Julie Lavender-080711Listen to Julie Lavender read her Fun with the Family column
Sharpened pencils, new bookbags, yellow buses, and promises of impending tests belie the fact that summer is not truly over. According to the calendar, the halfway point of the summer season — August 6 — is fresh in our minds. Keep “summer” alive with your family with a few more trips to the beach, picnics in the park, lots of popsicles, peanuts, and watermelon, and playtime in a backyard sprinkler. Make back-to-school-yet-still-summer memories with your loved ones with the holiday celebrations below or create your own cool, summer festivities.
National Ice Cream Sandwich Day — Gather in the kitchen to make these homemade special treats to enjoy on a still-above-the-90s kind of day. Start by making large chocolate chip cookies: Mix one cup vegetable oil, one cup sugar, one cup brown sugar, one cup margarine, and two teaspoons vanilla. Add two beaten eggs. Mix these dry ingredients in a separate bowl: four and three-fourths cup flour, four teaspoons cream of tartar, two teaspoons baking soda, and one teaspoon salt. Add dry ingredients to other ingredients and stir in twelve ounces of chocolate chips.
Measure one-eighth cup of dough, roll into a ball, and place on baking sheet. Leave enough space for these large cookies as they bake; cook ten minutes at 350 degrees. Once cookies cool completely, place in freezer for about an hour to get firm before adding ice cream. Sandwich different flavors of ice cream between two cookies for a delicious treat. Wrap each ice cream sandwich in foil, place in freezer bags, and store in freezer. (This makes a large amount of cookies. Recipe can be halved – or half of the cookies eaten while warm before making ice cream sandwiches!
National Radio Day — With iPods and iTunes and iTouch and “I” everything else, radio almost seems like a forgotten media. Choose an evening to revive this “old-fashioned musical instrument” and have the family join you in a dance-a-thon. Choose different genres and stations of music to enjoy and dance the night away.
National Smile Week — Warning: this celebration is dangerously contagious and can easily spread throughout the rest of the month and year. Put smiley faces on sticky notes, emails and texts, lunchbags, and grocery lists, along with mushy notes to brighten a loved one’s day. Challenge family members to this game one day: Have each person tally the number of smiles he/she gives to another person. Get an extra point when smiles are returned. At the end of the day, find out who passed along the most smiles.
Truck Driver’s Week — Do your kids realize that almost everything they eat, drink, play with, or wear, at some point, took a ride on some type of delivery truck? Show your appreciation this week by giving a wave to every truck driver you meet along the bypass or interstate. Count the number of trucks you see in a day; don’t forget sanitation trucks, cement mixers, and moving vans. Can your kids name a truck for every letter of the alphabet?
Sandwich Month — See just how many different sandwiches you can make this month. Add different kinds of meat or cheese for variety. What else can you mix with peanut butter? Have you ever had a peanut butter and honey sandwich or a p b and marshmallow fluff sandwich? Celebrate National Mustard Day along with this holiday by stirring different ingredients into yellow mustard to create a new condiment for your sandwich. Get creative with the inside of your sandwich, and then use cookie cutters to turn the outside of your sandwich into a celebration as well!
Did you find time to squeeze in everything you wanted to do while the kiddies were out of school? If, like most people, the last two months flew by and there’s still items left on your summer-fun list, remember that, technically, the summer season still has many days to go. Keep making summer memories and having warm-weather fun with friends and family — you’ll be glad you did.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender celebrates with husband David and children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel, and Jessica.