Monday, July 28, 2014

July Recap: Remembering our Pioneer Sisters

In honor of Pioneer Day, we celebrated our pioneer sisters!  

To begin the evening, we had a potluck dinner. If our pioneer sisters wanted something to feed their families, they had to grow it, raise it, or gather it.  Consequently, we asked everyone to bring a dish that included at least one item they had grown themselves (or thought about growing, or have grown in the past, or promise to grow in the future). :-)  

It was amazing to see the delicious variety of foods that people brought.  There seemed to be a lot of dishes with tomatoes, basil, or green onions in them. 

Here is some information about a few of the dishes people brought: Marlene declared Heather's bruschetta to be better than Fazoli's and asked for the recipe. Sharon made a Spanish Rice using peppers from Karen's garden.  Robynne B. didn't have time to make anything, so her mother-in-law made a delicious apple crisp for her to bring using apples from her yard.  Rose made a tasty Chinese pancake with green onions.  Bree brought Caprese Salad with ripe tomatoes from her garden (and kindly brought extra tomatoes for people to take home).  The sister missionaries brought yummy homemade brownies. (Somebody had to grow the sugarcane, cocoa, and wheat, right?)  It was a veritable FEAST!


The delicious soup in the lower right hand corner is "Herbed Tomato Soup" made with love by Karen.

Herbed Tomato Soup

In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup butter till melted.  Add 2 medium onions, sliced (1 cup); cook till tender but not brown.  Peel, core, and coarsely chop 6 medium tomatoes (about 4 cups); add to saucepan.  (Or, use one 28 ounce can undrained whole peeled tomatoes, cut up.)  Stir in one 6-ounce can tomato paste; 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed; 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed; 1 teaspoon salt; and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Stir in 4 cups chicken broth.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover; simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.  Press through a food mill.  (Or, place about half at a time in a blender container; cover and blend till pureed.  Blending leaves more seeds in the tomato mixture than sieving.  Or use a hand blender right in the pot.)  Return to saucepan.  Heat through.  Makes 8 servings.

After dinner, three sisters in the ward shared stories of their pioneer ancestors.  Lisa B. spoke about two women in her family who were in the Martin and Wilie Handcart Companies.  One of the stories she told was when the pioneers camped and found some parsnips to eat.  After eating the parsnips, someone told them that they were very poisonous and that they should not eat any more of them.  At least some of the pioneers were expected to die.  Miraculously, no one died except for a man who refused the counsel not to eat any more.  

Lisa also talked about her ancestor Ephraim Hanks (who was the main character in the movie "Ephraim's Rescue).  He helped rescue some members of those same beleaguered handcart companies.  All were great examples of faith and fortitude!





Next, Cheryl M. spoke to us about one of her female ancestors who married a man with the last name of Pulsipher.  This woman seemed like a very spunky and resourceful woman.  When she first met her husband, she remarked disparagingly to another person that someone with the name of Pulsipher should change their last name.  Little did she know that she would soon marry that man!  Cheryl's ancestor lived in the area where the Scofield mine disaster of 1900 occurred.  She sounded like an inspirational woman!

 
Learning about Cheryl's ancestor


Finally, Marlene dressed up in pioneer garb and pretended to be one of her ancestors.  She spoke in first person as she related the famous Seagulls and Crickets story in early church history that some of her own ancestors experienced.  It was quite a touching story, because the young couple were so poor that they only had a couple of biscuits left to eat before the crickets came and attempted to destroy their crops.  Even though the mother did not have enough food for herself and her family, she gave a biscuit to another young mother who asked for food.  This mother was pregnant and gave birth very soon after this experience.  She credited Marlene's ancestor with saving her life by giving her the meager food.

In addition to sharing stories of her ancestors, Marlene suggested we all attend Daughters of Utah Pioneers meetings.  They are held from September to May on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Primary Room. You do not have to have pioneer ancestry to participate.  Please see Marlene for more information!

Rose wanted to take a picture with Marlene

Finally, in keeping with our pioneer sisters' need to be self reliant, we learned how to make laundry soap (not quite the same as they did, but a modern day version).  

Cheryl, Robin, and Sarah hard at work making soap



Homemade Laundry Detergent 

1 box of Super Washing Soda 3 lb. 7 oz.
1 box of Borax 4 lbs. 12 oz. size
3 bars of Fels-Naptha 5.5 oz.
1 container of OxiClean 1.3 lb.
*optional: Purex Crystals 28 oz. for scent

Place the Fels-Naptha on a plate and slice into 5 sections.  Microwave it for 1 min 45 seconds.  Let set for about 30 minutes or until completely cooled.  Crumble it up then rub it between your hands to make into a powder.  Mix all ingredients together.  Use 1 tablespoon mix for a regular load, 2-3 tablespoons for large loads or heavily soiled loads.



We are going to donate the soap to the homeless shelter to help assist those in need, just like our pioneer sisters were willing to help others even while they were struggling to survive themselves. (The ancestor stories we heard earlier in the evening demonstrated this pioneer characteristic very well!)

 

The RS Committee invited everyone who came to display an item they had made (a craft, clothing, art work, poem, anything).  Our pioneer sisters used their talents to create needed items as well as to bring beauty to their surroundings.  A few very talented and brave souls brought their beautiful  creations for us to view:


Spencer W. Kimball said that "When you look in the dictionary for the most important word, do you know what it is? It could be ‘remember.’"  It is important for us to remember the sacrifices of the pioneers that helped build the Church in its infancy.  Whether or not we each have pioneer ancestors ourselves, the history of those early Saints is our shared history as members of the Church.  Our Relief Society activity this month was an important way for us to remember them AND to connect with them as we live our modern lives. Thanks to all who organized this and/or participated in the inspiring event!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

June's "Evening (Almost) Under the Stars"

For our June activity, we met outside on the grassy area behind the church and stayed out a little bit later than we usually do! We learned about outdoor cooking, played games, made a craft, sang campfire songs, and finished with an awesome devotional.  We were happy that a few Young Women decided to join us.

Robin and her husband came early to the event to set up a volleyball net and other outdoor games all over the field.  Many of the people who came had fun participating in physical activities.

To begin the evening, Karen showed us an unusual way to light a fire, using a tampon and a battery with steel wool (!) 

Next, we had several sisters demonstrate unique ways to do outdoor cooking.  Rochelle talked about how her family has visited the same campground for many years and that they have a tradition of making dutch oven cobbler. 

Rochelle cutting up fresh fruit for the cobbler. Yum!
Here is her family's healthier version of cobbler, courtesy of her sister Carrie:

Dutch Oven Peach-Berry Cobbler

Carrie Mortensen

One of my favorite things about camping is cooking in my dutch oven. This cobbler is less sweet than most (which is why I like it) but is a delicious way to eat up all the fresh summer fruits.

Please Note: This recipe is not exact in any way. Good Luck!

3 baskets of berries (blueberries, boysenberries, olalaberries, etc)

3 fresh peaches, peeled and chunked.

a sprinkle of sugar.

Topping:
2 cups baking mix (recommended: Trader Joes multigrain baking mix)

1/8 cup cinnamon sugar

3 T oil

1 cup milk

Mix fruit and sugar together in bottom of Dutch oven. Mix together topping and pour over top.
Cook with 8-10 hot coals on bottom and 15+ hot coals on top for about 30-45 minutes until topping is golden brown. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

The finished product.  It was delicious!

Karen showed us how to cook in a box using hot coals.  She used this method to make yummy and healthy "cupcakes" for us to sample. 

It's amazing that you can really cook in a box!




 A Good-For-You Cupcake

1 c. cruched pineapple (in it's own juice), drained 

2 lg. eggs
3 cups flour       
1 egg white
2 cups sugar       
1/2 cup oil
1 teas. baking soda      
2 t. vanilla
1 teas. baking powder      
2 cups coarsely shredded carrots
1 teas. salt       
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teas. cinnamon

Heat oven to 350. Mix together all ingredients.  Spoon batter into greased muffin tins.  Bake until toothpick stuck in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 22 minutes.  Remove the tins from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 2 minutes.  Serve warm.  Makes 24 cupcakes.
 
Yummy and healthy "cupcakes" for us to enjoy
 


 


Bree showed us how to make breakfast in a bag.  She greased a lunch bag and added eggs and bacon to it.  Then she held it over the coals until the food was cooked.  We learned that the trick is not to let the bag catch fire or break open before it is done cooking :)

Bree hard at work cooking breakfast for us

Breakfast in a bag--who knew?

Sandy L. taught us how to cook one of her family's favorite camping treats: Doughboys.  These are refrigerated biscuits wrapped around a wooden dowel and browned over the fire.  The biscuit forms a cup that you can fill with your choice of toppings.

Doughboys recipe :
-Pillsbury country style biscuits in the can ( buttermilk doesn't work as well and they need to be the regular rather than "the Grands")
-Seasoned wood dowels about the size of closet rod
-wrap biscuit evenly around the end of dowel forming a sort of a cup shape.
- cook SLOWLY over hot coals twirling constantly. Watch the bottom so it doesn't cook too quickly. You want it doughy in places.
- fill with your favorite pie filling or pudding. - -- Top with a dollop of whip cream. Enjoy!


Young Women braving the heat and smoke to make Doughboys.




In addition to learning how to make yummy outdoor treats, we also had an opportunity to do an outdoor craft: painting stones.  It is obvious that we have a lot of creative people in our ward!


Esther and Sarah painting their very own stones.

Painting is fun!


As it started to get dark, we began to sing some fun and unique songs that are typically sung at Girls' Camp.  It's appropriate that we had two young women who had been to more than one Girls' Camp lead us in those quirky songs.

Finally, to cap the evening, we listened to a great devotional by Lisa T.  As it was almost completely dark, Lisa's iPad lit up her face as she spoke about the importance of repentance and making right choices.


Lisa T. looked like an angel :)

It was a wonderful end to a wonderful evening under the stars!!




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

May Activity Recap: The "You're Amazing" Race





For our May weeknight activity, the Rolling Ridge Relief Society participated in the “You’re Amazing” Race! We met at church and divided into 3 teams: Red, Blue, and Yellow. Each team was given an envelope holding the first clue. We had to use our scriptures to decipher the clue and figure out the location of the first stop.
We were reminded not to break any traffic laws during the race and that all members of the group had to get out of the car and retrieve the clue together. The team with the fastest completion time would be crowned the winner. Once we heard the instructions, each team set off on the "You're Amazing" Race!
Our first clue led us to the Chino Hills Public Library, where we found the envelope containing the next clue waiting in a corner of the lobby. A young mother was also sitting in the lobby with her baby. As we retrieved our clue and started to leave, the young mother dropped a pile of books and her baby started fussing. Some of the sisters stopped to help her pick up the books and check on her baby. Others were in a big hurry to leave and find the next clue.
The second clue led each team to Panera Bread in the Shoppes at Chino Hills. We found the envelope containing the next clue tacked to a palm tree in front of the main entrance of the bakery. 
 
Also in front of Panera Bread was a young lady standing next to her car. The hood of her car was up, and the young lady looked very worried. Several sisters stopped to ask her if she needed help with her car. Others were in such a hurry to complete the race that they did not even notice the young lady in need of help. The teams picked up their third clue and continued on with the race.
 
The last clue led each team to the Chino Hills Community Park, where the envelope containing the next clue was tacked to a tree in a corner of the parking lot. 
 
Two of the teams could not find the clue on the first try. We walked all over the park and drove all around town in search of that clue! Eventually, we had to ask the third team for help. They were gracious enough to give us several helpful hints. 
Where are you, third clue??
When each team finally found the last clue, we also found a young lady searching nearby for something in the grass. Some of the sisters were kind enough to ask her if she needed help. The young lady had dropped a valuable ring in the grass and could not find it. Some of the sisters helped her until they found the lost ring. A few sisters were so excited about finding the last clue and getting closer to the end of the race that they did not realize the young lady needed help!

In the last envelope, each team found a roadblock in the form of a worksheet with puzzles that needed to be solved before heading back to the church. Once we figured out all the puzzles, we found out that the common theme in each clue was: Service! 

After the roadblock, the teams headed back to church to complete the race and hear an uplifting message from Brother Tanuvasa. His message was on the topic of service, of course! He reminded us to look out for each other and to reach out to those sisters we may not know as well, especially within our own ward.
Two of the "undercover" sisters
Then we were introduced to some special helpers in the “You’re Amazing” race. They were the young ladies who needed help at each of the stops! They had been planted there by the Relief Society Meeting Committee to see if we would offer them help. Some of us felt very bad and selfish for not offering to help these ladies during the race. Others were glad they noticed and found time to help them! These undercover ladies showed us that we should not get so caught up with finishing the race that we don’t make time to help others in need. It is better for us to all finish the race together than to leave others behind.The sisters spent the rest of the night enjoying goodies from the Taster's Table and recapping the escapades of the evening.
Delicious bread from our May Taster's Table
The Red Team
The Blue Team
The Yellow Team aka the winners!
We had a great time participating in the "You're Amazing" race. It was a ton of fun and really helped to strengthen our bond as sisters! Thank you to the Relief Society Meeting Committee for yet another great activity!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Visting Teaching Drive-Thru Interviews

In May, the Relief Society Presidency hosted a drive-thru visit teaching interview day. The Presidency set up their table in the church parking lot and took turns interviewing each sister as they drove up for their appointment. The interviews were short and sweet, and pertained to all things related to visit teaching. Thank you to all the visiting teachers who participated. We appreciate your time and willingness to share your thoughts and experiences! Thank you also to each member of our wonderful Relief Society Presidency for devoting their time to the interviews and sitting through the sweltering heat!
Let the interviews begin!
“Visiting teachers minister in behalf of the Savior. Our hands are His hands, our love is His love, and our service is His service. Good visiting teachers know the sisters they visit. They love them, serve them, and help them learn the gospel by the Spirit. They focus on fortifying homes and lives. There is no greater privilege than to watch over and strengthen another person—it is truly the business of salvation.” (Julie B. Beck, “Focusing on the Lord’s Work of Salvation,” Liahona, Mar 2009, 26–30)
"Candles of Light"
By Unknown Author

Candles of Light, traveling by twos,
Visiting each house, chasing the blues.
Teaching the Gospel, spreading their light.
Shining examples of lives that are right.
Unselfishness and kindness kindle the flame.
Friendship's the wax that cradles the same.
The Gospel's the wick that runs its way through.
Leaving it's message, old yet new.
Candles of Light traveling this way,
Can lighten the load of a dreary day
Or cast the shadows from the darkest night
And make all the earth seem more bright.
Yes, the Visiting Teachers are Candles of Light,
Spreading their rays o'er all in their sight.
Rays of smiles and hope and cheer,
May they shine eternally, year after year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

April Activity Recap: Garden Party


For our April activity, our Relief Society had a garden party! The sisters gathered in Donna Palmer's home to learn gardening tips and tricks. The evening started with a tour of Donna's lovely garden, which was full of different types of plants and vegetation. 
Donna's garden had a plethora of flowers and plants!

Donna's family also grows different types of produce in their garden
After the tour, the sisters received an informative presentation from Donna and Karen Harding regarding gardening in small spaces and composting. They demonstrated several ways to create planters that thrive in windowsills and other small spaces. Donna also shared creative ideas about how to make your own compost using leftovers from your kitchen and various sources in the community.
Karen and Donna showed us several creative ideas for gardening in small spaces
Donna takes great care of her garden!
After the presentation, the sisters had the opportunity to create our own sub-irrigated planter using 2-Liter soda bottles and cuttings from Donna's garden. The rosemary cuttings were especially fragrant! We also got to sample some goodies at our monthly Taster's Table.
The sisters had to get their hands a little dirty when building their soda bottle planters!


Our April Taster's Table included pineapple upside down cake, zucchini bread, and peach salsa
We had a great time enjoying the beauty and abundance of Donna's garden and learning more about gardening. Thank you, Donna, for being willing to share your knowledge with us! And as usual, thank you to Karen Harding and the Relief Society Meeting Committee for organizing the activity!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March Activity Recap: Relief Society Birthday Party

This March, the Relief Society celebrated its 172nd birthday, making it one of the world's oldest organizations for women. It is also the world's largest women's organization, with five and a half million sisters in 170 countries. Our Relief Society celebrated this wonderful event with our own birthday party!
Each table was adorned with Relief Society themed decorations
The Relief Society Meeting Committee was very thoughtful with the decorations, incorporating the Relief Society colors of blue and gold into all the details, including the cupcakes and beverages! Each table also had goodie bags with the Relief Society logo and bookmarks with the Relief Society theme. The Committee challenged us to memorize the Relief Society theme printed on these bookmarks. To help motivate us, the Committee has promised that any sister who accomplishes this goal before the end of the year will receive a prize! 

When the Relief Society sisters arrived, it was time to get the party going. Our celebration started off with a delicious meal of individual Texas taco platters. The sisters had a great time assembling their own Texas taco platter, dishing their toppings of choice into tortilla bowls handcrafted by Karen Harding.
Morgan and the Sister missionaries decide what toppings to put on their Texas taco platter
Cheryl, Marlene, and Brenda enjoy their dinners
Sharon and Beth pause to smile for the camera
Jessica and Rose invited a friend to celebrate the Relief Society's birthday with us
During dinner, we watched the following video about Relief Society based on the book, Daughters in My Kingdom

After we filled our stomachs, the sisters worked on a service project for the House of Ruth, a shelter for women and children victimized by domestic violence. In honor of the Relief Society birthday, we put together and decorated birthday kits to present to the House of Ruth. Each kit included a box of cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, and candles. All of these items were donated by the members of our Relief Society. By the end of the night, we had assembled 26 birthday kits, surpassing our original goal of 20! We hope these kits will allow women from the House of Ruth to make birthday celebrations more joyous for their children.
Birthday supplies central

Josie, Anne, and Jacklynn did a lovely job decorating their birthday kits for the House of Ruth
The birthday kits turned out great!
We ended the evening with a competitive game of Pictionary using Relief Society themed words. Some of the words, like "service" and "visiting teaching," were difficult to draw, but the sisters did their best and we all had a fun time! Thank you to all the sisters for attending. And as always, a great big THANK YOU to Karen and the Relief Society Meeting Committee for putting together such a fabulous party!
Happy Birthday, Relief Society!