Monthly Archives: October 2010

6 Clever Uses for Calendars

Well, it’s hard to believe but it’s almost time to start calendar shopping for next year.  Before you toss your old one, consider some of these ideas:

Reuse old calendars

  1. Turn your old calendar into unique wrapping paper…best part is that you can use the dated side as well as the photo side.
  2. Get crafty by cutting up the photos and using them to decorate your scrapbooks, frames, coasters, etc.  The possibilities are endless.
  3. Donate them to schools or nursing homes.  They’ll gladly take these off your hands to help teach students and adults alike how to count and to help train their memory.
  4. Use the photos as writing workshop tools.
  5. Plan ahead and look for a calendar with photos that would complement your decor.  When that year/month is over, frame the picture and hang it up.
  6. Cut the squares out and rearrange to make a new calendar!  Bonus—all the birthday and anniversary notes you wrote down last year won’t change.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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8 Dollar Store Halloween Costume Ideas

So you think you have to go out and spend $60.00 on a Halloween costume you or your kids are going to wear once?  Not so.  Here are some ideas for you and your kids that are high in creativity and low in price:

A Bunch of Grapes!


Purple or green sweatsuit, purple or green grapes, green cap, and masking tape to attach the grapes

Bubblegum Machine:

I was going to do this last Halloween but didn’t think I’d be able to sit down at work in a bubblegum costume 🙂


Red sweatsuit, clear garbage bag, water balloons

Blow up the water balloons.  Make two holes for your legs in the clear garbage bag and two holes for your arms.  Insert the balloons through the top hole and either tie it off behind your neck or tuck it under your sweater.

Smartie Pants!


Comfy pants, tape, Smartie candies

Laundry Basket/Bedroom Floor:


Clothes, socks, safety pins

Pin various pieces of clothing to your clothes.  Mismatched socks, undershirts, and underwear are great because they’re light and won’t weigh you down.


Here is my crazy sister dressed up in tin foil!


Creativity and tin foil 🙂

Also, some Chipotle’s will give you a free/discounted burrito if you go in on Halloween dressed in tin foil.  Check with your local restaurant and see if they participate (my sister is a Chipotle freak…thus this tin foil getup.  She gets free burritos at her branch for dressing in tin foil!).


*Weave rubber snakes through your hair.  If they need to be secured, hot glue hair pins under the snake to attach it to your hair and keep it from moving.

*Use skin-safe glue (or theatre/makeup adhesive) to attach toy spiders and bugs to your legs, neck, or arms.  One little bug crawling up your leg is probably enough to freak anyone out!

*Mix and match costumes from various years and see what you can create.  You could probably make an awesome Whoville costume or you could be a ghost of Halloween’s past…

You can find more fun kids ideas here:

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

I love oatmeal just as much as the next size 12 girl who longs to be a size 8, but I can only eat so much of it before my taste buds start getting board and long for something a bit more creative…therefore, I’ve added one simple ingredient to my morning meal and have fallen in love with oatmeal all over again.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Oatmeal 🙂


What You Need:

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

2-3 teaspoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons raisins or dried cranberries

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Add water (based on the measurements placed on your oatmeal container) and microwave for about 1 minute.  Stir and devour.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 


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Armchair Reader Goes Hollywood Book Review

The Stars are out tonight! 🙂

I’m a sucker for non-fiction—especially books about people I respect and admire, movies and TV shows I love, and the history behind creating some of the brightest stars on the silver screen.  So when I drew the title Armchair Reader:  Goes Hollywood out of my jar of book titles, I got a little too excited.  I jumped into the book right away and finished it in a couple days.  If you are a fan of current or classic cinema, you’ll want to check this out.

Armchair Reader:  Goes Hollywood is similar to the Uncle John series, where the articles can be read at random and the book does not have to be read cover to cover.  Search around for information about your favorite movies and stars and read articles that may convince you to add some movies to your Netflix queue (who would want to pass up on a movie called Frankenhooker?  I mean, come on!)

Armchair Reader:  Goes Hollywood is chock full of Hollywood secrets, stories, scandals, set stories, and even advice on how to get your puppy into show business.  Here’s a little peek at what you’ll find in AR:  Goes Hollywood:

*Hollywood was originally built as a preservationist society where modern excesses would not be tolerated.

*Marilyn Monroe studied literature at UCLA while under contract with FOX.

*The Wizard of Oz, one of the most viewed films of all time, only cost 2.8 million dollars to make.

*Blow up dolls were used to fill the stands in some scenes in Seabiscuit.

*The cast of Casablanca had no idea how the movie would end until they were shooting it, so what you see on screen is the actor’s true reaction to the script.

*Clint Eastwood’s first movement as Mayor of Carmel, California was to legalize ice cream parlors.  They were previously banned because the ice cream was making the sidewalks sticky.

*Steven Spielberg applied to the university of southern California’s film school and was rejected three times.

*You know the famous HOLLYWOOD sign?  Of course you do.  Did you know, though, that various Hollywood stars have “adopted” the letters to keep the sign from being knocked down?  Proud parents include Hugh Hefner, Gene Audry, and Alice Cooper.

*Jaws was the first ever summer blockbuster, rolling in 129 million dollars; however, the production of the movie was about as disastrous as a shark out of water…and thank goodness it was, because if everything went according to plan, the movie we know would not exist.

AR:  Goes Hollywood is a great gift for any lover of current and classic cinema.  Keep it handy as you work your way through your movie collection and experience your films on a whole new level.

NEXT WEEK: ATTACK OF THE TALKING KUGEL!  No, it’s not an upcoming Yiddish monster movie…as amazing as that would be–

All of my Jewish readers, take note…you’re going to want to be here next week.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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10 Clever Uses for Old Board Games

We all have games with missing pieces, right?  Or games with a broken board or games we simply don’t play anymore.  If they’re too grungy to pass along or donate, look no further.  Here are some fun ways to use them around your house…


Use an old Twister mat as a tablecloth for a kid’s birthday party.  It’s fun, colorful, and spills wipe right off.

Write chores on each dot on the Twister mat and write your kids’ names on the spinner.  Have them spin the dial and find out what chore they are responsible for that week.  This method can also be used in choosing Secret Santas!


Set up some food items and tape prices to each one.  Use the money from Monopoly to teach your kids about addition and subtraction.


The letters in Scrabble can be a crafter’s best friend.  Use them to create charms for your friends.  Glue letters on a frame, journal, or scrapbook.  Make personalized monogram jewelry.  Make gift tags.  With this game, the possibilities are endless…


If you’re done with this game, use the main structure to keep ribbon and yarn from getting tangled.


Missing chessmen or those pesky little circular game pieces?  No prob.  Keep the board and make your own pieces.  Theme your chess set by creating little characters out of clay or fabric.  We have an Alice in Wonderland chess set at home, and I’m actually in the process of creating a Harry Potter one!

You can do the same thing with checkers.  Use milk lids, bottle caps, buttons, Pogs (remember those!?!?), or poker chips.  Glue some googly eyes on them to make the game a little more fun!


If the board itself is damaged, don’t toss it quite yet!  Cover the board with paper and create your own board game!  Keep it for family time or give it as a gift.

If you’d rather toss the board, save the little pieces and make mini ornaments out of them…or place them in handmade crackers and give them out to little kids during Halloween or Christmas.

If you’re super artsy you could turn board game pieces into unique jewelry.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.


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How to Paint White Roses Red

For as long as I can remember my family has been obsessed with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  My dad is a mad hatter freak and even dressed up as the crazy tea party host for Halloween a few years ago.  We collect various book versions of Wonderland and have a special area in our house dedicated to Wonderland memorabilia.

A couple months ago, during one weekend when I had nothing to do, I decided to convert my boring white IKEA table into an Alice in Wonderland dedication.  It’s not quite done yet, so I can’t share it at this time, but I did have a brilliant thought for a floral arrangement…

Painting the Roses Red!

A close up…

Not only do these white-gone-red roses pay homage to Alice and friends, but it’s a super fun and easy Halloween decoration.  I went to Michael’s and bought these white roses on sale, win #1.  I found some old red paint at my parent’s house and simply dipped the roses in the paint and turned them over to let them drip a bit.

Allow your roses to dry for at least 48 hours.

This can also be done with black paint on white roses for a spooky yet elegant Halloween or wedding decoration.

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Veggie Burgers!

Here’s a recipe that’s budget friendly, figure friendly, and kitchen friendly!

Friendly Food! 🙂

Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers

One 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2/3 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves

2/3 cup breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 slices of cheddar cheese, optional

4 hamburger buns

Ketchup, mustard, etc. for serving

1.  In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas and parsley until finely chopped.  Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the egg and form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 2/3 inch thick.

2.  In a large skillet (or in your Forman Grill), heat the oil over medium heat.  Cook the burgers for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for three minutes more.  Top with cheese and let cook one more minute.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Misfortune Book Review

Lord Loveall needs a hug.  As if his dying mother isn’t enough of a burden for him to handle, he’s also dealing with the death of his beloved sister, greedy relatives who want a piece of his fortune, and no wife or child to give the fortune to once he meets his demise.  Oh, life is hard for a young 19th century lord.

Meanwhile on the outskirts of London, a young woman is with child…and is scared out of her mind.  She gives birth in a rundown hospital and, to save her own skin, the nurse instructs a young boy by the name of Pharaoh to take the infant far away and dispose of it.  Pharaoh follows orders and leaves the baby in a trash heap, certain to face death in the next hour.

It is here where this baby and the sad Lord Loveall meet.  On his way back home, Lord Loveall sees the abandoned baby and takes it as a sign…he finally has someone to inherit his fortune!

He lovingly names the baby Rose and returns home to tell the family.  He puts the new child in the arms of his dying mother and tells her that this is his daughter and she will be the next ruler of Love Hall.  Before her death, Lady Loveall has a good laugh at her son, both for his stupidity in bringing this child home and his obvious lack of observation…for Rose is most definitely a boy.

And so begins the story of Lady Rose Loveall.

Despite the obvious confusion little Rose is bound to face when she realizes that she’s a he, the entire house abides by Lord Loveall’s dire conviction that he is raising a daughter.  The pain of his sister’s death blinds him to see what Rose really is, for in his mental illness, he often believes that Rose is his young deceased sister, Delores.

Little Rose remains ignorant of her sexual ambiguity until her father’s death.  Through a series of sexual questioning, encounters, and observations, Rose discovers why she has that “appendage” between her legs and why her best friend, Sarah, does not.  What Rose does about this is something for the reader to discover…and what she learns about herself is the perfect ending to this rags-to-riches story.

Wesley Stace, the brilliant writer behind Misfortune, did such an eloquent job of exploring these themes of sexual identity, familial belonging, and self-awakening.  The reader can’t help but feel for Rose as she learns about why she was raised this way, what makes her so special and why it’s so crucial that she stay true to herself.

Misfortune is a meaty book, about 530 pages of text…but with a lovable cast of characters and a storyline that almost never fails to deliver, Misfortune is a great read.  If you’re a fan of Charles Dickens, Ed Wood, or think a novel about Ed Wood written by Charles Dickens might be interesting, you’re sure to adore Misfortune.  🙂

NEXT WEEK:  Be prepared to dive into Hollywood like never before.  Get the inside scoop behind some of the best, worst, most expensive, and shocking movies of all time.  Learn about the people that made Hollywood what it is today and discover what this star-studded paradise is really like behind the camera.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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