Mothering Article

Check out my Halloween candy article at I've got instructions for mixing colored potions, bubbling potions (using the acid test), melting candy, and fun candy crafts, like this poster made by my kids and my preschool teacher mother.

Nerds density rainbow

I love the Skittles Density Rainbow, with its brilliant colors. But it can be tricky to pour. I've added an alternative method to the Density Rainbow page. This one uses Nerds, and it seems to work quite well. Check it out beneath the Skittles instructions at Density Rainbow.

CSPI shares Halloween ideas

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which tries to educate the public about nutrition and the amounts of sugar in various treats, just posted some ideas for Halloween parties that don't focus on candy. There's also a link to a new PopCap Plants vs. Zombies video about brushing your teeth, and you can print coupons for downloading a free PVZ game for trick or treaters.

Candy Experiments in Top Ten Halloween Ideas

Candy experiments made the list for 10 Experiments for Halloween on The New Home Ec. Check it out--there's also a density rainbow in Halloween colors, glowing experiments, and a Steve Spangler oozing pumkpin.

The Speckled Cotton Candy Brain

Buying a bag of cotton candy was a new thing for me. Of course I didn't want my kids to eat all of it, but I thought I'd let them try it to see what the excitement was all about, and I wanted some of my own to experiment with. (Heh, heh!) So to celebrate this unusual occasion, I decided to get an unusual bag.

The cotton candy stand we visited had two colors: pink and blue. But when they were switching colors, refilling a dwindling supply of blue sugar with a new scoop of pink, the colors melted together to make purple. We searched through their bags until we found some purple candy at the bottom of a bag of blue. (Sadly, my photo of the color gradation didn't turn out, so you can't see the lovely shades of lavender.)

After we tasted our candy, and dropped some in water to dissolve, and squashed some of it, we let the rest sit in the bag. As the weeks passed, the candy slowly collapsed into itself, eventually shrinking to a mass the size of my two fists. And something startling happened: specks of pink and blue color reappeared!

I also love the wrinkled shape. It's a candy brain for Halloween.

Where does your sugar come from?

My daughter showed me this article in Time for Kids, which lists "the food groups that contribute the most added sugar to the American diet." Here they are: Soft drinks 33% Candy 16% Cakes, cookies and pies 13% Fruit drinks 10% Dairy desserts 9% Other 19%

Candy Experiments at Bob Books

I just shared some Halloween candy literacy tips with Bob Books. Find them here!

Candy Corn Craziness!

Candy Corn must be the popular flavor this fall. I just saw a news posting for Candy corn oreos, and CandyYumYum just reviewed candy corn M&Ms. Wonder what they do in water?

Cotton Candy Crystals

Cotton candy is made almost completely from sugar, with a few extras like dye and flavor. So it shouldn't be a surprise that cotton candy can can form crystals.

When cotton candy is made, it's melted into noncrystalline strands of caramelized sugar. But after we smashed it into a ball, washed it and let the water dissolve out some of the sugar, collected the sugar in a puddle, and let the puddle dry, small crystals started to develop in the center.

We had to throw the experiment away because my 4-year-old kept trying to lick it. But next time I get some cotton candy, I'll have to dissolve it, and see if I can get any crystals to grow.

Jelly Baby video

Here's a great video from the University of Plymouth in which a Jelly Belly meets a fiery end.