Back to School--Ice Cream Style

8th grade, 6th grade, 4th grade, 2nd grade and 1st grade
It doesn't seem like it's been three months since the last day of school and it certainly doesn't feel like it's been a year since the previous first day of school, but alas, time has moved and here we are again! The kids went back for a full week to start out this year, although not all full days. Even though it was only the equivilant of three and a half days in a matter of five, by the end of the week, we were all wiped out. I guess that's what new routine does to you.

Unhappy that her siblings are leaving her??

Despite the exhaustion, we had been looking forward to the end of that first week, because we had been planning a "Back-to-School Ice Cream Social" for Saturday evening.  In preparation for the event, I started making ice cream the first week of August.


  Much thanks to my mother-in-law and friend Kim for letting me borrow their ice cream makers to keep the process moving along.

 We started out with the idea that we (Tim and I) would each make 2 or 3 flavors and kind of have a little contest between each other to see whose tasted better. One of my first flavors that I made was coffee and then red beet and from there I was completely hooked and addicted to the idea of trying unusual flavors just to see what they would taste like.

   I learned so much about ice cream making in the process, as I used a completely different (and better) recipe than what I have always used in the past.  There is definitely a science to it, and the science-geek part of me was thoroughly enamored with that part of it.  Before long, I was making five quarts of ice cream every other day, and usually in five different flavors.  I must admit that as much fun as it was, my multi-tasking self got caught not watching closely enough and making messes when the milk and cream boiled over the pot! 

Every batch was beautiful and oh-so tasty!  Yes, of course I sample each one!  (There were a couple that did NOT make the cut to serve to guests) 

By the time Saturday evening rolled around, we had 30-some quarts of ice cream in the freezer in 21 different flavors.  Crazy, I know...but my-oh-my, what a fun time we had!  From normal, yet gourmet dark and bittersweet chocolate to vanilla bean to sweet corn and blackberry, lambic (sour beer) fruit sorbet and of course the dark chocolate-red wine-goat cheese concoction and so many others!

With everything planned for and ready to go, Tim and I evaluated the RSVP list, he asked me where everyone was going to park.  Hmm...I hadn't given that detail any thought at all.

 I wish I would have gotten a picture of all of the cars parked in our pasture!  We figured we welcomed around 160 people!! 

The line for ice cream was long, but moved rather efficiency thanks to saavy ice-cream-scooping friends!  There were cones and dishes filled and topped and eventually curiosity got the best of many and they came back to taste-test multiple flavors.  The most popular for the night were the chocolate of course and the coffee. 

Monsignor topped his red beet ice cream with sauerkraut resulting in his own rave reviews.  I can't say that I've been brave enough yet to try that particular combination!  He also got 1st place in the ice cream cone coloring contest!  LOL 

The play set got a work out as did the trampoline and the entire evening was filled with conversation, kick ball, football, frog catching, and of course, ice cream eating! 

A few pints were packaged up as gifts, and the leftovers (amazingly, there were leftovers!) are being enjoyed as bed-time snacks!

This was by far one of the most fun gatherings we've hosted in quite some time (they're all fun--but this one, well, how can you not have fun when over a hundred people are enjoying themselves at your home???)  This of course is one of those many times that I'm really GLAD we live on an acerage.  Someone may have called the cops if we lived in town!  :)  This event warrants consideration for being annual, although someone suggested we throw in a BBQ too.  Whew...I guess you never know what another year may bring!