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Fun with the Family with Julie Lavender: Make autumn awesome for the whole family
Julie Lavender
Julie Lavender - photo by Special

    The weather in the ’Boro seems bent on keeping us guessing. Is it a raincoat day? Sweater day? Or shorts-and-sunglasses day? But the gentle tease of recent cool weather lets us know fall truly is coming, eventually, maybe in December. Enjoy all that fall offers, regardless of the thermometer, and make this an incredibly awesome autumn with your family. Celebrate the usual — fair week, Columbus Day, football games, church fall festivals and trick-or-treat night — and add a few of the zany but real holidays below to the family calendar for October.
    Hummingbird Day — Purchase a hummingbird feeder and place it in a prominent location in your front or back yard. Choose a time in the early morning or late afternoon to sit quietly somewhere near the feeder and watch for visitors. Take along sketch pads and oil pastels. Have binoculars handy and take turns spying on the delicate creatures. Once you’ve gazed upon and studied the iridescent colors on the charming birds, attempt to replicate the birds on sketch paper. Stunningly beautiful, aren’t they?
    National Chili Week — If a cool evening is predicted, plan to prepare a steaming batch of chili in honor of autumn. Choose a favorite recipe or try this sweet chili recipe: In a large skillet, brown 1 pound of sausage, 1 pound of ground chuck, 1 chopped onion and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Drain the meat mixture well. Combine the cooked meat with 2 28-ounce cans of baked beans, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons molasses, 2 tablespoons mustard, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 package of chili seasoning mix. Stir well and cook on low heat in a large crock pot for two hours.
    Statue of Liberty Day — Do you know the history of the Statue of Liberty? Dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was given to the United States from the people of France as a symbol of freedom and democracy. What does Lady Liberty hold in her left hand? Her right? Learn more about the statue from reliable sources online and get close-up photos of the national monument. You can also learn more about one of America’s prized possessions from children’s picture books, like L is for Liberty or When Jessie Came Across the Sea.
    Pumpkin Day — For a fun pumpkin craft, paint the outside of a coffee can and the plastic lid with orange acrylic paint. Once the paint is dry, add cut-out construction paper shapes to create a jack-o-lantern face. Have an adult make small slits in the plastic lid and push the stems of green leaves into the slits for the top of the pumpkin creation.
    National Clock Month — Use chalk to draw a large clock face on the driveway. Play hopping games or create relays by hopping only on even numbers or odd numbers, jumping backwards while going counter-clockwise, running around the clock by weaving in and out of each number or jumping rope while moving around clockwise. What other crazy ways to move around the clock can you think of?
    Take advantage of every minute on the clock this month to create fun and lasting memories with those you love. Search for trees whose leaves are beginning to show off their autumn splendor; create as many pumpkin desserts as you can think of; snuggle under blankets while watching a football game; careen on a carousel or Ferris wheel; watch a parade and eat candied apples and caramel popcorn. Don’t miss a moment of fun and memories during the month of October.

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