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Celebrate hearts, love and lots of family time
Fun with the Family
Julie Lavender
Julie Lavender

With only 28 days in February, you’ll have to work extra hard to squeeze in a month’s worth of fun and festivities with the ones you love the most. Celebrate all things love and hearts this month. Look for hearts when you’re out and about to see how many you can spot, whether they come in the form of Valentine’s décor or heart-shaped leaves or clouds. Tint glasses of milk pink by dropping in red food coloring. Make heart-shaped cookies and biscuits. And share chocolate and treats all month long. Find new ways to share your love and affection to family members and add in a few of these silly holidays to continue the celebrations all month long. 

➤ National Heart Month — Create a fun craft that will last throughout the month of February with those you heart the most! Cut construction paper into 9X1-inch strips. Cut 28 strips using shades of pink, red and white paper. Divide the strips evenly among family members. Have each family write a love note on the strip, like, “I love spending time with my family” or “You are a blessing to our family.” On a few of the strips, write family fun activity suggestions, like, “Play a board game together” or “Wear pajamas and go through a drive through for an ice cream treat.” 

Once all of the strips have a love note or suggestion, put them together to make a heart chain. Using the first strip, bring the ends together and staple to form the point of a heart. Tuck the rounded end in to form the V-shape of the top part of the heart. Staple the “V” together to hold the heart shape in place. Loop the next strip into the first heart shape. Then follow the same instructions as above to form another heart. Continue with each strip until you have a chain of 28 hearts. During the month of February, take the chain apart, one heart at a time and read the words on the strip. Share the love sentiment with family members or complete the family fun suggestion as instructed on the heart strip.   

➤ National Haiku Writing Month — Try your hand as a family to write haiku. Originally a Japanese art form, haiku poems contain specific parameters: three lines containing five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line and five syllables in the last line. Typically, the poems center on the natural world, but some express thoughts about experiences or feelings. Here’s an example: 

An old silent pond. 

A frog jumps into the pond – 

Splash! Silence again.

Work together and write a haiku poem. Turn this family activity into even more fun by first taking a family hike on a beautiful February afternoon. Admire and talk about the beauty of nature surrounding you, even snapping pictures on a cell phone of various scenic locations. 

Then, once you’re back home, pick something you observed on the walk to write about. Toss out an example, like Canada geese flying overhead, turtles on a log in the pond, birds flitting about in the trees or leafless hardwoods waiting for spring. Brainstorm words to describe the topic you choose and how that object in nature makes you feel or what that member of the natural represents to you. 

Then, put those thoughts together in a three line poem of five syllables, seen syllables and five syllables. Have fun with the creations! Some could be very serious, and some could be silly and humorous. 

➤ Potato Lovers Month — Make the recipe for a yummy, hearty meal on a cool night this month. Make Loaded Hash Brown Soup to celebrate the festivity. In a large pot, combine 30 ounces of shredded hashbrowns, garlic salt and pepper to taste, 1 quart chicken broth and 1 cup heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. 

When potatoes are soft, add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Stir until melted. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of crumbled, cooked bacon. 

➤ National Secondhand Wardrobe Day — Start spring cleaning a bit early and clean out closets together, removing gently-used, outgrown clothes to share with someone else. Donate the clothes to Goodwill, a church clothing pantry or the women’s shelter. Or, choose another family with kids the same size as yours as make a plan to swap several outfits for each person to wear for a new, secondhand wardrobe celebration  

➤ Great Backyard Bird Count — Take part in an unofficial backyard bird count day by spending an afternoon in the backyard, listening for and seeking out as many different species of birds that you can find in a given amount of time. You might choose to restock the birdfeeders for several days before you plan to do the bird count, to attract some new visitors to the yard. 

Snap pictures of the feathered visitors and use bird ID books and online apps to identify the ones you don’t recognize. 

Enjoy the month of love together and make the most of every day. 

Find something about each new day to make a memory that you’ll treasure for a long time. Share time and intentionality with loved ones, because once the day is gone, we’ll never get that day back. Have fun! 

Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender loves encouraging families to make memories filled with love and fun. She is the author of "365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories" and "Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime."   

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