A favorite family tradition throughout my growing up years was to make cut-out holiday cookies at least 2-3 times per year. I remember making these for Christmas and Easter, although there may have been other times during the year that we enjoyed these homemade treats.
Of course, I had to do the same with my own children, right?
We have followed in a similar pattern with my own girls, except that we usually make autumn cookies, like you see above in the photo, sometimes Christmas cookies, and sometimes, Resurrection Sunday crosses.
I must admit that I LOVE making cut-out cookies and helping the girls frost them. Yes, it makes a messy kitchen and dining room, and the clean-up takes me longer than with some other projects we do around the house, but I enjoy this time with the girls very much!
I've always used one particular recipe for the cut-out cookies, because my definition of a wonderful cut-out cookie is a bit on the thicker side, soft and chewy on the inside, and firm enough to handle to frost with icing.
Yesterday, while my husband and oldest daughter went hunting, Brittany and I mixed up the dough for the cut-out cookies.
We didn't have enough white flour to make the larger batch of dough, so we combined regular white flour and whole wheat pastry flour together to make a healthier dough, albeit unplanned.
It is my understanding that whole wheat pastry flour is just as healthy as regular whole wheat flour; it is a different variety of wheat which, when milled, produces a lighter variety of flour. I'm not sure it's good to make yeast breads or cakes with whole wheat pastry flour; I'd have to do some research into that. However, we have enjoyed using whole wheat pastry flour for:
I wasn't sure how the cookies would turn out, as I didn't want to give up the texture and flavor of my original recipe. Guess what? They were delicious! They baked up soft and chewy and wonderful. Even though they aren't made completely with whole wheat pastry flour, they are delightful. I might add a bit more flour the next time I make these, just to see how they turn out with 3/4 whole wheat pastry flour, and 1/4 white flour. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try them with 100% whole wheat pastry flour? Hmmm. Maybe not.
Here is the recipe I use for the "healthier" version of my cut-out cookies:
1-1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar (or organic evap. cane juice sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2-3 cups regular flour (if dough is sticky, add the extra cup of flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately to creamed mixture with milk. If mixture is too sticky, add flour, a little at a time, until the dough is easy to handle. Roll dough 1/8 to 1/4" thick. Cut out cookies, dipping cutter in flour before each use, if necessary. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until edges are set and golden. Makes 36-42 average sized cookies.
After the cookies had cooled on cooling racks, and the hunters had arrived back home, we ate dinner...and then it was time to make frosting. I almost always make homemade frosting when we need it. I really don't care for the taste of the processed store-bought frosting. There's some odd taste in there that just isn't right!
Here is my favorite recipe for making homemade frosting. If you prefer to use coconut oil (in its cool room temperature form) instead of the shortening, feel free. The icing won't set up and harden on the decorated cookies, so it will stick to layers of waxed paper if you are layering these cookies in a box. If you are planning on shipping these cookies somewhere, you'll want to use shortening instead of coconut oil. If the weather is hot, I don't think you'll want to use the coconut oil, because it will turn to a liquid state. That might make quite a mess on your cookies! You could also try to use 100% butter and no shortening altogether.
I decided to use a combination of butter, shortening, and coconut oil:
And, of course, frost cookies and add sprinkles, if desired! I usually buy seasonal sprinkles the day or week after a particular holiday, getting them for 50-75% off...and I save them for the following year.
Ten years later, this has now been made into a feature-length film starring Dean Cain (Superman in Lois and Clark - The New Adventures of Superman). Interestingly, the film was made in the same location as where the real event took place.
My family was able to enjoy watching The Way Home a couple of weeks ago, thanks to Lionsgate Studio.
I cannot even imagine the horror and pain of having a child lost for more than a few minutes. I pray that you and I never have to go through this kind of pain.
In our community, a 12-year-old girl was babysitting her twin nephew and niece almost exactly 10 years ago, and she ended up missing while babysitting that evening, on October 30. She had been abducted by a man who was known by her aunt. While the police suspected the man, they couldn't find any evidence of a crime, nor could they find her body. It took almost ten years to find the evidence for the person they suspected of committing the crime, and he will go to trial soon. I used to see this girl's mother almost weekly at an office supply store in our town, and it was painful to see her going through the grieving process. I have prayed for her many times over the years.
I'm not going to give away the ending of The Way Home. You'll have to view it for yourself. I will tell you that we all enjoyed watching The Way Home. The acting was professional, although we did notice that there were a few slower spots in the movie. The Way Home is an excellent family film that has no inappropriate scenes, language, nudity, or anything else that would be objectionable. It is the kind of movie that will promote and enhance your faith and your relationships with the members of your own family. I would say that this film is appropriate for ages 10 and
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
James Wyler is a responsible, intelligent man who happens to enjoy dancing and cooking pancakes ... at the same time. He's spent the last twelve years raising his siblings, which meant skipping college and staying away from the ladies. From boxing matches to serious talks while dressed in costume, he knows how to make parenting fun. A goofball around women, nobody knows what will happen now that he has a crush on his sister's lawyer.
Bobby Wyler is about to celebrate his sixteenth birthday. Around his friends, he's comfortable, but in challenging situations, he's shy and willing to change his image to impress. Much like his older brother, Bobby is awkward around girls. That could be because Bobby is unsure of who he is and what he believes about God. But if James has anything to say about it, Bobby is going to make the time to figure that out.
Dennis Wyler is a happy-go-lucky, hairy, extremely friendly wanderer who is never content to stay in one place for long. On the lamb from a pack of anarchists (don't ask), he finds himself back at home to settle matters with his parents' estate so he can pay off his debt to ... the anarchists. His on-going love affairs with flannel shirts, cammo pants, and all things dairy have served him well in his travels around the world. Though he is generally fearless, he's never been able to "shed" his fear of the family storage area.
Andrea Wyler is a shopaholic who delights in pushing around the men in her life. She uses her charm, whit, and legal power to wrap people around her fingers. Her taste in gaudy clothing and the finer things in life make her hard to miss. Not given to manual labor, she happily pushes work onto her husband, Walter. Andrea will stop at nothing to get everything she wants.
Eric, Bobby's best friend, is a Goth teenager with a tough life. Taking responsibility for his alcoholic mother often keeps him up late at night, which means he is falling behind at school. But Eric's sense of humor allows him to fit in well with James and Bobby, even as he looks toward an uncertain future.
Liz is the new girl in town. Just a few days in school and already the boys are making their moves. But Liz is cautious, not willing to become friends with the fellas until they prove that they want more than just her looks. A strong Christian, Liz believes in encouraging others to follow after the Lord. Busy between school and work, she's a smart, honest young woman who is always ready with a smile and an encouraging word.
“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Top Ten List:
How to Help Your Child Permanently Leave the Church
by Alan Melton
99.5% of young adults between the age of 18 and 23 do not have a biblical worldview. What are the top ways that parents can keep this trend going?
We admit this is a rather negative and cynical list, and in some cases extreme. But believe it or not, this is the way that some children from church-going families are being raised.
The good news is that Jesus showed us how to do the very opposite of this top ten list!
10. Don’t develop a relationship with your children. Spend very little time with them. Take jobs that require travel and start hobbies and activities that allow you to take a break from your family. When you are with your children, stay busy with watching television, social networking… anything that keeps you from interacting with them. Don’t listen to your children or talk with them. Let your children solve their bothersome issues with their peers. Or half-listen to your children while you are doing other things. Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.
9. Send your children to be taught and trained by unbelievers. Don’t bother to correct errors that are being taught to your children. Assume that the trained professionals will teach safe, non-threatening curriculum that is required by the school system.
8. Make sure your child is taught relativism, macro evolution and unbiblical lifestyles as normal. After all, children need to make their own choices. It is normal to believe that we are all here by random chance. What did God have to do with that? Don’t be concerned with any promotion of promiscuous (safe) sex between members of the same sex or opposite sex.
7. Don’t teach your children scripture and biblical principles. Don’t worry about obeying scripture to teach to your children the Bible. Allow clergy to do the job once or twice per week. After all, you are not a trained expert. Let the experts do their job! Just be sure your children make a profession of faith.
6. Immerse your children in popular television, movies, social networking and music. Don’t limit or monitor what your children engage in. Make sure they have their own television, cell phone, computer and boom box. Occult? No problem. Alternative lifestyles? Whatever. Take your children to see all the popular movies and make sure you listen to all the popular music. Get all the cable channels and let them watch it as much as possible!
5. Normalize promiscuous sex and violence with your children. Buy your son popular video games that include sex and violence. Allow your son to kill as many bad guys as he wants to, and what’s the harm with a little fantasy sex? Encourage your daughter to watch television and movies with lots of teen romance and sex. Buy her romance novels. Children need to have fun and take out their frustrations with media; after all it’s only “pretend.”
4. Allow your children to go alone wherever they want and with whomever they want. Don’t keep your children under your protection and don’t monitor what they are doing. Make sure your children are with unbelievers all day long so they can be “salt and light.” Forget about the fact that Jesus was always with His adult disciples when they were “salt and light.” The fact that He sent them out in twos with other Christian adults for protection is irrelevant. Your children should be able to choose their own friends; they will be a positive influence.
3. Make sure your children go off to the best secular college and sow their wild oats. You want to make sure your children can make lots of money so don’t worry about what your teens are being taught. Co-ed dorms are acceptable; your teens need to sow their wild oats. Just make sure no one gets pregnant, and make sure they keep their grades up.
2. Rather than involving your family in a ministry, be a spectator at church. Drop your children off at all the entertaining programs. Don’t worry about ministering to others in need; that’s the job of the pastors and ministers.
1. Don’t enthusiastically discuss the Lord with your family. Also don’t pray with and for your children. When you talk with your children, teach them about things that almost everyone is really interested in; sports, television, movie stars, athletes, movies, secular music, buying new things, and having fun. Help your children to see that thinking about God is for Sunday mornings; the rest of the week is for doing what really matters.
In doing the above, you will have ensured that your children have been fully discipled by the world (80 to 100 hours per week), and the minimal time that they have spent at church (1 to 5 hours per week) will make little difference. As statistics show, they will likely join the crowd of those permanently departing the church.
Do you think that children these days are no longer interested in church history? They might become more interested if they were to read a short book like this, including the following events and people:
- a slave trader who decided to no longer sell slaves, and wrote one of the best-loved hymns of Christians
- a teenage boy who was kidnapped by pirates, eventually escaped across the seas to his home, and later went back to Ireland to be a missionary to share the Gospel
- a young boy, even though he wasn't hungry, stole some pears just because he enjoyed being wicked. Later, he served God and wrote two very famous books.
- a little girl who taught herself Greek and Hebrew. Later, she was queen for only 9 days until she was placed into the Tower of London to eventually be martyred.
- a man who stood up for the Holy Bible and nailed his handwritten ideas about God's Holy Word onto his church's front door. The national leader of his church found out about it, and got very angry. But eventually, lots of people came to know Jesus Christ well because of what he had written on that piece of paper.
- a young man who loved sports and playing the flute, but he loved even more being able to write long books that taught people about God's power working in us.
Or, what about this list? I know it would interest most children:
- George Whitefield was cross-eyed
- Famous preacher Jonathan Edwards was fired
- Martin Luther married a nun
- Athanasius outfoxed Egyptian soldiers as they raced down the Nile
- John Wesley invented an electric shock machine and sent it to Ben Franklin
- Martin Luther named his dog "Tölpel," which is a German word for clumsy
- George Whitefield was cross-eyed
Steven J. Nichols has written twelve books, including Heaven on Earth and The Reformation. He is research professor of Christianity and Culture at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
He wrote The Church History ABCs to help modern-day children see themselves as part of the family of faith along with many other famous heroes of the Christian faith.
Twenty-six heroes of the Christian faith are brightly illustrated, and short, child-friendly excerpts from their lives are provided for the readers. The large page format of this hardbound book, combined with bright, vivid artwork that appeals to children, make this a treasure for Christian homes.
At the Gallery on their website, children may send in drawings of other heroes of the Christian faith as well as drawings of people they know personally who are heroes of the faith, to them, and they could be shared at the Gallery's webpage.
For those who want to dive deeper into church history with their children, you will also be able to find an "Activities" tab that has:
- coloring pages of some of the church history heroes
- cursive worksheets for each letter of the alphabet, corresponding with each church history hero of the faith
- word search using the 26 heroes' names
- "Pin the Beard on the Theologian" game, which would be fun for a family "Reformation Night" party
- Martin Luther maze
- Timeline figures of the 26 heroes of the Christian faith to cut out and place onto a matching timeline that contains clues to match the figure to the correct place on the timeline
I highly recommend The Church History ABCs. It is an excellent resource to give small tidbits of church history to our children, and whet their appetites to add more studies and additional books to read as they grow.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
You'll find me in the kitchen
trying new Trim Healthy Mama recipes, loving God, and carrying out that love as I bless my husband and teen daughters.
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