I don't like to think we are high maintenance. We are low tolerance.
So Loopy stayed home from yet another "camp experience" and I told her she would spend all three days in hard core farewell-party preparation mode as I am one of the parents in charge of her middle school "graduation" party. And I say "graduation" in "quotation marks" because the school is militant about not using the word "graduation" upon leaving the elementary school for high school next year. Apparently the word "graduation" is only to be used upon the completion of high school and all of these activities must be called "farewell." Whatever. Obviously I called it "graduation" all over town as I booked the venue, the caterer and the music. When I first started saying "farewell" to the vendors they looked at me with a blank stare as if I were speaking some sort of indiscernible Chinese dialect. Then I would clarify and say "a middle school graduation" and ahhhh... then they got it.
Today we rescued one of her pals, "Casey" who also is no camper. She attended school yesterday in the absence of teachers and peers, only to sit in an empty, hot classroom for the entire day with no books or work, as everyone emptied their lockers and desks before embarking on their camping trip. Brilliant. We picked up our fellow non-camper at 9:00 a.m. sharp and this is what we made:
I call it Loopy's Crack Corn because it is like crack. If we like something, it is "like our crack" until we get sick of it. For a while our crack was the Pepsi at Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was some sort of special mixture that was, well, like crack to us. I would say to Loopy, "do we need some crack?" and we would drive through KFC and order one large Pepsi to share, and then drive along, fighting over it until it was gone, our crack. You get the idea. Right now this corn is our crack. Plus, it has the added feature of this:
I made hard crack candy and poured it onto tinfoil. The girls cracked it into tiny bits to add to the corn. Do you dig the school colours?
Hard crack candy is easy. You really need a candy thermometer. Get one with your 50% off coupon at Micheals, the Wilton one. You need the Wilton one. Here is the basic recipe:
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 tsp flavour (I used tutti frutti)
Bring the sugar, syrup and water to a boil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Heat to 290 degrees (soft crack on candy thermometer), reducing the heat to low as you cook. It is a slow process - watch the pan carefully, it can turn to caramel in the blink of an eye.
Remove from heat at 290 degrees and add flavouring and food colour if you desire it. Quickly pour the hot mixture onto tinfoil, shiny side up. It will harden quickly. You can also make suckers with this recipe.
But you can't have this kind of fun with suckers! Loopy and Casey playing with the sheets of candy:
Yellow and blue make green! This reminds me of one of our favourite Leo Leonni books, "Little Blue and Little Yellow."
The fun part was finally breaking that candy into smithereens! I laid clean pool towels on the table and then layers of tinfoil for the stages of our work bee. Must protect the dining room table.
It was really very pretty. It tasted good, too.
It was pretty tedious work. We didn't want to put it in a bag and smash it with a rolling pin, we didn't want it crushed, we wanted chunky bits.
Then my helpers repaired to the patio to make popcorn a'la Sassy. We borrowed her hot air popper and that giant tupperware to hold the popcorn, proving once again that Sassy has a tupperware for everything...
Uh... one 1 kg bag of corn makes loads of popcorn...
The candy corn, now called crack corn, is the same stuff I made with Sassy for The Sprout's first birthday. You can find the recipe here. Today we made it in blue and yellow.
To be fancy, and for a more crack-like experience, we added blue and yellow M&M candies.Blue on yellow corn, yellow on blue corn. The corn saved my butt. I splurged forty dollars from the "graduation" funds on school colour M&M's. That was after I put forty dollars back, because eighty dollars spent on blue and yellow M&M's is madness. I will admit to being a little embarrassed when the clerk at the candy store asked for eighty dollars and I decided to put half of them back... duh! Then I was faced with the dilemma of how to dispense forty dollars worth of specialty candy to 33 students and just how would I accomplish that with any flair at all other than handing each student three candies with tweezers as they entered the party? Then it occurred to me to add it to the candy corn as it hardened... thus spreading it as far as it could possibly go.
And by the time all is said and done, I bet this candy crack corn is more expensive per 100 grams than actual crack. But much more festive.
Tomorrow, bright and early, the girls will package this crack corn and then I have a few other projects for my happy non-campers.