I was called to be an Activity Day Leader for the 8-9 year old girls in our Primary. (I'm glad to still be doing something involved with the Primary.) Yesterday was my first activity. Since it was Pioneer Day, I invited the girls to come dressed in any pioneer attire they had. They looked great, but I couldn't take a picture of them because Jay had taken the camera to work for some reason.
I also asked them to bring a pioneer story from their family history to share, if they had one. Most of them did. It was fun to hear all the stories. The story I shared was about my great (I can't remember how many "greats") grandfather, Thomas Karren. (If you are interested, you can read his story at the end.)*
After the stories, we made homemade ice cream in a bag. If you haven't done this with your kids before, you should... it's pretty easy and fun. I have a couple of tips to add;
1) After adding the ingredients to the small bag, shake and squish it a minute to dissolve the sugar and combine the ingredients. (I used part Half&Half, and part heavy whipping cream.)
2) The best way to mix it is by rolling the bag around on the counter, almost like kneading bread dough; don't bang it or be rough with it or the bag will break... bad news. Make sure it's a "freezer" bag.
3) Wear gloves or use a dish towel so your hands won't freeze.
4) Wipe the salt water off the small bag of ice cream before opening it so that you don't get salt in your ice cream. (You can also rinse it under cold water, but be careful or you will melt your ice cream.) The easiest way to get it out of the bag is to cut a hole in one corner and squeeze it out into a bowl.
5) The recipe says it only takes 5 minutes for it to harden, but we found it was still pretty soft at that point. If you want it to be more of the texture of "real" ice cream, you will need to go longer. Just feel it periodically.
*Thomas Karren was a baker by trade. He and his wife joined the church in England and felt strongly that they should join the saints in Nauvoo. His pregnant wife, Ann, was very resistant, but he told her that this was what the Lord wanted them to do. Of course, he didn't want to go without his wife, but he was prepared to do so.
On the day the ship was to set sail, he awoke to find his wife packed and ready to go. In the meantime, she had given birth to their baby. They went to the dock, but were told the ship wasn't ready to leave, and that they should come back the next day.
They went back every day for the next several weeks. It was the middle of February, and the baby got sick and died. The following day the ship was ready to sail. The distraught couple had to leave their baby to be buried by relatives who weren't happy about any of this.
They made it to Nauvoo where they settled and Thomas worked as a baker again. (He recorded that he made the bread and crackers, and his wife made the cakes and pies.) They had several more children and were quite happy. But then the saints were forced to leave Nauvoo.
They traveled to Winter Quarters where they stayed for a time. Thomas was recruited into the Mormon Battalion. Since her skills were needed there, Ann decided to stay in Winter Quarters to wait for his return. During the march with the Battalion, Thomas because extremely sick, and was finally left for dead on the trail.
A group that was traveling to California found him and nursed him back to health. He caught up with the battalion in New Mexico, and eventually was with one of the first groups to reach the Salt Lake valley. He then returned to Winter Quarters to collect his family, and made the trek yet again!
I am grateful for my pioneer heritage. Their faith and devotion is wonderful example to me.