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!

Monday, March 10, 2014

February Activity Recap: Family Relationships



For our February activity, the Relief Society sisters learned about family relationships from Bishop Lund. The bishop shared his thoughts on "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," highlighting several important sections to help us remember our purpose and the purpose of our family here on Earth.

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life." - The Family: a Proclamation to the World, Paragraph Three

To help us better understand our family's divine destiny, Bishop asked us how we would answer if asked what we were raising in our families. One sister said "children of God," another said "the future," and one said "our brothers and sisters." The Bishop then asked us how a corn farmer would answer if asked what he was raising. The farmer could say "stalks", or "ears", or "cobs", but the final product of his crop is corn. Therefore, he would say he is raising corn. Likewise, we should consider the final product of our family members. Each of our divine destiny is to become "heirs of eternal life." Having this kind of perspective will help us focus on the ultimate goal of our children and encourage us to do what we need to help them achieve that goal.

Bishop then discussed several important principles to maintain when raising a family. "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities" (The Family, a Proclamation to the World, Paragraph Seven). He encouraged the sisters to practice and teach these important principles within our families.

Bishop then shared the following quote from Elder Richard G. Scott, "Marriage provides an ideal setting for overcoming any tendency to be selfish or self-centered... Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good, and the foundation of a successful marriage." Bishop encouraged us to express our love for our family often, with the promise that if we express our love to them, it will grow even greater.

After Bishop Lund's presentation, Sandy Larsen led the sisters in a fun Gratitude Journal craft. We each picked a kit and followed Sandy's instructions to assemble the journals.
So many different choices and patterns!
The sisters enjoyed each other's company during the journal craft
The final products
For the tasting table, the sisters snacked on Valentine themed food, including healthy fruits arranged in heart shapes and a variety of pink desserts.
Valentine themed tasting table
yummy "hearty" oatmeal bars
Whoopie Pies
From the Kitchen of Esther Flores

Makes 9 Whoopie Pies or 18 cookies

Cookies:

  • 1 Box of Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • ⅓ cup Vegetable Oil (or 6 Tb melted butter)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract 
Icing:
  • 4 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, use a mixer to combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. With a 1 – 1½ inch cookie scoop or with a couple of tablespoons, scoop 1 inch balls of dough and place on the parchment lined baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake for about 8 – 11 minutes in the 375F preheated oven.

For the Icing:
  1. In a medium bowl mix the softened cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla together until well blended.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until well incorporated and smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

Assembly:

  1. Using an icing bag fitted with a “star” tip or plain tip (or a ziplock sandwich bag with a small hole cut in one corner), pipe icing onto half of the cookies. Carefully top with second cookie and enjoy.
Thank you to all the sisters who attended the activity! We hope you were enlightened by Bishop Lund's thoughts on families and that you are utilizing your Gratitude Journals as often as you can! Thank you also to our wonderful RS Meeting Committee for putting together the event. We look forward to the next one and invite you all to join us!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Worth of An Eight Cow Woman

For January's Relief Society Activity, we took a trip to the islands and feasted on Hawaiian Haystacks and Pineapple Cake.  We also watched the original classic movie "Johnny Lingo" during the meal.  The film reminded us that just as Johnny Lingo valued Mahana enough to pay an astounding eight cows for her dowry, we all have divine worth and are treasured by our Heavenly Father.

If you missed the movie, here is a link for you to watch it:
http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/johnnylingo


After dinner and a movie, we were able to choose 2 out of the 3 classes available which were designed to further the virtues and skills of the "eight cow woman".

Delicious Recipes from Karen


Homemade Hawaiian Haystacks

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
4 cups chicken broth (I used Knoor Chicken Bouillon)
2 tsp. of dry Ranch Dressing seasoning packet
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper to taste
cooked rice
desired toppings

Instructions
1.  In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
2.  Slowly whisk in flour and salt until smooth and thick.
3.  Slowly add in chicken broth while whisking until smooth.  Continue to cook while whisking until thick like gravy.
4.  Add sour cream, Ranch seasoning, garlic salt, and cooked chicken breast.  Stir and pepper if desired.
5.  Serve over cooked rice with desired toppings.  Serves 6.


I used my own Ranch Dressing Seasoning,  Here is the recipe for it.

1 tsp. parsley
3/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dried thyme

Makes 1 Tablespoon

Special Cake


1 yellow cake mix - bake in 2 9 x 13's or 1 12 x 18 for 15 - 20 minutes.  Cool thoroughly.

2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding mixed with 4 cups milk and 2 8oz. softened cream cheese.  Spread over cake.

2 cans crushed pineapple drained thoroughly.  Spread over pudding.

2 12 oz. Cool Whip - spread over pineapple.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

May be frozen





Lavonne and Beth, the newest members of our Relief Society Meeting Committee, finish decorating for the event while Sharon looks on.

Gabby presented the class entitled "Mad Cow"--how to organize yourself and your home so that you don't go mad!  She had great tips on where to put emergency kits for your family (right by the front door in cubbies), and convenient items to keep in your car at all times. Below is her weekly menu that she uses to keep her meal planning easy and organized.



Organizational ideas submitted by members of our Relief Society


Genealogy: It works best for me when I set aside half an hour on the same day each week to work on genealogy. I actually set a timer for 30 minutes.  Usually, when I start I don't want to work on it, but by the time the timer beeps, I want to keep going, and I often do.  


I have a genealogy notebook that I use every time. I write the date and then I write everything that I did that day for research. It helps so much to keep a record so I don't get lost the next time I work. Also, when I get stuck about what to work on that day, I can go back over my notes from months ago and often find things I missed to work on.

Family Home Evening: There are two things we've added to FHE that really help us stay organized. 1) Announcements. Every week, I take the calendar and tell everyone what will be happening that coming week, day-by-day. It really helps to keep everyone on track. 2) Family Council. After announcements, we have family council. This is a time for anyone in the family to bring up problems that bother them in the family and that we can discuss together. I think it helps each family member to feel like they have a voice and a stake in the family.

Meal Planning: I planned 2 months of dinners and put them on my Google Calendar on repeat. Now I always know what is for dinner.

Toy Organization:  Toys were never allowed in my children's bedrooms.  Their toys were kept in the family room in bins inside a cabinet.  When they wanted to play they could get out a tub to play with then be sure to put it back before they got out another tub.  In another house the toy bins were kept on shelves in the garage and brought in when they wanted to play.

Trip Preparation:  For a week or so before going on a trip, I would do my laundry everyday.  Each day as I put away the clothes I would set aside anything I wanted to take on my trip.  By the end of the week I had most everything I wanted to take ready to go.



Lisa taught the class entitled "Holy Cow"--how to get more out of your scripture study.  She said that we should 1) look up scriptural words in the dictionary to get new insights into that verse (try the 1828 dictionary online); 2) think about the characters in the scriptures and what they were thinking and feeling, and put ourselves in their shoes; and 3) look for the Savior in every verse.  For example, in Moroni 7:45-47, replace the word "charity" with "Christ" for added depth of meaning.

Cheryl and Mike taught "Udderly Linked"--an intro to genealogy.  Karla is grateful for the one-on-one instruction!

Marlene and Mike are discussing genealogy.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ward Christmas Party: A Christmas Celebration!

Happy New Year! December was a busy month for our Relief Society. We helped our ward host a wonderful celebration for Christmas. Here are some of the pictures from the party! (Photos courtesy of Brother Fred Kat)


The twinkling lights above reminded us of a midnight clear
Many members of the ward attended with their family and friends!
We had a wide assortment of food dishes. All were scrumptious!
We even had a refreshing holiday punch

Many members showed off their decorating skills in the Christmas Tree Wrap game
Each team proudly showed off their final product
All the "trees" looked quite festive!
Each team tried to recruit the most votes from the audience
It was hard to pick a winner!
Our wonderful DJ and emcee for the evening
The children enjoyed playing Musical Chairs to holiday music
Time to limbo!
Amazing limbo skills!
Many different limbo techniques were demonstrated
Even our sister missionaries joined in on the fun!
The Farnsworths showed us some smooth dance moves
Christmas Minute to Win It: Face the Cookie
Don't let the cookie drop!
This game requires great concentration
Focus!
The ward Youth helped all of us feel the Spirit with their Nativity play
'Twas a beautiful Nativity!
The Primary children sang like a heavenly choir
Thank you to everybody who brought food to share and who helped put together this great event! We hope you felt much joy and the Spirit of Christmas at the celebration!