Outdoor Fun: 5 Games to Play With a Broom


The weather is warming up here in California, and we are spending more and more time outdoors. Recently, when we were outside, my daughter "A" found her toy broom and started sweeping. That got me to thinking about different games we could play with that toy broom. It was a few dollars at Target and quite the bargain when you consider all the things you can do with it besides sweeping. Here are 5 of our favorite ways to play.

Making Music - Homemade Harmonica

Our church has a great nursery program and they often inspire me with their craft ideas. Last week, in Little C's class, they made these clever homemade harmonicas. When Little C's sisters saw her harmonica, a few fights occurred, so to keep the peace, I made them some of their own. They were super simple to make and my kids had enough of these Homemade Harmonicas to start their own band.

Make your own harmonica - simple craft that will delight your kids!

Borax Crystal Letters


I have seen ornaments and snowflakes made from Borax and pipe cleaners, but I didn't want to wait until Christmas to try this fun kids activity. So I decided we would make some letters. I started out with letter "A" and thought I could make all the letters of the alphabet. Yeah, that was very ambitious. I have only done "A" so far and since the whole process is a little time consuming, I think we will just be making the kids first initials.

Food Fun Friday - Breakfast Enchiladas made with Crepes - Guest Post from Made Famous By

I have one of my favorite food bloggers guest posting here today and I am super excited! Heather from Made Famous By is here and we have some things in common. We both love food and have three kids. This may be where the similarities end. You see Heather is an amazing cook - me, not so much. Want proof of Heather's culinary gifts? Check out her blog and prepared to be tempted!


Made Famous By:  McMullin Fam Bam

My boys have a serious love slash addiction to the ocean.  Can’t say I blame them, so do I.  There is just something so relaxing about laying out a beach towel, setting up a chair, spending hours listening to the waves and watching your children splash in the sea.  I sit back, watch them and try to soak up every second of their childhood.

Thrifty Thursday - Toddler Box Guest Post from It's A Long Story

I am honored today to have Heather from It's A Long Story here to share an activity. Heather is a mom after my own heart. She is loves creating educational activities for her daughter that and budget friendly. See, she fits right in here. I hope you find as much inspiration from her post as I do.

Hello Mess for Less readers! I'm so excited to be over here today. I love Vicky's blog, and I was thrilled when she asked me to post.

My name is Heather, and I blog over at It's A Long Story.

I blog about all sorts of things over there. My faith, my projects, the occasional family outing...but one of the things I love writing about is the fun stuff I do with my daughter. She's 2 1/2, and loves to explore and figure things out. I like finding things for her that are simple, educational, and most importantly...don't break the budget!

I've recently started putting together something for Abbey that I have named Toddler Boxes. They are simple, self-contained activities that Abbey can, for the most part, complete by herself. I'm sharing my first one here with you today!

First of all, I found some great little tote boxes with snap-on lids at Hobby Lobby. They are the perfect size for Abbey, and the stack together perfectly so we can store them where she can reach them. Honestly, finding those boxes was the springboard for the whole Toddler Box idea!
I also found these buttons at Hobby Lobby for $5! Woohoo! 

An "I Love You" Prayer Children's book - Review and Giveaway


We recently had the opportunity to enjoy the book An "I Love You" Prayer (check out the flip book here) by Amy Parker and published by Tommy Nelson. This is the second book in the Time to Pray series. My kids were so excited to get this book. It might be because it is the shape of a heart. It certainly stands out from other books in that respect, but it stands out from other books in different ways as well. 

Paper Pattern Snakes

I don't know about your kids, but my three year olds are really into patterns right now. They point out patterns everywhere. I thought I would take advantage of this new interest in math by incorporating some pattern activities into our play. Today, we decided to make some fun Paper Pattern Snakes. What I like about these pattern snakes is that the kids get to practice making patterns and then play with their creations. For an extension on these try our Patterned Bead Snakes.

Paper Patterned Snakes - A fun way for kids to learn about patterns and have a cool snake toy at the same time!

Painting with Shredded Paper


The other day I got a package in the mail. When I opened it, I was greeted with a ton of brown shredded paper. I love to create kids art and activities using stuff we already have, so I got to thinking about what I could do with all this shredded paper. Somehow I got it in my head that we could paint with this stuff. Now I just had to figure out how to do that...

Reusing Valentine's Flowers


Who doesn't love getting roses on Valentine's day? I just love getting flowers, but am sad that they never seem to last very long. Some of my roses had started to wilt and fall off the petals.  

Food Fun Friday - Creative Kid Snacks - Guest Post from Sugar and Spice

So happy it's Friday! Not just because the weekend is about to begin, but because it's Food Fun Friday! I am very excited to introduce you to Amy today. Amy is an awesome, creative mom and blogger and just a very sweet person. She blogs at Sugar and Spice and has so many good ideas that you should it out. If you haven't already you will after you see what she has to share with us today!  

Hi ladies! My name is Amy. 

I'm from  

I've never considered myself to be someone particularly "creative".  I can't walk into a room and envision an awesome makeover, I can't sew, and I can't paint very well either.

I've discovered recently that the kitchen is my creative outlet.  

One day, I had the idea to make a creative snack for my almost 4 year old daughter.  What I made was nothing fancy, but ever since then she has been in the habit of asking for "a creative lunch".  Every time I make one for her, she is so sweet and tells me how great it is and says something like, "You're the best mom ever, I love my _____ (insert whatever animal or object the lunch was)."  With reactions like that, how can I resist continuing to stretch myself and create new snacks and lunches for her?

The best thing about the "Creative Kid Snacks" that I show you is that they are (a) healthy - consisting of plenty of fruits and veggies, plus other good food, and (b) easy - not too fancy or complicated.  They shouldn't require a tutorial for you to re-create them for your kiddos.

Here's what's been on the menu lately!

Hot air balloon:  basket is a graham cracker, ropes are string cheese thinly cut, balloon circle is made from a banana cut in half lengthwise and made to look like a circle, interior is strawberries and celery.  The clouds are cottage cheese and the people are carrots with raisins cut into fourths!  

This volcano was made in honor of my daughter’s recent fascination with lava.   The volcano is a grilled cheese sandwich, the lava is ketchup (used for dipping) and the ground below is some rice leftover from last night’s dinner.

This Valentines Day inspired snack is plain yogurt served in a heart shaped cookie cutter with grapes, blueberries, and strawberries along with some drizzled honey over top.  The “I” is made of celery and the “u” is made of sliced up string cheese.

Up next is my very cute owl.  He is my favorite of all.  His head/body is a peanut butter sandwich, his eyes are Ritz crackers with blueberries, wings and strawberries.  His beak and feet are carrots, and the moon is a banana.  I created those stars by placing some plain yogurt in my cake-decorating bag and using the star shaped tip. 

Camping scene:  Tent is made of a peanut butter sandwich, the tree trunks and ground are made of Triscuit crackers, the leaves on the trees are made of cucumber and the campfire is made out of a base of walnuts and flames of carrots and yellow pepper.

Next up we have the first thing I thought up when I came home from the grocery store with all of my colorful produce.  The basket of flowers is made of a graham cracker basket, celery stems, and four flowers.  Flower 1:  carrots and a grape.  Flower 2: bananas and the bottom of a strawberry.  Flower 3:  a piece of toast with jam cut into the shape of a tulip.  Flower 4: rosette made of ham.  

Mr. Elephant is probably the easiest one up today!  His body is a peanut butter sandwich, his legs, trunk, and tail are a banana (slice lengthwise using one long half for the trunk and the other half cut up for the legs and tail).  His ear is a piece of turkey and his eye is a blueberry.


David and Goliath:  their bodies are made of celery.  David’s sling is made of ham with a grape half for a stone.  Their heads are made of Ritz crackers, raisin eyes, and carrots for mouths.  The Sun is made of a banana, and Goliath’s sword is made of a carrot.

Our little angel is made of a grilled cheese sandwich.  She has wings of apples and a halo of corn.  Her eyes are raisins and her mouth is a strawberry.  She sits atop fluffy clouds of yogurt.

Do you recognize this guy from Monsters Inc.?  Mike Wazowski is made of a honeydew melon sliced and cored.  His eye is made of yogurt, sugar snap peas, and a blueberry.  His mouth is also made of bluberries.  I sliced him up in order to make the eating part easier for my little Disney fan.
Thank you so much, Vicky, for having me today on Mess For Less.  Please stop by and visit me sometime!

You can find a link to more of my "Creative Kid Snacks" on my sidebar. Have a great day!
Thank you Amy! Okay, who is ready to run to the grocery store? I am just in awe of Amy's great ideas with food. It's really hard to pick a favorite, but that owl is too darn cute. And the yogurt stars?  What a great idea!