In the minds of students and teachers, summer is over. But sweltering temperatures and the calendar beg to differ. Postpone the culmination of the season with additional summertime fun and memories. Enjoy every minute of leftover summer days with celebrations, including, but not limited to, the following August holidays.
National Watermelon Month — Slice into a juicy watermelon for a lingering taste of summer. Scoop out a cup of watermelon for the following yummy smoothie recipe: In a blender, place 2 cups of watermelon scoops, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt and 1/2 cup orange juice. Process until smooth and then serve. For a slightly different taste, substitute frozen yogurt for the vanilla yogurt.
Don’t forget to save the seeds for a seed-spitting contest, and if kids are too young for that, try a seed-flicking contest. Wash and dry some of the watermelon seeds. Spread one layer of already-read newspaper pages on the table. Mark a starting line on one edge of the paper. Teach the kids to touch the index finger to the thumb and then flick the index finger quickly to send the seed scooting across the newspaper. Write the flicker’s name next to the stopping point of the seed. After everyone has taken several turns, see whose seed traveled the farthest.
Aviation Day — Play aviation relay games outside on a late afternoon when homework is completed. Hold both arms extended and sprint across the yard for a jumbo jet relay; flap the arms and skip for a propeller plane relay; twirl around for a short distance to complete a helicopter relay; jump, roll and repeat for a parachute relay. Then get creative for additional aviation-style relay races.
Romance Awareness Month — Take this challenge to stimulate brain cells for the first test of the school year. See who can name the most couples linked in movies, cartoons, legend or literature, or keep this list handy and give one name to see who can spout off the matching partner’s name the quickest: Donald and Daisy Duck; Simba and Nala; Lady and the Tramp; Kermit and Miss Piggy; Belle and Beast; Prince Phillip and Aurora; Mickey and Minnie; Goofy and Clarabelle; George and Jane Jetson; Shrek and Fiona; Robin Hood and Maid Marian; Tarzan and Jane; Aladdin and Jasmine; Cinderella and Prince Charming.
For older kids or adults, try this list also: Romeo and Juliet; Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler; Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy; Antony and Cleopatra; Marie and Pierre Curie; Lancelot and Guinevere; Tristan and Isolde; Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; Adam and Eve; Samson and Delilah.
National Mustard Day — Experiment with flavors to create new sensations for a hotdog and pretzel indoor picnic. Start with small amounts of regular yellow mustard in shallow dishes. To each one, add one or more of the following ingredients: minced garlic, soy sauce, Heinz 57, cinnamon, a couple of drops of hot sauce, sour cream, mayonnaise, honey, maple syrup, ketchup or a variety of herbs from the pantry. Stir to blend.
Cook and cut hot dog wieners into bite-sized pieces. Use toothpicks to skewer the wiener-bites and dip into the mustard. Dip salted pretzels into the mustard for a snack also. What is your favorite mustard blend?
Don’t let the summer days slip off the calendar without intentionally celebrating the gift of family with fun time spent together. Enjoy the sunny days, not-so-sunny days and anything in-between with games, crafts, books recipes and much more. Enjoy every lasting moment of summer, squished between schoolwork, chores and extracurricular activities, if necessary.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.