15 Cute Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

15 Valentine's Day Snacks, Treats and Gift Bag Ideas for Kids - DontMesswithMama.com

Need healthy and wholesome Valentine’s Day snack, gift bag or goodie bag ideas for kids and school parties? Check out these cute Valentine’s Day ideas for kids – including recipes, tutorials and DIY craft ideas. And if you’re staying in for Valentine’s Day, check out these 10 Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas. 15 Cute Valentine’s Day […]

ABCmouse.com Giveaway Winner

ABCmouse.com for Toddlers - Don't Mess with Mama.com

The Winner is… Thanks to everyone who entered the ABCmouse.com giveaway. It’s time to announce the winner… Congratulations to Anne P. (email at missanne…)! You won a one-year subscription ($79.95 value). Please email me at tracey @ dontmesswithmama.com with your mailing address so I can send your prize out to you. More About ABCmouse.com ABCmouse.com is a complete program with everything […]

Favorite Things in June 2013

My Favorite Things in July 2013 - Don't Mess with Mama.com

This month marked a few special milestones for us. First, my middle son graduated from kindergarten. I know, I know – it’s kindergarten. While I’m proud of his efforts and moving on to first grade, really the milestone for me is the fact that he’s growing up and moving on. He’s not my baby anymore […]

My Kids Have A Better Social Life Than Me….

My Kids Have a Bigger Social Life Than Me - Don't Mess with Mama.com

Checking my appointment book is part of my morning ritual. I long ago gave up trying to remember everything I need to do without actually writing it down and as much as I love technology, I love putting pen to paper and seeing everything written out in front of me, so my book basically maps […]

ABCmouse.com for Toddlers

ABCmouse.com for Toddlers - Don't Mess with Mama.com

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for ABCmouse.com on TV. You’ve probably seen it too – featuring testimonials from parents and teachers about how the interactive learning program helps their little ones get a head start on learning. Then… I reviewed it about a year ago for my then 4-year-old son – check […]

How to Make Clear Ice – Healthier for You, Fun Experiment with Kids

How to Make Clear Ice - Don't Mess with Mama.com

My oldest son asked me how to make clear ice. I was bit stumped. First, I thought our ice was clear until I took a closer look. The ice from our automated ice maker in the freezer was cloudy. And then I found out that most ice made in homes are cloudy. Why? Typically, ice […]

What We Did Today: Board (not Bored) Games

Board (Not Bored) Games - Don't Mess with Mama.com

It’s our second weekend of no TV and video games, and now I’m thinking I want to make this a permanent thing. After about an hour of begging me to play Minecraft on his computer, my 8-year-old son finally gave up when It told him no. I said I’d reassess at the end of our […]

8 Ways to Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen

8 Ways to Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen - Don't Mess with Mama.com

By the time I was eight years old, I was cooking bacon and eggs in the kitchen by myself. I burned myself a few times, but ultimately it made me more independent in the kitchen. And I’ll nevr forget my mom trusting me to do it and giving me the space to make mistakes (and […]

Kid-Made Recipe: Water with Lemon, Cucumber and Apples

Kid-Made Recipe: Water with Lemon, Cucumber and Apples - Don't Mess with Mama.com

My oldest son was so encouraged about learning how to slice lemons that he came up with his first recipe. I’m so proud. It’s a recipe for flavored water with fresh fruit and vegetables (like our version of the spa water you find at hotels). My kids love flavored water. And to my surprise, not […]

What We Did Today: Making Wood Sculptures with Kids

Wood Sculptures with Kids

I’m starting a new series for my Saturday posts called, “What We Did Today”. It’s a chronicle of our mission to ditch electronics and spend more time as a family. Note: I just took a few minutes to write this post while my kids were cleaning up after lunch. This all started because I noticed […]

DIY Natural Play Dough

How to Make Homemade Play Dough with Natural Dyes & Essential Oils - DontMesswithMama.com

I love making homemade play dough with my kids. They really enjoy measuring all the ingredients and working with their hands to make the dough. We had some leftover artificial food dye (we stopped using it for baking years ago and just use it for art projects now) so we used a bit of it […]

Planning a Summer Vacation? Consider a Farmstay to Teach Kids About Life on the Farm


Summer vacation planning is in full swing. Have you considered getting down and dirty and booking a farmstay with the family? Agritourism is becoming a large part of the US travel picture, and the local food movement illustrates there’s never been a better time to learn about where our food comes from. Opportunities abound to experience […]

BabbaBox – Kids Crafts and Activities Delivered to Your Door


Thanks to BabbaCo for sponsoring this post.  My kids are super crafty. They are constantly digging through my things to look for empty shoeboxes and scraps of clothes to create a project. And the kitchen? They upcycle paper bags, aluminum foil, or whatever else they can find to make puppets, sculptures and other creations. I […]

“Watch What Happens…” In Our House Regarding Kids & TV

Kids and TV

The other day I caught up with the mom of one of my son’s besties from school. While waiting for our kids to be dismissed from kindergarten we talked about their recent after-school playdate at my house. I recapped of how much fun they had and mentioned how worn my son was afterward and that […]

DIY Terrariums in a Jar Tutorial

Terrarium in a Jar - Don't Mess with Mama

I’ve always loved terrariums. It must the the miniature plants and their arrangement that makes you want to shrink down to ant-size and explore the contained little world. It doesn’t take much to make a terrarium — it can be done with plants found around your garden and jars saved in your house. The only […]

How to Regrow Fruit and Vegetable Scraps

How to Reuse Vegetable Scraps - DontMesswithMama.com

My youngest son loves avocado. It’s his daily lunch staple along with a bit of homemade applesauce. We go through so many that I’ve hated throwing them out. Then I found out about reusing scraps from fruit and vegetables to use in the garden. Check out the book: Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants […]

Wordless Wednesday: Jedi Training

Jedi Training Sword

My oldest boys went to a Star Wars-themed birthday party last weekend. Little did we know it was time for Jedi training with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Every kid had a chance to duke it out with Darth – nice alternative to beating the hell out of a pinata. I did feel sorry for […]

Happy Hallo-Green – Tips for Going Green for Halloween

green halloween tips

Want to go green for Halloween but don’t know where to start? Then, you’ve reached the right place. I’ve felt the same way for years, and opted to stop giving out candy laden with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and artificial dyes for non-candy items like pencils and mini notepads. I’ve even donated old costumes […]

Geocaching with Kids: High Tech Treasure Hunt

geo cache San Diego

It’s a beautiful Fall day and I have taken the girls on an outing. I scan the park and look for anyone who might be staring at us. I lead the way with smartphone in hand looking for possible places where a treasure might be hidden. I stare back at the compass on my phone […]

Wordless Wednesday: First Birthday Celebration and Looking Back on 8 Years of Birthday Parties

1 year birthday

Happy birthday to my littlest guy. He turned one over the weekend. And the funny thing is that I feel like I’ve come a long way since my oldest son’s first birthday party. I remember planning for months and going way over the top for his birthday. I was raised in Hawaii, where first birthday […]