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Fun with the Family with Julie Lavender - Summer sun and sensational fun
Julie Lavender
Julie Lavender

         Summertime fun seems like it’s just begun, but only a few weeks remain before the first school bell rings. I hope you’ve used every opportunity to make terrific summer memories, with swimming quests, hiking explorations, picnics, boiled peanuts and watermelon, camping excursions, baseball and softball tournaments, fresh fruit and vegetable delicacies and late-night reading adventures. Walk barefoot in the grass, swing on the porch and drink lots of lemonade this month to enjoy and celebrate everything summertime offers. Squeeze in some of the holidays below to create sensational summer fun with those you love.
         Nap Day — What a great day to celebrate on a lazy summer afternoon! Gather the kiddos in the family room and read a book about sleepy time, bedtime or nap time. There are plenty to choose from at the local library or bookstore, like The Napping House by Audrey Wood. Then make pallets of blankets, use sleeping bags or put sheets on the pull-out couch and have a family naptime in the den!
         National Blueberry Muffin Day — Take the family to a local farm and pick fresh blueberries to enjoy this month. Select enough to add to cereal bowls, snack on frozen berries on a hot day and make a batch of homemade blueberry muffins. To make the muffins, stir together 2 cups of self-rising flour and 1 cup of sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. In another bowl, stir together 1/3 cup of oil, 1 egg and 2/3 cup of buttermilk. Slowly pour the combined wet ingredients in the center of the dry ingredients, stirring constantly to incorporate the liquids. Fold in 2 cups of fresh blueberries. Fill greased muffin tins or tins lined with cupcake liners 2/3 full; bake at 400 degrees for 20–25 minutes. Enjoy!
         Teddy Bear Picnic Day — Purchase a box of teddy-bear-shaped crackers and add some nuts, raisins, cereal pieces or dried fruit bits to make a trail mix snack. You might choose to place all of the items in separate dishes and let each person make their own snack, buffet-style, according to his or her preference.  Then grab a favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal, along with a blanket to sit on and some water bottles, and go for a walk in the late afternoon, stopping for a picnic along the way. Reminisce about other family picnics, hikes, vacations or adventures that included the favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal. Or, make up a new adventure about the favored lovey and share the pretend story during the picnic.
        Convenience Store Day — Celebrate the anniversary of the convenient store. In business for almost 80 years, the convenience store opened its doors in 1927 for the first time. Find a convenience store in town that you’ve never visited and go for an afternoon treasure hunt. Besides sometimes hard-to-find candies or snacks, unique trinkets, postcards, souvenirs, T-shirts or other items line the shelves of the late-night or twenty-four-hour operation. Plan to spend several dollars each and have a convenience store celebration with snacks, toys or frozen drink treats. 
         Read an Almanac Month — Did you know The Old Farmer’s Almanac is North America’s oldest continuously published periodical? The very first issue was published in 1792 when George Washington served his first term as President of the United States. When is the last time you took a look at North America’s most popular reference guide? Glance online to see a couple of months’ worth of reference tips like long-range weather predictions, gardening advice according to moon phases, the best day of the month for a haircut, the best day to dig a hole and other much-needed information for everyday life. Dig a hole, dance in the moonlight and a read a few excerpts from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
         The extra hours of daylight this month give plenty of opportunities for summertime fun. Use every available moment to make treasured summertime memories. Remember to tell those you love how special they are and enjoy each precious moment of July.

          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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