PVC Pipe Ball Drop / Water Run

We made this PVC PIPE BALL DROP / WATER RUN last Summer to take with us to the beach…beach houses usually have large windows and sliding doors so I knew it’d be the perfect place to test it out. We originally used corn kernels to drop through the tubes, which turned out to be a huge mess, but we had fun!!! As cabin fever set in this week with cold, snowy weather outside I decided to bring out the PVC PIPE BALL DROP / WATER RUN again! This time we used poof balls (as well as plastic fairies and frogs) to drop through the tubes and it worked great! You could also put this up in the shower and dump water through the tubing to make a water run…I think we’ll try that next! The materials for this project only cost about $10 and it provides hours of fun!





Materials needed:

  • PVC connectors and elbows
  • suction cups
  • drill
  • flathead screw driver
  • poof balls, beans, feathers, pennies…

We found these suction cups at the craft store and they were perfect…just remove the little, metal hook.



First, drill a hole in the middle of one side of each PVC connector. Compare the suction cup piece with the drill bits to figure out the right size to use…you can always drill a bigger hole if need be, so start with the smaller bit if you’re deciding between two. Using the flat head screw driver, pry and poke the suction cup into the PVC connector.






Now, time to play!!! Press the tubes onto a sturdy glass door or window and let the fun begin! It’s fun letting the kids experiment with placement of the tubes!





If your “Ball Drop” has two starting places, it’s fun to race the balls down…see whose comes out first!





To mix things up, give your kid a spoon or tongs to pick the balls up and drop them down!





Get crazy! Have fun! Enjoy!!!

20 Non-Candy Valentine Ideas!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner…time to spread a little love and happiness! Instead of giving out candy this year, why not make some NON-CANDY VALENTINES for friends and loved ones? Here are a few ideas for your kids’ friends and for yours…you may even want to make a “Thumbprint Necklace” for yourself! Most of these are really quick and easy to make too! Enjoy!!!

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Just click on the link under each picture for the “how-to!”

For kids:


Homemade Sidewalk Chalk


Hidden Fairy Bath Bombs


DIY Pocket Parachutes



Fairy Folk


Sock Puppets


Melted Crayon Stones…Love Rocks!



Craft Stick Fairy Doors


Scented Play Dough


Story Stones


DIY Capes…Wizard Capes…Superhero Capes


Sensory Bottles, Sparkle Bottles, Glow-in-the-Dark Bottles, and an Ocean in a Bottle!


DIY Flower Fairies


Doorknob Mushroom-Fairy Houses

For adults:

Thumbprint Necklace


DIY Chocolate Orange Sugar Scrub


Semisoft Honeysuckle Soap


Heart Wreath


Strawberry Jam Scones


Cardboard Heart Stamps


Melted Crayon Art with Variations

Melted Crayon Rocks

I remember doing this craft as a kid and how much I loved it, so today I introduced MELTED CRAYON ROCKS to L. And of course, she loved making them as well!!! It was the perfect way to spend this snowy afternoon!




This is definitely a craft to do with older kids, as the rocks get extremely hot! L was just old enough at 3 yrs of age. I constantly reminded her not to touch the rocks and kept a close eye at all times!

Materials needed:

  • rocks
  • crayons
  • tin foil
  • towels, cardboard, or newspapers
  • oven mitt or tongs
  • oven



First, clean and dry the rocks if there’s any dirt on them. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and place in the oven, set at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I turned the oven off, leaving the rocks in there until we were ready to use them. I removed one rock at a time as we went along.



As the rocks are heating up, remove the paper from some crayons. If you use a knife to carefully cut down the side of the paper, it comes off in one nice, big piece. Prepare your work area with towels, cardboard or newspapers beneath a sheet of tin foil.



When you are ready to create, remove one rock at a time using an oven mitt or tongs. Obviously, be very careful…you don’t want to burn yourself or have the rock fall, roll and burn anyone else.

Gently press crayons onto the rock and watch the wax melt down the side. Sooo relaxing and mesmerizing!!! You can draw pictures, designs or make them completely random! It’s a fun craft to experiment with!






MELTED CRAYON ROCKS would make sweet little gifts for family and friends…a fun surprise to leave in your neighbor’s garden or on their front steps! I think we’ll be making more this coming month to hand out on Valentine’s Day, because LOVE ROCKS!!! Enjoy!!!



DIY Planetarium for Kids

Have your kids ever daydreamed about going to the moon? To Mars or the Milky Way? By making a PLANETARIUM FOR KIDS you can take them to outer space without even leaving your house!


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Last week L and I turned our dining room into a PLANETARIUM complete with the all the planets of our solar system, constellations, “telescopes,” MOON DOUGH!, Glow-in-the-Dark Glitter Bottles, Sprinkle Star Sugar Cookies and more! Once you get going on this project the possibilities are endless…your kids will be entertained, playing and learning for days on end!



First, start by making the planets in our solar system. Find a good picture of the solar system, in a book or online, and talk about the planets. Depending on the age of your kids, you can keep the research brief or stretch it out, talking about the facts and properties of each planet. (I included Pluto when teaching L about our solar system…it was always my favorite planet and last I heard, it was back in the solar system!) Next, cut out circles of construction paper to resemble the sun and each planet. Have your lil one color them!



Tape your planets to the underside of a table! Depending on what your child is interested in, feel free to add the moon (made out of tin foil), some constellations…anything you all think is important and fun! Having a good time learning about outer space is the most important part here, so if your lil one wants stars all over in random places, go with it! Why not!? Among our randomly placed stars we included the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia.




Hang some foil stars from the sides of your table for a lil extra pizzaz as well. This was WB’s favorite part!



Throw a blanket and some pillows under the table, grab a flashlight and get ready to star gaze! “It’s a real campout!” L exclaimed.





Having a flashlight is a must! You can put some SENSORY BAGS (click here) over the flashlight to change colors.




Make some sparkle bottles as well! The GLOW-IN-THE-DARK BOTTLES (DIY here) were a lot of fun with this activity! How many stars can you count? Can you see any constellations in the bottle?






Make a “TELESCOPE” too!



Materials needed: 

  • paper towel tube (or paper rolled up)
  • clear plastic (sandwich bag works well)
  • star stickers
  • rubber bands



Cut the plastic sandwich bag into a small square. Stick some star stickers on top. Place the plastic over the cardboard tube and secure it with two small rubber bands. Looking out the window or at a light with the “telescope,” your child will see stars! Maybe even a constellation!





You can also do the reverse…punch some holes out of construction paper (best if they are in the form of a constellation), and shine the flashlight through! The stars will appear upon the wall!



Getting hungry? Make some SPRINKLE STAR SUGAR COOKIES (recipe here) with your kids! It’s a quick and easy sugar cookie recipe and perhaps you’ll find more constellations as you snack!





Another fun mess to make as you’re exploring outer space is MOON DOUGH! (recipe here) One of our favorites…the silky powder can be molded into shapes and forms and only includes 2 ingredients!



Have fun with this one!!! What else will you all come up with as you venture out, past our atmosphere???



Moon Dough!

There are lots of recipes out there for MOON DOUGH or, as some like to call it, “cloud dough.” This recipe is one of our favorites! It’s one of the easiest things to make, consisting of only 2 ingredients, and, if stored properly, it will practically keep forever! The consistency of MOON DOUGH is amazing…similar to sand it holds its shape when molded, though at the same time it easily crumbles back into its silky powder form. I have to warn you, it does make a mess…but a glorious, entertain-the-kids-for-an-hour mess! Just put a blanket down on your kitchen floor first or, when the weather is nice, take MOON DOUGH outside!





  • 1 cup baby oil
  • 4 cups flour

Simply put the baby oil and the flour into a large bowl or plastic container. Using a whisk, spoon or your hands, mix the ingredients together. Easy peasy!!!



Fun tools for the kids to play with are spoons, forks, small measuring cups or bowls, a muffin tin, sand castle molds, plastic jewels, straws…





L enjoys building castles, searching for “treasures,” making pretend cakes, and pretending her lil fairies and dinosaurs are walking on the moon. So much fun!!!



To store MOON DOUGH just put it in an air-tight container…any plastic container with a lid should work just fine…and keep it in a cool, dry place. Enjoy!!!

Sensory Bottles, Sparkle Bottles, Glow-in-the-Dark Bottles, and an Ocean in a Bottle

We love SENSORY BOTTLES at Our Beautifully Messy House and have been experimenting with them for years! There are so many things to do with sensory bottles and sparkle bottles…some people use them as “time-out bottles” to help calm down their toddlers when they’re having a meltdown. We like to play with our SPARKLE BOTTLES outside in the summertime, pulling them around in wagons, burying them in dirt…and inside in the play areas of our house. (Okay, I admit…that’s every room of our house!) We take SENSORY BOTTLES with us on long car rides for simple, quiet entertainment. The kids love to bounce them around in the bathtub as well! The GLOW IN THE DARK BOTTLE is great for helping kids wind down at night and drift off to sleep. So much fun and so many possibilities!!!




I find the best, smoothest and cheapest bottles to use (esp. if you don’t drink soda regularly and have a collection already) are the soda water bottles. Just look in the water or beverage aisle of your grocery store, seeking out the cheapest option…usually only $2-$3 for a pack of 6. Instead of dumping the soda water down the drain, entertain your kids with the fun “Raisins + Soda Water Experiment” while you’re mixing up the SENSORY BOTTLES.



Materials needed:

  • empty plastic bottle
  • Elmer’s glitter glue
  • glitter, sequins, and/or beads
  • water
  • superglue



First, put a small pot of water on to boil. When you add the water to the bottle you will want it to be hot, but not boiling. I like to bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, add the Elmer’s glitter glue to the empty bottle…enough to fill the bottom inch or so of the bottle. Next, add some glitter, sequins and/or beads.




When the water is ready, carefully pour it into the bottle as well. I like to use a measuring cup or a funnel to make this step easier. Once the bottle is filled, use superglue to secure the lid. Now it’s time to shake, shake, shake!!! Shake the bottle for a few minutes, until all the glue melts into the hot water. You shouldn’t see any globs or streaks of glue once the bottle is complete. While the bottle is warm, the glitter and sequins will fall very quickly to the bottom. Once it cools down completely over the next hour or two, the glitter will fall much slower. So relaxing… I’d like to put myself in “time-out” with one of these bottles, wouldn’t you?






Materials needed:

  • empty plastic bottle
  • Elmer’s glitter glue
  • glitter paint
  • glow-in-the-dark paint
  • glitter, sequins, and/or beads
  • glow-in-the-dark stars
  • water
  • superglue



First, put a small pot of water on to boil. When you add the water to the bottle you will want it to be hot, but not boiling. I like to bring the water to a boil, remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, add the Elmer’s glitter glue to the empty bottle…enough to fill the bottom inch or so of the bottle. Next, add a squirt of glitter paint and a squirt of glow-in-the-dark paint. Add some glitter, sequins and/or beads.



When the water is ready, carefully pour it into the bottle as well. I like to use a measuring cup or a funnel to make this step easier. Once the bottle is filled, screw the lid on tightly, but don’t superglue it yet. Now it’s time to shake, shake, shake!!! Shake the bottle for a few minutes, until all the glue melts into the hot water. You shouldn’t see any globs or streaks of glue once the bottle is complete. The bottle will be a milky color compared to the SPARKLE BOTTLES because of the glow-in-the-dark paints. Once the bottle is shaken and cooled a bit, add the glow-in-the-dark stars and superglue the lid in place. I guarantee your little one will be excited to go to bed tonight with a GLOW-IN-THE-DARK BOTTLE in hand!!!








Materials needed:

  • empty plastic bottle
  • oil (vegetable oil or baby oil)
  • water
  • food coloring
  • superglue




First, fill the bottle about 1/3 of the way full with water. Add a few drops of food coloring and screw the lid on tight. Shake the bottle a bit until the food coloring is evenly dispersed throughout the water. Next, fill the bottle the rest of the way with oil…using a funnel is best. Superglue the lid onto the bottle. Complete!




Have fun swishing the bottle from side to side or shaking it all up, just to watch the bubbles of oil pop while the water settles at the bottom and the oil at the top. This is a great time to talk to your kids about the density of liquids as well! It may be a bit over their heads if they’re really young, but you’ll be surprised at what they will comprehend and remember! Basically, the water weighs more (has a higher density) thank the oil and will sink below it in the bottle, no matter how much you shake your OCEAN IN A BOTTLE and attempt to mix the two together. So cool!!!


Sprinkle Star Sugar Cookies (GF)

The “DIY Planetarium for Kids” we built under our dining room table this week inspired these SPRINKLE STAR SUGAR COOKIES. (Since we use gluten free flour in everything we bake around here, these too are gluten free!!!)




I browsed around on the internet looking at other sugar cookie recipes and found a few recipes for “Sprinkle Cookies.” I adapted the recipes to what we had on hand and…Voila! SPRINKLE STAR SUGAR COOKIES!!!



These really are the quickest sugar cookies I’ve ever made…no refrigeration necessary before baking! And aren’t they adorable??? All those lil stars and mini-sprinkles… So yummy! So colorful! So much fun!




  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (1.25 oz) jar of Star sprinkles
  • 1/3 – 1/2 jar mini-rainbow sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a med-large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. (It’s important that your butter is at room temperature, nice and soft.) Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined. Next, add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until the dough is well-combined.

Add the stars and rainbow sprinkles. Mix, using a large spoon or spatula, until the sprinkles are evenly distributed.

Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on cookie sheet. Make sure you leave about 1 inch on each side for spreading.

Bake for 8 minutes. The cookies will not brown and are still soft coming out of the oven, but as they cool they will harden. Let cool for about 5 min on the tray before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.




Yumm!!!! See any constellations in your cookies???

GF Strawberry Jam Scones

This quick, easy, absolutely delectable, melt-in-your-mouth recipe for GF STRAWBERRY JAM SCONES is adapted from Parents’ “Jammy Scones.” One of the best things about them is you probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboard! L and I whipped up these GF STRAWBERRY JAM SCONES one afternoon while WB took a nap. It was our first time making scones and was a big success!!!




It’s hard not to devour them all hot out of the oven! I had to hurry up and take a picture before they were gone! GF STRAWBERRY JAM SCONES are such a yummy breakfast on these chilly, winter mornings. If you make them the day before, just pop them in the oven for a minute or two to warm them up! Add a cup of coffee or tea…pure heaven!!!




  • 2 cups flour (I use Arrowhead Mills GF flour)
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup strawberry jam
  • egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 1/2 tsp milk)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a med-large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Using your hands, mix, squeeze and crumble the mixture together until it’s crumbly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Add the egg and milk to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until evenly moist and the dough comes together.

Next, pour the mixture out on a floured surface and with flour on your hands, knead dough together. Separate the dough in half. Roll each half into a ball and then press flat with your hands. Makes about a 7 or 8-inch disk.

Transfer one disk to the cookie sheet. Spread the strawberry jam over the disk leaving a half-inch border. Lay the second disk on top of the first and pinch around the edges to seal them.

Carefully, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges and spread them apart a bit on the tray. Leave about 1 inch of space between the scones. Brush the tops with the egg wash. If you don’t have a brush, use a spoon to gently spread the egg wash around. If you want a little heart on top of each scone, gently press a mini-cookie cutter about 1/4-inch deep on top of each scone. So cute!!!

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the scones are gently browned. (Better brew some coffee or tea while you’re waiting!) Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.





This is when you think you’ll just take a teeny tiny taste of one and before you know it an entire STRAWBERRY JAM SCONE has disappeared! Good thing you had some coffee or tea ready to complete the moment! Enjoy!!!

DIY Heart Wreath

I’m so glad I dreamt this HEART WREATH up last night…it’s that time of year when your Christmas wreath needs to come down off the front door, but it’s not quite time for your Spring wreath to go up. This HEART WREATH is cute, simple, sweet and perfect to get us through the months of January and February!




Materials needed:

  • wire coat hanger
  • fabric scraps
  • scissors
  • pliers
  • ribbon



First, untwist the coat hanger apart. It’s easiest to do this part with your hands, holding the top of the hanger in one hand and untwisting it from below with the other.



Once the hanger comes apart, try to smooth out some of the bends. Gently fold the hanger in half as well.



Next, bend the hanger into a heart shape, looping the ends together with the pliers. It’s okay if your heart isn’t perfect…the fabric scraps will hide any blemishes.





Once you are satisfied with your wire heart, it’s time to cut some fabric strips. Each strip should be about 1-1.5 inches wide and 5-7 inches long. They do not all have to be the exact same length!



Now to assemble your wreath…simply knot the fabric strips around the wire. Pull each knot taut and, every once in a while, push the knots down so you can squeeze on as many fabric strips as possible.






If the fabric you’re using is blank on the underside, simply fold it in half before knotting.



Once your heart wreath is made, use a ribbon to hang it on your front door! So sweet!!!



This wreath would also be beautiful hanging inside in a kitchen window or on a wall! Enjoy!!! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Winter Shelter for Strays

Though we don’t own any furry pets ourselves, our neighborhood seems to have its own little cat community. On any given day we may have up to 5 or 6 cats playing in our yard, hiding under our front porch or napping beneath our Little Free Library. Some of the cats have collars and tags, though quite a few do not. With the temperatures dropping well below freezing, L and I decided to make a warm place for our kitty friends to rest.





Materials needed:

  • styrofoam cooler (found at your local grocery store)
  • knife
  • paints (optional)
  • old towels or bedding
  • tape

First, remove the lid and turn the cooler over. Using a knife, cut a small doorway for the cats to go in and out. Next, paint the cooler whatever snazzy way you like!





Once the paint is dry, fold up some old towels or bedding (we cut up an old mattress pad) and place it inside the lid.



Put the cooler on top of the lid and tape it in place.





(My friend Helen takes this project a step further…she places the styrofoam cooler inside a plastic rubbermaid-like box with a hole cut out and layers hay in between! Extra warm and cozy!)

Now for the final step, find a safe place near your home to put your WINTER SHELTER FOR STRAYS, preferably up against a building and out of the wind.





We put our Winter Shelter in our backyard where we often see cats passing through and, an extra bonus, we can see the shelter from our kitchen window. I know L will be watching for her feline friends first thing every morning! She was so proud today knowing she was helping others!