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Fun with the Family - Julie Lavender
Enjoy autumn's beauty, wonder with your family
Julie Lavender
Julie Lavender

Autumn’s official arrival according to the calendar doesn’t always correspond with cool temperatures in the south, but the beauty of fall is peaking around every corner. Enjoy the aroma of fresh-turned peanuts in a farmer’s field. Take in the sight of leaves sporting shades of crimson and yellow, while others let go of branches and spiral to the ground. 

Enjoy the sounds of Friday night and Saturday afternoon football games. Taste the deliciousness of all-things pumpkin spice and cinnamon-y. Feel the brown, crumpled leaves crunching under your feet on an afternoon hike. Look for signs of fall with each new day, and make autumn memories with the family to treasure for a lifetime! Plan lots of fall festivities and add some of the zany holidays below to your list of celebrations for October.

➤ National Cat Day — Get creative with this kitty craft and make a bunch of feline faces to adorn the table or wall. For each cat face, you’ll need a round, heavy duty paper plate. Glue wiggle eyes in place and a pink cotton ball or craft pom pom for the nose. Glue pipe cleaners or chenille sticks in place for the whiskers and draw a mouth with a black marker. Cut triangle-shaped ears from construction paper and glue them in place, too. Paint spots or shapes on the cats face, if desired. Be sure to make a cat face alongside your child. Then, hang the feline family on a yarn or rope clothesline stretched across your child’s bedroom for a furry-friendly decoration! 

➤ National Chocolate Day — Work together in the kitchen to make these chocolate cookies with vanilla chips in honor of chocolate day. Blend in a mixer 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. When creamy, add one large, room-temperature egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. 

In another bowl, sift together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the moist ones in the mixer. Add 1 tablespoon milk and 1 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips. (The batter will be thick.) Chill the dough for at least three hours. When ready to bake, roll dough into balls, using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough. (The dough is quite sticky to work with.) Bake the cookies on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges appear set and the center is still soft. Cool for five minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. 

➤ Reptile Awareness Day — Go for a family hike and be on the lookout for reptiles, like lizards, skinks, anoles, turtles, and snakes. Take cell phone pictures — from a safe distance — and use resources on the computer to identify each reptile you spotted once you return home.  

➤ Silly Sayings Day  — Play a fun game with the family to see who can come up with the longest list of silly sayings. Spend about five minutes letting each family write down all the silly sayings they can think of, like, “Bless your heart” and “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

Before sharing the sayings aloud, let each person tally the number of sayings they thought of. Then, take turns saying just a word or two of the saying aloud. The first person to shout out the rest of the saying gets a point. Continue until each saying is read aloud. Tally the total points for each person to determine the king or queen of silly sayings!

➤ Bathtub Day — To celebrate Bathtub Day, first take a field trip to the dollar store or department store to purchase bathtime supplies, like washcloths and soap and shampoo. Deliver the supplies to a women’s or homeless shelter or local church to give away as needed. You might also donate the supplies to your child’s teacher to give away at his or her discretion. Then check out some local books at your library about soap and bathtime.

Make it an awesome autumn with the ones you love.

Statesboro native Julie Lavender, author of "365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories," loves making memories with her hubby, four now-adult kiddos and one sweet grandchild.

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