museum near the National Zoo.
We enjoyed seeing the beautiful home, completely furnished, with the table set, wating for company!
The estate was replete with treasures collected by Marjorie Merriweather Post (heir to the Post Cereal company) over her lifetime. 
She had a special love for Russian art, and collected many items while living in Russia with her ambassador husband. These Fabarge eggs were beautiful!

It was fun seeing the kitchen, which was preserved in the style of the 1950s.

The gardens were beautiful, despite just barely thawing out from our long cold winter.

The Japanese rock garden was fun to walk in, as you got to cross the water over different bridges.

I loved the musical figures at the entrance to the garden.

This was a woman who loved her pets, and had a beautiful pet cemetery dedicated to them!

The greenhouse housed a variety of beautiful orchids.

We enjoyed the visit so much and hope to return at Christmas and see how they decorate for the holidays!