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Fun with the family by Julie Lavender
Fall into fun during October
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    For the young and the not-so-young, flipping the calendar to October heightens every sense the body has to offer. The month of October tickles the tongue with visions of candy apples, pumpkin pies, and copious amounts of candies and sweets.
    October pleases the eyes with autumn hues, as if artists using reds and oranges and yellows shook the unused paints from their brushes across the forest. October warms the skin with longer sleeves, fuzzy socks, and occasional hoodies. This month taunts the nostrils with wafts of cotton candy, popcorn, and caramel. October whispers the sound of crinkling leaves to the ears of those aware of its unending beauty. 
    Go-on-a-field-trip Month – Pack up the family and take a drive to admire the beautiful changing of the leaves. See how many shades of autumn you can find; collect a few colors to bring home with you. If you don’t want to travel that far from home, journey to a near-by farm and pick a pumpkin or two.
    Cookbook Month – Make a family cookbook to share with extended family or to keep as a memento in your own home. Encourage each family member to share favorite recipes or menus. Compile the recipes in a notebook, with comments from the family member who wanted that recipe included. That person could share a memory about the recipe or write the recipe in their own handwriting. Sometime during the month and as a family, cook at least one favorite for each person. Snap pictures of the family preparing the meal and add that to the cookbook later.  
    Hunger Awareness Month – Speaking of cooking and partaking of delicious favorites, bear in mind that many families and children, locally, go hungry on many occasions. Why not, as a family, skip at least one meal this month and use the money that you saved to feed someone else? Several churches in our area prepare weekly backpacks to send home with school children who might otherwise go hungry throughout the weekend. Use your saved money to purchase peanut butter or other items on the church’s list and donate to the Backpack Buddies program. You’ll receive a greater blessing for sure than the child who receives your goods! 
    Pretzel Day – Go outside on a brisk, cool afternoon and play a pretzel relay in honor of this delicious treat. Form pairs to race against each other. Have two people stand back to back and link arms together, much like a twisted pretzel. Then, on “go,” have the two pairs race each other to a designated stopping point to see who can be the fastest pretzel-runner.
    Grouch Day – Occasionally, I feel like some people I meet celebrate this day more than just once a year. And then there are days when I feel like I celebrate it from sun up, until sun down!! But, it’s much more fun to celebrate NOT being a grouch. Play this game with your family, called, “Honey, I Love You.” Sit in a circle. Choose one person to be “it.” That person chooses another person to squat in front of, make a really silly face, and say something really sappy, like, “Darling, you are my most favorite 10-year-old little girl, and I love you because you are a terrific dancer. Won’t you tell me you love me?” That person then has to respond, without smiling at your silly, ridiculous antics, “Honey, I love you, but I just can’t smile.” If the recipient makes his or her statement without a smile, you must move on to another player. But, if your non-grouchy behavior brings a smile, then you get to take that person’s place, and he or she then finds someone else to enlighten with words of love.
    October has so much to offer; don’t let a day go by without making warm memories to savor throughout the year. Happy October!
    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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