Peppermint Bark and Fantasy Fudge…made with l♥ve by The Cookie Mama

This week I made peppermint bark and fantasy fudge. It is a holiday tradition…I make it every single year.  I always pass it out to the kids’ teachers, the office staff, and the Principals on the last day of school before Christmas break.  I love love love the last day of school before Christmas vacation.  Of course I love that I get to have “my babies”  home for a few weeks, but I also love all the festivities of that last day.  The class Christmas parties, the little gift exchanges, and the palpable excitement that is humming through the building.  My favorite thing about the last day before break, is that Santa and Mrs. Claus come and spend the day at the elementary.  They come to school as the kids are arriving, and literally stay all day.  All the kids in the early elementary (pre-school through 2nd grade) get to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus personally.  They sit on Santa’s lap, hug Mrs. Claus, and always share their Christmas wishes with the magical couple.

Ryan sharing his Christmas wishes with Santa.

The kids always receive a little gift too.  This year all the kids got candy canes that were generously donated by the Armada Lions Club.  The kids in the later elementary get a classroom visit, and they also get a gift from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Our parent group, the Tiger Cub Boosters (TCB), sponsors the event every year, and we sponsored it again this year.  I was at school all day and I had a blast!  I was fortunate enough to sit in the room where Santa and Mrs. Claus visited with the little ones.   I wish I could bottle all the love and excitement that was in that room today.  It was priceless.  I got to experience first hand the true magic of Christmas, and it totally put a smile on my face, and in my heart.  Today was pajama day at school, and watching all those little kids in their jammies talking to Santa really touched my heart.  It was a picture of pure and unadulterated  joy.  Joy that is totally unspoiled by time, cynicism, or life itself.   In a word it was amazing.

I wish everyone could experience what I experienced today.  It totally put things in perspective.  If I am being honest, there are times that I question why I volunteer so much.  I am the president of our parent group (TCB), I am a Girl Scout leader, I volunteer in Ryan’s classroom every week, I work in the Tiger Den (the school store at the middle school), I chaperone the middle school dances, and I am a parent representative on a few of the school’s advisory boards.  Frankly, if I spent even half of that time working for pay, I’d make a lot more money for sure.  At times, volunteering is a thankless job.  People come to expect the services and events that TCB provides, yet no one ever wants to volunteer to do anything to help.  I have found that people will always volunteer their thoughts on how things could have been done better though.  So, it ends up being the same small group of volunteers that literally do everything.  Please don’t misunderstand, I am not complaining.  I voluntarily accepted all of these positions, and I am right where I want to be.   I’d be lying, however,  if I said it didn’t frustrate me sometimes.  BUT then I have a day like today, and it all falls into place.  Yes there are still the chronic complainers, the “negative energy spreaders”, and the mean people who suck the fun out of everything, but just for today they didn’t matter.  I got to sit in a room with Santa, and watch class after class of little people come and share their Christmas wishes.  I got to see Santa and Mrs. Claus spread love and joy by volunteering their time with children.  I got to experience the real meaning of Christmas as my fellow volunteers and I scrambled to cobble together a last minute donation of Christmas gifts, food, clothing, and money for a family in need.  I don’t care how much money I could be making, or how many zeros I could be adding to my checking account, I’d never “make enough” to earn what I got today for free.  Joy, wonder, love, and a whole lot of smiles. That my friends makes it all worthwhile, and I am happy to report that my heart is full.

TCB volunteers with Mrs. Claus and Santa

Thank you to my fellow volunteers, Veronica,  Jackie, and Betsy.  You ladies ROCKED it today,and I for one, am extremely thankful.

Here are the links to the recipes:

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/fantasy-fudge-51833.aspx  http://candy.about.com/od/specialoccasions/r/pepbark.htm

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About THE cookie mama

I am not professionally trained in any way shape or form, BUT I come from a long line of really great cooks. I learned mostly by watching my parents and grandparents, and then replicating what they did. I love love love to cook and bake, and I love to share what I make with "my people."
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