Tag Archives: candy

Candy Cane Mailbox

My kids will try to beg, borrow, and steal any CANDY CANE they come across at Christmas time. I am surely the grinch of all things sweet, as I try to monitor my little ones’ sugar intake at this time of the year. Admittedly, there are a few really stale mini candy canes decorating our tree; I pull them out of the decorations box each year and re-use them again and again. They don’t get eaten because my kids know they’re stale and soft. Otherwise I don’t buy them. Usually I say no to CANDY CANES entirely, and I guess that feeds into their fever to get their hands on one every single Christmas.

But perhaps I’m softening over the years, too.

North Pole Mail Box www.growingsigns.com
Today we came across a cute, decorated mailbox that was a direct line to the North Pole for kids’ letters to Santa while strolling down Robson Street downtown. As I had suspected, my son couldn’t resist pulling open the hatch and looking inside the mailbox. His face absolutely lit up when he found two CANDY CANES. I had secretly placed them in there before they noticed the mail box, and you should have seen their expressions when they found such a treasure!

(Okay I admit, it is a little grinch-y to make my son stand still for a photo and sign CANDY CANE before opening it up).

Do you let your little ones eat CANDY CANES?

To sign CANDY CANE in American Sign Language, sign CANDY by twisting your index finger beside the mouth, then trace out the hook shape of a CANDY CANE with your index finger and thumb.

How to Sign CANDY CANE in American Sign Language www.growingsigns.com

Leftover Candy Cookies

Leftover Candy Cookies by growingsigns.comI’m hearing a lot of moaning and groaning about leftover Halloween candy this week. In my signing classes, a lot of the moms & dads talked about how they bought Halloween candy for the little trick-or-treaters ringing their doorbell last weekend, but ended up having leftovers. Or for those with big kids who went out door-to-door on Halloween, there comes a time when you want those bags of candy to vanish, and not into their tummies.

Some of my clever friends have negotiated an exchange of the candy bag after Halloween with a toy or other non-candy goodies so their kids don’t eat too much junk. I love that idea but I never remember to put that together. I usually end up letting my kids eat their favourites, and then simply take the whole bag away without notice after a couple days. Enough is enough.

So what to do with all that leftover candy?


Cut it up & bake it!
(or freeze it for another baking-kinda day)

If you already bake throughout the year and eat cookies at home, why not use up some of the candy and not eat it all at once. Or bake and give away the cookies to someone you know that loves cookies. I hate throwing away things that can be used in baking (now or later).

This is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, made with leftover Halloween candy instead of chocolate chips, but you can use any cookie recipe you like.

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Halloween chocolate bars and bits, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F

Cream together the butter & sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in the hot water. Add to batter along with the salt. Stir in flour and mix until just combined. Add chocolate candy pieces. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes in preheated oven, or until edges are just browning. Let cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then remove onto a cooling rack.

Leftover Candy Cookies -www.growingsigns.com

What do you do with all your leftover candy?

Haribo Candy Museum

Did someone say candy?

To throw in a little excitement for the kids (both big and small) during our week in Avignon, we spent an afternoon at the Musée d’Haribo, a candy museum in the nearby town of Uzès. A whole afternoon? At a candy museum? Mais, oui!
Our friends had visited the museum several times, and recommended it highly for a little sweet tooth fix, and some history, too, of course. Haribo has European roots with factories worldwide. It specializes in making gummy candies of all kinds and shapes, like bears and coke bottles, and began gaining fame after World War I making licorice candies. Licorice is not my thing, but I loooove gummies, and I used to buy the wrapped Maoam chewy candies (pictured below) all the time when I was a kid. I had no idea they had such a long, rich, European background.
The man behind Haribo, Hans Riedel, originally came from the town of Bonne, and so created the name of his candy company from the first two letters of his name HA (Hans) RI (Riedel) BO (Bonne) –Haribo!
My kids loved the interactive games area where they had to add up the weight totals of different kinds of candy to determine a delivery, and spin the marshmallows tub with one arm in time with the syrup pouring with the other. The museum was unlike any I’d ever seen, and I had moments of feeling like I was in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory at times, with oversized installations of gummies and technicolor displays of Haribo’s incredible repertoire of candy.
Although there are Haribo factories all over the world, including North America, apparently the best Haribo candies are made in the European factories. We got to walk through both buildings at the Provence musée -one for display of how the candy was created, and one factory building where certain types of Haribo candies were made. The last place we visited at the Musée d’Haribo was, of course, the gift shop!
More candy then I’ve ever seen before, and people were piling it into boxes the size of grocery store baskets. The fever to buy candy was contagious, and although our kids don’t buy or eat candy regularly at home, we decided to join the locals and throw some coke bottles, gummy bears, and sour cherries into a box and call it a day (in France).

To sign CANDY in American Sign Language, twist the tip of your index finger on your cheek:

I Heart Chocolate

Oh boy, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I met a woman yesterday whose family is partly responsible for bringing me some of my fondest memories of Valentine’s Day as a child. Her name is Karen Flavelle, and she is the owner of Purdy’s Chocolates in Vancouver, a company that currently ranks in the top 50 in Canada to work for. Karen spoke at my mom’s group, mCentred, and she lit up our boardroom full of moms telling us about growing up as the daughter of Purdy’s owner since 1963, Charles Flavelle. Now, as a mother of 3 grown kids, she explained how she and her husband managed to raise them while also lighting their own work worlds in business and finance on fire (lots of planning, teamwork and strategizing).

Apparently, chocolate didn’t play much into her own childhood unless they had parties and dinner guests, but if she and her siblings helped out at the factory on Saturdays, they were allowed to eat the chocolate at the end of the day -tummy aches usually followed. After university, Karen didn’t start out her business life working for her father, but she did work her way up the corporate ladders at General Mills and Cara Operations in Toronto before purchasing Purdy’s from her dad in 1997. She’s been hands on since then while also embodying one of the most dynamic and business savvy women in Canada. It was such a pleasure to meet her yesterday and hear her honest account of both the difficulties and triumphs of being a woman in a predominantly-male field. One member of our group asked her about the proverbial “glass ceiling” in the workplace for women.

Karen replied that the idea of a glass ceiling is directly related to how you look at problems and that a ceiling describes something you cannot control. She prefers to look at difficulties as hurdles. Hurdles are just obstacles to get past: you figure out the best way to do that -over, under, around, whatever -and keep making your way.

Now that’s what I call great advice!

Karen brought us 2 of Purdy’s new artisan Single Origin dark chocolate bars from Peru (slightly fruity, intense chocolate flavour) and Ecuador (roasty, more fudgy flavour) to taste test, and also some Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels to sample. I was swooning!
So yes, I got my chocolate fill yesterday in that boardroom with Karen Flavelle, and also some amazing nuggets of wisdom from a fellow mom and business woman. But I’m still putting together some little bundles of love for my kids for Valentine’s day -I like to give them a small jar to fill with some candies & those beautiful foil-wrapped Purdy’s heart chocolates, as well as a new book. After school, we’ll come home and eat some chocolate and read by the fire before (a super-healthy) dinner. I can’t wait!


Here’s Karen and I signing the ASL sign for CHOCOLATE:

Thanks, Karen! (And I think I owe some credit to my mom for passing on her love for Purdy’s chocolate at Valentine’s Day, too!)

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, and your lovies!