Smiles and sprinkles are part of the mix at Samuel Lutheran

Photo by Jenny Kirk Samuel Lutheran School students worked together with two dozen grandparents who took time to help decorate hundreds of cookies in preparation for the school’s Christmas concert on Sunday.

MARSHALL — A lot of fun took place as two dozen grandparents joined the Samuel Lutheran School students in decorating cookies on Friday for the upcoming concert on Sunday afternoon.

There were plenty of smiles and a few hugs observed throughout the hour-long activity in the school cafeteria.

“We have been doing this a long time and this is the largest turnout for cookie decorating that we’ve ever had,” teacher Amy MacArthur said. “We’re really pleased. We like it because the grandparents get excited, the kids get excited and it’s a good opportunity for them to work together and have fun. We use the cookies after the Christmas concert, which is Sunday (at 3 p.m.).”

MacArthur said the grandparents bake all the cookies and bring in all the frostings and decorations.

“We don’t supply anything, really,” she said. “The grandparents bring it all in. We just have the table coverings set up and that’s it.”

While a lot of sugar cookies were frosted and decorated, there were also other types of icings and cookies getting decorated as well. Melinda Schmidt brought royal icing and sat amongst twin grandsons Isaac and Alex Timm, granddaughter Averianna Timm and their friends Andrew Lee and Jennifer Lee. Isaac Timm received a lot of compliments for the artistic and colorful creations he came up with.

“I found the recipe in a magazine a few years ago and wanted to try it out,” Schmidt said. “It’s meringue powder, powdered sugar and water. It’s got just a little bit of sweetness to it. You beat it together and then color each section. It’s really super simple.”

Schmidt said she went online to find the bottles that are used to squeeze out the icing.

“You can paint it on and it’ll dry hard, though not too hard to eat, obviously,” she said. “The kids like the concept of just painting instead of using a knife and brushing it on. It’s a lot of fun. It’s become our new family favorite.”

Schmidt said she’s brought the icing to share with the students for two or three years now, adding that she really enjoys the cookie-decorating event.

“It’s just a really good way to connect and do something fun with your grandchildren,” Schmidt said.

Nadine Vierstraete tried a different concept with her grandchildren Anna and Alyssa Rubendall.

“The cookies are like ginger snaps and you just dip part of them into melted almond bark and put sprinkles on them,” Vierstraete said. “You can’t really decorate the cookies or put sprinkles on them unless you dip them. It’s pretty easy.”

Students William and Emilie Krenz, along with Nate Noble, also joined in at the table with Vierstraete.

“I like this,” Noble said. “It’s fun.”

Alyssa Rubendall, a third-grade student, agreed.

“It’s fun,” she said.

Vierstraete said she really enjoys the interaction with her grandchildren and the other K-8 students.

“This is a great time,” she said.

Mike Blum chuckled as he watched a few students load the cookies to the max with frosting and decorations.

“It’s fun watching the kids decorating the cookies,” Blum said. “They try to be so artistic and a lot of times, they really pile it on.”

While his granddaughter, eighth grader Morgan Blum, was out sick on Friday, Blum shared his time and supplies with other students who were at school.

“We had everything ready to go, so it made sense,” he said.

One group helped wrap caramels.

“I think this is the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” Principal Ryan Obry said. “I believe we’ve doubled the size we’ve had in the past, I’ve been told, so that’s great. We have a lot of grandparents wanting to come. I think the word is getting around to all of them about how fun it is and what it’s about.”

MacArthur said she was pleased with the large number of grandparents who were present on Friday, but that she wasn’t sure why the number doubled.

“We did put the notice in the newsletter this year, so maybe the parents let the grandparents know about it,” she said. “I don’t know if that’s why it made a difference or not.”

After all the work is done, it’s time to enjoy a few of the cookies.

“The kids love it and they look forward to it,” MacArthur said. “And when we get done decorating, all the kids get to eat one cookie.”

Along with the current Samuel Lutheran School teachers, former longtime teacher Pam Ellingson helped out with the fun, hands-on activity. With a winter weather advisory or winter storm warning in effect around the area, people will likely be keeping an eye on the weather.

“The concert has been canceled sometimes, but we’ve never had to cancel a cookie-decorating event,” Ellingson said.