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Offbeat Candy Ideas

Cookout-Themed Candy is Perfect for Summer Parties!

If you haven’t already fired up your grill this season, chances are good the next couple weeks will have you dusting it off and preparing your taste buds for the best hot dog and hamburger you’ve had since September! Cookout Season is upon us, with all its mouth-watering macaroni salad, frosty glasses of lemonade, and aforementioned burgers and hotdogs, whose deliciousness transcends even the Christmas ham (though I’ve never had that on the grill…hmmm…) And while it really does only take a few dishes, a few lawn chairs, and a few friends and family members to make a cookout a success, we have some simple ideas to add some extra fun to the table – literally!

While it can take a lot of time, money and work to completely theme your party, there are small touches that add a bit of a theme without adding a lot of those things. Instead of creating a theme for the cookout, use the cookout itself as the theme! Think a cookout can’t be a theme? Think again…

Gummy Mini Burgers – Don’t worry, you aren’t going to have to invest in a teeny tiny burger flipper – these sweet gummy patties are ready-to-eat and perfect for picnics and cookouts. Each box comes packed with 60 mini burgers from the popular efrutti brand of gummy goodies. The burgers are individually wrapped for freshness, which also makes them easy to leave out without risking them getting dirty or attacked by curious flies, bees and mosquitoes!

Gummy Hot Dogs – Just like you won’t need an itty-bitty burger flipper for the snacks above, you won’t be struggling to line up ketchup and mustard on a baby bun for the efrutti gummy hot dogs. These are oh-so-cute and just as cookout-friendly, being some of the softest, freshest, fruitiest gummies you’ve ever enjoyed!

Marshmallow Ice Cream Cones – Ice cream has always been a difficult summer treat, despite its summery amazingness. The battle to ‘make it work’ has raged on since ice cream and summer began, and as much as these 2 adore each other, fate does not appear to be on their side. That’s where Marpo marshmallow ice cream cones step in to save these star-crossed lovers!

Fruit Salad – You’ve got your burgers, you’ve got your hot dogs, and you’ve got your ice cream…what else is there? A fruit salad, of course! We can’t help you with the regular fruit salad; you’re going to have to hit the fruit stands for those ingredients. But for the ‘candy fruit salad’ we’ve got you covered! You can set up a small ‘candy bar’ with plastic or paper cups or bowls, and set out different ‘fruits’ with spoons for friends and family to build a candy fruit salad. Summery, sweet options include: Gummy Melon Rings, Gummy Peach Rings and Gummy Berries. Mmmm!

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. :)

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! :)

A Sweet Fashion Statement – Creating Cool Bracelets with Candy Wrappers!

The best thing about candy bars will always be eating them, but the fun doesn’t have to stop there. We recently came across an awesome DIY project on TerraCycle.com that shows you how to make a candy wrapper bracelet in just a few simple steps! Is it a coincidence that each bracelet requires 24 rectangles formed from chocolate wrappers, and our new Custom Candy Bar Box comes with 24 candy bars of your choice? Well…yes, it probably is a coincidence! But we think it’s a rather nice one. :)

We don’t recommend that you try to eat all 24 candy bars in one sitting – afterward you won’t feel up for much of anything, let alone crafts! But we think it will be deliciously possible to have a new bracelet by spring, and much sooner than that if you ask friends to open their candy bars carefully and share their wrappers with you.

While this is primarily a colorfully creative project, I can’t help but be reminded of a belief that many people hold – that the energy put into something becomes the energy of the end product. For example, if you angrily make a pot of soup that you didn’t really want to make, the soup might taste bad or bring about an upset stomach. Similarly, if you take something from its rightful owner, that object will bring you ill fortune one day as it is now ‘charged’ with negative energy. The good news is that energy works the other way, too! And what better positive energy resource is there than candy?! Imagine how light, bright and positively charged a bracelet will be when made from the wrappers of 24 thoroughly-enjoyed candy bars. It might just be the happiest bracelet on Earth!

If a candy wrapper bracelet isn’t a style statement you’re ready to make, you can still make a difference. TerraCycle offers an upcycling program sponsored by Nestle Canada – the Chocolate Wrapper Brigade. For every empty wrapper you send in for upcycling into an ingeniously useful and fun product, including tote bags and backpacks, 2 cents will also be donated to your favorite charity. Pretty sweet!

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. :)

Eat Your Heart Out! Jelly Belly Just Got a Little Bit…Gross?

Among the many sweet teeth at Blair Candy, there is no shortage of Jelly Belly fans. Few can resist these truly unique treats that take one of the most basic and loved candies in the world, the jelly bean, and turn it into something exciting, unexpected, and every bit as sweet as its original inspiration. But not content to rest on his fabulously-flavored laurels, David Klein, the brain behind Jelly Belly jelly beans, has created a candy lineup that is at once a work of art, and…well…kind of gross.

We read about the new gummy candy from the Jelly Belly giant on the always-interesting Time NewsFeed. With an article title like, “Gummy Genius: Jelly Belly Inventor Creates Realistic Candy Heart, Blood, Urine”, I think it would be tricky for anyone to walk away without a quick read, let alone someone in the candy business! I quickly learned that the candy blood is actually inside the anatomically correct candy heart, and when the heart is bitten in 11 distinct locations, the candy carnage unleashes a sticky-sweet bloodbath. As my mind struggled with deciding between ‘Ewww!’ and ‘Awesome!’, a new word was born. I think David Klein’s candy heart is nothing short of Ewwwsome!

The candy heart is the star of the article, but there are mentions of other creations that sound both tasty and nasty as well. Which of David Klein’s creative candy masterpieces would you be most tempted to try? Or are Jelly Belly jelly beans as close as you want to get to this gummy great’s goodies?

Will Santa Be Stopping By Your House Christmas Eve? Perhaps If You Have Ice Cream!

It is a common tradition in homes with young boys and girls for a friend or family member to be in charge of getting the kids as excited for Christmas as possible – and off to bed in a swift fashion – by donning a Santa suit on Christmas Eve and asking them one last time what they are hoping to find tucked under the tree just a few hours later on that most magical of mornings. While this early Santa sighting is always a thrill for the children, it can sometimes take some coaxing to get Santa himself in the same spirit. I personally don’t see the problem with wearing a hot polyester suit and scratchy fake beard in a warm house, but that’s just me! If you have a reluctant Santa on your hands, we have a fun and festive way for you to entice him into the pillow-stuffed suit. Ice cream. The stuff I scream for, and you scream for, and we all scream for…that stuff! And not only will it be a welcomed treat for Santa himself , but it comes with a built-in activity for the kiddos. Blair Candy presents…Santa’s Sundae Bar!

All you’ll need to put together Santa’s Sundae Bar is a few flavors of ice cream and an assortment of toppings. While the get to work on Santa-worthy sundae masterpieces, you and the other adults can finally grab a few minutes of conversation without someone saying, “Mommy. Mom. Ma. Mommmmm. Mom…Mom…Mom!”, or a similar version with Dad-name substitutes. J

Choose a location for the Sundae creation, and set out all the ingredient options. In addition to ice cream, some tasty toppings include Goobers, Almond Joy Pieces, Reese’s Pieces, Gummy Worms, Gummy Bears, M&Ms, marshmallows and crushed cookie pieces, such as Oreos or Nutter Butters. Some of these sweets you likely already have in your cupboard, among other unique additions that might be hiding in there! Each type of cookie, candy or other confection can be placed in its own bowl with a spoon for scooping. Not only will the kids get to choose what goes into the special sundae they create just for Santa, but they get to play a fun mix of Top Chef/Cold Stone in the process. Give each child a bowl and a scoop of their choice of ice cream, and encourage the ice cream-y creativity to begin!

Once all the sundaes are Santa-ready, it’s time for the big guy himself to make an appearance, sampling each sundae carefully and thoughtfully. This is a big decision after all, as he shall be gifting the winner a special Christmas Eve gift! To keep costs low and the spirit of competition light, simply grab a few small presents from a dollar store, wrap them and place them in a velvet sack (also usually available at a dollar store), and let the winner choose two and every other child one. Everybody gets a gift, the winner gets a little something extra and bragging rights, and Santa gets a hopefully-delicious sampling of ice cream creations to keep him cool in his warm suit. Sounds like a pretty nice Christmas Eve to me!

Whatever plans Christmas holds for you, we hope they are full of love and laughter.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Add Some Candy To Your Christmas Gift To Create A Theme!

A few months ago, we put together a fun list of movie and candy match-ups for our Halloween Candy and Horror Movies Make a Marvelous Double Feature! post. We had so much fun creating that list that we decided to do another one for Christmas! Popular Christmas gifts for people of all ages include movies, music and books, whether they were special requests, or you just enjoy giving people favorites of yours that you hope they’ll enjoy as much as you do. I know I’ve personally given the book Holes by Louis Sachar as a gift more than once as I feel it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and it’s appropriate for kids and adults alike. In fact, the only thing I can think of that would make me love that book more than I already do is if someone gave it to me, and perhaps included some Candy Lipstick! Not sure why that would make a good accompaniment to the book? Well then, you’ll just have to read it to find out. ;)

Even if you haven’t read the book, watched the movie, or listened to the music you’ll be gifting this Christmas, you can still find a tasty candy that complements the title without digging too deep. Your lucky recipient is sure to enjoy the extra step you’ve taken to make their already good gift great!

We’ve put together a short list of ideas about which candies would work well with which movie, music and book gifts. We’d love to hear from you about any that you think of that we didn’t mention, and if you love the idea but are stumped on which candy is best for your particular gift, feel free to reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll happily help you come up with something sweet!

Pirate Movies and Books

Whether you’re wrapping up Pirates of the Caribbean or any of the countless other awesome pirate books and movies, clever candy accomplices include 3 Musketeers and Bubble Gum Candy Coins! Candy coins also make a fun addition to books, movies and music that center around money, either in content or just the title. Examples include the amazing Jennifer Aniston flick Friends With Money, the must-read Women & Money by Suze Orman, or even a CD put out by a Young Money Entertainment artist such as Lil Wayne, Drake or Nicki Minaj!

The Twilight Books and Movies

Unless you’ve been hiding from all forms of media for a few years, you’ve surely heard of the Twilight series of books, and subsequent movies, that have taken teens and adults alike by storm. Whether you’re on Team Edward or Team Jacob, chances are pretty good that there’s a Twilight gift-to-be-given on your list this year, whether it’s the books, movies, or even an accessory, such as a poster or t-shirt. Why not add some extra vampire fun to your gift with a box of Wax Fangs? They’re not just for Halloween, anymore! Or, if your gift will focus on Twilight Eclipse, give them something to chew on with Eclipse Gum!

Twilight and pirate presents may be some of the hottest gifts out there right now, but that doesn’t mean the sugary pairings end there. Giving a lady on your list that can use a break from the serious books some top-quality ‘chick lit’? Well, we think Chiclets make the perfect partner! Or perhaps timeless movie favorites Tootsie, Airheads or Major League are ready to wrap? You know Tootsie needs some Tootsie Pops, Airheads needs some Air Heads, and Major League needs some Big League Chew. Oh, we could play this game all day! Candy quite simply makes everything better. :)

Haunted Houses That Are Scary And Sweet And Good Enough To Eat (There’s Also A Contest Involved!)

For many of us, one of the most creative and fun activities we undertake during the Christmas season is crafting a gingerbread house. There’s always lots of smiles and laughs to be had when gathering friends and family at the kitchen table with mountains of sweets and hot cups of cocoa in valiant attempts to outdo the gingerbread houses we’ve created in years past. When something is such a welcomed break from the stresses of our everyday, and brings us closer to people we often don’t see enough, why limit it to just one day a year? (Especially when there’s candy and frosting and gingerbread involved!)

The Gingerbread House Kits have arrived at Blair Candy as they do every year in preparation for the spicy seasonal rush, and as we carefully tucked them away onto our Christmas shelves, someone nonchalantly mentioned, “Maybe we should leave a few on the lower shelves. People might be ordering them to make haunted houses for Halloween.” I had never considered that some of the Gingerbread House Kits that were ordered early just might be haunted gingerbread houses! And while I’m not sure if they were, or were simply ordered in advance of the holiday rush, I can’t help but hope some became haunted houses.

How would you decorate a haunted Halloween gingerbread house? Icing cobwebs? Spiders made from Anise Bears and Black Licorice Twizzlers? A Witch Finger Lollipop picket fence leading to the creepy front door? Eyeball Candy peering out from each window behind curtains made of hand-tattered Broadway Rolls? Or perhaps your haunted gingerbread house would be so spooky we can’t even imagine?! From slightly scary to harrowingly haunted, we’d love to see pictures of them all! In fact, we’d love to see them so much that if you send us a picture of your Halloween gingerbread house you could Win $20 Worth Of Candy From BlairCandy.com! The Blair Candy Team will vote for their favorite entry the week after October 31, 2010 and we’ll make an announcement as soon as the votes are tallied.

We hope to see some amazing houses that we just know you can dream up. After all, boring people don’t eat candy, and they certainly don’t read about it or craft with it! You’re the best group to turn to that we can think of. :)

Candy Makes For Wonderful Halloween Wedding Favors!

It’s no secret that candy is a popular pick as a wedding favor for many couples, with ‘candy bars’ (no, not Candy Bars, but those are good, too!) outgrowing their status as a trend, and becoming a fast go-to favorite. And while we think candy is a smart favor pick for any wedding, for its deliciousness and because it simply makes people smile, there is no wedding that candy makes more sense for than a Halloween wedding!

We’ve been reading quite a few fun stories about people who have been married on Halloween in the past, and those who will be this year or next. And we have to admit we can’t think of a better Halloween party than the reception of a couple who is cool enough to get married on this super fun holiday. We also love the idea that many of these couples are asking guests to come in costume, and many of the couples themselves are in costume as well. (No, not as bride and groom!) I would rather dance the night away in costume than uncomfortable heels any day!

The options for decorating with candy for your Halloween wedding are rather endless, but we wanted to highlight some fun ideas for favors in this post. When it comes to choosing the candy you’ll use, you can gift guests Halloween Candy or an assortment of Orange Candy and Black Candy. Or, you can just use your favorites! Is there a candy you or your fiance favor above all others? Is there a candy that reminds you of a favorite memory? Consider selections from our Nostalgic Candy collection if candy has always been an important part of your life.

The real fun comes in how you’ll give the candy to your guests. You can keep it simple but thematically spot-on by purchasing treat bags from your local party supply store, filling them with candy, and setting them at each seat. Or, you can use a pumpkin candy bucket or cauldron filled to the top with a sweet selection of treats as the centerpiece of each table and leave empty treat bags at each place setting so guests can choose their favorites. And if you want to make your guests sing for their sweets like so many trick-or-treaters will be that night, nothing gets a reception rocking quite like karaoke!

Happy Hallowedding!

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