Celebrating, Capturing & Remembering Life's Special moments
A few years ago I received one of these chocolate covered spoons with candy cane pieces from my niece. I thought it was really cute when I got it, and it tasted good too.
The idea is that you use the spoon to stir your coffee or hot chocolate.
So this year when thinking about what I could give to the Children's Ministry volunteers at Parkside this fun little treat came to mind.

The concept is simple and easy to do, but it does take a while to create 30-40 of them.
To make 30-40 spoons I used:
    - 1 (24oz) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
    - 3 candy canes (crushed in a zip top bag)
    - 40 spoons
    - wax paper
    - 2 cookies sheets
                                                                - a microwave safe container
                                                                - a microwave  

First I melted the chocolate in small batches of about one cup at a time in the microwave. (A good way to melt chocolate in the microwave is to heat for 30 seconds then stir, the chocolate should be the right consistency after about three 30 second intervals.)

Then, dip the spoon in the melted chocolate, set it carefully down on the wax paper and sprinkle on a little candy cane onto the melted chocolate. Once one tray is full, let them sit until the chocolate hardens.
If you want to make the chocolate harden faster, put the tray in the fridge or freezer (or if you live in Minnesota, you can just set them on a table outside for a few minutes).
To wrap them, I used cling wrap and ribbon (which I also used to attach a coupon for coffee and a donut from Parkside's Aroma Cafe).

Last night I read one of my favorite picture books, "The Big God Story" to the kids at AWANA. I scanned the pages, and put the pictures into PowerPoint slides so the kids could see the pictures easily on the big screen. It was so much fun! I loved seeing the kids enthralled with God's story of love and His promise that is weaved throughout Scripture.
To build excitement for next week I left them at a cliffhanger. Right in the middle of the "Big God Story" where the books says:"something strange happened...God was silent...But even though God was quiet, He wasn't Gone. His promise was still alive; it was just hidden." Then I asked them all to be silent and listen for God's voice as we heard the song "Silent Night" played on the piano. It was one of those beautiful moments, where kids are quiet, not because they have to, but because there was a sense of wonder at God's big and amazing story.
Cliffhangers are starting to become one of my favorite storytelling tools. Is that cruel? I feel like it is cruel, because I despise cliffhangers. In books, on TV, I just can't stand them! Maybe that is why I have so much fun using them. I can empathize with the emotion the kids experience. I understand the excitement that builds until finally it is resolved.
The funny thing is that I told the kids before starting the story that today I would tell the story, behind the story of Jesus being born. Then next week I am going to tell them the story about when Jesus was born. So if they really thought about it, they knew what was coming next. But the emotion of the cliffhanger stuck anyway. By the way some of the little girls talked to me afterwards, you would think they had absolutely no idea what was coming, and couldn't stand to wait a whole week to hear the rest.
I also used the cliffhanger technique a few weeks ago when I was teaching about the 10 plagues in Egypt. I left them hanging at the 9th plague, telling them they would have to wait until next week to hear about the biggest one yet.
I'm sure at least half of the kids (who have been hearing these stories since they were toddlers), if they thought about it, knew which plague came next. But I had kids come up to me begging me to tell them. One group of siblings insisted I HAD to tell them, because they wouldn't be there next week. I stood my ground, and didn't give in. Then when they finally made it back they didn't forget either, even though that story was way past in my mind.
So last night I found joy in kids, a picture book and a cliffhanger.
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