It is official. Summer break has arrived at the Julius household.

For some reason the arrival of this summer season has me all kinds of excited. For one, I am done with my crazy semester interrupted by my crazy foot surgery. And two, at the very end of it all we get to welcome Brooks home, even if just for a little while. Nothing beats that!

Little B must have been dreaming about our new activity jar because as soon as he woke up he pulled three activities out of the jar. I told him that it might be more fun to pull out three and pick one. He had three choices this morning: painting outside on the art easels, making eggless cookie dough, or a No Rule Day. Because he knew we had a dental appointment he reasoned it would be a waste of a No Rule Day (not running errands is one of the perks of No Rule Days). He settled on the eggless cookie dough, one of those unattainable activities since we usually make doughs that have egg in them and therefor he can’t taste them. It drives him somewhat batty.

This morning Little B had a dental appointment. And this is entirely for D.Brooks’ sake, since in my jibber jabber I forgot to mention the details in our phone call this afternoon: no cavities, they had to redo to of his sealants, and that crazy tooth that won’t erupt? Normal, the dentist said).

After the dental appointment we headed home for a late lunch, an hour of homeschooling, and some fun activities.

I had seen this awesome post about making a ball tube: http://spiralmontessorimama.blogspot.com/2009/02/ball-tube.html.  I know that My Boy loves playing with his marbles and that every time we have been to a kids museum that had ball runs or marble runs he would instantly gravitate towards them. Why not do the same at home?

I have no space whatsoever in the base housing we currently reside in. That being said, I LOVE our home. It’s small but cozy, and feels 100 percent like home. But there is no space for extras at all. So although I have several bins full of art supplies I can’t reuse and recycle items I would normally keep, like toilet paper rolls. Those get recycled right away since I have no space to store them.

So I improvised on the blog’s entry. We created tubes from rolled up cardstock by stapling them together and taping the middles. Those tubes we then affixed to a dry erase board, manipulating the tubes and playing with them until we had a decent two way marble run. We took the project outside because it was just to darn nice out to stay inside. We lined the bottom of the dry erase board with bubble wrap to help catch, or at least slow down, any marbles.

We had quite a bit of fun and now the marble run is in his room for the next week or so so that the kiddos can enjoy it to their hearts content.

I swear, if I had the means, I would open up a small kids museum in the area. Killeen, and the surrounding area, are in dire need of one!

After our marble run fun we came in to work on some marbleized paper art. I used the time I was waiting for Little B at the dentist to browse the internet and ran across an art project using the Japanese art of Suminagashi.  I can’t find the link, unfortunately, so I’ll give you a little run down.

Suminagashi is the ancient Japanese art of Japanese marbling. From what I’ve gathered on the internet it’s traditionally done on rice paper or something similar. A ink called Sumi ink is used. I couldn’t find that at Hobby Lobby so I picked up India ink in blue and green to try and see if it would work. I found a few sites that had this project on them but they were too complicated. The first blog I had seen had a very simple version and that’s what we followed.

We took a large round pan and filled it with water about half way. It’s a somewhat shallow dish and worked well for us. We then took the India Inks and placed them into a tray for easy use. We took a nice small tipped brush and dipped it into the ink and then lightly touched it to the waters surface. Immediately the ink spread in a round stream of color. The kiddos could add colors right into the middle of the first circle, to the outer edges, wherever. They spent quite a bit of time experimenting with it until they were happy. After they were done adding color in that manner then they could take a piece of cardstock and lay it in the water over the colors, thereby making a print or they could blow on the water to create ripples and a cool marbelized effect, and again, add paper to make a print.

I was a bit sad I didn’t have time to make some myself. True story. It’s such a cool art process and the possibilities are endless. I can see us redoing this one over and over and over again. The set up is easy and afterwards really holds the kids attention; mine too.

After our art fun I loaded up the kids in the car so that we could check out the Long Branch Park Water Spray Pad that’s free, and a ten minute ride down the road (down Rancier). We’ve been here five years and shame on me for just now checking it out. There were quite a number of kids enjoying the water spray park when we arrived, but even so the kiddos had a great time. I had fun listening to Brooks squeal and carry on. At one point he had several kids dancing with him under the whale spray thingy. He cracks me up, really and truly.

I think today was the perfect day to begin our summer break. And the best part was coming home, pitching a homemade fort in the living room and filling our bellies with eggless cookie dough. Yes, Big Brooks, eggless cookie dough 😉

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