Candy Experiments book layout

I just saw the layout for the candy experiments book. It's going to look great! Lots of color, lots of photos, and my photos have been nicely incorporated. Can't wait till it's published in January.

Candy Cheerios

It's not just chocolate and marshmallows that are showing up in breakfast cereals. Now Cheerios is producing "Dulce de Leche" flavored Cheerios. Surprisingly, with 6 grams of sugar in a 27 gram serving, these are less than 1/4 sugar. There's more sugar per serving in both the "Yogurt" and the "Fruity" cheerios than the candy-flavored cheerios.*
*You can see nutritional information at Kudos to Cheerios for making their nutritional information so easy to look up.

USA Science and Engineering Festival

Join us for the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.! We'll be demonstrating candy experiments at the Finale Expo on April 28-29. Kids will love learning about hidden candy in different foods, dropping Warheads into baking soda water to watch them bubble, making "M&M Rainbows" with chromatography, and competing to see who can sink a marshmallow.

Besides candy experiments, you'll be amazed at the science activities you can do. At the first USASEF, we built model boats, tested paper airplanes in the NASA wind tunnel, extracted strawberry DNA, admired Purdue University's solar car, watched Bill Nye spread out a solar sail, and used remote controlled robots to play soccer. This year you'll also see stage shows like the Mythbusters' forays into the unexplained, demonstrations of physics in the movies, and presentations by scientists in all different fields.

We need all the help we can get! Please consider signing up for a two-hour shift to help us teach candy experiments at our booth. You'll learn experiments you can use later at home, you'll make a lot of kids smile, and you'll get a free Candy Experiments t-shirt if you sign up before April 1. Email me if you're interested; I'd love to hear from you!

The Step-counting Choc-o-meter

You deserve chocolate! That's the premise of the step-counting Choc-O-Meter we saw in the hospital gift shop. According to the packaging, 4000 steps gets you one chocolate bar. They don't say how many calories you burn in your 4000 steps, and have neglected to mention the size of the chocolate bar you've earned, which I'd think would be important information. The calculators at tell me that my 4000 steps will only burn 96 calories, less than a quarter of the calories in my Theo's 3 oz chocolate bar of choice.

Still, this product is a good way to make us think about the relationship between the food we eat and the calories we burn. If more Americans understood how long it takes to burn off excess calories, we might be able to tackle this nationwide obesity problem.

Peeps Hearts that Grow

For Valentine's day, I blew up my Peeps hearts in a vacuum jar (as much of a vacuum as you can get with a FoodSaver kitchen appliance, anyway.) As the air was pumped out of the jar, the air bubbles inside the marshmallow heart expanded, pushing out the sides of the heart. When I let the air back into the jar, the heart collapsed.

Smarties in the Snow

I loved this snowman, which some friends decorated with Smarties. I was interested to see that the Smarties had sunk well into the snow, in some cases over an inch. Was this because the dissolving sugar caused the snow to melt? We'll have to experiment with ice cubes.

Sugar Crystal Snow

While I was hanging ornaments in water for sugar coating, the bottom of the bottle soon became covered by a layer of loose sugar crystals. After I removed the ornaments, the crystals were stirred up, swirling gently around the bowl before they sank like snowflakes. It was a sugar crystal snowstorm!

Lettuce Straw

Yesterday my 8-year-old discovered that the stalks of romaine lettuce leaves were hollow. Immediately she peeled off the rest of the leafy matter, got a glass, and started sucking up water through her new lettuce straw. I guess it only counts as a candy experiment if, like my daughter, you think lettuce is sweet, but it was really fun. We've turned candy canes into straws by pulling out the middles, and now lettuce--wonder what other foods would work?