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Category Archives: Guest Posts

Edible Mud Play Dough (Guest Post: A Pinch of Perfect)


I’m excited to share this guest post with you by Katie from A Pinch of Perfect. Katie posted on my Facebook wall that she found me through the SITS Girls and as soon as I saw her blog I knew I had to ask her to guest post right away. Katie’s blog is packed full of great activities and fun ideas for your little ones, so be sure to visit her blog after reading and commenting on this post! Now here’s Katie…

I have noticed that mud must have some sort of magnetic properties because my son can’t seem to stay away from it. My poor garden has suffered multiple assaults from my son and his shovel. To try and deter him from the garden I wanted to make him some mud that he could play with indoors or outdoors and as often as he would like. This is how Edible Mud Play Dough came to be. It had to be edible because I think you never can be too safe when toddlers are around (my son just turned 1.5) so I work really hard at coming up with safe activities for him.
(See more Toddler Friendly Activities Here)

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

Our homemade mud can be made with things found in your pantry. It’s fast and simple to make and looks exactly like mud. After coming up with this awesome recipe, when my husband came home from work and took a look at the “muddy” tray on the table he wondered why I had brought mud into the house. Oh the look he gave me when I took a bite was priceless, lol! By now he should know we are always up to something fun and interesting.

The awesome part about Edible Mud Play Dough is it is dry and crumbly and at the same time doughy and shapeable. Although it is edible, it doesn’t taste good at all so this activity shouldn’t turn into snack time. Get those trucks, shovels, and mud pie pans out because your kiddo is going to love playing with it. What a fun new Sensory Play experience!
(see more Sensory Play Activities Here)

Supplies:
1 Large box of chocolate pudding mix (we used the instant kind)
1 C. baking soda
1/4 C water
3 Tbs. oil

I suggest making one batch per kid.

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough RecipecfotbwmDIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

Directions:
Mix dry ingredients together.
Add wet ingredients and mix evenly and it’s ready to be played with.

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

Makes a perfect mud ball because it can hold its shape, but will still crumble apart.

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

Here are my busy little kiddos smashing, filling, and building away.

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

My daughter used the words, “crumbly, brown, and soft.” What sensory words will your kiddo use to describe it?
Sometimes toddlers are hard to keep entertained…well my little man played with his dough for an impressively long time and even outlasted my daughter. He must love his new mud!

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

We hope you enjoy our Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe. Thanks for playing with us. Drop by A Little Pinch of Perfect to say hi and make sure you catch our next fun idea!

Love-Katie and the Kiddos

Katie Pinch from A Little Pinch of Perfect blogKatie is a Stay-At-Home-Mom who is kept busy by her spunky 3 year old daughter and curious 1 year old son. She is always coming up with new, fun, and creative ideas to keep her kiddos excited throughout the day. She believes that creativity helps little minds learn & grow in amazing ways that conventional methods only dream about. Visit A Little Pinch of Perfect to discover more or follow her on social media on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Bloglovin’

Thank you, Katie! 🙂

Do your kids love playing in the mud?
Have you ever made mud play dough?
Please leave a comment for Katie below!


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This post is linked to: SITS Sharefest (July 12, 2014)

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Guest Post: Outer Banks – What a week!


This is a guest post from Kristie at Family, Scrapbooks and Coffee. Be sure to stop by her blog 🙂

Outer Banks – What a Week!

Every year, we do an annual trek from New Jersey (where the beaches are beautiful but crowded beyond belief) to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Hatteras Island in particular. This has been our summer vacation for the past 8 years. Generally, we have gone with other families, sharing a large, beautiful beach house (they’re called “cottages” but I don’t know how – most are beautiful, three or four stories {some with elevators!} and certainly not what I would consider a cottage.) This year, however, we were on our own … but we made the best of it!


A week before our scheduled departure of 7/9/11, we finally booked our cottage. Not for lack of trying, though. We had been giving offers of $1,500 for the week for homes that were priced way above that. Once you add the hotel tax, the NC tax and whatever extras the realtors were throwing on, you were at 15%+ above your weekly rental anyhow. I wanted to stay on a “budget” if you can call it that at all. Most realtors didn’t even bother calling the owners with our offers. Outer Beaches Realty, however, was different. Not only did they call the owner directly with our offer, they called me back immediately and accepted our credit card over the phone as payment before the owner could “change their mind.” We scored beautiful Pamlico Peace as our home for the week.

Our 8 hour drive down was uneventful after a horrendous storm in NJ the previous evening. We did hit residual rain while entering Hatteras Island but score again for Outer Beaches Realty ~ our home was ready when we presented ourselves at their offices at 1:30 p.m., far in advance of the 6:00 p.m. check in time. When we got to the home, we couldn’t believe our eyes. We were right on the sand! We knew we would be but had no idea how spectacular it really was. The home was 3 stories: a locked first story with storage only; the second floor had 3 bedrooms, a den, a laundry room, 2 full bathrooms and a hot tub on the deck; the third floor had a living area, dining room, powder room, kitchen and master bedroom with full bath – and a beautiful deck for viewing the sunsets each evening. Wowza!

We enjoy going to Hatteras Island rather than other parts of the Outer Banks because it isn’t yet too commercialized. There are 7 villages on the entire island: Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and, of course, Hatteras. We stayed in Frisco where we enjoyed beach access by the Billy Mitchell airport (yes, if you fly propeller airplanes!), driving our 4×4 right onto the beach and setting up camp each day. (Each day but Saturday and Thursday but who’s counting?) Hatteras Island is home to one major supermarket chain, located in Avon but has a few other family owned supermarkets throughout the island. There are two mini golf courses (on opposite ends of the island), the one in Frisco also has GoKarts. We treated the family to golf but saved the GoKarts til next year when everyone will be tall enough to drive their own. We found many ice cream shoppes! Surf shops, trinket shops, bait shops ~ you name it, they’re up and down the island. Fast food? Nope! Locally owned restaurants (ok, one chain that I saw) are the norm, rather than the exception. Barbeque but mostly seafood are the specialties that are most often boasted on the road front signs.

The days we didn’t head to the beach for the day? Saturday was our arrival day. The kids played in the sand while we visited with Tim’s brother and sister in law who were leaving for NJ the next day. Thursday? We had a late start after a storm blew through while we were sleeping. It was a little to windy for the beach so we visited the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum which is so cool and we highly recommend it! We also took the time to explore the drive on beach in Hatteras, just at the tip of the island. Way cool. Made us realize that we can stay in Hatteras and be able to drive on beaches in either Hatteras or Frisco, where ever we feel like being that day with no problems.

During our Thursday drive on the Hatteras beach, our son asked if we could take the ferry over to Ocracoke Island. Much to our surprise, my husband said yes! The kids were so excited. The wait wasn’t long (as long as it could have been – my brother in law waited hours the week before) and we were able to be quickly seated at the infamous Howard’s Seafood Restaurant (the kids’ favorite because their meals are served on frisbees.) After lunch, a quick stop to Teach’s Hole (a souvenir store focusing on mainly pirate type stuff) a drive by the lighthouse, we waited in line to get the ferry back to Hatteras Island. In years past, we’ve gone to the 4×4 beach on Ocracoke for an afternoon, after lunch at Howard’s. This year, it was windy and we weren’t prepared for it at all. Ocracoke is an artsy type island with many marinas, restaurants and crafty stores.

We even had professional photographs taken, right at our house by Daniel Pullen. We have used his services for the past few years and love his style and creativity with our family. He even came out knowing that Tim and I had pink eye and looked terrible. Said that he could “photoshop” that. NICE!

On Saturday, we woke up bright and early to begin our long drive home. It was sad to leave such a fun vacation but nice knowing that we’ll be back next year! If you haven’t been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I highly recommend it!

Thanks to Jenn at Coolest Family on the Block for having me guest post today! If you would like to hear more about the antics in our everyday lives or check out a book or two that I’m reviewing this summer, please stop by Family, Scrapbooks and Coffee to say hello!

Guest Post: The Drama of Leaving Your 20s


This is a guest post from Nicole at I’m Staying Home with My Mom. Be sure to visit her blog today 🙂

I am closing in on my 31st birthday (actually, as you read this, I will have already turned 31). I turned 30 on July 15, 2010. It was TERRIBLE. Ok, so maybe not terrible, but dreaded. I had an ok day. Nothing out of the ordinary: hubby worked, I stayed home with the kiddos, etc. I think we might have went to dinner, but I can’t remember (really memorable, huh?).

I was DREADING turning 30. I would say that to someone and they’d roll their eyes at me and say, “If you are saying that at 30, what are you going to do at 40?”. I don’t see myself having issues with 40…it’s not that I think 30 is old, it’s just not your 20s. I didn’t want to leave my 20s. I felt like I had waited my whole life to have kids, now I was done. I always thought I’d be a nurse, I wasn’t. My hubby was unsure what was going to happen with his job and where he wanted to head in the future for work. It felt like everything was up in the air. All I had dreamt about when I was little to happen in my adult life had happened. I got married, had 4 beautiful children, bought a house, blah, blah, blah. My life was over…and so were my 20s.

I, obviously, knew my life wasn’t over, over…but what were my 30s going to bring? I remember my parents being in their 30s and now I am here. It’s kind of surreal. My 11 year old is starting junior high in the fall. I should be starting junior high. It was definitely time for some new goal setting. I had accomplished all that was important to me, now where do I go?

* First new goal: find a way to make money at home, so I can be with my children. So, I started a home business (awesome opportunity, by the way).
* Second goal: support hubby in whatever he decided to do for work. Pray for guidance, follow where lead.
* Third goal: stop obsessing over ‘being in my 30s’. Done. I am actually sort of enjoying it. I am enjoying not having the ‘baby stuff’ to deal with and haul around. I do have days that I am upset about never being pregnant again or having another infant, but it’s getting easier. I love the fun ages my kids are at and it’s fun to be able to do things that they all have fun doing and experiencing.
* Fourth goal: Take time to be an ‘intentional mom’. Be present and teach. Laugh, have fun, make messes, enjoy the kids. They grow so fast and time is already running away, don’t miss any more happenings worrying about things that don’t matter.
* Fifth goal: Simplify. Get rid of things that don’t matter. Get out of debt, totally. Enjoy life as it comes. It’s never promised so make the most of today. Enjoy sunrises (even if you aren’t a morning person), watch lightening bugs, listen to a forest stream, watch a squirrel. Enjoy God’s wonderful creation.

So many people don’t get to see their 30s, I am going to enjoy mine. I have been very blessed and am thankful for the opportunity to be where I am in my life. Things aren’t always easy, but I have an incredible life.

I did joke about having a ‘mid life crisis’ when I turned 30 and wanted to do something memorable. I have always wanted a tattoo, but never knew what I wanted to be permanently etched on my body. I decided that I would finally do it for my birthday, my greatly dreaded ‘30th’. So, here’s what I did:

I can guarantee that I will never forget my 30th birthday and I’m looking forward to my 31st!

Nicole is a Christian, ‘challenged’ homemaker, wife, and mom to 4 beautiful girls. She also owns a home business and blogs at I’m Staying Home with My Mom.

Guest Post: Making the Most Out of Every Day This Summer


This is a guest post by Theresa from Our Life in Words. Please stop by and visit her great blog!

My girls (ages 9 & 11) were only out of school for a few days when I heard, “Mom, I’m bored!”

My first reaction was what my mom used to say to me, “Is your closet clean and tidy? All your clothes hung up? Are your dresser drawers organized? Are all of your socks in the same drawer?”

As much as I never wanted to turn into my mom, summer is a great time to teach kids organization and how to clean up after themselves.

Summer is also an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their kids doing all of those things they wish they had time to do during the year. It doesn’t have to take a lot of money.

Here are some fun *free* things you can do with your kids:
*Have a water fight; use the hose, water balloons, Super Soakers, rags & buckets
*Wash the car together – kids LOVE this!
*Make homemade play-doh together and play with it
*Go for a bike ride
*Go for a walk
*Play frisbee or catch
*Make a tea party for your little girl and use your real china & dress up
*Find a patch of lawn that doesn’t have any grass, turn the hose on and make mud pies with your son
*Make roads in the dirt with your boy, play with matchbox cars
*Check out what free summer programs your library is offering
*For more ideas on fun things to do with your kids for free over the summer, check out books or parenting magazines in your local library!

Work on school skills:
*Play Mad Libs – Kids LOVE Mad Libs and they are a great, fun way to teach parts of speech.
Google Free Mad Libs or check out Education Place.
*Play Math Bingo – I bought this game in the Dollar Store and my kids LOVE it!
*Sign up for summer reading programs at your local library
*Write a story with your kids. Start with a sentence and ask your children to each add a sentence. If they are too young to write, write it down for them. Have them illustrate it.
*Keep a journal with your kids of all of summer fun you have. Press flowers from your walks and glue them in. Or take photos of your fun and glue them in.

“The days are long, the years are short.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

Make the most of every moment with your child because childhood doesn’t last forever!

Do you have any suggestions for frugal fun this summer?

Theresa is a former teacher who spent nine years as a stay at home mom. She now works part-time as the Assistant Children’s Librarian at her local library. She blogs regularly at Our Life in Words and weekly at Three Thinking Mothers.

Guest Post: Coolest Mud Pie Cake Ever! (Recipe)


This is a guest post by Retha from Mommy Bee Wisdom. Be sure to stop by and visit her blog 🙂

Fitting name right? I have tried for 5 years now to out-do the coolness of this cake and have failed. It was so cool, I have had sisters since copy me, so now I figured is the right time to share it.

Supplies you will need:

2 Boxes of Chocolate Cake mix (I always use 2 to 4 depending on the guests).
2 tubs of Chocolate Frosting (keep this number equal to the amount of cake mixes).
2 bags of gummy worms

A wheel barrel (toy plastic and washed with dish soap)
A shovel (toy plastic and washed with dish soap)

If you want this a bit more girly, add one small terracotta pot and a fake flower and some pink gloves.

Instructions:
1. Follow the instructions on the cake mix box. Bake each box separately, trust me on this one.
2. Allow the cakes to cool completely, then frost as you normally would.
3. Spread the gummy worms over the cakes.
4. Now very carefully pick up each cake and dump it into the clean toy wheel barrel.
5. With a spatula run it through the cakes to make them look nice and chunky.
6. Sprinkle a few gummy worms over the top of the cake.
for the girl cake put a shovel full of cake in the pot and insert the flower, stick it on top of the cake and lay the gardening gloves over the edge.
7. Insert the shovel into the cake.

TA-DA!

Now you have the coolest ever mud pie/gardening cake!

Retha Barton blogs at Mommy Bee Wisdom where she teaches other moms that living life from scratch isn’t as hard as it sounds. Retha shows you that you can make it without a lot of money and that sometimes doing things the old way can be more rewarding.

Related Posts:
*Guest Post: Food as Tradition – Norwegian Butter Cookies: Another recipe guest post by Retha!

Guest Post: Planting Flowers and Practicing Skills


This is a post from Amanda at Gratefully Growing in Grace who also brought us the Breakfast Basket guest post on June 7. Amanda has a great blog, so be sure to stop by for a visit!

Planting Flowers and Practicing Skills

My name is Amanda and I’m visiting again from Gratefully Growing in Grace where I write about baby, toddler, and preschool activities, crafts I attempt, recipes I manage to cook successfully, and as any good mommy blog includes, cute stories, photos, and videos of my children.

I’ve been blessed to celebrate three Mother’s Days and each year I have asked for the same thing: a mushy card, a photo of me with my children (I have a special frame for the photos), and flowers to plant. My only stipulation is that we all plant the flowers as a family. Doesn’t my husband have an easy job of thinking of Mother’s Day gifts and activities? This year was the first time my son could really help plant the flowers. He could dig the holes with me, choose which flower to put in the hole, place it there, pack the dirt around it, and water it. We had a blast and I can’t wait to have a home where we can plant more flowers and for my daughter to be able to help us – maybe next year!

We had so much fun planting flowers that I wanted to find a way for us to do it again and again. After reading an article (sorry, I can’t remember details because I usually read when my brain is tired to begin with) about preschoolers practicing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, I came up with an idea. I’m sure it isn’t original, but my tired brain thought it was brilliant at the moment.

I bought a small storage basket with holes and a few artificial flowers at the Dollar Tree. I rounded out my artificial flower pile by having my mom donate some of her extras. I used a wire cutter to trim the flowers up to be single stems without a lot of extra leaves and stuff on them.

I washed all the flowers in soapy water and let them dry because I’m a germophobe like that. Next, I gave the pile of flowers and the basket to Mini Me and said, “Let’s make a garden!” Simple as that, we turned the basket on its side and began using steady hands to poke the flower stems into the nifty holes. Tada!

The first time Mini Me did this is took approximately 2.5 minutes and he was off and running. I was crushed that my brilliant-but-not-so-original idea was such a dud. But… he came running back to it later after I’d taken the flowers out and wanted to do it again. Then the next day, he wanted to plant his garden again. I started making him put the stems in the smallest holes for more practice. One day he lovingly made a garden and presented it to me, asking if I could keep it on the table for decoration all day. Awwww… Mother’s Day lives on and my preschooler’s fine motor skills are being fine tuned!

Amanda is the author of Gratefully Growing in Grace where she blogs about baby, toddler, and preschool activities, crafts she attempts, and recipes she manages to cook successfully.