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!

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Elf Day 10

The Elf has been pretty boring this year, so  he wanted to do something that the kids would get a kick out of.

He was hanging out under the Christmas tree (which still is not decorated), in his Lego constructed Reading Room with some snacks and a few good books. The kids didn't find him before school started. Poor Eugene didn't get found until after school, but he was a big hit.

I have been wanting to do a reading scene with the elf for awhile now, so I finally made it happen. I wrote and printed out a small book titled Eugene the Elf. It's only about six pages long. I then created two small covers for the books on his side table, titled How The Elf Saved Christmas and How To Be The Best Elf You Can Be. Maybe next year I can write some pages for those books too!

I raided the kids' Lego bin to find the pieces. The room wasn't too hard to make. However, the fireplace took awhile to get right. The picture frames are holding pictures of the kids and were pretty easy to do with the right pieces (see below). I had a Lego 4x4 Frame Plate (link to Lego) and a Lego 1x2 / 2x4 Angle Plate (link to Lego). I rested the picture on the back of the frame and used the force of clipping the angle plate onto the back of the frame plate to hold it in place.
I found a few little food type items and placed them on the side table. The side table is just a rectangular plate with a couple of bricks (2x2) underneath for the legs.

The good news is that the kids loved it. The bad news is they both want to keep it.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Elf 2019 Day 9

E headed back to Higgins’ room. He took a little break hanging out on the coat rack.

Higgins decided to give him a tissue pillow and blanket when he saw him.


Christmas Gift Ideas

I am really struggling this year with gift ideas for some of the people on my list. It seems as the kids in the families get older, the harder it is to come up with ideas! In case you need some gift ideas too, here are my gift lists:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Elf Days 5-8

Ok, the Elf has been pretty darn boring so far. The elf hider has been tired, but will try to do better to make it a little more exciting. 😊

Day 5: E decided to hang out in Bernardo's room, hiding in the bookcase.
Day 6: Well, this should wake Hubby up in the morning. A little creepy.
Day 7: Hanging (literally) on the mantel's garland.
Day 8: Hiding on the railing.


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Elf 2019, Days 1-4

Eugene started out in the office next to a gargoyle friend. I wonder what they chatted about.
Day 2, he hung out playing basketball in the hallway. I’m not sure he knows the rules though based on his scoring techniques.
Day 3 was spent in Higgins room. He was feeling a little lousy after getting a couple of vaccinations, so E wrote him a note.
On the 4th day, he moved to the sitting/reading room and hung out in the curtains.





Monday, December 2, 2019

St. Nick's Day Is Friday!

I know we just celebrated Thanksgiving, but St. Nick's Day is right around the corner on Thursday 12/6! If you are out Christmas shopping this weekend, you may want to keep an eye out for little stocking stuffers. I have some stocking stuffer ideas and a little history on St. Nick's Day below.

I used to love St. Nick's Day when I was a kid. I remember waking on on December 6th, eager to see what my stocking of goodies contained. When I was a little older, I learned that not everyone celebrates St. Nick's Day. In the US, it seems like it is more in the German and Dutch ancestry communities. I grew up in a city with strong German roots and St. Nick's Day was always celebrated. My mom had never heard of the holiday until she came here for college. She thought it was very odd that they told her to put her shoe outside her door!

Who Was St. Nick?
St. Nicholas (St. Nick) was the model for the jolly man himself (Santa Claus). St. Nicholas was from a wealthy family and would secretly give out gifts to people. The story I remember hearing was about a father who had three daughters. He was poor and could not afford dowries for the girls, which the needed in order to get married. Without the dowries, their futures looked bleak. Nicholas threw a bag of gold coins for each daughter into the house through a window at night. (There are different stories with different times frames: 1 night, 3 nights, 3 years.)


How To Celebrate:
Growing up, we each had our own stocking that we put out in front of our bedroom door the night before St. Nick's Day. My husband's tradition was to put his Christmas List in his stocking for Santa to pick up. However, other families put out shoes instead of stockings.

The night of December 5th, place a stocking or shoe outside the children's door(s) and fill it with goodies. You could also hang or place them on the fireplace. In the morning (on December 6th), open the stockings!
Stocking Stuffer Ideas:
  • "Gold" $1 coins in honor of the bags of gold coins St. Nicholas gave. (You can ask for them at the bank.)
  • Candy. My favorite are the Candy Cane Tootsie Pops. The boys like getting the soda flavored jelly beans that come in a small soda bottle. (Target or Amazon carry them.)
  • Small games or deck of cards.
  • Books or comic books.
  • Small coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, markers, fun shaped pens, etc. The coloring book link is to Amazon, but Target and Michael's often have these Grab & Go packs for $1.
  • Barrettes, headbands.
  • Grab and Go games. These fit into stockings and are great for car rides or while sitting in restaurants. Some of our favorites are Clue, Connect Four, Trouble, Battleship, and Guess Who.
  • Special ornament. We get each kid their own ornament every year. It has their name and the year on it. (Even if I just write it on with a Sharpie.) We try to make it special for that year. (An apple/desk/pencil if they started school, a horse for their first horse ride, an ornament from vacation, a train if the took a train ride, ballet slippers or musical instrument for first show/concert.)
  • For older kids: gift cards to Amazon, iTunes, movie theater, laser tag, their favorite store. Or a new phone case, ear buds for phone/computer/i-pod.
  • Hot chocolate mix.
  • Small stuffed animals.
  • Lego's. There are so many kinds! (Ninjago, a box of Lego's, Nexo Knights, Minecraft, Friends.). Lego also has Ornaments. Kids build the Lego figure and place them inside a clear round ornament to hang on the tree. The boys loved them. The mini-figure packs are also great stocking stuffer. (Lego has these in stores or online. Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, and sometimes even the grocery store will carry these.)
  • Small toys. (Hexbugs, small Nerf guns, Matchbox or Hot Wheels)
  • Art supplies. (sketch pads, pencils, pens, paints, crayons, stickers...)
  • Pez Dispensers. I loved getting each year as a kid. I used to have a small collection of them, but they got misplaced during moving. They come in a lot of varieties! (Christmas, Star Wars, Avengers, Scooby Doo, Princess, Presidents...)
  • Toothbrush.
  • Flashlight.
  • Temporary tattoos.
  • Chapstick or lip gloss.
  • Small fruit (clementines, apples).
  • Compass. 
  • Gum.
  • Elf On The Shelf. Our Elf, Eugene, originally came to us on St. Nick's Day.
  • New video game or DVD. The boys sometimes get a joint St. Nick gift of a game or DVD.
  • Advent Calendar.
    • For Kids: Even though they may get it a few days late, they'll still enjoy it! There are the traditional chocolate calendars, which I have seen at Target/grocery stores/craft stores this year. There are also a lot of non-food types available! [Lego City, Lego Star Wars, Lego Friends, PlayMobil, Play-Doh, Minions, Hatchimals, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hot Wheels, Disney (Tsum Tsum, Olaf/Frozen), Paw Patrol, Crayola, VTech, and even a bead craft option.] There are also simple countdown versions. NOTE: I have had a hard time find the Lego calendar when it gets closer to December. Sometimes I found it, but it was through a 3rd party seller and they raised the price by at least $10. Check online and in stores early to make sure you get the one you want and for the regular p
    • For Adults: There are a lot of adult themed Advent Calendars too! Master of Malt offers many different alcoholic calendars (especially whiskey and scotch). Last year I bought myself an Advent Calendar with nicer dark chocolates. I even saw some with socks for every day! 
    • For Pets:
      • Dogs: 
        • New Toy (Honky Hedgehog, bone, ball)
        • Whimzees These are the teeth cleaning treats I buy for J. She loves them, and I like the ingredients a lot better than some of the other dental products out there. Plus, they come in some cute shapes!
        • Bully Sticks
        • Booties for their feet These are the only booties J will wear. They are thin enough she can still feel the ground, but still protect her feet from ice and snow.
        • Homemade Peanut Butter Pumpkin Biscuits (click link for recipe)
      • Cats: 

LINKS:
St. Nicholas (Wikipedia)
http://www.stnicksday.com/



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Missing Elf!





I totally lost Eugene, but luckily Hubby found him. Consequently, Eugene has been delayed making his yearly appearance by a day. In case you need some extra time tracking down your tricky Elf, I have a blank missing poster. (Click Here for poster.) Simply fill in the description info! If you have a different Elf, you can replace the picture as well.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Thanksgiving Is Next Week!

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week! (Thanksgiving is November 28 this year.) It feels like we just had Halloween! I have a few Thanksgiving related ideas down below (food, crafts, activities, and books for kids). I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

FOOD:
CRAFTS:

ACTIVITIES:


BOOKS:

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Halloween

It's getting closer to Halloween! I love this time of year: the changing leaves, decorations, and fun food. I love everything except horror movies and haunted houses. I know, it's weird to love Halloween and hate those two things.

The boys are once again really excited, although no costume decisions have been made. Our greyhound does not have her outfit ready either.
I have gotten a few things for the Boo bags, but we haven't Boo'd anyone yet. While we have our pumpkins, we still have to get costumes, put up the final decorations, carve the pumpkins, and roast the seeds. If you need any Halloween ideas, I have a bunch below!
 
ACTIVITIES:
  • Halloween Mazes:
  • 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.
FOOD:

CRAFTS:


TIPS:

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!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Attack of the Venus Fly Trap

Higgins loves Venus Fly Traps. We have two containers of them on our kitchen window sill (one he grew from seeds and one he transported home on a 12 hour car ride from vacation). When he saw a picture of a giant Venus Fly Trap Halloween decoration, he fell in love with it. Last year we finally made his giant Venus Fly Trap and it was pretty easy to do. Not so easy to store since it is pretty big, but easy to make. With the quick drying paint and concrete, it was done in a day!

There are a lot of variations online and a lot of varying degrees of complexity. There are some that are just the heads of the fly trap hanging on fences with wire stems, and some that are a stemmed plant with multiple heads that are taller than I am. The thing I loved about this craft is that you can make it however you want it. You really just need a foam pumpkin, a sharp knife, and some paint (if you didn't buy a green pumpkin). Everything else is optional to fit your tastes!

I kept ours pretty simple. It really only needed a few supplies from the craft store and/or a hardware store. At the craft store (I used Michael's), I bought a foam pumpkin and small decorative skulls. They have a range of pumpkin sizes, so you can make whatever size(s) you want. I think I went with a medium sized pumpkin. At the hardware store, I bought a green spray paint that had paint+primer. I figured the paint+primer would mean less coats of paint. I reused an old flower pot, a bag of quick set concrete, decorative moss from a school project, red craft paint, and a metal plant stake (like these: Amazon affiliate link). You can find all of these things in the craft and hardware store.

The stem of the pumpkin will be the back of the fly trap, where it connects to the stem (metal stake). With the pumpkin on its side, I traced a spiky toothy mouth in the middle of the pumpkin. I cut it out using an exacto knife and a utility knife. Once I had the mouth cut out, I spray painted the pumpkin green. While the first coat was drying, I bent the mental plant stake to form the stem. I then mixed up the concrete and filled flower pot. Once I had it pretty full and level, I inserted the plant stake into the middle and let set. I ended up propping the tip of the plant stake against a wall so that it would set where I wanted it to. I applied a second coat of paint to the pumpkin and let it dry. I used a thin rod to set in between the teeth and hung it over a shelf to dry. Once the outside was dry, I turned it upside down and painted the inside of the mouth. I first did a coat of the green spray paint and then painted it using the red craft paint and a paint brush. I even added a few blood drops along the edges. I also attached a tongue made from a foam craft sheet to the bottom of the mouth with hot glue.

Once the concrete was set, I glued on the decorative moss. It was then time to place the Venus Fly Trap pumpkin onto the stem. I drilled out a small hole and made sure it would fit tightly around the stem. I had to adjust the size a few times, but starting small and working your way up is best way to get a tight fit. I filled the hole with hot glue and placed the pumpkin on the stem. Once that was set, I hot glued the skulls around the base of the stem. I touched up any spots with paint and it was good to go!


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Monday, October 21, 2019

I'm A Sucker For An Easy Pumpkin

I love this easy pumpkin for Trick or Treating. It is great to sit out on your porch or table for Halloween and can be reused for many, many years.
You will need a foam pumpkin (any size you like), suckers/lollipops, and a drill with a small drill bit. The drill bit should be the same size, or a little smaller than the width of the sucker stick. Drill the holes evenly down the sides of the pumpkin. After you have all the holes drilled, insert the suckers, and place out for trick-or-treaters!

Roasted Pumpkin (For The Dog!)

Each year at Halloween we carve our pumpkins, collect the seeds to roast, and throw out everything we have scraped and cut out of the pumpkin. I had been buying canned pumpkin to add to J's dog food (she LOVES pumpkin). After doing a little research and talking to other dog owners, I made our own pumpkin puree for her. Not only is it pretty easy to make, but she loves it and it is a healthy addition to her dog food.

It's really easy to do. Simply scrape out/trim the inside of your pumpkin. I removed the larger seeds since we roast them for us to eat. The stringy stuff and any of the meaty parts of the pumpkin are fair game. If there are a few of the small flimsy seeds, I left those in, but it's up to you. NOTE: I would only do this on a pumpkin that hasn't been carved yet and is in good shape. After it has carved, it can start to mold and could make your dog sick.

Line a large baking sheet or dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil. You want to use something that has sides since the pumpkin will release water as it bakes!

Place the pumpkin bits on the covered sheet and roast at 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until softened. Let cool. Place in a blender or food processor to puree. Make sure to get all the strings and any little seeds pureed.

After it is a nice mushy texture, I place it in ice cube trays and freeze. Once they are frozen, I pop them out of the trays and store in a gallon freezer bag. She gets 1 cube at dinner time. She loves them frozen in the summer, but I do sometimes heat them up in the winter.


If you are interested in reading more about the benefits of pumpkin for your dog, here are a few resources:
  • AKC
  • Pet MD
  • Cesar's Way
  • Of course, Google or your vet will be a great source of information as well!