It's 2018 — January is hot off the presses, with new beginnings and fresh starts and a wealth of warm memories with loved ones leftover from 2017 to carry us through the year.
Whatever resolutions you’ve made and possibly cast aside already, I pray that time with family remains atop your list and won’t topple from that vantage point throughout the year. Create lasting memories of quality time spent together and be intentional with family adventures to treasure.
Enjoy every moment of the new year. Find ways to make every day a holiday, using some of the January celebrations below or create unique family festivities to make this the best year ever!
National Oatmeal Month — Make up a batch of delicious cookies to celebrate National Oatmeal Month. Soften 1/2 cup of margarine, then cream with 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar. Add 3 eggs and mix completely. Add 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of light corn syrup.
In another bowl, stir together 4 1/2cups of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the oatmeal mixture to the sugar mixture gradually and blend. Add 1 cup of miniature M&M candies and 1 cup of miniature chocolate chips.
Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on a lightly greased cooking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Enjoy!
Bean Day — Fill the toes of old socks — but be sure there’s no holes — with dried beans. Use different colors of socks; each player will need three or four bean-bag socks. Wrap rubber bands tightly around each bean-filled toe area, leaving the ankle and top part of the sock for a "handle."
Use rope or yarn to make a large tic-tac-toe board outside in the grass. Then take turns tossing the socks towards the board to see who can score three in a row first. (If you don’t have enough socks for each person to have four, use some sort of marker to designate where a person’s sock lands and toss the same sock over again.)
National Puzzle Day — Find a puzzle to put together as a family project. Choose a spot where you can leave the puzzle out all month and put in a few pieces each night until you complete the puzzle.
Frisbee Anniversary Day — Pack up some Frisbees and head to Mill Creek Park with the family on a cold day and get some exercise. Sling a few Frisbees across the field and chase after them or play toss and catch. Who can throw the farthest? Who’s the best catch?
Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Celebrate the man who, long ago, dreamed of little children joining hands with children whose skin colors didn’t come close to matching at all, but rather blended together to form an even more beautiful color when linked. Take a trip to the local library and check out books for the whole family to read this month. Find books specifically in which the main characters do not look like the family members who will be reading the books.
The stroke of midnight just days ago ushered in a blank calendar, just waiting to be filled with family activities and quality time spent together. Hopefully, you had the chance to add snow activities to the memory bank earlier this week, a rarity for South Georgia, but a great way to start off the new year. Add lots and lots of adventures to the month of January, with plans for family fun all year long. May God bless your family in the days and weeks and months ahead.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.