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Looking forward to fall family fun, celebrations
Fun with the Family
Julie Lavender
Julie Lavender

The lazy days of summer that never seem so lazy any more have eased their way off the calendar, making way for autumn in just a couple of weeks. Continue to enjoy the warm south Georgia weather with lots of outdoor family time, but start daydreaming about fall colors and activities, too. Watch for a few subtle changes that occur this month and anticipate the more brilliant changes next month as autumn makes its presence known. 

Brainstorm new ideas for fall fun with the kiddos and make a list so that you’ll get them all in. Celebrate all things autumn and try out a few of the zany holidays below to add to the family festivities.  

Fall Hat Month — Get prepared for fall with a new hat for each family member. Shop locally — try a clothing or thrift store — and look for fashionable, fall fits for everyone. You might even get creative and accessorize a solid color hat with a seasonal bow or ribbon. Go for an outing while wearing the new hats and make sure to take selfies of the family, too. 

Happy Cat Month — Work together to make this purrfectly creative happy cat craft in honor of this celebration. Use several different sizes of heart-shaped cookie cutters to trace heart patterns onto construction paper or fold paper and draw half of a heart along the fold to cut out a symmetrical heart shape. You’ll need two large hearts to form the body, a medium sized heart for the cat’s face, two small hearts for the ears, and one very small heart for the nose. To embellish the cat’s heart-shaped face, glue these facial features in place: wiggly eyes, the smallest heart-shaped cut-out for the nose, and six small strips of chenille craft pieces (or craft pipe cleaners), three on each side of the nose, for whiskers. Turn the small hearts upside down and glue in place for ears. Turn the two largest hearts upside down, also, and overlap them just a bit so that you can see four “paws.” Cut a strip of  construction paper for a tail and make small folds, accordion-style, to give the tail a three-dimensional effect. Glue it into place, too. 

Be sure to read lots of cat books this month, too, like picture books from the Pete the Cat series by or one of the graphic novels, like "Katie the Catsitter" by Colleen AF Venable or "The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza" by Mac Barnett, or one of these chapter books: "The Story of Diva and Flea" by Mo Willems, "Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea" by Cynthia Rylant or "Socks" by Beverly Cleary.    

National Cheese Month — Celebrate a cheesy holiday with this recipe for a yummy cheese drizzle for French fries of tater tots. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic for one minute in melted butter. Add 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour and cook for one minute, stirring. Add 1 cup of milk and stir. 

As the sauce begins to thicken, add another cup of milk. Bring to a simmer. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and heat for three minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Add 3 cups of shredded, extra-sharp cheddar cheese one cup at a time. Stir until smooth. Add 3 ounces of softened, cream cheese. Stir until melted. Drizzle over French fries or tater tots or serve as a dipping sauce for breadsticks. 

National Ampersand Day — What would we do without the & symbol? Celebrate the “and” sign with a fun word game. See how many pairs you can think of to use the ampersand. You may want to do this as a family over dinner or as a challenge to see who can come up with the most pairs. The combinations have to make sense and be easily recognized as pairs. 

For example, salt & pepper, ketchup & mayo, peanut butter & jelly, cats & dogs, back & forth, bride & groom and other commonly known combos! How many did you come up with? You can find answers online by searching for “common word pairs,” but don’t cheat! Think of as many pairs on your own first!    

National Day of Encouragement — Everyone needs a healthy dose of encouragement. Turn this holiday into a month-long celebration and find someone to encourage every day of the month. Share genuine, specific encouraging statements to friends and family members throughout the month, and hopefully, it will become a new habit to live by!  

Make memories with the ones you love as a new season makes its way to the calendar. Look for signs of fall and make that list of autumn activities to enjoy with the family. Happy fall, y’all! 

Julie Lavender loves the colors of autumn and is looking forward to somewhat cooler temperatures this fall. The Statesboro native is the author of "Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime" and "365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories."   

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