Finding Treasure

Thanks to gophers, we have huge dirt piles all around our yard.

Crappy Boy and Crappy Baby love the dirt piles.

(Well actually, they love digging in the dirt piles. I’m not sure whether or not they love the dirt piles alone. Dirt piles just kind of sit there. You have to add stuff. Like digging. Or water to make mud. Or plant stuff in it. Or bury stuff in it. Or make pretend food out of it. Or pick up the dirt and throw it in your brother’s face. Lots of options.)

So they are digging in the dirt.

I ask them what they are doing (mostly to predict whether dirt in the face is imminent) and Crappy Boy says:


Treasure! Good!

I ask what treasure they are hoping to find and Crappy Boy answers:


Sounds reasonable. That could actually happen. (Note to self: seed dirt piles with dimes and quarters. No, pennies are better. Cheaper. I think dimes and quarters went up in price.)

And he excitedly continues:



Then Crappy Baby shares what he is hoping to find:


They laughed and laughed and continued to list crazy and unlikely items they might find.

For almost two hours.

And nobody threw dirt.

The treasure I was hoping to find?

Found it.



Another note to self: make these chocolate chip cookies again soon. Maybe don’t bury them in the dirt though.ย 



This entry was posted in crappy pictures, magical moment memories, messy stuff, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

103 Responses to Finding Treasure

  1. Jans says:

    We (Canadians) should send you all our pennies since they’re no longer in circulation up here ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Rachel says:

    Wonderful :’) !

  3. Lynann says:

    Awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Lore says:

    I read all your posts in one week. Now I’m addicted. And I so recognise myself in most of them!

  5. Chris B. says:

    OK, this was ultra sweet – thank you.

  6. Jenn L says:

    are you sure it’s not moles? we had moles at our last home- talk about a freakin’ disaster.

  7. Jlynn says:

    The small moments of peace when they play nice together are gold! (I had to stop typing twice to intervene between my children, excuse me they are fighting again…)

  8. Jo says:

    Feel free to expand their list for us.

    • amber says:

      Well, they kept on with food at first, like muffins and cakes and ice cream cones. Of course poop made the list at some point. (When they are making jokes they always toss that in for good measure.) They started listing animals. “Do you think we’ll find a cat down here?” Then it morphed into toys. At one point Crappy Boy said he hoped to find a Lego Death Star. No such luck.

  9. Maranda says:

    Maybe if you packaged the cookies properly you could bury them for the kids to find, like wrapped in plastic and stuffed in a tin box.

    • amber says:

      I did consider that for a bit. But that is seriously upping the ante. I hate upping the ante. Then I have to keep doing cool stuff and they’ll never dig in the plain dirt again.

      • Yes!!! You are a parenting guru. If they enjoy digging for digging’s sake, no need to intervene and take away the fun they are having by turning it in to what they find. I always have to stop myself from doing that, too. It’s so fun to swoop in and ‘add’ to the kids’ experience, but we end up taking over without even noticing.

      • Libby H says:

        But just one penny is a perfect find. Then they’ll take the bait and keeping digging in the hopes of finding more.

  10. Lidia says:

    My husband buried geodes in our yard and had the boys find them one afternoon. They are convinced that they found actual buried treasure. Their reactions were very cute ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Jeanna says:

    Ah yes. Dirt is the common ground, literally! …The only way I could get my kids to get along for more then 10 minutes….give them dirt and the water hose for the afternoon and they are set. (Thank goodness we have a well, otherwise this would have been pretty expensive!) Thanks for sharing! Love it.

  12. Jennifer says:

    You HAVE to check out Geo caching! Real treasure hunting, all over the place! I have so much fun doing this with my three kids, ages 5, 3 and 1. You simply get the GPS coordinates and a clue off the website and then set off on your search. You can even make your own geo caches to hide ๐Ÿ™‚

    • amber says:

      We started doing it last summer! We did it twice but unfortunately the “treasure” both times was assorted business cards. It WAS fun to find the box though. Do people ever leave other stuff?

      • Jennifer says:

        We have found 8 so far and have gotten: a toy turtle, a toy witch, a toy fish, a key chain, a small bouncy ball, an earring, a marble and a stamped penny from Glacier National Park. We keep all our items in a special box ๐Ÿ™‚

        • amber says:

          Wow, that is awesome! Okay, we’ll keep trying.

          • Alicia says:

            It’s great fun! I love to hike, so this gets the kids interested too. One of the best ones was at a small local veteran memorial. Kids got to learn something that day too, instead of just me saying, “isn’t it pretty here?” ๐Ÿ™‚

      • christy says:

        What are you talking about? Seems fascinating.

      • JessicaC says:

        try LEAVING stuff… the kids might like that, buy a bunch of crap at a party store and let them leave them in the cache

    • Marilyn says:

      LOVE geo caching!

    • Stefanie says:

      We love geocaching! We stopped trading treasure for items and now appreciate the hunt as “hiking with a purpose”. It is nice to have a destination to hike to instead of just rambling around the woods. Our kids have learned so much on our outings, too!

      • Denise says:

        We do letterboxing rather than geocaching for that reason. You’re just “collecting” the stamped images. We have far too much stuff (that the kids refuse to part with) already.

        • Denise says:

          We are letterboxers too! When one of my kids have an “away” sporting event, we pack a picnic and do some letterboxing before the game. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Emma says:

    My Mum used to very deliberately offer 10p to the first of myself or my brothers to find an acorn while we were out walking the dogs in a forest where she knew full well there were no acorn trees. Worked like a charm apparently and we would look for ages………

  14. Ashlee says:

    Your dirt piles sound amazing. Much better than mine. Can I send my kids over to yours please?

  15. I wish I could find chocolate ship cookies in my garden!

  16. christin says:

    My parents ordered a BIG truck full of dirt just for us to dig in.We also had child size boxing gloves and a skating “hill” so we could go down really fast.Looking back I realize they were the coolest.

  17. Linda says:

    I guess I should really consider having another child, I would love to witness a moment like that.

  18. Kids playing together for two hours? That is so much better than diamonds and gold (rarer too in my experience!)

  19. Raluca says:

    This is so cool, I wish I had a yard! Did they find anything after two hours? My 2.5 yo says they must have found apples!

  20. Melissa says:

    Love it! My girls found one of our many mole-holes in our backyard just yesterday and had a blast digging through it with their fingers. They added grass and rocks and told me it was a “nest”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Sarah says:

    You have conditioned me to expect that everything is about poop so I was expecting Crappy Baby to dig up a turd. Am I the only one who expected this based on A. Past posts and B. the shape of the “dirt” in his hands?

  22. Heather S. says:

    Two hours of not being a referee is such a beautiful treasure!
    I think love of dirt must be universal to boys. My three (almost 4) year old will dig in the dirt for hours. We have a little red wagon full of dirt that has attracted monster trucks, excavators, and other various toy vehicles. If he’s not dragging the wagon itself, he also has beach toy buckets and shovels in which he hauls dirt around the yard. Sometimes, he catches bugs and tries to put them into his Hot Wheels so they can drive. (Unfortunately, there aren’t many bugs hardy enough to survive auto crashes or being buried alive inside a car.) His little brother (just over 1 year old), mostly just sifts the dirt through his fingers with a disgusted look on his face but is content to drive cars in the dirt with big brother. My in-laws bought the boys a sandbox but haven’t been here to give it to them yet. I can’t WAIT to see their reaction! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. jessica says:

    We have a penny garden for our 3 year old girls. Dad goes out at night and “plants” more pennies for them. They loo oove it!

  24. Dara says:

    We had gophers at one of the houses we used to rent. They are adorable, aren’t they? Unfortunately the land was very “dirty” and they dug up broken glass, shards of metal, etc… and my 4 year old cut his foot in one of the piles. Stitches! And then we moved. I wish our memories of gopher dirt piles were this good!

    • amber says:

      Yes, gophers are SO adorable. Adorable little awful creatures. Rather like toddlers.

      (I never realized it was them, but this suddenly explains all the vintage metal toy parts that keep appearing in the yard. Long forgotten and buried by the original owner’s children who are all grown. Yikes on the glass.)

  25. Briony says:

    I’m jealous of the fact that they can play outside at this time if year, it’s freezing here in London only brief forays it to the park with many layers of clothes.

    However my 2 boys (both about a year younger than your 2) had over an hour of similar play with my egg shells. I’ve been collecting them intending to use them round my seedling in spring to deter the snails from decimating our veg patch. So I just chuck the egg shells in a large plastic pot and occasionally give it a crush with my pestle, but it was overflowing and I wanted to transfer to a bag, so i offered it to my oldest to give it a quick crush, but an hour later, they were both still crushing away, transferring it into various pots, unfortunately adding water (!) putting it in the fridge, adding the wax from baby bells and generally ‘doing experiments’.

    I’m still finding bits of egg shell about the house, but I’m sure there is some equation that calculates length of time they are busy happy and quiet for, with how much time it takes to clean up the mess it creates to determine a break even point. 10 mins clean up for 90 mins brotherly peace definitely worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Lisa Lutes says:

    I think the dirt in my backyard has entertained my oldest daughter more than any toy inside our house.

  27. Amy says:

    I am so glad the quiet equaled pleasant fun. When my boy was two, I was cooking lunch and was very grateful for about 5 minutes of free time to actually put stuff together. THen my brain registered ‘the squishy sound.’ I turn around and the little guy had taken his morning oatmeal and started smearing it on the counter, kitchen walls and floor. I paid one hour of clean up for that 5 minutes of quiet.

  28. Elaine says:

    My kids have a mud pit. Their friends all want to come over to play in it. Moms find it strange though. Whatever keeps ’em happy and outside I say.

  29. Krys says:

    As a child, my brother and I tried to dig a swimming pool. We ended up with a hole about 18 inches deep, and 3 feet across. We filled it with water and jumped in, clothes and all. The best part though, was I remember my mom laughing at us when we came back to the house, instead of being all mad that we made such a mess of ourselves. What I’d give to be a child again.

  30. Jennifer J says:

    Boys’ love of dirt lasts until at least the late teens. In their mid-teens, my boys excavated under the swing set until it was so deep you couldn’t climb into the swings anymore. In their late teens, they dug a hole at the back of our property that was too far to jump across, and too deep to climb out of without a ladder. Then the rains came, and they had a small, very muddy, swimming hole. They still play with it when it dries out, and they are in their early to mid twenties.

    • Lacey says:

      My husband never grew out of it. He dug a huge hole last year with his tractor in my yard. He said it was for a pond but when it became clear it wouldn’t hold water he continued to dig. It still doesn’t hold but a foot of water so mostly its just a mess. I’m sure my son will pick right up on the fun in a year or two…

  31. Lisa says:

    Spray paint some small rocks gold and silver. It’s LIKE effort, and not very expensive. (We did this for a pirate themed bday party, worked great)

  32. Amber says:

    I teach preschool and a couple of years ago the kids were digging in the sand box. Suddenly they were very happy about the “treasure” they found. (they often found little thing so we let it go. )They kept calling it a rabbit and getting louder so I went to investigate said treasure. One of the high school students must have buried a dead squirrel in the sand box. It was fresh, plump and the prefect Tessie for little ones in the sand box. They kids were so excited about their”TREASURE”. Ewe, giggle, go wash your hands…

  33. Meg says:

    Make the cookies and put them in Tupperware. Bury that.

  34. Nicki says:

    When I taught preschool, we used to seed the sandbox with fake rhinestones and sequins! Easy (and cheap!) way to bury “treasures” for them to find (and it’s great fine motor development!!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Alyssa says:

    When my siblings and I were growing up, my dad would occasionally toss a handful of small change (mostly pennies) out into the yard without telling us, and we would just find them randomly. He would do it on a kind of bare-ish patch on the hill so it was easier to find. We thought that was awesome. If we realized he had done it recently, we’d be out there with our noses to the ground for hours.

  36. Eleusis Kore says:

    Another awesome post! I remember, as a preschool teacher, when we couldn’t go outside, the kids would get a visit from the “treasure fairy.”. While they were sitting eating snack (or otherwise engaged) one of us teachers would wander around the room with sequins in our pockets and surreptitiously drop piles and trails of sequins. Then, eventually, one of the kiddos would see it, get all excited and we’d get out little cups for them to collect the “treasure” in. Would keep them happy and quiet, and they cleaned up the mess themselves!

  37. Jen says:

    Love. What a sweet story. Thank you!

  38. Mercy says:

    I wish there was clean dirt available for my kids ’cause they love it. But here in India even the playground sand is filthy. At the local park they discovered a small hole in the ground and they like to fill it with sticks and dry grass,and then they pretend to be cooking. Last time I asked them what they were doing they replied: “Cooking Mort and Marty.” (From Madagascar)

  39. Lindsey says:

    My 3yr old found a peanut, with shell, while digging in a dirt pile today. It’s now in a tupperware container in my living room for safe keeping. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think one of our construction guys must have been snacking while on the job..don’t tell my son!

  40. Charlie says:

    Hilarious! A guaranteed laugh every time Amber ๐Ÿ˜€

  41. Katie says:

    Cute story! I love your blog. The stories of your boys make me so excited that we will be welcoming a new baby in the summer. A sibling for my two year old son! Your stories will help to me laugh at the chaos and treasure the moments like you shared here! Thanks! PS – Can’t wait for the book.

  42. Carol says:

    I love this story! My girls come in covered from head to toe in dirt when it’s warm out and I love it (not the mess, but the getting along that happens when they play outside and get dirty).

  43. Woolies says:

    Maybe while they are out there in the gopher piles (GOPHER??), they could plant a money tree. That would grow real money. I’ve been wanting one of those for a long time.

  44. Lauren says:

    Perhaps if you put the cookies in a Ziplock before burial, Crappy Baby could find some. ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Rachel says:


  46. Flora says:

    A friend of mine literally does go and bury change in her sand box for the kids to dig up and find. When we stay at their house, my kids are out there for HOURS just to make 0.75 cents in pennies and nickels. It’s pure genius.

  47. Catherine says:

    That escalated quickly

  48. Belle says:

    You’re right, those ARE the best choc chip cookies in the world. Thanks for linking to them ages ago… Mmm. We always eat half the batch just as dough. If I ever lose the recipe I type into google ‘choc chip cookies so fucking good’ ๐Ÿ™‚ winner.

  49. Pingback: Gaming News Alerts » Google Alert – Treasure