Friday, May 4, 2012

Science and Slushies

I need a superhero outfit.
No, it's not for anything crazy. (Well, at least not today.)

It's because in our homeschool this week...
I had a moment when all the stars aligned and I was kissed by God. (Thank you God) My children now think I'm brilliant. They look at me with awe in their eyes...and that is enough that I almost think I could fly.

I have decided that all moms should be able to experience this joy...so I am sharing my new super power with you.
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My boys saw a commercial for "Slushy Magic" on the TV.
For $20, they could buy two kits which would allow them to add "special ice cubes" to a yummy sugary liquid and end up with a slushy (in under a minute with no crushing of ice).

Like any self-respecting-homeschool mom, I had to figure out how this worked!
What is the science behind it all? *found at the bottom of the blog*
I ended up finding out that the "special ice cubes" were merely bags of saltwater that had been frozen. That's it! Salt was the "magic" ingredient.

We quickly fill a quart size freezer bag with water (a little bit more than halfway full), and we DUMPED salt in it so that the water was saturated with salt.
We shook the bag and mixed it so the salt dissolved. (It is fine if you add too much salt - it will just gather at the bottom of the bag.)
Saltwater holds heat better than regular water, so it does not freeze as quickly. You will need to freeze it overnight - or until the bag is full of ice that is WHITE like snow.

White Salty Ice

Put your white ice (still in the bag, do NOT open it) into a gallon-sized freezer bag. 

Pour sweet, yummy liquid into the bag. 
(We used Strawberry-Kiwi Kool-Aid).
The commercial used milk, pop, juice...all kinds of liquid beverages.
Side note: Don't get any crazy ideas. Alcohol also has a lower freezing point than water (even lower than salt water) so margaritas probably won't work. :)  

Seal up the bag, grab them at the top...

...and do the Slushy Shake. 
(You could make it a dance contest and the winner gets first dibs.)

You can see it turn slushy through the bag. 
Decide how icy you want it, then removed the bag of salty ice, 

 Pour into a cup. (Dad helped out so I could take some photos.) 

The finished product.
(Oops, artificial lighting made it look orange...which would be delicious too)
Enjoy! The boys have made no less than five slushies in the past two days.
I hope you pull out your own superhero outfit this weekend and spread some slushy joy. Don't worry, if you have too many slushies...superhero spandex stretches.

*The science behind the experiment - as I understand it: 
There is really no such thing as "cold". Cold is merely loss of heat.
The frozen saltwater had lost the heat energy which kept it in fluid form. When the liquid Kool-Aid touched the frozen bag of saltwater, the saltwater began quickly absorbing the heat from the Kool-Aid. It actually absorbed the heat from the Kool-Aid much more quickly than the Kool-Aid could absorb new heat from the air - so the Kool-Aid lost heat and froze. 
Does that make sense? If not, you may have to do some research on your own.
*UPDATE*:
We have had some slushy flops the last few times we've made them.
The slushies have tasted salty. (and we used "good" bags the last time!)
Both times it flopped, we tried to make large amounts of slush at one time.
Maybe all the extra shaking let the saltwater get too melted and created more time for the liquid to leak out?
Not sure, but to be safe...I suggest making small amounts at a time. (about 2 cups worth, or one red solo cup worth) Maybe each kid can have his own bag to shake, shake, shake!
We are experimenting with other more permanent containers. Let me know if you find any that work and I will keep everyone updated with our findings as well.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal










134 comments:

  1. I just saw this product at a local drug store and my kids wanted it since I didnt have to order it. I think we will try your way. Perfect timing right before the summer heat too. Thanks

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    1. We bought the kit and it does not work very well at all!

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    2. My 8 year old used her own money to by this and it didn't work at all. She was very disappointed and now I will have to try it this way. Perhaps it will help cheer her up. Thank you

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    3. just a thought but couldn't you make your own ice cubes with the huge milk shake straws from bed bath and beyond or plain old dollar store straws and seal them (adults only partby folding the ends and melting closed with fire) this way the cubes could be as big or small as you like

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  2. Oh, wow! How cool is that! I knew there had to be a way to make slushies without buying those cubes! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I will definitely be trying this

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  4. That is awesome!! I wish I had this info before our science lab co-op stopped meeting for the summer. I am definitely going to have to try it with the girls. Thanks for sharing - supermom! :)

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  5. Fun! Glad the stars were aligned for you haha It is funny the little things that make our kids think we are great from time to time isn't it. We will have to try this at our house.

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  6. Thank you!!!!!!! My daughter is "dying" for a slushy magic. Can't wait yo try this.

    Bonnie

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  7. Oh I am so going to do this with the kids on the next warm spring day we have:). Thanks for sharing on the NOBH.

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  8. My grandchildren will remember you. Because I'm telling them where I got this fantastic idea!!! Thank you!

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  9. This didn't work for me any tips????

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    1. Maybe you didn't add enough salt to the original bag?
      Was your saltwater frozen so it was a white color?
      (the freezer on our fridge doesn't get the ice cold enough on the setting we have it on, so we put it in our deep freeze. If it's not white, it doesn't work.)
      Lastly, make sure you keep shaking so all the liquid gets to touch the ice. It might take a few minutes to get icy enough.

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  10. I LOVE anything slushy! I usually put my drinks in the freezer for a bit before I drink them. Especially in the summer time. But I also have fibromyalgia so I have to REALLY watch any chemicals or fake sugar I put into my body, causes flare ups. So when I saw the "slushy magic" commercial my first thought was, "I HAVE to have this!" Then I thought well it probably uses some kind of chemical to make the drink slush so I didn't buy it. But now I know all it takes is salt I am sooooo trying this! It's like making homemade ice cream, which you can also do in a baggie. One question though. Can you reuse the salt mixture bag? Like refreeze and use over and over?

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    1. We reuse them regularly, but make sure you buy a quality freezer bag. And before you put it back in the freezer, make sure there aren't any leaks.
      We had friends over for Memorial Day and used off-brand bags...we ended up with very SALTY slushies. Blech!

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  11. My kids will love you for this :)

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  12. I bet you could do it in a can also. Like you make ice cream in a can. Use a large coffee can and put ice and rock salt in it and put your kool-aid in a smaller can, inside the large can. Roll around until it is slushy!

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    1. Hmmm, I just HAPPEN to have a couple of cans laying around. (homeschool mom stockpile for science experiments and art projects)

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  13. You can double bag the bag that you put the frozen salt water in, this will prevent the salt from getting into your drink.

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    1. We did this once and the layer of air absorbed the cold and kept the slushy from forming as quicky. Did it work for you? Maybe I let in too much air!

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    2. Do you have a Food Saver? I am thinking... freezer bag of salt water, then Food Saver it. The food saver bags are much thicker, get a very good heat seal, and it would suck out all of the extra air between the two bags.

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    3. Yep! I was thinking the same thing- FoodSAVER!

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  14. What about putting the salt solution in a balloon that is tied? A heavier balloon that is really "under-flated?" or less than half it's size. Less of a chance for leakage.

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    1. Would the rubber balloon make the slushy taste funny? Let me know!

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  15. Just used my food saver to make my own magic cubes! I hope it works to keep the salt out of my drinks!

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    1. Good idea! Let me know if they hold up to all the shaking!

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  16. When you had the flops, was the salt water leaking out of the bag? I'd like to try this but I have a foodsaver and I think I would make the salt water bag with that to ensure it was sealed well and none would leak out.

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  17. Couldn't you just use one of those gel freezer packs? Thoroughly cleaned of course!

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    1. I don't think the gel freezer packs would work very well--they don't actually absorb that much heat, they specialize in being flexible. A plastic bag style freezer pack that freezes solid would probably work, though.

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  18. I think I'm gonna try this using a vaccum sealed bag. Maybe I'll freeze it in the ziplock first and then seal it in the other bag. Thanks for posting!!

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  19. I tried this and worked out great!! But my question is, our water never froze. I was wonder if there was too much salt or if our freezer is not cold enough. I know Salt water has to cool at a lower temptuare.

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    1. It's possible that your freezer isn't cold enough to freeze saturated salt water. You could try using less salt. I wouldn't expect our salt this to work unless your salt water is frozen (rather than just cold liquid).

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  20. Not sure if the amount of salt would affect the freezing point. We always put the ice in our deep freeze because it doesn't turn white and freeze as well when we pit it in the regular freezer. Of course, it may just need to be in the regular freezer longer (and we were impatient).

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    1. The salt concentration does make a difference. Chemist refer to it as the FREEZING POINT DEPRESSION. Ocean water, for example, freezes at about 27 Fahrenheit, whereas saturated salt water freezes around 0 Fahrenheit.

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  21. I got the Magic Slushie as a gift, tried it and I think I pulled a muscle in my arm. You have to shake like crazy. I could not imagine my 4 year old doing that. I am going to try your method. Thanks a bunch!

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  22. You get the saltyness from diffusion of salt through the plastic bags; it won't matter if you use "good bags" or not. The concept is explained here in the iodine/cornstarch science lab: http://www.biologycorner.com/2009/09/16/diffusion-lab/

    You'd probably have a better luck using a zipvac (vacuum seal machine); plus the ability to re-use your salt water bags is endless since they're vacuum sealed.

    But, you're still chancing a salt diffusion through the plastic. Maybe if you bought one of those ice blue ice packs and removed the gel inside (thoroughly) and re-filled with salt water, you'd have a better chance at avoiding the diffusion.

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  23. Thanks so much! You saved me $30 from buying one for each of my kids! I put the salt water solution in snack size bags. My solution didn't freeze completely (was slushy itself) but it still worked! I also used a twist top ziplock plastic container. We did it with juice and pop (or soda or whatever you want to call your carbonated sugar beverage) The juice worked awesome, but the pop I had to do. Because of the carbonation, the top didn't want to stay on. We have done it twice just today and had no salty taste to them yet. I do want to try to make my own ice in the vacuum sealer and see how that works, sounds like a great idea!

    I am going to t

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  24. A better way to view the science is to consider the melting/freezing point of salt water. Saturated salt water freezes about 38 degrees (Fahrenheit) colder than pure water (32 Fahrenheit). In theory, you could use anything that had a freezing point below 32.

    The salt is probably effusing through the plastic bags if you are getting a salty slushie. It is similar to helium "leaking" out of regular balloons.

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  25. This sounds like the "ice cream" lab we did in my daughters class. We put the cream mixture in a small ziploc bag and put that into a bigger bag with ice and salt. Closed it all up and then they rolled it back and forth on their desks. No shaking with 22 kids LOL!! It took a few minutes, but was yummy! It was more of a slushy soft serve. You could try putting your koolaid in a seperate bag.

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  26. If you have a Food Saver, use that to seal the bag of salt water, don't suck the air out of it, just use the sealing function. No more salty slushy because there is no way for it to leak! Thanks for posting your super mom moment, my kiddos have been begging for this Slushy Magic thing since they saw the first commercial!

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  27. You can also seal salt-water baggies using a vacuum sealer the bags that come with it are super resistant.

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  28. Awesome idea!! Can you re-freeze the salt water and keep using it?

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  29. No more drives to 7-Eleven. YAAAAAAAY Thank you a bunch and some more.

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  30. thank you! i could not break down and pay $20 for the slushie magic! also, what if you place the saltwater baggie in something like a foodsaver bag where it is 100% sealed in? might try it!

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  31. The plastic is perbiable even if it is a good bag. that is why it tastes salty

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  32. How about using an empty water bottle for the salt water but to prevent any leaks crazy glue the screw top on?

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  33. OOOOOOOO I bet the water bottle with the glued on lid would be great!

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  34. Has anyone tried freezing the salt water in ice cube trays and putting the beverage in a small zip lock and ice in a small zip lock and shaking them in a large container (ie: Tupperware or coffee can)?

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  35. How much salt did you add and how long did you shake the bags at the end? I tried it, and it didn't work for me, so I though maybe I didn't add enough salt, or I didn't shake the bags long enough? thanks!

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    1. I haven't kept track of the salt amount, but at least a few tablespoons for a half of a bag...and we shake it for at least 2 minutes.

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  36. I have not tried this YET but my kids are asking for the magic slushy cup too. (and they are almost 18!!!) I plan to try making my salt mixture in my vacuum sealed freezer bags instead of zippie style bags in the hopes for fewer salty leaks and I can make small, skinny, reusable freezer "sticks".

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  37. Maybe you could freeze the saltwater in those freezer bags that seal with the vacuum thing.. Where it actually seals it. Sorry I don't know the name of it but hopefully you know what I'm talking about lol

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  38. I bought slushy magic and loved it. Only thing is you don't get much slush. This way I can make more at once.

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  39. What about those water bottles that have the insert ice thing in the middle?

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  40. You can also do the same thing but backwards to make ice cream. you put the ice cream mix in a small baggie and place it in a large baggie with ice cubes rock salt. Shake shake shake and you have soft serve

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  41. Tried making margaritas with the kit one time. Didn't work so well. Don't know if it was the alcohol that just didn't want to ice up or what...

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    1. Alcohol also has a lower freezing point, so you can put that margarita right in the freezer and it will slush up...but it can take awhile...

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  42. I just had a DUH moment. This is the same basic concept of icecream. We (Girl Scouts)used to fill a small coffee can w/ the ingredients and put into a large can full of ice and rock salt. We'd just sit and roll it back and forth. Same basic principals. Thanks! My boys will be thrilled this weekend w/ their own "Slushy Magic".

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  43. Have you tried putting the salt water in a small, resealable container (mini water bottle) and freezing it? You should not have leakage and the effusion should be lessened as the bottle isn't as permeable

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  44. Oh, and, I plan to try this with rock salt and ice instead of freezing salt water. My students made homemade ice cream using these ingredients and it worked well.

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  45. Has anyone tried this with "Adult beverages"?

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  46. i bought the slushy magic for my kids and they loved it, took it to grandmas one weekend and lost the "ice cubes"--now that i know how to make them i dont have to buy another one!

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  47. It didn't work for me. My ice was white, and we were shaking for over 5 minutes

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  48. You just SAVED the day! My kids have been begging for this and I just couldn't get passed reusing the cubes. We will try this!!!!

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  49. I wonder if you froze the salt water then vacuum sealed it, would that produce saltless slushies more reliably?

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  50. I just use a magic bullet no offense it makes great slushies ice and beverage and blend ! Nummy

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    1. No offense taken. I'm a smoothie gal myself...but the blender or the bullet kind of take the science part out of the slushy :)
      So this way, we made slushies and counted it as SCHOOL. Always looking for fun ways to learn.

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  51. This COULD work for margaritas...use limeade or margarita mix instead of Kool-Aid and then add tequila to taste...someone let me know how this turns out!

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  52. You can do this and make ice cream too. We did for our colleges Ag Day. Put milk, sugar and vanilla in the large ziplock bag instead of the kool-aid and you get ice cream!

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  53. Don't know if anyone suggested it or not but maybe you could try a vacume sealer to seal in the saltwater?

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  54. Hey just found this again and had to comment!!! i put clean (yes clean lol) ducktape on the ziplock of the bag and it sealed very very well with almost no leaks at all (could not taste any salt!) Thank you sooo much!! All my daycare kids loved this.

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  55. This is pretty much the same technology as making homemade ice cream............yes, I would imagine that using a small can or container inside a larger one would work too. Think I'll try it and let you know.....

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  56. I would probably put the 'ice' into another back and seal it up, that way if it were to spill it would go into the toher bag.Also maybe super glueing the bag closed? It sounds silly but it may work! Who knows?? :) Thanks for sharing this, i'm going to try it out tomorrow!

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  57. I know it'd be an extra expense but if you had a food saver system that heat seals the bag it would better seal the salt water....

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  58. If you have a "food saver" with varying bag sizes you could freeze the saltwater in a normal ziplock then transfer to a vacuum bag and seal so it doesn't leak

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  59. This didn't work for us. We tried it a couple times. The second time I froze the saltwater for a few days. No luck.

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    1. Maybe not enough salt added to the water? Just processing...

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  60. how an elctric ice cream maker with your kool aid instead of ice cream mix then you'd have enough for the neighbors kids too with out wasting all those plastic bags :)

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  61. Why not pour your kool aid into an electric ice cream maker with rock salt and ice on the out side and make enough for the neighbors kids too. Salt and ice still allow for an interesting science lesson with out wasting tons of plastic bags or salt diffusion :)

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  62. we did something like this in school but we made ice-cream with milk and rocksalt , maybe try rocksalt it works well and doesn't make the ice-cream salty

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  63. Totally worked! I am not a mom, but a 19 year old college student who likes slushies. :) I take a lot of science courses so this made sense to me and was an 'Aha!' moment for sure. Thanks for posting!!

    PS- my famiy is all about 100% juice (don't ask me why...I'm all for kool-aid haha) so I tried using some regular juice we had already and I was thrilled that this worked for that

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  64. Once the salt and water is frozen couldn't you transfer it to a vacuum seal bag and vacuum seal it shut to make sure the salt water doesn't leak into the slush?

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  65. Maybe a thin layer of plastic wrap?

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  66. Try using an empty recycled water bottle for your salt water solution... only fill it up about 3/4 of the way so it doesn't expand too much as the salt water freezes... That way the salt water cannot escape into your slushie solution :)

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  67. you can also make homemade icecream the same way. Just put in te ingredients for ice cream instead of kool-aid and cut the corner when it is frozen through and you have a way to dispense the "soft serve". We used to do this as a game when I was a kid. Make two bags and split into two groups and throw the bag between the people in the group. The first ones to reash ice cream wins!

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  68. I have to try this. My kids had the the Slush Magic kits thanks to my mom but managed to lose everything. I don't want to spend the money on new ones. Looks like I won't have to. They'll be thrilled. I won't even tell them what we're doing. The end result will be a surprise.

    Thanks!

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  69. Since the salt may leach into your drink use your favorite margarita mix and have an adult slushie.

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  70. sure wishing we had some good bags :) Thanks for figuring it out for the rest of us!!!

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  71. I commend your thinking outside the box to make your own Slushy Magic! Now if someone can figure out how to make your own Schticky.

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  72. In a week or two you'll be able to get a Slushy Magic for $5 at any Walgreens or Rite Aid. It was a summer fad. They'll be in the clearance rack soon.

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  73. I wonder if you put the kool aid into the smaller bag, then ice and salt into the larger bag (like the process for making homemade ice cream) it would work better. I am off to try it right now. It probably wouldn't hurt to chill your kool aid first as well. I know people always say they will post and let you know if it works or not, then they never do. I will try not to be one of those people and actually let you know if this works. I love slushies!!!

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  74. Let me get this straight. You want to inject your kids with a high concentration of SALT and SUGAR all in the name of convenience? This is ridiculous. What's next? How about pre-chewed french fries. Think of all the time that will save.

    Ugh.

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    1. Not salt...just a sweet, frozen (rare) treat.
      Not in the name of convenience...in the name of happy little smiles (and a science lesson).
      Thank you so much for taking the time to voice your negative opinion in a snarky way.

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    2. Really?? Common sense tells you that you could use any liquid...natural fruit juice, crystal light, vanilla soy milk the options are endless and if you read the blog at all you would know that the salt is not incorporated in the liquid. Common sense would tell you that even if you didn't read it!

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    3. Exactly. They must think just because someone had a sugary drink once, that it will be all the time and because the salt was involved they exaggerating even more.

      They don't get the point of this blog post...

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  75. My 4 year old and I just made our slushies. She was so excited to watch it go from liquid to solid in her hands. Think I may try it with Mio and water next time for a sugar free treat. Thank you so much for sharing your great ideas :)

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  76. this sounds so good i will have to try! to bad that Heissenbuttel doesnt understand that most liquids, sugary or not could work for this experiment. great idea thanks for the information!

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  77. Thanks for the info! I've been wondering how to do this, but haven't gotten around to making my science loving hubby figure it out.

    I decided to follow you based on this post, your sense of humor and the fact that you chose the same blog background as I. Now I have to see what more you have in store! Thanks!

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  78. Reminds me of when we made ice cream in a baggie in science class. Cool!

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  79. that is so cool!!! both of my kids want the slushy maker, now i don't have to buy one!! :) Thanks!!

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  80. That is soo nifty! Thanks for sharing!

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  81. Oh my goodness! My son has been begging for those slushy magic nonsense, and I just COULD NOT justify buying one. Now I don't have to! Thanks!

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  82. does the saltwater bag needs to remain closed?

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  83. We had the same problem (salty tasting) when we made homemade ice cream. The trick is to duct tape the salt bag closed so it cannot leak.

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    1. I saw another comment about this, but how would you duct tape the bag? If you duct tape the whole thing , I'd think that it wouldn't work as well so may someone let me know, please? Thanks.

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  84. thanks for sharing..

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  85. Could you put the saltwater into a sealed Tupperware container and still get the Slushy effect? We LOVE slushies in this house. Will definitely be trying this!

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  86. I love Pinterest that helped me find you! And thanks for explaining the science behind it. I'm going to mess around with it to see if I can get it to work.

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  87. Saturated sugar water should have the same low melting point as salt water. If it leaks, at least your slushy won't be ruined. Or you could make cubes and put them right into the drink. One minute of shaking shouldn't melt them too much. Fish them out before serving.

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  88. What about using a food saver bag mad sealing it without taking the air out.

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  89. What about using a food saver bag mad sealing it without taking the air out.

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  90. I can't wait to try this! I posted it on Stuffdot so I remember this weekend. Maybe orange slushies for our Halloween party?

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  91. I bought the magic slushy for my daughter couple weeks ago and its a waste of money the ice cubes take up the whole space in the cup so u get maybe 3 bites of slushy and u have to dig around for it bc of the ice we are going to try this sometime this week thanks for the post! :)

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  92. Won't it taste salty?????

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  93. Love this! Can't wait to give it a shot!

    Come visit us over at www.thesitsgirls.com!

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  94. Bless your heart! My son has been wanting one of those cups, but I couldn't see spending that much $ on one. Thank you...thank you...thank you!

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  95. Could you use vacuum sealer bags for the salt water? Some have a "seal only" setting on the machine. Those bags are pretty sturdy and thick.

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  96. Heaven&LileysMomDecember 1, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    I've done this with my daughter before and we used reg ice cubes in a zip bag and poured in a bunch of table salt, seal that bag and put it in a bigger on that had the kool aid in it and it worked fine. :)

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  97. Heaven (previous comment), idea worked really well for me. I put ice cubes and salt in the bag instead of water and salt to freeze. It worked really good (instant, don't have to wait for the mixture to freeze).

    I am a mom and I used a breastmilk storage bag (unused of course) because they are thick and have a double zipper seal. I suggest using those because they are thick, smaller and have the double seal.

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  98. If you are leaking the salted water into the drink, try the opposite. Use a pint size zipper bag 3/4 full of drink mix. Seal it closed. Then put it in a gallon size zippered bag. Add ice to the gallon bag and some salt. Seal it shut then... Shake shake shake! I recommend putting the whole thing in a plastic grocery bag or pillow case for shaking because the bag will be SUPER cold.

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  99. In high school chemistry, we made I've cream sort of like this. But like the comment above, we put the milk mixture in the small bag then I've and salt in larger bags.

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  100. Another blogger figured out the more permanent container issue using a mayo jar and a small water bottle: Check it out here: http://love2dreamdoyou.blogspot.com/2012/08/diy-slushy-drinks.html

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  101. It was pleasure to see your blog pics. Great piece of work. Keep it up.

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  102. What if you use the foodsaver bags that heat seal the ends.

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  103. Trying this tomorrow!! :) Thanks for posting.

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  104. great project, my teens love to make these.

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  105. a popuar pin on pinterest is "ice cream in a bag"... a variation on this idea, but more conventional..using ice cubes and salt. Not fully understanding the science, not sure which one would work best.

    Just thought I'd mention it...

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  106. This is so cool and saves a lot of money! thank you for the idea!!!

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  107. I love those moments of inspiration! Pure genius. I have been refusing to buy that thing for two years. Can't wait to try it. I bet it would work in the ice cream maker too :-)

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  108. I make ice cream this way too but I double bag the slt so that the salt taste doesn't get into the treat.

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  109. how much salt do you use? i am just confused on how its supposed to look before its frozen

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