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!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Chicken Stew

I was digging through some of my older recipes to try something "new". I remembered this one and how much hubby loved it. Hopefully, the boys will love it too.

Chicken Stew
DailyMesses.com

Cook Time 50-60 minutes. 4 servings.

You will need:

  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained (like Great Northern beans)
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, boneless/skinless, cubed
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 ground ginger
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • (1) 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added kind), drained
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbpn golden raisins (optional)

Directions:

  1. Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Add chicken and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Turn chicken once during cooking. 
  3. Remove chicken and set aside.
  4. Lower heat. Add the rest of the ingredients (not chicken). If you like your peppers a little crisp, leave out. 
  5. Bring to simmer, cook 2 minutes.
  6. Add chicken to the pot. 
  7. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. 
  8. Add the peppers in last 15 minutes, so they remain a little crisp.
  9. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Easter Fun

I'm still trying to come up with Easter ideas. It really sneaked up on me this year. 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.


FOOD:

EGGS, EGG HUNTS, AND EASTER BASKETS:
  • Egg Dying and Decorating:There are lots of ways to decorate eggs. However, since we like to eat ours afterwards, I am only doing ideas that leave the eggs edible.
    • Eggs, Eggs, Everywhere...It's An Eggstravaganza!: Dying/Decorating eggs with food coloring, natural dyes, impressions, tissue paper, crayons, rubber bands, stickers, Diva Eggs, Lady Bug eggs. 
    • Painted Eggs (bubble wrap, painted designs, fingerprint animals)
    • Easter Eggs: Space InvadersGlitter, Snorkel
    • Crackle Eggs
    • Drip art eggs: I want to try these this year. They look fun and pretty easy. You stand your egg upright and over something that won't get ruined like a plastic plate. Place a drop of food coloring on the top of the egg. Using a spray bottle, mist the egg. Add a drop of a different color, mist again. You can even blow on the egg to make the colors go in different directions. Try adding a drop of food color to the side of the egg too.
    • Monster Eggs: with some glue dots, pipe cleaners, and stickers, you can create your own monster eggs!
    • Tattoo Eggs: Last year we You can also decorate eggs using temporary tattoos. Make sure the egg is completely dry before following the tattoo directions.
    • Ombre Eggs: Place a bottle cap on the bottom of a wide 8-10 oz glass. Set egg on the bottle cap. Mix up the dye (1 teaspoon vinegar, 40 drops food coloring, 1/2 cup boiling water). Pour dye into glass until 1/4 of the egg is covered. Let sit 5 minutes. Add plain warm water to cup until 1/2 the egg is covered. Let sit 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
    • Star Wars Light Saber Popsicle Molds. I cannot wait to try these...I mean to have the boys try these. Amazon sells them, as well as ThinkGeek.
    • Slinkys (also in Target's Dollar Bins at the front of the store, $1)
    • Chocolate Maze (Target Dollar Bins, $1)
    • Reese's Giant Peanut Butter Egg. I found them at Target for $5.49, but Amazon sells some as well.
    • Lego's: any fun looking set, mystery minifigure packs, Mixel's (AmazonLego). Lego usually has holiday themed sets. This year, it is a cute yellow chick.
    • Jelly Belly's 
    • Play-Doh Eggs (I found a 4 pack at the grocery store for $3.50, although Amazon sells them too.)
    • Pencils and/or pencil sharpeners, markers, stickers, stamps, activity pads, etc. I find a lot of cute (and inexpensive) items for fillers at Party City.
    • Fill eggs with coins.
    • Vouchers. I was trying to come up with some other fillers for the boys baskets. Bernardo wants to start going to garage sales to look for Lego's this spring/summer. One of his eggs is going to have a voucher for garage sale money. It could even be for an extra hour of TV, get out of 1 chore, money to spend at a store/amusement park/zoo/aquarium, etc.
    • Movie tickets
    • DVD's (You can often find great deals at Target for under $5, at Half Price Books, and sometimes even at Michael's Crafts!)
    • Hot Wheels
    • Books
    • Mini nail polish, nail files, etc.

CRAFTS:
  • Clay Pot Baskets. These are super easy (and cute) baskets that work great as centerpieces.
  • String Up My Easter Treats. (string craft eggs)
  • Snowflake Style Eggs
  • Stained Glass Egg. Here are directions. They are for the pumpkin stained glass we made, so make an egg shape instead for Easter!
  • Marble Egg. We made a marble painted craft, which is lots of fun and look neat when it's done. After the paint dries, cut out an egg shape to have a nicely decorated Easter egg! You could even cut out multiple smaller eggs to form a garland, napkin rings, etc.
  • Bunny Basket. Easy to make bunny basket out of a paper bag.

ACTIVITIES:


Monday, March 14, 2016

Easter Fun, A Word Find

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:





Monday, March 7, 2016

St. Patrick's Day & Leprechaun Visit

It's hard for me to believe that St. Patrick's Day is next week! It seems like we just had Valentine's Day. While I have picked up a few things for the leprechaun visit (pencils, tops, mini Rubik cube, chocolate green and gold coins), I haven't come up with how the leprechaun is going to leave it this year. If you are looking for any food, craft, activity, or leprechaun visit ideas, I have some below!

FOOD:
  • 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. Last 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
  • Spray Oreos with Wilton Gold Color Mist Spray (Edible). Spray, let dry. Turn over, spray other side, let dry.


ACTIVITIES, CRAFTS, AND FUN:


LEPRECHAUN VISIT: 
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 fun jelly bean raining cloud or a trail 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 (batting cloud with jelly bean rain over pots of "gold").
  • Leprechaun Treat Bags (how to make your own pot shaped baggies).
  • Last year, the boys found rainbow crepe paper streamers wrapped around the railings and a trail of coin 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.
  • 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)
    • green/gold/themed pencils or 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


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

Friday, March 4, 2016

Elections Word Find

With all the political stuff going on, I thought I would create a new Word Find/Word Search. This one is more of a general word find (no candidate names). 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 are below as well.




Answers Below:




Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It's Getting Warmer!

It's slowly getting warmer, although I swear I saw a snowflake this morning. I love when it gets warm and the kids can play outside more often. I love having bubbles and chalk on hand. They are fun to play with and you can make all kinds of things with the chalk (roads for cars, obstacle courses, hopscotch, practice spelling words, etc.). We have even made our own! It's easy to do.


You will need:
  • Craft Sticks (or disposable spoon or knife)
  • Washable Craft Paint
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Paper cups or other type of mold*
  • A bowl

Directions:
  1. In a bowl, combine 1 cup Plaster of Paris with 2 Tbsp paint. Mix with craft stick.
  2. Slowly mix in water until it is thick and pasty.
  3. Pour into paper cups. Let dry for several hours.
  4. Once mixture is completely dry, peel off the paper cups.
  5. Enjoy!

*Note: I forgot to buy the paper cups. Instead, I used egg cartons for my mold and lined them with wax paper before filling. I let them dry about 24 hours, removed the chalk from the mold/wax paper and let dry overnight again to make sure it was completely dry. I had about 1 cup Plaster of Paris mixed with 1 cup water. I used Crayola Washable Paints

You might also like my Chalk Board Table post, where I sanded and painted the top of an old school desk with chalkboard paint. You could also paint random items for the kids to draw on. One year, we painted a pumpkin in chalkboard paint so they could draw different faces on!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Veggie Monsters

My kids love ketchup and salsa, but refuse to eat tomatoes by themselves. I tried the Veggie Monsters and they actually ate the tomatoes! Woo-Hoo!



For these snacks, you will need:
  • Cucumber
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Cream Cheese
  • Raisins
  • Toothpicks

Directions:
  1. Wash and cut the cucumber into slices.
  2. Place one slice of cucumber down on the plate and insert a toothpick through the middle.
  3. Place tomato onto toothpick.
  4. Next, cut a cucumber slice in half, and place pieces onto toothpick for arms.
  5. Add on another tomato for the head.
  6. Attach raisins for eyes using cream cheese.
  7. Draw on a mouth using cream cheese. (I attached a raisin for a mouth on one monster, and used a toothpick to draw a mouth on with peanut butter on the other monster.)
If you pierced the tomato with a toothpick first, you may be able to use a thin pretzel stick instead of the toothpick for center support. There are so many monsters and veggie/fruit variations, these are just two that I did. :) 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Valentine's Day Ideas

It's somehow February and the kids have their Valentine's Day school parties next week. They're getting older and want more of the store bought Valentine's, but still love the homemade treats I make them. If you need any ideas, I have Valentines, Food, Crafts, Gift, and Activity ideas below.

HOMEMADE VALENTINE'S:


  • Heart Crayon Valentine's
  • Candied Popcorn Bags, "I'm popping with happiness that you're my Valentine". One year I attached a Valentine themed bag full of candied popcorn to a store bought Valentine.
  • Use potato stamps to make a hearts on a homemade card. (Use a small heart cookie cutter to cut out the shape.)
  • Play-Doh Heart ornaments/necklaces
  • Make Heart Shaped Chalk
  • Hot Air Balloon, it could even have a picture of your child in the basket. "Your friendship lifts me up."
  • Butterfly Pencil
  • Bubbles with a Valentine's Day themed note like "Your friendship makes me bubbly".
  • S'more Kit (marshmallow, graham cracker squares, piece of chocolate), "Your friendship makes me feel mushy inside".
  • Goldfish or gummy fish in a fishbowl shaped baggie with a "school" type of message. The bags can be hard to find and a little time consuming to make (click for directions), so you can cut a bowl shape piece of paper, write the message and place behind the fish.
  • Other non-candy ideas: clementines, cars, glow sticks/bracelets/necklaces ("Your friendship brightens my day"). The dollar store or dollar bins at Target or Michael's are great to find little treasures in.
  • Hanging Stained Glass Card with "stained glass" made from wax paper and crayons.
  • Easy Stained Glass Heart with contact paper and tissue paper.
  • "I know I'll go far/succeed with you as my friend" type of message with a goodie bag of school gear: pencils, erasers, goldfish bag, ruler, markers, stickers, etc. The dollar store or dollar bins at Target or Michael's are great to find themed pencils and erasers.

CRAFTS:


ACTIVITIES:


FOOD:


GIFTS:

What are some of your favorite homemade Valentines and treats?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Elf On The Shelf Days 9-16

Day 9: Eugene found his way upstairs to the boys' bathroom. Guess he wanted to make sure they weren't leaving toothpaste all over the counter again.
Day 10: Whoops! Forgot to move, still stuck in the bathroom.
Day 11: Eugene is hiding in Higgins' room behind the light. So far they haven't found him this morning.
Day 12: Made it back downstairs to hang out in a stocking.
Day 13: Do you want to build a snowman? Looks like Eugene is making marshmallow snowmen. (Used edible markers for face/buttons.)
Day 14: On a curtain rod again.
Day 15: On top of the tree. This time he put a holiday hat on the tree too.
Day 16: Hiding in a basket.



It's hard to believe it's almost Christmas! If you need food ideas, check out my Christmas Food, Drinks, and Snacks post. It also has a link on activity ideas for the kids at the bottom of the post. If you still have last minute shopping to do, hopefully my Gift Ideas post with have some ideas to help!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Food, Snacks and Drinks

After baking almost 40 dozen cookies over the past week for hubby's work, neighbors, and for Christmas Day, I finally started going over my meal plan for Christmas. If you have a lot of hosting and/or baking coming up, I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes. 
DRINKS:

SNACKS & APPETIZERS:

MEAL ITEMS:

BREAKFAST:

DESSERTS:


If you need ideas to help keep the kids busy, check out my Christmas Craft & Activities post and Snow Time Fun post!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Gift Ideas

I can't believe Christmas is in two weeks! If you are like me and are feeling the time crunch, here are a few gift ideas. I've added some new ones (my favorite new ones are the whiskey balls and glasses Hubby got last year!).

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Elf On The Shelf Days 5-8

So Eugene has been busy, but it's been a mix of fun and boring.

Day 5: Eugene was sitting on the tree.
Day 6: Eugene was giving their picture on the mantle a hug.
Day 7: Eugene created an Elf Circus with another elf. There was even a toy motorcycle in a cage (made from pipe cleaners)!
Day 8: This morning, it looked like Eugene was tuckered out and is taking a nap in my curtains.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Elf On The Shelf: Day 4

The boys couldn't wait to see what Eugene was up to this morning. He even left the lightsabers for the boys to play with. 

After searching for a little bit, the boys found him. 

It looks like he may be stuck in the kitchen.

To make your elf in a bottle, you will need an empty dry water bottle (or a clear, cleaned soda bottle), sharp scissors, x-acto knife (optional), and maybe clear tape. Gently peel back one side of the label. If you have to, you could probably cut it and then tape back into place. Use the scissors or x-acto knife to poke a slit into the bottle. You want the slit to be covered when you put the label back on. Use the scissors to cut 1/2 to 3/4 around the bottle. Leave some of the bottle intact. If your bottle isn't completely dried, this is a good time to dry it. Gently fold your elf up and place inside the bottle. Close the lid. If needed, apply a small piece of tape to help keep closed. Reattach the label, making sure to cover the cut. My label was still sticky but if yours isn't, use a s small piece of tape to reattach the label.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Elf On The Shelf Day 3

The boys have been super exited about Star Wars lately. And who can blame them? Star Wars is awesome! I have seen all of them and the boys have seen a lot of them with Grandpa. 

In honor the of the new Star Wars movie coming out next week, Eugene wanted to get in on the action.
Of course, then hubby pointed out that the Storm Troopers really don't have lightsabers, so we had another photo shoot (Eugene wanted to be authentic and to meet Vader).









*To make the lightsabers, you will need glow sticks, duct tape (I used silver and black), and maybe an empty toilet paper roll. If you don't have black duct tape, electrical tape would probably work just as well.

It was late when I started these, so they aren't super finished looking but they did the job. I cut a small piece of cardboard from the roll and taped to one end of the glowstick. Gently roll the cardboard around the stick to form the handle. Be careful, it's really easy to crack and activate the stick. Tape closed. Wrap with black duct tape. Make sure to go up the stick a little bit and cover all of the cardboard. Wrap the middle with a piece of silver duct tape. Wrap a thin line of black duct table in the middle of the silver.
To get the Elf to hold the lightsaber, I tried tape. It didn't last long. I then found some white wire to match his gloves. I wrapped one end around a wrist, then around the lightsaber, and then the other wrist. I tried to line up the wire on the lightsaber with the black middle line of the handle. Once it was attached, I covered the wire with a piece of the black duct tape. 

Elf On The Shelf: Days 1-2

Sorry for the delay!

Eugene made his appearance on St. Nick's Day. I had been up late working on baking, so his first day was pretty mild compared to last year (sledding on the tree).

This time, he drew Minions on the bananas.
Yesterday morning (12/7) he was sitting on top of a curtain rod.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Elf On The Shelf Ideas

It's that time of year again: Elf time. I was trying to come up with some new ideas for Eugene, our elf. While I have only come up with a few new ones, below are some of Eugene's more exciting past adventures. I'll update when I get new ones!