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Fun with the Family with Julie Lavender: No foolin' The month of April is upon us
Julie Lavender web
Julie Lavender

    The cosmic forces and calendar fairies attempted to play April Fool’s on us for practically the entire month of March, from summer weather one week to a blossom-killing frost the next week to rainstorms with wind gusts of tropical proportions and then back to spring-like temperatures the following week. The weather announcers said, “Spring? Just kidding — protect the plants.” And then, “Spring? Nope, still fooling you — break out the sunscreen and blast away the air conditioning.”

No fooling, though — another month on the calendar brings fresh opportunities to spend quality moments with those you love. Gather the family to celebrate some of the holidays below or create new ones to enjoy every moment of April.  

National Walk to Work Day — This celebration is most likely not feasible for the majority of us, but, generally speaking, the month of April does lend itself to nice walking adventures. Pick a new place to walk each weekend of the month, like the Blind Willie McTell Trail downtown or the S and S Greenway off of Gentilly Road. Turn each walking trek into a visual scavenger hunt to look for bluebirds or butterflies, new blossom shoots or springtime flowers or license plates from adjacent states or faraway ones. Make each step count as you appreciate the beautiful surroundings, the nature ones and the family ones.

National Karaoke Week — If you happen not to own karaoke equipment, pull out some old CDs and have a family sing-along.Talk about favorite songs, both old ones and new ones. What memories are attached to the songs you treasure? Do you have favorite lullabies from days gone by? After singing and reminiscing, try your hand at creating a brand new song.         

Brainstorm an idea or memory that will help you create the lyrics to a Grammy-winning tune.  Write the words down and create a fresh tune or sing them to the tune of a familiar song.

Caramel Popcorn Day — Make a batch of caramel popcorn using the recipe below and make sure to assign duties to family members in an age-appropriate fashion. Pop enough popcorn to yield five quarts. Place the popcorn in a very large bowl and preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 cup of butter. Stir in 2 cups of packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup of corn syrup and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour the mixture slowly over the popcorn and stir to coat all popcorn pieces.              Place the coated popcorn in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before breaking apart gently. Store in an air-tight container.

Easter — Make a fun, rabbit-shaped dessert to celebrate the season of new birth and life. Follow the directions on a boxed cake mix to make two round layers. Cut two identical bunny ear shapes from one layer such that it leaves a bowtie shape in the middle. Place the ears in position above the other round layer and place the bowtie shape below the round layer.                                  

Frost with white and pink icing; add coconut if desired for a fluffy look and add candies for facial features and bowtie décor. Snack on the dessert and talk about the blessings of new life during springtime: trees and plants coming back to life, baby birds and rabbits, and the promise of a new life from a risen Savior.   

East Meets West Day — The origin of this holiday goes back to April 25, 1945, when American and Soviet Forces met for the first time in the battlefields of World War II at the Elbe River. Elbe Day is known as “one of the few shining beacons of peace between the USA and USSR during the Cold War.” Celebrate the differences and similarities of those in your world and community with an open and honest family discussion of compassion, love, understanding and empathy. Make a conscious decision to get to know those surrounding you that may seem different initially, but who most likely have way more similarities than differences

Celebrate throughout the month of April with those you love, finding unique ways to explore the changing of the seasons — take in a baseball game, plant flowers in the back yard or start a small garden plot. You’ll not want to miss a minute of south-Georgia’s springtime.



            Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.

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