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June: Create sizzling summer memories
Fun with the Family with Julie Lavender
veggie tales

The month of June brings excitement for all, with trips to the beach or lake, popsicles and fresh vegetables, sleeping in, picnics with friends, honoring dads and extra minutes of sunshine each day. Take advantage of warm days ahead to make sizzling summer memories with those you love. Try some of the zany, but real, celebrations below or create some of your own special summer events.  

➤ National Zoo and Aquarium Month — There’s something fishy about his holiday! Celebrate with a fun, family fish craft. Have each family member pour their favorite color of craft paint into a shallow container. Be sure to use a different color of paint for each person. Cover a table to protect from paint spills. Have each person dip his or her hand into the paint and make handprints on white art paper. 

Turn the handprints into swimming fish by embellishing with glitter while the paint is still wet, or allow the paint time to dry and then glue on bits of colored tissue paper for scales. Glue on squiggly eyes and draw on fish mouths to finish the artwork. Once the fish are completely dry, have family members cut out the shapes and write a summer activity on the back on each fish. Place all the fish in a basket or container. Take turns choosing "fish" from the aquarium to complete the family activity. Make sure to schedule time to get through all the suggestions before summer’s end. (The number of people in the family and amount of summer free time will determine how many fish handprints each person makes.) 

➤ Trails Day — Make the most of beautiful summer days and get outdoors to celebrate this holiday. List all the nearby walking or hiking trails and add a few more within a short driving distance. Pick one to celebrate Trails Day specifically, but see if you can traverse all the trails on your list over the next couple of months.  

➤ Tailors Day — Have you ever thought about the people who design and make the clothes you wear? In honor of Tailors Day, read together an old classic, "The Tailor of Gloucester," by Beatrix Potter. After you’ve read the story, take time to go through closets and dressers and pick out several gently-worn clothing items. Make a family outing to a women’s shelter or clothing closet or church to donate the items to a family who might need a fresh summer wardrobe.   

➤ Flip Flop Day — Gather the family and take a field trip to purchase new flip flops for each person. Then bring the clean, unworn flip flops home for a "flip flop family festivity" to herald the beginning of warm summer days. Play relay games outside with the new footwear to determine the finest family flip flop finagler. For the first game, let each person wear their flip flops on their hands like mittens and choose a partner. Toss a ball or bean bag back and forth between partners. See who can successfully catch the ball or bean bag the most consistent times without letting it touch the ground. 

After that game, have family members race to see who can push tennis balls with flip flop-covered hands across the driveway or front yard in the least amount of time. The first person to push the tennis ball across the finish line is the winner. 

For the third game, place a laundry hamper in the grass and have contestants toss flip flops in the basket. Keep taking steps backward to see who can ring the basket from the farthest distance.    

➤ National Eat Your Vegetables Day — Dine on fresh garden vegetables all month long. Gather in the kitchen to make new recipes often during the month of June. Try this delicious recipe with a fresh bunch of carrots. Wash 2 pounds of carrots thoroughly. Cut carrots into 1/4-inch slices and place in a small amount of boiling water for about 7 to 9 minutes until crisp-tender. Sauté one small onion until tender in a small amount of olive oil. Spray a casserole dish with vegetable spray, then alternate layers of cooked carrots, small amount of grated cheddar cheese, sautéed onions and dill weed. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted. 

Enjoy every minute of the month of June, especially those extra daylight hours, with those you love, creating warm and lasting memories. You’ll be so glad you did! 

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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