• Home
  • /Archive by category ' Featured '

Archive For: Featured

Sewing Gifts for Newborns

Once a month our Keepers at Home girls meet and are blessed with many women who have many talents to share with them.   Recently, a wonderful friend, Leigh, organized a craft to donate to our church.   The church has been giving a basket of goodies to newborn babies.   Our group’s  idea was to make tag blankets to place inside the baskets.   The challenge was to have each girl ranging in age from 6 to 12 participate and create their own tag blanket to donate.

Therefore Leigh went shopping.  She had picked out several flannel pieces along with numerous ribbons from which the girls could choose.  The pre-cut squares and ribbons were ready to be attached by the younger and older girls.  With much excitement Leigh and several mothers helped the girls select and pin their creations.  And then one by one they were able to sew their blankets with Leigh on the sewing machine.  The project went smoothly with happy girls signing their names to a blanket that a little baby and mother will cherish.  We are very grateful for Leigh’s time and effort that she puts into our girls.  Thank You, Leigh!  We love you!

Jennifer Kinkade, Ohio


Edible Art! Yum!

I think I’ll rename this meeting to snacktivity and drinks!  Each family was asked to bring enough supplies for every club member to make a creative food project. Everybody’s creative juices were flowing!!!  There were many edible art creations like chocolate covered cookies turned into bear heads, olives became penguins, cheese sticks turned into pencils, teddy grahams drove mini chocolate bar cars, and apples became frog heads.  The cupcake selection included…butterflies, lambs, and owls!  It was an excellent public speaking/teaching experience for the girls to present their family’s creation in a relaxed atmosphere.  A club member demonstrated how to make refreshing orange tea as well.   Everything looked too cute to eat!

Jody, Pennsylvania


Quilling – A Beginning Leads to More!

We have girls from five to fourteen years old.  For our quilling project, I wanted to make it as fun and economical as possible, so I purchased a multicolored packet of quilling paper for each girl and made a quilling tool for each one as well. This I did by purchasing wooden dowels from the craft store and sawing them down to the appropriate length. I then hammered the sharp end of a tapestry needle into the end of each dowel and cut off the tip of the eye to make a slot for the paper.

In order to help the girls learn the different shapes they could make with quilling paper, I made an empty chart of squares labeled with the names of the shapes. Once I taught them how to make each shape, they did it themselves and glued the appropriate shape onto the correct square. I made a couple of examples of pictures and cards they could make and then let them use their imagination to decorate the face of their own card. They had a lot of fun and some went on to purchase more quilling paper and delve into it themselves.

Julie, Florida


Snacks and Drinks – Chocolate Covered Spoons

Chocolate Covered Spoons and Hot Cocoa Packets too!

We began the meeting by blending a hot chocolate recipe in a food processer.  Different club members assisted adding various ingredients.  Once complete several girls helped divide the big bowl of cocoa mix into personal size bags, which would later be decorated with paper toppers.  Then the mom in charge demonstrated pouring chocolate onto the top of plastic spoons instead of completely immersing in chocolate.  This not only uses half the amount of chocolate but it is also less messy.  She had various toppings for the members to choose from to decorate their spoons.  She also mentioned you could poke candy canes through large marshmallows and dip them in chocolate as well.  Each club member was given a disposable plate to lay their spoons on as they created.  We put them in the refrigerator to help them harden before they were bagged and tied with a ribbon.

Jody, Pennsylvania


Chalk Drawing What a Blessed Skill to Learn!

Our club joined professional artist Elva Hurst for a “chalk talk” in her barnyard studio located locally.  Our senses were engaged through music, storytelling, and Elva’s amazing chalk artistry.  She has professionally pre-recorded a selection of inspirational messages that you may choose.  Then she illustrates the story right before your eyes.  Her website is www.elvaschalkart.com.  The club paid for the chalk talk but asked each member to supply the additional fee for a chalk lesson afterward.

Jody Sanger, Pennsylvania



The 20 Legacy teens recently earned the Archery badge.  Safety and bow and arrow parts were introduced before the Archers nocked their first arrow.  All the teens tried out the various recurve and long bows aiming at paper targets on hay bales. Everyone’s shooting improved each week!  We learned the importance of grip, stance, a full draw, the anchor, release and follow through.  Best of all, we exposed the teens to a unique and fun sport they were enthusiastic to try—many for the first time!

Cheryl Chew, Florida


Doughnut Making

Our neighbor Amish ladies joined the fun to teach our Keepers Club how to make doughnuts!  We asked everyone to come prepared with aprons on and hair up.  Each member was going to be able to take a dozen doughnuts home so we asked them to bring containers as well.  The Amish ladies had mixed up a couple of batches before all the members arrived so some could be rising.  This enabled us to get started right away.  Since this was going to be a messy meeting we held it in the garage and outside.  No regrets, because oil and powdered sugar can make a huge mess with many helpers.  This is the recipe we used:

1 cup sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 Tablespoon salt

Mix together
2 cups hot water
1 cup lard or crisco (we used crisco)
2 cups mashed potatoes or potato flakes mixed with water to equal 2 cups (we used potato flakes)
1 Tablespoon lecithin (this helps make the donuts soft)
2 Tablespoons yeast dissolved in 2 cups warm water
10 cups occident flour  (This is a basic white flour for bread making)
2 cups donut mix

Knead together and let rise for approximately 1 hour in a warm place.
Roll out.  Cut donut shapes with cutter or the top of a glass works well.
Poke with a fork to prevent air bubbles later when frying.
Let rise.  Fry in vegetable oil approximately 1 minute each side or until golden brown.
Let cool.  Fill with cream or glaze and enjoy!

Once the Keepers Girls arrived we rolled out the dough and started cutting out doughnuts!  We only had one doughnut cutter so we used the top of glasses as well.  One of the Amish ladies suggested using our table extension leaves for the doughnuts to rise on.  After the doughnuts were cut out we let them rise  again . . . guess where?  In the back of our van!  The van was nice and warm inside so it made a perfect place for them to rise.  After the doughnuts rose we poked holes in the top of each one with a fork.  The Amish ladies said this prevents air bubbles from forming while frying.  If they get air bubbles, they won’t flip properly.  We bought a 5 gallon bucket of pre-made doughnut cream from an Amish bakery down the road.  Becca and Lillian, the Amish ladies, brought their doughnut fillers.  You poke a doughnut on the spout and pump the handle twice and then your doughnut is filled with delicious icing.  After the doughnuts are fried and filled, they are rolled in doughnut sugar!  Talk about good!!!  Each of the club members, no matter the age, were able to participate for there was plenty do!!

We made 250+ doughnuts with Keepers!  They were cream-filled and glazed doughnuts, blueberry cake doughnuts, and cinnamon sugar doughnut holes!

Jody Sanger, PA



Having fun grilling

Having fun grilling

Three sessions were taught to the high school Contenders guys (4).  The sessions included safety, clean and attractive food prep and presentation.  Burgers, chicken, pork/kabobs were grilled.  Putting together a burger bar, marinade for the kabobs, and side dishes appropriate for the various meals were also incorporated.  We also made veggie and dessert on the propane grill.

Our group had a Game Night and the guys grilled hamburgers for the group on a Weber grill with charcoal.  We also went camping and the guys grilled hamburgers for everyone in a camping pit with charcoal.  They greatly enjoyed getting the fire ready, watching them cook, and savoring the flavor when the burgers were ready to eat.  They liked grilling for everyone and hearing the praise and affirmation that accompanied a job well doneJ

The notable difference between teaching the boys vs. teaching the same thing to the girls separately was the amount eaten.  The boys happily consumed two – three times the amount of the girls!

Cheryl Chew, Florida


Candy Making With Candied Apples—Good Memories and Good Apples!



Our Keeper’s group just formed last October. A woman who raised her daughter with the Keeper’s curriculum offered a meeting to help other women start their own groups in our area. This was a huge blessing. Several of the members of our group originated from that meeting.

We decided to make Christmas Candied Apples. These appealing, old-fashioned treats hearken back to yesteryear. We also liked them because they are rarely made anymore. Anyone can make caramel apples; candied meant calling in the big guns!

Cathy’s mom, Judy, arrived at the house with her recipe. It was deceptively easy:

  • Dissolve ½ c corn syrup, 2 c sugar, ¾ c water in a pan.
  • Boil. Don’t stir. Use pastry brush to dissolve crystals.
  • Cook to 300° and remove from heat. Add 1½ tsp cinnamon flavoring.
  • At 310° plunge pan in ice water to stop cooking. Dip apples.

Easy, right? Fortunately, Judy had made a few dry runs. We discovered the apples must be scrubbed thoroughly in hot water, soap, and baking soda to remove all traces of the waxy coating. Otherwise, the candy slips right off, making the apples look like elephant legs. (They still taste wonderful.) Then, we jammed chopsticks into the end for the handle, and refrigerated them until good and cold. The candy coating is a simple sugar candy, with plenty of corn syrup to keep the crystals down. You must have a candy thermometer! We cooked the syrup until the desired temperature, which takes some time. Let the kids run free while the syrup boils. We decided to make red cinnamon apples, using the red coloring already in the flavoring. We made a second batch of peppermint apples, and added ½ tsp of green food coloring for contrast. We also greased several huge cookie sheets with butter.

Now, here is the trick. When the syrup reaches the right temperature, it is plunged in the pan of ice water to stop cooking. Watch the thermometer to ascertain that the temperature has indeed stopped rising. Then remove the pan from the ice water and set it on a wooden block on the counter. All hands are needed on deck! One mom grabs an apple and twirls it in the candy. When lightly, but thoroughly coated, she hands it to second mom, who continues to twirl the apple to allow the excess candy to fall back into the pan. Second mom hands it to third mom, who continues the twirling action, over the cookie sheet. First mom plunges a second apple immediately into the candy. Third mom hands the first apple to fourth mom, who carefully places it on the cookie sheet.

You need all these helping hands because the candy cools quickly and will not coat smoothly. If everyone works in concert, you can make a hoard of beautiful, glistening apples that beg to be eaten! It is a great lesson in careful, sober movements, since no one wants to get burned, yet everyone wants lots of apples. The end few apples get a bit gloppy, but no one minds if you let the kids eat the ugly ones right away. We also poured the excess candy out onto the cookie sheets for free-form candy ribbons and dots.

It was a fun experience to make these vintage delights, and even nicer to have a group of mothers and children in the kitchen working together to create memories. Since that is one of the purposes of Keeper’s, we thought other groups would like to share this skill to plan a truly wholesome Holiday celebration! (Martinez, CA)


Hope Chests Built by Fathers!

Finished Hope Chest

Finished Hope Chest

I have a most wonderful club post to share with you! I just had to call this club leader personally because I had so many questions to discover just how she managed to do this. What is this? Every dad who had a daughter in the Keepers Club made a beautiful wooden hope chest for her! Wow! Can you imagine this? Every man learned a valuable skill in building a fine wooden piece of furniture, and every daughter received a hope chest that her own father made for her, which will always be a valuable keepsake to her.

Let me tell you about it. Sandra Steele, a pastor’s wife, has a Keepers club. Moms are required to attend. In fact, she teaches the moms right along with the girls. She teaches so many wonderful skills to her girls and moms that she has a waiting list of mothers and daughters who want to be in the club.

Her girls spent the year making things for their hope chest, one of which was a block of the month quilt. I will tell you more about that one later. Moms gave their daughters a plastic tub to put their things in. The hope chests were to be a surprise for them.

Sandra approached one of the dads about this hope chest project in May of 2011. He was an elder of the church and had just finished a ramp so he had some carpentry experience. As it turned out, he didn’t have all of the skills needed for this project—he figured this out after they had purchased the pattern online. There was another dad who had a connection to the local Mennonites who agreed to let the men use their shop. That dad knew how to use their machines and tools, so he supervised the project.  Both of these men assisted the less knowledgeable men in learning how to use the equipment as well as safety measures.

The original dad contacted all of the dads and got them on board. Sandra worked on the other end with the moms (things like payments and timing). The original estimate was $200 per chest, but it ended up being $400 per chest (much cheaper than the cost of a retail oak and cedar chest). This was a hefty fee for Sandra’s family with two girls and another family with three girls, but they were able to make payments to the Mennonite shop during the project. The dad involved “managed” the entire project including the dads, the wood, and working with the Mennonites on the fees.

The project began in September of 2011 and was completed in May of 2012 (the day before their ceremony). The chests were generously stored at the Mennonite shop throughout the process. All of the dads participated but on varying levels. At first, it was more of an assembly line, but when it came to actual assembly, they each chose their pieces and worked on their own. At first, they met one Saturday a month, but soon realized they needed to meet more, so they started meeting whenever possible. Sandra’s husband and the other dad with several daughters went in many extra evenings in order to finish on time. The men involved were very giving of their time and worked hard to make sure every girl received a hope chest. In addition, one of the moms often took a soup or some other food item for all of the men during the all-day sessions.  Sandra said that to do this project it really requires a lot of prayer, a professional shop, supportive moms, a “project manager” dad, and at least one dad with woodworking knowledge. The Lord really brought this all together perfectly for them.

These chests were supposed to be given when the girls graduate from Keepers (one by one), but it didn’t work that way because storage became an issue (the hope chests were much larger than anticipated). So the dads and Sandra decided to give them all at once during the award ceremony.

The girls were thrilled, and their own moms gave out the hope chest badges during the ceremony. Sandra also surprised the dads with woodworking badges during the ceremony.

Sandra is doing a super job of involving the families of her Keeper girls, and with this hope chest skill, moms and dads and girls are all learning too!



The Ceremony

The Ceremony

The Hidden Chests

The Hidden Chests

Grateful Daughters

Grateful Daughters