Review: Great Value Hard Candy Mints

Last month I made hard candy mint pouches for Valentine’s Day. After a month or so of trouble searching for Brachs starlight Mints, I was able to find a generic brand of starlight mint for my little pouches. Walmart sells peppermint, spearmint and cinnamon flavored hard candy both in store and online. I finally got a chance to try and review all 3.


My go to for when I have sore throat or just want a mint without a over powering taste. My favorite would always be Brach’s but finding small bags of these were tricky. Walmart has then but in 5lb bags. Great Value is just as good. These are naturally flavored with peppermint oil so no weird after taste.


Never had spearmint starlight mint before. However I have had Ice Breakers spearmint breath mints. With Ice Breakers I kept getting an alcohol like or bitter sharp taste. But not with Great Value. Just like their peppermint starlights, these spearmint starlights have natural flavored oils. That means no nasty after taste. If you enjoy spearmint gum, then you’ll love these spearmint starlight mints.


I loved Brach’s cinnamon starlight mints. Unfortunately they stopped making those. When I found Great Value hard candy at Walmart I took a chance on them. Unlike the peppermint and spearmint mints these are not starlight mints. These look like cough drops because of their shape and dark color. Don’t be fooled, they are just as spicy as Brach’s yet just as good. They aren’t hot at first. But when you chew on then that’s when you taste the cinnamon flavor. I like these for after meals.

5 Stars

I actually love all 3 flavors. Not always do I want just one flavor. I bundled all 3 into a large ziplock bag, mix together and carefully pour into small ziplock bags. Totally worth the cost and bags are large enough I can stretch out without any left over . I love that Walmart’s Great Value brand hard candies are natural not artificial flavored. I also like that these pack a great punch of flavor without being over powering. I definitely recommend all 3 flavors. Try them, you might just like then. 

Valentine’s Day Hard Candy Ziplock Pouches

Valentine’s Day is here. This is the first of 3 commercial holidays where most gifts have some kind of candy.

In this blog I decided to skip chocolate and make these small ziplock candy bags.

Why ziplock instead of elegant looking candy bags? Quite a few reasons:

 These are thick bags that can hold a good deal of anything. Just fill to the seal and close. If bag won’t close or seal, simply take a few candy pieces out and try again. These rarely tear or break. 

Keeps candy fresh
I use these to store chocolate. They keep their freshness up to 90 days if candy is individually wrapped. But if you get it in bar form and eat half, your shelf life is shorter. As a rule: if it has a funky smell, taste, texture or lost its shine it’s time to throw out. 

I grab a bag, throw into my purse and go. Either way I’m not digging in my bag for something. Simply feel for the ziplock bag and grab what I need. 

No Spills mess or clutter
When I grab a fistful of mints or candy and throw in purse, I either forget about then or they get smashed into pieces. With this if it happens it stays in the ziplock. 

Easy to store & label
If you have multiple bags and want to be organized these let you label with a sharpie pen. And if you’re blind you can stick on a braille label. 

Anything fun size can fit
If you have fun size candy these are just as perfect. I’ll get a large bag of candy and place in ziplock to stretch out a bag. 

Portion Control
On a diet? You can still enjoy candy without depriving yourself. With these little ziplock bags I eat a small amount and place the rest for another snack. I mentioned these in my “How to Get Away Wiyh Sugar” blog (a good read so check it out.). I’ll get a large bag of say M&Ms and carefully separate into 2-4 small ziplock bags. 

Can store other snacks
Absolutely! I actually used this method for pretzels, nuts, mini marshmallows, M&MS, popcorn, chips, crackers and cookies. 

I actually have seen people use different size ziplock bags of candy and snacks to sell or share. If you do this not only do you need to seal the bag, but also heat seal shut. The only way to open is if you tear the heat seal off. This keeps from being tampered with or spills/mess.If you want people to try before buying have a bowl of the bagged item out. 

Easy to buy
You can get different size ziplock bags at all department and grocery stores. 

So what to put in then?
In this blog I opted to make mixed hard candy mint bags. We’ll be using Great Value which you get at Walmart. They come in a variety of flavors. I got one bag of peppermint spearmint and cinnamon starlight mints each. I use to buy Brachs, but they’re hard to find (plus they come in 5lb bags). Nice! peppermint starlight mints are great but can only get at Walgreens. I find Walmart’s Great Value has perfect size bags as well as different flavors. Plus they’re not over powering. 

You will need:

    Ziplock Bags  

    1 bag of peppermint starlight mints  

    1 bag of spearmint starlight mints  

    1 bag of cinnamon hard candy


  1. Pour all bags of candy into a large ziplock bag.

  3. Shake well.

  5. Pour (or take fist fills and place into) small ziplock bags.

  7. Seal ziplock bags and enjoy.

Yeah super easy and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. 

  • As I mentioned above you can use what ever kind of candy you wish (chocolate or hard candy).

  • You can mix up different brands (like I used in this blog) or stitck with just one.

  • Also if you want to you can either do a mixed flavor (like I did here) or just stick with one flavor.

  • If you’re diabetic I suggest sugar free hard candy. Most brands offer a sugar free line of hard candy. If you can’t find in store, try the brand’s website or Amazon.

Social Media: it can be a nightmare for those with disabilities

Social media can be a blessing and a curse. It’s used for a variety of things. Most use it to post about their personal life. Others use it as a promotional tool for work/business. And there are those who like to use it as a way to get their feelings out. 
The thing is: with or without disability, anything you post can be used against you. There are people out there that blow up at others on social media for fun or pleasure. This can be rather harmful. 

Take my Twitter post on boycotting uber (a ride sharing program). A hashtag called boycott uber started up. Its about the company supporting President Trump. I am an independent and supports anyone who is elected as POTUS. So instead I posted this on uber instead:

It is in response of Uber’s drivers who reject and discriminate those with disabilities who are guide dog users. I am going blind due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. But I have enough vision where I can get around just fine with a cans. But I do however have quite a few friends who are totally blind who use guide dogs. 
At first they loved the idea of uber. It’s kinda like a taxi except its not. You use a app to order a ride. Someone picks you up and drives you to your destination.I’ve never used it bc it’s not available in my area yet. But it’s available elsewhere. My friends loved the idea because you didn’t have to wait for a cab or bus. And you don’t have to worry about para-transit being late or having the need to book a van in advance. Those with canes don’t have issues getting rides. But those with guide dogs however do. While my friends were verbally rejected, I’ve seen in news stories that guide dog users have been through much worse. If you need examples do a google search. 

Normally I never have problems on Twitter. Up until now. If you click/tap on my tweet in this blog you’ll see a reply. This dude targeted my disability saying some rather harmful things. Calling me illiterate. Retinitis Pigmentosa isn’t my only disability I also have a reading disability. I can read normally but at a slow pace because of my bad eyes. I can read braille but also am slow. However I can read at a faster pace when I’m using audio (or text to speech) or when I have to memorize stuff. I tried reasoning with the troll but without success. 

Twitter and Facebook asks that you ignore haters. On Twitter you can block or mute tweets that are directed at you. But you cannot delete replies or comments like you can on Facebook. On Facebook you can hide posts or delete comments that might be harmful to something you posted. Both social media giants ash that you report someone if it gets out of hand. Both social media pages also ask you block said person If it continues. 

The thing is you can’t stop someone from bullying you even after you took the appropriate steps. The best advice is to either ignore it, block it or take a tiny break from posting until a new trend comes out. What I want done on both Facebook and Twitter: to freeze an account when someone reports you. That means you’re locked out until they complete their investigation. If it continues the social media giants need to take action. I know and understand its not that simple. But more needs to be done. Go back to my tweet. If you click/rap on this person’s tweet you’ll see he goes after other people as well. Taunting them for their opinion poking fun at their tweets. Calling them unstable. 

Me? I quietly blocked him. Not sure if his tweets at me are still there. But I’m not gonna let one person ruin my day. 

DIY Holiday Chocolate Trays & Tins

This year I wanted to do a different desert tray for Christmas. Instead of cookies I did chocolate. Its easy to do. All you need is either a square or round tray or tin box and your favorite chocolate or candy. 

I did a small Ghirardelli chocolate trey for Thanksgiving. When I get sick of pie for desert or want something different, I’ll grab a few chocolate squares and that’s good enough for me.  

You can get round or square trays and tins at most retailers during the holidays. But if its not the holidays and you need a tray is the best place to go. Get a solid colored tin or tray is the way to go. You can reuse them. 

To place in trays:
Place candy around the edge and center of the tray.  

To place in tin:
If a round Tim, place candy in center of tin. If a square tin, place candy in columns, rows or in a grid. 

See? Told you it was simple to do! Chocolate trays and tins make great gifts. 

If you aren’t the Do It Yourself type simply buy a box of your recipient’s favorite brand of chocolate. 

Super size candy bars: is it worth it? 

I had to ask this after seeing these while shopping at Michaels. I saw someone pick up a giant bag of Twizzlers and noticed there were monster size Reese peanut butter cups, York peppermint Patties and Hershey bars. 

What are jumbo size candy bars? It’s pretty much s larger size version of the original. I was able to find a picture on Google to show the size difference. 

This isn’t the first time a candy company went jumbo size. 

 In August while grocery shopping I came across a party size bag of M&Ms. These super size bags are great if you have a large gathering of kids and want as a self serve or to separate evenly in small ziplock bags. When I saw these you had your choice of either peanut or milk chocolate. But at $9 a bag I opted to pass. Besides I don’t consume that much sugar. If I crave it, I get a regular size bag. 

For the longest time Hershey made a name for itself for making super size chickadee bars for the holidays.

One Christmas one of my friends got an 8×11 Hershey bar with cash stuffed between the wrapper and foil. And a few years later I got a giant Hershey kiss in my sticking. Today the giant Hershey Kiss is now morphed by a 5lb milk chocolate Hershey bar (see graphic if you need proof). 

The thing is, you only have a limited shelf life when you open candy. Yeah sure you can preserve it by freezing but even still after a while it has to be thrown out. 

Ihs it worth it? Yes. But only if it won’t go to waste. Understand these are by the pound now s days not by ounce. And most will require cutting into pieces. 

Cutting and serving: For the rounder items slice like you would a cake or pie (in triangles around the edges). But for bars containing grids carefully cut between the lines with a sharp knife. Stick bars cut into small blocks or chunks. 

Would I give as s gift? Probably not because of the size and cost. But if I were going to a party and needed to bring a desert, maybe. This year though I’m doing a chocolate tray consisting of individually wrapped Ghirardelli chocolates. So the freakishly size jumbo chocolate bars will have to wait until next year. 

If giving to an individual I recommend a tin or bag of their favorite candy. Its less expensive and you can add more than one brand of candy. Plus they can eat at their own pace.

Voting Issues During Election 2016 

Election 2016 came and went. I live in Pennsylvania. I voted but not in the presidential race. Donald Trump was elected in and while most are pleased by the results others were not. So much so those who voted Clinton rioted. I didn’t vote in the presidential race because the Electoral College elects who becomes POTUS. A candidate must reach 270 in electoral college to win election. I felt my vote was better off in state/local races. 
But that’s not why I’m blogging. See this was my first time voting as an independent in Pennsylvania. I made sure my photo ID and voter ID were up to date before hand. When I got to my district’s voting station this is what I went through. 
To make this easy to digest and not long winded or confusing. I’ll also include suggestions where there needs to be improvement. 
Long Wait Times & Lines

When I got there I waited almost an hour. 30 minutes to enter the building. 30 minutes to sign in and (even longer for others) to vote. 

Suggestion: extra voting sites as well as the option for early voting. 
Lack of Direction 

There were volunteers directing traffic in the parking lot but not at the door or inside building. Nor proper signage. That’s unacceptable. When I got to the sign in table I learned I was in the wrong line but wrong part of the building. Instead of giving me sighted guide (that I asked for and never got), I got verbal direction. 

Suggestion: train all volunteers night before. I wasn’t the only unfortunate voter who faced this issue. Early voting would cut down on traffic and confusion. 
Lack of Assistance For Special Needs Voters

This by far was the most complaint I heard on my Facebook page. Because of no early voting in Pennsylvania people with disabilities had to not only wait in long lines. But also had to have help with the machines. There were only 2 people helping special needs voters with their machines in my district. And no volunteers helping voters get to where they needed to go. Again unacceptable.

Suggestion: more volunteers. If there are 4 machines in a room (or multiple voting rooms), there needs to be more than one helper. This would speed up the process. 
Accessible Voting Machines

This was also a problem. Those who can’t see can’t vote independently. Especially if machines are touch screen. On top of that those who could see couldn’t see the print as it was so small. For me I had someone push the button for me.

Suggestion: better accessibility. If there is a way to enlarge print or get audio feedback I was not informed. Some places had accessible keypad devices that help with navigation. Others like mine required audio description of the screen and hand over hand guide. If you enlist to help with the machines, then you need to learn proper etiquette to help a person with disabilities. Every person is different, all ya gotta do is ask “Will you need assistance with voting? how can I assist you?” and then take it from there. 
Everyone Wants Early Voting

In my state November 8 was the ONLY day to vote. Sure I could vote absentee. I would still need help filling out the paper ballot. Not to mention there are strict guidelines to vote absentee (and every state has different rules). Electronic voting is a better option. If my state allowed early voting (and was available in my area), I would vote early not on Election Day. This must be a nation wife option. Not state by state. The problem with early voting is the option to change your mind. I feel if you vote you vote your ballot can’t be changed. The last thing the state wants is a person to cast ballot, change their mind then go back to the original plan. If a ballot change is issued there should be only a one change per ballot. Meaning you change your mind you only get one do over. 
Until something is done by the next presidential election I won’t participate in future elections. Most of these issues can be corrected quickly. Others will require time. And some will require authorization be state government which could take time and action by the state’s governor. The ONE MAJOR thing I shoulda done was contact the polling station in advance. Even still I would’ve had issues getting assistance. 
If you don’t have a disability you technically don’t have an excuse. But if you want change its best you contact your state governor and legislative body so that future voting in your state and district will be stress free. 
YOU have a voice.cYOU have a right to vote. Your VOICE should be heard. 

Presidential Candidates on DIsability Issues

Reader’s Note: This came from an e-mail from the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind (An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind). While this came from a blindness advocacy this is directed at all disabilities not just blindness (Thus why I’m passing it long). Talking points 1-5 discuss education for those with disabilities. There are links embedded in each talking point for references (if the reader wants to investigate further).


Why is this analysis more important this year than other presidential election years? The answer is that never has the choice between candidates been so starkly different.

According to the latest 2010 federal census, nearly 1 out of 5 Americans have some form of disability.

In 2010, this meant almost 60,000,000 Americans were persons with a disability. In 2016, where the current population in the U.S. is around 324,000,000, around 62-million Americans are persons with a disability.

This makes Americans with a disability one of the largest minorities in the United States. And yet… and yet… we have all heard of the Silent Majority, well, one could argue that persons with disabilities in America constitute the invisible minority. There are many reasons for this apparent “invisibility,” but it is beyond the scope of this article to explore these myriad reasons. Instead, let us focus on the two major candidates for President of the United States of America, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and attempt to identify their principles, policies, and plans for addressing the concerns and needs of Americans with disabilities.

We attempt to set forth a nonpartisan analysis. We present research for informational purposes only. We hope that the data presented herein will help voters with disabilities, as well as those who know, love, work with, and share a concern for persons with disabilities, to understand where each candidate stands on the issues that many persons with disabilities care about.

1. On Education

    Trump’s website, which showcases such issues as “Live Free or Die,” “Political Correctness,” “Trump University Truth” and “The Establishment,” includes one mention of education, in a video. “I’m a tremendous believer in education,” proclaims the businessman and reality TV star, as he bemoans how much the nation spends per pupil.

    Clinton’s website offers proposals on K-12 education, early childhood education, college affordability, health care and labor unions. “I want to fight for you and for educators, and for students and for families. I think they go together,” reads a quote on the K-12 education issue page.

2. Over Testing

    Clinton: “We should be ruthless in looking at tests and eliminating them if they do not actually help us move our kids forward.” International Business Times, 10/24/15

    Trump: No position.

3. Charter Schools

    Clinton: Too many charter schools “don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids or, if they do, they don’t keep them. And so the public schools are often in a no-win situation, because they do, thankfully, take everybody.” The Washington Post, 11/08/15

    Trump: “We’ve got to bring on the competition — open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children. Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships.” “The America We Deserve,” by Donald Trump, 07/02/00

4. Respect for Public Schools, Educators

    Clinton: “I will ensure that teachers always have a seat at the table in making decisions that impact their work.” U.S. News & World Report, 10/03/15

    Trump: “Schools are crime-ridden and they don’t teach.” “The America We Deserve,” by Donald Trump, 07/02/00

5. College Affordability

    Clinton: Clinton‘s New College Compact spells out how students can attend a four-year public college without taking loans for tuition, and attend community college tuition-free: “We should have debt-free college if you go to a public college or university. You should not have to borrow a dime to pay tuition; I disagree with free college for everyone.” Business Insider, 02/27/16

    Trump: Trump University was a way to build a “legacy as an educator,” said Trump. He is being sued by the New York Attorney General for allegedly defrauding thousands of students. The Washington Post, 06/04/16

6. Health Care for Both Children and Young Adults

    Clinton: “When I put together all the influences on me and what I really cared about, it was to be a champion and advocate for kids. That’s why I helped create the Children’s Health Insurance Program.” While First Lady, Clinton played a lead role in creating the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, expanding health care to millions of children.

    Trump: Trump vows to “completely repeal” the Affordable Care Act, which among other things, allows young adults who cannot get coverage through their jobs to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. It has resulted in 5.7 million young adults getting health coverage.

7. Campaign Speeches

    On September 21 2016, Democratic candidate for President Hilary Clinton gave a speech in Orlando, Florida, that specifically addressed disability issues.

    As far as we could tell, no major network covered this speech live and a brief search showed that no major network spent any appreciable time covering the speech during their evening programming.

    An internet search revealed no hits regarding disability and trump’s rallies.

8. The party platforms and disability

    The Democratic platform:
    While it may appear that platform’s disability rights section has shrunk in comparison to the 2012 platform, when the document is examined in entirety, people with disabilities are included in numerous other sections, from employment, minimum wage and housing to technology, education and voting rights.

    The Republican platform:
    One of the 17 items listed under the Republican platform’s section, “Great American families, education, healthcare, and criminal justice,” is the link: Advancing Americans with disabilities:
    “Under the last two Republican presidents, landmark civil rights legislation affirmed the inherent rights of persons with disabilities. Republicans want to support those rights by guaranteeing access to education and the tools necessary to compete in the mainstream of society. This is not just a moral obligation to our fellow Americans with disabilities. It is our duty to our country’s future to tap this vast pool of talented individuals who want to work and contribute to the common good…”

9. The candidates’ websites

10. The candidates and the ADA

11. The candidates and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

12. Simply searching the candidates name with “disability”

    A search for “Clinton” and “disability” brought up the official Clinton website, coverage of her September 21 speech, and numerous articles regarding the candidate’s many statements on and actions about disability, including, but not limited to:

    Fact-checking Clinton’s story of meeting disabled children in New Bedford in 1973 [in which the newspaper concluded there is no reason to doubt Clinton’s story]:

    Hillary Clinton Has a Long History of Supporting Disability Legislation

    Hillary Clinton Has a Long History of Supporting Disability Legislation

    An Internet search of “trump” and “disability” brings up the following hits:

    Donald Trump’s Worst Offense? Mocking Disabled Reporter, Poll Finds [NBC News]:

    Trump Mocks Reporter with Disability [CNN video]:

    The True Story: Donald Trump Did Not Mock a Reporter’s Disability [CATHOLICS 4 TRUMP]:

    The True Story: Donald Trump Did Not Mock a Reporter’s Disability

    Donald Trump’s revisionist history of mocking a disabled reporter [The Washington Post]:

    And, early on in his campaign, Trump mocked Senator McCain who, by virtue of his capture and subsequent torture is a person with a disability by saying “I like people who weren’t captured.”

13. The candidates on Social Security and Medicare

    Clinton: We must preserve, protect, and strengthen these lifelines.

    According to AARP, here are the views of the 2 candidates on Social Security:
    Hillary Clinton:
    What will you do to make Social Security financially sound for future generations?
    Social Security must continue to guarantee dignity in retirement for future generations. Hillary understands that there is no way to accomplish that goal without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap, and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.
    Republicans are using scare tactics about the future and effectiveness of Social Security to push through policies that would jeopardize it. The real threat to Social Security is Republican attempts to undermine the bedrock of the system. Hillary believes that Social Security must remain what it has always been: a rock-solid benefit that seniors can always count on—not subject to the budget whims of Congress or to the fluctuations of the stock market. She fought Republican efforts to undermine Social Security when she was a senator and will fight them as president. As president, she would:
    • Fight any attempts to gamble seniors’ retirement security on the stock market through privatization.
    • Oppose reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments.
    • Oppose Republican efforts to raise the retirement age—an unfair idea that will particularly hurt the seniors who have worked the hardest throughout their lives.
    • Oppose closing the long-term shortfall on the backs of the middle class, whether through benefits cuts or tax increases

    Donald J. Trump:
    What specific plans do you have to ensure that Social Security provides adequate benefits to meet the needs of future retirees?
    I will work with Congress to ensure we have a pro-growth agenda in place. If we are able to sustain growth rates in GDP that we had as a result of the Kennedy and Reagan tax reforms, we will be able to secure Social Security for the future. As our demography changes, a prudent administration would begin to examine what changes might be necessary for future generations. Our goal is to keep the promises made to Americans through our Social Security program.
    Hilary Clinton on Social Security:

    Donald Trump on Social Security, “social security is here to stay”:

14. The candidates, jobs, and disability<ul>
Hillary Clinton Outlines Vision of More Job Opportunities for People with disabilities:

Trump Says He’s Hired People with Disabilities, Discusses Plan To Stop Drug Addiction</ul&gt;

15. National Democratic and Republican Conventions, 2016:
Disabled finally have a place at the DNC

Donald Trump Is Bad for Students with Disabilities and America

Disability rights took the spotlight at the Democratic convention this year

How do Convention Goers at the RNC with Disabilities Feel about Trump and Republican Party?

RNC Delegates with Disabilities Talk Accessibility</ul&gt;