There’s something about hot cocoa that makes me feel all warm and cozy inside, and it’s not just because of the drink’s actual warmth. I can remember one hundred happy childhood memories that accompanied frothy cups of hot chocolate, the moment that I bring the marshmallow frothy goodness to my lips. It is immediate. My hands wrap around that warm mug, and I am instantly transported in time.
I am five years old again and I am tobogganing with my family along with half of our little town on the giant snow hill in the center of the city. We are rolling and tumbling off of sleds, we are laughing and giggling. There are moments where we wonder if we will be able to even make it back up the big, snowy, slippery hill when we are laughing so hard that we are completely doubled over. We keep climbing up to the top of the hill, one more time though, until it is time to pull out the big thermos of steaming chocolate goodness to pour into little cups held in mitten clad hands.
I can remember freezing cold Canadian recesses’ too. Where 20 minutes felt like an eternity and yet also somehow flew by. I can remember retreating indoors, sitting in my classroom desk and wiggling my toes until they woke up from their frozen slumber. I can remember looking around the classroom at all of my friends and I can remember that we were unified by our matching rosy cheeks. Best of all, I can remember the teachers through the years, the really good ones, the ones that felt like home, the ones who, on the really cold days, would present a big jug of the chocolate cocoa to our little classroom. I remember there was nothing that tasted sweeter, even though we all knew that cocoa was watered down. It didn’t matter. Those half filled paper cups with the three tiny swimming marshmallows on top of them, felt a lot like genuine sweet care.
Now that I am an adult I take my job as The Memory Maker and cocoa supplier very seriously. When the temperatures drop and my own little ones with the cold and rosy cheeks bound indoors, I see myself in them and I know it’s time. It’s time to present them with hot cocoa to warm their bellies and their hearts.
I also know that in a busy household, our table tops are always being used. After school, when the rosy cheeks are the rosiest, I know our kitchen island will be mixed with dinner prep and school work and it won’t need to be jumbled anymore than it is, that’s why I am so thankful that we have a server not far from arms reach.
This spot, away from the hustle and bustle of our busy household, is the perfect spot to set up a surprise cocoa bar for unexpected littles. And so I boil the water, stir up the cocoa, plunk in the big soggy marshmallows and wait for them to burst in, out of the cold, with a cloud of snowflakes engulfed around them, their little mittens outstretched.
As soon as our server is spied by little eyes with rosy cheeks, toothy grins appear. Hot cocoa just does that.
Our new dark wood Claira Server is always waiting to be utilized for sweet moments like these. However, it also doubles as extra storage when it isn’t the star of our cocoa show.
To make our cocoa bar kid friendly our server holds napkins and paper towel within it’s hearty wood doors. We also opt out of using teapots and jugs for pouring our cocoa. No more wrestling with your favorite tea pot, or worrying about a giant spill when little ones try to manage a big heavy jug of hot liquid. Instead this easy to use dispenser is one push away from sharing its sweet nectar. Marshmallows and chocolate are the perfect topping and are easily accessible as well. The best part about using thrifted glass containers for your toppings is that it is a cheap and cheerful win while still looking pretty. After your cocoa party, simply store them away in your pantry so they will be ready to take out when needed.
Dressing up our server this way has become a happy and delicious tradition for our babies to come home to. I am Mama The Memory Maker after all and I want them to experience the sweet memories of my childhood. I suppose if I really think about it, sometimes I am also the teacher that feels like home and the person at the top of the hill that hands them a cup of warmth and cheer after they have been climbing real and figurative hills alike.
What’s your favorite memory, activity, or moment that was made sweeter with coco? Did it, or did it not accompany a hefty serving of marshmallows?