Sweet Candy for Sale!

Having five children with food allergies is challenging on a daily basis,

but even more so when you try to find ‘special treats’ –candy

more specifically, CANDY

that they can all enjoy… like ‘normal’ kids!


Of all the food issues we deal with,

a corn-allergy is one of the most irritating.

Corn is in everything!

Okay, not really EVERYTHING, but it sure feels like it!

Have you ever investigated all the hidden names for corn in common products? Aye!


candy1This month, June, is NATIONAL CANDY MONTH.

And while it’ll be quite some time before you need to stock up

for the events in which candy is inevitable… Halloween, Christmas, & Easter…

there are often parties and parades in the summer where candy is handed out.

Might as well be prepared!


Here’s a fabulous website, www.naturalcandystore.com, that has all sorts of candy for sale.

It is an amazing site! Their slogan is ‘All the FUN without the FUNNY stuff!’candy2

Here’s just a taste of how specific and specialized (and FUN) this candy store really is.


You can sort by:

candy types (27 different types, to be exact! Breath mints, brittle, candy bars, candy canes, candy coated chocolate, candy mixes, caramels, and on and on and on!),

featured candies (new, best sellers, sale, staff picks, current FREE samples, and so forth),

brands (Amy’s, Enjoy Life, Jelly Bellys, Yummy Earth, etc!),candy3

baking (natural food colors, sprinkles, drops, add-ins, sauces, DIY kits),

bulk (want a 12-pack? How about a 10lb case? You choose!),

party (baby shower candy, birthday candy, piñata candy, wedding candy… search by color, search by flavor),

gifts (get a gift certificate for that special someone!!),

& seasonal (depending on what holiday is closest, you’ll find special candies for Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc).


Here are a few more categories to browse at this great site:

Organic, dye-free, GMO-free,

Allergy-friendly (free of all 8major food allergens),

Gluten-free, vegan, fair trade, made in USA,

& special diets advanced search

(my FAVORITE!!! 39 choices…or any combination of those!!!)

This site is absolutely incredible.


Since this store isn’t just around the corner, it would be best to get a nice size order togethercandy4

and have it shipped all at once. It may as well be on your shelf,

waiting for that next big party! And, hey, since it IS national CANDY month,

why don’t you put an order in real soon?

Sounds like a sweet idea to me!


Cold Treats for Hot Days

Earlier this year, I shared our homemade root beer recipe with you,

hotand last year I told you about making homemade ice cream.

Both of those are great options for summertime entertaining.

Here are a few more choices to cool off the crew this summer….

each one is easy, inexpensive, and kid-approved.



First, a tasty apple-slushy.hot1

Apple sorbet

1 ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce

6 oz frozen apple juice concentrate

½ t. cinnamon

¼ t. nutmeg

Freeze the applesauce in an ice cube tray overnight.

Remove from the freezer and let warm 10-15 minutes.

Put the juice concentrate and the spices in a blender. Mix.

Add partly-unthawed applesauce cubes (2 at a time) and blend till smooth.



Now, a fun fizzy drink without the unnecessary preservatives.

Homemade grape pop

1 liter club soda (about 32 oz)hot2

3oz frozen grape juice concentrate (or whatever flavor you choose)

Put the juice concentrate in a pitcher. Add the club soda.

Stir carefully.

Drink happily!


And finally, how about some popsicles?


Purchase a plastic freezer pop mold (or ask your mother or grandma to look in the back of their cupboard!).

Add something liquidy (In other words, experiment and have fun!) and freeze it!

Some of our favorites?

  • Blend up some fruit with a bit of Almond drink… and freeze it!
  • Pour in your favorite beverage… and freeze it!hot3
  • Like drinking Chocolate Milk? Freeze it!
  • A touch of ice cream and some homemade jam… freeze it!

Any flavor of popsicle is a great idea for a sunny summer day… and when you’re using the ingredients you already have in your home, you’re making the tasty treat for mere pennies.

However you choose to make them, just keep those popsicle molds filled and in your freezer.

They make a splendid treat!


Keep cool!

Lunch at the Beach

Cheery children

Windswept beachbeach1

The aroma of sunscreen

Waves lapping the shore

Sandblazed bodies

Suntanned cheeks

Happy families


Suddenly, from the peaceful shoreline, comes The Question.

“Mom? I’m hungry! Do you have anything to eat?”

Oh yes, you knew it was coming.


It comes regularly… no matter where you may be…

at this same time every day.


“Come and see!” you call out merrily…

merrily, because you’re a momma of foresight ! You came prepared!!

First, you instruct the kids to use the big jug of water to rinse their sandy hands.beach4

Then they reach into the insulated cooler bag to get their personal water-bottle.

You calmly pass out individually packaged (and personally labeled) containers of food

from your very own kitchen. Most of the food is devoured, but

the leftovers are kept for later on.

(And since it’s all labeled, it’s kept safe from Mr. Bottomless Pit… for Miss Grazing Girl.)


Tasty, easy-to-eat, healthy yet fun food…

such as:

breakfast bars, granola bars

plain popcorn

yogurt, applesaucebeach3

cheese sticks

fresh fruit, raw veggies

burritos or wraps


You were not afraid of The Question, oh Mother of Foresight.

YOU were ready!



Snacks by the sea shore,

or lunch on the lake…



Whatever you’ve called it, it’s been a success!

You’ve effectively fed your flock

and sent them back to creative play in the natural world,

at the beach,

without a bunch of stress or excess spending…

because you planned ahead!


Way to go, Mom! I’m proud of you! (And so are your kids!)


Timely Tip:

Do your best to avoid

overly sweet, sticky foods…

and anything salty

when picnicking at the beach!

Upcycling Crayons

20 years ago, a term was coined that has become a part of our regular dialog.

The expression? UPCYCLINGcrayon

As opposed to recycling everything, which often begins with the destruction (downcycling) of the item,

a German engineer named Reiner Philz proposed in 1994 that

“what we need is upcycling, where old products are given more value, not less.”


Today, you can quickly and easily find a way to use almost anything you formerly would’ve been encouraged or tempted to pitch. (Just one more reason so many people love pinterest and Etsy!)

Upcycled clothing. Upcycled furniture. Upcycled music and art.

I’m not here to advocate holding on to all the “stuff” in your home. In fact, here (08/27/12) is a blog about just the opposite! Remember the questions “is it useful? Is it beautiful?”

However, giving old products more value… making them useful or beautiful… is a great thing!

A while ago, we did just that with our broken, cracked, and half-used-up crayons! If you need a project for a rainy day, you may want to give crayon pointillism art a try.crayon7

Pointillism art is simply a technique in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. Crayon pointillism art looks like this:





You can find all sorts of instructions and ideas on-line. I’m not going to share those here… just a few pointers for the beginner, from my own experience attempting this form of art with my kids:

  1. This is not a project to suggest to the kids while you finish scrubbing the tub. Adult supervision is required. You’ll definitely want to be involved! (Lit candles… dripping wax…you know.) So make that pot of coffee, if need be, put on some music, and get ready for some family-time!
  2. Make sure to peel the crayons ahead of time (or do this part as a separate project, on another day. Great dexterity work, right?).
  3. I think it works best to choose several shades of the same color for the art work. For example, if making a tree picture, use several browns for the trunk and a number of different greens for the leaves. Then group the colors. The 4 shades of blue in one container, the 3 browns in another. This is part of what makes the pictures so beautiful.
  4. One more crayon tip. For this event, the crayon needs to be fairly long or little fingers will get too close to the flame! Save the stubby crayons for another project (like the one at the bottom of this post!).
  5. Be sure to use a tablecloth that you can throw away OR cover the table with newspapers that can be tossed. Drips of melted crayon DO end up on surfaces other than the intended paper.
  6. Having an idea (or subject) ahead of time is helpful for some. My more naturally creative kids came up with an idea in their mind and just started dropping melted crayon in drips onto the paper, designing it as they went (a sailboat on the water, a nighttime sky). Others – especially the younger ones – preferred a simple pencil-sketched form to fill in (a tree on a hill, a rainbow). crayon2I think even a simple high-quality coloring page would work. You know, the ones that have only a large, happy dog on the page or a single plane in the sky. Not a fast moving Road Runner being chased down the road by the Coyote, smoke at his heals, a cactus bush and cliff looming in the distance… nope, too much detail! Simple is better (in life in general, and in this case!).
  7. If you have a perfectionist, be ready to encounter a bit of frustration if something doesn’t turn out just as they envisioned. Thankfully, this is one form of art where ‘mistakes’ can either be peeled off after they’ve dried a bit OR you can simply place another color ‘drip’ over the top of the ‘mistake’!
  8. Here’s a candle-hint. The longer the wick, the better. And it works best to have either a pillar candle or a tall candle that’s in a candle-holder (not a jar-candle). You want it to be steady! And one candle per person is best. The candles did go out from time to time so have the lighter/matches handy for relighting!
  9. My number eight tip… that should be posted as #1…. is to throw out your expectations and just have fun with it! For quite a while, the children worked so carefully and quietly, and the pictures were coming along beautifully. I was so pleased and impressed! And THEN one of them discovered how much fun it was to, after putting a drip on their page, get down close to the drip and to blooooow and watch it spread/splatter. This became the new technique for a few of them. And THEN the youngest decided that it was easier to just melt the crayon and draw/paint with it in the soft, wet form. And so, the art project continued… for quite a long time! Not necessarily ‘pointillism’, but definitely ART WORK! They had fun. Their pictures really were pretty cool. And, hey, we used up some of those formerly forsaken color-crayons! Score!!!

A quick search on-line with reveal many, many more ideas for those old crayons in your art box. More than you have time or energy to even attempt!

Here’s a project that Grandma worked on with some of the girls.

1. Peel the crayons and cut them into small pieces.crayon6

2. Place the chunks in a mini muffin tin and put them in a warm oven (use a very low temperature).

3. When the crayons have melted, remove the pan from the oven and let the crayons cool (and harden).

4. Remove the “new” crayons from the tin and enjoy!


Upcycling CRAYONS… what’ll we think of next!