Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: Though I'm no Martha Stewart, every now and then I can come up with something for me and the kids to do that's fun, easy and cute. (The ill-fated gingerbread house of Christmas past would not fall into this category. I baked trays of gingerbread, and then, three hours later, presented a tilting, shack-like structure oozing a viscous icing "mortar." When my husband commented that he could recommend a good contractor, I almost stabbed him with a spreader.)
A little gun-shy this time around, I wanted something easy -- really easy -- and I didn't want to buy ANYTHING. While cleaning out the kids' art supplies, I found a crazy amount of crayons, many, many of them broken. We generally just use our broken crayons, but some of them were pretty small and grungy-looking. We took off the wrappers and separated them into color families. Then we put them into a fun silicone ice-cube tray from IKEA and baked them at 200 degrees.
Lesson number one: Freezer silicone is different from oven silicone. After pitching the first attempt and scraping silicone off the oven racks, I used a cast-iron, heart-shaped muffin pan. Nothing I read online told me to use nonstick spray, so I didn't. We left them in the oven about 15 minutes, until they were totally liquid. I let them cool and harden overnight, and in the morning, assumed they would just pop out.
Lesson number two: Hacking away at wax with an icepick does not make for pretty crayons. Half an hour in the freezer, however, made the wax shrink enough to be easily removable. The crayons turned out great, and the kids are on fire to collect broken crayons from their friends. Some kids make crayons for holidays, to sell for school fundraisers or to donate to a children's hospital.
Wonder what else we can use from around the house that would get them this excited?!