Monthly Archives: December 2011

Today Is Your Future

Jeff and Susan

Jeff and Susan

Nearly every Sunday after church, our family—Jeff and I, our children and grandchildren—the 24 of us, share a family meal in our home.  This past Sunday was no different, and as I sat in my favorite rocking chair, I quietly watched and listened to what was going on around me.  Two of my granddaughters (cousins), Melody, age 15 and Julie, age 13, were quietly talking together.  Because their faces were often lit up with such bright and sweet smiles, my curiosity overcame me, and I asked what they were talking about.  The answer was “school.”  We all laughed at that including them.  They were talking about history.

To my right on the love seat sat two more granddaughters (cousins), Jenny, age 12, and Miranda, age 13.  They were discussing their current quilting projects.  Miranda was nearly finished with a log cabin twin size quilt.  Jenny was sharing that she did not think she was ready for something quite that large, but was working on a smaller quilt that included embroidery on it.  Then their topic switched to pie making.  Miranda is a tremendous pie maker, but to earn her award for pie making, she still needed to make a savory pie and a lattice top pie.  She wondered what a savory pie was.  I joined the conversation to explain what a savory pie was, and both girls already had made them without knowing it.  The lattice pie still troubled Miranda.  Jenny told her how easy it was and demonstrated with her hands how to slice the dough.  Miranda still questioned about the weaving, and Jenny again demonstrated how easy it was.  Miranda breathed a sigh of relief and said she was sure she could do that.

To my left, Ben, age 17, was amusing our youngest grandchild, Jody (4).  He was genuinely enjoying making conversation that was of interest and joy to a four-year-old.  And she at age 4 was telling him a story about when she was a little girl!  Too funny!  Katie, age 12, was playing a game with a group of younger children at the dining room table keeping them busy and happy.  Earlier, several of the girls were practicing playing hymns together on their violins and flute.  Oh, and yes, all the adults were quietly visiting with each other, and catching up on the news of the week.

Back to the title of this little story, “Today Is Your Future.”  Well, your children are becoming what they will be.  What you do today will impact their future.  The quilting girls began with an embroidery kit, learned to stitch, and then quilted a pillow, and now are going on to their own projects and enjoying every minute of it.  The “history” girls were expressing a love of learning interesting things, and enjoying discussing what they had been learning.  The bakers were building their baking experiences one pie at a time.  Katie can easily take over a group of children and amuse them.  Ben can work hard, participate in the adult conversations, but this day he had chosen to be a servant and amuse a little one so the parents could relax and enjoy one another.

Shall I go on?  After Sunday dinners, Rose, Melody, Miranda, and Julie head up the kitchen cleanup crew, and the others, Katie, Jenny, Lauren all pitch in.  The older guys  take care of the trash and general pickup.  It is a blessed day!  How did it get this way?  One step at a time, and no step is unimportant.

But back to the title, “Today Is  Your Future.”  What especially blessed me is that the girls were not discussing boys, makeup, movies, and etc.  They were not gossiping.  They were talking about quilting and baking and history.  Their minds were filled with good things.  And so where am I going with this?  Keepers and Contenders’ handbooks are filled with wholesome things to interest your children.  They are life builders and family builders.  One small skill leads to another.  These skills help to make young people competent, and help them prepare for their future.  And yes, I am still incredibly blessed that my own grandchildren are learning these skills too, and am equally blessed to see my grandchildren develop into beautiful and godly young people.  I won’t be here to see the ends of their lives, but I have a glimpse of their futures, and I am grateful.

You, too, can bless your children by helping them become the kind of adult that you and God would like them to be.  The teaching and training is each day, for their future depends on this day.  Make the days count, and when the future comes, you will be blessed!



Baking for Others

December is such a “down” time for many folks, especially the elderly, the sick, the poor, and widows and widowers.  And these people often do not bake or receive gifts or even receive a little love and fellowship, so our little group decided to take a day and make treats for some of the people we knew.

A Dollar Store is a neat place to purchase gift bags, wraps, ribbons, and the like.  Each family brought a selection of homemade cookies.  Our older girls baked small loaves of Eggnog Bread.   The middle age children drizzled chocolate over pretzels and sprinkles too.  After the pretzels had cooled they were put into small bags and tied with a ribbon.  The children also filled canning jars with hot chocolate powder topped with miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips, and peppermint candy.  After the lid was in place, a ribbon was tied around the jar with a candy cane attached.

The younger children made simple cards, and all the children signed the cards.  These cards were not works of art, but were decidedly homemade by the hands of children.  Perhaps that would awaken some fond memories in the hearts of the older people.

Then the baskets were personally delivered by the children and families.  I can tell you that the hearts of the recipients were blessed, and the children shared in the blessing.



Eggnog Bread


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease 1 loaf pan or 2 mini loaf pans
Sprinkle a cinnamon/sugar mixture onto the bottom
(cinn/sugar mixture: 1/4 cup sugar to 2 tblsp cinnamon)


2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teasp salt
2 teasp baking powder
1/4 teasp cinnamon

Combine in separate bowl

2 eggs
1 1/4 cup eggnog
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 teasp rum extract
1 teasp vanilla

Combine the two and mix just until moist.
Fill pans and sprinkle with more of the cinn/sugar mixture
Bake for 25-35 minutes for small loaf pan
or 45-50 minutes for large loaf pan

Lay out pretzels on wax paper
Melt white chocolate and regular chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously.
Drizzle one and then the other over the pretzels.

Next, sprinkle with your choice of nuts.  We used the sundae nuts since they are already chopped and ready to go.
Let dry; then store in container or bags.





Welcome to our new Keepers Corner!  We are glad you came to visit!  We are really excited to begin this new venture of sharing with the Keepers Community.  Keepers was first begun with the goal of encouraging children to learn new things, working with moms and daughters and dads and sons.  It has always been about families learning together, building strong bonds.   We plan to do a lot of posting about projects, crafts and skills, character traits, and more.  We also want to share lots about families and family life because God created families, and families are eternal.  And, you know, families coming together build strong churches.

We really want you, our friends, to post here too.  We want to hear about what you are working on, your club’s achievements, and any special blessings.  Please feel free to send us your information, and we will post it for you.  If you have a blog for your club, we will be happy to add it to our list posted in the right hand column.  If you have questions, please email us at sales@keepersofthefaith.com.  Your ideas and input are always welcome.  Enjoy the site and let us know what you think!

The folks at Keepers


Yummy Recipes for Campfire Cooking

The mom in charge set up a welcoming bonfire pit with stumps circled around the fire as seats.  She had a water jug outside with soap nearby so everyone could “wash up” before preparing their food.  Everyone was given a piece of tin foil.  They wrote their names on the bottom with a black sharpie pen.  Then they shaped the foil around a cup and then removed the cup to create a “pocket.”  First they put a hamburger pattie in the bottom and then chose from an assortment of vegetables: sliced potatoes, onions, carrots, broccoli, etc.  They had a choice of seasoning: salt, pepper, or lemon pepper.  Then they added a scoop of cream of mushroom soup to keep their “dinner” moist.  Everyone twisted their foil shut and then placed it on a rack over the fire.  It was important for it not to get directly in the flames so someone was rotating the foil packs.  Some were placed in the hot coals.  After enjoying their dinner the girls were ready for dessert!

So we made “brown bears.”  Everyone chose a stick and then covered the last 8-10 inches with tin foil.  Then they wrapped a portion of refrigerated crescent dough around their stick.  Then they browned their bears over the fire as you would a marshmallow.  After the dough was baked, they smeared butter on their “bear” and then sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar and ate it off of their stick. YUMMY!  (Honey Brook, PA)


Keepers Club Builds a Well in India

These girls thought they were working on the candy making skill, but they were learning so much more.  They were learning about true compassion, love that gives, and giving of themselves.  They were also learning to develop a plan and work their plan.  They were truly learning life skills!



We covered the candy making pin recently. It all began months previous to this, though, on a night when we discussed the plight of many countries the world-over: the lack of clean drinking water. The girls were shocked to discover that 4,500 children die a day from complications due to a lack of clean water. They were compelled to act and decided to raise money to build a well in India through Gospel for Asia. In the fall, the girls hosted a silent auction and raised almost $500. Later, they decided they could make candy for Valentines day in order to earn more money. We set up a blog, and emailed friends and family about our sale. We began taking orders and then set to work making chocolate truffles. We dedicated one meeting time to mixing the truffle dough and discussing the basics of candy making. On another night, we rolled the dough, which had been refrigerated since the last meeting, into hundreds of truffles and also spent time working on toffee for the hard candy element of the achievement. The girls worked at home with their mothers on the rock candy requirement.

At another meeting, we dipped the truffle balls, which had been frozen since they were rolled, in chocolate and decorated them. The girls then learned how to make origami boxes out of cute scrapbooking paper. At our final meeting on this topic, they packaged the truffles in boxed sets of 4, placed the lids on as well as a ribbon and decorative tag explaining the cause. As a group, they sold over 80 boxes of truffles and were able to earn well more than was needed to complete the well.


We felt this project was a great success because it not only taught the girls the basics of candy making, but it was for a lasting purpose. They were able to bring clean drinking water to a village in India in the name of Christ. They can now tell you how to make lovely sweet treats step by step, as well as being aware of how greatly privileged they are. They learned a skill for life and to reach out their hands to help “the least of these.”

Grateful for the privilege of being a part of the Keepers Community. (Franklin, TN)


See more posts on Candy Making here.


The Fun of Camping

Camping trips are so much fun, and they make wonderful memories.  We were able to go camping a number of times when our children were young, and then just a few years ago, we began to go again, this time with our grown children and our grandchildren.  What a wonderful time we had!  Grandpa cooked yummy meals over the campfire, and the children hiked, canoed, played, swam, and each night around the campfire, Grandpa read a few chapters of the Young Pilgrim by ALOE.  Old and young enjoyed that special time.

Camping costs so little that it is something that nearly everyone can do.  You can have backyard camp nights, camp out at a local forest preserve, camp with friends, or camp with church family.  It is well worth the trouble to pack up some gear, and some food, and a good book too to spend quality time with those you love and enjoy.



The Contenders Club from Sapulpa, OK shared the following:

For our camping skill, we first discussed safety and equipment needs. Then, we made a list of everything we would need to take camping. The first campout was held in the country in our yard. The boys were required to set up their tents, organize camp, and help cook supper on Coleman stoves. They were taught how to build a fire and use a pocketknife to whittle a stick to roast marshmallows. We used old Coleman lanterns, so the boys learned to pump them, and carry them properly. We took a walk through the dark woods with the lanterns before bed.

The next morning the boys had to pour and flip their own pancakes, a first for most of them! And then they cleaned up camp and re-packed the tents. We played games for a while and everyone went home. Our second camp out is scheduled to be at a state park on a lake. We will hike the 3 mile trail, learn how to figure the height of a tree, fish, play volleyball and football and build a fire to roast marshmallows. The boys will again be required to cook over a fire and set up their own camp. We have a third camp out scheduled at a leader’s home in his backwoods. We’ll shoot bb guns and bows, hike through the woods, set live traps, fish and once again, the boys will be in charge of setting up and cleaning up camp. They will have to demonstrate fire building and cooking abilities and sleep in a tent.  (Sapulpa, OK)


Calligraphy . . . A Variety of Ways to Use It


Calligraphy is an inexpensive way to make just about anything look more special, elegant, and festive.  Anyone can learn it.  It is easy!  It just takes practice, and soon it will become a lifelong skill.  Christina Brown and her daughters did a wonderful job teaching this skill to their Keepers group.  You can read about it below.

If you do not know how to do this, but would like to teach your group, take a few hours to learn it and practice it a bit, and then you will be ready to teach.  It is that simple!  A great book for beginners on calligraphy is First Steps in Calligraphy. This is a comprehensive book teaching the basics of calligraphy.  We also have calligraphy sets and calligraphy markers. For more information click here.  



Christina Brown and her daughter Jessica and Abigail hosted this meeting. I discussed the word calligraphy and how it means beautiful writing. We talked about the history of calligraphy considering pictographs and Egyptian Hieroglyphics; how it flourished in the middle Ages, and how calligraphy became less used when the printing press was invented, and why it was revitalized in the 19th century.

I gave examples of different types of calligraphy, care of tools, types of ink and pens. We also perused strokes, hand positions, and Calligrams.

We discussed rules, correct position, and posture and spacing. We also talked about tips: allowing yourself to make mistakes, extension of your pinkie finger and why this helps, how tracing isn’t cheating, working with a rhythm, patience, and practice, practice, practice!

 I showed the girls several different books about calligraphy and the different alphabets they could choose from. We also discussed examples on how you can use calligraphy in your life and ways to make money through calligraphy.


The first project was to write the alphabet of their choice. We discussed the different styles available and what they had seen using these styles or what it made them think about. Some were more ornate than others, and the girls didn’t just pick the easiest. I had the girls do the lower case alphabet and then the upper case alphabet.

As it was just before Valentines Day, the girls each made a Valentine’s Card, for someone special, with a Bible verse in it about Love. The girls each picked a verse and wrote it in the calligraphy alphabet of their choice. They decorated these with scrapbooking paper, supplies, stickers, etc.

The girls were sent home with instruction on reading one calligraphy book of their choice and another project they were to complete at home which was a sign for their door, stating for example, ‘Christina’s Room’ written in the calligraphy alphabet of their choice.

The girls had a great time. Afterwards, my youngest daughter was using calligraphy in thank you notes and story covers. She even noticed calligraphy at our city’s newspaper on the wall. (Charlotte, NC)


Read about more clubs and their projects here.


Birds — An Enjoyable Study on Birds

Birds are such interesting creatures, and God has placed them all over His creation!  Learning more about them is a worthy endeavor and can make for a great family hobby.  Keepers has a variety of bird books and kits to make birdhouses and bird feeders too.  You can check those out here.


The Keepers at Home Club in Columbia, SC learned a lot about birds in their study.  There are some great ideas here.



Our Keepers at Home Club did a nature study on Birds this spring.  We used the Bird Project Pack from In the Hands of a Child to get most of our information and activities for our notebook on birds.  I used Encyclopedias and other books as resources too.  We made a notebook, which the girls decorated and made a cover page picture using bird stickers purchased from KOF.  Each girl picked 2 to 3 birds that they researched, wrote a report on, made a poster board or other visual aid for, and then presented it to the class.  I printed out basic information sheets and coloring pages of each bird and they filed it in their notebooks.  Each girl has a Birdwatcher’s book that she logs information into when she sees a new bird somewhere.

For a learning activity we put oatmeal and marbles in a Ziploc bag, sealed it tightly, and then let each girl grind up the oatmeal by moving the marbles around  It showed how the gizzard works.  We also made pinecone bird feeders using the large SC pinecones, peanut butter and bird seed.  For craft activities each girl built and painted a birdhouse and bird feeder using the kits purchased from KOF.

The girls really enjoyed this study on birds.  They completely amazed me at how excited and anxious they were to do the reports.  They actually asked to do multiple reports.  They all learned quite a bit of information, including me, that they will never forget.  I also believe that they now have a new found love of some of God’s most amazing creatures.  Birds truly are so incredibly interesting and amazing to watch!  (Columbia, SC)



Aquatic Life and Seashells Unit Study With Projects

Jody from Honeybrook, PA is a natural teacher and lover of crafts.  She has sent many things for our Club Sharing on the Keepers Website, and her girls are learning so much from her.  In the following she taught the girls a great deal about seashells, and they counted this toward the Aquatic Life award.



Each club member was given a folder that contained lots of interesting seashell information.  On the first page was the “She sells seashells” tongue twister.  This was just to be silly and to appeal to all age groups.  We said it a few times together for fun.  We  then learned about mollusks and gastropods.

Since different shells are found in different regions, we focused the rest of the meeting on shells found on Sanibel Island in Florida.  The next few pages contained a shell’s name and a description of that shell.  The club members were seated around a long table that was covered in various seashells.  As the description was read everyone was encouraged to search for the appropriate shell.  Inside of everyone’s folder was a small ziploc bag with pictures of shells.  After the actual shell was found, they searched for the coordinating picture in their ziploc bag and attached it to their worksheets with double stick tape.

Then we began craft projects.  Everyone was given a large lunch bag that they wrote their names on.  This was for them to place their completed projects in.

We had learned about sand dollars and their “teeth,” which actually look like doves.  Everyone was given a copy of the “Footprints in the Sand” poem and two sea biscuits.  Sea biscuits are sturdier than sand dollars so they are better to work with.  One was kept whole, and they smashed the other to get the teeth/doves out.  Then they decorated their poem with the doves and whole sand dollar, and placed it in a small plastic box, and chose a ribbon to adorn it.

The next craft was a photo holder.  Everyone was given a small cardboard circle the circumference of a drinking cup.  Then they chose whatever shells they wished from the table, mounded them on the cardboard circle, and then hot glued them into place.  Then they broke a wooden skewer into the length they desired, and hot glued the broken end down into the shell mound.  On the end sticking up they hot glued a small clothespin face up and added a final shell at the top and a little raffia for decoration.

All the shells they used were from Sanibel Island.  Since they had completed their folders, they could identify the shells by name that they had chosen for their craft.

Lastly there was another table set up with a sand dollar rubber stamp and the supplies and ideas for everyone to stamp three cards.  (Honeybrook, PA)


Thought you might like!

She sells seashells on the seashore
The shells she sells are seashells, I’m sure
So if she sells seashells on the seashore
Then I’m sure she sells seashore shells.


A Tea Party Teaches So Much!

I can’t say that I had tea parties with my daughter when she was growing up, but we did spend lots of time together, and we went out to lunch together, and had special times with each other.  I think tea parties are wonderful.  They make for quality time sharing with daughters, with other mothers and daughters, and even a grandma might want to be included.  They are just so feminine and such a girly thing to do.  They are a good preparation for the future when there will be wedding showers and baby showers, and then you know, a hubby just might like to enjoy a cup of hot tea with his wife.  This is a good skill for everyone to possess.



There are four mothers (Charlotte Jakiel, Sharon Rangel, Metrice Rochowicz, Celia Wade) that got together in Riverside, CA and started a Keepers of the Home Club with their five daughters from the ages of 9-10 (Christina, Jakiel, Jennifer Rangel, Megan Rochowicz, Kinsley and Alyx Wade).  They rotate homes and meet once a month.  The moms take turns planning the meeting.  This is the second year of their club.

For this meeting, Sharon did a Tea Party.  She went over why manners are important for a woman of God; correct table manners, and how to prepare and serve tea.  The girls were to dress up for the party.  They decided ahead of time on the menu and who would bring what.  A menu was displayed at the party (tea, lemonade, scones, jam, fruit, finger sandwiches, cookies).  Sharon used her good china for the event and even made a tea pot cake!  The girls had a wonderful time!  Sharon gave each mom the skill requirements which included: know why manners are important for a woman of God; know correct table manners; know how to prepare and serve tea; plan a tea party including guest list, sample of invitations, menu, and table service (you can go online and pick out a tea set pattern).  (Riverside, CA)


Read about more tea parties here.