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, 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 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

4th of July Word Find

I keep losing track of time. How is it the 4th of July on Monday?! Here is a 4th of July themed word find. Higgins likes word finds, but has trouble with finding words diagonal and backwards. There is another word find below (in red) that only goes Forward and Down.

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.




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Father's Day

Father's Day is soon! Where has June gone?! If you are like me this year and are drawing a blank on ideas, try some of mine below!

  • 92 Father's Day Gift Ideas
  • Father's Day Frames (craft/gift)
  • Make a Can Planter and plant grass seed for the hair. You could even place a golf ball in the grass or glue to the side of the can. Make it an alien with only 1 flower bud sticking out (kind of like a tulip type of flower bud).
  • If he likes camping or having an outside fire, try making a batch of Pinecone Firestarters.
  • Home Depot had a free Kid's Workshop on 6/4 to make a Father's Day Trophy Phone Holder. If you missed it, check with the store since they often sell their kits or sometimes have left-overs.

FOOD: (These are just a few of the recipes on the blog. There are a lot more!)



  • Spaghetti Warehouse: Dad can get a free spaghetti or lasagna (per their Facebook post on 5/31/16).
  • First Watch: Free bottle of maple syrup (with meal purchase).
  • Outback: Not free, but frequently offers coupons online.
  • If you know of any other freebies for Dad, please share in Comments!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Freebies & 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! I have links below for free Amazon Kindle books and Barnes and Noble Nook books in the DM TIPS!
  • Half Priced Books: Read 15 minutes a day and fill out the log (click on link). Once you reach 300 minutes in June, turn in your log and earn a HPB gift card! Last year the gift card was for $5. Repeat in July! (Ages Preschool to High School. Runs June & July)
  • 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 younger kid participate. They let Higgins participate with his big brother! (Runs 5/17-9/6.)
  • Chuck E. Cheeses: If your child reads each day for 2 weeks 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 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!
DM Tips
  1. Check with Amazon.com for free kids Kindle ebooks for download. The Kindle reading app for the computer or ipad/phone is free too! Barnes & Noble also has free options 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! (Runs 6/7-8/18.) 

Other Summer Freebies (or at least cheap!):
  • Movies:
    • Regal Movie Theaters have $1 movies in the summer. (See link for schedule and to find a location near you.)
    • Many local movie theaters run free or $1 movies as well, so check with your local theaters.
    • 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. Some 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)
  • Check out this site for a list of Good Report Card Freebies!
  • Fossil Collecting
    • You may have noticed that we (aka the boys) love going "fossil hunting". To find a fossil park near you, try these sites (National Park System: 260 Fossil Parks or NPS: Other Fossil Sites. 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 do 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. I get tired of seeing the same thing, so we explore and find new parks.
    • Sometimes local parks offer free events during the summer too, 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 free) adventure!
  • Museums/Zoos/Aquariums
    • Our local children's museum offers free admission on certain Fridays during the summer. Check out your local art/history/science/children's museums to see if they have free days. 
    • Sometimes other places like the zoo or aquariums will offer kids get in free days (with an adult ticket).
  • Crafts
    • My boys love craft time and we have spent a lot of time during summers past 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, you can offer them extra chores to earn extra spending money. I think I have a mountain of socks that may need sorting and folding... :) Try garagesalecow.com, local newspapers or community Facebook pages to find garage sales near you.
  • Eat 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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Home Depot Father's Day Craft Saturday 6/4

Home Depot is having another free Kids Workshop on Saturday (June 4th) to make a Father's Day Trophy Phone Holder (click on link for details). It could be a cute gift to give to Dad on Father's Day! (Plus the kids get to keep their work aprons!)

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

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)


  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.


  • 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.

  • 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.


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.


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!

  • 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.


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?