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It's cool and refreshing on a hot summer day. It pairs perfectly with a slice of warm cherry pie on a cold winter day. It's comforting when we're sad. Served alongside bowls full of a variety of toppings, it can be a source of fun and laughter.
Fortunately there's one day when we need not waste a second of our time concocting an excuse. July 18 is National Ice Cream Day! I thought this year it would be fun to celebrate the day by letting my kids invite their friends over for an ice cream party. We're taught from a young age that things always improve through practice so we'll be doing a trial run to prepare for the real party on July 18. An added bonus? That takes care of our ice-cream excuse for today!
Since National Ice Cream Day is not a major holiday, I certainly don't want the preparation to be a major ordeal so each of the projects I'm sharing will be a cinch to create.
Even if it's a verbal one, every party needs an invitation. Since this is a party for my kids and their friends, I thought making some fun and colorful invitations with them would generate some excitement about the festivities.
Using the Cupcakes and More Shape Template and the Ultra Shape Express cutting tool, we created bowls of ice cream. The smooth rounded cupcake top can be used to make a scoop of ice cream but if you like a larger portion like we do, you can always use the Circle Shape Template. Sprinkles were added as a fun accent using the 1/4 inch hand punch.
Since much of what's on the front of our invitations is stamped, I took advantage of the convenience the Stamp Factory offers. Using smaller acrylic blocks to add the text to these invitations could have been time consuming as well as frustrating as we tried to line everything up. The Stamp Factory's large acrylic plate, coupled with the fact that it's self inking for each and every stamp, made the job quick and easy.
Of course an ice cream party wouldn't be possible without ice cream to eat! While it's perfect acceptable to purchase your ice cream, I know how much fun my kids have making homemade ice cream. I'm fortunate (at least in my own mind!) to own an old-style crank ice cream maker. With a group of kids taking turns at the crank, the churning shouldn't be too strenuous. And they'll get to experience the joy of eating something delicious that they had a hand in making.
There are a lot of different, fun ways to serve ice cream so choose your favorite, or choose a couple since everything we're doing here is quick and easy.
First, you can serve it in cups or tall glasses alongside bowls of fun toppings so guests can create their own sundaes. Decorate the cups or glasses and send them home to be enjoyed as their own special ice cream bowl. We made simple decorative bands using a strip of patterned paper and adding a star punched from patterned paper using the Extra Large Twinkle, Twinkle Squeeze Punch.
A second idea is to serve ice cream sandwiches. I used the cookie and ice cream recipes recommended by Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network website. The cookies taste like sugar cookies without the hassle of rolling and cutting the dough. Even though I made mine large, they're firm enough that they don't fall apart which would certainly put a damper on the fun of making ice cream sandwiches!
Wanting the kids to experience the fun of assembling their own sandwiches, I let them add a simple decoration to the sandwich tops after they were assembled. Using the Extra Large Fiskars Twinkle, Twinkle Squeeze Punch, I created some stencils using scraps of chipboard. We set the stencils on the cookie, brushed the opening lightly with corn syrup, and added sprinkles. Adding the sprinkles after removing the stencil allows you to reuse a stencil. Add more sprinkles or another favorite topping to the sides of the cookie and I guarantee you'll see some smiling faces.
Finally, you can also provide the kids with something I wish I'd have had when my kids were smaller-an ice cream cozy! I've seen a few tutorials for making these and online shops selling them. They not only keep the mess from ice cream drips under control, they give children something to help tidy up their hands and faces as they eat. An ice cream cozy can be created in a matter of minutes.
Begin with a square of terry cloth. I purchased a pack of inexpensive, colorful washcloths. Using the Fiskars 45mm Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter and the 12 inch by 18 inch Cutting Mat, cut terry cloth squares of the desired size which will depend on the size of cones you prefer. In this example, I've used regular-sized sugar cones and the cut size of my squares was 6 inches x 6 inches.
Cut a contrasting fabric to the same size as the terry cloth and place them right-side down on top of the terry cloth squares. Stitch the 2 layers together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance and leaving a 2 inch turning opening.
Clip the corners to reduce bulk once turned and turn the square right-side out. Topstitch around the perimeter.
Fold the square in half diagonally (making it into a triangle) and stitch the edges together 3/4 of the way up.
So mark your calendar and start making plans to celebrate National Ice Cream Day!