Archives for posts with tag: museum

b did his reading here for some reason today. that book he’s holding is one of my fave for his independent reading during our homeschool day: mcgraw hill’s fifth grade reading book. love the short stories and the activities included, as well as reading comprehension questions. (i’m a most eclectic homeschooler 😉


Homeschool Tuesday:

busy, full, and very much in need of careful planning, execution, AND organization.

Tuesdays are The Day in our homeschool week as of late. With the end of both of B’s basketball leagues I was able to spend a little bit more time at home and a lot less time on the road. We have been going full speed through January and February and the break was quite nice, but it still left us with Tuesdays.

Tuesday is the Athenian Academy and B’s weapon’s history class.


weapon’s class catapault fun

Every other Tuesday is 4H.

And because we are already in Richmond-ish then it makes perfect sense to make Tuesdays our museum day. But I hate to miss out on a day of homeschooling so we do that too. Before we head out. Which is where the organization falls into place because we need to leave here at 9:45 sharp to get to his class on time.


If we start school at 7am that leaves us with 2 and a half hours of schooling. That’s enough for a full half day of intensive study of the two core subjects of language arts and math. Our Tuesdays are what our Language Arts program is to our homeschooling day… busy, full, and carefully organized. It takes up the largest chunk of our day. Reading, reading comprehension, classic literature studies (these are separate things in my curriculum planning), writing, spelling, vocabulary, and grammer. Math is far easier only because The Boy has always naturally taken to numbers and is able to manipulate them internally. Between those two subjects and current events it usually takes the bulk of the slotted time for our official half days of homeschooling. If I’m lucky I can squeeze in geography, intro to logic, typing practice, and health. 

I was lucky this Tuesday. We didn’t even rush through everything, it just all kind of fell into place and clicked. We did a short biology lesson intro and I knew that hitting the Science Museum for some expansion on highlighted points was going to be the icing on the cake.

It was.

And it ended up being a busy, but amazing day. Which leaves me feeling extra thankful…



The dragon for the modern lion dance that we were unable to enjoy but which we were able to admire 🙂

I had my little rant on The Facebook about how rude the parents were at this particular event, so I won’t go into that here because quite honestly, that aside, we really had a good time. Little B was oblivious to most of it so he had a blast and was sad when the event ended and it was time to go.

I like to take events like this and turn them into something a bit bigger, so knowing that we were going to be in Richmond for this event D.Brooks and I scoured the web for a good Chinese Restaurant in Richmond (Chinafest – Chinese restaurant, that’s gold 😉  ).


Funny side note, when we arrive at the Chinese Restaurant Little B says all surprised, “Gee how funny, we were just at the Chinafest, now we’re eating Chinese!” As smart as my little cookie is he’s yet to figure out that there’s careful planning involved in some of our outings! 😉


paper cutting at one of the demonstration tables

Thankfully the Museum has TONS of parking, and at 5 bucks a car that’s a steal for a metropolitan area. The Chinafest only ran for four hours. I think an all day even would have been better because there was so much to see and do that we were unable to do it all, even though quite frankly we really, really wanted to.


working on their snake puppets


They had a traditional lion dance, modern lion dance, and a martial arts demonstration. Note to self, next year watch from above like all the smart people peering down from the galleries. It was so crowded that the only performance we were able to see was the Traditional Lion Dance, and only because we were in the front row-ish.


The Boy’s name in calligraphy

They had all kinds of demonstrations as well: calligraphy, pottery, wood block printing, paper cutting, etc. Those were awesome to see but even more fun to try out for ourselves.  The artists involved in these art forms were easy to talk to and were happy to answer any questions.


koi fish kite decorating

B had his name written in calligraphy with four different characters standing for the sounds of his name. I asked the gentleman to translate what the sounds stood for and I can remember two of them (I did write them down for B) : gentle and “manly.” Nice! That’s a good combination in my book!


Big Brooks exploring the museum on his own whislt The Boy and I were occupied with koi fish making

There were also opportunities for the kiddos to try their own hands at some art: silk screen painting, snake puppets (for the year of the Snake!), koi fish kites, and block printing. They also had a fun photo booth with Chinese opera costumes to wear that was a lot of fun. Plus EVERYTHING was free, including the photos and all the art projects. You can’t beat that!


one of my most favorite pieces at the museum – i have a thing for circles. LOVE them!

We will definitely return for the festival next year, though we might thicken our skins a bit before we go 🙂


one of big brooks’s favorites


Big Brooks checked out some of the exhibits in the lower gallery while The Boy and I worked on his Koi Fish Kite. Love these pictures!


Friends truly make life sweet.

When I heard about the Bob Bullock State Museum’s Free Homeschool Day I instantly thought that one of my friends might be up to going. With both our busy schedules I love that we are always able to chisel out some time to spend together. Because we’ve both done multiple deployments we experience a lot of the same emotions, etc. I love that I can tell her stuff and that she gets it, no explanations or reasons needed. It just is what it is. So I was naturally thrilled when she agreed to go with Little Brooks and I down to Austin to check out a Texas history museum.

We had too much fun checking out the exhibits and learning about the history of Texas, and all the intricacies that make it uniquely what it is. I have to say, the volunteers at the museum are wonderful people, who are truly passionate about their state. It’s a wonderful thing to see. We even got to meet a real cowboy, which Little Brooks is still tickled pink about, whose family has been ranching in Texas since the 1800’s. We plan to go to the museum again. There is just so much to see, and I think an IMAX film thrown in with the next visit will excite the smallest Brooks in the Julius household.

After our trip to the museum we headed out to check out some of Austin’s trailer food scene. Brooks and I were lucky enough to find a cluster of food trailers during my Dirty Thirty celebration in Austin. I wanted my friend to check them out too, since it’s such a quirky, fun Austin thing.

Little Brooks was ubber dissapointed that the food trailer he was gunning for, Dirty Banjo’s, was closed. He settled on eating at Pig Vicious, a place aptly named for it’s use of the main ingredient bacon. I honestly felt like we’d stumbled upon the word of the day… everything had bacon in it. Brooks settled on a bowl of bacon mac and cheese, and my friend, Tanja, treated us to bacon covered pickles (yummy)!

I, sticking to my I’m-on-a-diet-even-though-I-hate-it guns, chose a super yummy dish from a Vegan food trailer, and gladly was not disappointed.  What I wanted to eat was what Tanja chose, the fish and Chips from Bits and Druther’s. I dislike fish with a passion, but this fish is so not fishy, super moist, and fried to delicious perfection.

The address of those particular food trailers is 1001 E 6th St, Austin. The nice thing about these food trailers is that it’s a cluster of them, with free parking in a lot right next door, it’s super close to downtown attractions, with porta potties to boot. The nice thing is that everyone can choose what they eat, which Little Brooks loves.

After our Austin field trip The Boy and I headed to Cove for my Spanish tutoring and afterwards we met up with Tanja again. She’d been too sweet to invite us to a PTO event at her daughter’s school since she thought LB would enjoy it. The ventriloquist show was funny, and thought provoking. You have to love that!

Today was too much fun! So although we played hooky, Little Brooks learned some new things about the state we currently call home, I was still able to wear

my “teacher hat” while tutoring, and we both brushed up on building a strong character (it’s amazing what puppets can teach you). And all while spending the day with a wonderful friend!

I know I say this often, but I am truly blessed. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Because it was a federal holiday I decided to be nice to to The Boy and only made him do a half day of homeschool. Before you feel bad for him, keep in mind we’re playing hooky tomorrow since we’re planning on taking a trip to Austin. Before you think I’m a terrible homeschooling mama, keep in mind the trip to Austin entails a trip to the Bob Bullock State Museum… and a trip to some Austin food trailers. If we’re already there, we might as well.  That’s my philosophy anyway.

So I was feeling pretty good, it being a federal holiday and all, and us taking the day nice and slow, when I got a call from only my most favorite person in the world (okay, both Brooks’ are tied in that category, but you get the picture). Federal Holiday, nice weather, and Facetime with the man who still causes me to stumble into heart palpitations: it was a good start to a good day.

I have say this, though: when Brooks called, I was in the middle of weeding outside. It was such a gorgeous morning – perfect weather for that type of thing. So when Brooks called I continued weeding while we Facetimed (I know that’s not a word, but it should be) and it was so nice because in so many respects, especially with seeing each other and the amazing connection, it was almost like he’d come in from work and was keeping me company while I worked outside. It may sound weird, but for a little bit of time it felt truly like he was home. Like I said, a good start to a good day!

The rest of the day was just as wonderful. The Boy and I played outside for a few hours. It was just so nice out. Brooks friend came over to play for a little bit and then we tried our hand at the bike riding, again. Bike riding, take two was not nearly as awful as day one. It gave me a lot of hope that he’d get the hang out of it clear of his 18th birthday.

If Little Brooks wasn’t so cautious, I’d venture to say he’d be riding circles around me already. But it’s so ingrained in who he is, he can’t move past it. Every single time he knows I’m not “holding” him, he wobbles and that’s the end of that. That Child rode that bike the whole length of the front of my house. The front yard is pretty big.  And he did it several times. But he still thinks he can’t do it. Oh boy, oh boy! So for sure there will be a bike riding, take three. Not tomorrow but for sure the day after that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he gains enough confidence he just takes off.

After playing our little hearts outside, and practicing his shots for a tournament this weekend, we came in and LB helped me make dinner. When Brooks is gone I don’t cook nearly as much as I do when he’s home. I can make a big pot of Something and live off of that for a few days. So we settled on a Minestrone Soup since we had all the ingredients on hand and because BB has been working on his knife skills in the homeschool co-op and vies for any chance at home to practice.



It’s kind of amazing that a child who is so conscious of avoiding injury would enjoy cutting things with a knife. He loves it. He even insisted on tackling the onions, even though it took him thirty minutes to finish since he had to keep leaving the room. He even tried tying one of my kitchen towels over his face, but quickly found out that covering his nose and mouth isn’t the problem.

Our soup turned out delicious. Brooks loves adding spices to food we make together so I never know what we’ll end up with. He used some smoked paprika and it turned out delicioso! Yay for leftovers!

After dinner Little Brooks tried his hand at making blow paint googly eye monsters. I copied the idea from a new blog I ran across yesterday:

It’s a super cute craft and since my boy loves anything and everything to do with monsters it was a perfect fit for our art project today. The concept is simple. You take paint that has been slightly watered down and you add it by spoonful to your paper. We used heavy paper so that the water wouldn’t ruin the whole thing. You then take a straw and blow the paint around any way you want. Brooks’ favorite part of the whole thing was adding spoonfuls of paint to the paper so the colors would mix when he blew. Tomorrow if it’s not too late when we return home from our fun day, we’ll add googly eyes and cut the monsters out so that we can display them. This might end up being a repeat project, since Brooks had so much fun making these today.

It was truly a perfect Monday!