Were you as surprised and excited to see snow coming down and on the ground again this morning as I was? Admittedly, I’m something of a sun worshipper but after 3 largely snowless winters here in Chester County I’m enjoying the crystal-white wonders we’ve been seeing this year!
Today’s snow doesn’t compare with the pre-Christmas blizzard that blanketed our area with upwards of 18 inches but that doesn’t matter to my children! They awoke, peered out the windows and wondered with sparkling eyes if there was enough on our deck to scoop up for snow cream and candy.
There’s not, not yet anyway, but just in case we do see more accumulation this winter I thought I’d share some of our fun favorite snowy day activities.
Did you know you can make ice cream from snow?
To do it you’ll need:
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
Mix the condensed milk and vanilla together in a large bowl then let your children stir scoops of clean, fresh snow into the mixture until it’s the consistency of soft ice cream (about 8 cups).
After you’ve eaten some it can be stored in the freezer just like any ice cream. You can add cherries, sliced bananas, canned fruit – whatever your creativity desires!
If your family are fans of the Little House books like we are you’ll recognize this next one from Laura’s Christmas in the Little House in the Big Woods:
“Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark
syrup in little streams onto the snow.” – Little House in the Big Woods
Begin by combining 1 cup molasses and 1 cup brown of brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat (the concoction will expand so be ready!).
Boil the molasses and sugar together until it reaches “hard crack” stage. (300 – 310 degrees F).
A candy thermometer is VERY useful for this activity (how did Ma manage without one!?) but if you don’t have one you can test it by dribbling some into a Pyrex cup full of cold water.
There is a great explanation of the stages of candy making here: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar-stages.html
When the syrup is ready tightly pack your pans full of clean snow, pour a little syrup into a small measuring cup or gravy tureen – a container with a little spout works best – and dribble it onto the snow like Laura and Mary did:
“Laura and Mary made circles, and curlicues, and squigglely things with
the dark syrup. The shapes became hard and were candy.”
A quick note, be VERY careful – the syrup is extremely hot and sticky. If it gets onto skin it is too thick to be wiped off quickly and will continue to burn. Have a large bowl of ice water standing by in case someone dribbles some onto their finger – plunge it into the bowl and the syrup will cool and come off instantly.
Store your snow candy in a plastic container or Ziploc bag between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. It’s a bit of a messy cleanup, but so worth it – especially if you cuddle up together and read the book while you eat your candy!
I hope you all stay warm and have fun this snowy New Year’s Eve.
I’ll be back in 2010 with a great giveaway!
Kerrie is brand new to the Chester County Moms blog team. She moved from Delaware to the cornfields of East Fallowfield, Chester County three years ago with her husband and 7 (yes, 7!) children who range in age from toddlers to teenagers. When she’s not homeschooling, doing laundry or Twittering she’s sewing and making hair bows & clips for her online children’s boutique Silly Frilly Kids.
You can get glimpses of Kerrie’s crazy life by following SillyFrillyKids on Twitter