Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jelly Belly Fun

On Monday, with school off for President’s Day, we drove up to Wisconsin to visit the Jelly Belly warehouse where they give free tours. Kai likes Jelly Bellys, but he doesn’t eat them very much. He just likes to look at all the colors and learn the different flavors.

When we got to the warehouse, we had to wait about 20 minutes for the tour to begin. But Kai stayed calm, mostly. When it was our turn, we put on our Jelly Belly hats and boarded the train that would take us around the warehouse.

The train stopped at various spots while different video clips explained how the candy is made. I thought it was interesting, but Kai didn’t seem to be paying much attention.

The best part of the visit was yet to come. At the end of the tour, each participant got a free mini bag of Jelly Belly candies, and then we entered the warehouse store.

This store had an enormous selection of the famous candy, including many flavors you ordinarily don’t see too often.

We found out that in addition to their famous jelly beans, they also make other candies. Some of the out-of-season items were on sale. I got a 10-pound box of Reindeer Corn for $5, quite a bargain, I thought, since many of the small bags of Jelly Belly they were selling cost more than that. (Reindeer Corn is just candy corn that is red, green, and white instead of the usual autumn colors.) And yes, I know that 10 pounds is quite a bit of candy corn. My wife is wondering what we will do with it all.

Our favorite new item, though, was a box of Bean Boozled, which is a game where you twirl a spinner and choose a jelly bean. The fun is that these are not just ordinary jelly beans. Half of the beans are tasty Jelly Belly flavors, but half of them are awful flavors such as Skunk Spray, Rotten Egg, and Barf. The crazy flavors look identical to the good flavors so you don’t know which is which.

When we got home, we played the game. My wife ended up getting many of the yucky beans that taste so bad that the instructions advise keeping a garbage can nearby while you play. Kai got mostly the regular flavors, except for Toothpaste, which he actually liked.

Later, he had his weekly session with Alyson, his longtime speech therapist extraordinaire. Alyson always practices conversation with Kai, and tries to get him to talk about what he did over the weekend.

During this week’s session, Alyson said that Kai talked all about the trip to the Jelly Belly warehouse. He even mentioned that Kiwi is the most difficult flavor to make, something that was mentioned on the video during the tour.

It is nice to know that he is hearing and learning things, even when he doesn’t appear to be paying attention.

And at the end of the day, even more than $5 Reindeer Corn, that was the highlight of my day.

Hopefully he is learning similarly in school. And from me, too.


  1. Don't you just love when you think they're not paying attention and they really are?

    Just another wonder of autism...

    1. Hi Molly,
      Yes, it is such a pleasant surprise to find out that he really was taking in what was being said. We've had that experience a few times, but it still amazes me.

  2. One of the wonders of children. Now you know that he listens must be careful on what you say...even when you think you are out of earshot. Alex has surprised us on many occasions when he replied to what my wife and I had been speaking quietly about in another room...or when we think he is preoccupied with another activity.

    1. Yes, you are right. My wife and I too often talk as if he is not there because he appears to be preoccupied with something else. We have to be more conscious to be careful of what we say.


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