Monthly Archives: November 2011

Children of the Storm, Autobiography of Natasha Vins

Every child and adult too should read the story of Natasha. She was the lone child in her Russian classroom who believed in the creation story and in God. She faced ridicule, scorn, and peer pressure from her communist Russian teachers. Her parents were faithful to the Lord despite hardship and imprisonment. Later in life, they found themselves in our country, released in exchange for prisoners. Their lives, their testimonies, and their work continue today. This is an inspiring story for all.

I was so personally blessed by the godly parents, and the truth that Jesus has experienced everything that each one of us will experience was really brought home in the life of Natasha’s father.  Jesus loves us so much.  You will be blessed!


Click here for more details.


Making a Quilt and a Service Project Too!

There is just something special about homemade quilts.  They seem extra soft, extra pretty, and extra comforting.  They make a person feel “loved.”  Quilting is not a talent, but a skill, which anyone can learn, including children.  And once you learn, it is something you will most likely keep on doing.  And, you know, it is a generational thing, one generation passing on their love of quilting to the next.  The Keepers group in Elk, WA did just that.  Read about it below.



One of our moms is a gifted quilter, and she naturally wanted to do quilting with our group. We discussed various ways she could approach this skill but nothing seemed quite right for our group. (We have a large spread of both ages and developmental abilities, and have needed to get quite creative in order to make projects work for the whole group. One of the ways we do that is to have a second meeting each month specifically for the older girls, where we go into that month’s skill in greater depth.) Then she called me one day with a great idea. The quilt shop in town annually sponsors a give-away of quilts to those undergoing cancer treatment, and she realized we could combine quilt-making with a service project.

During our main meeting that month, she taught the girls how to use templates, cut pieces, pin, machine stitch, and iron. Each girl made a block to go in the quilt top. (Some needed lots of mom help, but each girl truly did their own block.) Then at the Seniors’ meeting she talked through the options for putting the top together. The four girls settled on an arrangement and selected the contrasting fabric, then cut, pinned, and stitched. By the end of the meeting they proudly displayed the completed quilt top! The younger girls were amazed at the next meeting to see what their individual blocks had become! The instructor-mom did the machine quilting, and wrote the girls’ first names and ages in a corner on the back, so the recipient would know a group of young girls had wanted to be a blessing in a stranger’s hard time.

One of the ways I know this skill was a success is that one of my daughters is now excited about making a quilt for her room, and the instructor-mom is helping her get started. Yay, Keepers! (Elk, WA)

See what others did here.


Amazing Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor Pencils are the neatest things!  I have had a few of my own, but really haven’t done too much with them until I saw how a friend was using them to illustrate books.  In fact, her artwork was so wonderful that we asked her to update some of our covers for our KOF reprints.  At any rate, you can use these pencils to draw and paint, with your rubber stamping projects, on your scrapbooking pages, with lapbooking, and more.

They are so easy to use, that I blessed my grandchildren with sets of their own.  We now have these in stock, along with a teaching DVD on how to use them.  I have personally watched the DVD and found it helpful and also, more importantly, safe for a child’s viewing.

See these items below.  They are really at a great price!



Click here for more information about these and other watercolor products.

Watercolor Tools and DVD










Bible Memory for Little Contenders

Putting on the Whole Armour of God—A Lesson These Boys Won’t Soon Forget!

What began as a Scripture memory achievement exercise (Ephesians 6:10-18) for our group soon expanded into a project to include the crafting and “putting on” of all the elements of God’s armour!

Our small group of six boys are in the Little Contender and Contender age groups and one 12-year-old young man who serves as an assistant to the adults.  All are the brothers of girls in our Keepers group.


THE BELT OF TRUTH The belt is simply leather grained vinyl.  Since the back on the vinyl was a cloth-like material, we were able to fold over the outside edges and secure them the full length of the back with hemming tape.  The material was cut wide enough so that when folded over it is fully enclosed.  The ‘belt buckles’ are cut-outs of foam board, painted and adorned with large cloth  “J” letters.  The belts are all approximately the same length and fitted together at the back joint with stick-on Velcro.  The gold medallions are pieces from a treasure game.


HELMET OF SALVATION  The shells were purchased from a ‘surplus’ store and painted gold.  The crown is the working end of dollar store brooms.  Kerfs were cut in the broom’s base material to provide increased flexibility when bending to fit over the crown of the shell.  The broom’s base material also proved sufficiently substantial to allow for screwing them from inside the shell.


GOSPEL OF PEACE  The ‘shods’ for the feet are cut out of plastic milk cartons and painted metallic.  The tie strings are woven cotton yarn which tend to unravel when cut.  We melted some wax and dipped the ends into it.  When cooled this makes threading through the holes in the shods much easier.


BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, SHIELD OF FAITH AND SWORD OF THE SPIRIT  Our original intent was to design these ourselves and cut them out of foam board.  However we found the dollar store versions of these items to be very attractive and completely acceptable to our purpose.  Adding the lettering on the molded surface of the breastplate and shield proved difficult and unsatisfactory.  To solve this problem we put the lettering on strips of felt first, then placed the strips on the two pieces with spray-on adhesive.  This worked really well.

The pictures attached show most of the detail discussed, however our first full dress rehearsal is scheduled for this coming Monday, April 5 and additional follow-ups will be forwarded after that.  Our plan is to have the boys dressed in the whole armour and to recite the verses at our awards banquet scheduled for late May.  (Nicholson, GA)

See More Bible Memory Ideas here.


The Joy of Baking Together and Decorating Cakes Too!

Are you looking for ways to involve your children with the holiday preparations?  Give them good tools, baking supplies, a lesson or two, and turn them loose in your kitchen to do your holiday baking.  Let them bake yummy goodies for the widows in your church, or some needy children, or a struggling family.  Let them bake the desserts for your holiday dinner or company.  One of the keys to building a close family is to involve your children in all that you do and in all that is going on.  The children will be blessed to learn how to bake wonderful goodies, how to serve others, and be a genuine part of the team.  Start now to build a “baking tradition” this holiday!

We love products from Wilton because they are professionals and their products are topnotch.  We’ve perused quite a number of products, and the ones we have chosen will work very well for those who are just beginning to dabble in the very creative art of cake decorating or for those needing a little aid to higher skills.  Truly, you can become a professional cake decorating by simply following the instructions.  Cake decorating and baking in general can also turn into a small home business for your girls, and yes, boys too! Click here for more information on these products.

See what this club did!

Cake Decorating—The Most Fun!

The cake decorating badge is one of the most fun badges our Keepers at Home girls have ever completed! We visited a local bakery for a tour. A friend of ours who is a baker and caterer came to our home and taught us about 8 cake decorating lessons, which included everything from lining the cake pan with waxed paper to making stars with royal icing to using her “Viva” paper towel trick to get the buttercream icing’s picture-perfect finish! After each meeting, there was lots of icing to clean up. In fact, some of it is probably still sticking around(!), but all of the girls and mothers have so many wonderful memories of the fun times learning to decorate cakes together.

At our awards banquet at the end of the year, each girl brought a cake that she baked and decorated, and we gave them all away to parents and grandparents in a fun cake walk! (Nicholson, GA)

See other Cake Decorating Posts here.



Family Traditions

Do You Want to Strengthen Your Family’s Bonds?

Family traditions are one of the things that strengthen family ties or bond families together. A tradition is one thing that families can look forward to and enjoy together. They create wonderful memories, and are actually a great way to create future family togetherness and happiness within the family framework. Today there are many things which tend to divide families, but good traditions create warm bonds.

Regardless of the past, this is a new season for you and for your children. Give it some thought and prayer and see what you can begin doing this year to make your Thanksgiving a blessed one. Our traditions have changed through the years as is natural, but as grandparents, this is one that has been going on for nearly fifteen years. The grandkids wouldn’t miss it for anything. What do we do?

 My husband Jeff, started many years ago is a grandkid sleep-over the night before Thanksgiving.  Well, we have so many people for Thanksgiving; this year it is thirty-three and counting!  And that is a lot of turkey and stuffing.  So he and the grandkids chop celery, onions and all the fixings for lots of stuffing.  I should say he supervises because the grandchildren have become very competent over the years.  They get everything ready the night before and then after all is cleaned up, the snacks come out and games are played until bedtime.  Jeff has always loved word games and games which encouraging thinking.  So there are scrabble boards set up, chess, and more.

At bedtime, the furniture is pushed out of the way, and the girls all sleep downstairs, and the boys upstairs.  It will be a while before everyone settles down.  I, Grandma, often sleep with the girls, and I think: How neat is that!  Early the next morning Jeff and the kids stuff the turkey, I mean turkeys plural, and finish pans of dressing.  Next, they go out for breakfast, and then return for fun and more games.  And that continues for the day—company comes, there is lots of good food, fellowship, and wholesome games for the day.  Yes, the adults play games with the children all day long.  I confess that my younger grandchildren can beat Grandma at the “memory” game!

Oh, yes, ladies, I am completely spoiled.  I don’t do anything, except play games.  My daughters all bring the sides, desserts, and good things to drink.  At the end of the night, the grandkids clean the house and everything is back in place.  This is an eagerly anticipated tradition for our family.  Do you have one?  If not, think about starting one.  You will never be sorry.


Happy Thanksgiving to you all!