Gingerbread House Outreach

We posted this last Christmas, but  since it is such a “goodie”, we wanted to post again for this holiday season!

 

Gingerbread House Outreach

by Anna Clagett

I love Christmas!  I have been known to begin playing Christmas carols around September, and I’m always eager to get out all the Christmas boxes the day after Thanksgiving.

The reason I love Christmas so much, is that it is a holiday where most of the world remembers and honors the birth of Christ in surrounding itself with beauty, and responding to His gift to us by giving of themselves to others.

It is also a wonderful and natural time to share with those who may not know Him about what Jesus means to us.  I have many friends who’ve taken advantage of this time of year to share their faith in creative ways.  Some of my friends have hosted a holiday tea at their home for neighbors where a guest speaker has shared the Gospel with them.  I have several friends who host an annual “Birthday Party for Jesus” where a cake is assembled with each step symbolizing parts of the Gospel.  Some friends deliver holiday dinners to the less fortunate or even go caroling as a means to share the Gospel.

One tradition that I especially cherished as a child was making a gingerbread house with my family.  And as I had children of my own, over the years I’ve developed our own tradition using gingerbread houses as the basis for sharing the Gospel with families in my neighborhood.

I happen to have a mold for a gingerbread house, so a couple of weeks before my party, I begin to bake walls and roofs enough for each of my guests.  I prepare enough component parts for each child, or one per family depending on the number of people I expect and on how much time I have.  If you’d like to simplify, you could accomplish the same thing by using 1/4 pt. milk cartons and graham crackers on hand for each child.

I ask each guest family to bring a bag of candy for decorating to give us a good variety, and as they arrive, I let them spread out around my kitchen and dining room to create their houses.

I take pictures, and provide coffee and cider, and keep everyone supplied adequately with icing, and candy.

When everyone finishes, I invite all the children and adults to join me around the Christmas tree.

Gingerbread Recipe

(Makes 1 Gingerbread Building)

[Section Break]

3 c. all purpose flour

1 ½ t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground ginger

½ t. baking soda

½ t. salt

¼ t. ground cloves

½ c. margarine

½ c. sugar

½ c. molasses

1 egg

[Section Break]

Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, and cloves.  Mix well.  In large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar until blended.  Add molasses and egg.  Beat until smooth.  Gradually add flour mixture.  Mix well.  Lay plastic wrap tightly over dough and chill at least 30 minutes.

If using a mold:  Press dough firmly into lightly greased mold filling all sections.  Trim away excess using serrated knife.  Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes.  Cool in mold for 5 minutes.  Remove pieces from mold.  Repeat as necessary.

If not using a mold:  Draw walls and roof on paper and cut apart to use as a pattern. Roll dough onto lightly floured surface approximately ½ inch thick.  Cut to desired shape around paper, and carefully place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Icing Glue

4 c. powdered sugar

3 egg whites

1/8 t. cream of tartar

Place all ingredients in a medium, non-plastic mixing bowl.  Beat on low speed for 5-7 minutes or until icing is glossy and holds peaks.  The icing dries very quickly, and must be covered or kept in an airtight container and refrigerated when not in use.  Icing may be tinted with food coloring if desired.

House Kit:

1 set of 4 walls, and two roof pieces, pre-made

OR 1 1/4 pint emptied milk carton and graham crackers

icing glue

plastic or butter knives

cardboard base (approximately 12”x12”)

candy assortment (ask each family to bring one bag)

wet paper towels, washcloths, or wipes for messes

Make gingerbread ahead of time, one per family, or one per child depending on how many guests you expect and on how ambitious you are.  As the guest arrive, hand out the “house kits,” and let them have at it.  (I always try to take some pictures of each family working on their house(s) to give to them later.)  As the guests finish up their creations I like to gather all the children around the Christmas tree.  The adults make themselves comfortable around the room as well.  Then I begin to tell the children about what gingerbread houses remind me of:

“The Gingerbread Gospel”

Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a life-sized gingerbread house?  What would your favorite candy house be made out of?  (let the children offer ideas.)

That would almost seem like the perfect place to live, wouldn’t it?  Well, the Bible tells us about a real perfect place to live.  It’s called heaven.  That’s where Jesus lived long ago.  But God decided to send Jesus from His perfect house in heaven to earth.  Do you know what was the first house Jesus lived in on earth?  (pause to let children answer)  It was a stable, and his first bed was a manger.  What is a stable? (a barn) What do you think it would have smelled like?  What would it have looked like?  What would have been in that stable?  And what is a manger?  (a feeding trough for animals)  Was it anything like the perfect place Jesus came from? (Luke 2:7)

Now why do you think that God would send His own Son from a perfect house in heaven (John 17:5), to a dirty, smelly, cold place like a stable?  (children offer answers)  Because He loves you very much!  He wanted you to know Him and so He sent His Son to tell you and show you all about God.  Jesus did just that.  He taught us about God, and the things that He taught are all written down for us in the Bible.

One day, when Jesus was still a young man, he left his home on earth.  He died for all the bad things we’ve done.  And now He has a new home.  Do you know where that is?  He wants to live in our hearts.  (Rev. 3:20) He will come and live in our hearts if we ask Him to, and forgive us of all the wrong things we’ve done!  Now, why do you think He would want to live inside us, and forgive us of our sins?  (listen to any responses)  He does that because He loves each one of you so much!  He wants to always be close to you, and help you.

Finally, the Bible says one more important thing about houses.  It says that Jesus is preparing a house for each one of us in heaven. (John 14:2) He says that one day, we can all live forever with Him there in that perfect, wonderful place!

Now, when you take your gingerbread house home, I want you to remember how much Jesus loves you every time you look at it.  And I want you to remember that Jesus wants to live inside you, and to have you live with Him in heaven some day.

Let me pray and thank Jesus for all His houses.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for leaving heaven to come to earth to teach us about God.  And thank You for dying for all the wrong things we’ve done, and wanting to live inside us.  Thank You for preparing a place for us in Your beautiful heaven.

Amen

ONE THOUSAND GIFTS CHALLENGE

Head over to the ONE THOUSAND GIFTS page on the right side of this page and join our

“ONE THOUSAND GIFTS FOR THE MOMS OF FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH” Challenge!!

Back To School Activities

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!!! Here are a few back to school activities for the whole family:

http://familyfun.go.com/back-to-school/

 

http://family.go.com/parenting/pkg-back-to-school/

 

 

Also, one of my favorite parts of the school year is the drive to school. I use the time to pray with my children and always end with the Lord’s Prayer before they get out of the car. It has become a very special time.

Do you have a favorite part of the school year or a special idea to share? Leave it in the comments below:

NEW FEATURE: Mom to Mom

This week we are adding a new feature to the blog: MOM TO MOM.

MOM TO MOM will give you, our readers, the opportunity to ask and response to questions from fellow moms just like you!

This week’s question:

“My daughter is in elementary school and has a neighbor friend who has had a difficult home life. We love her friend coming to our house, but her friend always tries to lead my daughter into trouble. My daughter’s friend will wait until I leave the room and try and get my daughter to do the things I have specifically told them are not allowed in our house. Right now, they are young, so it is things like standing on the furniture or watching a TV show that isn’t allowed in our home. But, who knows what this could turn into as they get older. We want our daughter to be a good influence on this girl, but we don’t want this girl to lead our daughter astray! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!”

Have advice? Leave it below!

Have a question you want to ask? E-mail fellowshipmoms (at) hotmail (dot) com All questions will remain anonymous and all names will be removed before posting.

***The thoughts and opinions given by our readers are not endorsed by nor are they the opinion of Fellowship Bible Church. Comments deemed inappropriate will be removed.***

Ideas on Making the Last Day of School Special

Like many of you, my daughter only has about a week and a half of school left. I am somewhat sad, since this means I will soon have a first grader and a “First Grader” somehow seems MUCH older than a “Kindergartener”.

But I digress.

I want to make her last day of school extra special and found some great ideas I wanted to pass along:

http://www.frugallifeproject.com/2010/05/more-ideas-to-make-last-day-of-school.html

(Grand)Mother’s Day Craft Idea

Here is what my kiddos are making for their grandmothers this Mother’s Day:

REFRIGERATOR PICTURE/ARTWORK CLIP

Super easy for my young children and a great gift for my mother and mother-in-law since we mail TONS of pictures and artwork to them regularly!

Have a great Mother’s Day craft idea? Share it below!

GUEST POST: Living with Food Allergies by Rachel Brown

Our Story:
Our journey with food allergies started with our son Brody having severe eczema at 4 months old. The eczema on his face would get so bad, that it would be open and weepy. People would make comments about his cute red cheeks and I would just smile, knowing that it was not normal. There were times when his face looked so bad it made my stomach turn.
I remember calling doctor offices crying and asking them to see our son as soon as possible. We took him to our pediatrician, a dermatologist, and a pediatric dermatologist. We tried expensive topical treatments (that I did not like to use because of the steroids) and nothing completely took it away. I asked all three doctors if something that I was eating could be getting into him from nursing, and all of them said it was not possible and wrote me a prescription (I now know otherwise). It was frustrating to watch him be so uncomfortable; I felt helpless.
At 7 months old, I introduced whole organic yogurt, and he immediately broke out with hives all over his body. It took me a minute to process what was going on, because I had never seen anyone have an allergic reaction, nor did I anticipate our child would have one. I called the triage nurse at our pediatrician’s office and was told to give him Benedryl and watch to make sure his throat did not close. We were asked to come in to see our pediatrician the next day, and he recommended a blood test.
A few days later, the pediatrician called and said, “Brody is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat.” I said “Ok.” He then asked if I was going to continue to nurse him; I immediately said, “Yes, of course” and he replied, “You know that what he is allergic to is in everything?” I realized that what I had been eating was hurting him. I cut those allergens completely out of my diet and went on what we affectionately called “ The Brody diet.” His eczema went way, he was a happier baby and I was overwhelmed, yet relieved to find out the root of the problem. I was on the “Brody diet” for 6 months, since I had decided to continue to nurse. I am glad I chose to do this; it forced me to find safe foods and recipes that tasted good.
After I learned a little more and had time to digest what was going on, we decided to see an allergist and do a skin test to compare to the results of the blood test and begin a relationship with a doctor who takes care of children with food allergies everyday.
We have since had some accidental exposure to allergens, which have been both eye opening and scary. We have also done a baked egg challenge with our allergist and Brody’s lips turned blue, his eyes rolled back in his head and he was given the Epi-pen. This incident built our belief in the Epi-pen and we do not leave home without it.
Being allergen free was a dramatic change for our entire family, since none of us have any food allergies. We were completely immersed into this new lifestyle. I began to look at food differently. I always knew that what a person eats could eventually hurt them, possibly causing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. but for our family, certain food could cause our son to stop breathing.
Reading labels has made our family so much more aware of what is actually in the food that we are eating, and we have cut out a lot of processed foods and are eating whole foods, fruits, vegetables, food made from scratch and with fewer ingredients (which is much healthier). This has definitely been the silver lining since Brody has been diagnosed with food allergies.
Along the way, I have met and have been encouraged by other moms who are on similar journeys. I have met local bakers who make delicious allergen free treats for special occasions, which makes my heart happy. We embrace this path for our family and are learning that being allergen free can be healthy and delicious.
There are days where I feel anxious, but other days I am so thankful that God has put our family on this journey. It is stretching and growing us.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) Philippians 4:6-7

What are food allergies?
It is estimated that approximately 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies.. Food allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction.
What are the top eight allergens?
Milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.
What are some symptoms of an allergic reaction?
Symptoms may be mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) or severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). A food allergy can be potentially fatal.
How a might a child might describe a reaction?
Children have unique ways of describing their experiences and perceptions, and allergic reactions are no exception. Precious time can be lost when caregivers do not immediately recognize that a reaction is occurring or don’t understand what a child is trying to tell them.

Some children, especially very young ones, put their hands in their mouths or pull or scratch at their tongues when having a reaction. Also, children’s voices may change (example: become hoarse or squeaky), and they may slur their words.

Here are some examples of the words a child might use to describe a reaction (from FAAN)

• “This food’s too spicy.”
• “My tongue is hot [or burning].”
• “It feels like something’s poking my tongue.”
• “My tongue [or mouth] is tingling [or burning].”
• “My tongue [or mouth] itches.”
• “It [my tongue] feels like there is hair on it.”
• “My mouth feels funny.”
• “There’s a frog in my throat.”
• “There’s something stuck in my throat.”
• “My tongue feels full [or heavy].”
• “My lips feel tight.”
• “It feels like there are bugs in there.” (to describe itchy ears)
• “It [my throat] feels thick.”
• “It feels like a bump is on the back of my tongue [throat].”

If you suspect that your child is having an allergic reaction, follow your doctor’s instructions.
What is the best treatment for a food allergy reaction?
We carry Benedryl and an Epi- with us everywhere we go. For a very mild reaction, Benedryl is great. For a severe reaction, Epinephrine, is the medication of choice. It is available by prescription as a self-injectable device. If you have been prescribed this medication, carry it with you at all times. It could save your child’s life.
How to Grocery Shop?
Grocery shopping takes more time, because the ingredients and each ingredient statement must be carefully read. Manufacturers change the ingredients of their products all of the time, and these changes may not be seen by looking at the front of a package. Make sure to read the ingredient label every time you purchase a food, even for “safe” food you have previously purchased.
Resources
FAAN (Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Network)
http://www.foodallergy.org

Food Allergy Initiative
http://www.faiusa.org

Kids With Food Allergies
http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org

Local Resources (Nashville Area)
Allergen Free Please
www.allergenfreeplease.blogspot.com

F.A.C.T. (Food Allergy Community of TN) is a support group that meets at the Whole Foods in Green Hills the first Tuesday of every other month.
http://allergysupport.blogspot.com

Easter Craft Idea: Paper Bead Cross Necklace

Here is a great Easter craft idea:

PAPER BEAD CROSS NECKLACE

 

 

 

Tim Anderson Silhouettes April 6 and 7

 

Don’t miss your opportunity to have a Tim Anderson Silhouette made of your child at Pickles and Ice Cream on April 6 or 7. Call 778-1599 for details.

Tim Anderson is Smithsonian endorsed and considered America’s best. He is famous for his accurate and detailed silhouettes. KIDS DO NOT HAVE TO SIT STILL AND IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW THEY ARE DRESSED.  It can even be done from a profile picture.


Upcoming Easter Events

Here are a few upcoming Easter events:

 

1. Nashville Zoo’s Eggstravaganzoo! More information here:

http://nashville.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=nashville&cdn=citiestowns&tm=63&f=00&su=p284.9.336.ip_p554.18.336.ip_&tt=3&bt=1&bts=1&st=32&zu=http%3A//www.nashvillezoo.org/

 

2. Cheekwood Spring Art Hop & Faberge Exhibit. More information here:

http://nashville.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=nashville&cdn=citiestowns&tm=172&f=00&su=p284.9.336.ip_p554.18.336.ip_&tt=3&bt=1&bts=1&st=32&zu=http%3A//www.cheekwood.org/

 

3. Resurrection Trail at Christ Community Church.  More detail here:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=82707196180

 

4. The Last Supper Carving at The Upper Room. More information here:

 

http://nashville.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=nashville&cdn=citiestowns&tm=671&f=00&su=p284.9.336.ip_p554.18.336.ip_&tt=3&bt=1&bts=1&st=32&zu=http%3A//www.upperroom.org/chapel/

 

Know of other events in the area? Leave a comment below!

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