Friday, June 20, 2008

Flip-Flops and Belly Flops

Today we had our second Backyard Bible Adventure of the summer, and it was so much fun! Backyard Bible Adventures combine the fun of a birthday party with a spiritual message. Our theme this summer is "Making a Splash," and host Karen Pruitt welcomed us this morning for a pool party. Karen has such a heart for young mothers, and she treated us to a refreshing summer lunch of chicken salad croissants, fruit salad, jello salad, pickles, deviled eggs, chips and an ice cream sandwich dessert. We mommies sipped iced tea and lemonade on the screened-in porch while the children enjoyed picnic lunches by the pool.

At our first BBA this summer, we talked about changing our hearts and being kinder to our families. Our Bible story today came from John 13. As the children sat around the pool, we talked about how we would feel if we all had to walk home from our Backyard Bible Adventure in our flip-flops. The children agreed that we would be really hot, tired and dirty by the end of our journey -- and that it would feel wonderful to dip our fit into cool water when we got home. This gave us an interesting perspective to look at the story of Jesus watching His disciples' feet.

Washing the apostles' dirty, calloused feet was truly an act of service. We learned that we can make a splash in the lives of those around us by developing a servant's heart. And we talked about ways we could show kindness to people in our church and community. Our final thought for the day was Matthew 10:42: "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward." We all agreed that we want to be as refreshing to those around us as a cool drink of water on a hot summer day!

Scroll down to see more images from our day, including easy cake and craft ideas!

The children flipped for our festive flip-flop cake!

To make this fun summer cake, bake 1 1/2 cake mixes in a standard sheet cake pan. Allow the cake to cool, then release it onto a platter. Use a toothpick to trace the shape of the left flip-flop lengthwise into the cake. You will cut the flip-flop out with a sharp knife and invert it onto the remaining half of the cake to cut the right flip-flop, but first measure the widest part of your first flip-flop to make sure you have enough cake on the other side to make a balanced shoe. Use your toothpick to adjust the first flip-flop if necessary, then cut away the excess cake. This first flip-flop is your pattern for the second one, but be sure to invert it onto the other side of the cake so you will have a left and a right shoe. Position the flip-flops on your serving platter, but make sure you leave enough room between them for decorating the "insoles."

Ice your flip-flop cake, then draw designs into the top of the flip-flops with a toothpick. Use decorating tip 47 to pipe ridged stripes around the cakes. Use round and star tips to fill in the top of the cake. To make the straps, cut a drinking straw into six equal pieces, and cut four lengths of grosgrain ribbon. Thread two straps through a straw piece, and insert this into the flip-flop toe area to make the thong. Stretch the ribbons across the cake, thread each one through a straw piece, trim as needed, and then insert one into each side of the flip-flop. Use the remaining two ribbons to embellish the other flip-flop. Complete the look with graham-cracker crumb "sand" sprinkled around the flip-flops.



These monogrammed sport sippers will remind the children that sometimes being kind is as simple as offering someone a cup of cold water.

For our craft today, I ordered sipper cups in bulk from Oriental Trading. Although they were smaller than I had anticipated, 9-year-old Carson assured me that he would use one, so I felt like the other kids would like them too. These cups come with paper inserts for decorating, which makes them ideal for kids craft projects. And presenting them with personalized liners makes them a great favor for birthday parties, Bible classes and school parties.

You could make laminated paper liners for this project, but I chose to make monogrammed fabric inserts for the children enrolled in our Backyard Bible Adventure program. I found a floral-print fabric in sunny, tropical colors for the girls, and a vibrant blue fabric that looked almost like pool water for the boys. I ironed a fusible backing to the wrong-side of the fabrics to give the liners a little more body. I used a paper insert as a pattern and cut out the fabric liners with pinking shears. I monogrammed the girls' names in a scripty font, and the boys' first initial and names in more masculine selections.

I assembled all the cups ahead of time, and handed them out at the party at the end of the devotional. We had crayons and markers on hand for those who wanted to decorate their own liners as well. I hope using their special cups this summer will remind the children that God gives all of us special opportunities to serve others. And that we will be blessed when we share our cold cup of water with someone who needs it.

Karen's swing set was a great gathering spot at our backyard party. The picture of Carlie (top row, center) reminds me how it felt to swing so high that you touched the sky. Several photos demonstrate the spirit of helpfulness we talked about today. I love all these kids and can't wait to talk with them at our final BBA about making a splash in the world!

21 comments:

Kellie said...

Wow! Melissa,

That cake is amazingly impressive!

We also love the Back Yard Bible club programs. I have great memories os attending them with my kids when we lived in NC.

There isn't anything better than summer in humidity, eating a popsicle and learning about Jesus!

Your kiddos are beautiful!

Nancy Hood said...

What a beautiful and inspiring way, not to mention memorable!!, to teach children about our King. Not only are they having fun while they learn, but the mothers gather and are uplifted as well. May He continue to bless this work!!

Joanne Kennedy said...

Great ideas you have there! I love all of them. That cake is darling, the sipper cups are so cute and a wonderful way to remember that even giving someone a drink is doing as Jesus asked us to do.

Can't wait to read about the BBA you do.

Hugs to you.
Joanne

Joy said...

I think that is the cutest cake I've ever seen!
Thanks for commenting on my blog so that I could come visit yours!

daisy said...

Oh, yes! This is a great idea. I love practical lessons that kids can apply to their everyday lives. And how fun and thoughtful to customize them ahead of time for each child.

Your idea of using fabric was fabulous. I had one of these that was decorated with a marker that was not waterproof, and as soon as some liquid got inbetween the layers where the liner paper was, the design was ruined.

Lovely, lovely.

Robin Taylor Holley said...

I'm borrowing some of your ideas for our Backyard Bible study!! I love the cup idea..cute, cute. We have those Castles and Crowns bathing suits!! My girls are giving me a hard time about wearing them, though:(

Staci said...

seriously, that is one of the coolest cakes EVER, i wanna be like you when i grow up!!! thanks for comments on my site, i love meeting new bloggers!!! ill be back

karen akaliz said...

look at that cake! my goodness...it is fabulous! will it ship well? cuz i'd sure love a piece. i bet it was delicious! those sport cups are so cute too!

thanks for stopping by my blog...

Rachel said...

how wonderful!
your pictures are gorgeous and the message is super!

:)those kids are the future!

Melanie said...

I want to be your neighbor!!! Imagine the fun we could have:)
I love Oriental Trading Company. I just ordered buckets for Belle's Martha Stewart Birthday Party.
I keep staring at the picture of your bedroom. I think I used to have that same fabric, or something very similar!

Susie Harris said...

I love this and think it's great what yall are doing. The flip flops are too cute! Susie H~

Becky Welch said...

Amazing as always!! I am so doing BBA's next year here in Henderson!

Kristi said...

Thanks for the cups! I didn't know that you guys had another one! I missed the first after I found out I had to work that Friday... oh well, I hope the make the LAST one!

emily said...

Hi Melissa,
I left this comment and then my computer kicked me off so I'll try again!

Thanks for your kind words about my sister and I...I love having a sister, especially one so cool and talented :)

Also, I love all your photos. They are beautiful shots. The mosaics are a great way to show lots of photos in a small space. Great idea!

Dawn said...

The first time I looked at this, I couldn't see the pictures. I'm so glad I did this time. I LOVE the flip-flops cake! TOO cute!!

Kris said...

That is the cutest cake I have EVER seen!! I'm coming up with some sort of an excuse to make it in my head right now...

Katy Lin :) said...

oooh! what fun! - that cake is amazing!

Debbie said...

That cake is just AMAZING! This was a wonderful post and what a wonderful message for kids. My daughter is attending a Christian music/drama camp this week and today she came home and told me one of the little boys in her group (8 year olds) told my Mom who was leading the Bible Study that he didn't know how to pray. It really crushed my daughter so they spent time in the group talking about prayer and what it means. Small steps for small kids with big questions and receptive hearts. God is so good.

-Bridget said...

The flip flop cakes are awesome! And the sippy cups are great ideas too. I have learned the hard way that everything at Oriental Trading company arrives much smaller than they appear in the pictures.

Leah said...

It was so fun! Thanks so much for doing these!! I love these pics!

Kim - ScrapToMyLu said...

that cake is too pretty to eat! It's amazing.

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