Food Fun Friday: Muddy Buddy Recipe

Muddy Buddy Recipe, #recipe

Today's fun kids snack is easy to prepare. How easy? Prep time is 15 minutes and then cooling time is another 15 minutes. The best part about this Muddy Buddy recipe is that kids can help with many of the steps. So get those kids in the kitchen and lets make some Muddy Buddies!

Handwriting Practice with a Dry Erase Board

Handwriting Practice, Fine motor skills

Last week I was at Toys R Us and noticed they sold dry erase crayons. I didn't even know they made such a thing. I have wanted to do dry erase activities with my kids, but most markers I have found had a strong odor. The best part was there was a sale and they were buy 1 get 2 free which is perfect when you have three kids. The cashier said they have sales like every year before school starts so you might want to check you local Toys R Us to see if the sale is still going on. It was good for all kinds of crayons, markers and other Crayola items. 

When I was at the Dollar Store the other day I discovered that they sold dry erase boards. They come with a  marker that you can just remove. For $3 I now have dry erase boards for all the kids. How did we use our new items? Read on to find out...

dry erase board and crayons

Back to School - Healthy School Lunch Ideas

It's back to school time, perhaps the most exciting time of the year for parents. Kids are excited too as they get ready to meet new teachers and friends. But along with excitement, back to school time comes with lots of preparation. By now you've probably been shopping for school supplies. I have always loved the new supplies associated with the start of a school year. Empty notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, and unused crayons all full of possibilities for the year ahead. If you're sending your kid back to school with new clothes and supplies, don't send them back with the same old lunches. Here are some healthy school lunch ideas that will start the year off right.

Is There Something Wrong With My Child?

Is There Something Wrong With My Child, #kids, #parenting, #special-needs
I think every mom at some point has asked herself "is there something wrong with my child?" It may be as an infant when the child is crying and you cannot console them - "Is there something wrong with her? Why won't she stop crying?" It may be when you noticed that your friend's similar aged baby started walking, but your shows no signs of being ready - "Is there something wrong with him? Should he be walking already?" It can be in school, when the majority of the class is reading but your child is not - "Is there something wrong with her? Why is this giving her trouble?"

Review and Giveaway: Hide and Seek Devotional book

My kids recently received a copy of Hide and Seek Devotional which was created by Stephen Elkins and published by Tommy Nelson
Hide and Seek Devotional, Stephen Elkins
This book is just full of surprises. First there is the 3D lenticular cover. When you look at it straight on the cover art shows Noah and some animals on the ark. But tilt the book a little and Noah releases a dove and the animals rejoice. My kids got such a kick out of this. They just kept tilting the book to see it happen again.
Read on to see how to enter to win your own copy...

Food Fun Friday: Making Butter With Kids

Making Butter with Kids, #recipe, #kids

I am always trying to find food that my kids will eat consistently. They are very hit or miss with things. One day they will clean something off their plates and the next day they won't touch it. Lately, I have a had a hard time getting to eat bread whether in a sandwich or as a piece of toast with breakfast. When I was grocery shopping the other day I noticed the cream in the dairy section and had the idea to get some and try my hand at making butter with kids. I have made butter in the past when I was teaching. My students always enjoyed the process and the results. I was hoping my kids would too.

Review and Giveaway: Really Woolly Bedtime Bible Promises book

Really Woolly Bedtime Bible Promises, DaySpring
Like many kids, my girls enjoy a hearing a story before bed. I am always careful in choosing these stories because I don't want something that will be frightening to the kids or leave them with a scary image in their heads. I was so pleased to receive the Really Woolly Bedtime Bible Promises book since it seemed like a perfect book to read at the end of the day. 
Learn more about how you can win a copy.

Surviving a Road trip with Young Children

We just got back from a road trip to San Diego where my kids were flower girls in their uncle's wedding. San Diego is about an 8 1/2 hour drive (without traffic) from where we live. We would have flown, but airfare for the 5 of us was too pricey. So we decided to drive. This was not an easy choice for us. Our kids do not do well on long car trips. If you have ever been passed by a minivan with three screaming kids (and possibly parents) then that was probably us. 

Handwriting Practice by Tracing With Yarn

Handwriting Practice by Tracing With Yarn, #kids, #fine-motor
My kids have started to get interested in writing. They are still working at it and I try to find opportunities for them to engage in handwriting practice. Here is an easy and inexpensive way to do that without using a pencil or paper.

Food fun Friday: Helping Picky Eaters - Review and Giveaway of Copy-Kids DVD

If you have been reading Mess For Less for any period of time, then you know that my three kids are notoriously picky eaters. Not just your run of the mill picky either. They will even turn up their noses at  foods most kids like. In the past, I have made them their own meal while my husband and I ate our dinner. My kids are on the thin side and I was worried that they would lose more weight if presented with food they did not like. 

LeapFrog Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar

My kids love to make music. So much so that we have an entire bin in our playroom dedicated to their instruments. They were very excited to add a new instrument to their collection when they received the LeapFrog Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar (retails for $24.99).
We have had other toy guitars in the past, but the kids quickly grew tired of them since most have just a few buttons the kids could press to play some songs. The LeapFrog Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar is unique in many aspects. First, it contains the intuitive touch technology that can recognize every touch, tap and swipe your child makes. In addition to encouraging your budding musician, the LeapFrog Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar helps to develop important preschool skills such as motor skills, social play and role play. 

The LeapFrog Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar made my littlest one feel like a true rock star. Using the guitar she can create over 100 musical combinations. This helps to explain why she plays with the guitar again and again. Every time is a like a new experience as she experiments playing solo or with a band. She also has the option of playing acoustic or electric guitar. When all her hard work is done there is even an applause sound to show her some love. I think she is just about ready for the big time, what do you think?

The guitar contains 10 songs, many of which are already familiar to children. My younger daughter's favorites were If You're Happy and You Know It and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Children can add in their own sounds and music using the other buttons on the guitar. This truly makes every song unique. My older daughter had such fun playing the guitar faster and faster. The faster you strum the "touch strings" the fast the tune will play. As a mom I love any to that can encourage my children to play together. This guitar is one such toy. I have found it really brings my kids together. One will play the music while the others dance and clap. It truly makes playtime a group effort as you can see below.

Why should my kids be the only ones having fun? To join in on the good times, enter the LeapFrog Touch Magic Rockin' Guitar Contest. It is so easy to enter! Just submit a video here of your child rocking out and learning with the Touch Magic or their own play guitar that you made at home. Then promote your video using Facebook and other social outlets so your friends and family can watch it and vote. Five videos that have the highest number of votes and panel selections will have a chance to win $500! The contest runs through November 30th. So what are you waiting for? Enter today! Vote daily for your favorites and you are eligable to win the weekly drawing for Touch Magic toys valued at $100. For more infomation and official rules, click here.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and was given free product by LeapFrog.  The content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

DIY Rainbow Party Ideas

rainbow party ideas, rainbow birthday #rainbow #birthday

So, you are thinking about throwing a rainbow birthday party for your child. Don't do it! OK, I am kidding. It can be a lot of work to put together but you don't have to use all the rainbow party ideas presented here. You can just pick one or two that seem more doable. Or you could do everything. Whether you stay simple or go elaborate, one thing is for sure: the bright colors will automatically bring a smile to your child's face. And that's really what it's all about isn't it?

Food Fun Friday: Easy Rainbow Cake

Easy Rainbow Cake, Rainbow Cake Recipe #rainbows, #cake, #recipe
I will start off by saying this cake is not as complicated as it looks. I was a little intimidated to make it since it seemed like a lot of work. But as you'll see, this easy rainbow cake is something even a novice baker can make and it is sure to be a hit at your party.

Review and Giveaway: VeggieTales The Penniless Princess

My kids are big fans of VeggieTales. They love the funny characters, the catchy music and the great stories. I feel good knowing that my kids are being exposed to God's word and meaningful lessons that they can carry with them. The newest VeggieTales DVD, The Penniless Princess - God's Little Girl, is a DVD you will want to add to your collection, particularly if you have a little princess at home. The Penniless Princess will be released in Christian retailers on August 11th and to all other stores that carry DVDs on August 14th. You can also purchase the DVD on the VeggieTales website here for $14.99.

One Year of Messes

A year ago today (give or take a day) I started Mess For Less. You can read that first post here. I had no idea that it would still be going (and actually thriving) a year later. I started this blog on a whim with no great planning other than sharing ideas of fun things to do with your kids. It has certainly evolved since then and will continue to evolve in the future as my kids grow and our interests change. 

LeapFrog Touch Magic Alphabet Bus

My kids recently had the opportunity to play with the LeapFrog Touch Magic Alphabet Bus from Leap Frog. We all know how popular tablets are smart phone have become. Like those devices, the   
LeapFrog Touch Magic Alphabet Bus incorporates touch technology. But that's not the only thing that makes this toy unique.

The first thing you notice when you get it, is how light and streamlined the bus is. This makes it perfect for little hands to carry around the house. The entire interface is flat which helps when it comes to wiping off sticky kid fingerprints.

Another thing parents will love is that the LeapFrog Touch Magic Alphabet Bus will turn off after a period of inactivity. What a relief for me. We have some musical toys that will keep on playing and wasting the battery long after my kids have left the room. 

LeapFrog Touch Magic Learning Bus

Rainbow Oreo Cookies

These Rainbow Oreo Cookies are amazing!

These chocolate covered oreo cookies were, hands down, the most popular snack we had my kids' rainbow party. They got rave reviews from guests and were popular with me because they were so simple to make. That's my kind of party food! 

Free Rainbow Party Printables

  free download of rainbow party printables
The best thing about a party is getting together with friends and family. As long as you have a place to gather and good people surrounding you, you're sure to have a good time. But some of us love details and if you are like me and like to add fun touches to your party, then read on. One of the easier things I did to personalize my twins' rainbow party was to make some rainbow party printables. 

Read more for some free printables.