The Chocolate Lady

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Circle of Life

Andrew's birthday is always filled with deep emotions for me. I think back to his 3rd birthday, when he was so fragile, and hope seemed to be lost....I thought it was his last birthday, that he would never see 4 or 5..but would always be 3. I tried to make the day special, but he was so sick and his lack of an immune system prevented him from being with friends. At the last minute, we made a Roly Poly Ollie cake and had a couple neighbors meet us at the park. And we thanked God for each day that we had with our son.

Life, is precious. And each year we have with Andrew fills my heart with overflowing thankful for all of God's miracles in his life, so grateful for each new year we get to celebrate.

Today, as we set out to Disneyland for Andrew's 12th birthday, I was reminded anew about the preciousness of life. I learned that a dear friend and neighbor passed away, taking his own life. This was not your ordinary neighbor...he was a talented man that gave so much to our community. Jeff had won many Telly awards as a producer, most recently he worked on Disney's Dance Party and Shake It Up. He shared his gifts with our neighborhood by putting together amazing 4th of July fireworks shows and hosting many of our events...the list goes on, but this was a guy who was known and liked by all. And now he is gone.

Walking around Disney all day, thinking of Jeff's connection to Disney....heart filled with joy for my son, heart breaking for Jeff's wife and teen daughter.

Just yesterday, I was talking to one of my teen clients.....a girl whose past has been filled with brokeness. She asked me why God would give her such a painful life. Im so thankful that I work for an agency that allows me to share Jesus, that encourages me to share my faith.....and I told her, that God would never bring her pain, in fact He grieves over her hurts.

She looked at me puzzled...and I continued......I believe what the Bible says, that God only wants good for us, not harm. He has an amazing plan for us...but there is someone else that wants to take that good away and harm us. Do you know who that is? She answered....the devil?

Yes. God is clear that we live in a fallen world, where satan prowls around seeking to destroy us...through disease, through lies, whatever he can do to cause us pain and keep us from Jesus, he will do it.

But Jesus died for us, so that death would be powerless. This curious girl listened could death be powerless?

I explained that all this pain....the abandonment, the rejection, the was only temporary....God had better things in store. Nobody wants to endure hardships in this life.....but whatever the enemy throws at us; cancer, foreclosures, loss of job, broken relationships, failing's all just temporary. If we set our minds on heavenly things, on the promises of eternal joy with God....then all the rubbish that we endure on this earth fades.

Friends, keep your eyes out for those hurting around you. They may look like a teen in the foster care system, or a very successful neighbor that was the epitome of popularity.....the outside doesnt always show us the hurting on the inside. Share with people that their hope is not in this world. This world is full of good times and and downs...the only constant we have is trusting Jesus. Hold on to His Word, His promises, and look for his blessings in the valleys....He is faithful to bring joy, even in the storms, if we would only look to Him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Unraveling of Santa

Have you ever felt like things were falling apart at the seams, and as much as you tried to hold them together, they were slipping right through your fingers? That's kind of what's going on here.

Andrew, who is now in 5th grade, and a pretty bright kid (dont all moms think their kid is super smart??)....well, he is showing signs that maybe, just maybe, his faith in Santa is waning.

This, breaks. my. heart.

You might remember, this episode, from a few years ago: Trip to the North Pole

Well, I did all I could, and thankfully, we were able to bring things together and keep the magic alive. (It did involve me searching all day for the book Santa promised Andrew, but we found it, and all was well.)

All was well, until this year.....when an Elf named Benny came to visit.

Benny was sent by Santa, after my kids wrote a letter requesting him. He is an "Elf on the Shelf"...meaning, every day we find him somewhere new.

The other day, Benny, the sweet little thing, was found head first in MY bag of mint M&Ms. Christine noted at the end of the day, that Benny had eaten most of the bag (which was full when we first discovered him there), I let that go, and didnt hold it against the freeloading elf, that he had rudely eaten the Christmas candy I bought for myself (that is only made at Christmas time, so I look forward to it every year).... I let that go, figured I could just buy some more.....

But, something else about Benny has been harder to forgive. It's his clothes, or more specifically the GIANT tag on his clothes that says, "Made in Georgia"

Imagine my surprise, as we discovered Benny in my candy, when Andrew says, "Hey, why does he have a tag that says he was made in Georgia?"


off guard, I stuttered, "Uh...well, um, uh....."

I tried to think of something quick! "Santa buys that red material for his clothes. " I asserted matter of factly....with a 'yeah, that's it!' attitude! "Santa doesnt make the MATERIAL..he buys the red material for the elf clothes, and he obviously buys it from a material manufacturer in Georgia." duh!

Whew! I waited to see if that story would hold up....and Andrew sort of pondered it...I could almost see the wheels of his mind, bending, spinning, as he contemplated the possibility.

Inside, I was TICKED OFF!!

The whole purpose of things like this Elf, and train rides to the North Pole, are to ENHANCE the magic of Santa....Enhance, as in make it stronger and more magical.....not throw a bucket of cold water on it!

It's really annoying to buy into these special things, (and I do mean BUY...this elf thing seems to be making someone a mint!) only to find that they are counter-productive, and instead of making the magic more real, they are diminishing it.

I mean, they might as well just put a big sign in that "Elf on the Shelf" box that says, "Santa's not real" (gasp!) Why put a big jumbo tag, 1/3 the size of the elf, that glaringly states he was made in Georgia?? why?? didnt somebody along the assembly line think, "hey, might not be a good idea to put a "made in Georgia" tag on the elf we are marketing as REAL." ????? anyone? not even the person that sewed that huge tag ONTO the elf? Not even the person that put him in the box? GEESH!

It's very frustrating, and now, Ill have to go into overdrive, repair the lost Santa mojo that was brought about by the very thing that was meant to enhance it.

Wish my luck, or extra Santa magic!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

S'More Pops

I cant believe it's been since before Christmas since Ive posted. My kitchen is still in transition, actually our floors are gonna have to all be pulled up again, and replaced....(sigh) it has hampered my baking fun.

Some of you may have noticed that my latest craze is Marshmallow Pops! Cake pops are fun, but as a busy mom, I dont always have time to back the cake, add the frosting, roll the cake know, much easier to just pop a marshmallow on a stick, dont ya think?

My friend Gina told me about a new Marshmallow Pop idea...a S'More Pop. I signed up to bring a dessert to the Boy Scout's Blue and Gold party, and so since Boy Scouts love to camp, this S'More Pop seemed the perfect treat.

You start out with a large marshmallow, on a candy stick:

Then, in typical Boy Scout style, roast your marshmallow:

It's up to you how toasty you want to make them:

Place marshmallows on parchment paper, so that they can firm up. I was able to make these 50 in just minutes:

Graham crackers are easily crunched up:

Since these were for the Boy Scouts Blue and Gold party, I thought it would be fun to add some blue sprinkles. You can add any color to make them more festive, or just use the plain graham crackers:

Dip the marshmallow into TEMPERED chocolate:

Now, you'll remember from past posts, that tempering is the process that allows the chocolate to harden up. This pop will not be messy. The chocolate will be solid, making it easy to put these into cello bags or pass out without a mess.

I use my Rev 1 tempering unit, it's the size of a shoe box, and is quick and easy to use. If you are intersted in learning more about tempering, I have other videos and step-by-step pics in my archives. It's the most fun and creative dessert tool ever, I love it!!

Dip the pop into the graham crackers, covering all the chocolate:

This is not a frilly, girly-girl pop. It's got that masculine, "I live in the wilderness and eat S'mores" kind of look, but I promise, it's super delicious!

My favorite way to serve "pops" is in a basket or container, filled with floral foam, and then covered with plastic/foil and sometimes covered with other decorative filling. It makes them easy to transport and you can have fun with the presentation:

Im looking forward to making all kinds of marshmallow pops this Spring....bunnies, lambs, so much creative fun - and easy!! What are you going to be making??

If you dont already, "like" my facebook page; Kim's Chocolatier page on Facebook and feel free to post pics of your creative desserts.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Twilight Fans enjoy...or Proud Mommy part 2

I am proud of each of my children...for so many different is just one more reason Im proud to be Andrew's mom...his continued involvement to help find a cure for pediatric cancers.

He made a PSA for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, with Twilight Actor; Peter Facinelli (who is a SUPER nice and down-to-earth guy) Here is a photo from the video shoot. And below is a link to the commercial which will be airing nationwide.

Video which should be airing nationwide soon

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Proud Mommy

It' almost Mother's Day, and my oldest baby is at Boy Scout Camp....I miss him.....

perfect time to show off one of the gazillion reasons why I am proud of Pooper....


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Common Sense is Boring

Im a little annoyed right now, as I realize that the chaos in my life is directly, inversely proportional to the lack of common sense in others.

Ive long had a lack of tolerance of idiocracy (which is officially a word, according to me), inefficiency, and arrogance...but when combined, they equal the decision makers at our medical group, which really sets me off.

I spend hours upon hours talking round and round with bureaucrats over decisions, where people like to mince terminology and processes...HELLO, how about we just use COMMON SENSE!

Perhaps that would be too boring. First of all, it would cut out the drama in my life, significantly x 1000, and then perhaps, the busy bureaucrats wouldnt have anything to do if they couldnt push my papers all around stamping, "DENIED" all over them.

Confused? Let me explain, using a dash of common sense, for clarity;

Pooper, as a cancer survivor, is at risk for secondary cancers, including skin cancer.

Pooper sees his pediatric oncologist every 3 months, which includes complete blood work. Not only is she a pediatrician, she is also an oncologist, just for clarity sake.

Our insurance has approved these visits, you would think that means they trust the doctor.

When said SPECIALIST (pediatric oncologist) identifies suspicious growths, she requests that they be mapped and biopsied by a dermatologist (also a specialist)

That seems pretty, obvious, right? I mean, yeah....they are suspicious, he is at risk, lets have them biopsied and mapped, right?

No...of course not, that would be using some common sense, and it would reduce the red tape that is strangling me.

What would be much better is to DENY the request, and then when someone calls asking WHY? You get to say things like;

The pediatrician wants to see if it is necessary (first of all a pediatric oncologist - ie. more of an expert - already said it was necessary, and if the plain old pediatrician says its not necessary, who's opinion should I trust? AND WHY ARE WE CREATING EXTRA STEPS IN THIS GAME?)

The pediatric oncologist (not to be confused with the plain ole pediatrician) didnt make it clear that is is necessary. Hmmm, really? So, her expertise and evaluation and request WERE NOT CLEAR?

You can just appeal it Really, oh good, I was sort of looking how to spend all the free time that I have (when Im not taking my son to extra doctors visits and playing ring-around-on-the-phone with insurance folk) but that doesnt answer the question; WHY IS IT BEING DENIED IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Let's see a show of hands, who thinks it's pretty obvious that he needs to see a dermatologist?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Im not French, Im a mom!

I remember the first day of French Conversation. It was college, 1983, and it started out perfectly, with the most adorable French teacher. She was here for a year, from France. She was young, maybe mid-late 20's, with big doe eyes, straight, shoulder length brown hair.

Bon Jour!

I dont remember her name. But, I sure do remember her outfit that first day. I have always loved, loved nautical stuff...and I can tell you with detail about the sailor outfit she wore, including the white tights, white pumps, navy sweater, it was tres chic.

I left that first day, excited for the semester ahead. It was a class that met 5 days a week, and with an authentic French professor, I knew I was going to really blossom with my conversation skills (it's all about the conversation, no?)

Day 2, and...ooh la la...maybe it was the college culture influencing my thought processes, but all I could think, was, "Wow, I guess she hooked up with someone and never made it home." Because, there she was, in the SAME EXACT OUTFIT. She was very demure, you know, she looked like a little French doll....never letting on that, she stays the night with people unexpectedly. Hmmmm.

Day 3 came, and there was an elephant in the room,,,, an elephant that looked like a French girl in a nautical ensemble that included white tights, white pumps, and a navy sweater. By now, her hair was greasy....I mean, she obviously had found some hot new American guy, and apparently could only pull herself away to teach this class, because she surely wasnt going home to change clothes or even take a shower.

Ill never forget day 4. Yes, same outfit, same white tights, and now, she had braids..messy braids. If she was in the midst of some hot love affair, couldnt they at least take it to the shower, because braiding your hair does not hide how greasy it has gotten, not at all.

Day 5 was like a breath of fresh air...clean hair, new outfit....and I wondered. Did she break away for the sake of hygiene? Had she been spoken to for letting her professorial responsibilities slide? Perhaps the fling was over...I wondered sadly.

Well, as the semester continued, I realized, that her appearance had less to do with a torrid love life of one night stands, and more to do with the French culture. Specifically, the cultural practice of not bathing regularly.

Yeah, I know. There went my whole ideal of this elegant language. The people dont shower (or wash their hair, or shave.)

I was 17, and the thought of going a day without a shower was not in my reality. I guess if you were stranded in an airport or something overnight, you wouldnt be able to shower, but....yuck! And, by the way, showering always included washing my hair, etc.

Fast forward to some decades later, and I might as well just pull out some white tights and braid my hair. I mean, my showering frequency, on a good week, is every 2-3 days. Seriously.

I realize Im going to lose friends with this post. It's not OC Housewives-ish to look greasy. Some of you will forego the hugs for a wave from a distance, I do know that. But it's ok. Im a mom now. I care less about what people think, and more about meeting the needs of my children...making lunches, folding laundry, taxi rides to schools and doctors appointments, lots of cuddling, and spending hours with my daughter finding all the Justin Beiber videos on youtube.