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Fun with the Family with Julie Lavender: Enjoy feasts and fellowship this month
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"Turkey Day" isn't actually a holiday, but "Pumpkin Pie Day" is! Lump it in with Thanksgiving and kill two birds with one stone. - photo by Special

    Again, recent temperatures belie the season, but it truly is the month of November in south Georgia. Whether warm or crisp, it’s the season to be thankful for a bountiful harvest: the love of family and friends and all the memories both have provided throughout the year. Incorporate a spirit of thankfulness in every day with each event, feast or fellowship. Be grateful for the minutiae and the mighty, and enjoy the beauty of November with those you love.
    Celebrate with the holidays below or create new ones of your own for a festive Thanksgiving season.           
    International Drum Month — Work together to make a homemade drum to celebrate this holiday. Start with an empty cardboard container, like an oatmeal box. Remove the lid and press out the bottom for a hollow tube. Cut the neck off of two balloons and stretch one over each end of the tube, securing the cut balloons in place with rubber bands. Use electrical tape over the rubber bands and balloon edges to hold them firmly in place. Then paint the outside of the oatmeal box or cover it with construction paper and decorate the paper with stickers or markers. Tap out a new song on your drum with two unsharpened pencils or the handle of a wooden spoon.  
    Button Day — Play a relay game with a couple of buttons. Mark a “finish line” on the floor with a piece of tape or with a yardstick. Crouch on hands and knees on the opposite side of the room. Each player will need a button. On “Go,” players flick their buttons, using the thumb and forefinger, across the floor. Players crawl as quickly as possible to their buttons and continue flicking until the winning button touches or crosses the finish line. To finish celebrating Button Day, gather some gently-used garments with buttons or purchase new ones displaying a number of buttons and donate the clothing items to an organization that helps those in need. 
    Family Stories Day — Celebrate the gift of family with an evening of storytelling. Pop a batch of popcorn or bake a favorite cookie recipe and then gather in the den with no electronic devices and tell stories of family happenings of days past. Reminisce about exciting vacations, the births of each child, favorite movies, adventurous hikes and various “firsts” for family members.
    Magazine Day — Re-read old magazines to make sure you’ve absorbed all the fun you possibly can from them. Then tear out some of the pages for a fun coaster-making craft. Fold the long edge of a page into about a quarter-inch thickness. Fold it several times, but do not use the entire page, as it will get too bulky. Paint a small amount of glue along the last folded bit to hold it together. Then, paint a very thin layer of glue along the entire length of the strip. Before the glue dries, roll the strip into a coil. Fold another strip and attach it to the end of the coil with a small piece of masking tape. Then, paint glue on that strip and continue rolling the coil shape. Add enough strips until the coaster is the size you desire. To help the coaster hold its shape, place a piece of waxed paper over the coaster and place a heavy book on top of the paper-covered coaster. 
    Thanksgiving — To incorporate Pumpkin Pie Day with this holiday, work in the kitchen together to make a Thanksgiving dessert. Make a homemade pie crust by stirring together 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cut in 1/3 cup of shortening until it resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of cold water, one spoon at a time, over the dough, gently fluffing and mixing with a fork after each addition. Roll the dough into a ball. Then place the dough ball onto a sheet of waxed paper and use a rolling pin to roll it into a large circle. Place the crust in a pie pan and cut off the overlapping dough. If desired, use the extra dough for pie crust decorations and cut very small leaves or pumpkin shapes with cookie cutters. Dab a small amount of water on the back of each shape and place them around the rim of the pie shell. Put shell to the side and mix other pie ingredients. Combine 2 eggs, 1 16-ounce can of pumpkin puree, 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring. Mix until thoroughly combined, then pour the mixture into the crust. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes, until the filling is set.  
   Be mindful of your blessings throughout the month of November. Better yet, create a spirit of thanksgiving that inhabits your life year-round. Enjoy turkey and the fixings, parades and pumpkin pie, feasts and fellowship, and time spent with family. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!