Counting Caterpillar - Counting by 10's Game

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Counting Caterpillar - Use leftover eggs to practice counting by 10.

My twins, who are three and a half, have recently become interested in counting by 10s. Before I put away the plastic Easter eggs for the season, I made them a math game where they could practice counting by 10. This Counting Caterpillar game is a great way to re-use some of those eggs you still have littering your house.

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Food Fun Friday: Homemade Mini Baked Donuts

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About a year ago I got this mini donut pan from Crate and Barrel. We had gotten a gift card and most things there were over the amount we had on the card, so we ended up with the mini donut pan. I had visions of making freshly baked donuts all the time. Well, it's been a year and I am packing up for our move and come across the UNUSED donut pan. So we made some donuts. 

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Sea Life Action Cards - Guest Post from lil Mop Top

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Today I would like to introduce you to Jen from lil Mop Top. Jen is a mom of two precious boys and a former teacher. She has so many wonderful ideas for kids activities and projects, plus she also dabbles in crafts and throws fantastic parties. Can you see why I am so excited to have her guest posting here today. Please give her a warm welcome!

Hi readers of Mess for Less! I am thrilled and honored to be guest posting today! I am in the middle of moving. Well, to be accurate, I sold my house but don't have a new one to move into so we are in bit of limbo. So, most of my crafty stuff is all packed up temporarily (which is why my blog, lil Mop Top, is a little more quiet than usual).

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Counting Bead Fun

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I love the twins' preschool teachers. They are always so creative and come up with many fun learning activities for the kids. I am often inspired by things they have done in the classroom and try and come up with a way to extend them at home. "A" recently came home with a paper numbered from 1-5 with pipe cleaners and beads taped to it. I loved this idea for counting and it reminded me of the You Can Count on Me math activity we had done in the past. 

Only A's small group did the activity, so B did not have a chance to try it. It looked very simple to make, so I made one and extended the numbers to 10 for a more of a challenge.

Supplies you will need:
  • Paper (I used two sheets of copy paper taped together)
  • Tape
  • Pipe cleaners cut in half
  • Beads

Once you have taped the two pieces of paper together, write the numbers 1-10 on top. Next, tape the  halved pipe cleaners under each number. Be sure you just tape the top of the pipe cleaner to the paper so your child can still lift it up to insert the beads. Fill up a small cup with the some beads and instruct the kids to place the appropriate number of beads on each pipe cleaner. 


Besides helping with counting, this activity also strengthens fine motor skills as little ones work hard to grasp the beads and string them on the pipe cleaner.



Little C didn't quite get the concept behind the activity, but she did enjoy putting beads on the pipe cleaner. This kept her quite busy, as you can see by the concentrated look on her face.


When A was done stringing her beads, she was careful to count each bead and check her work.She was so pleased that she got them all correct!



B displays her completed activity!



Vicky
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Food Fun Friday - Yummy Breakfast Dish

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I had a MOPS meeting today and I signed up to bring a hot dish. I had no idea what to make so I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. I typed in "MOPS" and saw lots of ideas for great breakfast dishes. I stumbled upon one that looked simple and I had already had the ingredients on hand. I think we have a winner!

I found the recipe for Mimi's Christmas Breakfast on Confessions of a Former Couch Potato. I am so happy to have discovered this blog. She has so many yummy recipes and great ideas. Please stop by and see for yourself.

Here is my version of of Mimi's Christmas Breakfast.

Ingredients you will need:

  • 7 slices of wheat bread with the crusts cut off (you can use white as well)
  • 10 oz of a mix of shredded monterey jack and cheddar cheese (Costco sells this in a big bag)
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups of 2 % milk
  • 4 oz of crumbled bacon




Directions:

1. Spray the bottom of a 9-13 glass dish with cooking spray.


2. Line the dish with the bread with the cut off crusts. 6 pieces just fit and then I cut up the 7th piece to fill in the gaps.

3. Spread the cheese evenly over the bread.


4. Mix the milk with the beaten eggs and pour slowly over all of the bread and cheese.


Hubby helped with this step.

5. Sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top.


6. Refrigerate overnight, then in the morning bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until cooked through and the top has risen. My only took 45 minutes, but oven cook times vary.

I pulled this out of the oven, popped a lid on it, put it in my Anchor carrier and left. This was at 8:30 AM. It was served an hour later at the MOPS meeting, still warm and yummy. 


What did people think of it? You tell me. This is what I brought home. I am kinda sad because it was SO GOOD that I wanted to have more. Guess I will just have to make it again. 


This would be great to bring to a potluck, a meeting, or just for a special breakfast at home. I just love that you can make it the night before and just pop it in the oven. Thanks to Liz at Confessions of a Former Couch Potato for the inspiration!

Vicky
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Review and Giveaway: Vitalicious Super Sampler Pack

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I was so excited to get a giant Super Sampler Pack from Vitalicious! I am sure you have seen Vitalicious products in your local grocery store. They make VitaMuffins and VitaTops among other yummy baked goods. The best part about the Vitalicious Super Sampler Pack is that each item is only 100 calories AND nutritious. Look at the 24 Muffin Tops and Brownies that came in the Super Sampler Pack:

4 Deep & Velvety VitaBrownies
2 Chocolate Mint VitaTops 
2 Banana Nut VitaTops 
2 Triple Chocolate Chunk VitaTops
2 Deep Chocolate VitaTops
2 Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip VitaTops
2 Golden Corn VitaTops
2 CranBran VitaTops
2 Apple Crumb VitaTops 
2 RaisinBran VitaTops
2 Banana Choco Chip 

And each serving contains the following:

·         100 calories
·         No artificial ingredients
·         No preservatives
·         Whole grains
·         4g - 10g of fiber
·         0g - 2.5g of fat
·         3g - 5g protein
·         15 vitamins and minerals

There are lots of 100 calorie products are the market but how many can say that? If you are on a diet (like I always am) then the individually wrapped 100 calorie muffins can be a great part of a nutritious breakfast or a terrific snack. Even if you are not watching your weight, the health benefits of Vitalicious products will make you feel good about eating them or giving them to your kids. 

My kids love muffins, but I don't like the unhealthy ones they sell at the store and I don't always have the time to make them from scratch. But I feel good giving them Vitalicious because they are all natural without any artificial additives or preservatives. They are also fortified with vitamins and nutrients. My kids didn't know or care about any of that! They just want something that tastes good and VitaTops fits the bill. Don't take my word for it. Take a peek at B enjoying a BananaChoco Chip VitaTop.

  

 

It was really difficult to pick my favorite flavor. I really loved the CranBran, Apple Crumb and RaisinBran as those are my favorite kinds of muffins. Just look at the juicy cranberries on CranBran VitaTop!


With VitaTops I felt like I was eating a much higher calorie muffin. But I felt good knowing that at 100 calories I was feeding a craving and eating something healthy at the same time. What I loved about the VitaTops were that they kept me full until my next meal. They contain fiber and protein which promote fullness and makes you eat less. I love eating less!

My husband really enjoyed the VitaBrownies. We added a tiny bit of whipped cream and chocolate sauce and it was so yummy on the warm brownie. Talk about a treat!


I love Vitalicious and if you don't, you're about to! They are giving away a Super Sampler Pack to one lucky Mess For Less reader. That's right, you and your family can be enjoying the yummy goodness too! Rules and entry are below. Good luck!

Disclosure:  I was sent this product for review.  All opinions expressed are my own. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

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Play Dough and Beads - Fine Motor Fun

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We love play dough at our house, but we sometimes get bored with using it the same way. I like to add different items to our play dough time to keep interest up. Today, we added some beads which made the play dough look so pretty and also provided some great fine motor work for my kids. 

Supplies you will need:

  • Play dough
  • Beads
  • Cookie Cutters
Before we started I used some cookie cutters to cut various shapes out of the play dough.


I gave the kids some shapes and a cup of beads and explained how they could decorate their shapes by pushing in the beads. As you can see, they really worked those little fingers pushing the beads in the dough.



Picking the beads out of the cup provided good fine motor practice as well. Often, the kids were looking for a specific color bead and had to dig through the cup and then pick up the small bead.


Little C was excited to make a face on her play dough person using the beads.


 "A" filled her entire duck with beads. That's one colorful duck!


Little C decided that she should fill up her shapes with beads too. She then kept herself busy picking each bead out of her play dough.


This is A's collection of beaded shapes. She was so proud!


Proud mommy moment! "A" saw me photographing her work and got her kid's camera (which actually works) and took a picture too. She's a blogger-in-training!


I have to say this kept the girls busy for a good 40 minutes which in mommy-time is an eternity! Please remind your kids not to put the beads in their mouth, nose or ears. None of your kids would ever do such a thing, right?



Vicky
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Painting with Rolling Pins and Bubble Wrap

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Today's kid's activity was inspired by a package I recently received. This package came with lots of bubble wrap. My mom had the great idea of giving some to the kids in the car and it kept them busy and quiet for a 20 minute ride! We had lots left over and I remembered how much the kids enjoying making bubble wrap prints and bubble wrap hearts.

Supplies you will need:
  • Bubble wrap
  • Mini rolling pins
  • Paint
  • Tape
  • Paper

A while back we bought these cool textured paint rollers at a teacher supply store which got me to thinking how you could add bubble wrap to mini rolling pins and make your own textured paint rollers. We use the mini rolling pins with our play dough so after I cleaned them up I simply measured and cut a length of bubble wrap to fit them. 


I taped the bubble wrap to the roller and wrapped it around and then added some tape to the underside before I secured it.



Then I squirted a few colors of paint on a tray. I tried to squirt the colors near each other so that the paint would produce kind of a rainbow look. 


The kids are used to using the rolling pins with play dough so they had no problem rolling the pin through the paint and then rolling it on their paper to get a print.



Little C didn't have much interest in making cool textures. She just liked rubbing the rolling pin back and forth on the paper and mixing the colors.


But, "A" was very careful to roll her pin slowly so she could see all the "bubbles."


I just love the results, don't you? 


Vicky
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