Welcome! I am a mom to two wonderful kids and one lazy dog, and a wife to a great husband. Needless to say, there are a lot of daily messes to clean up around our house. Daily Messes is my blog to share ideas on things to do with your kids, snack and meal ideas, crafts, and holiday fun. I hope you find something to enjoy!

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's Almost Time for the Eclipse!!

I love eclipses of any kind and meteor showers. I'm the crazy one who stays up late or gets up early to see the event, even if I have to be wrapped up in blankets. I try to capture it on camera, mostly missing the meteors, but I have gotten one or two. The last lunar eclipse I managed to get a few fuzzy pictures, and I dragged the kids up a hill for the last partial solar eclipse. It was really cloudy that day, so we didn't really get to see it very long. So, of course, I am really excited about the eclipse on Monday. We are not in the totality path, only about 92-93% coverage, but I am still really excited.
Ok, not a solar eclipse. But it is the last lunar eclipse where I took a decent enough picture!

One of my favorite memories of grade school is making a solar eclipse viewer. I think it must have been for a partial eclipse. The memories of making the viewer and seeing it, have stuck with me through the years. I wish the boys' school was doing something for the event, but unfortunately only the older grades are allowed to view it. The rest of the school will have indoor recess with blinds drawn, although they can watch it on NASA's live streaming site.

Luckily, I already had my solar eclipse glasses. They are sold out everywhere around here and online prices have skyrocketed. If you still want to experience the eclipse, but can't find any eclipse glasses, you can make your own viewer. There are two different types: the shoebox viewer and the pinhole viewer. Both will work, you just need to have foil and a shoebox for the one, and only white cardboard or thick paper for the other. Here are some sites with great instructions on how to make them: Shoebox viewer instructions, Pin hole viewer.

If you are having a viewing party (or like me, just want an excuse to have some extra sweets), here are a few cute snacks ideas:
  • Galaxy Cookies: Similar to my Christmas swirl cookies, but use blue and white dough. You could also lightly brush the outside of the chilled cookie dough with water, roll in purple/blue/white nonpareil sprinkles, slice, and bake, for an extra fun cookie.
  • The sun or moon is pretty easy to add in icing or fondant to a cookie, cupcake, or cake.
  • Cut fruits and veggies into star or moon shapes.
  • The moon is made of cheese, right? Have cheese slices or make a cheese pizza (for your meat lovers, add pepperoni "craters").
  • Make solar themed chocolates (sun, moon, stars, etc.). Amazon has some cute molds (stars/moon, star candies, star lollipops, sun glasses aka eclipse glasses) although local craft stores like Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics usually have star molds.
  • Galaxy/Eclipse Popcorn: Similar to the Valentine's Candied Popcorn, but use a mix of blues, purple, black, and white candy melt/chocolates. Use star, moon, and sun shaped sprinkles, or even just yellow sprinkles for the sun.
  • Easy Solar system themed foods (anything with sun, moon, orbit, galaxy, etc. might work):
    • CapriSun
    • SunnyD
    • Sunkist
    • Eclipse Gum
    • Milky Way candy bars
    • Sun Chips
    • Starbursts
    • Moonpies
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Sun-Maid Raisins
    • Skybar candy bar
    • Space Goldfish (They used to have a space themed Goldfish, but I'm not sure if they still make it.)
    • Freeze Dried/Astronaut ice cream (Amazon has on Prime, but can also find in camping section of stores and in some museum gift shops. I've even seen it at Michael's Crafts!)
    • Ice cream: I've heard of Moon ice cream and Blue Moon ice cream.
    • Krispy Kreme's Eclipse Donut, available Monday 8/21.
    • Babybel cheese: peel off part of the wrapper.
    • Mini Chips Ahoy: I think these kind of look like the moon with chocolate chip craters.
    • Stretching it a little here, but Mars candy bars.
  • Adults only: Blue Moon or Corona beer

NOTE: If you are lucky enough to be able to watch the eclipse, never look at the sun without the special eclipse glasses or eclipse filters for cameras/telescopes/binoculars.

Some of my favorite sites:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer Camp Word Find

It's about that time of year...Summer Camp!

To Print: Right Click-Open image in new tab-Print or Ctrl-P. Or Right Click-Save/Save Image As/Save to Computer-Open the saved image-Print.

Answers Below:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sorry I've been gone for awhile! This summer has been super crazy. Between getting all the kids medical appointments in for the summer, camps, and a side project, I haven't had much time for posting. I'll be back soon though!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Summer Fun (Freebies)

School is almost out and I will have two kids who love to stay busy and try new things. I have a few free (or cheaper) summer ideas to help keep your kids busy too!

  • SUMMER READING PROGRAMS: Don't forget to check out your local bookstores and libraries for summer reading programs. Most of them offer free prizes for the kids!
    •  Half Priced Books: Read, fill out the log (click on link) to reach 300 minutes in June, turn in your log at your local store and earn a HPB gift card! Repeat in July! Last year the gift card was for $5. (Ages 14 and younger. Runs June & July). They even have a printable reading certificate you can give your kids!
    • Barnes & Noble: Read, fill out their reading log (click on link), and get a free book! It says it for grades 1-6, but just ask the booksellers regarding younger kids. They are usually very nice and will let a younger sibling participate. (Runs 5/17-9/6.)
    • Chuck E. Cheeses: If your child reads and completes the calendar (click on link), they get 10 free tokens.
    • If your child has an account or opens a new account with TD Bank, they can earn $10 for their account when they read 10 books. (Grades K-5. Click on link for form. Runs until 8/31.)
    • Showcase Cinemas. After writing a book review, kids get a free movie ticket to a Bookworm Wednesday movie. Parents and siblings ages 6 and under are free. (See bottom of linked page for participating locations and book form. Runs 7/8-7/29.)
    • Library. Check with your local library. Most of them will have a summer reading program where kids can earn prizes! My library offers an adult reading program as well, with gift cards to local places as prizes.
    • DM Tips
      1.  Check on Amazon.com for free kids Kindle ebooks. The Kindle reading app is free too! Barnes & Noble also has free options (including a few comics!) and free Friday downloads for the Nook. (Nook app also free.)
      2. Check with local libraries or bookstores for storytimes. There are also free story times online! Some online story times: Barnes and Noble onlineStoryLineOnline. Many libraries also offer an online story time, often found under the kids section. Here is the Barnes & Noble Storytime In-Store link.
      3. Pottery Barn Kids. I couldn't find information on the old reading program, but they now have a Book Club which is a story time (listed under Store Events-Book Club.) Ask at the store for a passport, attend 5 story times, and get $10 off an item, plus use the minutes for your summer reading program logs! 

    • Many local movie theaters run free or $1 movies as well, so check with your local theaters.
      •  Regal Movie Theaters have $1 movies in the summer. (See link for schedule and to find a location near you.)
      •  Cobb Theaters have limited locations, but offer free movies in the summer.
    • Some local communities offer free Movie In The Park type of events during the summer. I find a lot of info by talking to other moms at the playgrounds/school, looking in the local paper at the weekend events, and by following the local communities on Facebook/Twitter.
    • See if there is a Drive-In movie theater near you. A few of them have kids under 12 free. Although it won't be completely free, it can be a ton of fun and there are not a lot of them left. 
  • Free Bowling: registered kids can receive free bowling in the summer! (click for details/locations)
  • Fossil Collecting
    • You may have noticed that we (aka the boys) love going "fossil hunting". To find a fossil park near you, try the National Park Service website. (National Park System: 260 Fossil Parks or NPS: Other Fossil Sites. National Fossil Day is 10/11/17. However, I noticed there were not any listed in my area, and I know of two within an hour. If you can't find one listed, try searching for "fossil park" or "fossil collection area" in Google/Yahoo/etc.  
  •  Building Workshops
    • Both Lowe's and Home Depot offer free kids workshops during a weekend each month. Click the links to see when they are being offered.
  • Factory/Bakery Tours
    • Many places offer free (or really cheap) tours of their facilities. We have been to an ice cream shop and a chocolate factory already!
  • Farmer's Markets
    • Of course buying things aren't free, but it is free to go and see new things. My kids were amazed the first time we went to the Farmer's Market and a local farm to see where food really comes from. (Shockingly, it wasn't in plastic packages.) It's always fun to see what they have. There can also be fun vendors, like the portable wood fired pizza oven we saw last year. Click here to find one near you. 
  • Cook/Bake
    • My kids like to "help" in the kitchen sometimes. One of the things I still remember the most from when I was a kid, was making rice cereal treats and chocolate chip cookies with my mom. I love when I can do it with my boys too!
  • Playgrounds/Parks
    • Almost every day (even in the winter), the boys ask if we can go to the park. It's fun to explore and find new parks.
    • Occasionally, local parks offer free events during the summer, especially around holidays like Memorial Day or 4th of July.
    • Many also offer free movies or concerts during the summer.
  • Picnic
    • If you pack a picnic from home and bring it to a park, it can make for a great (and low cost) adventure!
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums
    • Some children's museums, zoos, aquariums, etc. will offer free admission on certain days during the summer. Check out your local art/history/science/children's museums to see if they have free days. Sometimes it will be that kids get in free with a purchased adult ticket, so it's not free but slightly cheaper.
  • Crafts
    • My boys love craft time and we have spent a lot of time during previous summers making new things. I have a lot of the ideas on this blog, and a lot of them are made from things you probably already have in your house!
    • Michael's offers $2 crafts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (Runs 6/16-8/1.)
  • Camping
    • I am not a big camper, although Hubby and the boys love it. However, I will camp in the living room! We even made s'mores over a candle one time. Have everyone tell a scary story, or even have a progressive story (these can be hilarious, especially with little kids).
  • Bass Pro Shop
    • Sometimes they offer fun activities and workshops for free. (Click the link for store locations. Once your locations opens, it should have Store Events listed, normally on the right side of the page.)
  • Garage Sale/Flea Market
    • This one isn't free, but can be pretty cheap. A couple of dollars and some negotiation can obtain a few new books or toys that can keep the kids busy for the day or hopefully even a few days. We've even found new video games for just a few dollars. As an added bonus, offer them extra chores for the chance to earn extra spending money. I think I may have a mountain of socks that needs sorting and folding... :) Try garagesalecow.com, local newspapers or community Facebook pages to find garage sales near you.
  • Eating Out
    • Ok, this is not free. However, there are certain days when kids eat free at some restaurants. If you want to have a treat, but also have it be cost effective, this would be the way to go!
  • Junior Ranger Program
    • This is a free program at the national parks. You pick up an activity book and fill in the questions. Once the booklet is completed, you turn it in and the kids get to be sworn in as Junior Rangers and get a badge or patch! (Click here for more info.) If there aren't any national parks near you, they also offer an online option to earn the WebRanger badge.
    • 4th graders also can get free admission to the national parks! (ends 8/31)
  • Puzzles: I have a few Word Finds, Crossword Puzzles, Scavenger Hunts, etc. on the blog that can be printed out. 
  • Fruit Farms: Definitely not free, but lots of fun to do. Go berry picking! Depending on the time of year, you can get strawberries, blueberries...
    To find a Pick Your Own farm near you, try this site (www.pickyourown.org), or Google "pick your own" and your zip code.
What are your favorite things to do in the summer?

You may also like my Traveling With Kids post if you are preparing for a summer vacation!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day Is This Weekend!

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14th! If you are running a little behind like I am, I have some gift/craft/food/fun/freebie ideas below! Just click on the links for the recipes or directions :) 



FUN: (To Print: Right click on image, Save As/Save to Computer, Print.)

  • Shutterfly: Free card with code CARD4U.
  • First Watch: Free box of chocolates for Mom. (Come back on Father's Day for a free bag of coffee!) 
  • Barnes & Noble: Mother's Day story time and activities on 5/13, 11:00 am.
  • Zoo: There are a lot of zoos across the country offering free admission for moms on Mother's Day. Please check your local zoo's website or google before going.
  • Shoney's: Free slice of strawberry pie for mom (with purchase of entree/buffet)  
  • Orange Leaf: Free cup of froyo for Mom.
*Always check with your local store to make sure they are participating before you go!

If you know of any other freebies, please feel free to share in Comments!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Easter Time!

Easter is coming up quickly this year. I am trying to come up with non-candy items for the boys' baskets. They're going to get a  jelly beans and Reese's eggs, but I want most of it to non-candy. I have a Lego minifigure mystery pack, a book for each of them. They are both playing soccer this year, so I'm thinking maybe some soccer gear? If, like me, you need ideas, I have some of the food/craft/Easter hunt and basket ideas from the past couple of years below.

  • Egg dying and decorating: There are a lot of ways to decorate eggs, however I am only doing ideas that leave the eggs edible. We love eating our eggs!
    • Eggstravaganza: Dying with food coloring, natural dyes, impressions, tissue paper, crayons, rubber bands, stickers, Diva Eggs, Lady Bug eggs
    • Painted Eggs (painted designs, fingerprint animals, bubble wrap)
    • Crackle Eggs
    • Space Invaders, Glitter and Snorkel
    • Drip Art Eggs: These look fun and easy to do, but we haven't tried them yet. Stand egg upright and over something that will not get ruined (like a plastic plate). Place a drop of food coloring on the top of the egg. Mist the egg using a spray bottle. Add a drop of another color, mist again. Gently blow on the egg to make colors move in different directions.
    • Monster Eggs: using glue dots, pipe cleaners, and stickers.
    • Tattoo Eggs: Use temporary tattoos. Make sure is completely dry before following tattoo directions.
    • Ombre Eggs: Place a bottle cap on the bottom of a wide 8-10 oz glass. Set egg on bottle cap. Mix up the dye (1 teaspoon vinegar, 40 drops of food coloring, 1/2 cup boiling water). Pour dye into glass until 1/4 of egg is covered. Let sit 5 minutes. Add plain warm water to cup until 1/2 the egg is covered. Let set 3 minutes. Add more water to desired level. Wait 2 minutes. Repeat if want additional stripes. Carefully remove with tongs and let dry.
    • Egg Hunts:
  • Basket Filler Ideas:
    •  New gear: soccer ball/cleats/shin guards/practice net, baseball cleats/ball/bats/bag/helmet/throw back, shoes: track/running, mouth guards, golf bag/balls/gloves/clubs, etc.
    • Vouchers: Vouchers can be for anything! Examples: extra hour of TV/game time, stay up late, get out of 1 chore, money to spend at a store/amusement park/zoo/aquarium, etc.
    • Star Wars Light Saber Popsicle Mold
    • Slinky's 
    • Chocolate Maze
    • Reese's Giant Peanut Butter Egg. Amazon sells some, but I found them cheaper at Target and the grocery store. I believe it was around $6.
    • Lego's: any fun looking set, mystery minifigure packs, Mixel's (Amazon, Lego). Lego usually has holiday themed sets as well; this year is an Easter Egg Hunt Set. They also have a keychain of Batman dressed in a bunny costume!
    • Jelly Beans
    • Play-Doh Eggs (Amazon, grocery store)
    • Art/Office Supplies: pencils, pencil sharpeners, markers, stickers, stamps, activity pads, etc. I find a lot of cute items at the Target dollar bins and Party City.
    • Fill eggs with coins.
    • Movie tickets.
    • DVD's. Half Priced Books, Michael's Crafts, and Target often have cheaper movies.
    • Books, book store gift cards.
    • Hot Wheels.
    • Mini nail polish, nail files, etc.
    • Amazon gift cards

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

St. Patrick's Day & Leprechaun Visits!

It's hard for me to believe that St. Patrick's Day is next week! It seems like we just had Valentine's Day. I have not picked up anything for the Leprechaun Visit, nor have I planned how the leprechaun is going to hide the treasure this year. However, if you are looking for any food, craft, activity, or leprechaun visit ideas, I have some of our past adventures below!

  • Beef Stew, Soda Bread, Shamrock Pancakes, Shamrock Sucker Napkin Rings. The beef stew and soda bread are easy and delicious!
  • Rainbow and Shamrock Pancakes. (see pic above in bottom row of collage) These were pretty easy to make. I made regular pancake batter, separated into 4 bowls and added food coloring to get blue, green, yellow, and red. I used small plastic condiment bottles (candy making bottles would work too) and made the shapes in the skillet. It is easiest if you have a bottle for each color, so you can pipe the an arch of color and immediately add the next arch, and so on, so the pancake bakes about the same time.Once on a plate, I added whipped cream clouds at the base of the rainbows.
  • Make Rainbow Bread. One year, I made a braided loaf of bread with rainbow colors. After mixing the dough, I separated and dyed the sections different colors. I then rolled out each color into a long strand and braided it together. We used it to make rainbow sandwiches and french toast for St. Patrick's Day.
  • Rainbow Cupcakes Part 1Rainbow Cupcakes Part 2 (These will really wow your kids or guests for a St. Patrick's Day treat.)
  • St. Patrick's Day Shake (My version of the Shamrock shake.)
  • Shepherd's Pie (An easy shepherd's pie recipe that works great for St. Patrick's Day, or any night of the year.)
  • St. Patrick's Day Lunch
  • Make cookies! Cookies are always a hit with my boys and the shamrock cookie cutters are easy to use. We used green sprinkles, as well as green and white cookie icing. (DM TIP #1: If don't have a shamrock cookie cutter, use a heart one. Place the points of 3 hearts together and push down to join. Cut a small strip for the stem and push to add onto the cookie. Bake and decorate! DM TIP #2: I also made Pot of Gold cookies, which turned out to be a big hit. However, I could not find a cauldron/pot cookie cutter anywhere. Eventually I found this cupcake shaped cookie cutter and it worked really well for the pot of gold shape.) 
  • Hidden Shamrock Pound Cake
  • Leprechaun Donuts
  • Oreo Gold Coins. Spray Oreos with Wilton Gold Color Mist Spray (Edible). Spray one side, let dry. Turn over, spray other side, let dry. You could also dip in yellow candy melts.
  • Pretzel coins. Buy round pretzels (Meijer often carries these). Dip in melted yellow candy melts. Let set on a piece of wax paper. Fill center with yellow candy melts. Let set. Optional: Pipe on a shamrock/clover with yellow or green candy melts. You can also spray with edible Gold Color Mist Spray for more glittery shine.

  • Pretzel shamrocks. Use mini twists to make shamrocks. Dip three twists in green candy melt or green colored white chocolate. Place with bottoms touching on a piece of wax paper. There will be a gap in the middle, fill with candy melts/chocolate. Take another twist (a stick pretzel will work too). Dip in candy melt and place as the stem. Let dry completely.   


I have banned any super messy leprechaun visits, so our leprechaun usually leaves a pot of treats (usually gold colored) for the boys to find. In the past there has been a cloud raining jelly beans with trails of confetti to find their pots of gold. One time there were even leprechaun donuts (see above under food) left with the pots. Below are some of our past leprechaun visits and pot of gold filler ideas.
  • Leprechaun Pots of Gold (cloud made from batting with jelly bean rain over pots of "gold").
  • Leprechaun Treat Bags (how to make your own pot shaped baggies).
  • Make their lunch all green! I'm doing this for the first time this year, so we'll see how it goes!
    • Ideas: Include a note from the tricky leprechaun and as a bonus include a Chocolate gold coin.
    • Sandwich: Use green bread or green tortillas for sandwiches. I'm making peanut butter and apple wraps with a green tortilla. Instead of a sandwich you could also make peanut butter on celery sticks.
    • Fruits/Veggies: kiwis, granny smith or golden delicious apples, green grapes, cantaloupe, pears, green bell pepper slices, celery, broccoli, sugar snap peas.
    • Sides: green chocolate dipped pretzels, green applesauce (or at least with green lid), green veggie straws/chips, green candy popcorn (see my Candied Popcorn post for directions), only green jelly beans or M&M's
    • Green pasta: buy green (check the Garden/Veggie varieties) or add green food coloring to water before cooking regular pasta.
  • I found rainbow crepe paper streamers and wrapped it around the stair railings. There was a trail of coin shaped confetti leading to their hidden pots of treasures. There were a few trails that were dead ends too, so it took them a little while to find their pots of goodies.
  • Last year there were also trails, but this time they were rainbows. I printed out pictures of rainbows, both a normal and reversed. The normal rainbow trail lead to their treasures. However, there were quite a few dead ends with the reversed color rainbows leading to a small pot with a note that said "This one is trick. Keep looking.".
  • Make a scavenger hunt from the leprechaun for the kids to find their pots of gold. 

  • Some fun treats for the pots/bags are
    • green or yellow bouncy balls 
    • shamrock stickers
    • shamrock sucker (see shamrock sucker napkin rings above in Food for an easy to make one)
    • green, gold, or themed pencils/pens
    • fun pencil toppers/erasers
    • bubbles
    • chocolate gold coins
    • green or gold Frisbee 
    • gold or yellow wrapped candy (mini Snickers, Starburst, mini Reese's cups, Hershey Kisses, Sixlets, Rolos, etc.). Party City normally has bins where you can buy individual candy pieces and goodie bag stuffers, which is great for finding the colors you want! Some stores even carry bags of a single color of Jelly Belly.
    • arcade tokens (or maybe car wash tokens for older kids)
    • "gold" $1 coins (you can get these from the bank)
    • St. Patrick's Day rubber duckies
    • Small water guns or Nerf guns in yellow or green
    • Cars, other toys, etc. Pretty much anything that your child likes that happens to be yellow or green colored, and will fit in a small basket or pot will work. For example, the boys are getting their own roll of tape this year because they used all of mine on craft projects. The tape cover just so happens to be green. 

What treats or tricks do you do for St. Patrick's Day?