Archives for posts with tag: activities

Fall 2013 Bucket List

 Finally, after a few weeks of watching it mock me on my calendar the Julius Family 2013 Bucket List is COMPLETE!

Places to Visit


Visit an orchard for apple picking: Carter Mountain Orchard

Visit a pumpkin patch

Go on a hike at the Natural Bridge Park in VA

Go to Belvedere Plantation and try their Maize Maze

Visit a local farmer’s market

Go for a hike at Crabtree Falls


Things to Make


Make art with leaves

Make a new fall banner for inside the house

Make a new bat garland for the front porch

Make a leaf garland

Make apple prints

Make pumpkin scented playdough

Make leaf prints

Make a pinecone bird feeder

Doodle on freshly collected leafs (The Artful Parent)

Autumn Cork Painting (The Picky Apple)

Make shaving cream painted leaves (Little Wonder Days)

Autumn Leaves Stained Glass (The Artful Parent)

Make leaf monsters 

Make a spider web and play a game with it

Tree and Leaf Rubbings (Martha Stewart)

Make a Turkey Suncatcher (Imagination Station)

Pumpkin Face Paper Craft (Deep Space Sparkle)

Paint and play with maple tree seeds (El Hada de Papel)

Make and play with chestnut flyers (Badut)

Make corn necklaces to give away (Goose and Binkey)

Make handprint turkeys

Make pumpkin pinch pots (The Chocolate Muffin Tree)

Make crayon drip pumpkins (life with Moore Babies)


Things to Do


Enjoy apple cider

Go on a fall color drive

Play in the leaves

Carve a pumpkin

Make a fall wreath

Decorate a pumpkin with paint

Watch a fall related movie (thinking classic Charlie Brown)

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Go camping at Pocahontas State Park

Go for a bike ride at Petersburg National Battlefield

Go on a hayride

Plant mums

A fall nature scavenger hunt

Go on a picnic

Play flag football

Go to a football game

Update the thankful tree for Thanksgiving 2013

Roast smores

Sit by the fire

Fly a kite!

Read fall themed books

Play games with gourds

Erupting Pumpkins Experiment (Growing a Jeweled Rose)

Pumpkin Bowling  (Jenetics)

Host an indoor mini goard/pumpkin scavenger hunt

Attend the Richmond Folk Festival October 11-13th

Attend the 25th Annual ATT Virginia Children’s Festival October 5th

 Shoot homemade BB gun targets


Recipes to Make


Make a big batch of chili

Bake some pies

Make homemade caramel apples

Roast pumpkin seeds

Bake pumpkin bread

Bake pumpkin cookies

Bake pumpkin scones

Bake pumpkin muffins

Make apple sauce

Make pumpkin waffles or pancakes

Make roasted pumpkin soup

Make homemade apple cider donuts



Since my poor foot is done for the day and it’s time to hit the hay!

But I will say that we had an awesome day, completed some homeschooling, played in the sun (and even busted out the bouncer for a bit), made bubble snake makers (please check out:  since it’s such a neat thing, super cheap, earth friendly, and LOADS of fun), enjoyed a Campfire meeting, and ended the day with a beautiful service at First United Methodist Church in Killeen (thanks Tanja, for the invite).

So here is our day in photos (I know, it’s a total cop out but really, my foot is done)…

We were busy bees today. I had a ton of errands to run, a meeting to attend, and homeschooling to boot. Let’s not mention the exam that was looming large over my head. Thankfully I took a deep breath this morning, charted out the day and adjusted as necessary. The kiddos were troopers since we were in the car for a large portion of the day.

Crazy busy days like today are normally ones I would look forward to coming home, since Brooks would have normally been here waiting for us. The house is much too quiet without him. It’s hard to get used to that. Thankfully the kiddos fill up all that loud silence with lots of chatter and giggling and noise. It makes it bearable in some ways.

I swear, the two month mark is rotten. I’m looking forward to May; to Brook’s birthday party and the pools being open on post, to school ending and field trips galore. I’m even looking forward to the heat, but check back with me on that once June swings around. I’m apt to change my mind on that one.

I was able to squeeze in some art with the kiddos today. I had seen a blog post on an easter egg rolling paint project. I thought the kiddos would enjoy that, and figured once their pieces dried out we could cut the paper into egg shapes and use them to decorate the house a little bit for the Easter Bunny. The kiddos took their plastic Easter eggs and rolled them across bright yellow copier paper. They had a lot of fun and then took blank sheets of paper and finger painted.

After our art projects were placed to dry I pulled out an activity. I had originally thought we could play a boardgame but that just wasn’t going to happen today. I was too pressed for time. Instead, thankfully, I caught sight of this blog post:

I love activities where Brooks is able to make something that can later keep him occupied. These balloon yo-yos we made today were just the right thing. They were simple to make and the kiddos were so excited and spent the rest of the day playing with them.

The kiddos picked out a balloon, filled the balloons with flour through a funnel, and then used rubber bands to attach the tied balloons to their hands. The rubber bands were fun because they were super stretchy, hence the balloon yo-yo’s.

Super simple, ridiculously cheap, and I see myself repeating this project at some later date in the future.

So all in all, though the day was busy, we had a fantastic day.

I’ve been missing Brooks like crazy. I’m thinking it’s primarily for three reasons.

1. I’m madly in love, and can’t help it.

2. It’s been two months and reality is setting in.

3. Laying around injured gives you too much time to think.

I’d like to think point number one is the most important, but really… if you allow yourself to dwell too much on the “I’m so madly in love I can’t live without him” bit, guess what? You’ll find yourself madly in love feeling like you can’t possibly exist a minute without him. That’s not too conducive to a year long deployment. After a few weeks you might end up crazed with all the longing and missing, and pretty sad and depressed, possibly bitter and angry. It’s not a pretty sight.

So as much as I love Brooks I try not to dwell so much on it (which is really, really hard – but doable). Staying busy is key because if you’re busy chances are you’ll be too exhausted to dwell on things.

Recovering from this surgery has really thrown me for a loop. I’ve had way too much time on my hands to think, and coupled with the fact that we’re at the two month mark, the reality of the whole thing has been hitting me hard.

So I was thrilled when my friend Dalia said she’d pick The Boy and I up for lunch and then come back with us to help me clean my patio. Getting out of the house these days is such a treat, and spending time with Dalia is always fun, so I was super excited! And then, and then, afterwards, Dalia took it upon herself to clean my patio. It looked so nice by the time she was done. I was so happy because I’ve been wanting to go outside and enjoy the yard with The Boy but it’s gotten so ugly out there with pollen everywhere and leaves and these little fuzzy long things. So yay for a clean yard and amazing friends!

After Dalia left The Boy and I worked on some art projects.

I’ve been wanting to tackle some stuff with BB for a few days now but with him being sick it was out of the question.

We have his basketball photos laying around waiting to be mailed out to loved ones. I thought it would be nice to include a small art piece from Little B. I saw a neat playdough flower print activity on this blog:

The premise is that you take playdough, make a flower on a flattened piece, and use that as a stamp to make prints. Too cute!

This is how we tackled it:

First, as I was searching for paper in the art supply closet I spied about a bazillion (alright, slightly less) white paper lunch bags. I figured I could take two and cut them to size to create small pieces of art that would fit inside an envelope.

And, since we were in dire need of playdough, we also made up a new batch. Here’s the link for that:

Playdough making was fun, and Little B, as usual, asked if he could taste it because it smelled so good. We’ve been down this road countless times. He always tastes it, he always says it’s good, then ten seconds later starts gagging. That whole process happened again. I just sat back and watched it unfold.

In the Chocolate Muffin Tree blog the blogger wrote that her daughter took a small ball of dough, flattened it, and drew her design with a toothpick. I decided that using a flat disk of playdough would be difficult. So we fashioned a disk but added a handle for easy printing. And instead of a toothpick? A chopstick.

The finished products are too cute. I’m kinda sad I didn’t make enough paper for me to keep one, but hey, tomorrow is another day 🙂

I have my head wrapped around mailing out another care package to Brooks. I’m so sad I’ve been unable to do that. I like sending him a little piece of home. It makes me feel better about the whole thing somehow. I like including things Brooks has done but also always try to add a personalized piece, something made specifically for the purpose of uplifting the biggest Brooks in the Julius household.

I had seen a blog post on about making oneself into a super hero. I thought it would be cool for Brooks to turn his Daddy into a super hero. You have to love the picture we used.  Here is our process:

And the last thing we tackled? Both Brooks like to play. They can be consumed by one activity for long stretches of time. It’s amazing, really. So we thought long and hard about making him something fun that we could then send him. We settled on silly putty, because it bounces, stretches, and is just plain fun.

Here is where we found our recipe: Brooks chose the color blue for his Daddy’s silly putty, and afterwards spent a good hour testing it to make sure it would be fun enough and not defective in any way, shape, or form.

So all in all, we had a great day. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Whatever it is, it’s bound to be good.


Not to sound mean, but my husband can’t fix many things. At least not around this house. Perhaps, and I might be leaning more this way, he just chooses not to, I’m not quite sure, but thankfully we don’t experience too many of those instances where a handy man would be, well… handy. And when things break down, and they inevitably do, I call my mom and she either walks me through it or, and this occurs more often than not, we wait for her to visit so she can fix it.

My mother is amazingly handy. I think she got it from being a military spouse. Hmm… wonder when I’ll get that fix-it genius bestowed upon me. She can also clear out housing perfectly, white glove test and all. She’s amazing.

Getting back to my husband. My dear, sweet husband, who happens to be handy-less. Since I don’t rely on my soldier to fix too many items around here, and because we’ve somehow lucked out, I’ve yet to experience a “he deployed and (enter random yet much needed/used item here) broke” moment. The closest I came to was a leaky pipe in our last apartment, which I just chose to live with because my landlords husband, the “handy man” proved himself to be as abled as my spouse in the area of fixing things. I was waiting for my mom to come fix that, but it was taking her longer than normal and I got tired of waiting because the funky smell under the sink was getting to be too much.  I googled that sucker and miracle of miracles, was able to replace all the plumbing under the sink, all by my lonesome, and fixed it! Perhaps there is some hope that my mom’s handiness will be bestowed upon me.

Which brings me to my moment.

Little Brooks’ bestest friend decided to spend the night after our Campfire meeting tonight. He hadn’t brought any clothes with him, so I told his mom I would drive by afterwards and pick up an overnight bag. Too easy, except that as we all got buckled in the car and got ready to go, the car wouldn’t start. It made the weirdest, whirring noises ever. My car is two years old. Two  years! We don’t buy used because I like knowing my cars won’t have mechanical problems. I keep the maintenance up to date (yup, me) and follow all the recommendations in the little book thing in the dash. After repeatedly trying to start the car, while cringing at the awful  noises being produced by my car, the engine finally started. I of course, A. called my mother, who then B. told me to call my father. I guess mechanical issues aren’t her forte, like painting walls without taping or covering anything with tarps, or rewiring electrical sockets (she has taught me that the easiest way to unclog a toilet is to let some Dawn soap down the toilet, and after sitting for a while the whole yucky, clogged up mess goes right down the plumbing – genius)!

Of course, Toyota would be closed.

Hopefully the car restarts tomorrow… oh sugar!

For those wondering, I did maintain my PJ day, until right before Campfire was to start. The Boy and I had a relaxing morning, though we did do some homeschool, much to his chagrin. He thought my day of rest and relaxation didn’t include teaching him. Silly boy.

My favorite parts of the day were spending time with my boy. We did an air resistance race outside since it was so nice out. We took the lids off the recycling bins and timed each other racing around fixed points. We took three measurements of time: once running normally, once running with our arms fixed at our sides, and once with the lids so that it would create a whole lot of resistance. It was Little B’s idea to run with our arms fixed at our sides. He didn’t think it would be very scientific to run with our arms pumping, which he felt would give us a better time, when our arms had to be stationary while running with the recycling bin lids. He had a solid argument so we tried all three. Yes, I did sneak in some homeschooling into this activity, and though I personally didn’t learn anything new about science… I did learn that my child is faster than me at running… weird… aren’t my legs longer… shouldn’t I just be somewhat faster by default?

For those interested I got that activity from a book titled, Mudpies to Magnets.

We also did a paper “walk” contest indoors. This is super easy. We’ve done it before and it always makes us laugh. The object of the game is to get from one side of the room to the other while only walking on paper. You only get two sheets, so you have to step on one and place the other in front of you, and so forth. We timed these races and I actually had Brooks beat but the silly boy wasn’t pleased with that and kept practicing until his time was better than  mine. I also learned something from this activity… I need to get back into shape. I was hurting so bad by our third run. We both laughed like crazy though, since you sometimes find yourself in the craziest positions while trying to get to the end mark quickly.

Since it was so nice out today we also did a Dice Walk. Little Brooks did not want to walk, though, as he got a trike for Christmas that he is loving. I had to set a time limit on our walk since we had Campfire kiddos coming sooner than later, but it was still an adventure and we found ourselves in parts of our neighborhood we had yet to explore.

And now The Boy and his friend are laughing and being silly. I don’t take today for granted and am so thankful for the wonderful day we’ve had. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings; hopefully it brings a working car. The boys are not showing any signs of exhaustion. They could probably stay up until tomorrow. And sadly, I may do the same as I drank too much Coke, yet again.