Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now that it's October, kicking off Tasty Tuesday with a pumpkin recipe just seemed like the right thing to do.  And who doesn't love freshly baked homemade cookies??  Thanks to Pamela for sharing this favorite recipe!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
  • Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper


 Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stacking Wood Blocks Craft Tutorial

We made these cute little decorative wood blocks at our September meeting!  You can rotate the stacking blocks so your seasonal decor is always up to date whether it's winter, spring, summer or fall.  This is a great starter DIY project and you could make a set for yourself or someone else with the directions below... OR just use this as a jumping off point for all kinds of wood block creativity!

Supplies needed:

  • (3) 2x2 wood blocks in 4", 5", and 6" lengths 
  • 3 printed scrapbook papers for each season/holiday just a little smaller than each block. You will need 4 season or holidays, so this is a total of 12 papers. 
  • Modge Podge
  • Foam Brush


Using the foam brush, apply a very light coat of Modge Podge and glue the paper to the corresponding size block. Repeat this process for each side of all 3 blocks. Once dry (5-10 min) put another light coat of Modge Podge on the top of the paper. Let dry completely before stacking. Rotate the blocks as the seasons change and enjoy year-round cuteness!

As you can see, our fabulous Craft Leader Margaret created ways to use the wood blocks for all different holidays!

Really, the possibilities are endless...  So go get your decoupage on and enjoy!!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

MOPS On The Town @ Chick-Fil-A

Backstage Tour of Chick-Fil-A

Today some of our MOPS mamas and lucky little people were able to go behind the scenes at Chick-Fil-A!  The folks at the Anderson Pavilion Chick-Fil-A (on 81) were so kind to host our group, and each kiddo came away with free ice-cream, a stuffed cow, and a big smile!

And don't despair if you missed today's MOPS On The Town, there is more fun to be had next month!  You can join us for the October MOTT... the Pumpkin Patch at Trinity United Methodist Church!  We have reserved a field trip there on Tuesday, October 13th at 9:30.  Kids participating in this field trip will get to see a pumpkin carving, hear a pumpkin story, play pumpkin games, play in the hay and choose a pumpkin to take home!  It is $5 per child (which includes a small pumpkin, a gift bag with goodies, snack, story telling, and free play) and is always a great time... and photo opp!  Hope to see you there!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September's Devotional

by Abbey Gropp

A few weeks ago I came across an interesting post on Gillian Blogs entitled, "World's Okayest Mom".  The author Gillian explained how she recently saw a coffee cup that read "World's Okayest Mom" and how this gave her a laugh but also got her to thinking.  Mom life is extremely demanding (kids, homes, spouses, friends, work) but beyond those pressures, we also put a lot of demands on ourselves by comparing ourselves to other moms.  (You know... organic mom, fitness mom, scripture memory mom, love-spending-every-minute-with-my-kids mom.)  Gillian goes on to say that we also compare ourselves to our own ideals of motherhood.  She challenges us to stop comparing, count our blessings, and realize that we are OKAY.  Our kids are okay, and our families are okay. (coffee mug photo source)

After reading this post I started thinking about Anderson MOPS.  I hope and pray that it is a place where moms can come and feel cherished just as they are as the "World's Okayest Mom".  That when moms walk in, they don't feel like they are expected to be the World's Best Mom or World's Prettiest Mom or Most Spiritual Mom or Most Patient Mom.  This year, MOPS' theme is A FIERCE FLOURISHING.  In order for all of us to flourish fiercely this year, I believe there are 3 steps we need to take:


Galatians 6:4-5 says "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don't be impressed with yourself.  Don't compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."  (The Message translation)  The thing I've figured out about comparing ourselves to others is that it leads down one of two roads.  We can compare ourselves to others and feel like we don't measure up... which leads to discontent, insecurity and bitterness.  Or, we can decide that others don't measure up to us... which leads to pride, arrogance and becoming Judgy McJudgerson.  Either way, it's a dead end street.

Now I'll be honest.  I'm not the youngest gal around and one benefit of my foray into middle age is that over the years I've learned to be aware of the trap that is comparing ourselves to others.  I don't always escape it, but I know it's there.  However, I've just realized recently that I spend an awful lot of time comparing myself to this one amazing individual.  And let me tell you, you would love her... 

She is the most patient, loving and attentive mother you will ever meet.  She never would lose her cool, scream at her beloved offspring, let them rot their brains with hours of screen time, or play solitaire on her phone while her children need her.  She is purposeful and makes the most of every second of every day, never wasting time.  Her home is clean and organized and decorated like the best of HGTV.  She is disciplined and always makes time for exercise... and you can tell by that hot bod.  (In fact, I think she can eat whatever she wants and actually lose weight!)  She looks great, showers regularly, dresses fashionably, and is enthusiastically ready to satisfy her husband's every need.  She is a great and caring friend, never thinks a judgmental thought, and oozes compassion, selflessness and Godliness.  She never misses a quiet time, always wants to read her Bible, always seeks the Lord's will, and in heaven she'll probably be hanging out with Mother Teresa and the Proverbs 31 chick.

Yes, this is Imaginary Abbey.  And the problem I have with comparing myself to some imaginary ideal is that I never measure up to this perfection.  EVER.  Which leads to my next point...


From my journal, dated 1-29-15:

"I feel like I am failing.  No, it's worse, I know I am failing.  Every day.  I am constantly failing.  As a mother.  As a wife.  Housekeeper, friend, human, Christian.  At best I am falling short... at worst I am totally ruining my children.  The list is long & the sickening burden of failure is so so heavy.  I feel like who I am is so far from who I want to be.  But who do I want to be?  The problem is that I want to be perfect.  I think I should be perfect.  Why?  I don't expect anyone else to be perfect.  No one expects me to be perfect.  God doesn't expect me to be perfect. (Thank you Lord!)  I need GRACE.  Grace is the antidote to perfection.  I need to grab on to grace, to believe it, accept it, & learn to revel in the freedom it offers... because surely God's grace is enough.  Enough to cover me & carry me & lift this burden of failure and perfection.  So I pray that God will help me & I claim His grace.  I'm ready to travel through this world a little lighter."

2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God's grace is sufficient for us... and that is the good news.  The very best news!  We don't have to be perfect.  We don't have to fear failure.  We have GRACE.  Unlimited grace to receive for ourselves and to give to others.  With God's help we can become "Grace-Givers".  And how does one become a Grace-Giver?


What if I told you that I'd been working on a painting for 20 years?  That I'd been pouring my heart and soul and all my creative energy into one work of art.  And that I'd finally completed my masterpiece, my life's work, and that I wanted you to see it.  Wouldn't it be a shock if when I unveiled it, it looked exactly like the Mona Lisa? (photo source) 

While in one sense it would be impressive if I could paint like Leonardo da Vinci, overall it would be a disappointment.  It would mean that I spent my whole life copying someone else's masterpiece.

In Ephesians 2:8-10 we are told, "God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (New Living Translation)  This means that each of us are the handiwork of the Divine Artist.  He made each of us a masterpiece... designed with purpose, gifting and individuality.  His intent was not for us to spend our lives copying or comparing ourselves to others or to some invented ideal we've created in our minds.  We are God's masterpieces, each one of us.  And for me, this means that I give myself grace that I am not the World's Best Mom... I embrace that I am the World's Okayest Mom and the World's Best Abbey Gropp.  (It's true for you too, just take my name out and insert yours after World's Best.)

When we do these 3 things, we can begin to Flourish Fiercely and engage in the 3 elements of our theme.  We can CELEBRATE LAVISHLY because we are not comparing ourselves to others (real or ideal) but embracing that we are the World's Okayest Moms.  We can see the beauty in who we are & where we are right now, and celebrate others as God's masterpieces too.  Once we start giving grace, it becomes natural to EMBRACE REST.  We understand that the world will not stop spinning if we peace out and take a nap, or do something else that breathes a little life into our weary souls.  Give yourself the grace to rest.  Lastly, we will NOTICE GOODNESS when we're not so caught up in trying to be perfect.  Goodness and blessings are all around us, but if we're focused on perfection all we will see are shortcomings.  And we miss out on so very much! 

So here's to the World's Okayest Moms!  May you flourish fiercely this year!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September Meeting Recap:  


Last Thursday we started off the 2015-2016 MOPS year with a great first meeting!  It was pure joy to see so many of you mamas there... many returning moms and some attending for the very first time!  We hope you all LOVED it as much as we loved seeing you!!!

Our meeting started off with an adorable and amusing video of our kiddos explaining what MOPS is, and then we introduced a new member of our Anderson MOPS group, Jan Gropp.  Jan will be our Mentor Mom this year, and we super excited to add this wise woman to our group!  She has two grown sons, 6 grandkids, and has worked alongside her husband in ministry for many years.  Jan is kind, caring, and Christ-like and is available to our MOPS mamas for conversation and prayer.  Welcome Jan!

We also reviewed some of our basic MOPS policies.  If you need a refresher on Moppets childcare policies, click here.  If you need info about finances or a scholarship form, click here.  And as always, please contact us with any questions.  We are here to help!

Sonia facilitated a great icebreaker called "Four Corners" where the moms gathered in different corners of the room according to their favorite foods, exercise, etc.  This was a great way to find what we have in common with other moms and to exchange contact info for the possibility of a get-together in the future.  And to top it all off, we traded cute and colorful petals with our names and numbers that we then assembled into a blooming flower, just like our theme! #winning

Abbey shared a devotional encouraging us to embrace being the "World's Okayest Mom" and talked about how we are free to FLOURISH FIERCELY when we stop comparing ourselves to others and our idea of the perfect mom.  (click here to read the devotional)

And we watched a video from MOPS International's Mandy Arioto where she talked about "feasting" and how she realized one day that she couldn't think of a single thing she enjoyed anymore. She decided to practice delighting in the things around her and began to feast as much as she could on life -- living extravagantly, giving generously & being consumed with delight. What would our lives look like if we adopted the attitude that God delights in our delight?

We finished the meeting with some discussion/craft time at our tables - always a great combo - and made decorative blocks that can be stacked and rotated for each season!  Perfect for some of us moms who want seasonal decor change with minimal effort!  (check it out here)

If you weren't able to make it to our September meeting, we sure do hope to see you next month!  xo!

Monday, September 14, 2015

In case you missed it...

Ever wonder what our kids think about MOPS? Well, we asked...and they answered!

Check out this video from our kick-off meeting last Thursday...


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Steering Team Intros...

Meet Abbey!

Finance Team/Blog

Why ST? I'm basically going to be on Steering Team until I get kicked off. I LOVE THESE WOMEN! If you haven't considered joining ST you should... it will take your MOPS experience from 'good' to 'great', give you a chance to serve others and provide you with some really fantastic mama friends.
Kids' names & ages?  
Zeke - 11, Eliza - 8, Emelia - 6, Jed - 4
Last book you read & would you recommend it?  "The Help" was the last book I read and it was really good! I'd seen the movie a few years ago but had never read the book and I'd definitely recommend it. 
Least favorite chore? Making dinner.  Anyone want to go out to eat??? 
Something you've been meaning to do or learn? I'd like to paint. Like maybe watercolors. Or even just furniture... like the bedside table I pulled out of somebody's trash that has been sitting on my front porch for 3 years. It'd be nice to actually follow through on my creative ideas once in awhile.
If you had an all-expense-paid vacation to somewhere you've NEVER BEEN, where would you choose? I'd love to do a tour of the Mediterranean Sea and visit the coast of Spain, France, Italy, Greece... So much culture & beauty to absorb!
Favorite snack? Doritos and cottage cheese. Don't knock it until you've tried it. ;)
Favorite thing about MOPS? My favorite thing about MOPS is the moms! We're all doing the best we can to love and raise these kids God has given us and I love that MOPS strives to encourage & empower us. I did not have a very graceful transition to motherhood but have come to believe that it is indeed a noble calling. MOPS has helped me to embrace that calling in my life and support other moms as well.