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Offbeat Candy Ideas

Tootsie Rolls: All Wrapped Up!

If you’re like us, you are absolutely inundated with Tootsie Rolls during Halloween, and with good reason. These small chocolatey snacks are the perfect size when you need to satisfy that midday chocolate craving. They also are great to keep in candy dishes, desk drawers, or in your son or daughter’s lunch bag. As a matter of fact, there really isn’t a place where Tootsie Rolls won’t fit!

Since Tootsie Rolls are individually wrapped (they delightfully spin when you unwrap them!), the one thing you’re left with after indulging in a roll or two is the distinctive brown, red, and white wrapper. While you could simply throw out the wrappers, where’s the fun in that? We found some great tutorials online, showing fun and unique ways to use the Tootsie wrapper after you’ve eaten the candy.

Over at Plum Pudding, they have a wonderful post detailing how to turn a bag of Tootsie Roll wrappers into a stylish belt. All you need are common household craft items like scissors, packing tape, and double stick tape and 2 d-rings, which can be found at your favorite fabric store.

Poking around eHow, we found this great lesson about creating those crazy purses and bags out of candy wrappers. You’ve seen these bags in stores everywhere, but you might not have known that you can make them yourself. All you need is a free day and a LOT of Tootsie Roll wrappers. Once you master the initial fold technique, you’ll be on your way to having a “sweet” purse!

Do you have any Tootsie Roll wrapper craft ideas? Let us know in the comments!

Chocolate Gold Coins: Make Chores and More a Bit More Fun!

Helping out around the house is something that many kids take to when they’re very young, but begin to dread soon enough. I have yet to meet a child who loves taking out the garbage, cleaning up their room, clearing the dinner table, or sweeping the sidewalk. There are plenty of much more fun things to be doing, and kids are very driven by fun! But as much as part of our job as parents is ensuring that our kids are given enough time to play and relax, it is also our duty to make sure they know that chores are a part of life. The garbage doesn’t take itself out, and the dinner table doesn’t clear itself. But everything gets done much more quickly when everyone pitches in! And that’s precisely why offering a little extra incentive can make your life a lot easier.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think we should teach kids that every little thing they do deserves a reward. They should learn that life comes with some boring, tedious, or difficult things that need doing, and the only true ‘payment’ we receive is that they get done. But if your kiddo goes above and beyond to get something done early, or does a really great job, it can also be fun for you both to give them something in return. Our suggestion? Gold chocolate coins! And more specifically, gold chocolate coins that they can use to ‘buy’ something they really want.

When we get older, the things we want can shift pretty drastically from what we wanted when we were 8 or 9 years old. Back then, we wanted to stay up a little later, play with our toys a little longer, and have an extra scoop of ice cream for dessert, with extra hot fudge sauce for good measure. (OK, we still want that ice cream!) With hard-earned chocolate gold coins, you can give your children an opportunity to ‘buy’ these privileges, making chore time seem a little less like work.

Perhaps making their bed will earn them one chocolate quarter, while taking the dog for a long walk is worth a chocolate half dollar. A report card full of A’s and B’s? A small handful of chocolate money is in order! They could also earn chocolate money they didn’t even know they were ‘working’ for, such as a surprise coin or two for helping a friend or behaving in church. In these instances, it’s not so much about making them think that every good deed comes with a payment, rather letting them know that you noticed they did the right thing.

Now that most kids are home for summer break, they’ll have even more opportunities to help out around the house. And they’ll probably want to ‘buy’ even more things as well, such as an extra hour to play video games at night, or even an option to skip their least favorite chore for a few days. Or, they might have a hard time saving up because eating their ‘money’ is just too irresistible!

Beep, Beep, Peep!

Image courtesy of FreeFunEaster.com

Well, folks, it happened. We aren’t even officially into the Easter season, and one of our friends has already sent us the CUTEST little marshmallow Peeps creation we’ve ever seen. And for as adorable and delicious as it looks, the directions are remarkably simple! Did we mention it’s also a rather cheap recipe that involves no cooking or baking, so you can easily involve the kiddos in the process? Yep – pretty much Easter recipe perfection we’re working with here! So what exactly will you be making? Start your engines for Easter Bunny Racecars!

Here’s what you’ll need to make the sweetest little speedsters this side of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as taken from FreeFunEaster.com

Bunny Marshmallow Peeps

      ♦ Large Marshmallows

          ♦ Mini Pretzels

              ♦ Cream-Filled Cakes

                  ♦ Decorator Icing

                      ♦ Frosting

                          ♦ Sprinkles

                            Before we get into the directions for these, we feel it’s necessary to understand that the miniature pretzel will serve as the steering wheel. See the picture above to really take in just how impossibly adorable that is! OK, we can move on now.

                            The first step involves cutting a small rectangle from the top of the cream-filled cake of your choosing. Since you won’t be using this removed part anywhere else in the recipe, be sure to put it to good use by eating it! The space provided by cutting away the rectangle of cake will serve as a driver’s seat for your Bunny Marshmallow Peeps, which you will further secure to the cake with a dab of white decorator icing.

                            Once the Peep is settled into his or her seat, use the decorator icing once again as ‘glue’ for the mini pretzel steering wheel and marshmallow tires.

                            Ready to get really creative? That’s where the frosting and sprinkles come into the equation. Make each car unique by getting daringly decorative with these two ingredients. Always wanted your initial on the hood of your car? Now is your chance without worrying about resale value!

                            Create a Candy Cake with Candy Sticks, Sour Patch Kids and More!

                            Typically, when I’m looking for a fun and unique recipe that incorporates candy, I find myself searching through the oodles of inspiration the internet offers. After all, there are far more creative people out there than me, and if they’re willing to share their creations, who am I to not take them up on the offer? But this morning, as I sat on my front porch and enjoyed the sunshine and warm air, a little inspiration of my own struck. And now it’s my turn to pay it forward by throwing my little idea out into the universe!

                            A Lovely, Flavorful Front Lawn

                            Don’t get me wrong – for as delicious as some animals seem to find grass, it has never struck me as a scrumptious snack. That said, I do love me some sprinkles! My idea – which can be totally customized to include any number of additional delights – starts with a rectangular cake in your favorite flavor, generously coated with a layer of green icing. You can allow the green icing to serve as the grass all on its own, or add extra texture with green sprinkles.

                            Put Up a Fence

                            It might actually work better to put up the fence before the sprinkles, but really, either way should work fine. I find a white picket fence to be most attractive, spanning the full perimeter of the cake. As for what to construct your fence from? Candy sticks! (Note: Some of you may know these as candy cigarettes, though the name has been changed to sticks. The candy is still the same, though!)

                            Give Your Yard Some Life

                            From Sour Patch Kids to gummy bears, there are countless delicious inhabitants for your yard to consider! Other tasty options include gummy worms, mini gummy butterflies stuck to the fence with a dab of icing, and/or anise bears or cinnamon bears. If there’s room on your cake, you can even make a ‘swimming pool’ with blue sprinkles and fill it with gummy octopi, assorted Swedish Fish, Gummi Peach Penguins and more.

                            The options are truly endless, and I hope you’ll give this summery cake idea a try! If you want to get really inventive, consider adding a dog house made of graham crackers, or building a trampoline whose center is made of a Fruit Roll-Up. Or – a fire with little pretzels as logs! I don’t know where all these ideas are coming from today, but I like it. :)

                            Flowers for Valentine’s Day – The Dollar Store Way!

                            bud vase image credit: partyhire.co.nz

                            If you love shopping at the dollar store even half as much as I do, you may have stood before the tiny bud vases so many of those stores offer thinking, “They’re so cute, but what can I possibly use them for?” Yes – I have eyed up those vases more than my fair share of times. I’m drawn in by their charming tininess, but can never seem to think of a way I can use them, so I walk away well-aware that the last thing my house needs is yet another piece of decor I can’t figure out what to do with! Until now, that is.

                            I can excitedly say that I finally have a reason to pick up a few bud vases, and a good reason at that! Not only do I plan to create a few ‘arrangements’ for my own home, but I think my idea will make for darling little Valentine’s Day gifts for friends. And – it’s super cheap and chic! Aren’t you glad I’m the sharing type? ;)

                            So, what is this genius idea? It’s super simple, and will take literally a few minutes to create. The only supplies needed are bud vases, conversation hearts, and Valentine’s Day lollipops. You can grab some ribbon too if you’d like to wrap a bow around the vase, but I think it would be pretty either way. Here’s the easy-peasy steps…

                            1.) Wash and dry the bud vases.

                            2.) Fill the vases 3/4 to the top with conversation hearts.

                            3.) Stick a Valentine lollipop or two in the center as ‘flowers’.

                            4.) Smile – you made an adorable decoration or gift!

                            In addition to the little vases I’ll be placing on my desk, bedside table, shelves and such, I think I’ll also make a larger one to serve as a table centerpiece. And that means I’ll also have to pick up a larger vase while I’m at the dollar store. Oh well – someone’s gotta do it!

                            Stuff Those Stockings Early for Thanksgiving!

                            As much as I have always loved holidays, spending quality time with friends and family from near and far, there are some holidays that can get a little bit boring for kids. Though it’s been many years since I sat at the ‘kid table’ on Thanksgiving, I still keenly remember the boredom that set in once the turkey had been put away and the pumpkin pie sliced, served and savored. The adults were tired and settled into the sofa for a nap or to watch a football game, and the kids didn’t have much to do except talk over what they hoped Santa would bring that year. And…that’s a shame. Because as much as I love Christmas, it hurts my heart to see Thanksgiving serve as a mere stepping stone to Christmas. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday all on its own! And I have a fun way to celebrate it with your little ones – and fellow adults – this year…

                            The Turkey Won’t Be the Only Thing Getting Stuffed…

                            As long as I can remember, I get most excited about stocking stuffers. I love my ‘big gifts’ as well, of course! But that oversized, Christmas sock stuffed to the brim with candy, lotions, perfume, nail polish and more is what sets my Christmas morning heart aflutter. So – why reserve that feeling to just one day a year when it can just as easily happen twice? Why, indeed!

                            This Thanksgiving, I’m breaking out the stockings early, and asking guests to bring theirs along as well. I’m heading out to do some shopping tonight, so I’m going to pick up a nice selection of stocking stuffers for people to gift one another. I’ll also get some goodies right here at Blair, of course. A stocking isn’t a stocking without a serious selection of candy! But it isn’t the bubble bath and Bursting Berry Blow Pops that will make these stockings extra special – it’s the notes of thanks, appreciation and love we’ll each be slipping inside them.

                            1.) First, I plan to ask everyone to hang their stocking, letting others know which is theirs if it isn’t obvious (my name is embroidered on mine!)

                            2.) Next, each person will pick one candy treat to stuff inside each stocking, and one non-candy treat as well. Once everyone has chosen one candy and non-candy treat each for everyone, the stockings should be looking pretty stuffed! But the real gift is yet to come…

                            3.) Lastly, I’ll ask everyone to write something thoughtful about everyone else there – one thing per person. It could be something about that person they particularly enjoy, something that person has done for them that they are thankful for, or really anything that would be nice to know or hear from someone you care about. Just like the candy and non-candy treats, these sentiments will be nestled in the stockings, adding up to paper slips far sweeter than even Pixy Stix! Once complete, we’ll all sit around together and take turns reading our slips aloud. While eating candy, naturally!

                                  I hope some of you will consider trying this at your home this year. Even if your plans do include spending Thanksgiving evening in line at a favorite store, don’t forget to give Thanksgiving its fair share of the spotlight. We all have things to be grateful for, big and small, and we couldn’t stuff all our blessings in a stocking if we tried.

                                  Fun and Flavorful Candy Cocktail Ideas for Adults!

                                  While enjoying dinner and drinks with friends a few weeks ago, I was met with a fun-tastic surprise while browsing the cocktail menu. As if they were designed from my own mind, the restaurant had incorporated candy into many of its martinis! Once my excitement subsided, I was dumbstruck by the fact that I had never thought to do this on my own. Not that I think I’m a genius, but I’ve been surrounded by candy since birth – somewhere along the way it should have come to me!

                                  I wasn’t driving that night so I was able to satisfy my sweet tooth with a sampling of sweet ‘tinis. My first choice a Pop Rocks martini, featuring a glass rimmed with, you guessed it, Pop Rocks! Seriously people, how did this never occur to me? My next tasty temptation was a bubble gum vodka martini with a Charms Blow Pop dunked inside and poking out the top of the glass. Whatever bubble gum-loving guru was behind that creation was one smart cookie! I may have even had two.

                                  Reminiscing now on those marvelous martinis, I did a little search to see what other ideas might be floating around out there. And I quickly discovered I need to have a get-together with my favorite ladies and fellas as soon as possible! Candy cocktails would be delicious any time of year, but they’re simply perfect for summer. And one of my favorite ideas doesn’t even involve putting candy in the glass, but around it! In this mouthwatering post on the A Beautiful Mess Blog – A Candy Cocktail Party – I was literally left gasping over the Orange Soda Cocktail. Garnishing the stem of a martini glass with Ring Pops? Brilliant! It also solves the question of whose drink is whose – just remember your Ring Pop color and you can keep swapping gossip and having good times without sharing germs.

                                  I’ll be keeping my eye out for more summery sweet candy cocktail ideas, and would love to hear from you if you have any awesome ideas! As for this moment I’m still at the office, so I’ll simply be sipping my lemonade with one of the Striken Strawberry Sour Punch Twists that are never far from reach. ;)

                                  Making That Birthday Gift Box So Much Sweeter

                                  We’ve been making lots of candy-coated changes here at Blair Candy over the last few months, including moving soon into our brand new candy warehouse. We’ve just debuted another “new” – our Candy By Decades section on our website! We say with pride and affection that we’re pretty nuts about candy, and we’ve long been in wonderment on the different types of sweets that have blossomed from various decades over the last century. Doesn’t it just make sense that Fun Dip debuted in the same decade as when we needed a little “carefree” in our lives post-WWII?

                                  We found ourselves chatting with many a customer on candy gift ideas, including offering up gift suggestions that relate to the gift recipient’s birth year or the decade they grew up in, so we figured, hey, why not make it easy and create a category of candy from each decade? A great birthday gift idea is to pair candy from the decade they were born or grew up in with a small gift that fits into that decade, as well! We put our heads together and came up with some awesome ideas for you:

                                  • Candy From The 20s: Pair some Caramel Creams, Chiclets, and Clark Bars with Betty Boop memorabilia, a typewriter key bracelet, or a Babe Ruth figurine.
                                  • Candy From The 30s: Combine delish Candy Buttons, PayDay bars, and Snickers with a so retro “tick tock” cat clock, Fedora hat, or a sleek cocktail shaker.
                                  • Candy From The 40s: Wrap up Junior Mints, Bazooka bubble gum, and Fun Dip in a package with a vintage pin-up girl poster, WWII coin collection, and a pack of Coca-Cola in the original Coke “bottle” look.
                                  • Candy From The 50s: Put a bow on a gift of Candy necklaces, Dum Dum lollipops, and Satellite Wafers by pairing it with a whimsical Gumby and Pokey set, Silly Putty, and a retro apron.
                                  • Candy From The 60s: Reflect on one fun decade by combining a gift of Gummy Swedish Fish, Fruit Stripe Gum, and Twizzlers with a tie-dyed shirt, Beatles poster, and a space shuttle figurine.
                                  • Candy From The 70s: Break that disco ball out and give a gift of PopRocks, Laffy Taffy, and Bubble Yum, along with a disco ball keychain, lava lamp, or anything with “groovy” written on it!
                                  • Candy From The 80s: Celebrate this neon-hued decade with a gift of Gummy Bears, Runts, and Nerds, paired with a so-fun Atari video game, Pac-Man wind-up toys, and a Rubik’s cube.

                                  These are just a few ideas that our sugar-filled team came up with – what are some Candy By Decade candy and gift pairings that you’ve gifted or would love to gift?

                                  Encourage Your Children to Do Their Chores with St. Patrick’s Day Candy!

                                  We’ve all heard of “The Luck of the Irish,” but as an Irish lady herself, I can tell you much of that ‘luck’ comes from hard work! In fact, an excerpt from one of my favorite Irish blessings gives a hint at how important hard work has historically been to the Irish – “May there always be work for your hands to do, May your purse always hold a coin or two, May the sun always shine on your windowpane, May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.”

                                  I can still remember a much younger me sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table sipping Ginger Ale and re-reading that blessing again and again. I didn’t realize at the time that work was a blessing unto itself, but I knew that I loved the little treats high honors on my report card brought! So I worked hard then, and I work hard now, and I’m lucky that my purse always holds a coin or two.

                                  While we can’t expect young children to inherently understand the value of work, the time will come when teaching them is essential. There are countless ways to encourage your children to work hard in all they do, and just as many ways to reward them for it. This isn’t to say they deserve a prize for every dish they wash, but little presents here and there are fun for everyone. After all, you probably wouldn’t show up as often for your job were it not for the paycheck!

                                  With St. Patrick’s Day approaching and “The Luck of the Irish” on our minds, we thought up a fun, festive way to help your kiddos cross some chores off their ‘to do’ list while earning some magical goodies!

                                  Step One: Choose a Few Chores to Reward – The number of chores will depend on how many they have, but let’s imagine they include Dusting, Making their Bed and Vacuuming. Jot these down in a notebook, and move to Step Two!

                                  Step Two: Get Ready to Channel Your Creative Side – The Irish Blessings we all know and love didn’t write themselves, and neither will yours! Don’t worry; this is designed to be fun. Think of the chore at hand and write a little 4-line blessing to give your child a clue at the prize. Let’s assume you will reward them with Green Apple Tootsie Frooties for dusting the living room. Your Irish Blessing might read: None of us like to live among dirt and dust, And this is what makes regular dusting such a must! But fret not for when you have finished your dusting duties, Your taste buds will be rewarded with Tootsie Frooties! OK, to be fair, it’s more of a poem than a blessing, but it’s close!

                                  Step Three: Decide How Magical You’ll Be – Now you’ll have to decide how to gift the goodies. You can always let your child know beforehand that their chores will come backed by treats this week, sharing the Blessings with them, and handing the candy out upon completion. Or, you can make it more magical, which works especially well for younger kids, but can be fun for teens as well. For the magical angle, it will be a bit like a treasure hunt. Let’s take the chore of vacuuming as an example. You can first take the vacuum from the closet and have it ready for them to use. Then, you can place the candy prize in a bag in the spot where the vacuum lives. Once they’ve finished and are ready to tuck it back into the closet, they’ll open the door to reveal their riches! Were they left there by a little Leprechaun? That’s up to you!

                                  Your kids can’t possibly consider work a blessing every minute of the day – no sane person can! But the truth is that it’s more than just an essential aspect of life; it’s a fulfilling one as well. And if candy can help instill that from an early age, we think that’s a pretty sweet deal. :)

                                  Share the Love and Contribute to a Good Cause with Valentine’s Lollipops!

                                  Whether you’re trying to raise money for a school team or group, want some help making a charitable contribution on behalf of your company, or need new supplies for a non-profit, a fundraiser can be key in achieving your goals. There are many types of fundraisers to consider, and many fundraising techniques that have been used successfully, but the results can be mixed at best, and several of those types and techniques require a lot of time input that you may or may not have at your disposal. Just like the money itself, time is an asset, and if your schedule is already packed with the team, group, company or non-profit that needs money in the first place, chances are good you don’t have the hours in the day to make countless phone calls or send out requests for donations. This is where a fundraiser with a tangible incentive can save you time, help achieve your donation target, and offer people something fun and flavorful for their support. That tangible incentive would, of course, be candy!

                                  In our last blog post we talked about how Valentine’s Day can be a special holiday not only for kids and couples, but for all the people we treasure, from friends and family to co-workers and beyond. In fact, many of us may feel especially inclined to share a little sweetness with the special people in our lives who won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner; to add a smile to a day when the whole world seems to be telling them that love is in the air for everyone else!  This is what makes a Valentine’s Day fundraiser so easy and enjoyable – people will love the opportunity to gift their friends a sweet treat, and you can hit your goals more quickly in the process.

                                  I’m stealing the idea for the Valentine’s Day Lollipop Drive from my high school, which I attended more years ago than we will openly discuss here! However, I’m sure other high schools had a similar drive, so you might remember it even if we didn’t grow up together. While this idea worked out very well for my school, helping to raise money for the football team, it can also work to raise money for almost any institution where a lot of people work or visit every day.

                                  The price you charge for the Valentine’s lollipops, or whichever sweet you choose, should take into consideration how many you think you can sell, and how much money you hope to earn. There should be a limit, of course – most people won’t spend more than a dollar or two on a small lollipop. But let’s assume you work with 100 people and everyone interested would want to send a special Valentine to 5 friends in the building. If even half of your co-workers participated and bought a $1 lollipop for 5 friends, you can bank $250 in a day! If your lollipop of choice is our Jolly Rancher lollipops, 9 bags would equal 252 lollipops, costing you just $36.81, leaving you with over $200 to devote to your fundraising goal. Pretty sweet!

                                  As for where to sell the lollipops? If your building has a front desk or central area that most people will pass by throughout the day, these are good locations to consider. A secretary or other employee can collect the money for the drive, and keep track of who the lollipops are from, and who they will be going to. Near the end of the day – or the next day, if you want to be sure to capture as many sales as possible – someone can act as Cupid and deliver the Valentine’s lollipops to everyone. Whether or not to make it a secret Valentine is up to the person who purchased the pop!

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