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Celebrate National Smile Week with Humor, Compliments, Candy and More!

While it may not be recognized on most calendars, the 2nd week of the awesome month of August is indeed National Smile Week. And while we certainly don’t think you should ever wait for a specific week to roll around to smile, we do think this week calls for celebration! Because in the words of Buddy from Elf, “I just like to smile; smiling’s my favorite.”

So how does one celebrate National Smiling Week exactly? We think a nice way is to help others smile, which will in turn make you feel good, and likely result in a little smile of your own! But how can you help others turn a frown upside-down, or go from so-so to smiling? We have a few ideas in mind that should do the smiley trick! :)

Do something for them. Yup, it’s that simple, and it can be almost anything! Whether you have a half hour at the end of the day to help a coworker wrap up a project, or you take the time to make that sun tea your kids or parents love so much, doing something for someone ‘just because’ is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It’s always nice to be reminded that a helping hand or sweet gesture can pop up when we least expect it.

Tell them a funny story. While a joke is always good, a really great story delivered well is infinitely better. Whether you have naturally great storytelling skills, or you can use a little practice, sharing your story with someone and adding just the right emphasis to all the best parts is a fun break in the day for both of you. Plus, the person may choose to ‘pay it forward’ and share your story with someone else, continuing the smile chain and giving everyone a good laugh.

Compliment someone. We often travel through our days a bit oblivious to our surroundings and fellow humans, rushing here, rushing there, rushing everywhere. Slow down and look for positive changes or simply things you like. Perhaps a cousin is sporting a new haircut, or your husband finally bought a new baseball cap. Even the shyest among us can’t help but feel good that someone took notice of us, and a little affirmation can go a long way toward making other changes down the line without apprehension.

Give them candy. Oh, you had to know this one was coming! But honestly, one of the best 3-word combinations ever conceived has to be, “Want a piece?” Don’t worry “I Love You” fans – that one is pretty great, too! But we think there’s enough room in everyone’s life for love and candy. While almost any sweet treat should do the trick, you can initiate an unexpected candy surprise, leaving Cupcake Lollipops on coworkers desks, tossing some Gummy Burgers in your wife’s purse, or leaving your children wide-eyed by presenting them with an after-dinner Giant Gummy Bear.

          We’ll look forward to smiling along with you – next week and whenever we can!

          Blair Candy Has the Sweetest Picks for Shark Week!

          Yes, dear reader. It is finally here. That glorious week awaited by millions – nay, billions! – across the universe. The one…the only…SHARK WEEK. Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is anticipated by some the way an anxious child awaits Christmas morning. Typical plans for the week are cancelled or never made. Perhaps a few sick days have even been saved up for some Shark Week sniffles – dangerous business; definitely should stay home! But while your remote may get a vacation during Shark Week as you watch show after show without fail, your belly is gonna start to grumble. Man and woman cannot live by Shark Week alone. You need to keep up your strength so you don’t miss anything!

          So what to put on the Shark Week menu? Seafood is always a good choice. Watching sharks, eating like sharks, makes sense to us! And when the time comes for dessert or a late night snack, you can keep the ocean theme wave rolling in. Don’t worry – we don’t have any recipes for crab flavored ice cream up our sleeves. Just some sweet, summery treats that are shark-tastic!

          Gummi X-Ray Fish – These fruity gummies are fun to look at and neat to eat – gummy bones and all! Each box contains 36 see-through fishies, individually-wrapped and ready to enjoy.

          Swedish Fish Aqua Life – Offering all the fabulous favors the Swedish Fish family of gummies has to offer, Aqua Life brings quite a bounty of oceany options, including gummy starfish, gummy blowfish, and gummy dolphins and seahorses.

          Salt Water Taffy – A boardwalk favorite that will shore-ly make Shark Week all the better! It will feel like a true vacation when you add Salt Water Taffy to your SW menu, though an actual trip to the beach will likely be the furthest thing from your mind. The Midwest, anyone? I hear it’s gorgeous this time of year!

          Gardners Candies – Chocolate Easter Eggs for Every Taste!

          Looking for that super special Easter treat for yourself or a loved one? That chocolate wonder that will have them staring wide-eyed with anticipation for the bounty their taste buds and belly are about to receive? When only the best will do, consider Gardners candies!

          BlairCandy.com is proud to offer a delicious selection of Gardners candy, with a flavorful focus on a customer favorite – Gardners Easter Eggs. These aren’t your average chocolate eggs. Each Gardners egg weighs in at an impressive full pound, and comes packed with fillings as delectable as the creamy chocolate shell. These make a wonderful Easter gift for Moms, Dads, Grandparents and older children – anyone who can appreciate every nibble, and savor every sweet bite! Let’s take a closer look at a few of our most popular Gardner’s eggs…

          Gardners Peanut Butter Meltaway Egg – That’s right…a full pound of nothing but chocolate, peanut butter meltaway, and a perfectly-sweet candy flower on top. The peanut butter meltaway egg is a great choice for just about everyone of all ages – who doesn’t love peanut butter?!

          Gardners Butter Cream Egg – Oh yeah, you read it right – butter cream! This egg is so amazingly rich and full of flavor that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. We recommend tiny bites so as not to overwhelm your senses. Plus, you’ll want this to last as long as possible. Maybe just order 2 to be safe. Err, 3. Yeah, 3. (4) ;)

          Gardners Chocolate Fudge Nut Egg – Do you think the only way to improve upon chocolate is to add more chocolate? Well, how about adding more chocolate and nuts? Thought that might get your attention! This fudge-filled chocolate egg is sizable enough to share, but we certainly aren’t going to tell anyone if you decide to hide it in back of the pantry or refrigerator instead. Because one of us might be doing the same thing. And one of us might be me. And one of us might be hoping no one with a key to my house is reading this.

          Want even more Gardners candies to choose from? You’re in luck! In addition to the varieties outlined above, we also offer: Cashew Meltaway Eggs, Coconut Eggs, Fruit and Nut Eggs, Maple Cream and Nuts Eggs, and All Nut Eggs, with roasted cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans and walnuts. We’re sure to have the most egg-celent option for everyone’s Easter basket!

          Creativity Inspired By Easter Candy

          If you’re lucky enough to have little ones in your life, you know how wonderfully imaginative their minds tend to be. They can entertain themselves for hours by creating fun stories around whatever they have to work with, be it a few dolls or building blocks, or a few crayons and sheets of paper. Sure, most of them love video games and other electronics as well. In fact, most kids I know had an iPod before me! But they can still be quite captivated and creative with some of the simpler things, even if you have to give them a little push.

          I came across a video recently on YouTube that I had to watch a few times to truly appreciate. One of YouTube’s top viral videos, kittens inspired by kittens features a vibrant little girl flipping through a picture book of kittens and offering her take on what each is thinking. At first, I thought she was just being goofy, saying the first thing that came to mind. But after watching it a few times, I could see what she saw! The kittens really did look like they might be thinking those things. Some were a little more obvious, while others showed that the girl really took a picture in for a moment before deciding what to say. She looked at it the way a child looks at things, where anything is possible and one must rely on clues instead of life experience. Then, we all get to look at it through her eyes too, and it’s suddenly a lot more magical!

          While we think any time that you encourage your child’s creativity is the right time, we couldn’t help but wonder what amazing tales kids would tell involving the ‘characters’ in their Easter baskets. This Easter, we hope you’ll consider asking your kids to create a story for the contents of their basket before they dig into the deliciousness. If they don’t know where to begin, simply ask them how the Gardners Chocolate Bunny and the Marshmallow Peeps met, or how the Easter Bunny makes breakfast in the morning – with regular eggs, or Bubble Gum Eggs? You’ve seen your children dream up imaginary worlds of wonder with little more than a rainy day inside fueling their creativity. Imagine what they can originate with a basket full of Easter Candy! If you’ll be giving an Easter basket anyway, why not let it fill their minds and their bellies with fun? Even if their story is shorter than it might otherwise be as they can’t wait to indulge in a Jelly Bean breakfast, it’s sure to be one of the best stories you’ve ever heard.

          Make Learning Fun and Delicious with Jelly Beans!

          It’s no secret to most people that many teachers spend quite a bit of their own money on their students throughout the year, every year, and don’t ask to be reimbursed. When I was a little girl just a few years ago (we won’t get into exact numbers here), I was lucky enough to have a teacher who recognized the power that Twizzlers and Tootsie Pops held over our 6-year-old minds, and she would purchase both regularly to share with us. Once each week when our lesson was to go around the classroom and practice reading aloud, she would open her desk drawer and grab a bag of Tootsie Pops or Twizzlers while we all eagerly smiled. Each child would get one piece of licorice or a Tootsie Pop to start with, just to ensure everyone got something sweet regardless of their reading ability. Then, we would all open to the same page in our books, and starting with the first student in the first row, we would read aloud one by one until we made a mistake. We had to read at a normal pace, and when we made that first inevitable mistake, the next child would pick up at the beginning of the sentence that slipped us up. This continued around the room until we were finished with the story. And the lucky kid that read the most lines without making a mistake? That kid got 3 extra Twizzlers or 2 extra Tootsie Pops. Yeah, that kid was very often yours truly!

          This post isn’t simply me bragging about my 6-year-old reading prowess, which was something I was naturally good at with or without candy (though the candy didn’t hurt). It’s the realization that many years later I still remember the sound of that bag coming out of the desk drawer like it was yesterday. And I also see things now that I didn’t see then. At the time, I felt sorry for the kids that couldn’t read as well as some of us. I felt sad that they had to struggle and stumble in front of all of us. But looking back, I remember them getting better as time went on. And I remember that everyone was so focused on scoring some candy for themselves that they didn’t notice the other kids fumbling as much as they otherwise might have noticed. In short – my teacher wasn’t only generous, she was also very smart!

          I’m sitting at my desk right now eating licorice, which is probably what sparked this memory. But it’s the bowl of jelly beans on the desk that really has my attention. Jelly beans – quite possibly the most affordable candy ever conceived, in addition to being a near universal hit. Who doesn’t love jelly beans? Nobody I know doesn’t! And certainly no kid I know doesn’t.  This got my brain working on some fun and educational jelly bean ideas for teachers to use in the classroom. I’d love to hear if any teachers out there have used jelly beans or any other candy in the classroom as a tasty learning tool!

          Jelly Bean Bingo – Bingo is a game that we never grow tired of, whether we’re 5 or 105. To help young children learn their numbers, teachers could print out paper bingo cards, and hand out little cups of jelly beans to use as markers. Once bingo is over, each kid could eat their markers! And the big prize for the winners? Perhaps one of these adorable Jelly Belly LolliBeans Lollipops?

          Counting on Candy – Math can be much more fun when the numbers being added, subtracted and multiplied are jelly beans.  The best way to make this activity work for you would depend on your class size. For a smaller class, you could set a pile of jelly beans on a piece of plastic wrap to keep it clean, as well as wearing plastic gloves. Call students to your desk and create math problems for them to solve using the candy. For example, set out 12 jelly beans and ask them how many you’ll have if you take away 5. Push 5 to the side and the first student to answer correctly gets the 5 that were taken away! Continue the lesson adding, subtracting and multiplying until the jelly beans are gone.

          Creative Thinking with Candy – This game will not only get your students thinking creatively, but also help you to learn a little more about them. Give each student a small pile of jelly beans, and ask them to write down different things that each color of jelly bean reminds them of. Perhaps the yellow jelly beans remind them of the sun, while the black jelly beans remind them of being afraid of the dark, or their black Labrador puppy. You’ll never know until you ask! And once you know what they like and don’t like, it will be easier to talk with them and relate to their lives, encouraging them to see you as a teacher and a friend. Plus, they get to eat the jelly beans when they’re done. Sounds like a good lesson plan to me. :)

          A Completely Made Up Story About How the Easter Basket Came to Be*

          Many, many years ago (like, 59 years ago or so) there was no such thing as the Easter basket. Sure, there was Easter candy, in fact Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs date back to Shakespeare – they were totally his fave, and the candy that fueled his writings more often than even bread and water! But they were not to be found in a basket on Easter morning, rather they sat in a pile on the table. A pile that while delicious, left itself open to thieves. Candy thieves. The worst thieves of all.

          Many children would excitedly scamper out of bed only to arrive in the kitchen just in time to see a Jelly Bean Bandit filling his pockets with their Marshmallow Peeps, and greedily stuffing Mini Cadbury Eggs into his big, thief mouth! The parents couldn’t handle it anymore, going to bed every year on Holy Saturday wondering if it might happen to their family. Committees were formed, meeting times were set, and business was most certainly gotten down to!

          Like any idea in its infancy, some missteps were made. The Easter Sock lasted for exactly 1 Easter before they went back to the drawing board. Nobody likes to retrieve their chocolate Easter bunnies from that which usually holds their feet.  Next came the Easter pocket; an oversized pocket stitched to children’s pajamas that was designed to hold their candy, which the parents would sneak in to fill while they slept. Well, it turns out chocolate melts pretty easily, especially if you sleep with it in your pocket. A big Easter oopsy! As luck would have it, the third time was the charm, and like so many great things it was an accident.

          One of the committees had decided that it would be best to have a paper ballot so people felt free to offer ideas they otherwise might not. On her way out the door on the way to the meeting, the committee chairwoman grabbed a basket to hold the ballot. That night’s ideas for solving the Easter candy debacle were particularly varied! Now that people had the freedom to offer any off the wall suggestion they wanted without ridicule, they went a little crazy. One person suggested an Easter wheelbarrow. Another suggested burying the candy the night before and letting the children dig for it in the morning. Strangely, 2 people suggested leaving it out on the table. They apparently didn’t understand what this meeting was about AT ALL! It had become customary to close these meetings by enjoying a piece of whatever Easter candy you brought along – to end the night on a good note. But everyone was so frustrated that no practical idea had been born, that they threw their candy down on the table in emotional exhaustion. After all, Easter was just 2 days away, and the best idea thus far was an Easter wheelbarrow!

          It was as if it happened in slow motion. Someone had tossed their Cadbury Crème Egg at just the right angle for it to bounce off the table and land squarely in the middle of the ballot basket. Everyone stopped talking. Everyone stopped moving. It grew so quiet you could hear a jelly bean drop. Slowly, they raised their heads from the basket to meet each others’ eyes. As quickly as it had become quiet, there began a celebratory uproar! Baskets! Of course, baskets! Women hugged, men high-fived, Old Man Murphy did a little jig in the middle of the table, holding what was once just a ballot basket, and now was oh-so-much more.

          *If this bears any resemblance to the real way the Easter basket happened, it’s purely accidental. For realz.

          Dear Mini Cadbury Eggs: I Love You. So Much.

          I’m not going to beat around the candy bar bush – I love chocolate. This may not be the most profound thing about me, or the most surprising; after all, I work at a candy company, and most people love chocolate, so chances are pretty good that I’m a fan! But profound, surprising or otherwise, it’s definitely a way I identify myself – as a chocolate lover. Of course I have my favorites, including plain Hershey Bars and oh-so-satisfying Snickers Bars. Those are candy bars I can enjoy all year, and I am happy for that, believe me I am! But there is something special about those candies that only stop by for what seems like a Sunday afternoon before they’re off the shelves and barely past the tip of your tongue. Of all these seasonal sweets, of which there are many that I love, I can’t think of any so fabulous as you, Mini Cadbury Eggs.

          I love everything about you, Mini Cadbury Eggs. Ev-er-y-thing. I love your glossy purple bag. I love your adorably speckled candy shell.  I love the way that candy shell perfectly cracks, letting your milk chocolate middle shine! But before the crack of the shell, I love to just enjoy that subtle sweetness of your shell – not a flavor really, just a sweetness. I love finding one of you tucked into the corner of the bag when I thought I’d eaten you all. I love always eating a blue you first. Even though you all taste the same, the blue reminds me of robin’s eggs, and I also love robins! (I don’t eat them though. Pinkie swear!)

          I just wanted to write you this note, Mini Cadbury Eggs, to let you know the world isn’t absent-mindedly buying you. You are not an impulse purchase. You are not a take-it-or-leave-it candy. You are special, delicious and treasured. You spring onto the scene like Spring herself, bringing memories of so many Easters before in your arrival. For me and many others, you are *the* Easter candy. You have some excellent company for sure – there’s no denying the delight of jelly beans, Reese’s peanut butter eggs, Marshmallow Peeps and much more! But despite how much I love all those candies, you’re this lady’s favorite. Despite how much I love them all, I love you more. ♥

          Hiding the Easter Candy and Thinking Beyond the Basket!

          Don’t worry, we aren’t about to suggest you forego that most favorite of all baskets ever!  (Sorry, clothes baskets, you never really stood a chance.) We just have a new idea for the Easter basket that will turn Easter morning into a marathon of sorts. While it is common for the Easter Bunny to hide Easter baskets before he hops along down the bunny trail, he usually hides them with all the jelly beans and Cadbury Crème Eggs artfully arranged inside, making for a presentation you just hate to destroy but have to! Just imagine how amazing it would feel to be able to dig into every delicious bite without destroying the Easter Bunny’s hard work. Our idea makes that possible.

          Instead of holding Easter candy, your Easter baskets will hold folded slips of paper – candy clues. Much like a grand finale Easter egg hunt, your kiddos will have to find every sweet piece one by one. Except perhaps the jelly beans, as they’ll need some sugary fuel to start their hunt. Plus, hiding jelly beans one by one would take weeks! Think of all the clever hiding places that exist in your home – the places a basket won’t quite fit, but a single piece of candy will. The top drawer of the computer desk, inside a coffee mug, peeking out of your purse, the options are endless! Then grab a bag of Easter basket straw, and in each of these hiding places make a small nest with a piece of Easter candy perched on top. Make note of everywhere that something has been hidden, taking care not to hide anything where a pet might be able to find it. Then get ready to write your clues!

          Your clues and hiding places can be straightforward and located just about anywhere, or you can have a little fun with clever placement, word play and special memories. For example, where better to hide the Zitner’s Butter Krak Eggs than in the butter keeper in the fridge? And right next to the Butter Krak eggs, all in a row, a dozen delectable Cadbury Crème Eggs in the egg keeper! Have an older child who always made sure that his rubber ducky was around for bath time when he was young? Our Vanilla Ducky is a perfect treat! And a great hiding spot would be sitting right on top of a towel in the linen closet. Peanut butter fan who would go to the ends of the Earth for just one bite? They’ll surely appreciate finding Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs on top of the world – you know, the globe in the den! Coming up with creative locations and clues might not be as fun as actually eating the candy, but we think it comes in at a pretty close second. What unique location or clues might you offer for helping your family find their Easter baskets’ fill of candy? Please share in the comments! :)

          Valentine’s Day Peeps: Perfect For Eating and Drinking!

          While I must admit that “Yum!” was the first thought that came to mind when the first box of Valentines Peeps rolled into Blair, the second thought was more along the lines of a chin-scratching “Hmm?” I had an idea for these heart-shaped marshmallow munchies, and I’m excited to share it with you!

          As if traditional sugar-coated Peeps weren’t delicious enough, the Valentines Peeps lineup features raspberry flavored marshmallow hearts coated in your choice of milk or dark chocolate. Decadent? You bet! Do I feel guilty eating more than one? Nope! These heart-shaped Peeps come but once a year, and I’m not wasting a single second counting how many I’ve managed to unwrap and make disappear!

          But I am not content to simply eat these sweet Peeps. Oh no, I had to find a way to drink them as well. Well…to be fair…not quite drink them whole. But add them to 2 drinks I already love to make them even tastier. And those drinks just happen to be coffee and hot cocoa.

          I started my Peep experiment with an oversized mug and a piping hot pot of coffee. I plunked a Valentines Peep into the bottom of the empty mug and slowly poured coffee on top, taking care not to splash. As my Peep rose to the top its chocolate coating was already melting, flavoring my coffee and sending sweet smells into the air. The slow melting of the raspberry marshmallow inside followed, lending a slight fruitiness to my drink that I quite enjoyed. When the coffee was gone, there was still some Peep left, which I promptly scooped out with a spoon and enjoyed as a finale!

          The rules for the cocoa were much the same, though the cocoa and Peep treat is kid-friendly as well. Just make sure not to prepare it for very young children as the softened Peep may be a choking hazard. I can’t say that even for me it was an easy task to save it for last, so I can only imagine the determination necessary for a child!

          If you decide to try taking your coffee or cocoa with a side of Peeps, we’d love to know what you think! In the meantime, we’ll be plopping, pouring, sipping and smiling. :)

          Valentine’s Day Candy for Sweethearts of All Ages!

          Valentine’s Day is often thought of as a holiday for 2 distinct groups of people: kids and couples. For kids, it usually means creating Valentines to share with classmates and friends, or choosing their favorite pre-made Valentines at the store, which are usually available in a wide variety of styles ranging from timeless to trendy. For couples, Valentine’s Day is typically accompanied by candy, flowers, and an evening out at a special restaurant. For as nice as these things are, they aren’t something everyone can enjoy. Firstly, most of the people reading this are not kids. Secondly, not everyone reading this is part of a couple, and even those that are may have other people in their lives they’d like to extend a little Valentine’s Day love to!

          We aren’t suggesting anything scandalous – Blair Candy isn’t looking to be a home wrecker! We just wanted to give you some candy suggestions that are perfect for co-workers, friends and family members; sweet treats that are sure to bring a smile like only candy can.

          Cool Candy for Kids: Looking for something unique for your children, nieces, or nephews? Kids are usually huge fans of novelty candy. If it’s something they’ve never seen before, they want it twice as badly! If it lights up, sprays, or squeezes, add a few bonus points. Some super fun Valentine’s candy picks for kids include Giant Gummy Bears, Icee Squeeze Candy and Skittles Sour Light Up Spray. Want to give them novelty candy that brings a Valentine’s theme? A box of Puppy Love Candy is perfect for Valentine’s Day and has enough sweets for 18 of their favorite friends!

          Retro Candy for Adults: Want to give something special to friends and coworkers who have a few more candles on their birthday cake each year than they care to admit to? Our nostalgic candy makes for a tempting treat that’s packed with memories. If you want to keep with the popular pink and red theme of Valentine’s candy, consider sharing Candy Lipstick, Atomic Fireballs, or even some cherry or strawberry Air Heads Taffy. Just because the package isn’t covered in hearts and cupids doesn’t mean the candy inside is any less delicious or perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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