I spend a lot of time reflecting.
Summertime reflections typically lead to changes in the upcoming school year.
This past summer, I began thinking about how building authentic relationships would affect a student’s ability to reach their full potential.
It seems I was meant to do a lot of reflecting about relationships this year.
Last week, when my dad died unexpectedly, I rediscovered the importance of family relationships. As heartbreaking as my dad’s death was, I was grateful for the time I was able to spend with my family.
I was grateful for my husband, who dropped everything he was doing at work, and raced to the hospital to be with my mom and me. (And this, despite the fact he is not at all good with hospitals, needles, blood, or seeing me cry.) He remained at my side, only leaving to make phone calls keeping everyone informed of my dad’s status. I know it was not easy for him.
I was grateful for my children, who immediately made plans to travel home, and stayed as long as they could. I was grateful for everything they did to put a smile on my face, when they themselves were hurting.
I was grateful for the time I had with my brother and sisters. We do not see enough of each other. I do not call them or visit as much as I should. I was grateful we were able to share stories about our dad, and support our mom. I know my dad was watching, and smiling. Nothing made him happier than having his family gathered together.
I was grateful for my aunts and uncles, cousins, my sister and brother-in-laws, and friends from my past, who provided love and support.
I was grateful. But not surprised. What did surprise me, or maybe what I wasn’t prepared for, was the love and support I received from my other family. My school family.
I was at school when my mom called me to tell me she was at the hospital with my dad.
My principal immediately stopped what she was doing, to arrange for a sub.
The teachers I work with told me not to worry about school, and assured me they would make sense of my lesson plans.
My employer called me after school hours, talking me through my options for leave time, entering the information in Aesop, and told me take as much time as I needed.
The staff I work with willingly sacrificed their planning time, making it possible for my team to attend my dad’s visitation.
I am so grateful for the prayers, the kind words, the cards, and the hugs I received when I returned to school.
I am overwhelmed by the power of relationships.
A small token of my appreciation…
Coconut oil, cacao powder, and maple syrup are whisked…
dates are soaked…
peanuts are ground…
ingredients are assembled…
sea salt is sprinkled…
and cups are placed in the freezer.
Peanut Butter Caramel Cups
1 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1 c. cacao powder
2 T. maple syrup (room temperature)
Whisk all ingredients in small bowl until blended. I used a 4 cup measuring cup with a spout, which made pouring the chocolate easy.
Peanut Butter Layer:
1 cup peanut butter (I made my own. You can too. It’s easy. Use this recipe, stopping before adding the extra ingredients. )
24 big, plump dates (If your dates are dry, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes…just remember to drain the water BEFORE you process them, or you will have a slimy mess.)
Place dates in food processor. Blend until “caramelly”. (That’s a word, BTW…despite what spell check says.)
Assemble cups! Place enough chocolate in silicone cupcake liners to cover bottom. Place in freezer for 20 minutes, or until hard. Remove from freezer. Place a tablespoon of peanut butter on chocolate layer. I made sure mine didn’t come to the edges, as I wanted it encased in chocolate. Then, form a quarter size disk (about a tablespoon’s worth) out of the caramel. Push that on top of the peanut butter layer. It helps to moisten your fingers with water to avoid having a sticky mess. Then cover with more chocolate and put back in the freezer.
These need to be kept cold. Unless, of course, you like your hands and face covered with a peanut buttery, caramelly, chocolaty mess, which really isn’t a very good idea.