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Fun with the Family with Julie Lavender - Enjoy extra day in February
Julie Lavender
Julie Lavender

Julie Lavender-020512

Listen to Julie Lavender's latest column on the month of February.

    Can you believe an entire month of the year 2012 has already been ripped off the calendar? Honestly, where does the time go? Are we so busy with “life” that we miss the good stuff? Did you remember to tuck the kids in each night with a hug and a kiss? Did you read bedtime stories and build a fort in the den? Did you try a new recipe and go on a date with your spouse?
    If you missed a few family opportunities in January, never fear – you have an extra day in February to make up for the losses. Celebrate the uniqueness that February 29th offers with great gusto, and try some of these other activities, too.
    Half-way point of Winter – Early February marks the official halfway point of winter, though temperatures and trees laden with blossoms belie the holiday. Choose a cold, clear evening, don extra layers, and take a family walk. Don’t miss the twinkling of lights overhead and the silhouettes of shivering, leafless trees. For an extra treat, purchase small handwarmers for each family member and give as a pre-walk gift, with a note that says, “You warm my heart!”
    Valentine’s Day – Create a treasured keepsake with family handprints. Have each person dip both hands in red or pink, washable paint, palm-side down. With hands flat such that the two pointer fingers are touching and the two thumbs are touching – and give the thumbs a slight bend – you’ll notice a heart forms in-between both hands. Press the painted palms onto construction paper in this fashion. Let the paint dry, then write sweet notes to other family members.
    Bottle Cap Anniversary – Start saving water and soda bottle caps at the beginning of the month to help celebrate this unique holiday. When you’ve collected enough caps for each family member to have five to ten caps, play a mock shuffleboard-style game on the kitchen table. Choose one end of the table to be the starting point. Use masking tape to mark off areas of the table on the opposite side and label points for each area, giving higher points to the spaces near the edges and corners. Players take turns “shooting” their bottle caps across the table, making every effort to keep the caps on the table and land in the highest area of points. (If you do not have enough varying caps to distinguish players’ caps, write initials on the lids with a permanent marker.) Tally the score by adding up the points for the location of each person’s bottle caps. The one with the highest score is the winning player.
    Pancake Day — Let the kids help you whip up a batch of pancake batter. Personalize each person’s pancake with his or her initial. Take out a small amount of the batter and add a couple of drops of food coloring. Stir well, then pour the colored batter into a measuring cup with a spout. Heat a griddle according to the instructions in your recipe. Slowly pour the colored batter onto the griddle in the shape of a family member’s initial — but, be sure to “write” the letter backwards. Let the batter cook for about a minute, then pour uncolored batter on top of the initial in a rounded pancake. Finish cooking according to instructions. The initial will cook slightly more than the rest of the batter and show up on the top of the pancake.
    Leap Year Day — Celebrate this holiday with leaping and dancing! Rake leaves that have continued to fall into several piles in the yard to construct an obstacle course. (If you’ve managed to keep all of the leaves raked, then make a course with small balls, sports cones, Frisbees, paper plates – whatever you can think of to leap over.) Let each person take a turn running through the course, leaping over each obstacle along the way. See who can run the fastest, leap the farthest, or jump the highest. Try doing the course backwards, while dancing, or on all fours for even more adventure! 
    Make this month a fantastic and fabulous, family February. Find time each day to make warm memories with those you love to chase away the hint of southern winter days.
    Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender celebrates with husband David and children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel, and Jessica.

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