Posts filed under ‘Ministry Opportunites’

Seven Tips for Working with Marshmallow Fondant

I bake for #Cake4Kids. This is a non-profit group that bakes birthday cakes for underserved children. You don’t have to be a professional baker to join. I wasn’t. It has been fun and rewarding to learn new skills. Right now, I am learning how to make fondant. I’ve tried it four times now. And I still have issues. I will keep at this until I am proficient and so that it doesn’t take me all day!

I used the marshmallow fondant recipe from Gemma at Bigger Bolder Baker. 

Gemma lists the following ingredients for her fondant  . . .

  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows
  • 2-3 Tbsp water (if it is humid use the 2 Tbsp)
  • 4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar

I made these superhero toppers for cupcakes.

You basically put the marshmallows in a greased microwave-safe bowl. Cook for one minute and stir until all the lumps are smooth. You might need to add another 20-30 seconds.

I still need to learn more tips. But below are things I’ve learned to make working with fondant easier. None of these ideas are mind-blowing. But, hopefully, they will help you if you are new to this technique. Please, share what has worked for you.

I had fun makig these
bugs out of fondant for a #Cake4Kids group birthday party.

My Seven Tips

  1. Wear an apron. The first couple of times I did not use an apron when making fondant. Big mistake. I got powdered sugar and cocoa powder all over my shirt. It is so much easier to wash my apron than have to change AND wash my shirt. (I used cocoa powder twice when making black fondant.)
  2. Get parchment paper. Even though many recipes said I could use the counter or cutting board to knead and roll the fondant, the fondant stuck every time. Parchment paper is what I had the best success with.
  3. Tape down the paper. I am new to this fondant making, and maybe there is a better way to keep the parchment paper from slipping. Until I taped down the sides, the paper would not stay flat and in place. I even reverse rolled the paper to get the curl out; it didn’t make that much of a difference.
  4. Grease well. Grease the bowl, spatula, hands, and really anything that comes into contact with the fondant. Crisco was suggested. Once I used a flavored olive oil (Blood orange) because I wanted to fill the cupcake with orange curd.
  5. Use marshmallow crème. The last time I made fondant, I ran out of marshmallows because I couldn’t get my fondant the correct grey. I ended up putting in too much coloring. It turned brown; I’ve no idea how I did that. So I wanted to start over and all I had was marshmallow crème. It worked just fine.
  6. Mix in the bowl. Per the typical instructions, I put 3/4ths of the powdered super into the melted marshmallow mixture until it bound together. Then I poured it onto the parchment-covered counter and kneaded in the rest of the sugar. The problem is every time it was a sticky mess. This last time I made fondant, I watched a video where you mixed all of it in the bowl. I still had some difficulty, but I liked this method better. I hate getting icky-gooey-sticky. I will try this a couple more times and then see what I think.
  7. Store leftovers properly. Roll your fondant into a ball or log and coat with white vegetable shortening. Wrap it with plastic wrap. Then store it in an airtight container or ziplock bags. Keep on a shelf or cupboard away from direct sunlight.

Your Turn . . .  Please, share your fondant making tips. . . . Is there any tip from above that you’ll try? . . . Do you have any questions?

Related Posts . . .

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Kindness is Filling Operation Christmas Child Boxes

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It is my hope that my community and I are different as a result of this 31 Day Series.


Christmas, shopping, and loving on kiddos. When a project combines all three, I am in. Therefore, I am totally in when it comes to Operation Christmas Child. Ever since 2002, I have packed at least three shoe boxes each year. One year I packed as many boxes as I was old (55 of them).

Last year, a friend and I started a church crafting/sewing group to make items for our OCC boxes and to collect items year round.

  • We sew bags for jacks, marbles, and Legos.
  • We sew backpacks that the box will fit into.
  • We sew pillowcase dresses and dolls.
  • And finally we sew cloth menstrual bags with an accompanying purse to hold the bags.

If we have more items than we need, we send the extras items along with our boxes to the processing facility. Extras are always needed because some folks don’t FILL up their boxes. And some folks don;t read the directions and send things that HAVE to be taken out, like … glass items … war related clothing and toys … dirty and/or broken things … food … liquids.

This is such a cool way to show love (kindness with work boots on).

  • Most of these impoverished kiddos will get only ONE box in their life time.
  • For some kiddos, this is the only gift they’ll ever receive. It is something they’ll never forget.
  • This is a way to help the kiddos I know to develop their kindness muscle (by being involved in OCC). I’ve packed boxes with my nieces and my granddaughter.

This action of filling a shoe box for an impoverished child I’ll never see, is a kind action. It is kind because the box portrays the idea that someone sees them and cares enough for them to send a gift. This gift does not greatly change their physical environment, but my prayer is that it changes their emotional environment. That it brings a bit of hope. We all need hope. And hope makes a difference.

Your Turn . . . Have you asked anyone to join this OCC Kindness Army? . . .How are you involved in OCC? If you need ideas, read on …

  • Contribute money for the shipping cost ($9). 
  • Contribute several items to a location or person that collects year round. My church is such a place.
  • Make up an/or collect filler items and donate these. One such items is school supplies. The Pencil Granny gives great suggestions on what to load into your zip lock baggie.
  • Pack your own box. Go here for directions.

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Go here for yesterday’s post:

Related Posts . . . 

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

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How Ice Cream is Like Church

#NationalIceCreamDay – Ice cream and church do go together. … In full disclosure, ice cream was eaten in the making of this advertisement.

“Ice cream brings people together.” ~ Doug Ducey

“Summer would not be summer without Ice-cream. Ice-cream is the favorite currency of love.” ~ Puck

“Ice cream is the perfect buffer, because you can do things in a somewhat lighthearted way. Plus, people have an emotional response to ice cream; it’s more than just food. So I think when you combine caring, and eating wonderful food, it’s a very powerful combination.” ~ Jerry Greenfield

We had all kinds of ice cream: Fudgsicles, Firecrackers, Magnums, ice cream sandwiches, It’s It, cups of vanilla and swirl, and Outshine fruit bars to name a few.

#NationalIceCreamDay is on the calendar once a year. For 2017, July 16th is that day. Since that day is a Sunday, CNC celebrated National Ice Cream Day. Why?

  • It brings people together.
  • It is fun.
  • It is cool. (Pun intended.)
  • It really IS A currency of love. (I grew up in a home where food = love.)

I love that we encouraged people to bring a box of their favourite ice cream TO CHURCH. I like that we encouraged folks to take photos and post them on social media with the appropriate hash tag. And I believe that celebrating ice cream is like celebrating church.

  • Church brings people together.
  • Church is cool.
  • People have an emotional response to church. (Love is just one response.)
  • Church is more than a building or a body of people. It is a place full of God’s presence.

This daddy-daughter duo is cool as they celebrate this National Day.

Church and ice cream have other similarities. Going to church, like eating ice cream, can be a bad experience because . . .

  • The people or ingredients could be rotten.
  • The experience of either/both didn’t meet expectations.
  • There is a bad fit.
  • Someone is just not in the mood for the ice cream or church.

And to that last remark I say a resounding, “Hogwash!” I am always in the mood for ice cream (either Breyer’s Natural Vanilla Ice Cream or Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia). And I am always in the mood for church. Well to be more precise, I am always in the mood to savour God’s Presence.

When we are consistently not in the mood to go to church, let’s PRAY and talk with someone. When our church experience tastes rotten, doesn’t fit our expectations, or isn’t a good fit, let’s PRAY and talk with someone, someone wise. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Although church is filled with people who are imperfect (like me) and who do selfish things (like me), church can still be a positive, uplifting, loving time with God and the people there.

You can eat ice cream in the sanctuary, Rudat Hall, or even in the kitchen.

There are so many GREAT churches in my area. There are a lot of great churches in your area, too. Have you prayed about what to look for in a church? Read 5 Reasons I Love My Church.

And I am adding a 6th reason I love my church. We do silly, fun, connecting things like celebrating National Ice Cream Day.

Next year, come join us! Or better yet, celebrate church with us every Sunday. Join us because it is inclusive, cool, loving and a place FULL of God’s Presence.

Messy is a good look when it come to “ice cream” messy.

Your Turn . . . 

  • How did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?
  • What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
  • In your opinion, how are ice cream and church alike?
  • What are some favourite things about your church?
  • And if your name is Becky, come to CNC this Sunday.
  • Amanda, thanks for this “messy” photo.

Advice from Jerry Greenfield (co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s  Homemade Holdings, Inc..

“You should not be replacing more than one meal a day with ice cream. We do not consider a pint or a tub of ice cream to be a single serving.”

This is advice I may or may not take.

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Ministry Flash Mob Gives Love

Here is some of the “flash mob” crew holding the TAPED SHUT, goody-filled shoeboxes.

The setting . . .

a subway, waiting room, hospital lobby, food court, any local space

Quietly a prepared group of people infiltrate the scene. On an agreed-upon cue, the group starts singing. The crowd, startled at first, begins to enjoy the planned musical numbers. After finishing their last song, the group members flow unnoticed and unhindered into the crowd.

Have you ever wanted to be part of a flash mob? I have for a three reasons.

  1. I like the practice of getting together with a like-minded group to perfect our gift of music.
  2. I like giving to others with no thought of return (on their part).
  3. I like giving others some beauty and a moment of feeling special.

Our 10 member group who went to India in July/August 2013 was part of a flash mob. But our gift wasn’t music; it was filled-to-the-brim, taped-shut-shoeboxes.

Our flash mob was a ministry flash mob.

Nomadic boy clutching his unwieldy shoebox

Our like-minded crew assembled and stuffed the boxes with snacks, hygiene items, school supplies, and toys. Actually it was the younger folks who assembled the 500 boxes. Annie, Andrew, Christina, Jonathon, Kadie, Katey, and Matthew did the hard work while having fun together.

The leadership thought us more mature women (Jenny, Merrily, Tricia and me) needed to go back to our hotel rooms to “stretch our backs.”  We had been involved in running and speaking at two full days of a women’s conference. My mind really wanted to help, but my body was very tired. So I gratefully acquiesced to having a rest.

It was awesome to be part of a team that gave to others without thought of return, without any stipulations.

We passed a box up to a boy in a window

We gave out 500 shoeboxes. We gave to four Buddhist schools, two nomadic tribes (YES, nomadic tribes), to kiddos alongside the road in villages and to four children in the scoop part of a digger-type truck.

What were their reactions?

  • One girl kissed her box
  • One boy cried while hugging the box
  • One mom put her child’s hands around the box. The child SMILED and so did her mom – the child was a blind girl in a wheelchair.
  • We were even mobbed at one point which was a bit scary!
  • One woman who was a teacher walking alongside the ride of a village asked, “Why are you doing this?” Our reply, “Because we LOVE the kids.

I wasn’t asked this question and I don’t normally think/answer quickly, but I hope I would’ve added, “Because Jesus loves your children, the beautiful children of India.”

Aren’t  “Just Because” presents special? In a way, they are more special than Christmas or birthday presents. We gave our mobs a moment of beauty and of feeling special with these “Just Because” presents.

This is one of the schools we visited.

Our intent was to love on the kiddos of northern India, the most poverty-stricken part of India.  Operation Christmas Child does not give out shoeboxes here; at least they didn’t in 2013 and the years before. But because of the generous giving of people (and many from Cordova Neighborhood Church), we were able to give away 500 boxes in a variety of settings over hundreds of miles.

True, there were no religious tracts, tent meetings, or follow-up cards in the boxes. The recipients didn’t know that LINC Ministries and Kashmir Evangelical Fellowship made this drop off happen in the name of Jesus.

  • But I am certain that our prayers will make a difference.
  • I am certain that those who’s hearts are opening to the ONE TRUE GOD will have further contact from those who come in the name of Jesus.
  • I am certain that some who are in our photographs will meet us in heaven.
  • And I am certain that our fearless leader, Leonard Lee, is following God’s plan for ministry in that area.

When we get to Heaven we will find out that the money, time and prayers given made an eternal difference. We were faithful to do what God asked us to do. God will be faithful to the furtherance of His Salvation.

I used to be worried that folks in 3rd world and developing countries wouldn’t have access to the Gospel and to His love. Not any more.

God’s Word and my experience in India have given me hope.

  • Not by might, or power, but by the Spirit. Zechariah 4:6
  • How lovely on the mountains are the feet of them who bring Good News. Isaiah 52:7
  • Your WORD will not return void. Isaiah 55:11

Your Turn . . . 

  1. Have you ever been part of a musical flash mob? Is it as wonderful an experience as I imagine?
  2. If you’ve been part of a shoebox ministry, why do you do it?

Related Resources  . . . 

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CNC Christmas Year Round – Sewing for OCC Boxes

We had lots of gorgeous material to use for our dresses.

Join us as we sew items for our Operation Christmas Child (OCC) boxes.

  • Our current projects are: Cloth pads with bags, pillowcase dresses, small bags and dolls.
  • We meet once a month at Cordova Neighborhood Church, 6:00pm. The dates are as follows: May 19 … June 29 … July 28 … August 25 … September 29 …. October 20.
  • Have questions? Contact Lucy Baptista. Or leave a comment here.

Don’t sew? Don’t want to come out on a Friday night to put together these items?

  • There is a way for you to be involved.
  • We are collecting items for OCC boxes.

THANKS so much to those of you who donated during April.

During May we are collecting assorted items. Drop off at the Church.

  • Marbles, jacks or Legos to fill the small bags we’ve sewed.
  • Brightly coloured cotton material with matching bias tape. 2 yards of material is enough for one pillow case dress and matching doll.
  • Shoe boxes: either empty card board shoe boxes or quality plastic boxes (the size of a shoe box).

Of course you can still drop off non-liquid personal care items: comb, hair brushes, toothbrush with holder, soap with holder, flash light with extra batteries, etc. NO TOOTHPASTE.

Our Facebook group address is as follows:

Your Turn . . .

  1. Do you participate in OCC?
  2. If you make items for your box(es), what do you make?

Related Resources . . .

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Sending Thanks to a Friend – Gratitude Project

Sometimes life is hard and you need a helmet

Sometimes life is hard and you need a helmet. Sometimes what you need is a friend who is tenacious about over-coming obstacles. That’s why I am smiling today. I have such a friend with an awesome example.

I know some amazing people. These folks are giving, growing, and fun. One such person is doing well at overcoming her past choices. I wrote her the following note . . .

I keep thinking about your recent achievement, 11 years clean – WOW! Thanks so much for your courageous and tenacious example.

The way you’ve held onto God and worked your program gives me great hope.

  • It gives me hope that I can be an over-comer in the area of my eating.
  • It gives me great hope that my family and friends with addiction issues can be over-comers too.

I also appreciate how giving you are of your wisdom and how vulnerable you are regarding your story.

Folks like this woman impact a wide circle of people. Her impact is more than temporal. I believe that she is impacting eternity as well. And I pray and hope that as I grow and give, that my impact is wide and brings others closer to God, too.

I am writing at least 36 letters expressing my gratitude. And I want to pray for them on that day as well. Go here for the original post and list of recipients. I am writing about it here in hopes that it spurs someone on to write their own gratitude letters.

Your Turn . . . Are any of your friends great examples too? Share how their courageous, tenacity impacts you?

Related Posts . . .  

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Sending Thanks to a “Behind the Scenes Person” – Gratitude Project

Without the help of others, I could not do my job well. Today I am saying "Thanks" to a behind-the-scenes person who gets a lot done without others noticing.

Without the help of others, I could not do my job well. Today I am saying “Thanks” to a behind-the-scenes person who gets a lot done without others noticing.

Think about the last BIG project you pulled off. You most likely had a timeline and a to-do list to keep you on time and on task. But you had something else, too.

You had people helping you. And most likely there were LOTS of behind-the-scenes type of people helping you with this project.

I think that behind-the-scenes people are the unsung heroes of our corporations, non-profits, schools, and even families. When was the last time you thanked one of these unsung heroes?

I am doing that today. I am sending a pretty card with words of appreciation.

I am writing at least 36 letters expressing my gratitude. And I want to pray for them on that day as well. Go here for the original post and list of recipients. I am writing about it here in hopes that it spurs someone on to write their own gratitude letters.

Your Turn . . .

  • When was the last time to sent a thank you card to a behind-the-scenes type of person? How about sending one today?
  • Have you ever received such a card? How did it make you feel?

Related Posts . . .

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60 Acts of Kindness, Intentional & Random to do my 60th year

The Finish DateMarch 1st, 2019

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