Making Valentine Crayons - Guest Post from Toys in the Dryer

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Jamie and Lindsi are joining us today from Toys in the Dryer. I recently discovered their blog and have not only been inspired there, but gotten a few laughs as well. And I can always a use some laughs especially when the kids are crazy. I am excited to have them posting here and I think you will love their blog, if you are not already a follower. Today they are showing us a fun treat to give to your kid's classmates that doesn't involve candy. Is it possible? Yes, read on...

Toys In The Dryer

heart shaped crayons

Some of you may remember our previous post on making your own crayons. Well now we'll take it a step further. Valentine's gifts!  It's a really easy project and your kids will be a hit this Valentine's Day with these special Valentine's.

Here is what you will need:

Crayons (oodles and oodles)

heart shaped mold


Valentine's card stock

plastic bags

Step 1: gather up all the crayons you want to use and peel (the not so fun part)

heart shaped crayons

Step 2: chop with a chef knife (or break with your hands) each crayon into 4-5 pieces

heart shaped crayons

Step 3: pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and fill each heart shaped mold half way with the crayons

heart shaped crayons

Step 4: bake crayons for 10 minutes and CAREFULLY remove them after the 10 minutes (if you set them aside and do not disturb them until they are hardened, the colors will not mix together and make one solid brown color, rather, they will stay multicolored)

heart shaped crayons

 Step 5: let crayons re-harden (or cheat and set them in the freezer) and then remove them from the mold

heart shaped crayons

Step 6: print off (or hand write) a special Valentine's note on pretty card stock paper. I used "You color me happy Valentine!"

heart shaped crayons

 Step 7: place crayon and note into a clear bag and tie shut.

heart shaped crayons

My son is giving these to the kids in his class this year and my twins liked it so much that I had to go to the store and purchase more crayons to make them heart Valentines for their friends too!

Thanks so much to Jamie and Lindsi! Don't you just love this simple idea? I need a prettier heart mold. I just love the one they used with the scalloped edges. Don't forget to visit Toys in the Dryer and while you are there check out some of my favorite posts:

Ridiculously Easy DIY Fudge Pops
Coloring Inside the Cracks
Boiled Cookies

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Painting with Golf Balls

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We had so much fun playing with our golf tees and golf balls that I decided to use the balls again, this time for painting. We have done marble painting in the past and I wanted to try something similar with golf balls. I was curious about the results we would get since the golf balls were bigger and had some texture to them. 

Supplies you will need:
  • Paint colors of your choice
  • Golf balls
  • Shirt box
  • Paper (I used plain copy paper)

I had a Valentine's Day craft in mind for the finished product, so I used red and white paint. I squirted some in the center of the box but used a little too much and B's golf ball got kind of stuck.

I used a little less paint for C and the ball traveled more smoothly.

After a while, B wanted another golf ball to add to the mix.

I love how the red and white would combine to make pink.

The tracks made by the golf balls were so unique because of their texture. Here is show off A, painting with 3 golf balls.

This was a messy activity but the kids painted page after page. Stay tuned to see what we end up doing with our golf ball paintings.

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Food Fun Friday - Apple Crescents

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Apple Crescents, Crescent Roll Recipe, Apple Pie Crescents

Just added 11/9/2012 - If you think these look good, check out the simple recipe for Strawberry Crescents!

Make this NOW. I'm usually not very demanding, but oh my goodness this is GOOD. We love crescent roll recipes. There is just so much you can do with them. To think for the longest time we just baked them up and spread some butter on them. While they are very good that way, it doesn't take much time or imagination to dress up a crescent. In the past we have made Pepperoni Pizza Crescents and those were a huge hit. I was in the mood for something sweet and thought we would try making Apple Crescents. Think of them as an easy apple pie. I love apple pie and crescents so how could this be wrong? Read on to see the recipe...
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Bubble Wrap Hearts at Tutus and Tea Parties

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We recently did some fun Valentine's artwork that I shared in a guest post on Tutus and Tea Parties
Here is a sneak preview...

While you are there check out all of the wonderful ideas and inspiration!

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Thrifty Thursday - Making Money by Taking Surveys

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Image: anankkml /

We are all looking to make a little extra money. I discovered there are legitimate ways to make money online by taking surveys. There are lots of free survey sites out there that will pay you for completing surveys. You can investigate them and decide if they are right for you. Will you become rich or make enough to quit a job? No, at least that has not been my experience. My experience has been earning a couple of extra bucks here and there, maybe enough for a dinner out. 

What Can You Expect?

When you join a survey site, they will ask you for information so they can best match you with surveys. This sometimes includes your name, address, phone number and income range. Please be careful about the kind of information you give out and use your own good judgement. If you are uncomfortable with this aspect of survey taking, then it may not be for you.

Once you are registered in a system, you will be sent survey opportunities for surveys where you may be a potential match. You click on a link in your email and are taken to a survey site. There are often screener questions that you have to answer before being taken to the actual survey. Sometimes after spending a few minutes on the screener questions it is determined that you are not a match for a particular survey. This is the most annoying part for me, but it doesn't happen a lot.

Survey sites have different pay structures. Some pay points that can be accumulated and exchanged for cash, while others pay a certain dollar amount per survey. You usually have to have a balance of a certain threshold before they will send a payment, but it doesn't take long to get there. You can earn money by taking surveys and in some cases through referrals. 

Is It Worth It?

If you ask my husband, it is not worth it. He is very practical and thinks it takes too much time for what you are being paid. I enjoy the surveys, and if I am online anyway and not busy with something else, I will take them. I am sure I could make a lot more if I devoted more time to it, but I just don't have that time with three young ones and a blog to maintain. But I do like getting some fun spending money once in a while. 

Companies I Recommend

There are lots of survey companies out there and many of them are good and pay on time. The following, are just the ones that I use and have had personal experience with. Your results may vary.

Opinion Outpost
This site is very easy to navigate and you can get paid in various methods from Paypal to Amazon gift codes. You can cash out with as little as $5-10 in most cases.

Survey Savvy 
Another place to share your opinions and get paid.

I get many invites a week from this site and enjoy their surveys. They offer a variety of payout options such as gift cards and donations to charity.

In addition to these, there are a lot more sites out there. If this might be something you want to do, please research them and read reviews before signing up.  There are a few sketchy places that it is best to avoid.

Have fun making some spending money while making your opinion heard!

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Winter Day Activities - Guest Post from Creatively Content

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Today is a first for Mess For Less. We have our first guest poster from Turkey. That's right, Turkey! Mess For Less is international! Please welcome Becky who blogs at Creatively Content. There you can find lots of her projects and ideas. She also shares ideas on her faith. Becky is a mom of three and has plenty of ways to keep your little ones busy. Just take a look...

Hi! Winter is here and Christmas has past soooo ... I am passing along 3 fun indoor ideas to break up the mundane and create some extra squeals of delight in your home.  I hope you can find some benefit from these simple activities that we are sending to you from our little west corner of Turkey.

Winter day activity #1 Fleece and Felt

What you will need:
Fleece blanket, felt cut outs and masking tape

Use your fleece blanket like a life size felt board. If you have more than one child, tape off an area for each to have their own fleece board space to create on. 

We purchased a Fun with Felt book years ago that came with a bunch of cut out felt and ideas with all different kinds of creatures to make. However with three kids, I decided to cut out several more pieces of felt on my own and have added some yarn and pom-poms into the mix.  When you cut out the felt pieces make sure to add all kinds of shapes and sizes, and also include a few pieces of yarn and different sizes of pom poms. This activity keeps all three of my kids engaged (ages 8, 5, and 3).

Here are a few of our creations and some ideas for you too. :)

Winter day activity #2 Button Slots

What you will need:
Buttons, shoe box

Use an Exacto knife to cut small and large slots in all different places in the top of the shoe box. If you have a button collection you can give lots of sizes and variety. This activity is for children 3 and up. If you like this, please check out our Super Duper Drop Box .

Winter day activity #3- Chalkboard Painting

What you will need:

chalkboard, paint brushes and water


With this idea, the kids seem to enjoy several different brushes of all sizes. The kids initiated this idea and it has brought our chalkboard back into use on a daily basis. 

Sometimes it is just mixing up the things you already have that can help with the longer hours indoors. ~
Happy indoor play to all.

In my little west corner~ 'using what I have'

Becky @ Creatively Content

Thank you so much Becky! I know we be using these great ideas on rainy days. I have three kids too and I love the idea of dividing up the blanket so they each have their own play space. Please be sure to stop by Creatively Content and say hi to Becky. 

Here are some of my favorite posts from Creatively Content:
Homemade Ribbon Wand
DIY Tissue Paper from Napkins
Masking Tape Town

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Birthday Prints and Portraits - Guest Post from mk inspired

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I know you are going to love this craft from mk inspired.  I just adore it and will be adding it to my birthday traditions.  Krista shares all her fabulous ideas and creations over at mk inspired. She is  mama of two and I just love all the sweet activities she does with her kids. Please visit her and say hi!

Hi! I am THRILLED to be guest posting here at Mess for Less today. I am so thankful and honored that Vicky invited me to share a project with you!  My name is Krista and you can find me (and my two little ones) speckled in paint or stuck in glue over at mk inspired

I have to admit that I am overly sentimental at times. Having two pre-schoolers doesn’t make things easy, as I am holding on to their early years for dear life. I enjoy finding creative ways to capture and document their growth. So I would like to share a little birthday project that has become a family tradition each year.

6x6 canvas (I stock up on these when they are 60% off/under $2)
Craft paint /brush (under $1)
Birthday girl (priceless)
Ikea Easel ($1)

Here is what we do:

Step One
Let the birthday girl pick her color. Our birthday girl picked pink so I squeezed two shades of pink and some white paint into an old yogurt cup.  

Step Two
Birthday girl paints the canvas.

Step Three
Once the canvas is dry, paint birthday girl’s hand with a generous coat of white paint. I find this method easier than dipping the entire hand in paint. It saves paint and you can control coverage. Guide hand and make print on canvas. Seal with mod podge.

A brand new tradition:  
To go along with our handprint keepsakes, I decided to have my daughter draw a self portrait. Using an 8x10 canvas board and a sharpie, my little one whipped up this self portrait in about 30 seconds (pigtails and all). We painted the edges with some left over pink paint for a simple border.  Seal with mod podge.

Finally, we printed up this little “favorites” list, had an interview session and stuck this to the back of the portrait. 

As my little ones grow, so will our collection of prints and portraits. A simple and cherished birthday tradition.   

Don't you just LOVE it! Thanks SO much Krista for sharing a wonderful birthday tradition and giving us some great ideas for making our own memories.

Here are some of my favorite posts from mk inspired:
Decor that Fits
Soft Pumpkin Cookies

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Fine Motor Work with Golf Tees

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I've mentioned in the past how I have this out of control craft/activity closet. Every time I pick up a new item for a fun kids activity, I just throw it in there and I usually end up forgetting about it. Once in a while, I get a bee in my bonnet and clean the whole thing out. Then it's like Christmas morning as I discover all these cool supplies. Recently, during one such cleaning fit, I discovered these golf tees and balls that I bought at Walmart. I don't recall the exact price, but if I bought them, they were plenty cheap. My plan was to use them with some Styrofoam I already had, for some fine motor practice. 

Supplies you need:
  • Styrofoam
  • Golf tees
  • Golf balls

I had a bad mommy moment when I realized that I only had two Styrofoam cubes for the twins and none for Little C. Poor forgotten 3rd child. In my defense, when I got the cubes, she was in the putting- everything-in-her-mouth phase, and so I didn't get her one for her protection. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. You can find lots of great Styrofoam shapes at the dollar store. I also found a floral foam wreath there that I planned to use for something or other, but I used it in a pinch for this children's activity.

I started out just giving the kids their foam and some golf tees and showed them how they could push them into the foam. They all took this quite seriously as you can tell.

I love how hard they had to work in some cases to push the golf tee in. Work those hand muscles B!

Little C was determined to fill up her entire wreath with golf tees. She kept calling it a birthday cake and tried to blow out the "candles."

I love how cute her chunky little hand looks here. Indulge me.

The kids were doing a great job with the golf tees, so I added some golf balls. I showed them how they could balance the golf balls on the tees. This required more dexterity and skill, but the twins were able to do it.

"A" tries to blow off her ball.

B, experimenting to see how many golf balls she can balance.

Little C discovered that the wreath also makes a great hat!

This was a fun and inexpensive activity for strengthening hand muscles. I was surprised with how long the girls played with this, pushing, pulling and balancing.

For more fine motor work, check out Straw Jewelry and Creations.

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