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!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Halloween Treats

I realized today that I had not made anything fun for Halloween, at least not in food. I was making cookies for something else today and decided to make them into Halloween cookies.

I made a batch of sugar cookies. (For an easy recipe, click here.) I divided the dough into thirds. One third was colored green with green food gel. One third was colored purple with violet food gel. The last bit was left plain.

I scooped out about 1 tablespoon of dough onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. I slightly flattened the cookies.

Eyes: Once I flattened the top of the cookies, I placed candy eyeballs on the green and purple cookies. If your sugar cookie dough tends to spread while baking, place eyeballs close together. I also found that a few of the eyes melted, so I added some halfway through the baking time. (Amazon also has red candy eyes!)

Spiders: I used the plain sugar cookie dough and placed large dark chocolate chips point down into the cookies. Once they are done baking, remove and cool completely. Melt chocolate, chocolate chips, or candy melts and pipe on legs. I ran out of time, but you could also pipe on eyes or the black widow spider hourglass shape in red.

Frankenstein: I used the green cookie dough. Bake cookies and cool completely. Use melted chocolate to attach candy eyes. Next, pipe on hair, scars/stitches, and a mouth with the melted chocolate. I also piped on the bolts.

I also had some of chocolate mini donuts left from the weekend. Since I already had the candy eyes out and had some white chocolate melts, I decided to make Donut Monsters too! I attached the eyes with melted white chocolate and piped on teeth. Super fast and easy!

TIPS: You can use a Ziploc bag with a tiny bit of the end snipped off if you do not have a piping bag!
Don't forget to check out my other Halloween ideas! (This post as has links to all of them.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Halloween Fun Is Beginning!

It's almost time for Halloween!The boys are super excited this year. Higgins is looking for new Halloween decorations every day on his way home from school.

So far, we have managed to get in a little Halloween fun: we were Boo'd by one of our neighbors, the boys Boo'd another neighbor, and we went to the pumpkin patch. I put up a few decorations, per the kids' request. All that is left is to get the boys to decide on their costumes, get costumes, put up the last of the decorations, carve the pumpkins, and roast the seeds. Oh, and buy lots of candy! If you need any Halloween ideas, I have a bunch below!
  • Coloring Page. 
  • Pumpkin Soccer or Bowling. Use a small pie pumpkin as the ball. 
    • Soccer: Split into two teams and create goals (small plastic cones work well). Have kids spider walk (aka crab walk) and kick the pumpkin soccer ball with their feet.
    • Bowling: Make pins from rolls of toilet paper.
      • Ghost pins: Decorate rolls with black paper eyes and mouth.
      • Mummy: Wrap a piece of toilet paper around a roll and add eyes.
      • Witch: Wrap in green tissue paper, add construction paper eyes/nose/mouth, and top with paper hat.
      • Vampire: Add fangs/mouth/eyes, and a black paper cape.
      •  Frankenstein: Wrap in green tissue paper, draw with sharpie or add black paper stitch marks/scars. Add eyes/nose/mouth.



Some of my Fall Fun links work great for Halloween too!

OTHER FUN LINKS: (Links are external links, not to DailyMesses.)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

MagiQuest Review

We did not go on a summer trip this year, so when we had a long weekend to spend together, we tried to come up with something fun and new to do. After doing some searching and planning, we finally decided on the Great Wolf Lodge's MagiQuest. We had seen this game several times throughout the years at various vacation spots, but always thought the boys were too young. I had several questions that I tried to find answers to, but found online information lacking. So, in the event that you decide to try MagiQuest, here are some of the things I wish I had known.

The MagiQuest shop can be overwhelming with the amount of things to buy. We had planned on just buying the wands and the game time, so I decided to make a few costume pieces. Now, I hate sewing and don't even own a sewing machine anymore, so the costumes were pretty simple. I used hot glue, felt, and paper towel rolls to make the costumes. I made a wand holder using the paper towel roll and felt. I couldn't find the measurements of the wands anywhere, so I guessed. Toilet paper rolls ended up too short and the thinner cardboard tube from the glow sticks container too thin. Bernardo wanted a felt-only wand holder, which was really easy to make. Bernardo reused a cape I made him for a school report. I made Higgins a wizard hat and he reused a cape from a Halloween vampire costume. TIP (Size of MagiQuest Wands): If you want to make your own wand holder, the brown and color wands are 14 inches long including the basic cap/top that comes with it and are about 1 inch wide. The dragon wand is a little longer, maybe about 14 1/4 inches long.
Making Wand Holders: Cardboard Tube Wand Holder: I added a piece of thin cardboard to the bottom of the tube with hot glue. I then cut out a piece of felt that would cover the roll with some overhang at the top and bottom. I used hot glue to glue the felt down, tucked in the felt at the top of the tube and folded and glued down the bottom. Finally, I glued a piece of felt on to create a belt loop. Felt Only: I cut a rectangle of felt, hot glued the bottom and sides together, and added a belt loop. Took about 10 minutes and the boys were happy.

You begin by going to the MagiQuest shop. There are a lot of items for sale in the shop and different Quests to pick. You pick your wand, wand topper (optional), costume items (optional), and Quest. We didn't want to break the bank, so we went with the basic brown wands for the boys and the basic MagiQuest.
MagiQuest Costs can add up quickly. For the two kids to play basic MagicQuest with the basic brown wands it was $59.96+tax*. (*As of July 2016 at the branch we went to.) It did cover a 4 day period of play, of which we (aka hubby and I) could only handle 3.
  • The basic brown wand is $15.99.
  • Color wands are $17.99.
  • Dragon wands are the most showy and most expensive at $21.99.
  • The basic MagiQuest game is $13.99/person with a wand. It includes 1 MagiQuest book per player. This is the game the boys played.
  • There are also the Shadow Quest ($13.99) and Compass Quest ($14.99) game options.
  • There are wand toppers, which customize your wand. We didn't do the additional toppers, but they did have some really fun looking ones. While walking around, I saw several that lit up. They were $17.99.
  • Costume pieces did not have prices marked. I finally asked about prices and was glad I had just made my own. The wand holder/belt was $15 and had a pouch for the book. There are a few different capes, but the cheapest started at $9.99.

After you've emptied your wallet, grab your wand and MagiQuest book, and head to the Quest trees to pick your Quest or Adventure. This is where we got a little confused. You need to start with a Quest. Complete the Quests to collect different Runes.  The Adventures then require various Runes that you received by completing Quests. You do not need to complete all of the Quests before playing an Adventure, as long as you have the Runes needed for your chosen Adventure. However, you do need to head back to the trees and select the Adventure before trying to complete it (i.e. fight the Dragon or Goblin King or saving the Pixies). We thought if we had the needed Runes, we could just play, but we were wrong. After selecting your Quest or Adventure, the Tree's magi will tell you a poem with some clues to help you begin your journey. The MagiQuest book will also have the poem, as well as more detailed clues.

The decorated hallways and MagiQuest items are pretty fun. There are lots of things to wave your wand at: pictures, chests, decorations, stations. Even if your Quest or Adventure doesn't need a specific item, try waving your wand at it anyway. Some of the items will give you "gold", which you need for some of the Quests. You can visit the same items to receive gold multiple times.

The Quests and Adventures will lead you all over the hotel, up and down floors and hallways. Most of the items were easy enough to complete, however we did run into a few problems. A few of the chests were broken and would not open. The sound was also not working on one, but luckily we could work around it. One Quest included a 30 second time limit that had kids running across the hotel to finish. The boys found the chest, but the next station said they had timed out. It was a little frustrating. We finally went back to the shop and the employees said that the chest they had to find was broken. They helped the boys and just added it on as "completed" to their profile. The wands also stopped working several times each visit. We went to the shop and the employees removed the cap and blew into the battery compartment. For some reason, it worked and we used that trick many, many times.

Bernardo reads extremely well, so he had an easier time of the game. Being able to read helps tremendously. Higgins had problems reading it on his own and was frustrated. Some quest items had to be completed in a certain order, so reading is a pretty much a must.

Getting around can be a little challenging. The games are mostly on the 3rd and 4th floors of Great Wolf Lodge, although there are a few on the floor where the lobby is located (considered the 2nd floor).  You can use the center stairway or elevator for the 2nd and 3rd floors. The 4th floor is only able to be reached by the center elevator or by going down a hallway and using a different set of stairs. The elevators are generally in use and take a long time, so walking is the fastest way. The hallways can also provide some frustration, as there can be a fight for space between kids waving wands trying to complete items and hotel guests trying to get to and from their rooms.

The boys had lots of fun, but I don't know that we would do it again anytime soon. There were plenty of younger teenagers/tweens that were running around doing just fine on their own. However, it's not something that can be easily done without reading. Having to read everything can be difficult or frustrating for younger kids. There is a lot of walking, which is good for wearing the kids out a little bit.

  • You do not have to be a guest at Great Wolf Lodge to play MagiQuest. If you live close by, it might be easier to pick a time during the week, not during peak travel season or a holiday.
  • Give really little kids a pretend wand. As long as they're playing in a group, they probably won't know the difference and it will save you some money.
  • Keep your wand. You can reuse at another date as long as you pay for another game. It could also be used for a wizard Halloween costume!
  • Make or bring your own costumes. Size of MagiQuest Wands: The brown and color wands are 14 inches long including the basic cap that comes it and are about 1 inch wide. The dragon wand is a little longer, maybe about 14 1/4 inches long. The MagiQuest book is about 6"x4.5" if you wanted to make a pouch for their belts or satchels for their wrists.The boys didn't use their wand holders very often since most of the time they were holding their wands to complete items.
  • Wands can be temperamental. The MagiQuest employees recommended unscrewing the cap and blowing into the battery chamber. It works and we had to do it many times.
  • The Pixie Adventure usually did not have a line. Even though the boys would have preferred doing the Goblin King and the Dragon Adventures, we took a break from those and did the Pixie Adventure. The Goblin King and Dragon share a station, so there was always a long line to play. 
  • Play with your kids, especially if they are younger. There is a lot of reading and waiting in lines. Higgins will not say anything if someone cuts in front of him, so if we hadn't been there, he never would have gotten to finish the Adventures.
  • If stuck, ask the MagiQuest shop employees. They were extremely nice when we went in with questions or problems. 
  • There is a lot of walking so you may want to wear gym shoes.

Back To School Word Find

I can't believe it's already Back To School time! Here is a school themed word find to celebrate.

HINT: Punctuation and spaces are removed from words in the puzzle. (To Print: Click on image of word find. Right click. Choose Open In New Tab/Window. Click Print. Or, click on image, right click, choose Save Image As.) Answers are below.


Friday, July 1, 2016

4th of July Ideas

If you are looking for 4th of July ideas, check out these posts:

  • Dessert: 
    • Jello:  
    •  Pie & Jars (Use Star cut-outs for the top of the pies)
    • Swirl Cookies: I made red and white for Christmas, but if you broke the batter into thirds and colored 1/3 blue/red/white, it would make a great 4th of July cookie! 
    • Hidden Surprise Pound Cake (Use a Star cut out instead of the Shamrock)
    • Peanut Butter Cherrios Balls 
    • Dessert Pizza  (Super easy to make! Use white chocolate and/or red & blue candy melts to make more patriotic.)
    • Frozen Bananas (Dip in white chocolate with red and blue sprinkles!)
    • Rainbow Cupcakes (Divide batter into 3 bowls, color 1 white, 1 red, 1 blue.)
    • Fortune Cookies (Make a mix of red, white, and blue.)
    • Stained Glass Cookies (Use red, white, blue candies.)
    • Ice Cream Sandwiches 
    • Caramels  (While it's harder to change the color of the caramels, you can easily dress them for the 4th of July by wrapping them and tying them closed with red/white/blue ribbons.)
    •  Candied Popcorn(Separate popcorn into 3 batches. Color each batch with red, blue, or white candy melts. Let dry and then mix together!)
  • Drinks:

The above are my tried and true things that we have done in the past. There are so may ideas out there for 4th of July parties that would be fun to try! For example:
  • Watermelon "cake". Cut and tier watermelon slices like a tiered cake. Decorate with other red/white/blue fruits!
  • Chocolate dipped strawberries. Dip in white chocolate with red/blue drizzles, or in milk/dark chocolate with red/white/blue drizzles. My boys like sprinkles on theirs too!
  • Layered Red/White/Blue Drinks