Friday, April 24, 2009

Stone Soup Enrichment Night

Once every 3 months, the Relief Society, which is what our church's women's organization is called, has something called an Enrichment night...

The women in our church meet together for enriching activities that range anywhere from cultural arts, personal development, marriage and family relations, homemaking skills, etc.

I am the Enrichment leader for our local ward so I, along with my friend Heather Merrill, who is the counselor in the Relief Society presidency, am in charge of coming up with the enrichment night activities.

In honor of the Relief Society's 167th birthday, we came up with a clever theme that would represent "unity"...

We entitled the evening..."Stone Soup"

We had several people sign up to bring soup, salad and bread...

At the front, we set up a big soup pot with a "roaring fire" for our presentation...

As everyone came in, we handed them a label that had a different food item on it to indicate which table they were to sit at (meat, potatoes, onions, etc.)

Each table had a different "soup theme"...(Each item represented something that would be added to the pot of soup)

In addition to these, we also had a salt and pepper table, a potato table and a barley table.

The story of Stone Soup tells of 3 soldiers that had just returned from the war and were looking for food and shelter. The villagers of a nearby village were leery of strangers so they hid their food. When the soldiers arrived, the villagers told them that they had no food or shelter to offer them.

The soldiers decided to make "stone soup" by using a big soup pot and water and adding 3 stones. This sparked the villagers curiosity and each time the soldiers said, "It sure would be nice if our soup had some carrots" (or potatoes or meat or barley etc.), the villagers would start volunteering to offer up something they had.

After a while, because of each person's contribution, the soup was fit for a king. It was like magic! The whole town celebrated and the soldiers were honored for their ability to turn a soup from stones and water into a masterpiece.

After dinner, we began our program with an original song that was written by a friend of a friend of mine from New York, entitled "Hearts Knit As One". Heather and Emily Wikle sang and Annabele Hansen accompanied on the piano..It was beautiful!

I love the words of the song:

It sometimes seems we walk life's path alone

So many faces going by unknown

But the Lord shows us

That we are linked eternally

As sisters in Zion we are one.

One heart, one mind, together this circle you belong.

One purpose we will find with our hearts knit as one.

Many voices crying out in need,

Two hands alone are not enough to feed,

But imagine what would be, when linked in unity:

Our errand of angels would succeed.

And imagine all the joy we'll find

When with the Lord

Our hearts become entwined!

After the song, I read the story of "Stone Soup". I had prearranged with one person per table to come up and add their food item to the soup pot when I came to the part in the story where the villagers were volunteering their goods. It was a great visual aid...

In closing, our Stake Relief Society president, Marie Doutre, tied it all together by explaining how each of us bring something different to the "soup pot"--Each of our talents and acts of service are crucial in creating a masterpiece...

I made up these handouts using chocolate "stones" with an attached message...

"Relief Society is like Stone Soup...when everyone contributes we are nourished and enriched and make something that is better than what we can make or do by ourselves. We make life, families, wards and communities better because we serve together."

For dessert, we served "Rocky Road Cake"--(To go with our "stone" theme)

It was so moist and delicious...

Rocky Road Cake--Robi Olson

1 C. chopped dates
1 1/2 C. boiling water
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
*Mix and set aside

3/4 C. butter or shortening
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 C. sifted flour (or gluten free flour)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

add to date mixture and combine well. (it will be runny if using regular flour)

Before baking, add toppings:

Sprinkle Each Topping:

1/3 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. chopped pecans
1 small pkg. chocolate chips (generous 1 C.)

Bake at 350 degrees fro 35-40 minutes in a 9X13 inch pan

I think everyone had a good time...

It was definitely on the lower key end of things...but there was a nice feeling there.

Best of all, it was over by 8:15pm! Everyone still had the option of staying to visit, or leave and get home to watch "The Office" :)

Here we in crime...I love working with Heather...

We are constantly bouncing ideas off of each other...

It so wonderful to have one of your dearest friends on your team!


  1. What a great idea! How fun!

    Due to my work schedule, I haven't been to enrichment in about 4 years, and I miss it!

  2. This looks and sounds like a great activity! You're so creative. Everything you've posted from your Relief Society has been amazing.

  3. I so want to be apart of your enrichment group! It sounds wonderful, and I can tell you puts lots of work into it! You don't know how many times I've shown up for enrichment on time and they are just setting up. The one great thing--if I'm late I know that they haven't even started!

  4. i missed the office last night?!!?!? clearly, i need more practice with this tv thing.

    on to the important items- what a great night!!! so creative. and wait- was that REAL meat on that table?!?!?!

    can i be in your relief society? :) or can you move to my ward?

    what a great time!

  5. Oh my gosh! You are so creative! I love it! I could never have pulled something so awesome off. This would have sent me over the top with stress. Maybe I need some Lexapro. I do a LOT of impatient heavy sighing.

  6. you know i LOVE children's books and esp. a vintage one! how did you find that? well done, it looks great, not really "low key" though, it seems like a 5 star to me!

  7. What a creative and fun evening! Thanks for outlining it in such detail; as the new RS president of a newly-combined ward, I'm thinking it would be a great activity to help bring us together and bring home the point that we all have something important to share. Wish you and Heather were in my ward!

  8. Oh, and where on earth do you buy chocolate rocks? They look so realistic!

  9. You call that low key?? Wow! I'm impressed. What a great theme and way to tie it all together with dessert and hand outs.

  10. you are so dang cute shannon - i love the rock candy hand out - actually i love it ALL, but that rock candy is so cool! do you want to come be our enrichment leader? we would take you.

  11. Sorry I missed a good night. It is a lot of work pulling off enrichment, especially the birthday one!

  12. everything looks great-i used that same book for the original one years ago- i had made a mural and then we just had different soups- didn't go any further with the theme. that was when we were going to the church in leechburg that was a house. remember that?

  13. Sounds like a great enrichment, Shannon. That calling is a big job, made much more fun when you get to work with a friend!

  14. I bet they LOVE having you in relief society!!! I love the theme. And the little chocolate rocks.

  15. I am SO SORRY I was out of town for this. It looks lovely and I have only heard GREAT things about the evening. You and Heather are amazing!

  16. Love the Stone Soup theme! Looks like it turned out FAB. It's great to have a good friend (partner in crime) to plan activities with. Sometimes low-key things are the best on many levels.

  17. wow- great theme- I love that story...
    what a terrific activity- you are so creative!!

    but, you call that low key? holy moly that looks like a lot of work to me! I have done that job before- long time ago- it was hard.

    fun, fun times

  18. I would love to see the photos but they are not coming up...can you help?