Almost all of my kids' cartoons are viewed via the DVR not live TV. That means if an adult is in the room we generally fast forward through the commercials. If we're not we pay the penalty.
What penalty is that you ask?
The pain of children saying they want: Pillow Pets, Seat Pets, Flashlight Friends and for my ice cream loving daughter Evie, Ice Cream Magic.
If you haven't seen the commercials - and if you read this blog I'm guessing you have - the concept is simple.
A little plastic device shaped like an ice cream cone can “make” ice cream in just three minutes. I mean, what person of any age wouldn't be impressed with that premise?
We normally do not bend to the will of our children's whims but Evie had a birthday coming up and the price of both Ice Cream Magic and Flashlight Friends was perfect for relatives to send a four-year-old as gifts.
It took a week or two after the birthday celebrations ended for us to even try the thing out. That's because we had a ton of sweets for the birthday in the house and the fact that you need to get heavy whipping cream as a primary ingredient for the little shaker.
When we finally busted the packaging open I was surprised at how well made Ice Cream Magic seemed. It's a sturdy little device.
I got out all the ingredients, measured them out and separated them into small dishes before calling Evie over to "make" anything. I was a bit overwhelmed at the amount of stuff you needed to make simple strawberry ice cream.
Then as a family we filled up the bottom of the “cone” with ice. Then you put the piece that holds the ice cream ingredients in. It's made out of some kind of metal and pops in very securely over the ice, which is good because who wants stuff to fly loose during three minutes of shaking cold cream and ice.
Then we twisted the top on and started shaking. Of course Evie wanted to shake it first and she gave it a try while I started a timer on my iPhone. Her arms got tired after about 30 seconds. Then Carter took a turn and lasted about 45 seconds. Then Dad had to come to the rescue and gave it another two minutes of vigorous shaking thinking there's no way this thing is going to work.
When we popped the top off the mixture resembled more of a milkshake than ice cream so I poured it into a small glass with a straw so Evie could try and enjoy it but she wasn't really happy.
After a few seconds of me complaining I discovered actual ice cream near the bottom of the container. It was much firmer than the stuff we first spooned out. This was the magic ice cream it seemed.
Evie's initial disappointment at the milkshake disappeared as she scooped spoonfuls of the stuff from the bottom. She thought it tasted great. Me, I thought it tasted like the strawberry ice cream you would get in those little paper cups back in middle school.
Of course we did use the grossest grocery store strawberry syrup to make it so what do you expect?
Before calling the whole thing a complete bust Dad had to give it one more try, for scientific purposes. This time I used good old Hershey's syrup for chocolate ice cream. I refilled the ice chamber and then mixed in the other ingredients and started shaking.
This time it would be all my muscles and I'd go longer than three minutes to ensure more of that good stuff we had found at the bottom.
Four minutes later my arms felt like jelly and I was scooping up some not-so-bad chocolate ice cream. Think generic grocery store chocolate ice cream. There was still a layer at the top that was liquid, but it was a much thinner layer this time.
Would I ever recommend Ice Cream Magic to a parent of a young child? Never.
A pint of high quality ice cream will cost you the same as the ingredients needed, save you the time and dirty dishes - Ice Cream Magic is not dishwasher safe - and will taste better.
If your kids are like Evie they'll jump for joy at getting ice cream no matter where it comes from.