Sunday, May 27, 2007

Volunteering

Keep reading for my 3 favorite latte' recipes. Ah bribery:-D

I really believe that volunteering has a multi-faceted impact. Sure we help others, but we also get to be a pebble in a pond that pours out into a river that flows to the ocean.

I've volunteered at my kid's high school for years. I started as the Choir Mom who helped plan travel and events. Then I ended up at the Steamer. This is a coffee cart. Who would have ever believed we would sell coffee in school?

Here's me at work. Remember that you gain all sorts of skills volunteering. We run a cash register, make the product, customer service, etc.

Now I'll tell you a little bit more about why I do it.





Why? I started to be close to my kids. I kept going because I had a lot of fun doing it too. However, I stayed long-term for the meaningful experience. I felt like I made a difference in this small ministry.

There are over 20+ moms and dads who volunteer at this particular coffee cart. We share shifts through the entire school week.

Some of the experiences are similar. A high schooler has a bad day, a blown test, or a friendship problem. They stop for a latte. We can see it in their face. One small word and the story pours out. Then one of us moms takes the young person aside for a chat. We've had kids talk about home problems, fears, peer pressure, dangerous situations, teacher conflict, or just need a hug.

We've had teachers, administrators, secretaries come for a latte and stay to socialize. They tell us about kids they are worrying over or their own troubles. We find a prayer need and encourage them. Even those who are not prayer kind of people. We just love on them.

Sometimes we have a bad day. The comeraderie (man I hope I spelled that right, lol) is awesome. Going to the coffee cart takes your mind off your own troubles and sets you to thinking about those around you. Doing something for others is one of the first rules in dealing with depression.

All those moments of human connection. What would happen if we weren't there? Loss of human connection and caring.

Do you volunteer?

Where and why?

As my daughter goes to Thailand for her senior year as an exchange student, I will have to give up my place at the Steamer to another parent with an inbound high school student. Yes, there's a waiting list. I'm sad, but I've had so many good years there. I've learned how to make a doggone good latte'! I'll be looking for my next volunteer position as God leads me to it.
In the meantime, let me share a little of what I learned:-D

LATTE' RECIPES

If you don't have a latte' machine, you can still do this in your microwave. Give it a try:-) The syrups are available at grocery stores or bakery/restaurant supply stores. Look around a little for your favorite flavors. Also, use the syrups to make Italian Sodas!!! Look at the last recipe:-)

Peppermint Pattie (Angie's very favorite)
This is for a tall 12-16 oz. version

1 ounce dark chocolate syrup
1 ounce peppermint syrup
1 or 2 shots espresso
8-or more- ounces of skim milk
Weight Watcher's Points 4 (with sugar free syrups 2)

Hint: Using sugar-free syrups drops the points by 1 for each you replace. It's hard to find sugar-free peppermint, so I ask for sugar-free Creme de Mint. Just as tasty.

Now...Here's the important stuff. If you want to foam your milk, you must use 2% or lower fat milk. Skim milk is best.
The steamer tip of the espresso machine (home or commercial) foams best if in the very top 1/8 inch or so of the milk. It also steams best in a cold, stainless steel container.

Another Hint: The steam enters the milk and doubles it's volume. So 1/2 a cup of milk is nearly a cup. Make yourself an 8 ounce latte' at home to save the money and save the points. Think European and lose weight. A taste is a delicacy, a ton is greedy. I bought a small latte'/espresso maker at a discount store. It saves me quite a lot on the daily addiction:-)

Recipe 2
Snickers
1 ounce chocolate syrup
1 ounce sugar free hazelnut syrup
1ounce sugar free carmel syrup
1-2 shots espresso to taste
8 ounces skim milk

Put syrups in mug, put espresso in mug, pour steamed milk in mug and stir.

Weight Watcher Points-3 because you used sugar free syrups (that taste pretty darn good.)

It's nice and sweet just like the candy bar. Great sweet tooth fixer.

Recipe 3 (A very cheap treat)
Raspberry Italian Soda
2 ounces Raspberry or sugar free Raspberry flavored syrup
8 (or more to taste) ounces Club Soda
A dollop of whip cream

Pour syrup and Club Soda over ice in a tall glass. Stir. Spray a small dab of whip cream and serve with a straw.

Weight Watcher's points-0 if using sugar free and no whip cream
With full sugar syrup, count it 2, and add one more if using whip cream.

I hope you enjoy these treats you can make at home.

Angie
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