Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Minute Gifts

Christmas is coming fast.  If you are like me, there is always something to do or a gift to make up until the very last second!   I thought I'd share a couple of quick and easy homemade gifts. 

I just finished making a Lavender Sugar Scrub for my YW.  It was very quick and easy.  I got the ingredients and directions from Centsationalgirl  and it worked out just beautifully.  I had the lavender oil already and made the sugar scrub with the lavender flowers.  It smells heavenly!   Buy a pretty container, add a ribbon and a label.  There are some very pretty printable labels on line from Martha Stewart and others. (I will include a couple at the end of this post.)  My colour printer has gone the way of all the earth so I Modge-Podged my labels.  Adding the Modge Podge also makes it somewhat water-proof.  



Fill a glassine bag or tin with some pretty sugared nuts for a quick gift.  I have the best and easiest recipe I have ever found and these make up in about 15 min.: 

    4 C pecans or walnut halves (about 1 lb.)
    1 1/2 C sugar
    1/2 C water
    1 tsp cinnamon

In heavy 2 quart saucepan, bring to boil sugar and water.  Simmer uncovered to soft ball (240 deg).  Remove from heat, stir in cinnamon, then nuts to coat well.  Immediately turn onto wax paper, separate, and cool.

These work year round and make great birthday or Mother's day gifts.  They are not very involved so the YW can get together and complete these on a Mutual night.  I found my glassine bags at a party store in the wedding section.  (These are actually left over from my daughter's wedding.)  They can be decorated with scrap booking materials or stickers.  Because they decorate so beautifully, they can be filled with candy Kisses or M&Ms, truffles, cookies, etc.  

Wishing you a Merry Christmas....and may "God bless us, every one!"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today We Mourn With Those That Mourn

painting by David Bowman
From Joseph B. Wirthlin (Oct 2006):  "I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God.  I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest. But the doom of that day did not endure. The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.

"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.  But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.

"Because of the life and eternal sacrifice of the Savior of the world, we will be reunited with those we have cherished.  It is my solemn testimony that death is not the end of existence.  Because of our beloved Redeemer, we can lift up our voices, even in the midst of our darkest Fridays, and proclaim, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 

"When President Hinckley spoke of the terrible loneliness that comes to those who lose the ones they love, he also promised that in the quiet of the night a still, unheard voice whispers peace to our soul: “All is well.”

I am grateful beyond measure for the sublime true doctrines of the gospel and for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which has whispered to my soul the comforting and peaceful words promised by our beloved prophet.

That we may always know that no matter how dark our Friday, Sunday will come is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Our prayers are with those in Sandy Hook/Newtown. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The New Curriculum: Teaching in the Saviour's Way

Our Stake has been in the pilot program of the new youth curriculum for six months.  It has been a wonderful experience teaching these lessons.  We have been pleasantly surprised at the excitement the girls have exhibited and the questions they have raised.  The Spirit has been with us and testified of many of the principles we have taught.  It has been an uplifting experience for us as leaders and teachers.

Here are ten things we have done that we have found work for us:  

1.  We counseled as a YW board and discussed the teaching material in our meetings prior to introducing the subject for the month ahead.  Is there a need that can be met by teaching a specific lesson?

2.  We met as a counsel of Youth Leaders and teachers to discuss the manuals and the needs of the youth in our ward.  

3.  At the end of each month, we present the YW with a list of the topics for the lessons outlined in the upcoming month.  If there are more than four, we ask them to choose which topic they feel would help them or which about which subject they would like to learn, numbered 1-4 by interest.  We also ask them to choose a topic they feel they would like to help teach and allow them to participate in teaching a part of the lesson.

4.  After the topics are chosen by the YW, we inform the Sunday School teachers about which doctrinal subjects the girls have chosen so the lessons can be coordinated and built upon. (The YM are teaching the same monthly lessons but they are teaching subjects their YM have chosen or what they feel meets their needs.)

5.  We have made use of the videos at 

6.  The YW are encouraged to freely discuss the topics or ask questions.  Each is given a notebook that is kept in our closet and brought out for Sundays to record their thoughts, impressions, or questions as well as any notes they wish to take.  

7.  At the end of each lesson, we generally ask the girls if there are any questions they still may have and try to determine if we need to continue on this topic for the next Sunday to continue to teach the principle.  

8.  At the beginning of each new Sunday, we ask about the challenge or lesson from the week before.  Did they follow up?  What was their experience?  The use of their notebooks or a handout given will help them remember the challenge for the week.  

9. During the week, we are using Facebook messaging to remind them of the challenge early in the week and tell them of the upcoming topic so they will be prepared to share their thoughts, questions, or individual challenges. 

10.  If it is indicated, we inform them of the Personal Progress Value this lesson applies to and whether or not the challenge will help them fulfill a goal.  

This new curriculum has been a blessing to me and I have seen it as a blessing in the lives of our girls!  It is exciting to have them learn and develop testimonies of the fundamental principles of the Gospel. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's A Jungle Out There!

Sometimes, I think the girls make PP harder than it has to be.  It can be so much fun as well as educational.  Personal Progress encompasses so many aspects of their lives.  Each year, when they begin school, they are often "setting goals" without realizing it.  I like to discuss what classes they will have and what they are learning.  Are they taking Spanish or French for the first time?  Are they learning a particularly hard piece of music in piano lessons?  Have they joined a class government or volunteered at a hospital?  All these can be incorporated into goals for Knowledge, Individual Worth, Good Works, etc. YW in Excellence is to celebrate the girls' experiences, projects, and goals accomplished in the past year. Each girl was assigned a portion of a table to "show off" their talents and projects.  Our class of Beehives displayed a quilt they had just finished making.  One YW who is a ballerina in a local dance company brought her toe shoes.  One girl brought some of her ribbons and trophies won in competitions with her dog.   Our tables were full of YW group projects, trophies and photos!  The highlight of the night was a DVD put together by one of the girls of the YW involved in many of their activities and camp this past year.  It was wonderful!

One speaker talked about using Personal Progress to strengthen faith and one spoke on using Personal Progress to add to our temporal as well as spiritual knowledge.  One of our girls presented a song in ASL and one of our girls played the piano.  The decorations were super!  A garland of leaves was made on the sewing machine with leaves cut from green construction paper and hung to make vines.  We had a cute blow up monkey Oriental Trading and several stuffed animals were placed about.  We had a few palm trees with plastic snakes hidden inside. Small water bottles were covered with zebra duct tape and placed in a bucket warning the recipients of possible crocodile attack!  A pond was made out of blue tissue paper and the crocodile was placed in it although he was not very menacing.  Tables were spread with vinyl covers and cut with a ragged edge.   A large table was covered in a jungle print table cloth and covered with fruit kabobs, monkey bread, banana bread, animal crackers, and nut cups.  This theme worked well and was easy to incorporate in our talks and testimonies.  

Unfortunately, my photographer (a Laurel) did not get all the pictures I had hoped.  I'm afraid your imagination will have to work harder here!  But, no harm done and the night was a success for the girls and their parents.