The calendars of 2012 are now rubbish, though hopefully the family memories of the past year will live on in the hearts of all. The year 2013 is upon us now, with slightly less than 365 days of opportunity for special family events and activities. Whatever goals and resolutions you made for the new year, I pray that the underlying theme of them all revolves around putting family first. Take time every day to spend precious, quality moments with family members and create fun, exciting adventures to treasure throughout the year. Make up new family traditions or celebrations for the month of January, or try a few of these zany, but official, holidays.
Word Nerd Day: Also celebrated as Thesaurus Day, this astute holiday commemorates the enormity of words available in the English language. Why not make a goal to learn at least one new word every day this year? Let each family member take a turn finding a new word in a thesaurus to learn or pick a known word and check out the thesaurus for a different way to express that thought or feeling. Write the words on note cards and see who remembers all seven words at the end of each week. Now, isn’t that an exciting, nerdy way to start a new year? You’ll be exhilarated, I’m sure.
National Soup Month: Nothing hits the spot like a bowl of soup on a cold evening. Work together in the kitchen to try this recipe for cheesy potato soup. Peel and chop potatoes into 4 cups of bite-sized pieces. Place the potatoes in 2 cups of chicken broth. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of minced onion flakes. Bring the stock to a boil, then turn down the heat; cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the potatoes and stock. Let simmer for about 5 minutes or until the soup thickens. Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Garnish bowls of soup with your favorite toppings, like crumbled bacon, chives, additional cheese or a dollop of sour cream.
Make Your Dreams Come True Day: What an appropriate day for this celebration, just a couple of days before Martin Luther King’s birthday. Dr. King had grand dreams for the American people. As a family, read about Dr. Martin Luther King’s life, as well as his famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” Then, discuss and renew the goals, dreams and resolutions you made when the calendar flipped over to 2013, or make fresh dreams and plans for a better home, community, country, and ultimately, world.
Measure Your Feet Day: And this truly does beg the question, why? However, make it a joyous celebration, nonetheless. Find out who in your family has the longest foot. The widest? The longest or shortest toes? Play some “foot” games outside, like hopping relays, three-legged races, running backward relays or heel-to-toe races. Then, prop your feet up somewhere outside and talk about new places you want to take your feet this year. Choose a new beach to visit and plan to make footprints in the sand. Hike a new trail, shop a new mall, volunteer with a new organization or visit a new nursing home. Jot down a list of new places to trod throughout the year, and mark them off when you’ve done so.
National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: Update your wardrobe economically by finding a new ensemble at a secondhand or thrift shop. Turn the trip into an adventure by creating a scavenger hunt before you go. Besides the new outfits you’ll buy, see who can find the brightest pair of green pants or the shirt with the largest flowers or the most outlandish hat.
What are your dreams and plans for the year? Whatever your goals, take time to make every day a holiday. I pray that you’ll have a blessed year, with much family fun, adventure and warm memories to cherish each and every day. Happy celebrating!
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica.