Category Archives: holidays

Some Sweet Facts About Halloween Candy

It’s October 31st and that means most kids (and many adults) have one thing on their mind – – CANDY!

So let’s talk candy with the help of Rebecca Harris, director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University and a contributor to the program Essential Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh’s NPR news station.

Rebecca recently sunk her sweet tooth into The Business of Halloween Candy for a story on Essential Pittsburgh and now she’s graciously sharing some of the sugary highlights with us.

The Sweet Truth About Halloween Candy

There is no shortage of holidays that prominently feature candy in their festivities (umm…no complaints here!) And with Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day keeping the candy aisles hopping, it’s still Halloween topping the charts for candy sales.


Business of Halloween Candy

Is that sweet tooth aching yet?

Because when trick-or-treating is over and it’s time to shake out the pillowcases and dump out the plastic pumpkins, what can we expect to find in there? For the average U.S. child, 3,500 – 7,000 calories of treats and goodies.

And let me be clear, I’m not anti-sweets. I’m soooo not anti-sweets, but that’s still a lot of candy coming your way. And if you’re like me you may find that hiding or saving candy for later never works; those deliciously wicked Snickers, Twizzlers and KitKats  will tempt you, tease you, and call your name from whatever deep corner you’ve stashed them.

So with Rebecca’s help we’ve got you covered with some ideas for sharing, experimenting and swapping that leftover halloween candy.

7 Creative Ideas For Leftover Halloween Candy

  1. DONATE to your local Ronald McDonald House – they accept wrapped candy for patients and their families. Contact your local chapter for details on how to donate in your area.
  2. DONATE to a local Food Pantry or Emergency Shelter
  3. DONATE candy to our troops –  Operation Gratitude organizes a program for collecting and donating sweet treats to the troops. Their website provides guidelines and instructions. Hurry – the candy needs to ship by November 15th!
  4. REVERSE TRICK-OR-TREATING – contact local children’s hospitals, hospital pediatric wards and nursing homes about opportunities to come trick-or-treat and GIVE your treats to their patients and residents. Now that’s what I call treating!!
  5. TRADE with a local dentistThe Halloween Candy Buy Back Program is supported by local dentists who trade cash and prizes for candy. The dentists then ship the sweet loot to the troops overseas (they probably slip some toothbrushes and dental floss in there too…)
  6. EXPERIMENT – You don’t want to miss candy science experiments like The Incredible Growing Gummy Worm and Floating M’s and S’s. Check out the Candy Experiments website and book.
  7. BUILD a candy city – Why wait until December to start building a house of gingerbread?! Bite-size candy bars are like little edible LEGO blocks.


Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!

Celebrate National Grandparents Day with #grandparentbrag


National Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 7th and this year we’re celebrating with a little grandparent bragging!

Shannon brags about her Pappy

You’ve seen the dog shaming photos on email and social media. We’re turning this fun creation on its doggy ear and initiating some grandparent bragging.

Anna bragging about her grandma

Anna bragging about grandpa

Instead of tattling on our pooches, we’re celebrating National Grandparents Day by bragging about the traits, hobbies, interests or quirky habits that we inherited from our family.

Emma bragging about her lil Papa

Did you get your Irish eyes from Granny?

Do you have your Granddad’s laugh?

Do you share Nana’s love of horses?

Do you attribute your Steelers pride to your PapPap?

Shout it from the rooftops!

Snap a photo and tag your brag with #grandparentbrag.

Hannah brags about her Grandma

Emma brags about her Grandma

Britt brags about her Nana

Emma brags about her Nana

Emma brags about her Papa

Tag giftbug on Instagram Facebook or Twitter for a chance to have your #grandparentbrag featured on our blog!

21 Summer Activities For the Last 21 Days of Summer

Summer 21 Day Challenge

Is 2014 flying by too fast?

Does Labor Day Weekend feel like the end of your summer?

I don’t know about you, but most of 2014 has involved me saying:

“Wait! It’s February?!”

“Holy Cow, spring’s here already!”

“Zoinks! When did July get here?!?!”

I challenge you to embrace these last days of summer! 

Fall doesn’t officially arrive until September 23rd. Heck, on Friday it’s supposed to be 90 degrees here in Pittsburgh. It’ll be time to rake leaves and shovel snow before we know it. I’m not pulling out my turtlenecks and smartwool socks just yet.

Let’s reclaim our last 21 days of summer! That’s at least 21 opportunities to do something summery.

21 Ideas For 21 Days of Summer

  1. Host a bbq
  2. Throw a frisbee
  3. Pop open a Summer Shandy
  4. Take off your shoes and walk in the grass
  5. Eat dinner outside
  6. See a baseball game
  7. Take a walk in the sunshine
  8. Campout (even if it’s in your backyard)
  9. Make homemade lemonade
  10. Go fishing
  11. Play badminton (a personal favorite!)
  12. Make homemade ice cream
  13. Go to a farmer’s market
  14. Have a picnic
  15. Share a pitcher of margaritas with friends
  16. Organize a game of kickball
  17. Go to the park
  18. Read a book under a tree
  19. Take a nap outside
  20. Have a water fight
  21. Eat corn on the cob

What do you want to do this summer? There’s still time. Accept the challenge and leave a comment letting us know what summer activities you’re going to fit in during the next 21 days.

Grown-up Gifts for Dad

Father’s Day is just a week away. And if you’re like me, it’s been more than a few years since you could get away with a nice macaroni necklace or your cute face emblazoned on the side of a coffee mug. So what to get Dad when you’re a grown-up? We’ve got you covered with these great ideas for Father’s Day gifts from adult kids.


5 Ideas for Father’s Day Gifts from Adult Kids

1.  A Hulu Plus Gift Subscription

huluCatch Dad up on all of the great shows that you’ve loved over the years. Now that he has all of this free time and no more karate tournaments or soccer matches filling his evenings – he can get sucked into the addictive world of JJ Abrams’ Lost.

The Perfect Gift for TV Lovers – a Hulu Plus gift subscription

2.  The Good Liquor

Cocktail Recipe - Old Fashioned

Does your Dad have a favorite cocktail? Introduce him to a local distiller of his signature spirit. Small batch distilleries are popping up in cities of all sizes. In Pittsburgh, hometown of giftbug, we have a number of talented artisans brewing their local spirits:


Maggie’s Farm Rum – a great summer mojito
Boyd & Blair Vodka – shaken not stirred for a classic martini
Wiggle Whiskey – the perfect start for my Dad’s fave – the Old Fashioned

3.  Indestructible Work Pants

Duluth Trading Co. - Firehose Work Pants

It seems every time I call home (and my folks will say that’s not often enough), my Dad’s outside working on something. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, changing the oil in one of his toys or fixing something that leaks or creaks, there’s always something to keep him busy and dirty.

This Father’s Day, buy your Dad the last pair of work pants he’ll ever need. Field tested and heroically tough – apparently tougher than an angry beaver.

4.  Grown Up Adventures

If Dad’s the adventurous type, how about surprising him with something unexpected!



5.  Adult Humor

Comedian Don Barnhart Did your dad endure endless knock-knock jokes and hours of G-rated movies? Repay his restraint with tickets to a local comedy club or improv.



Of course, if all else fails, you can always pick up another tie.

Do your parents have just as hard a time picking out gifts for you as you do for them? Make it fun again (for everyone) and create your own gift bug registry.

Lucky Number Three


My friend and sister-in-law is just weeks away from delivering baby #3. I’m impressed by her and my brother-in-law’s courage in the face of being outnumbered by the mini-humans. I can’t blame them for going for the hat-trick though, the first two are certainly super adorable and endlessly entertaining.

This is the third time they are holding out for the game day gender surprise. And while my niece and nephew continue the little brother vs. little sister debate, preparations progress for the arrival of the newest Miller.

The crib is set up and the car seats are dusted off. The changing table and boppy pillow, high chair and ‘My Aunt is the coolest’ onesie are all pulled from storage and being prepped for their third call to service.

In our family like many others, it’s not uncommon to forgo a baby shower for younger siblings, and yet friends, family and co-workers may still be looking for ideas to
honor and celebrate this little achievement to you know, grow a human being (I can’t manage to water my houseplants.)

With a giftbug registry like Ann Marie’s we can get lots of great ideas:

To surprise and excite Mom

giftbug wish list to excite Mom

To trim the honey-do list

giftbug wish list - the honeydo list

To replace misplaced or well-loved items from the first go-round(s)

giftbug wish list - replace loved items

Cool tricks and gadgets popularized since the last mini-me arrived

giftbug wish list - cool gadgets