Welcome! I am a mom to two wonderful kids, a lovely retired greyhound, 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!

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Fall and Halloween Ideas

 It's October! It's going to be Halloween Time! I'm getting excited for Fall. 

Although we haven't Boo'd anyone yet, I do have the Boo Bag ready to go. I'm going to wait until a little closer to Halloween this year. Since we are in a campground this year, I am only doing one Boo Bag. (If you are wondering why we are in a campground this year, check out our family trip website at Tepe Travels). 

We are still floating easy costume ideas, decorate, and need to find a local pumpkin patch. Although the RV kitchen can be challenging, I think we will probably still be able to roast the seeds. I did find some easy decorations at the local dollar store and now need to figure out how to put them up.

I know COVID may change a lot of Halloween plans around the country. If Halloween is cancelled, we can still make it fun for the kids: maybe by booing the neighbors or friends/family, trick or treating within your tribe, or having a movie night and decorating cookies. Some of my past Halloween posts would be good for staying home Halloween fun. 

  • Halloween Mazes:
    • 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 a 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.)

What are some of your fun ideas/traditions for Halloween? Share in Comments!



*Post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links. If you buy an item from Amazon using my links, I may receive a small commission for the referral. It does not affect your cost at all! If you want more information, please visit my Disclosure page. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! I hope you all are enjoying a day off of work and school with your kids!

When is Labor Day: Labor Day falls on the first Monday in September. This year Labor Day is today, 9/2/13.

What is Labor Day: Presently it is a day off of work and is seen as the last day of summer. However, it began as a day to celebrate different labor organizations' achievements and contributions to the economy and the nation.
  • "Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation." ~ Samuel Gompers, American Federation of Labor founder

History of Labor Day: Labor Day was first held in 1888. In 1894 it became a federal holiday. There are two people who are credited with beginning Labor Day; Matthew Maguire and Peter McGuire. There has been some documentation that leans towards Matthew Maguire starting Labor Day. September was chosen for a few reasons; one of which being that there was no holiday between the 4th of July and Thanksgiving!

How To Celebrate With Kids:
  • Attend a parade.
  • Talk about why we celebrate Labor Day.
  • Plan a family outing, BBQ, or last summer event.
  • Ask your kids to name all the jobs they can think of.
  • Make a few crafts:
    • Make your own bricks. Mix a little water with dirt in a bowl. You want to add just enough water that the dirt holds together, but not enough to make mud. Press the wet dirt into small containers (small juice or milk cartons, ice cube trays) and let dry for 10 days in a warm dry place. Once they are dry you can build your own houses and buildings.
    • Make your own candles. You can buy a candle-making kit at local craft stores or at Amazon (Beeswax Kit).
    • Bake your own bread. Check out my Soda Bread recipe for an easy to make bread!
  • Make thank you notes and give them out to your teacher(s), garbage person(s), mail delivery person(s), etc.
  • Have the kids dress up like their favorite profession.
Department of Labor

Here's a Labor Day-themed Word Find in honor of today.


Friday, April 29, 2022

Mother's Day

 Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8th! 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.
  • Zoo: There are a lot of zoos across the country offering free admission for moms on Mother's Day. Please call/check your local zoo's website or google before going.
  • TCBY: First 6 oz Free FROYO on Sunday 5/8.  
  • First Watch: I don't see a new blog post on their website, but for many years they have offered a freebie for Mother's Day. You may want to check with your local store to see if they are offering it again this year.
*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!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Hiding Ducks

My oldest is in high school now. For the past two weeks someone has been hiding small plastic rubber ducks around the school. All the kids are having a blast finding these tiny ducks hiding around school.

My youngest is known for decorating his desk for the holidays: a tiny tree for Christmas, a gnome for St. Patrick’s Day, a mini bunny for Easter. He wanted to take the duck idea to his school, so we bought a pack of yellow and spring colored ducks (Amazon affiliate link to small resin ducks). They have been a huge hit. The teachers like them, the kids like them and are having fun finding and trading them.

(They could also be a fun way to lay a trail to hidden Easter baskets.)

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Tomorrow is April Fool's Day!

Here are a few ideas for fun, harmless pranks to play on your kids on April Fool's Day (which is actually tomorrow, April 1st).

  • Soap: I made dinosaur soap dispensers (trust me, these are super easy) to make hand washing more fun for the boys. For April Fool's Day, try using bugs and toy snakes!
  • Play hooky! Get the kids ready for school and pull into the school parking lot. Then tell them "April Fool's" and take them somewhere fun for the day (zoo, indoor play area, putt-putt, amusement park). In 2020, we were under a Stay-At-Home Order, so we took a break from schoolwork and played outside. We also had a quick video game and board game session!
  • Place plastic bugs, spiders or snakes in their lunch boxes/on their plates.
  • If you don't mind cleaning up a small mess, toilet paper their room while they sleep.
  • For older kids (or even hubby): safety pin the corners of all their underwear together. When they try to pull out one, they will get a whole string of underwear.
  • Fill their closet or armoire with balloons and wait until they open it!
  • Carefully unwind some of the toilet paper roll. Place a dollar on the roll and roll back up. First one up wins!
  • Serve jelly beans with their lunch, but have them be unexpected flavors. There are a lot of options for gross and unexpected flavors such as Harry Potter Bernie BottsBean BoozledBeerChili MangoTabasco flavored.
  • Place color fizz tabs in the faucets and/or bathtub (unscrew the faucet screen, place the tablet in, screw back on). When the water is turned on, it will be colored! (Don't use Easter egg dye tabs-this will dye things!) I saw this idea here, but don't have the right faucets for it. Let me know if you try it!
  • If you have the time in the morning, hide their tablet or school supplies. You can create a scavenger hunt or clues for them to find them. 
  • WORD HUNT (PDF link)
  • WORD FIND: See end of post for a jpg version, or click the PDF links below.
  • Egg Cupcakes: You may remember these from the Backward's Day post. These were a big hit with my kids. They are vanilla/white cupcakes topped with an egg. The egg is made out of candy!
  • Egg Candies: For a fun snack for their lunch, try making egg candies. Melt white chocolate chips and pipe onto wax paper. You want it to look like a fried egg shape. Before it hardens completely, place a yellow M&M on for the yolk. Let set.
  • Colored Milk: Add a few drops of food coloring to their morning milk.
  • Make them wormy apples for a snack. Use an apple corer or sharp knife to cut a hole in the side of an apple. Place a gummy worm in the apple.
  • Place the bags of cereal in different boxes!
  • Meatloaf Cupcakes: Make mini meatloaves in muffin pans. Pipe on mashed potatoes for 'frosting'. You could even add a little food coloring to the potatoes to make the frosting look more realistic.
  • Cut a pound cake into strips. Toast in the oven to make them look like fries. Serve with a side of red frosting. DM Tip: Broil cake for about 20 seconds to brown. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Flip and toast the other side.
  • Fly ice cubes. Freeze plastic or candy flies in ice cubes and serve in their drink at lunch or dinner. You could also use raisins for an entirely edible version.

To Print: Click on image. Right-click. Choose Open In New Tab/Window. Click Print. Or, click on image, right-click, choose Save Image As. Print saved image.


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Easter is April 17, 2022

 This year Easter is April 12. As always,  I am trying to come up with some new non-candy ideas for the boys' baskets. It's a little harder to find cool non-food items right now with our Shelter-In-Place order from the Governor. We have several people in our family with health conditions that place them at higher risk for Corona/Covid-19. I have been trying to do mostly online shopping and avoiding the stores to limit exposure in our family. (If you are going to order online, I would suggest that you place your order early as there have been a lot of delays with supplies/shipping!)

There are a few things that they always get: a small pack of jelly beans, a couple of Reese's eggs, and a book or two. Luckily, I have been able to buy most of these online. In the past, they have received soccer gear (although not this year as the season has been postponed indefinitely), books, art supplies, etc., which can all be found online! I have some of the food/craft/Easter basket and egg hunt ideas from the past couple of years below.

I wish you and your families a safe, healthy, and enjoyable Easter (and Spring!) season. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you celebrate your Easter! 

  • Egg dying and decorating: There are a lot of ways to decorate eggs, however we love to eat our eggs! So, I am only going to be doing ideas that leave the eggs edible.
    • Eggstravaganza (dying with food coloring, natural dyes, impression eggs, tissue paper, crayons, rubber bands, stickers, Diva Eggs, and Lady Bug Eggs)
    • Painted Eggs (fingerprint animals, bubble wrap, painted designs):
    • Crackle Eggs 
    • Space Invaders, Glitter, and Snorkle Eggs
    • Drip Art Eggs: These look fun, but we haven't tried them yet. Stand a hard-boiled egg upright over something that will not get ruined (like a plastic plate or bowl). Place a drop of food coloring on the top of the egg. Mist egg using a spray bottle. Add a drop of another color, mist again. Gently blow on the egg to make the colors move around.
    • Monster Eggs (using glue dots, pipe cleaners, and stickers)
    • Tattoo Eggs: Use temporary tattoos. Make sure egg is completely dry before following tattoo directions. 
    • Ombre Eggs: Place a bottle cap (flat side down) on the bottom of a wide glass (8-10 oz.). Set egg on bottle cap. Mix 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 the cup until 1/2 the egg is covered. Let set 3 minutes. Add more water to the desired level. Wait 2 minutes. Repeat if want additional stripes. Carefully remove with tongs and let dry.
  • Basket Filler Ideas:
    • Fun bookmarks. I just discovered these fun 3D bookmarks on Amazon. There is a crocodile, shark, Nessie, astronaut, dinosaur, gecko, etc.
    • New gear: soccer ball/cleats/shin guards/practice net, baseball cleats/balls/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 these sometimes, but I have found them cheaper at the grocery store and Target. It was $5.49 at my local store.
    • Large sized gummy treats. I found several at Target (gummy bunny 1.75 oz/$1.99), and Party City (Pizza, burger, sushi...$3.99). 

  • Lego's: Any fun looking set, mystery minifigure packs, Mixel's (Amazon, Lego). Lego usually has holiday-themed sets as well. (2020 has an Easter Sheep.)
  • New weapons/Lego figures/crates. We found BrickArms a couple of years ago and the boys love discovering new weapons and figures for their Lego collection. This year, we bought a few different packs and are mixing up the contents and putting them in several Easter Eggs.
  • Jelly Beans
  • Play-Doh Eggs (Amazon, grocery store)
  • Art/Office Supplies: pencils, pencil sharpeners, markers, tape, etc.
  • Fill eggs with coins.
  • Movie tickets.
  • DVDs. Half Price Books, Michael's Crafts, and Target often have cheaper movies.
  • Book store gift cards.
  • Hot Wheels. There are even some Hot Wheels that fit Lego figures!
  • Mad Libs
  • Mini nail polish, nail files, etc. 
  • Books. Sometimes I use Easter-themed books, sometimes just books in a series they love. My oldest is really into Uncle John's Bathroom Readers For Kids. It always surprises me when he says "Oh, I know this!", adds to our conversation, and says he learned it from his Bathroom Reader. They even have sets of paper placemats, if you are having an Easter party and need to keep the kids busy!
  • Craft kits: build a robot (Higgins got the crab robot for Christmas and loved it), origami, jewelry (necklace/braceletgrown own crystals and make jewelry...)
  • Amazon gift cards. 
  • Art supplies (pencils/markers/crayons, how-to books [there are a lot of instruction/how-to books for kids and adults from easier instruction books to how-to books for older kids]). 
  • Word Find  
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Coloring Page
  • As I am writing this, many states are under a shelter in place/social distancing/physical distancing order. I do not know if communities will change how they do Easter egg hunts/events or if they will simply be canceled. Please check with your local communities! In the past, Ikea has had a free Easter Egg hunt. Many local parks and libraries had free Easter Egg Hunts and events as well last year. (Some were even for adult egg hunts!)

Friday, March 4, 2022

St. Patrick's Day is 3/17!

 This year, I haven't decided what the Leprechaun visit will be like. We are back in town and are renting an apartment, so I have a little more space than I did when we were traveling last year in the RV.

The kids also both know the secret behind the leprechaun visit, but still want him/her to come. They still really get a kick out of finding the Elf, the Leprechaun visit/treats, and finding their Easter baskets, so I'm going to try to keep finding new ways to surprise them. 

Below are my St. Patrick's Day food, activity, craft, and leprechaun visit ideas. I have some St. Patrick's Day-themed Word Finds/Search/Hunts, a maze, and a coloring page down below under the CRAFTS, FUN, ACTIVITIES section. I'll update this post if I come up with any new ones. 

  • Breakfast:
    • Rainbow and Shamrock pancakes. Once I started using condiment bottles and candy making/decorating bottles, the shapes were easy to do. I made regular pancake batter, separated into 4 bowls, added food coloring (blue, green, yellow, red). I then placed one color in each bottle and piped the shapes onto the hot skillet/griddle. Once the pancakes were done, I placed them on a plate and added whipped cream clouds under the rainbows.
  • Lunch:
    • Lunch time fun: cut bell peppers width wise to get a shamrock shape, add a chocolate gold coin under a sandwich, make lunch all green (see leprechaun visit below). 
  • Dinner:
    • Shepherd's Pie. Another easy dinner for St. Patrick's Day. This is a mild recipe. We like a little more seasoning in our dishes, so I add diced garlic, fresh ground pepper, and paprika to the meat. A little chili powder might also be nice. For the potatoes, I also added fresh ground pepper and used sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese. 
  • Bread: 
    •  Almost every year we have Beef Stew with Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day. (The kids aren't huge fans of corned beef yet.) The soda bread tastes best when you make it the day before, or at least the morning of. We love eating it with beef stew.  
    • Rainbow bread. One year, I made a braided loaf of bread with rainbow colors. After mixing the dough, I separated into equal pieces (I think 5), dyed each section a different color, rolled out the strand, and braided. We used it to make french toast and rainbow sandwiches for St. Patrick's Day.
  • Dessert/Snacks/Drinks/Misc.: 
    • Shamrock sucker napkin rings.
    • St. Patrick's Day Shake. My version of the shamrock shake.
    • Hidden Shamrock Pound Cake. Shamrock shape hiding inside the pound cake. 
    • Oreo Gold Coins. There are a couple of ways to make these cookie coins. 1. Spray one side of the cookie with Wilton Gold Color Mist Spray (edible). Let dry. Turn over, spray other side, let dry. 2. Dip in yellow/gold candy melts or yellow colored white chocolate. 
    • Pretzel coins. Buy round pretzels. Locally, I can only find these at Meijer, but I'm sure other stores must carry something similar. Dip pretzel in melted yellow candy melts. Place on a piece of wax paper. Fill in the center with candy melts. Let set. You could also pipe on a shamrock/clover in yellow or green candy melt. For extra shine, spray with the edible Gold Color Mist Spray. 
    • Rainbow cupcakes (version 1 and version 2). These are a little more time consuming than regular cupcakes, but make a big impression when someone bites into them. Another option is to hollow out the center of a cupcake and fill with sprinkles or small candies. I haven't made these yet, because I hate biting into a cupcake and getting a bunch of hard candy in my mouth. Plus, it falls out everywhere. However, it is a surprise and kids love extra sugar. 
    • Make cookies. The boys love decorating cookies (and of course eating them!). I have a shamrock cookie cutter and we make sugar cookies. (Click here for a sugar cookie recipe that keeps its shape.) If you don't have a shamrock cutter, you can use a heart cookie cutter. Cut out 3 hearts, overlap the points and push down to join. Cut a small piece of dough for the stem and push down to add to the shamrock. Bake, cook, and decorate. I also made Pots of Gold cookies. I couldn't find a pot/cauldron cookie cutter and ended up using a cupcake cookie cutter. Once it was decorated, it looked really nice and like a pot of gold! 
    • Leprechaun Donuts. These could be make for the Leprechaun to eat when he or she comes to visit, or to be left by the leprechaun for the kids to find. 
    • Pretzel shamrocks. Use mini twist pretzels to form the shamrock shape. Dip 3 twists in green candy melt/green colored white chocolate. Place on a piece of wax paper, with bottoms touching. There will be a small gap in the middle. Fill in with candy melt/chocolate. Break a piece of a twist or stick pretzel to form the stem. Dip in candy melt, place shamrock stem. Let set/dry completely. 


I hate cleaning up after the Elf and Leprechaun, so their visits are usually not very messy. Normally, the leprechaun leaves a trail of some kind leading to the pots of gold (treats are usually gold/yellow or green colors). 
  • Leprechaun Pots of Gold. I went a little crazy on our first leprechaun visit. I made a rainbow out of construction paper and taped it to the wall. Above the rainbow hung a cloud made of batting and it was raining jelly beans over the pots of gold. I should have used a clear thread to hang the cloud and jelly beans, but forgot to buy it. Be careful when stringing the jelly beans: the needle gets sticky very fast and can be hard to push the candy. Watch out for your fingertips! 
  • Leprechaun Treat Bags: how to make your own pot-shaped baggies. If you don't want to make your own, Wilton does sell a treat bag that has a bowl type of bottom. You could cut out pot shaped piece of black construction paper and place inside (or tape to the outside depending on the filler for the bag), to form a treat bag that looks like a pot.
  • Make their lunch all green! They got a kick out of this last year. I think this would even work with older kids (maybe without the leprechaun note).
    • Include a note from the tricky leprechaun and include a gold chocolate coin as an extra treat.
    • Sandwich: Use green bread or green tortillas to make their sandwiches. I made peanut butter and apple wraps in a green tortilla.
    • Celery sticks with peanut butter.
    • Fruits & Veggies: kiwis, granny smith or golden delicious apples, green grapes, cantaloupe, pears, green bell pepper slices, celery, sugar snap peas, green applesauce (or at least with a green lid)
    • Sides: green chocolate dipped pretzels, green veggie straws/chips, green tortilla chips, green candy popcorn (see my Candied Popcorn post for directions, just use green, white, and/or gold candy melts), only green jelly beans/M&M's/Skittles
    • Green pasta: buy green pasta. My local grocery store usually carries Barilla and Ronzoni brands Veggie/Garden Rotini or spaghetti noodles. Sometimes they also have Ronzoni SuperGreens Rotini. If you cannot find the Garden/Veggie pasta at your grocery store, try adding green food coloring to the water before cooking regular pasta.
    • One year, I wrapped rainbow crepe paper around the stair railings. There was also a trail of coin shaped confetti leading to the hidden pots of treasure. I made sure to include a few dead ends, so it took them a little while to find their treats. 
    • Another time, I made rainbows for the trail. I used both regular rainbows and rainbows where the colors were in reverse order. The normal rainbow trail led to their pots. However, the reverse rainbow trails led to quite a few dead ends. The dead end trails also had small pots, but they had a note that said "This one is a trick. Keep looking.". 
    • Make a scavenger hunt from the leprechaun for the kids to find their pots of gold. I did a small scavenger type of hunt last year. There were small pots hidden around. The ones that had the pipe cleaner shamrocks attached, contained the clues.
    • Some kind of a reverse trap. Normally, you set a trap for the leprechaun, but how about an obstacle course for the kids to get to their pots? In 2018, I made a crepe paper obstacle course for them to get to their pots. Higgins loves anything that resembles an obstacle course. If he has to crawl, jump, climb, or contort, he's happy. Last year I made an obstacle course out of paper chains with cutouts of shamrock and pot of gold shapes. The strings went from floor to ceiling.
    • Hide some plastic gold coins around the house. Have a few that have a voucher attached to them to trade in for actual money. 
    • Some fun pot of gold fillers:
      • Green, gold, or St. Patrick's Day themed pencils or pens
      • Fun pencil toppers/erasers
      • Green or yellow bouncy balls
      • Bubbles (some party stores sell individual items so you can pick out a green or yellow one)
      • Shamrock stickers
      • Shamrock sucker (either store bought, or see shamrock sucker napkin rings for an easy to make shamrock shaped sucker) 
      • Green or gold Frisbee
      • Chocolate gold coins
      • Gold/yellow wrapped candy (mini Snickers, mini Reese's cups, Sixlets, Rolos, Starburst, Hershey Kisses...). Party City normally has bins where you can buy individual candy pieces and items for goodie bags. It's my go-to store for finding small filler ideas. Some stores carry single color bags of jelly beans (either prepackaged or fill your own bag stations).
      • Arcade tokens
      • Car wash tokens
      • St. Patrick's Day rubber ducks (shamrockleprechaun)
      • "Gold" $1 coins (can usually get these from the bank) 
      • Small Nerf gun or ball (yellow or green)
      • Small water gun (yellow or green)
      • Yellow or green nail polish, hair bows, ribbons, bracelets 
      • Cars, toys, art supplies, beauty supplies...Pretty much anything your child likes, that happens to come in yellow or green colors, and will fit in the pot will work. Higgins loves to use my tape, so his pot of gold has had rolls of tape that have yellow or green covers to them.
      • Yellow hand sanitizer 
      • Socks: St. Patrick's Day-themed socks seem to be a big hit. 
      • Books: (You know me, I love books and giving my kids books!)

 Pipe Cleaner Shamrock Instructions: