Pajama Walks & Dandelion Walks

A couple years ago, our family started going on “Pajama Walks” during the warmer months of the year. They’re not something we do on a daily basis, but maybe once every couple of weeks. Pajama walks are perfect for nights when the kids have been really good, dinner was on the early side, and you want to do something special to end your perfect day. They’re also great on days which have been a complete disaster, as your last hope to turn the day around! Or maybe on rainy days when the clouds part and the sun decides to come out just before it sets…


Basically, you eat dinner, give the kids a bath, and instead of reading a bedtime story, you take a stroll around the block. You sing songs, talk about your day, watch the moon come out, and unwind as a family.


Over the past few weeks our pajama walks have morphed into something beautiful: “Dandelion Walks.” While on our walks, L started picking dandelions and other pretty weeds like all kids do. She then started leaving them on people’s doorsteps, in their mailboxes, and even gave a dandelion to a neighbor’s cat napping on their patio.



So now on our pajama walks, the kids pick flowers for one block and share them for three. The neighbors might not even notice and the girls know this, but it makes them happy leaving these little surprise gifts of sunshine all the same.



I’ve always told our girls, “Dandelions are where the sun kisses the earth when it rises in the morning.” And it’s true.


To inspire your kids further, I highly recommend the book “Sidewalk Flowers” by poet JonArno Lawson and illustrator Sydney Smith. It’s one of our favorites!


Road Trip Survival Kit: 10+ Activities for On-the-Go

Every Summer my family likes to take a 7-hour trip to the beach…well, the 7 hours isn’t exactly the part we like, but we do it and we make the best of it! I’m not a fan of giving my kids a screen to look at for the entire trip, because I feel there’s so much that they will be missing out on. Remember when we were kids, going through the entire stash of cassette tapes? Staring out the window watching the terrain change and landmarks pass as we got closer and closer to our destinations, the excitement building? All those silly word games or family air guitar shenanigans? See…I don’t want my kids to miss out on that! I want us to talk. I want them to play, to be entertained, but to experience the trip with us, rather than plugged in and tuned out.


We started with this ROAD TRIP SURVIVAL KIT when L was just 2. As the kids grow, some things will change, but many will continue to entertain at any age!

Pipe Cleaners, Shoelaces, and Beads

If you have any of those snack cups with the slits on top, they’re the perfect thing to hold beads and prevent spilling! Just tie a shoelace to the handle and you’re good to go!



Who doesn’t love a slinky? You can buy 2 for a dollar at most dollar stores…definitely worth that dollar! We don’t usually play with ours at home, rather we save them for long trips!


“I Spy” Books

These books are fun for kids age 2 to 100 to look at, no reading required!


Musical Instruments

When the kids get whiny, bored, tired, put on some jams, some sunglasses and start a family band! Sometimes we even bring out the cow bell – yikes! The kids love it though!



Paper and Coloring

Go ahead and buy some fun, new crayons for your big trip, as well as a blank composition book, new coloring books, or even post-it notes!



Figurines and Cars

Even if these things are “old” and have been played with a million times at home, when pulled out one-by-one as a surprise on the 4th hour of your trip, your kids will be delighted…I promise!


Fairy Folk

L loves her “fairy folk” and will play pretend with them for nearly an hour at home. I scooped up a few of them and their accessories for our last trip. Get the DIY here: DIY Fairy Folk.


Lacing Boards

If you don’t have lacing boards at home, they’re simple to make. Just cut out a shape from an old cereal box and punch some holes around the edge. Tie a shoelace and and you’re good to go!


Magna Doodles

These come in all shapes and sizes…and all of them are perfect for the road!


Kaleidoscopes and View Masters

I always throw one of these in the bag!


Re-usable Sticker Books

“Melissa & Doug” brand sticker books and Water Wow! books are great for the road. Virtually no mess and they can be used over and over and over and over!


“I Spy” Bottles

We made this game years ago, and the kids love it! It’s something that can be played with one person or many! Get the DIY here: I Spy Bottle and Games.



The Tray

We found this traveling tray at Hobby Lobby a few Summers ago. I’m sure you can find one online too! They’re perfect for coloring and containing all those little toys and food.



It’s hard to believe, but all of this stuff plus more will fit in one medium-sized bag! We usually put the bag off to the side, when we get home, ready to grab-and-go for the next road trip!



Happy traveling!!! What are some of your favorite activities for on the road?



April Fools’ Jokes to Play on Your Kids, Spouse and Coworkers!!!

APRIL FOOLS’ DAY is just around the corner! What a delightful day of the year — one of my favorites!!! Many of these harmless pranks are quick to throw together and result in silly fun and laughter had by all! Enjoy!

For Little Kids:

  1. Fill your little ones’ shoes with buttons, beads or poof balls.
  2. Stick googlie eyes and mustaches on pictures and objects around your house…cups, the front door, bathroom mirror, backpacks, shoes.
  3. Serve your kids food on teeny, tiny, doll dishes.
  4. Switch your kid’s socks with your spouse’s the night before April Fools’ Day.
  5. If the head of your sink faucets are removable, unscrew the head and place an Easter Egg dying tablet inside. Screw the head back on. When the kids turn on the sink, orange, blue or green water will come rushing out!

For Teenagers or Your Spouse:

  1. Take an empty water bottle and using a pin, poke 10 holes in the bottom. Fill the bottle with water and quickly screw the lid back on. Dry off the bottle. Ask somebody to help you open the bottle and watch as water falls out the bottom!
  2. Using safety pins, pin all their underwear together in one long line. Carefully replace the underwear back in their drawer, so when they go to remove the top pair the next comes out too, and the next, and the next, and the next…
  3. Short-sheet their beds — Remove all the sheets from the bed. Using one sheet, lay it out over the bed and tuck it in at the top. Fold the bottom of the sheet up to the top and tuck the sides in. Cover with their quilt or comforter. The bed looks normal from the outside, but when they get into bed their feet will only go in halfway!
  4. If their bed is messy, unmade or lumpy, put a bristly hair brush into their bed. When your kids feet touch the brush, it’ll feel like a prickly animal or giant bug!
  5. If your spouse is heading to the grocery store, add some “extras” to list: 2 lbs of banana peels, a dozen robin’s eggs, 1 loaf of bread crumbs.

For Coworkers:

  1. Write “April Fool!” on a sticky note. Stick it to the bottom of your coworker’s computer mouse. Not only will the mouse not work, when they flip it over, perplexed, your message will be delivered.
  2. If you’re wearing a blazer to work, take a spool of thread and thread a needle onto the end of the string. Poke the needle through near the shoulder of your jacket, from inside out. Remove the needle, leaving a couple inches of string showing on your jacket. Place the spool of thread in the inner-pocket. Just wait for your coworker to notice and remove the string for you…then wait for the horrified look on their face as the string pulls longer and longer and longer!


10+ Silly Jokes for Kids!

The only thing better than a good knock-knock joke is watching your kids crack up at them! Give them something to smile about at breakfast with these 10+ SILLY JOKES FOR KIDS!




What does a cow wear?

Who’s there?
Olive who?
Olive you!

(L made this one up. She think’s it’s hysterical!)
Who’s there?
Shoes who?
Shoes don’t talk!

What do frogs order when they go to a restaurant?
French flies!

What does a nosy pepper do?
Get’s jalapeño business!

Who’s there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad I’m here?

Who’s there?
Lemme who?
Lemme kiss you!

Who’s there?
Ida who?
Ida want to!

What do you call a fly without wings?
A walk!

What did the dog say to the flea?
Stop bugging me!

Why do fish live in salt water?
Cause pepper makes them sneeze!

What did one volcano say to the other?
I lava you!




What’s your kid’s favorite joke??? Share in the comments section below!!! Happy laughing!!!

It’s Tea Time!!! Tea Party Ideas

Over at Our Beautifully Messy House, we love a good TEA PARTY! We have breakfast tea parties and mid-afternoon tea parties, tea parties in a teepee outside, and tea parties on the kitchen floor! We have tea parties with friends and tea parties with fairies! There is only one rule in our house when it comes to having a tea party: Everyone must wear a hat! It doesn’t matter if you are still wearing your pajamas, everybody starts the tea party with a hat!






If you’re planning ahead, you can make some “Floppy Newspaper Hats” for tea time! (DIY here.)



Tea Ideas

Obviously you can steep any flavor of tea, but with little kids you may want to get creative! Sometimes I pour L half a cup of Blueberry Wild Child Tea, fill the rest with milk and she drinks it out of her fancy tea cup with a straw. Anything goes! Kids can drink water, milk, juice mixed with water, or hot chocolate…if it’s in a tea cup, it’s tea!




Tea Cups

Tea cups don’t have to be fancy, but fancy is fun! The best place to find tea cups is at antique stores, yard sales and flea markets. Such places are filled with tea pots and cups and, at only a couple of dollars a piece, it’s no big deal if one breaks.



Tea Party Treats

For breakfast tea parties, we make PANCAKE SANDWICHES with cream cheese and strawberry jam layered in-between two pancakes. To make them extra fancy, cut the pancakes with a heart cookie cutter and let the red, strawberry jam shine through!



These Strawberry Jam Scones are perfect for tea time! Get the recipe here.



No-Bake Acorn Treats are fun and yummy for your tea party outdoors! Get the quick and easy how-to here.



If you’re just throwing together a tea party last minute, anything will do…a granola bar cut into bites, muffins, a bowl of popcorn. Your kids will love it!

A Tea Party for Fairies



If you don’t have fairies and fairy furniture, you can easily make some!


DIY Fairy Folk



DIY Fairy Furniture


Acorn Cap Treasures (aka Fairy Hats!)

Use cheerios to make FAIRY DONUTS. If you have a microwave, simply place one chocolate chip on top of a cheerio and zap it for a few seconds. Top with mini-sprinkles! We don’t have a microwave and melted the chocolate chips in a double-broiler on the stove-top and it worked just as well! For powdered fairy donuts, dip the cheerios in some maple syrup and then toss around in some powdered sugar. Silly, sweet, and so much fun!!!





If you don’t have a mini-tea set, you can use buttons for fairy plates and thimbles for the tea cups. Have the tea party on top of a box or a colorful pillow!




Please don’t think that if you have little boys that they can’t partake in your tea party fun! Everybody loves a party and if you must, call it a “picnic!” 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!!!


Warm and Fuzzy Jar

I don’t know about you, but sometimes we seem to be in a funk around Our Beautifully Messy House…everything seems to be going wrong. L and I butt heads non-stop, she ends up sitting in timeout repeatedly, I get frustrated and burn lunch, we start a fun activity and within seconds there’s crying, it doesn’t seem to end!!! Sometimes the funk lasts just a few hours and other times it seems to last days. The best way I’ve found to turn things around is to bring out our WARM AND FUZZY JAR. (Truthfully, L calls it her “Poof Ball Jar.” Ha!) Whatever you call it, the jar can instantly turn a bad day into a good day.

The principle is pretty simple: every time L does something good she gets a “warm and fuzzy” (poof ball) to put into her jar. Once the jar is filled to the top, she gets a treat…a trip to the ice-cream shop, to play in the sprinkler, a trip to the library, or, as we did this week, she got to build a gingerbread house. All these things would be fine to do randomly on their own, but not necessarily on a day that L has been acting out repeatedly. The WARM AND FUZZY JAR reinforces good behavior, diminishes bad behavior and is fun for the kids!

 Some of the things L does to earn “warm and fuzzies” include: putting away the silverware for me, playing nicely with her sister, quietly looking at books, helping at the grocery store putting things in and out of the cart, saying “please” and “thank you,” and using the potty (we’re in the process of potty-training). We don’t use our WARM AND FUZZY JAR continuously…maybe just for a week or so…but when things start getting crazy, I pull it out again and turn the bad days into good ones! If you have multiple kids, each one could have a jar to fill.

Try it out! Let us know if it works for you!

Reclaiming Quiet-Time

Over the past few months the afternoons have brought upon a lot of change in our house. L essentially dropped her afternoon nap when she turned 2…she took about one or two a month. We stuck to routine and put her in her crib everyday for at least an hour. Most day’s L bounced around for the entire hour and a few days she’d bounce herself to sleep. Then came the change out of her crib (so WB could use it) and into a “big girl bed.”


For a month or two she stayed in her “big girl bed” or at least in her room playing quietly for an hour, but then she learned how to open her door. We put a child lock on the door and it took her about 5 minutes to learn how to take that off. For a week or two “quiet time” became the very worst hour of the day, every day. I would spend the hour marching L back up the stairs and into her room…I tried threatening to take toys away. I tried rewarding her with stickers or special activities to follow quiet time. I tried holding the door shut so she’d think it was locked. None of it worked and none of it seemed like the right thing to do. We’d have a great day all day, but when quiet time came it’d end with us both in tears and doubly-stressed out. So I took a step back and I thought about it…and I came up with a plan.

I realized that naps were definitely long gone. L really does fine without a nap and it results in an earlier bedtime…7 PM and both girls are sound asleep. (Yay for this exhausted mom at the end of the day!) I also realized that really the #1 reason L wanted out of her room was that she just wanted to be with me. If I’m trying to hold the door closed or lock her in there and she’s just miserable, what’s the point? And if it makes me miserable on the other side of the door and/or wakes her sleeping sister up, truly what’s the point? Quiet time is to give us all a break. A mental break if nothing else.

So I came up with some new rules and some new activities to keep L occupied while I clean dishes, reply to emails, read the paper, fold laundry…whatever I need to do for 30 quiet minutes. If I keep an open-door-policy with L, so she can go in and out of her room, up and down the stairs, there are no more arguments and she tends to stay in her room longer! I’ve also come up with a number of ACTIVITY BAGS to keep her quietly occupied.

The following are some of L’s “quiet time activity bags.” You can make your own just by going through your drawers, recycling basket, and your craft supplies and look for safe materials that will keep a little one entertained. I give L an activity bag a few days a week, rotating them so they always seem new to her. On days when she’s already happy playing with blocks or coloring, I just let her keep to herself while I get my own chores done.

Paper bag, 2 paper cups, egg carton, sheet of felt, poof balls, googlie eyes, feathers, straw, buckeyes

Paper bag, snack container full of beads, shoe lace (for stringing beads), pipe cleaners, silicone muffin cups, painted buckeye, hopping frog toy

Shoe box, cardboard tubes, cotton balls, tissue paper, Little People, colored craft sticks

Paper bag, I Spy book, straw, pipe cleaners, feather, spools, slinky

foam floor puzzle/mats, Water Wow book, Magna Doodle

The following two activities take a little more prep time, but it’s a fun surprise to keep your kid occupied!

Tea Party set-up: cardboard box, blanket, tea set, empty honey bottle, pretend cupcake, poof balls and spoon, napkins

Teepee…everything’s better in a teepee (DIY No Sew Teepee)

Notice all the bags include lots of creative possibilities. Beads can be strung on a shoelace or on pipe cleaners, feathers can be put into straws; cotton balls can be blown across the floor with a straw; things can be sorted or dumped from cup to cup; the cardboard box under the tea party can be flipped over and become a rocket ship! For more ideas, check out the Imagination Box too! Like always, you know your child, make sure anything you leave in your child’s room is SAFE for them to play with unattended or semi-unattended! (I still turn the video monitor on when I leave L with beads in her room!)

What do you think? Do you have this problem in your house? Has quiet time and nap time become a disaster? What do you all do to make it through the afternoon with a toddler who won’t nap?

Making Food Fun Again!

I don’t know about you, but we definitely have a picky eater in our house. L is not a fan of most fruits or vegetables, so we have to be creative to get her near any of them! While many parents get upset with their kids for playing with their food, I figure if my kid is actually eating healthy, why not make it fun?! Here are a few of the quick and easy tricks we’ve come up with to make food fun again!

Stack fruits or veggies on a shish-kabob skewer.



Arrange foods in a funky and fun pattern with a dipping sauce in the middle. It can be as simple and easy as apple slices and peanut butter with a touch of honey. Kids love dips!


Put fruit in a silicone muffin cup (or any colorful cup) and give your child a toothpick to eat it!


Stack up fruit slices and your kid’s sandwich and tell your them you’ve made fairy houses and rocket ships for lunch. It’s silly, but it works!

I personally don’t agree with forcing kids to eat and try my best to avoid any arguments over food. So far our little tricks and games seem to work! What tips or tricks have you come up with??? Please share in the comments section below…we’re always looking for new ones!