Monthly Archives: December 2010

Happy New Year!

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15 Clever Uses for Crayons

Once upon a time, when I was young and stupid, I accidently left my huge collection of crayons in the back seat of my dad’s car one warm day in July.  I probably don’t need to tell you what happened, but let’s just say that Jerry Garcia would have been proud.

If you have worn out and broken crayons, don’t toss them.  Get ready to create some beautiful home decorations with your kids.


1.  Shave your broken crayons and arrange the shavings into a shape between 2 sheets of wax paper.  Melt the wax with an iron and cut out ornaments or even jewelry from the warm wax.  Remove the paper and let cool.

2.  Make them into new crayons!  Place pieces and shavings into muffin tins and melt in the oven just until the colors run together.  Pop out and you have a multi-colored crayon kids will love.  You can also do this in the microwave by putting crayons in dixie cups.

3.  Hold on to those “Evening Wonder” Blacks and “Forest Brown”‘s because they work great on scratched furniture.

4.  If you have carving skills, you could make some wicked crayon sculptures.  Make them out of brand new crayons if you’re really talented, or create your own crayon and carve that…since you’ll have a little more meat to work with.


5.  Use crayons to add life to white taper candles.  Arrange your crayon rejects in a tin can and place it in a bowl of boiling hot water (once the water begins to boil, turn the heat off and let the crayons sit in the water until they melt).  Do not stir it, or else the colors will run together.  Once the crayons have melted, dip the candles into the melted crayons and you’ve got a rainbow style candle.  This is a great idea for birthday candles, too.  Just be sure to hold the candle by the wick when you dip it in the wax.

6.  Sidenote to #5, you can make your own candles with melted crayons by sticking a wick in an assorted collection of crayons and letting the wax melt.  Shave it to create the desired shape.

7.  Crayons make great fill material for small gouges or holes in resilient flooring. Get out your crayon box and select a color that most closely matches the floor.  Melt the crayon in the microwave over wax paper on medium power, a minute at a time until you have a pliant glob of color.  Now, with a plastic knife or putty knife, fill the hole.  Smooth it over with a rolling pin, a book, or some other flat object.  You’ll find the crayon cools down quickly.  Now wax the floor, to provide a clear protective coating over your new fill.

Feeling crafty?  Check out these other awesome crayon crafts that you can easily do with your kids!:

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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5 Ways to Have Fun on New Year’s Eve

Traffic.  Crowds.  Dangerous People.  Drunk People.  Loud People…

If this isn’t the way you want to spend New Year’s Eve, consider spending this new year’s at home.  Here are some ideas to ensure that the fun is brought to you without the fuss.


There’s something glamourous about having a formal New Year’s Eve party.  Ask your friends to come over in their old prom attire (or at least dress nicely!) and turn it into a potluck.  Less cooking for you and a great opportunity to have a “last meal” before everyone begins their New Year’s diet.


Some of my favorite New Year’s memories are just staying in with my parents and siblings and playing games all night.  We would literally dig up every board game we own and would plow through all of them.  It was a great bonding experience and a fun way to spend the time.  We’d dine on finger food and finally watch the ball drop before all crashing on the floor!


Let’s face it, being alone on New Year’s sucks.  Why not follow the ol’ misery loves company rule and invite your girlfriends over for a pajama party?  Pour some wine, dig into a premade cake from Walmart and pop in some old 80’s chick flicks.


Are you making a life-changing resolution this year, or simply ready to make a change, once and for all?  Consider having an awakening New Year’s evening.  Invite some people over, light a fire, and have everyone write down their New Year’s resolution on a piece of paper.  On a different piece of paper, have your guests write down one thing they regreted in the past year or one thing they want to let go.  Go around the room and have everyone talk about their regret, then throw that paper into the fire.  Then talk about your resolutions.  Put these in a container and bring them out next New Year’s and you can all talk about how you’ve changed in a year’s time.


Ever want to spend New Year’s in an exotic place?  Write down the places you’d like to spend New Year’s and draw one of them from a hat.  Do some research and see how they spend New Years, what they eat, what they wear, etc. and host a “Destination New Year’s” party.  Celebrate, eat, and live like you were anywhere but where you are.

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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Spicy Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Well, the days of holiday eating are coming to an end.  I’m already feeling the need to eat carrots and celery for the rest of my life, so here’s a little something different for your palate (sorry I haven’t put pics up recently!  My camera is somewhere in a box in my new place and I have yet to find it.  The hunt begins today).


1 pound sirloin steak, cut against the grain into 1/4″ x 1/4″ strips

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 large broccoli stalks

1 cup reduced sodium beef broth

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger

2 large garlic cloves, minced

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 teaspoons canola oil, divided

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

4 cups hot cooked white rice

1.  Place the beef in a medium bowl, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and toss to coat.  Set aside.

2.  Cut the broccoli crowns into florets.  Peel the stalks and slice them crosswise into the rounds.  Set aside.

3.  In a small bowl, stir together the broth, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, cornstarch and crushed red pepper until the cornstarch dissolves.  Set aside.

4.  Place a large well-seasoned  cast-iron skillet over medium high heat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil.  When the oil is hot, add the beef and stir fry until it loses its pink color, about 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer it to a clean bowl and set aside.

5.  Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the skillet.  When it is hot, add the broccoli and bell pepper, cover and cook until the veggies are just tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Stir the broth mixture and add it to the skillet.  Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the skillet.  Cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute.  Serve immediately over the rice.

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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A Christmas Story…Where are They Now?

It’s just not Christmas without Ralphie, Schwartz, Randy, and Flick.  Ever wonder what happened to the good ol’ Christmas Story gang?  Well, you’re in luck.

RALPHIE PARKER (Peter Billingsley):  America’s little boy is now all grown up and working behind the camera, knocking out films like Iron Man, Four Christmases, and Couples Retreat.  He also had a small role in Vince Vaughn’s comedy, The Break-Up.

RANDY PARKER (Ian Petrella):  Mommy’s Little Piggy is giving Kermit a run for his money, spending his time in animation and puppetry…specifically working as a puppeteer on various Jim Henson projects.  He’s also appeared in a few TV shows since wiping all that food off his face.

MRS. PARKER (Melinda Dillon):  A steady career in Hollywood has kept Dillon working since her days baking mashed potatoes and red cabbage.  You can see her in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Magnolia, as well as various TV shows.

MR. PARKER (Darrin McGavin):  The Old Man gave up on the furnace business and spent the last of his years dancing around the camera, starring in various films and TV shows and producing and directing various Hollywoof films.  McGavin passed away in 2006 at the age of 83.

SCHWARTZ (R.D. Robb):  Maybe it was the guilt of forcing his friend to stick his tongue to a pole that convinced R.D. Robb to stay behind the camera for a while, but Robb has sure made a name for himself as a famed Hollywood director and producer.

MRS. SHIELDS (Tedde Moore):  The no fuss teacher with the joke drawer has retired from the classroom and went on to be a part of various other film projects.  Look for her in Down the Road Again, coming out next year.

FLICK (Scott Schwartz):  Flick got his tongue removed from one pole and went to work on another, starring in his fair share of adult movies.  He recently broke out of the industry in 2000, hoping to get a fresh start.

SCOTT FARKUS and GROVER DILL (Zack Ward and Yano Anaya):  Zack Ward’s great portrayal of bully Scott Farkus was just the beginning of a crazy career in film.  Since A Christmas Story, Ward has gone on to star in a slew of horror movies, as well as appearing in some TV shows.  Yano Anaya spent most of his time away from the camera, only recently returning to work on a few documentaries.

Still can’t get enough of A Christmas Story?  Heat up some Ovaltine and hop in the car and head on down to Cleveland, OH to The Christmas Story Museum, located in the actual house where the movie was filmed.  There you can find Randy’s bib (and buy one of your own!), the cozy bunny suit, and even the famous Leg Lamp.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!


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6 Clever Uses for Christmas Cards

While going through boxes of stuff in my new apartment, I came across a pile of old Christmas cards.  Now, as a previous Hallmark employee, I know that people take great care in picking out cards for people, so I feel terrible throwing them away.  Therefore, I have decided to recycle them so that they may live forever in my various craft projects.  Here are some ideas to put those cards to use after Christmas is over.

1.  Make them into ornaments.  There are tons of origami style ornament patterns online.

2.  Cut them up to create gift tags, scrapbook embellishments, or turn them into new cards!

3.  If you have various scenes that you’re a fan of, frame them and hang them in the winter for some seasonal art.

4.  Cut them up and decoupage them onto coasters.  Wrap up your coasters with some home made cookies and hot cocoa mix and you’ve got one cozy gift.

5.  You could also glue them onto wooden blocks to create a puzzle.

6.  If you’re not feeling particularly creative, you could always donate them to St. Jude’s Hospital or other various organizations.  At least you know they will be put to good use.

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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Christmas Morning Scones

I love baking for people.  I find it much more satisfying to give gifts I’ve created myself rather than give people stuff that they don’t need…so to help spread holiday cheer to all my faithful readers, I’m giving you a delicious recipe for Christmas scones.  This recipe is great because you can add whatever you’d like to it.  Cranberry and orange zest, raisins, cinnamon and apples…whatever you’d like.

Diane’s Scones

2 cups flour

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, chilled

½ cup cream

1 egg

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup cranberries, raisins, or whatever you decide to add

Put first four ingredients in food processor with motor running, add butter.  Process until crumbly.  Mix egg, cream, and vanilla with motor running and add to flour mixture.  Process until a ball forms.  On a lightly floured board, knead in cranberries/other filling and pat into a 1” thick circle.  You can cut into wedges or use a juice cup to cut out circles.  Circles are great because then your scones bake evenly.  Cool on wire rack.

To create a glaze for your scones, combine 8 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar with a flavored liquid that will complement your scones.  I created an orange glaze by doing the following:


Freshly grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

8 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar

Juice from 1 and ½ oranges

1 teaspooon vanilla

Combine everything and stir until desired consistancy is achieved.  If the glaze is too thick, add more juice.  Too runny, add more sugar.  A little goes a long way in both directions, so be patient 🙂

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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The Daring Book for Girls Book Review

Stumped on what to get your teenage niece for Christmas?  Look no further.  This is the perfect gift for any young girl…or any woman who has never really grown up.

The Daring Book for Girls, by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz, is jam-packed with information every girl needs, like how to change a tire, how to conquer public speaking, and even how to survive in the wilderness.  This book can be read front to back or can be used as an easy go-to reference.

While it’s not the best reference book out there, the writing is fun and witty and the colorful art helps make this a very enjoyable read.

Interspersed with how-to articles are stories about famous women in history, women who have changed the world, and women who have gone on to achieve amazing things.  Read about Cleopatra and her rise to fame, as well as Joan of Arc and her ultimate sacrifice to fight for what she believed in.

This isn’t just a girl’s guide to boy stuff…there’s some girly stuff in there, too…like how to make friendship bracelets, how to make a daisy crown for your head, ideas for sleepovers, and there’s even a list of books every girl should read.

Check this book out the next time you’re in a bookstore.  Also available is The Dangerous Book for Boys, as well as many other varieties.

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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9 Clever Uses for Glass Ball Ornaments

Glass ball ornaments are a staple tree decoration in many homes; however, you don’t have to pack them away after Christmas…here are some fun ways to use your ornaments year-round.

  1. Most glass ball ornaments have a removable top, so you can take the top off and fill the balls with anything your creative heart desires.  Fill with sand, candy, feathers, or potpourri.
  2. If the ornament is big enough, you can display photos inside them and hang them anywhere in your house for a creative photo display.
  3. Gather like colors and display them in a glass jar for other holidays.  I have orange, black, and gold ones that I put out in a huge apothecary during Halloween.
  4. Use silver ones to tie onto napkin rings for your New Year’s party.
  5. Use a permanent or paint marker and gather 14 of your red, silver, and/or white glass ball ornaments.  On each of the 14 ornaments, write one thing you love about someone and give one ornament to your special someone starting on the first of February, leading up to Valentine’s Day.  By the 14th, they will have a tree full of love!
  6. Having a party?  Here’s a fun game.  Gather your glass ball ornaments and fill them with challenges, dares, questions, or riddles.  Have your party guests pick an ornament and do what’s inside.
  7. Fill with beans or rice to create instruments for your kids or play toys for your pets (I recommend using the plastic balls for this).
  8. Fill your glass balls with fish glitter and water to create fun fish bowls for a summer cookout.
  9. Make a snow globe by filling the ball with water and fake snow and gluing the ball shut with a cork or plastic stopper.  Use a wooden spool as a base.

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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Scrap Yarn Window Birds

So I was cleaning out some old craft supplies the other day and came across a Styrofoam ball and some left over yarn from a scarf I attempted to knit.  A sudden thought occurred to me to wrap the yarn around the ball and create a flock of little birds…


Wanna make some of your own?  Here’s how:

What You’ll Need:

1  2 1/2″ Styrofoam ball for every bird you want to make (I made 6 birds because the balls came in a pack of 6)

Leftover yarn (enough to cover the Styrofoam)


Kabob stick

Clay–Orange and brown

Hot Glue Gun

1.  Tape the end of the yarn to your Styrofoam ball.  Wrap the string around and tape it on the other side of the ball.  Continue this process, twisting the ball once, until your ball looks like this (you’ll need about 5-6 pieces of tape):

Starting the string…

2.  Continue to wrap the yarn around the ball until the entire ball is covered.  Be sure to turn the ball every once in a while so the yarn is evenly covering the ball.  Knot when completed.

Here are some of my bird heads

3.  Stick the kabob stick into the ball to create the stand.  Cut off some of the stick to create a shorter bird, if desired.

4.  Use the brown clay to create feet for the bird and the orange clay to create a beak.  Bake according to package directions.  Be sure to stick the bird in the clay feet before baking to create the hole.  When the clay has cooled, put a drop of hot glue in the hole in the feet and hold the stick from the bird in the hole until the glue dries.  Glue the beak to the face.

Creating the feet…

Creating the beak…

And there you have it!  Yarn Birds!  You can also do this with a topiary.  I found one in my closet and created this little festive birdie to sit by my window:

For this guy, I just covered the base of the topiary with yarn and set it in a glass dish…then I stuffed it with Easter grass to prevent it from wobbling around.

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

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