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Fun with the family by Julie Lavender
Homemade bread and giving thanks
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    The calendar clock keeps ticking, with warm days giving way to cooler ones. As the pages of the calendar flip over, be ever-mindful of your blessings. Give thanks for the gift of time that you have with your precious ones; make sure you use every day to spend quality time with those you love. Celebrate something every day – an actual, recognized holiday like those listed below, or create your own family days.
     International Drum Month – Make beautiful, loud music together. Give each child a couple of wooden spoons. Supply paint, brushes, and a table covered with newspaper. Let the creativity begin! After each person has decorated their own set of drumsticks, use pots, storage containers, boxes, empty cereal boxes, or whatever else you can round up to double as a set of drums and start drumming!                     
     Button Day – Purchase buttons of two colors and/or sizes. Apply masking tape on a table or the floor to make a grid for tic-tac-toe. Take turns using the buttons to have a tic-tac-toe marathon. (When sorting through out-grown clothes, instead of discarding clothing that is too old and tattered to be shared with others, remove and save the buttons and cut the article into rags for cleaning. Store the buttons to use for games and crafts.)  
     Take a Hike Day – Grab your digital camera and head out for walk. Make sure to observe the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, the fresh critters that are out and about in the changing weather, and the crispness of the air as you walk. Snap pictures of the signs of the new season and use them for your computer’s background or screen saver as a reminder of the hiking celebration.
     Homemade Bread Day – Nothing makes a kitchen smell more delicious than homemade bread baking! Work together as a family to bring those scrumptious aromas to your kitchen. Follow this easy recipe, warm up the oven, and bring smiles to faces. Combine one-third cup sugar with one-third cup shortening, one tablespoon salt, and two cups of boiling water. Cool to lukewarm. Dissolve two packages of yeast with one teaspoon sugar in one-fourth cup water; let set for fifteen minutes. Combine yeast mixture with shortening mixture. Stir in two, well-beaten eggs. Beat in seven and one-half to eight cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing well. Place the dough in a greased bowl; cover and chill overnight. To bake, divide the dough in half. With floured hands, shape each half of dough into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise, about two hours. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes or until golden.
     Thanksgiving – Create a homemade, family table decoration using a pumpkin. Cut feather-shapes from colorful sheets of construction paper. Tape the feathers onto wooden skewers. Have an adult poke the skewers into a pumpkin for turkey feathers. Make a construction paper head for the turkey and tape it onto a wooden skewer; insert in place. Place the turkey on the table and have a gobbling-good Thanksgiving.   
    Take the time each day this month to talk about things – people, events, tangible and intangible objects – that you are thankful for. Be grateful for the little things, as well as the big things. By the end of the month, have an endless list of family times that you are thankful for and will treasure for a lifetime.

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