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Fun with the Family with Julie Lavender: March is a month of merriment
Julie Lavender web
Julie Lavender - photo by Special

    With the rainbow of colors on recent weather maps and the shuttered doors of schools just hours north of here, it’s difficult to imagine that March pledges shamrocks and springtime. But promise it does, at least on the calendar. Watch for leprechauns, greenery and Irish dances the first part of the month and delight in the early spring offerings toward the end. Look for every shade of green imaginable when new buds and fresh leaves make their appearances after a long winter’s nap. Enjoy the hues and colors of springtime with lawns that awaken and trees and flowers that begin to blossom. Celebrate the beauty of life with each springtime aroma and add a few of the seasonal holidays below to enjoy all that March has to offer your family.
    Peanut Butter Lovers Day — Celebrate this special day with a yummy peanut butter dip treat. Cream together 1/4 cup of softened butter, 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1 cup of smooth peanut butter. Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and blend well. Blend in 1/2 cup of miniature chocolate chips. Serve the dip with sliced apples, pretzels or graham crackers.
    International Day of the Seals — Do you know what a baby seal is called? Those adorable creatures are called “pups.” Play a fun matching game with the family to see how many baby animal names you know. Use index cards to write the names of adult animals, one per card, and names of corresponding baby animals, one per card. You can get really creative and print off pictures from the computer and tape them on the cards, too. Turn all the cards facedown and pick two at a time. If the animals match, that person keeps the cards. The person with the most matching pair of animals at the end of the game is the winner. Use these names or research others to add to the list: antelope (calf), bear (cub), cat (kitten), deer (fawn), eagle (eaglet), fish (fry), goat (kid), chicken (chick), kangaroo (joey), lion (cub), monkey (infant), owl (owlet), pig (piglet), rabbit (kit), swan (cygnet), turkey (poult), whale (calf) and zebra (foal). How many names did you recognize? Not all baby animals have a specific name, and some have more than one commonly used name. Just in case you’re ever asked on a game show, a common misconception is that a baby platypus is called a “puggle.” A baby platypus doesn’t have a specific name, though it is sometimes referred to as a “platypup.” (That’s way more information than you needed to get through today, but it might help you win your next round of "Trivia Crack.")
    National Sleep Day — The dreary and rainy days at the end of February caused lots of days to feel like nap days, but the official one is in March. Pick up some new bedtime stories and read together before napping or turning in for the evening. Try “10 Minutes Till Bedtime,” “Good Night, Gorilla” or “The Baby BeeBee Bird.”
    Saint Patrick’s Day — Play a game outside and watch for leprechauns who might want to join you. Draw a path of shamrocks on the driveway using green chalk. If you’re not an artist, simply draw three green hearts for the petals and attach them with a green stem. Hop, jump or skip along the path, making sure to land only on the shamrocks. Change the game and try weaving through the shamrocks without stepping on any. You could also use gold plastic coins to toss along the path, and any shamrock that has a coin must be skipped when jumping or hopping.
    Give Pencil Week a seasonal twist for this crafty project. Collect new green leaves in all shapes and sizes. Place the leaves under a piece of computer paper. Turn a freshly-sharpened pencil on the side and ‘color’ or shade completely across the shape of the leaf. Watch the beautiful and intricate patterns of the leaf emerge as you shade.
    Celebrate the big moments and the little moments this month as the calendar gives way to a new season. Fly a kite, look for four-leaf-clovers, eat green fruits and veggies, go for a scavenger hunt to take pictures of springtime sightings, play baseball or soccer, dance in the rain or look for rainbows. Enjoy every moment of March, from the monumental to the minutiae, with those you love most.

    Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.

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