MOPS Traditions: A Thanksgiving Prayer

This Thanksgiving, may you enjoy safe travels, precious time with loved ones, and a heartfelt spirit of gratitude as you count your blessings. Please join us in this Thanksgiving prayer from our Prayer leader, Paula:

Dear Lord,

We thank you on this Thanksgiving day and every day. You gave us life and freely offer us abundant life through your Son. Help us to maintain a daily attitude of thankfulness. As we approach this day, may our minds be focused on you and spending time with our families. We ask that the cares of the world be put aside as we have this opportunity to celebrate.

In Jesus name,

Also, Paula is sharing a list of bible verses for Thanksgiving you might want to read, pray, and share. If you would like, you can print the verses (click here to see and print them) and ask for volunteers to take turns reading them around the Thanksgiving table or at some other point during your time together.

Photo: Colleen Hazlehurst

Happy Thanksgiving from MOPS!


MOPS Traditions: Our Thanksgiving Potluck Photos and Recipes

Thanks to Mentor Mom Donna for hosting this year’s Thanksgiving Potluck for MOPS. This is the third year of our Thanksgiving moms-night-in tradition. It’s known for being a lot of fun and a great opportunity to spend quality time together.

All of the moms brought a Thanksgiving dish to share and we enjoyed an evening of food, fun, and friendship. Special thanks to Lara S. for bringing the turkey.

We’re sharing a few of the recipes and photos here and want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Lorra’s Corn Pudding

That’s Lorra’s corn pudding at the bottom center of our potluck picture. Yum!


1 Sweet creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream


Mix all together bake @ 350 for 30 min.

Colleen’s Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

Here’s Colleen’s recipe, straight from her own mother. Spelling out “MOPS” in pecans is totally optional. And a little bit weird. But, if you want to try it, just reserve some pecan halves for your letters.


Filling Ingredients:

1 lg can sweet potatoes (drained)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted

Topping Ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup self-rising flour
1/3 cup butter, melted


  1. Mix the filling ingredients with a mixer until smooth. Spread it in a casserole dish.
  2. Stir together the topping ingredients and crumble it over the potato mixture.
  3. Bake 30-40 min at 350.


MOPS Christmas: Our Secret Santa Gift Exchange

We’re strolling through our MOPS Christmas Past! Here’s an activity we’ve done for a few years and are continuing this year – a Secret Santa Gift Exchange for our Steering Committee.


For our Secret Santa Gift Exchange, the participants fill out a form, like this one, at our November Steering meeting and exchange gifts at our Steering meeting in December. Our spending limit is $20. This is a special tradition just for the moms on our Steering team, although we have a separate ornament exchange for everyone at our MOPS Christmas party.

Here’s how to start this tradition with your group:

  1. Download our MOPS Secret Santa Form here. This version prints two forms to a page. You can print it on regular copy paper, on cardstock, or even on colored paper. It looks great in color or in grayscale.
  2. Fill in the Date, Place, and Spending Limit lines with the details for your event. You can do it electronically before printing, or just write the details in on one page and make copies.
  3. Distribute a form to everyone who wants to participate. Have them fill in their Name and complete the My Favorites section. Then, collect all the forms.
  4. Have each participant draw a form from a bag. If they draw their own, they can just return it to the bag and draw another. Then, everyone should have someone to buy for, have idea of what to buy, and know when and where to bring it.
  5. At the designated place and time, exchange the gifts and reveal the Secret Santas. (We do this by discreetly placing our gifts on a table, having someone pass them out, and then reveal the Santa after the gift is opened).

Our gift to you: our Secret Santa form. Click the form to download and use it for your own Secret Santa Gift Exchange.

Make sense? Give it a try! It’s a great way for the moms to get to know each other better and to bond as a team and as friends.

MOPS Christmas: Mom-Hosted Tables at our 2012 Mixer


In 2012, we celebrated Christmas with an evening mixer. We invited MOPS moms to host our five tables, decorating them however they wanted. As a result, the room was colorful and festive – absolutely beautiful! Let’s take a look back at our mom-decorated tables from our Christmas Past:


Lara M. and Colleen’s table won the Best Table vote with its theme from the classic movie “A Christmas Story.” The table was a festive sight, with a Christmas tree centerpiece featuring “leg lamp” lights, handmade ornaments with photos from the movie, mini candy canes, and old-fashioned bulbs. Around the tree are the Parker family’s wrapped and partially peaked-on presents, including a bowling ball for dad, bunny slippers for Ralphie, a mini Radio Flyer wagon, the boys’ stockings, and of course a mini Red Ryder BB gun. Lara and Colleen decorated the chairs with big red bows. The place settings included a printed Christmas Story dinner plate on a gold charger, topped with a fortune cookie and a glass Ralphie magnet (Colleen made them like this). Under the plate was a list of trivia questions. The table guest who answered the most questions correctly won a copy of the movie. The party favor was Lara’s famous homemade fudge wrapped in a festive Chinese take-out container. Silverware included a set of chopsticks for each guest. Also, Lara made plaid, cloth dinner napkins, which each guest got to keep.

ChristmasTables2012_Christy640Christy’s table features a creative white snowflake cutout over a silver tablecloth, a centerpiece of floating candles, and snowflakes hanging over the table. Each guest received a wrapped favor at her silver and white place setting.

ChristmasTables2012_Christin640Our Creative Activities leader Christin set an elegant table featuring a three-tiered tower of high-heeled shoes surrounded by billowing snow. Strings of red and silver ornaments hung over the table. The place setting were silver and white, with real silverware and cloth napkins.

ChristmasTables2012_LauraLaura’s nativity-themed table featured gold and red decor with a beautiful snow globe centerpiece. Each guest received a party favor at their place setting and a candy cane sharing the biblical symbolism of the candy cane.

ChristmasTables2012_MentorMomsOur mentor moms – Pat, Donna, and Melene – teamed up to decorate this elegant gift-themed table. The red and silver decorations mad a gorgeous table, with a tower of gifts as the centerpiece.

MOPS Meeting Review: Shepherding Your Children

We hope you had a good time connecting with other moms at our MOPS meeting on Nov 13. Thanks to Stefanie’s and Sara M.’s groups for providing the brunch! We gave away some fantastic door prizes to Pigtails and Crewcuts – Virginia Beach and the Chilled Ponds Ice Skating Rink. Also, we had our first raffle of the year for a gift certificate for Joe Corbi’s Direct food sales.

Mentor Moment

Mentor Mom Melene started our meeting by sharing Deuteronomy 6:6-8 and a few words about taking the opportunities to train our children at all times.

Shepherding Your Child

Sara M. introduced our special guest Denise H., who presented her ideas about “shepherding” your children, including:

  • Know them – Get to know your child’s temperament, patterns, love language, talents, skills, and desires for their futures.
  • Grow them – Guide them through P.E.A.R. – Principles, Examples, Application, and Rewards. Also, through building their personal character and through teaching them God’s character.
  • Show them – Guide them through daily skill building in the home (cleaning, manners, healthy living, etc) and on the job (sports, building/crafts, work, service, etc).
  • Throw them – Into the Lord’s care by praying daily, memorizing verses, and allowing God to work in your child’s life rather than intervening in every circumstance.

Thanks to Denise for providing fabulous handouts for the moms to keep. The handout included an outline of her ideas, tools we can use to get to know our children, and instructions to work on various character traits with our children. She also recommended the book “Praying Circles Around Your Children,” by Mark Batterson.

Operation Christmas Child

Thanks to all the families who donated gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Our members brought more than 50 boxes to add to the collection for Bethel Baptist Church. These gifts will provide joy and hope to needy children across the globe and, most importantly, the children who receive them will know that they are special and loved by God. Thanks again to Dr. Mark Levin and the team at We Make Smiles for donating toothbrushes and toothpaste for our boxes! Also, a big thanks to our Mentor Moms who stayed after the meeting to pack up and deliver the boxes to Bethel’s offices.


Our Next Meeting – Nov 27

Our next meeting is Nov 27 and we’ll be having a “Half-Day Craft Day.” Kelly’s Vivacious Violets and Kristina & Yvonne’s Radiant Reds tables have brunch/clean-up duty. Please look for the event invitation to be posted on our private Facebook group. See you there!

MOPPETS Snack Idea: Banana Bread Mini-Muffins

Our wonderful MOPPETS Coordinator Jessica has another yummy (and super cute) snack idea for your little one to enjoy while you’re at MOPS: Banana Bread Mini-Muffins. And, here’s a recipe she recommends for a healthy, whole-wheat version.

Remember, all MOPPETS snacks should be nut-free. Don’t forget to label your containers!

What’s your kiddo’s favorite snack for MOPPETS?

MOPPETSSnack_WholeWheatBananaBread_MOPS 083_Text640

MOPS Christmas: Pottery Painting on Moms Night Out

This Friday night, we’re continuing a new MOPS tradition – our pottery painting Moms Night Out! This is a fun, relaxing event where moms can unwind, talk, snack, laugh, get a little artsy, and create a keepsake. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to personalize an ornament for this year’s ornament exchange!

The cost is a discounted studio fee of $5, plus 10% off your pottery.  Your painted pottery will be available for pick up at the studio by November 22 – plenty of time in advance for Thanksgiving and Christmas pieces!  All of the event details are available in the Events section of our private Facebook group. Or, if you aren’t on Facebook, just contact Colleen or  your Discussion Group leader. We hope to see you there!