Monday, March 01, 2010

Most Alive Monday: Crystals, Confections, Critters

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all" - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Last week while I was resting from the aftermath of a severe migraine (a story for a different post), Robert took our son to the Chinese New Year Parade and then to a museum where our son went loco over a little crystal growing kit. Our son is interested in so many things...insects, volcanoes, robots, marine life, and crystals (to name a few). So the boys came home with a little kit and when I peeled myself off the sofa to help our son with the preparations, I noticed that it was highly toxic. Apparently my husband didn't read the fine print on the kit. Our son was terribly disappointed, but I explained that I knew a way we could grow crystals that weren't toxic, and were actually edible. I told him we would make Rock Candy the following day. I explained how as the water evaporates from the syrup, the sugar crystals grow on the stick. You can imagine how excited he was...what could be better than a rock you can eat!

The instructions are below. I added 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract to give it some flavor. Here is a photo of the crystal growth after just a couple of days.

  • 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp flavoring extract
  • glass jar
  • wood skewer
  • clothes pins
1. Place the water in a medium-sized pan and bring to a boil. Add sugar slowly while stirring. Continue to stir and boil the syrup until all of the sugar has been dissolved. Remove from heat.
3. Allow the sugar syrup to cool for approx. 10 minutes then add extract and pour it into a clean jar.

4. Dip the tip of the skewer in the syrup then into a tiny bit of sugar to create a little coating for the crystals to cling to. Hang the skewer with the clothes pins so that it hangs about 1 inch from the bottom.
5. Place your jar in a cool place, where it can sit undisturbed. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap or paper towel to protect from dust.
5. Sugar crystals forming within 2-4 hours. Allow it to grow as large as you want then remove it.
I guess the delayed gratification of waiting for Rock Candy began to trigger some interest with his sweet receptors because he then asked if we could make chocolate covered strawberries like the ones he saw at the sweet shop in town. So, I tempered a small bowl of chocolate, gave him some organic strawberries and he had a blast. In his own words, "This is the best thing ever!"

In other news, our Katydid that our son found after the first frost has died. I am surprised that it lived as long as it did because the lifespan of an adult Katydid is brief. It lived out it's lifecycle in the lap of luxury dining on baby greens, and sipping fresh water from a bottle cap. It was certainly the only Katydid who has seen a blizzard and lived to tell the tale while warm and safe in it's home on our window sill. We had a little burial ceremony in our snow covered garden. Farewell, little Meadow Dancer...thank you for all that you taught us!

*About Most Alive Monday: I've decided to make at least one "most alive choice" each day and post my favorite each Monday. This, of course, is to motivate me to consciously "live juicy"! I hope you'll join me and share your "most alive moment" in the comments section so we may inspire each other.

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posted by Wendy at 5:30 AM


Blogger Jessica Monte said...

You are such an amazing mom! I'm so glad you found a safe way to grow crystals with Satch (I bet he was too, ;-) ).

5:05 PM  
Anonymous pissweakparent said...

These look great, I will have to give it a go. Love your blog, often gives me inspiration. Thanks

4:27 AM  

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