Chase Fireflies


The Family Treasure Chest (A Christmas Gift Idea that Kids can Make)

Time spent together as a family.  Messy.  Laughter ringing loud.  Antagonizing.  Whining.  Sweet.  Quirky.  Much Grace given.  More received.  A great treasure.

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift that kids can make this year, consider a Family Treasure Chest that highlights time spent together.  Have your kids decorate it, however they want.  Little hands will LOVE you! 

Give it away to a treasured loved one – mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc.  Throughout the year, they will collect and store small momentos of time spent together.

Include a ticket stub, a bracelet from a museum, a picture from a photo booth, a map, a prize won, etc. 

Every Christmas, go through the treasure chest and re-live your memories.  Create a new family tradition!  I LOVE this gift because it places more value on TIME SPENT TOGETHER as opposed to gifts given. 

That makes me smile:)

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25 Days of Advent Joy (Celebrating Christmas with our Kids 2011)

1.  Decorate a maybe real tree (if I can coerce enough!)
2.  Go see lights – Talk about  The Light and being a light
3.  Make a Christmas gift for a loved one
4.  See a live nativity
5.  Donate food items to a family in need
6.  Have a family Christmas movie night with buttered popcorn
7.  Cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate and the Crippled Lamb, by Max Lucado
8.  Write our Compassion children
9.  Have fun with the Elf on a Shelf (just with his silly antics, not the good/bad thing)
10.  Bake and Decorate cookies to donate to the Homeless Shelter (and keep some for ourselves:)
11.  Read about the birth of Jesus – Celebrate with a birthday cake
12.  See the Nutcracker with Selah (the boys will probably do something manly)
13.  Help address cards and watch old Christmas classics
14.  Have a Christmas Tea Party with Selah’s Grandmothers
15.  Send something special to our missionaries
16.  Make a new ornament for our tree
17.  Skype with friends around the world to wish them a Merry Christmas (Miss Carolyn – that’s you!)
18.  Make a simple Gingerbread House
19.  Deliver Christmas treats to our neighbors
20.  Make a Jesse Tree and do the Advent readings
21.  Celebrate Jesus’ birth at the candlelight service at church
22.  Deliver hot chocolate to a Salvation Army bell ringer
23.  Stuff each other’s stockings with encouragement and thanks
24.  Pray for the persecuted church every day of December
25.  Choose a gift from the Compassion Gift Catalog

How do you celebrate Christmas with your family?  What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?  I would love to hear!


Turkey Cookies: Kids in the Kitchen

If you’re looking for a last minute kids’ contribution to the Thanksgiving spread, this may be the one. 

Grab random cookies from your pantry. 
Find something that can substitute for feathers and eyes.
Attach everything with the yummiest adhesive there is – melted chocolate chips.  (Not that I regularly ingest and rate adhesives.)

Now send the little fingers to work, sneaking candy and laughing.  They will be busy. 

And it may get messy.  Allow for it! 

You will now have time to concoct whatever Thanksgiving dish you need to prepare. 

And sooner or later, they’ll have concocted Turkey Cookies that will appeal to the small crowd at the feast. 


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Autumn Trail Mix: Kids in the Kitchen

As a part of our curriculum, the kids and I are in the kitchen at least once a week.  How amazing is the kitchen for math, science, health and nutrition, social studies (international foods), literature (making a favorite recipe out of a book), and general life skills? 

That being said, this recipe is not from our curriculum.  (The curriculum called for beet, radish, and spinach salad.  Yuck!)  This recipe also does not have educational value.  It’s just fun! 

We needed a quick snack and we had these items on hand.  We dumped and mixed and added what was in our cupboards.  Everything was the kids’ idea. 

So we now present to you the autumn trail mix, created by our resident four and six year old.  You would never believe it, but it’s delicious!!!!!!  As if these random foods were made to be together. 

Let us know if you give it a try:)

Autumn Trail Mix

a little of this, a little of that…
Honey Nut Cheerios
Reese’s Pieces (leftover Halloween candy)
Sunflower seeds
Dried cranberries
Candy Corn (leftovers also!)
Mini marshmallows
Yogurt pretzels


Mr. Turkey: A Thanksgiving Food Centerpiece for Kids

We made this little guy a couple years back. 

The photo isn’t the best, but you get the idea!  It’s a creative contribution that kids can do.  Kind of an appetizer of sorts.  It’s been a few years, but I venture to say we found the idea on Family Fun’s website or in their magazine.  That used to be my only go-to place for ideas. 

Have fun!  Happy Thanksgiving! 


Give Thanks Bucket: A Thanksgiving Idea for Families


We started this tradition 4 years ago now.  The little pieces of paper tossed in a bucket.  Giving thanks.  Making the thanks a habit.  Each day inching towards Thanksgiving. 

And then we keep the pieces in the bucket till the next year.

4 years ago, Adden was thankful for milk, sleep, orajel, singing, pacifiers, and cuddling.  (He would have been almost 6 months- awww!!!!!)  And clearly he was so verbal back then!  Today he was thankful for baseball diamonds, his puppy (stuffed, that is), and his family. 

Among the other old praises were good biopsy reports, clean water, good health, safety in traveling, jobs, Jesus, “Me the Bear”, and applesauce.

Today I am grateful.  Grateful for a bucket.  And for the years of praise treasured inside. 

That I may make the voice of thanksgiving heard and may tell of all Your wondrous works.   Psalm 26:7 
God is always, ever good. 


Berry Breakfast Smoothies: Kids in the Kitchen

Our little man had all five of his fruit/veggie servings before 9 am this morning! 

Does attaining the five a day rule cause anyone else to be deliriously happy?  Granted, it was three large glasses of just raspberries and blueberries.  (And probably too much fructose.)  But I was excited about all the fruit guzzling!

These smoothies are incredible.  They’re easy to make and healthy and inexpensive.  A perfect on the go breakfast before school! We all loved them.  The recipe makes 5 tall glasses.  Between the two kids and I, the smoothie was gone in an instant.   Enjoy!

Berry Breakfast Smoothies

2 cups cranberry juice
2 containers (6oz each) raspberry yogurt
1 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries
1 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
ice cubes

Place ingredients in a blender.  Cover and process until well blended.

Taste of Home August/September 2011

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A Balloon Popping Game: An Anytime Celebration for Kids

What could be better than balloons and candy and popping said balloons to smithereens? 

We tried this game for my nephew’s 2nd birthday and it was quite the hit!  For all five children six and under! 

Get balloons, squeeze candy inside, blow them up, and duct tape in any design you would like.  We made ours into a shape of a pumpkin.  You could make a tree for Christmas, a heart for Valentine’s day, a shamrock for St Patty’s Day, or an initial for some one’s birthday. 

My sister in law found the initial idea on Pinterest.  The original idea had children throwing darts at random balloons, but we didn’t think that would end well for our boys, so we modified to use pushpins.  The kids drew a number, popped the selected balloon, and gathered up their spoil. 

And if it was an Aunt Ashley balloon, there was some serious spoil!   If you need to know how to squeeze 7 candy bars into 1 balloon, ask her.  I still don’t know how she did it!

Let me know if you give this a try!