Keepers #10 (2013-2014)

Wow! You blink and two weeks of your life flash by. Before you know it, another Keepers meeting is at hand and there are a multitude of things which need to be done. This meeting, we chose to spend a little more time on teaching the girls how to prepare some tasty treats.

Our second meeting of February was on the subject of chocolate! There is so much to talk about when it comes to this delicious topic: where it grows; how it grows; how it is made; various types of chocolate; and more!

One specific topic we discussed with the girls was how to properly melt chocolate. Most of us probably do not own double boilers, not being chocolatiers and all. However, there are also various other methods of melting chocolate. You could use your microwave or buy candy melts. One handy tool which you might want to consider… your slow cooker!

Yup; that’s right! You can use your slow cooker to melt chocolate. Who knew? (Well, apparently someone clever figured this out and was kind enough to share it with the rest of us.) Simply dust off your slow cooker, fill it about half way with water, turn it on (I sometimes forget to do this; sad, I know!), place your chocolate into a glass container, and then place the glass into the warming water. Allow about twenty minutes to a half hour for the chocolate to melt and then, go for it!

For our purposes, we used glass mason jars and filled them with chocolate chips. I did this instead of one large glass container because I knew we would be distributing the chocolate amongst about fifteen girls; one container for all of them to share would have just been chaotic. Instead, I used mason jars and just doled out chocolate into smaller dishes which they had in front of them.

A few notes on using your slow cooker as a double boiler… First; when using this method, do not put a lid on your crock pot. Condensation, would do harm to the chocolate; making it thick and hard to work with. Leave the lid off! Second; be very careful not to get any water into the chocolate while working with it. Again, water and chocolate do not go well together. Lastly; if you want to use candy melts, instead of good quality baking chocolate, forgo the water and jars, placing the melts directly into the crock pot. Stir the candy every few minutes and then use when fully melted. With either the double boiler or the candy melt method, the chocolate will stay smooth for several hours! There is no need to rush through your project, you have plenty of time; making this method of melting chocolate quite superior!

After those important notes were attended to, we got to the fun. Bananas, apples, sprinkles, Kool Whip (a good substitute for those with lactose intolerance), cherries, and raspberries were made available and the girls were free to have some fun!

Chocolate Delight

Chocolate Delight #2

Notice the squeeze bottle, which also contains chocolate. Such an easy method of having melted chocolate on hand for fancy decorating!

Chocolate Delight #3 Chocolate Delight #4 Chocolate Delight #5Our girls had so much fun. Once the materials were handed out, they were free to explore their internal chocolatiers! Plus, who doesn’t like a bit of chocolate now and again?

How do you melt chocolate for your baking needs?

Keepers #9 (2013-2014)

Our last Keepers meeting knocked me for a loop. We discovered one of our girls was being put on a stricter diet, thus eliminating a few key ingredients for this month’s activities.  Eeeek! I needed to make a few quick adjustments in order to help accommodate our girls and help everyone feel comfortable.

While the task was a little more challenging than I anticipated (who knew eating gluten-free/lactose free could be so involved?), I am proud to say we were able to find exactly what we needed. Hooray!

(Mommies who choose or need to be on a more strict diet, you have my utmost respect.)

For the month of February we wanted to focus on sweets. It is the month for Valentines, is it not? What better than a few goodies to help us celebrate. Sugar is always fun, but we also wanted to expose the girls to a few healthy alternatives which are just as tasty!

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Going over some of the finer details of the recipe, before getting to the fun.

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Gathering our ingredients and learning to measure properly.

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Starting our no-bake, energy bites. Yummy!

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Digging right in and making a fun mess!

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Look, mom; messy hands!

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Look at those hands! Hers are the cleanest in the bunch, having licked them fully! (Too cute!)

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All of our ingredients were gluten/lactose/peanut free. No easy feat!

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We ended a little early, so we ran outside to play. When asked why the girls thought we ended so quickly, they loudly replied, “IT WAS FOOD!”

THIS recipe proved to be a huge success! Not only did the girls have fun, but it was incredibly delicious. We had a great time getting our hands dirty and learning a new recipe.

For those who are concerned about allergies, feel free to substitute any of the ingredients with healthier options. I used hazelnut butter, in place of peanut butter; gluten-free oatmeal; and gluten-free flax-seed in our recipe. Goodness all around!

The girls had so much fun, we ended quite a bit early. They decided they wanted to head outside for a little fresh air and exercise, so we did!

Another successful Keepers meeting under our belts! Only seven more to go before the year is over. If you would, please keep this group in prayer. I think the Lord is going to bring about some major changes in this department during the coming year. As always, we wish to align ourselves with His will and bring Him glory. Thanks!

Do you have a favorite energy bite recipe? (There so many out there!)

Keepers #8 (2013-2014)

Well, we are back in action. I confess, I was very nervous the night before. Did I have everything; was I ready; were the girls going to show? As usual, I needn’t have worried about a thing; God had it all under control.

To start off the second half of the year, we wanted to review healthy eating. After the holidays, it can be very hard to put a halt to our sugar intake and refuel our bodies with things more healthy to digest. This was the perfect time to go over the food pyramid, proper portioning, and learn a few new recipes.

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Eating fruit salad, sweetened with honey and freshly squeezed blood oranges.

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Making our own ranch dressing with buttermilk.

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The girls were anxious to mix their own dressing….

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…and give it a try! Eating our salad was yummy.

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Adding buttermilk to our dressing.

Our recipe for salad dressing came from THIS awesome website. I made the ‘bulk’ spice mixture at home and prepped our salad, but in group the girls made their own dressing. We used condiment bottles easily found at any Wal-Mart or Target to shake up and serve our dressing; this made things nice and easy on the girls. They were free to take their bottles home so they could use them in the future on other cooking projects or to recreate the dressing on their own time.

After exploring the world of homemade dressing, we spent a little time talking about fruit salad and enjoying a sample. We talked about the importance of not using sugars in the fruit, but instead supplementing with local honey and freshly squeezed oranges. We also spent a little time talking about the benefits of vitamin C, not only bodily, but in the presentation of the fruit itself (it keeps apples from browning).

Interestingly, after all that food, we still had snack! This brought up an interesting dilemma. It appears one of our girls switched over to a gluten-free/lactose free diet unbeknownst to us! I didn’t know what to do. Luckily one of the little girls who provided snack brought oranges.

However, now I am going to have to come up with a game plan for future meetings. Perhaps I should bring a plate of gluten-free chocolate chip to each meeting, just in case? I don’t want all of our families to worry about this, so I think it should be on me. I suppose I could ask the little girl’s mom to bring a personal snack, but that doesn’t feel right. Hmmm… this might take some thought.

What is your favorite, healthy snack?

Keepers Meeting #7 (2013-2014)

Wow! Our Keepers meeting this week was so much fun! We chose to spend this meeting focusing on the joy of Christmas. There were Christmas carols, the Christmas story, a cute craft, tons of snacks, and adorable goody bags for all!

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Our goodie bags; one for each girl, filled with holiday fun.

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Our lovely group of girls.

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Learning more about the wonderful Christmas story.

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Our craft for the day; snowmen pencil toppers.

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Showing off all our hard work.

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Enjoying a well earned treat. Gotta love the holidays.

Time flies and before you know it, the meeting is over! This week seemed to go particularly fast. Six whole weeks until we meet again. I pray all of the ladies will be safe over the holidays and that their Christmas is blessed.

We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas….

Keepers #2 (2013-2014)

This week was our second Keepers meeting of the year. We laughed, we ate, and we got covered in freckles. It’s always a good afternoon with the girls.

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Doing devotion always starts things off right.

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Playing games with hula-hoops.

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More hula-hoop fun.

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Freckle fun with the mommies. Who has the most freckles?

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We laughed so hard; good, clean fun.

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Our “freckle juice”.

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My daughter looks like she has chicken pox, not freckles.

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Playing a fun game of tag with clothes pins.

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Choo-Choo Matching Games. What word do YOU have?

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Tell me your word; quick!

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Our birthday girls of the month.

Our meeting was a lot of fun. We started off with a short devotion on friendship. I was a little concerned about writing my own, but I found THIS neat website. I was able to find a beautiful devotion about developing friends.

It was then time for some outdoor fun, so we headed out onto the green and got busy. We played a few hula-hoop games, a freckle fun game, clothespin tag, and finally some group word games.

Oh, my! I think we had too much fun. (If that’s possible.) It certainly seemed to fly by though. Before we knew it, the day was over.

Two whole weeks before more fun commences!

Keepers Begins! (2013-2014)

One of the many fun aspects of homeschooling, is the extra curricular activities which we are free to participate in and help with. One of my daughters’ favorites… Keepers of the Home!

Today was the first meeting of the 2013-2014 school year. While most of us are homeschool families, we are blessed with having others join us as well. It looks to be a fun year. We have a whole new crop of girls, with a few who have returned. Who knows where this year will take us. (Well, I have a general idea as I kind of organized it, but the rest is up for grabs.)

Our first meeting was all about getting to know one another and going over the basics with our new families. As always, it was lots of fun!

Keepers #1

Keepers #2 Keepers #3 Keepers #4 Keepers #5 Keepers #6 Keepers #7 Keepers #9

This looks to be an exciting year! I can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to do with these young ladies and through these activities. It will be fantastic, no matter what!

Is your local Keepers group (or Contenders group) starting back up, now that summer is just about over?

Another Exciting Year of Ministry

Most mommies look for creative ways to teach their children life skills, I am no different. Several years ago, having expressed an interest in perhaps trying Girl Scouts, my Bible study leader brought Keepers of the Faith to my attention.

Now, you might ask, what is Keepers of the Faith? Keepers of the Faith consists of two separate programs; Keepers at Home (for girls) and Contenders for the Faith (for boys). Both are Bible based clubs that focus on teaching young people to be Godly men and women. The clubs are run similarly to those of Boy/Girl Scouts; the children attend group a few times a month, they earn badges, and they learn life skills. The difference with Keepers is that we center all we do on the Bible. Our focus is Titus 2; training these young people to be all that God has called them to be.

When Keepers was presented to me, my children were a little young, so I set the idea on the back-burner and set out to pursue other things. However, about two years ago a friend and I began to seriously consider Keepers at Home and actively look for a group. We were made aware of one group, meeting at a local church, but the group seemed a little less active than we would have liked. We were invited to attend a smaller group, consisting of mutual friends; which we tried. As it turned out, that group was mostly preschool girls and their activity level wasn’t quite what our girls were looking for.

On the way home from our second meeting, I asked my daughters what they were looking for. My daughters excitedly replied, “We want to do some sewing. Oh, and some baking! And don’t forget the jewelry making, cooking, and flower arranging!” When I relayed this to my friend, her prompt reply was, “You know the Lord is telling you to do this, right?” I staunchly denied that I needed to have any involvement with running a group. I simply wanted to participate and help out the current leader!

When I got home, my husband asked us how this meeting went. He was treated to the full story and the responses of our girls. He then replied, “You know the Lord is telling you to do this, right?” Oh, man!! It seemed like the Lord really was going to have me step out on a limb.

With much prayer, the Lord showed me what He wanted from the program and how we could make it happen. We started with just some close friends in our home, eight girls in all, and followed what the Lord wanted us to do. We learned a lot in that short five months and my girls were hooked!

Jump to now… We have had so many girls join the group we are now part of church ministry, with about thirty girls in attendance. We meet twice a month, exploring God’s word and learning new skills to help us be better keepers of our homes.

This morning, I had the pleasure of sitting with my pastor’s wife. We went over the upcoming year and all that the Lord has been preparing in our hearts. We shared our vision for the program and where the Lord might be taking it this year. We prayed over the ministry and the girls who will attend; that the Lord would be the center of it all. 

Please join me in praying for this ministry as well! Not just for our group, but for all the groups who will be meeting. That the Lord would be honored and glorified in all we do. Please pray for me, that I will continue to listen to and obey the calling He has given me. Also, if the Lord is willing, that a gentleman from the church would step up and lead Contenders for the Faith. We have not started a boys group yet, but I feel the Lord is leading in that direction.

Do you have a Keepers group? Please let us know, if you do! We would love to hear all the exciting things you have been learning!