Chase Fireflies


Fireworks T-Shirts for Kids: A Fun Summer Art Project

Our kids have had a heaping share of fireworks this year, between those we’ve traveled to see and those we’ve made in our own backyard.  I think Pittsburghers are a little crazy about blowing stuff up. 

Anyhow, these t-shirts make a great summer project for kids.  Selah, our resident artist, got really into making hers.  Even Adden, who would much rather hit a baseball than paint anything, loved it. 

All in all, the project cost just over $3.00.  We got two t-shirts at the dollar store and bought fabric paint at Michaels with a coupon and a sale.  We had pipecleaners at home and paper plates to pour the paint.

The nice thing about this art project is there is no right or wrong way to get it done (perfect for preschoolers).  We poured paint, we dipped pipe cleaners, and we made designs.  I think that’s what the kids loved the most. 

Even today, Adden wore his proudly.  They especially love when people ask about them!  Selah’s favorite line is, “Even you can make them too.”

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An Ocean of Grace

But God is the God of the waves and the billows
And they are still His when they come over us

And again and again we have proved
That the overwhelming thing does not overwhelm.

Once more by His interposition deliverance came.
We were cast down, but not destroyed.

-Amy Carmichael

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Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie: Great Summer Recipe for Kids

Oh my word.  These rock.

Never come here for recipes.  Really.  I try hard, but… We’ll keep it at that.  For recipes go to What Megan’s Making. 

Anway, it is not possible for me to mess these up.  And they are super easy.  And perfect for a hot summer day.  And our kids LOVE them.  And they are cute.  And somewhat healthy, with fruit and all.  We have had these almost every day since their discovery. 

Mostly the kids and I make them for a mid-day snack.  I cut.  They toss and press buttons.  Occasionally we have had them for dessert with a sherbet addition.

I suppose you’ll have to make them:)

Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie

* 3 cups fresh watermelon cubes
* 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
* 1 cup crushed ice
*  4 teaspoons lime juice
*  1 teaspoon sugar or 1 cup watermelon or lime sherbet (optional)
* 1/2 cup miniature semisweet or white chocolate chips (for topping)


Mix everything in a blender and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. 

This is an adapted recipe from family fun. 

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The Painted Horse with Gilded Trim

Crescent Park Carousel, Looff Carousel;  circa 1895

Head tilted back in full on laugh;  smile so wide I cannot take it in. 

The painted horse with the gilded trim that goes up and down.  She carousels in joy.  Taking in every mirror and band organ sound and sea glass colored hand carving all around. 

She rides on history alive.  Of men in full suits and top hats and bowties and women in long skirts with corsets who have gone before;  riding through wars and peace and fear and prosperity.

Through roaring 20’s and Depression times and silent movies and civil unrest and walls torn down and dignity found.

As voices sing out with beautiful sounds of freedom. 

Hair whisps carefree in hourglass time.  Her eyes, gray-blue rich, find mine and we lock in our treasure of this now. 

This yesterday.  This here. 

We laugh and hold onto brass that has been held onto through the ages and one word cycles around with the music. 


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Mud Cupcakes: A Summer Activity for Kids

Selah LOVES mud.  She is a girly girl on most other accounts (well, with the exception of another love of worms and bugs), but I think mud stands alone as her favorite. 

That’s why mud cupcakes were her the perfect summer afternoon treat for her.  At the beginning, she was prim and proper with a smock for an apron. By the end, it was a pure mud bath. 

Even her “I don’t like dirt on me” brother, initially turning his nose up at the idea, decided that these were the most awesome cupcakes ever, even if you couldn’t eat them. 

If you’re looking for an easy and fanciful idea for kids this summer, this just might be the activity you are looking for.  Enjoy!

Mud Cupcake Recipe

Ingredients:  dirt, water, a giant bowl, a mixing spoon, cupcake/muffin liners, a muffin tray, and “toppings”  (leaves, berries, flowers, rocks, etc.)


1.  Go on a treasure hunt for toppings.
2.  Fill the muffin tray with liners.
3.  Dig for dirt.
4.  Add water.
5.  Mix.
6.  Pour into muffin cups.
7.  Decorate with toppings.
8.  Get covered head to toe with mud.

P.S.  As I was cleaning up, I heard giggling upstairs.  I went up to find both kids, in the shower, laughing hysterically without a stitch on and jumping up and down.  I don’t think they have ever volunteered quite so readily for a shower.  One of my favorite moments:)


Days of Dirt and Drownings

It was an ordinary day of buying milk and eggs and cheese and using the tucked away coupons for cereal and yogurt.  Pushing the cart and getting a phone call; telling him she’ll be home soon. 

Carrying the bags of groceries in.  Hardly noticing the anguish in the eyes because the ice cream needs put away and the watermelon is too heavy for the tearing plastic bag. 

She sits down to news so heavy that the weight on her chest is tangible, suffocating, exhausting.  He speaks softly, “We lost Robbie today; at the river, with the current and the dam.” 

Robbie is 32.  He is an ox of a guy; strong like his dad, with piercing blue eyes like his grandfather, ours.  I barely know him; my own cousin.  Only that he is a good son and he makes people laugh and he loves Jesus.

And he is gone. 

I cannot keep from crying.  These tears fall scalding, one after the other.  Why Robbie?  I ask this, as if my other cousins are dispensable and I am ashamed. 

I want to contest.  Why must one mother’s heart reel with raw pain; hurts stacked in a teetering tower?   She fights with Down’s and debt, a failing health, a second son, and now death.  Yet she knows the ways of God much more than I.  This is purposed; God’s way.   

Perhaps this is why I cry. God’s goodness is here, but it’s so hard to see with tears in my own eyes.  I wonder what God will ask of me one day.  I hope I’ll be able to worship Him Who gives and takes away. 

From cradled infant on hospital gown to buried son in the dirt of the ground.  I have needed to be reminded that I have been born to die.  Learning to live along the way is richer life found. 

Dying daily to ourselves; living daily for Another. 

With dirt under his fingernails and in his hands;  With Love coursing through his veins, this cousin of mine lived. 

And in his drowning death, there is more life than even ever before. 

-Death has been swallowed up in victory. – 1 Corinthians 15:54

This much I know,

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Our Summer List of Love

It’s a little cottage shack down the street from a Cape Cod beach. 

We watched Dukes of Hazard here and I ate Corn Pops and Frosted Flakes.  We were never allowed such decadence.  The grit of sand and sun covered us and the rickety screen door tucked us in for the night. 

Summers were my delight.  We were together.  It was purposed. 

To chase fireflies and build sandcastles;  to tube down the river and pour butter on popcorn. 

Intentional love served in brown paper bags. 

Such is the summer I want for our kids.  Memories made to be photographed and written.  Purposed life in love. 

Here is the list we’ve been scribbling down on a fly leaf notepad paper.  (So far we’ve check-marked the bolded items!)

1.  Treasure Hunt
2.  Movie Night
3.  Mini Golf
4.  Cheer on Daddy in a 5K
5.  Go to the Cabin
6.  Go Kayaking
7.  Picnics at the Park
8.  Zoo – Family Night!

9.  Learn a Language (I’m a teacher.  Can’t help it.)
10.  See the Dora Show
11.  Playing at Isabelle and Jack’s House
12.  Go to the Waterpark
13.  Learn to Bob and Think About Going Down the Big Slide
14.  Dance Class
15.  Create Art
16.  Do our Nails
17.  Put a Hair Wrap in

18.  Go to the Beach!
19.  Go to Idlewild with the Fam
20.  Drive in Theatre
21.  Go to lots of Pirate Games
22.  Library Summer Reading Program
23.  Bike Ride the Trail Together
24.  See Brian and Laura Get Married!!!
25.  Visit all those people we love in Rhode Island
26.  Have a Pajama Day

What’s on your summer list?  I would love suggestions!