How’s your family coping with the challenges that seem to change daily? With obstacles and difficulties around every corner, now more than ever, families need quality time together, taking part in fun activities and memory-making events that can erase — at least momentarily — the troubles of the day and sear positive and happy images in the brain and on the heart! Be intentional to spend time with the kids this month and make a memory or two. Try some of the silly holidays below and create a few unique ones for your family, too.
➤ World Goat Days — Celebrate this member of the bovine family with bedtime reading. Check out some of these books from the library or go online to order them for the personal family library. Read Huck Runs Amuck by Sean Taylor; Gobbly Goat by Nosy Crow Publishers; The Goat With Many Coats by Leanne Lauricella; G is for Goat by Patricia Polacco; Greeley The Mean Goat by R. Barri Flowers or The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone. Watch for goats as you’re driving around throughout the month and see how many goats you spot kicking up their heels and having fun!
➤ International Clean Hands Week — Continue to stress the importance of clean hands with the little one by discussing handwashing frequently. Then try out this fun goat craft with a handprint to talk about something to do with hands other than washing! Dip a clean hand into a shallow container of brown washable paint. Press a handprint onto construction paper with the four fingers pointing down like the goat’s legs and the thumb sticking out slightly for the goat’s head. Once the paint is dry, add a tan goat face and maybe a beard. Paint white horns on the goats head. Add small dots with black paint for the goats eyes and paint the fingertips with a bit of black for hooves. Use either tan or black to paint on a goat’s tail, also.
➤ World Letter Writing Day — Have a conversation with the kids at the dinner table about those who might be spending a lot of time alone in the recent days and months, like extended family members, church members, neighborhood friends or friends across the country. Decide to write letters to some or all of those people throughout the month to bring a bit of happiness into their lonely days! Let the kids help compose or write the letters and remind them how to address the envelope and add a stamp. Take the kids with you to drop the letters at the post office and say prayers for the ones you’re sending notes to.
➤ World Coconut Day — Work together to make this fun dessert recipe. To make 7-Layer Bars, melt 1/2 cup of butter in a 13 x 9 inch pan in a 350-degree oven. While the butter is melting, crush graham cracker crumbs to yield 1 1/2 cups. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter after it’s melted to be sure the bottom and sides are coated. Spread the crumbs evenly on the bottom of the dish. The spread these layers evenly over the crumbs: 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips, 1 cup of butterscotch chips and 1 cup of pecans. Pour a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk over the top. Then sprinkle 1 1/3 cups of shredded coconut on top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. When cooled, slice into bars. Enjoy!
➤ Bluebird of Happiness Day — The origin of the “bluebird of happiness” is unclear, but may date back a number of years to ancient folklore and Native American legends. No matter the exact origin, the small bird with vivid, deep-blue plumage on the back and head and rusty-red colors on the throat and chest in the male variety and the grayish-blue females with blue tinges on the wings and tail seem to bring a smile to the face with any sighting! Take lots of walks this month to look for the bluebird flitting about. Talk about the things that make each member of the family happy while you walk and encourage non-materialistic answers, especially!
When times are tough, recounting good times and happy memories can often chase the blues away. Spend a lot of time this month as a family remembering happy days and creating even happier moments. Turn little moments into happy ones that will last a lifetime, and keep hanging in there with the ones you love by your side!
Julie Lavender loves making memories with her family. The Statesboro native is the author of 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories, and would love to connect with you on her Facebook page, 365 Ways to Love Your Child.