Saturday, October 17, 2009

Move over Starbucks, it's Mocha time!

Before we get to today’s yummy recipe, let’s stir the pot a bit, shall we? Ooooo ... controversy a-brewin here at It’s All Gouda. A couple days ago, an article ran in the local newspaper that one of the local high schools has banned the use of student cell phones inside the school. Students violating the policy will have their phone confiscated and their parents have to pick up the phone during school hours if they want it back.

Halleluiah was my reaction. Actually, my first reaction was that I thought cell phone use was already a no-no in the classroom. Keep in mind, my blogging buds, that the bulk of my professional career was spent in the cellular phone industry, so it's not the phones themselves or even the technology that makes my eyes roll. In addition, I love my little antiquated, dinosaur of a cell phone. I keep it with me, and in the years that I’ve carried it, I’ve been reached four times for serious emergencies and used it twice myself to call for assistance. When used properly, it's an awesome tool. But cell phones in school ... in the classroom? Nah, I don’t think so.

The root issue here revolves more around texting, not talking, on the phone. I’m not put off by kids using cellular devices after school. But in the classroom? All access all the time? Can you imagine the teacher’s frustration trying to present a lesson while kids are texting back and forth, phones are buzzing, pictures being taken, etc.? Does anyone else find this, well, downright rude? I mean really, really unacceptable?

Texting is the current hot communication medium. Do you remember the hand signal for “call me”? You know ... you make a fist but extend your pinky and thumb while holding said hand next to your head? I imagine prior to that, it was "write me" with someone making writing motions with their hands. So what’s the gesture for “text me”? Do you wiggle your thumbs or something?

What's happening to face to face communication? Get this ... I’ve been told by many carpooling moms that the kids INSIDE the car are texting the other kids INSIDE THE SAME CAR! One mom was so flabbergasted that she told the kids no phone use in her car. It’s a kind of addiction of sorts. School bullying has taken on a whole new life with instant messaging at students’ disposal. And that’s scary in a whole new way.

So, my blogging friends, what do you think about this whole thing? Speak your peace (or is that piece?) Is this just a phase? Are kids at risk? Pros? Cons? Some parents are very upset that the high school mentioned above has banned phones. What would your reaction be if this was your kid’s high school policy?On a more upbeat note, another thing that kids like to do, and I’m referring to young teens, is walk to Starbucks with friends and get mochas. Where I live, there are Starbuck coffee houses about every 3 feet, and they are usually packed with people of all ages just hanging out and talking. While I’m not crazy about the Starbucks part, I do remember what it was like to be a young teen and wanting to venture out on my own with friends. When I was growing up in small town middle America, the cool thing to do was walk downtown and hang out at the A&W Rootbeer Stand. I had a lot of fun in those days. So, when my 14 year old teenage (sob!) daughter asked if she and the neighbor girl could walk to Starbucks, I gave her the okay.

She had a blast. She loved it. She loved the experience of going off on her own. She loved ordering at the counter. She loved using her own money. She loved finding a seat to share. She loved hanging out and feeling cool. And ... she loved her mocha.

I mean the child really loved her mocha. It’s all I heard about for days. I know how to take a hint; time to learn to make mochas. This could be tricky, because you may recall that coffee rarely passes my lips. I don’t know how to make coffee. Not to be deterred, I set out to make my mocha bigger, better, and more affordable than Starbucks. The end results, well let’s just say it’s time to restock my mocha pantry ingredients. Move over Starbucks; it's Mocha time!

My youngest daughter, who naturally wants to do everything her older siblings do, of course wanted to try a mocha.Here’s the first sip. So far, so good.Oops, a bit of cream on the nose ... we’ve all been there, babe.Yeah, it’s right there.Go ahead and take another sip.I’m not too close am I?Yes, to answer your question, I will blog about this.Okay, I’ll give you some personal space.

This is so easy. Really, really, REALLY easy. Let’s do a check and see how many times I’ve used the word ‘really’ in this post. Really, let’s do it.

1 cup hot coffee (I used decaf)
2 cups prepared sweetened hot chocolate
¼ cup cream
¼ cup chocolate caramel liquid coffee creamer (gross I know, but hey I’m bad)
¼ scant teaspoon pure vanilla extract - optional(hey, at least I used the real stuff here)
whipping cream
shaved chocolate (I put my veggie peeler to work on a chocolate bar)Combine the hot coffee, hot chocolate, cream, creamer, and vanilla extract. Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. To shave the chocolate, just get a chocolate bar, any kind will do, and using your veggie peeler, just push it against the chocolate as if you were peeling a carrot.

Oh, it's so good. Rich and creamy and chocolatey! It's very smooth going down, and pleasantly slightly sweet. All three of my kids love, love, love these. Even my husband, who can't stand coffee, enjoyed this.Sip. Sigh. Repeat.


Bellini Valli said...

Please don't get me started on cell phones. First it was MSN that prevented our kids from having actual conversations and meeting people and now texting. They do come in handy sometimes but lets get real...enough of my soapbox...lets do coffee(mocha):D

Dawn said...

I am loving this bad boy!

Grace said...

ah, the mocha. the white chocolate mocha, to be specific. twas the end of my caffeine-free life. :)
as far as cell phones go, i absolutely think it's all right to ban them from schools. granted, i would've been completely against it 8 or so years ago, but now that i'm out, i think the youngsters need as few distractions as possible!

Marjie said...

That little private school the neighbor boys go to had to ban cell phones, and they only go to 8th grade. I believe the next generation will be pathetically unable to converse or amuse themselves without electronics, between nonstop texting, DVD players in cars, XM radio....I sound like an old grump, don't I? So, I, who am also not a coffee fan, will take one of your mochas, please, with extra chocolate!

Marjie said...

And I forgot to tell you that little Miss is certainly adorable, as usual, although you already know that. And I'm jealous of the sunshine you have flowing through your windows! Well, at least we have rain now, instead of snow, although they are talking about up to a foot of snow at the Penn State football game today....freakin' global warming!

noble pig said...

I wrote a ost on this once and got a million responses. No cells in class as far as I'm concerned! And the mocha...OMG!

Linda said...

Your daughters a's your mocha! I'm glad I don't have to monitor cellphone usage around here that's for sure.

Lynda said...

I love this mocha! I admit to loving Starbucks(it's a good thing I live 20 miles from it), so I'm going to try your version!
Yes, cell phones should be banned from all classrooms. Our children need to know how to converse, and read and write without the cellphone-texting thing.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your photos are beautiful! I think I'm going to try that Mocha recipe too. Your Skirlie is still a big favorite around here, I might add.

Tatersmama said...

HA! Cell phones? I hate, hate, HATE the things! I have one, but it's only used for emergencies. (I've had 2 calls in 3 years, and made 4 calls myself... so the thing is always flat)
But texting? Gawd no! If I have something to say, I'll either say it to your face when I see you, or I'll give you a call!
I'm sick to death of kids dying because they're texting and driving, and as far as I'm concerned, they're in school to 'learn' - not to communicate with their friends or be entertained!
Ban them!
(funnily enough, my post today was about phones in general!)

Okay, *sigh* maybe I need to calm down and get off my high horse... so I'm off to make myself a mocha!
Thanks for sharing the recipe - and saving me about $4 a pop!

Paula said...

Hi Mocha Fans!

Bellini Valli: Your soapbox is always welcome here! Head on over, and I'll have the mocha ready!

Dawn: They are baaaad ... in the calorie department I'm sure. I don't want to know!!!

Grace: I'll let you in on a secret that I didn't post ... I actually have a couple varieties that I've mastered including your white chocolate and also a dark one. hehe

Marjie: Whoa, an elementary school had to ban them? Whew. You are not an old grump, and you've hit the nail right on the head. I'm also worried that kids won't be able to effectively communicate either in person face-to-face as well as in competent written form. And I will most definitely make you a mocha (and some tea, too!). Thanks for the compliment to my babe, and the sun is now gone. We had torrential rain today. I got my new roof just in time!

Noble Pig: No million responses for moi, but I'll gladly make up some mocha's to give you after a long day working on the vineyard!

Linda: Thanks, she really is a sweetie-pie and lots of fun to have around. She loves mochas AND cell phones. I'll give her the mochas, she's gonna have to wait on the phone.

Lynda: Oh my gosh, you wouldn't believe how many coffee shops are near me, and I live in a neighborhood! They do provide lots of jobs, and that's a good thing. Ditto to your cell phone thoughts.

Lori: I always get a smile on my face when your name pops up! Have you guys wrapped up your school for the year? I seem to recall you being a fan of all things Halloween, too! So glad you stopped by for a visit (glad you like the skirlie, too!) I have a killer potato recipe coming up you might enjoy making with your girls!

Paula said...

Hi Tatersmama! It's great to see you here! I hear you about phones and driving ... even adults need to steer clear of that. You and your horse are always welcome here, and I'll gladly kick back, relax and share a mocha with you!

Lilivati said...

Speaking as a teacher...most schools have banned cell phone USE inside a classroom, but not cell phones themselves. This only means the kids go underground with the cell phone use- I can't tell you how many times I've caught a student texting in the middle of a lesson. And cheating by texting is a huge problem that is still growing. I would wholeheartedly support a ban of no phones- if the kids bring them to school, they need to leave them in their lockers or they'll be confiscated.

The reason why this will never happen? The 10% of parents who are "helicopter parents". Who need to know what their little darling is doing every second of every day and flip out when the school threatens to deny this access (never mind that it didn't exist until about 10 years ago when kids with cell phones started becoming common). I have one student whose mother texts her at least once during every class I've seen her- creating a distraction she doesn't need. And if she doesn't respond, her mom continues to text at a more frantic and angry pace!

It's unbelievable.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i hate mobile phones - they hang off every b*o**y person's hands these days, greek drivers being the worst candidates in this respect, and they ring at the most inappropriate moment.

i love your mocha - you make it sound so easy too, that i must try it

Robynn's Ravings said...

I deTEST my daughter not being present when she's with me because she's "gone" texting. My 14-yr-old doesn't have a phone yet and thinks he lives in the dark ages. To which I reply, "Who cares?" Too much bad info coming in, too, on cell phone usage in children. Their skulls are much thinner until they are adults and the radiation coming off the cell phones seem to be having some serious consequences occasionally. The industry is trying to respond by lowering the output but you won't hear them talk about it.

The mocha looks yummy and I worked your tomatoes into a recipe to DIE for. I'll post it soon on 30 Day Throw Down. UN.BE.LIEVE.ABLE.

My word veri? ban-in-it - as in CELL PHONES! Loved this one! They ARE watching, Paula! lol

The Blonde Duck said...

Paula, you're so sweet! You made my day! I wasn't sad at all. I was more frustrated b/c I have a lot of well-intentioned friends who harp on me about not "really" being published when I've told them that I like what I'm doing. That message was in response to them. :)

Personally, I like being pink and duckie. :)

Mickle in NZ said...

Well done Paula - I'll found a place where I can gleefully admit that I've not yet worked out how to text. My cellphone, a castoff from a friend, is only switched on when I want to use it.

You're taunting me with the mocha recipe - I have all the ingredients here! Am sure my usually coffee loathing innards wont notice the heavy chocolate and cream disguise. Your wee girl is such a darling, mocha must be a gluten free joy for her.

Huggles, Michelle and Zebbycat

Cheryl said...

Excellent looking Mocha my dear, I live on them! Gorgeous kiddo too! You live in OREGON, the land of Starbucks and you dont like coffee? wow!

Cheryl said...

ohhhh p.s. I agree cell phones should be banned in schools, my nephew texts all day long in class! I think these days folks are just too "into" cell phones, drives me up a wall!

Bridgett said...

I could use one of those right now with this drizzly morning. Ugh, cell phones...we could have a long conversation about those things!

Barbara said...

Just about everyone feels the same way about cell phones. And yes, they should be banned in schools. Also at the dinner table and in the car.
I was at a birthday party for my granddaughter and they were busy texting. I was puzzled, because all their friends were there. You guessed it- they were texting each other!
I don't like coffee itself, but I do love anything mocha!

Pam said...

First - the cell phone usage/texting in school is rediculous. I totally think they shouldn't be allowed in school at all.

The hot mocha sounds amazing. I love your daughters glasses - too cute.

Pam said...

We have the same rule at our middle school. When the bell rings and the students rush out in the hall, there is a huge clamoring for cell phones, and everyone immediately begins texting.

DayPhoto said...

Your daughter is a doll! And she is such a willing taste tester!