Today we’re introducing Jana Thomas, our newest guest poster. Jana is an entrepreneur, busy mom to 3 boys, avid K-State football fan and self-proclaimed movie nerd from Manhattan, KS. She loves being a soccer mom, party planning, traveling and spending time with her family. Today she’s sharing about a fun way she’s preparing her boys (and herself) for the inevitable Back to School transition.
It has been a long summer with all of our neighborhood friends taking vacations, visiting relatives and simply taking part in the day-to-day activities that have kept us from seeing each other regularly. You know, swimming lessons, baseball practice, church camps, etc. My two youngest boys miss seeing their friends on a daily basis at the bus stop for school, and I miss chatting with my fellow bus stop moms and dads.
Because it seems like forever since we’ve seen everyone, I thought it would be fun to do some sort of get-together before school starts this year. The weather has been extremely hot here in Kansas, so I decided to plan a Back to School Ice Cream Bash to celebrate and catch up with friends!
Our Ice Cream Bash consists of delicious vanilla ice cream, a multitude of colorful candy toppings, and chocolate syrup of course! What kid… (and let’s be honest) …what parent, could resist?!
I wanted to add some pizzazz to our Ice Cream Bash so I ordered custom coasters from Evermine in their “Champagne” design. I love the look of the sunshine and gold confetti! I also wanted the kids to have something to take home with them from our event, so I decided to try my hand at making homemade rock candy in fun colors and flavors. They looked fantastic dressed up in Evermine’s cellophane bags with matching “Champagne” style favor tags that read “Rock School This Year!”
As a Mom of 3 busy boys, I know how tough it is to keep track of parent contact information for every friend in school, activities and sports. Evermine just began offering business cards in all of their beautiful designs, so I decided to create a Mom Card that has my name and contact information on it. What an easy way to exchange contact information when you meet a new mom or dad friend! I chose the “Champagne” design to match our coasters and favor tags, and set them out next to the rock candy favors so parents could pick one up on their way home.
From our family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful 2015-2016 school year!
- Sugar and Water
- Food Coloring and Flavor Extract (if desired)
- Bamboo Skewers (with sharp ends cut off)
- Candy Thermometer and Measuring Cup
- Containers to Grow the Crystals in – High-Heat Resistant
- Patience – Every so often a crystal wouldn’t form or the crystal would break while removing it from the container. I chalked it up to experimentation and started again!
- Step 1: Mix 3 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a sauce pan – heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved into a clear, thick syrup at approximately 230 degrees F.
- Step 2: While the mixture is heating, prepare the bamboo skewers the crystals will grow on. Dip one end of the skewer in the hot syrup mixture and roll it in a plate of sugar to coat the dipped end to give the crystals a surface to grow on.
- Step 3: Once your syrup has reached 230 degrees, allow it to cool to 220 degrees. At this point, you can add desired flavoring and food coloring. I chose to make a variety of batches – red color with cherry flavoring, yellow color with banana flavoring and blue color with no flavoring.
- Step 4: It’s time to grow some crystals. Pour the syrup mixture into your heat-resistant containers – I used standard mason jars. You must be very careful not to drip the syrup on your skin since it is still dangerously hot at this stage. Stand your sugar-coated bamboo skewers into the syrup mixture and use clothespins to secure them away from the sides and at least a half inch from the bottom of the jar.
- Step 5: Let the jars sit and cool for at least 4 hours. Warning, nosy teenagers will try to eat some of the syrup mixture solidifying on the top of the jar if you are not diligent in standing guard!
- Step 6: When you are ready to remove the rock candy from the jar, remove any excess or loose mixture. Once the candy comes out, hang it upside down in another container to “dry”, fastened with clothespins.
- **This is where some of that patience I mentioned earlier comes in handy. The candy does not always come out easy and a few times the crystals did not grow as much as I would have liked. It was definitely a science experiment to see how temperature and cooling time affected the formation of the crystals.
- Step 7: Once the rock candy dries, cut off any excess bamboo skewer so it is easier for small hands to hold. I packaged the rock candy in Evermine cellophane bags, trimmed the bags to match the length of the skewers and tied the custom favor tags to them with string.
Used In This Project:
- Round Coasters • I chose the “Champagne” style in sunshine.
- Business Cards • I chose the “Champagne” style in sunshine.
- Diamond Hang Tags • I chose the “Champagne” style in sunshine.
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