Heartwarming Fireside Memories and Mouthwatering S’mores Recipes

Fire Pit S'mores Recipes

Last month, we reached out to our readers for submissions of their favorite fireside memories and s’mores recipes during our annual National S’mores Day Fire Pit Giveaway. We were thrilled to receive over 5,800 submissions! As part of our celebration, a random name was chosen to receive a Belgard fire pit for making treasured fireside memories and yummy s’mores in their own backyard. Congratulations to this year’s winner:

TAMRA C. – Fresno, CA

We enjoyed reading through the wonderful stories and recipes that were submitted. Here are a few of our favorites for you to enjoy.

Everything’s Better Around the Fire

Recently we were flooded from our home and were homeless. We went up to my parent’s place back in the country and to cheer my kids up, my grandmother had sent s’mores makings to my mom’s house. We all sat around a fire and had s’mores and had a great time helping to forget the bad things happening to us that night. — B. Bluey / Latrobe, PA

Whenever daddy was deployed and the kids were so sad, I broke out the s’mores stuff. It was amazing. They perked up, and we were able to laugh and talk, and for a moment, even if it was only for that moment, the kids were happy. — K. Backowski / Olathe, KS

Under the towering pines of Colorado, we sat outside around the fire pit…my children’s faces lit up with joy, and starlight…downing s’mores. They each called out how they wanted their own marshmallows …either gooey or crunchy-crusted. We sang and told stories while the fire died down. Chocolate still on their cheeks, they nodded off, grinning, and had to be carried in to bed. — D. Patton / Dallas, TX

First time I ever had a s’more, I didn’t realize it was ok to blacken the marshmallow, so I kept throwing them away. Next thing I knew I used up the entire bag trying to make the perfect s’more. We had to run to the nearest store to buy more marshmallows so everyone else could have a s’more. — O. Chansombat / Oklahoma City, OK

Roasting marshmallows for my s’more at age 11, it caught fire. I shook it instead of blowing it to put it out. It flung off the stick across the fire and landed all melty on my aunt’s lip. Good times. — T. Locke / Jasper, AL

I remember as a teen, my sisters and I would write our wishes on slips of paper. We would toss them into the fire thinking as they burned, our wishes went to our guardian angels. — M. Scott / Joplin, MO

Some of my favorite fireside memories are of fixing lemonade and watching the grandchildren play and run with water guns and bubbles. Just listening to their screams of excitement as they played. We laughed because they did! — J. Burney / Kennesaw, GA

The first time I ever had s’mores was at Girl Scout Camp with my lifelong best friend, Lisa. A few months later, my family and I moved 2,000 miles away. Every summer for the next 4 years I came back and we had s’mores at the lake. We grew up, got married, had kids, lost touch. 20 years later, I made a visit back “home” with my family and showed up at Lisa’s door with a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers and some chocolate bars. It was like we’d never been away from each other. — Anon / Denton, TX

New Versions of Everyone’s Favorite Fireside Treat

We got lots of submission that suggested switching out the standard milk chocolate bar for a favorite candy bar. Some yummy suggestions included using an Almond Joy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Ghirardelli Squares. Those ideas all sound pretty darn awesome! Here are some other intriguing recipes submitted by our readers:

Graham crackers, pumpkin flavored marshmallows, Hersey bars and a smear of peanut butter. — R. Walker Conrad / Kingbury, TX

Drizzle caramel sauce over toasted marshmallows before putting chocolate on and sandwich between peanut butter cookies. — Anon / Reno, NV

Adult S’mores: Strain the juice out of a jar of cherries and soak the cherries in rum overnight. Push the cherry into the center of the melty marshmallow before assembling the s’more. — Anon / Eeau Claire, WI

Graham crackers, Nutella, chocolate squares, sliced fruit. Always went to campgrounds every weekend with my whole family. My grandparents always made them like this. We still all get together and have camping nights with s’mores. — C. Black / Marion, OH

Mexican S’mores: Tortilla, chocolate, and marshmallow — deep fried and covered in cinnamon and sugar. — Anon / Gomez, CA

I live for sliced strawberries in between my s’mores. I also recently fell in love with chocolate and toasted marshmallow in between an open Oreo cookie. The more burnt, the better! — A. Church / Rockledge, FL

Key Lime Pie S’mores: Honey graham crackers, key lime marshmallows and white chocolate. We topped them with a little bit of lime zest and voila! The perfect tropical s’more. — R. Dutton / Ashville, NC

Vanilla wafers and starbursts. Soften the starbursts over a fire, then place on top of a vanilla wafer. — M. Fullmer / Logan, UT

Belgard Enhances ‘Smart Homes’ for Catastrophically Disabled Veterans

  • Belgard Enhances 'Smart Homes' for Catastrophically Disabled Veterans
  • Cavalier 'Smart Homes' for Disabled Veterans

When Belgard’s parent company Oldcastle APG, a CRH company, learned of the Tunnel to Towers Smart Home Program, the company’s senior leadership knew that an outdoor living partnership with the philanthropic program was a must.

“Outdoor living has become a large part of American culture over the last several decades. Each Smart Home recipient was catastrophically disabled while protecting the American way of life. Belgard is incredibly honored to lend our backyard living expertise so they can fully enjoy their new homes,” said Wade Ficklin, President of Oldcastle APG West and APG’s Tunnel to Towers project coordinator.

'Smart Homes' for Catastrophically Disabled Veterans

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created in memory of New York firefighter Stephen Siller who raced on foot from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers in full bunker gear during the 9/11 attacks, losing his life that day in the act of saving others.

The Smart Home Program was developed by T2T as a way to help catastrophically disabled veterans returning from conflicts in the Persian Gulf, an ongoing struggle that began as a result of the events of 9/11. The first surviving quadruple amputee from the Gulf War (Sgt. Brendan Marrocco, U.S. Army) came from a community near Siller’s former home on Staten Island. Due to the local connection, the foundation board felt compelled to do something for Sgt. Morracco, and thus the first Smart Home was built in 2011.

“From there, our Smart Home program was born,” said Charlie Percia, Smart Home Program Construction Manager. “Due to an outpouring of support from companies like Oldcastle APG, we have now committed to building 200 homes. We continue to get more sponsors and larger sponsors every year, which has allowed the program to continue to grow.”

Since beginning its partnership with T2T in 2017, Belgard has donated products for and helped install nearly a dozen outdoor living spaces to date, with several more in progress and a continued partnership commitment moving forward. Recipients choose the location of their Smart Homes, and the foundation builds across the country. Oldcastle APG donates the materials, while Belgard team members and local hardscape contractors donate their time to construct each outdoor living project.

“The original agreement was to build 12′ x 12′ patios, but in the course of building some of the houses, Oldcastle has stepped up to help with needs that have arisen like retaining walls,” Percia said. “Some of the installers have built fire pits—whatever they personally want to do. Each project is unique.”

The foundation is pleased with the partnership with Belgard to provide attractive outdoor living spaces for so many of the Smart Homes.

“Pavers are a lot nicer than concrete and brighten up the landscape for the recipients,” Percia said. “With Oldcastle donating the products and coordinating the installation, it alleviates us having to raise funding for that part of the house. It’s an awesome thing. Quite frankly, we couldn’t complete projects this nice without the support.”

To date, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has delivered, started construction, or is in the design stage of 85 Smart Homes.

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For more on Belgard’s involvement with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and its Smart Home Program, read our blog: Belgard Team Members Build, Walk, Run & Climb for America’s Bravest.

Help us Celebrate National S’mores Day and Enter to Win a Belgard Fire Pit Kit

National S'mores Day, Win a Belgard Fire Pit Kit

August 10 is one of our favorite days of the year — that special day dedicated to ooey, gooey, chocolaty marshmallowy goodness! In honor of this delectable fireside treat, we invite you to join us in celebrating our third annual National S’mores Day Fire Pit Giveaway. Each year, we reach out to our readers and ask them to submit their unique s’mores recipes or stories about enjoying a warm fireside moments with friends and family. One lucky entrant will win a Belgard Fire Pit Kit to enhance their backyard!

Belgard Fire Pit Kit

ENTER NOW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN

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As part of our celebration, here are some links for you to enjoy:

Gourmet S'Mores Recipes

Gourmet s’mores recipes: Looking for a new way to s’more? Get delicious Greek-inspired s’mores recipes from last year’s Fire Pit Giveaway winner and Greek chef, Elaine Pitenis.

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Design Patio Around Fire Pit Ideas

5 tips for designing a patio around a fire pit: When adding a fire pit to your backyard, these design tips will help you to create a warm and inviting outdoor living space.

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S'mores Recipes

2018 fireside memories and s’mores recipes: Look back at some of our favorite submissions from last year’s National S’mores Day Fire Pit Giveaway.

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Outdoor Fireplace and Fire Pit Design Ideas

Fire pit and outdoor fireplace design ideas: If you’re considering adding a fire feature to your backyard outdoor living space, check out our Pinterest boards for design inspiration.

And the Outdoor Design Innovations Keep Coming!

As leaders in the paver and landscape wall industry, Belgard spends over 20,000 hours annually on research and development and takes pride in constant innovation to drive the trends in outdoor living design. We are excited to showcase some of our newest innovations that are currently regionally available with plans to expand into additional markets.

Melville™ Wall

  • Melville Wall Garden Dimensional Brick Pavers
  • Melville Landscape Wall Pavers

Contemporary outdoor living trends are gravitating towards sleek designs with monochromatic color schemes, clean lines and smooth surfaces. The Belgard Metropolitan Collection offers numerous pavers that complement this design style. Examples include the modular Lafitt® Grana Slab, the multi-shape Moduline Series™ and the linear Melville™ Plank. New Melville™ Wall was designed to coordinate with these paver styles to create beautifully coordinated contemporary outdoor living spaces. Melville Wall can be installed in a straight lay to create landscape walls with a crisp, clean look. Or, it can be installed in a staggered pattern to offer a dimensional avant garde look. Melville Wall is currently available in the southwestern region.

TrueColor™ Technology

TrueColor™ Brick Paver Sealant

After pavers have been installed, sealants and color boosters can help keep them looking brand new but can fade or need to be reapplied as the years pass. Belgard’s TrueColor™ is an exclusive cutting-edge technology that uses propriety admixtures and in-line treatments during the manufacturing process to enhance color and protect our products before they are installed. This revolutionary technology provides richer color depth that is more resistant to fading, UV rays, stains and everyday wear without giving the pavers a glossy finish. TrueColor also optimizes the dimensional look of any surface texture, ensuring that your pavers are as beautiful on day 1,000 as on day 1. TrueColor Technology is currently available in the northeast and midwest regions and is coming soon to the south central region.

Tandem® Modular Block

Watch how easy it is to install the new Tandem® Modular Block system.

The Tandem® Wall System line has transformed the outdoor living design industry with its ease of use and versatility to quickly create multidimensional outdoor living elements such as outdoor kitchens, built-in seating, planters, accent walls, columns and more. With the new innovative Tandem® Modular Block, installation of Tandem® Wall is now easier than ever. Instead of clipping into place with pins, Modular Blocks offer a rear lip that slides into a backer block to hold the face in place, further reducing installation time and costs. Face styles include Ashlar (chiseled stone), Melville (smooth) and Lamina (stacked stone). Tandem Modular Block is currently available in eastern Canada and will be launching soon in the southwestern U.S. region. All other Tandem® systems — including Tandem® Wall, Mega-Tandem® Wall, Tandem® Column Kit and Tandem® Modular Grid — are available in all U.S. and Canada markets.

Agilina™ Plank Pavers

Inspired by the clean lines of modern design trends, new Agilina™ Plank is a marriage of old-world aesthetics and contemporary lines. With the subtly textured face of natural cut stone, Agilina™ Plank pavers are available in multiple size formats to create numerous looks and patterns for stylish outdoor living designs. Varied widths and lengths allow for multiple running bond patterns to create either a random or more stylized look, depending upon preference. Agilina™ Plank also works well as a border for mixed paver designs and when using the longer planks, requires fewer cuts. Launched in test markets in 2018, Agilina™ Plank has been well-received and is now available throughout the eastern seaboard and in the midwest.

Noon Porcelain Wall Veneer

Belgard’s Noon Porcelain Paver collection has been getting a lot of attention from the design community since its nationwide release in 2017. The rustic barnwood look and texture offers stain- and fade-resistant durability and mirrors interior flooring trends in both style and shape — making the collection a fantastic addition to Belgard’s contemporary line of Porcelain Pavers. In 2018, Belgard released two styles of Porcelain Veneers to coordinate with the Porcelain Paver line (Quartziti and Ardesie). Since their release, the veneer line has racked up innovation awards from The Old House, Qualified Remodeler, Building Design + Construction, the American Association of Architects, and Architzer. Now, Belgard is excited to announce the addition of Noon Porcelain Wall Veneer. Featuring the same durability and distressed wood aesthetics, Noon veneers work well as a compliment to Noon pavers or to provide a striking contrast with other architectural materials. Noon Porcelain Veneers are offered in four rich colors ideal for achieving a modern farmhouse aesthetic. Porcelain veneers are also perfect as an indoor accent to add rich textures or for creating indoor/outdoor flow. Noon pavers and veneers are currently available in all U.S. markets.

Introducing:
NEW Verona™ Porcelain Pavers

Belgard is excited to announce that the new Verona™ collection of Porcelain Pavers is now available nationwide! The Verona line emulates a variety of natural stones to create distinctive contemporary outdoor living designs. Each available color was specifically fashioned to closely mimic the natural qualities of a different quarried stone, including intricate color striations and a polished stone texture.

  • Verona - Blue Stone Porcelain Pavers
  • Verona - Platinum Stone Porcelain Pavers
  • Verona - Taos Stone Porcelain Pavers
  • Verona - Yukon Stone Porcelain Pavers

Verona Porcelain Pavers are available in 24″x24″ pieces to create stunning contemporary designs. These large-scale pavers rise above and beyond traditional paver products with a lighter weight, outstanding cleanability and durability, and an extremely high compressive strength. They offer an ultra-low water absorption rate, which creates a highly impenetrable surface. This allows the pavers to fend off surface mold, moss, dirt and other types of stains found in exterior environments (including oil and red wine). These maintenance-free pavers do not require any sealers and are unaffected by efflorescence or discoloration, making them perfect for use around water features and pools.

Another huge benefit with Belgard Porcelain Pavers is the product line’s installation versatility. Porcelain Pavers can be installed over a grass, gravel or concrete base, depending upon the application. For uneven surfaces and rooftop terraces, Porcelain Pavers can also be installed using a pedestal system, which also allows future access to utilities that run underneath. With the proper installation, Porcelain Pavers can even support vehicular loads, providing spectacular curb appeal for both residential and commercial use.

For more information, visit the Verona product page or click the image below to download the data sheet.

Verona Porcelain Pavers Natural Stone

Weston Stone® Fire Pit Giveaway at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Belgard is once again excited to be the exclusive hardscapes sponsor of the most fabulous horticultural event in the country — the annual Philadelphia Flower Show — which began on March 2 and runs through March 10, 2019. In honor of the event, Belgard is giving booth visitors a chance to enter to win a charming Weston Stone® Fire Pit to enhance their backyard. Those who can’t make it to the show can still enter to win by clicking the image below!

Those attending the show will be treated to amazing displays across the ten-acre Flower Show floor. The world’s leading floral and garden designers used this year’s theme of “Flower Power” to explore how flowers convey a wide range of messages in a universal language that transcends cultures and borders. Stunning landscapes, vibrant gardens, and breathtaking floral displays interpret flowers’ power to inspire and enrich our lives. Through imaginative exhibits, concepts like community, healing, peace, transformation and hope have been brought to life in surprising, vibrant ways.

The Belgard display booth at the Flower Show was designed to emulate the experience of walking through the lush outdoor spaces of a beautiful home, from the front paver walkway and garden entrance through the Ultimate Backyard. This year’s backyard design features raised planters, a vertical garden, an outdoor theater, and a fireside conversation area with two fire features: a Bordeaux™ Series Fireplace and a contemporary linear gas fire pit. In a nod to the “Flower Power” theme, the display showcases how flowering plants and lush greenery can be incorporated with a wide variety of pavers and landscape walls to create welcoming outdoor living spaces for both relaxation and entertaining.

In addition to use in the Belgard booth, Belgard paver and retaining wall products were used in displays throughout the show in a variety of creative ways. Click on the galleries below to peruse images from the show.

Image Gallery: Belgard’s Ultimate Backyard Booth

VIDEO: Panoramic View of the Belgard Backyard

Image Gallery: Philadelphia Flower Show Displays