“But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”
As I took to the wheel to try my hand at pottery, I was reminded of the scripture above and how at times the pressure of life overwhelmed me and even frightened me. At times I was honestly discouraged by fear and uncertainty. During some of the most trying times of being a foster parent (trying to help grieving children, support bio parents who may not being doing things as “you see fit”, trying to help kids with severe mental and behavioral needs while trying to maintain relationships with your family and friends..the list is ongoing) God’s hands were on us..steadily holding us, sometimes reshaping us more into His image. Just knowing that we are in the Master Potter’s care brings such a calming peace and even joy in heartache. If you feel like you are broken, forgotten or unwanted, please know today that if you allow him to mold you as He sees fit then JOY WILL COME IN THE MORNING.
As I was working on the wheel and had to start over, I remember a time in my life where I was only 21 yrs old and going through a divorce and I felt like nothing good could come from me now because I was ruined. In my world as a Christian, purity and holiness was vital, which I still believe, but I lost sight of Grace, the most important gift from Christ. If you came to just see my experience with learning pottery, please don’t feel like this is a sermon but a testimony of transformation.
Want to spend some quality time with your child(ren) and teach them a life skill? I do this often at home by bringing 1-2 of our kiddos into the kitchen with me to bake a dessert, make bread (their favorite) or even make fresh pasta. They LOVE it!! They get to get their hands dirty and usually the floor is splattered with flour but the mess is so worthy it. Here is a few rules we follow at our house to keep our kids safe and cooking enjoyable.
Hands washed before touching any food and anytime face or hair is touched.
Hair for the girls is braided or put up in a bun of some sort (Hair in food is just gross!!)
Try to keep them working at their level- use the kitchen table instead of the counters if possible. Limit their chances of falling.
Teach knife skills with one-one supervision.
Allow them to cook on the stove/oven with one-one supervision.
Avoid using glassware until the child is older and more experienced. Plastic or stainless steel works great for mixing and weighs less also.
Use both electric mixers and hands – for bread-making we start out on the KitchenAid with a dough attachment but then we knead with our hands for 3-5 minutes to learn the skill.
Dissolve the yeast. Place the water in a small bowl, sprinkle with the yeast and a healthy pinch of sugar, and stir to combine. Let stand until you see a thin frothy layer across the top, 5 to 10 minutes.
Mix the dry ingredients. Place 4 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
Add the eggs, yolk, and oil. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Whisk to form a slurry, pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl.
Mix to form a shaggy dough. Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. Mix the yeast, eggs, and flour with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a shaggy dough that is difficult to mix forms.
Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes. Fit the mixer with the hook attachment and knead on low speed for 6 to 8 minutes. If the dough seems very sticky, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky. The dough has finished kneading when it is soft, smooth, and holds a ball-shape.
Let the dough rise until doubled. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Divide the dough and roll into ropes. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope about 16 inches long. If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten and then try again.
Braid the dough. Gather the ropes and squeeze them together at the very top. If making a 3-stranded challah, braid the ropes together like braiding hair or yarn and squeeze the other ends together when complete.
Let the challah rise. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the braided loaf on top and sprinkle with a little flour. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place away from drafts until puffed and pillowy, about 1 hour.
Brush the challah with egg white. About 20 minutes before baking, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. When ready to bake, whisk the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon of water and brush it all over the challah. Be sure to get in the cracks and down the sides of the loaf.
Bake the challah 30 minutes. Bake, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the challah is deeply browned, 30 to 35 minutes total.
Cool the challah. Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm. Slice and enjoy.
If anyone in the huge world of blogging is reading this then consider this my fair warning that I am not an expert in grammar (blame my mother because she was my main teacher) nor is it in my future goals. With that said here we go…
I would like this to be a place where I can encourage you parents, grandparent, aunts, uncles and mentors to take the time and come along the children in your life and pull them away from electronics and gaming systems and teach/learn together some of the lost artisan skills.