Beach Sand Play Dough: The Stories We Tell

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. And here's a fun recipe for Beach Sand Play Dough. Such fun!

Not long after Cassidy and I got back together and knew it was serious, he took me to his father’s house in Truro on Cape Cod. It’s a long house in a wooded area on a gravel road that I always think is impossible to find. It has four bedrooms and has recently undergone renovations, but the soul of the house is intact. You walk into that house in July and breathe in the smell of summer vacation. You walk into that house in December and breathe in the smell of summer vacation memories. Summer could be far away but you can’t turn in a corner in the house without being reminded. Pictures and poetry hang all through the house. There is one wall in particular that captivates me every single time I visit the house. And, it always will.


It is filled, floor to ceiling, with photos of Cassidy and his brothers and cousins from babyhood to adulthood. It tells tales of being buried in the sand, of OREO and peanut butter sandwiches, of beach days and outdoor showers, of corn on the cob and ice cream and finding sand in your shoes long after you have gone back to work or school or winter and whatever other dreaded thing you escaped. You look at these pictures and you see a gift that children have been given. They have been taught to truly know joy and pure fun. Not everyone receives these gifts. The evidence is on the wall. It is written in every expression on every face of every photo. You can’t look at these pictures and not smile. I looked and thought, “I want that.”

father son beach

I grew up with 7 grandparents and my kids are growing up with 6. And I just lost the last of mine only weeks ago, and I not-so-secretly and magically want my kids to have all six for the next thirty years or so. Whatever it takes to bend time and let the stories go on. Grandparents are laughter in the rain, echoes in the wind, and footprints in the sand. They are everything.

They’re truth and consequence and buried secrets and wonderful release. They are time on water and joy through tears.

grandmother and granddaughter

They are history and power. Dreams and time travel. And they are full of stories and memories, because one day we are nothing but stories, so you might as well make it a good one. My grandparents and my children’s grandparents give me that sense of both peace and urgency that everything is ok/not ok, and that it all boils down to love. My grandparents and my children’s grandparents infuse me with the parenting I aim for and sometimes even achieve. All that stuff. It matters. It sticks with you. Where you take them, what you feed them, what you tell them, and how you tuck them safely into bed.

Every night. Sleep tight.

great grandmother and great grandson

I know I promised you some Beach Sand Play Dough and I won’t go back on a blog promise. This “recipe” or craft, if you will, is dedicated to my grandparents, my children’s grandparents, and anyone else who takes their grandchildren to the beach.

Beach Sand Playdough

What You Need:

1 cup flour
1 cup fine sand
¼ cup salt
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
¾ cup boiling water
Shells, small glass stones

ingredients needed for beach play dough

What You Do:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sand, salt, and cream of tartar.
  2. Add the oil and water and mix well.
  3. Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes until it is all smooth.
  4. Mix in some shells and glass stones and have fun molding and playing with the sand playdough. Just like playing at the beach but this sand holds its shape!

mix ingredients together for beach sand play dough

add oil and water to beach sand play dough

mix together ingredients

knead the play dough

mix in shells and glass stones

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “Grandparents..” 5 minute freewriting (I always go over five minutes) Come link up with your spin on the topic HERE.

So, what would you say?

Beach Sand Play Dough

There’s Still Time for a Summer of Love

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is: It was the summer of...

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that summer’s magic is real – enticing, reaching, and drawing you in its embrace.

Sometimes, I’m the type to sit and wait for something amazing to happen. You see, I’m a lucky person and I’m able to skate by on luck and charm and brief powers of inspiration. It doesn’t last, though. It wears out – like a light – and then I’m left shivering in the dark. Every time I step out into the light, I believe I surround myself with more warmth and stamina – enough to keep me surrounded when the light goes again. My light. Summer’s light. It all comes and goes – and I’d like to believe we’re all building our own light boxes and filling them with objects and subjects. Luck and time run out so fast..

..but summer is magic, and maybe, so am I.

If I measured out my life moments, both good and bad in terms of seasons, some of the biggest moments would fall into the summer category – the sudden death of my father, meeting my husband at JFK Airport, and the birth of my firstborn, Scarlet. The summer of 2018 is supposed to be a magical summer like many magical summers. The thing is, it’s not going to happen if I sit back and wait for it. It’s spurts and bursts of inspiration, to eventually settle into a hopefully long-lasting momentum. That starts with me. I have to take that first step and reach my hand up and out to be pulled into the light.

  • This is the summer I was supposed to have that buff bikini body. Now I know I’m naturally slim, but that doesn’t mean that tone is my friend. You know what is my friend? Ice cream and mashed potatoes. So the buff summer body may never happen, unless I really want it to, but it’s all good because I have a body and it’s summer. Voila – summer body! And this body is strong and proportionate and gives me way little in the ways of aches and pains, and in the grand scheme of things I know that one day I’ll look back on photos of my 30-something body and have to adjust my glasses. I’ll say to myself:

“What a hot body you once had!” Now pass the mashed potatoes and cake.

  • This is the summer my Twitter account was hacked, and in all of that panic and rebuilding, I learned how awesome it is to be 100% me and to have real followers who like my late night ice cream eating/Hallmark movie watching tweets.

  • This is the summer I was supposed to get a zillion page views, but it’s summer, and not everyone wants to read my dribble. So this is the summer I realized it’s all ok. If you build it, they will come. So build it strong, and they will stay.

  • This is the summer I was supposed to believe in myself, but I’ve learned that maybe we all are just halfway portraits of self-belief. Other people have no trouble telling you what they can do. Well this is the summer I’ve learned to tell you what I can do. I can take photos of your child and rebuild smashed Twitter accounts and write with my heart and make fun and quirky recipes and rebuild from smashed lenses and smashed hearts. There are many things I can do, to do for you!

  • This is the summer I was supposed to get the guts to rent a cabin alone or not alone in the middle of nowhere, Maine with waist-high wading boots and a rented or bought zoom lens. It hasn’t happened and still could, but instead I’ll count the victories that are either booked or done. Cape Cod. Photographing my dad’s 50th reunion. Starting the process of renewing my passport. Renewing my driver’s license without swearing in the RMV. Booking a wedding, and many portraits.

Magical baby steps.

  • This is the summer I was supposed to find work/life balance, but instead I worried too much about Twitter accounts and page views and slept through so many cuddle opportunities with the kids and the dog. Yet, the kids were happy. Our jobs have allowed us to send them to some pretty awesome camps. They are memorable, loved and engaging. Sometimes it feels like all I do is work and hide, rinse, repeat, but every foray into the world is only broadening my own little world.

It’s not failures or missed opportunities. Not yet, oh no. It’s missed steps and dissed steps and ebbs and flows and victories and setbacks. It’s missteps and mistrusts and rebuilds and re-trusts, all leading to the same place – where I want to be.

Where I want to be.

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is: It was the summer of...

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “It was the summer of…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE.

There’s still time for a summer of love.