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Fun with the Family -Julie Lavender
New year, new opportunities for family fun
Julie Lavender
Julie Lavender

Well, the confetti is cleared away, party hats packed up for another 350-plus days, and a brand new year is under way. Happy 2023! Hopefully your goals and resolutions for the new year included lots and lots of family time and adventures that will add up to more memories than you have brain space to handle. Rather than let those resolutions become a faint memory as the year ticks by, revisit family goals and plans on the first day of each new month in 2023. What can you do every month to make lasting memories? Be intentional to spend quality time with family members to make it the best year with family you’ve ever had. 

Some Day We’ll Laugh About This Week — I hope your new year didn’t start off like mine … with a broken dishwasher. I’ve handwashed more dishes in 2023 then all of 2022 combined. And I’m still waiting on parts to come in. Perhaps I’ll laugh about this at some point, but that time hasn’t arrived yet. Make laughter a fun part of your family time together this month and all of this year. Find an age-appropriate comedy series to watch together, a funny movie, or check out some joke books from the library. Here’s a new one recently published by a writer acquaintance. Actually, I know the mom much better than the child, because the author happens to be a kid! Read together "You’re Joking Me: Jokes for Kids by a Kid," written by William Daniel. Consider placing a “laugh bucket” on the counter or table, along with index cards and writing utensils, for family members to write jokes and drop in the bucket throughout the week. Set aside one evening each week to gather in the den and read the jokes aloud. You may even want to encourage family members to write down actual happenings during the week that make you ponder the “some day we’ll laugh about this” concept. And maybe by the time you read it aloud as a family, you’ll LOL together! 

Be Kind to Food Servers Month — Let’s face it. Being a food server is not an easy job. Whether that’s in your own family kitchen and dining room, the school room, a fast-food join, or a favorite restaurant. Start a habit of being extra kind to food servers this month, and hopefully that habit will continue into infinity. This month especially, try out a few of these ideas when you dine outside the home. When the server takes your order, let them know you’ll be saying grace before the meal and ask if he or she has a prayer request or concern. Or, add a personal note to the receipt when you add the tip and your signature. Be sure to compliment verbally the food server who takes your order. And smile!

Bald Eagle Appreciation Days — Though not spotted locally as often as other places, bald eagles make their appearance in the Boro more often these days. If you don’t spot them here, check out some of the footage on live cams located at Take the family on a field trip to the Center for Wildlife Education and The Lamar Q. Ball Jr. Raptor Center, located on the Georgia Southern campus. Read more about an eagle named Freedom at And check out some books from the library about eagles to learn more and see stunning pictures of the national bird of the United States. 

National Take the Stairs Day — Most New Year’s resolutions ponder a better exercise or health plan for the year. Plan to incorporate this one in as a family event and take the stairs more often than an elevator or escalator this month. Get creative with family walks and make a trek where stairs are involved, like the mall in the early morning or downtown in the early evening.

Milk Day — Work together in the kitchen to prepare tomorrow’s breakfast. Brown 2 pounds of mild sausage, drain, and set aside to cool. Bring 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup quick-cooking grits. Reduce heat and cook 4 minutes, stirring often. Add 4 cups of extra sharp grated cheese at the end of the cooking time. Set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, stir together 4 beaten eggs, 1 cup of milk and a dash of garlic salt. In a large bowl, combine the cooled grits mixture, the cooled and crumbled sausage and the milk misture. Stir well to blend. Pour the mixture into a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove casserole dish and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Then bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set in the center. Enjoy with a very large glass of milk. 

Celebrate little moments and big moments and everything in between this year. Make an extra effort to craft adventures and fun that will create family memories to last forever with the ones you love the most.  

Statesboro native Julie Lavender is the author of "Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime" and "365 Ways to Love Your Kids: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories." She looks forward to making new memories this year with her family.

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