Snow Cones & Summertime

Cool off and raise money for your favorite charity by hosting a snow cone stand
using delicious all-natural syrups!

Story and Photography by Kerry Guice

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On our Summer Bucket List every year we include hosting a lemonade stand. Sometimes we charge 50 cents, and I let the kids save the money. Sometimes we open the stand for donations to our favorite charities and I let the kids experience what it’s like to volunteer their time to help others. I have to say, we usually have more fun giving the money away, and this summer was no exception.

This summer, the kids and I wanted to try out something new and host a snow cone stand instead (with lemonade available, too). I’ve been dying to develop some homemade snow cone syrup recipes! It makes my heart so happy watching my kids have fun, work and sweat a little, and then give money to some fantastic nonprofits—all without using nasty artificial flavors or food dyes. 

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The charity we chose is a new favorite of mine, and ties perfectly into using fresh water to make snow cones and lemonade. Charity: Water installs wells in parts of the world with no access to clean water, so the people there can do all the daily things we take for granted that include clean water. There are too many things to count that I do just from the moment I wake up to walking out the door for the day that I wouldn’t be able to do without clean water. After learning some eye-opening facts on their website, I can’t shake this sinking feeling in my chest imagining how dire the need is for everyone on earth to have access to clean water. 

The good news? It’s actually an obtainable goal! We have the resources and the technology to make it happen. We just need to get the right people enough money to do so. That’s where Charity: Water comes in. They use donation money solely on the actual well projects. All travel and business expenses are paid for through private corporate donors. I love it. They make it easy to start your own fundraising page, so you don’t have to just host a lemonade stand you can use social media to invite people to give for your fundraising effort. We called ours “Snow Cones and Summertime,” and you can give on my kids’ behalf, using this link: my.charitywater.org/kerry-guice/, or go to their website and donate directly, or start your own fundraiser! We raised almost $137 for Charity: Water with our snow cone stand, and it made the kids and their friends beam with pride (OK, it made me beam with pride, too)!

By teaching kids to see that when we use our ability to help others who have it harder than us, we are not only making their lives better, we are making our lives better as well. Where there is gratitude and charity, there is happiness. And adding a yummy lemon lavender snow cone in there sure helps!


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LEMON LAVENDER SNOW CONE SYRUP

¼ cup dried lavender (food grade—can be purchased
    at most health food stores)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
¼ cup whole blueberries (for color)
1 teaspoon natural lemon flavoring (can be found next
   to the vanilla extract in the baking aisle)

Place dried lavender flowers in a medium bowl. Bring 1 cup of water to just boiling, then pour water over dried flowers. Let steep at least 2 hours. Strain flowers out of water using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth, then pour lavender water in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup sugar and, stirring often, bring to a boil over medium-high-heat. Once boiling, add blueberries and reduce heat to a simmer and simmer 10-15 minutes, still stirring often. Remove from heat and carefully remove and discard blueberries. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon flavoring and let cool completely. When cool, add water in tablespoon increments to desired consistency.


ORANGE CREAMSICLE SNOW CONE SYRUP

½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon natural orange flavoring (found near vanilla
   extract in baking aisle)
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup sugar

Combine cream, vanilla and orange flavoring in a small pot. Bring just to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. In another pot over medium heat, combine the orange juice and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes, then remove from heat and carefully whisk in the hot cream mixture. To adjust consistency, either add cream (to thicken), or orange juice (to thin), 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.


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PIÑA COLADA SNOW CONE SYRUP

2½ cups pineapple juice
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon natural coconut flavoring (found near the
    vanilla extract in the baking aisle)

In blender, combine all ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. To adjust consistency, add more pineapple juice (to thin),
or more condensed milk (to thicken).


SUMMER FRUIT SNOW 

CONE SYRUP

2 cups water
2 cups fresh strawberry halves/chunks
½ cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh peach chunks
1-1½ cups honey (preferably local)

In saucepan over medium-high heat, bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring often. Strain through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth and let cool completely before using. Add more honey to taste.