Thursday, June 30, 2011

Six Ways to Save Your Sanity on a Road Trip With Preschoolers!

(Our Road Trip Snack Bag!)

Heading out on a vacation with your preschoolers?!!  I shared Six Sanity-Saving Tips for a Road Trip over at Motherhood on a Dime today!

You can read about our crazy vacation, too!!  


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

4th of July: Flag Bag

The girls loved making this flag bag...they were pretty excited about the super-straight masking tape lines!!

White paper bag
Masking tape
Crayons, markers, or paint
Blue construction paper
Star stickers
1)  Place masking tape across the paper sack attaching it to the table.  DO NOT press the tape down very hard on the sack (you'll have a hard time removing it without tearing the sack if you do)!!  Painter's tape might work well, too!

2)  Color the non-taped areas red.  (We used crayons, but you could use markers, paints, or whatever!)  Carefully remove the tape.

3)  Cut a rectangle out of blue paper.  Glue it in the corner.  Add stars.  (We used a white crayon, but younger children would have a much easier time with stickers!)

There you have it - a simple bag for a picnic or a special 4th of July Treat Bag!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Red, White, and Blue Container Craft: It's Whatever You Want It To Be!!

I've been seeing so many great craft stick flags, but I wanted to try something different!  So, I came up with this idea for the 4th of July! 

OJ or Milk Container
Jumbo Craft Sticks
Cookie cutter (or star stencil)

1)  Cut the top off of an orange juice or milk container (use the craft sticks to decide how tall you want it).

2)  Paint the craft sticks red, white, and blue.  If you're using jumbo craft sticks, you'll need a total of 6 red, 4 white, and 10 blue.

3)  Glue the craft sticks vertically on the container (we used a glue gun to speed up the process).  Make two sides blue.  Alternate red and white craft sticks on the other sides.

(This was a great family project. I had each girl paint the craft sticks a different color, and I glued.)

4)  Paint white stars on the blue sides.   (I'm telling you -- cookie cutters are versatile!)

There you have it!  You now have a container to use for tableware for your 4th of July celebration, a flag holder, a pot for a plant, or whatever else you dream up!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Savings: FREE Musical Soup: Mozart Downloads for Babies and Toddlers

Here are a few FREE downloads from Munchkin:

The Musical Soup: Mozart Wombsong Collection is available for infants.  You can download the whole album or select pieces.

There is also Musical Soup: Mozart for Toddlers.

Each album includes songs for "wake-up, playtime, and sleepy-time."


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pinterest: An Interesting Place (+ 4th of July Crafts)

Have you joined Pinterest yet?!!  I love it!  The idea is to "pin" posts, websites, articles, pictures...whatever you'd like to various boards you create.  It allows you to share your favorite things with those following you!

I just joined a few days ago, so I don't have much pinned yet:  but I am excited to have a place to "pin" all the ideas I run across that I'd like to try!

Because the 4th of July is fast approaching, I did start a special board with ideas for kids.  You can check it out here!

Would you like to join me on Pinterest?  I'd love to follow you and see your favorite ideas!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Travel Activity Bags for Kids (Part 2)

After a crazy vacation, I'm finally getting up the second part of our traveling activity bags (you can read the first part here).

Here are a few more ideas:

6)  Hidden Pictures Magazines or Books

This bag included Highlights Hidden Pictures, Hidden Pictures Playground (for preschoolers), and Usborne Search Books.

7)  Sticker Books

We also love sticker books for traveling -- and doctor's offices -- and restaurants.  (Usborne's Sticker Series is currently on special at Amazon -- Buy 3, Get 1 FREE -- but they are selling out quickly.)

8)  Travel Games

Although I didn't pack these in a bag, we enjoyed several travel games including Find It.

9)  Dry Erase Boards

Expo Boards are just right for games, drawing, and using as a lapdesk!

10)  Books and Audio Books

Reading aloud makes the time pass quickly in the car (we brought along Mrs. Piggle Wiggle)!  We also enjoyed listening to audio books. 

11)  Hand-held Video Games

Yes...the girls love their Leapsters.  I put them in a backpack with extra rechargeable batteries.  They came in quite handy during our trip to the ER (more about that later)!

We kept all of our activity bags in a little laundry basket in the back of the car.  I would just pull out a couple of bags each time we stopped.  It was a good way to rotate the activities and keep the girls occupied.

What are your favorite roadtrip activities?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vacation!! I Need A Break!!

(At Wonderscope Children's Museum)

Eeek -- it's been several days since I posted! 

I just wanted to let you know that we are on vacation!  I had this idea to get several posts ready before we left, but it just didn't turn out that way.  I'll be finishing up the travel series next week when we get back!

In the meantime, I'll be trying to enjoy our vacation (with a fever-running, throwing up daughter and long hours of car travel)!!  Your prayers are appreciated!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Savings: FREE Father's Day Cards

Here are two great offers for FREE cards for Father's Day!

Shop Father's Day Cards

Get one FREE greeting card for Father's Day over at Tiny Prints by using the code FREEFD at check-out!

At, you can get a FREE card and FREE shipping with the code FREECARD at check-out! This is available through June 13 (or until supplies run out).


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Make-and-Do: Final Linky Week (At Least for Now)


Thanks to everyone who has linked up with me these past few weeks!  I've decided to put this linky on hold for a little while and reevaluate in the fall!  In the meantime, I hate to waste this lovely graphic my sister made, so I'm planning to share "retro" crafts with you from the original (80s) Make and Do from Childcraft!  I know the girls are going to love it! ;)

Here are a few of the wonderful bloggers that linked up last week:

If you're looking for a new way to practice letters, check out these reverse stencils from Mama Pea Pod!

Sometimes we cook with kids...but we don't really let them cook!  Fumbling Through Parenthood shares her child's adventures making pudding pops!

You'll be surprised by how easy it is to make this beautiful butterfly.  Check it out at I Can Teach My Child!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Travel Activity Bags for Kids: Part 1

Over the past few years, I've taken quite a few 3-5 hour road trips with the girls, but we are getting ready to embark on our first LONG trip!  Usually, I have a big bag and stuff it full of activities, but I wanted to be a little more organized this time.

Spinning off the idea of learning bags, these are travel activity bags for kids!  Here are five bags I've put together already! 


This bag includes lots of stickers, a notebook, and a pen.  Create a sticker dot-to-dot, illustrate a picture with stickers, or write a sticker story!


Pipe cleaners have become a staple of our trips.  Challenge your child to make a unique sculpture or form letters, shapes, or numbers.


Lacing cards are a favorite.  If you don't want to buy them, they are easy to make with a cereal box and hole punch!  You can also place the cards on a piece of paper and make a dot-to-dot!


I picked up these Brain Quest cards at a garage sale.  They have several questions on each card, so it's a great way to get little minds working (plus, it's a sedentary activity for the car)!


We were graciously given these Magformers (they are more than my frugal self would pay, but we do love them so much)! We use them in our learning baskets, but they are also great to build with in the car.  I suggest taking along a magnetic cookie sheet as a tray for them.

I have several more bags to get ready, and I'll share those soon!  I welcome your ideas, so feel free to comment or leave links to your favorite travel activities!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Photo Name Gift for Father's Day

I had this idea last year, but never got around to trying it out!  I thought it would make a fun and unique Father's Day gift!

Letter D photo (2)
Letter A photo

1)  Have your children form the letters D and A in photos.  This works well for us because we have three children!  You'll have to use some creativity if you have one or two (maybe you have some pets?)!!

2)  Print the photos and place in a three-opening collage frame!

Can you read it?!!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Fossil Dough

Make sure your little one doesn't try to eat this unique dough!  It smells delicious (if you like coffee)!!

Fossil dough
-1/2 cup salt
-1.5 cups flour
-1/8 cup sand
-1/2 cup cold coffee
-1 cup coffee grounds (used)
(Mix all ingredients until smooth)

Shells, sticks, bones, etc.

1)  After making the "fossil" dough, roll it out.  Make imprints with various objects (shells, sticks, etc.).

2)  Fold up the dough and start over...or allow to air dry.

If you keep the dough, store it in an air-tight container!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Make and Do: June 2, 2011

I'm going back-and-forth. 

I'm trying to decide if I should continue this linky -- or not!  I love to feature other's ideas, but I have this struggle with time!  Having two blogs is a bit of a challenge and to make this grow how I'd like it to grow would take quite a bit more time than I'm currently spending. 

So, I'm going to do it one more week and then re-evaluate!  If you have any input, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message!

Otherwise, check out these fun (and fabulous) ideas!

Jada Roo Can Do shares her version of marble painting -- only it's pool painting!  I love it!! 

Josh and Jenny share a unique ducky painting project!  I would've never thought of this...but it's great fine motor practice!!  Afterwards, the little ones will have a blast scrubbing those little duckies!
It's the time of year for campfires!!  This is a wonderfully simple and appropriate craft for toddlers and preschoolers!  Check it out at Fumbling Through Parenthood!

AmazingMess it's your turn! Just a few rules:

No giveaways or links to your homepage -- please link to your specific post.

This linky is open to any family-friendly activities, projects, and recipes (posts deemed inappropriate will be deleted).

Make sure to link back to The Amazing Mess -- it's just good blog etiquette! I've included a button you can place on your post. Just grab the HTML! You're also welcome to share a text link if you prefer!

Try to visit and comment on at least one or two other posts! It's always encouraging to receive comments!

(If you're viewing this via email, head over here to link up!)