It was a cold and dreary April day. Easter Sunday had come and gone. I was feeling a bit sullen and resenting the winter that wouldn’t go away. Wanting a change of scenery and someone to talk to, I loaded the kids in the car and headed to my sister’s house. The drive there was anything but a change of scenery. Where was the blue sky – the green grass – and the budding trees? I glared at the slate gray sky and lifeless brown fields. And they glared back. Springtime felt so distant. “Lord have mercy,” I thought.
Upon arriving, my sister happily greeted each of my kids with a very colorful, potted bouquet of what looked like truffles on a stick. “Oh great, more sugar,” I commented. I am sure I gave a half smile to acknowledge the kind gesture toward the kids. But my general attitude was sour and, in retrospect, I must have seemed rather unpleasant.
Now my sister could have responded with a biting comment or negative glance. But, in this case, she didn’t. She observed my morose attitude, but was merciful. She continued being the wonderful, kind and generous aunt that she is and enjoyed every minute of being with her niece and nephew.
I was pleased by my children’s delight as the sucrose colored their lips and coursed through their veins. In time, my mood was buoyed. My sister’s merciful act that day both lifted my spirits and taught me a lesson; patience, thoughtfulness, and mercy can bring a lot of happiness to the world – something our faith has taught us for two thousand years.
Springtime treat bouquet
My family was introduced to cake pops a year ago, when “Auntie Renee” had given a bunch to my kids on that bleak April day. These ubiquitous sweet treats are fun and easy to make, and the flavor variations are endless. Below is a recipe for my kids’ favorite, chocolate chip, but you can use just about any cake mix or frosting to achieve the flavor of your liking. So round up a few simple ingredients and create away.
For this delicious project, you will need:
• 1 box white cake mix, prepared according to box instructions
• 1 16 ounce container vanilla or buttercream frosting
• 1 cup mini chocolate chips
• Package of lollipop sticks
• Packages of candy melts (in colors of choice)
• Small candies or sprinkles for decorating
• Plastic foam block for drying (found in the floral section of any arts & crafts store)
• Small pot
• Plastic foam ball/block (to fit into pot)
• Paper grass
• Treat bags and ribbon (optional)
Bake cake according to box instructions and let cool. In a large bowl, crumble cake completely. Add ½ to ¾ container of frosting and chocolate chips to cake crumbs and mix thoroughly (using wooden spoon or hands). Roll cake mixture into 1 ½ inch balls and place on a wax paper or parchment lined cookie sheet.
Melt ½ of package of candy melts in microwave according to package instructions. Dip the tip of the lollipop stick in the melted candy and insert no more than halfway into cake balls. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to achieve firmness. They can also be placed in the fridge for a longer period of time.
In microwave safe bowls, melt remaining candy. Dip or rotate cake pops until completely coated. Tap or twist stick to remove any excess upon removing from bowl. Decorate with candy or sprinkles as you wish and place stick into plastic foam block to dry.
Place small foam block or ball inside pot. Cover with colorful paper grass. If you choose, place cake pops inside treat bags and tie with a ribbon. Arrange and stick finished pops in the pot.