Jelly Belly!

  

Yes, I bought the commemorative photo. I never do that, but c’mon, that’s hilarious. Looking forward to our 5-day Sonoma trip, my children were probably most excited about the prospect of visiting a candy factory. Jelly belly is every child’s dream come true(and every dental hygienist’s nightmare, but I won’t be a killjoy). The whole place smelled like vanilla marshmallows and everything was candy-colored and cheerful 

    
 Unfortunately they are redoing the tour lanes so the the tour was self-guided and pretty disappointing -the TV screens giving the schpiel were hard to see and hear over the sound of the machinery, and while I think with the guided tour you get jelly beans at each station, they just handed out a small pack of jelly belly candy corn at the end of the tour. That said, we all loved peering down onto the factory floor and seeing the drying trays FULL of jelly beans, like a dragon’s hoard of little sugary jewels. The highlight for me was the rows of cement-mixer like tumblers that they use to smooth and glaze the beans. It was like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When we were there they were glazing lemon beans with huge pitchers of bright yellow syrup, and the scent wafted right up through the floor. I don’t really even like jelly beans (I’m a chocolate person),and it was still a pretty magical experience.

For the children, the sample bar and gift shop were the highlights. 

   

They got regular jelly beans, of course, but I think they had the most fun with these Bean Boozled packets 

   
Get the idea? Two jelly beans, the same color, one good, one utterly VILE. No way of telling until you bite down. 

 That’s a face that got skunk spray instead of licorice. I’m here to tell you that skunk spray tastes EXACTLY like it smells. As does canned dog food. Revolting and awesome at the same time.

We opted not to eat at the jelly belly cafeteria, but we did play one of the fun coin operated jelly bean games before we left.

 And we took one last picture! 

 

Spring Break: Mrs. Grossman’s Stickers

I grew up going somewhere every school break. My parents loved to travel and I was always thrilled to join them(even into adulthood). The logistics of traveling long distances with 4 children are complex, but that doesn’t mean we stay home! One of the great things about California is how many diverse destinations there are within mini van distance. This year we’re visiting Sonoma, without going to a single vineyard. Our first stop? Mrs. Grossman’s sticker factory in Petaluma. Andrea Grossman was one of the pioneers of decorative stickers, and her company is the last one to continue manufacturing their stickers in the USA- basically your only shot at seeing how stickers are made firsthand without leaving the country. The tours are reservation only, and they hand out SO many free stickers as you go! 

 Here we are standing in front of 6 month supply rolls of stickers. My insane sticker-collecting 8 year old self would have probably fainted at this point. They gave out a little sticker project at the end 

 But we still had to visit the gift shop, right? The biggest hits with the kids were their sticker grab boxes and something I hadn’t seen before called Peel and Play– sturdy vinyl stickers and scenes. My middle daughter is the storyteller and had so much fun playing “story hour” with her Noah’s Ark set.

   She’s also a big organizer, and enjoyed laying alllll of her stickers out to put them in order.

 Of course we couldn’t keep all the sticker goodness to ourselves! Each child packed up little envelopes of fun to send to friends back home. 

 

What’s up next? The Jelly Belly jelly bean factory in Fairfield. Stay tuned…