Julie Lavender-070311Listen to Julie Lavender read her column.
Families looking for excuses to celebrate need hunt no farther than this month’s calendar page. July 2011 offers five Fridays, five Saturdays, and five Sundays …an extra weekend to treasure with family and friends. This phenomenon occurs only once every five to six years, unless leap year ciphers the math differently. Take advantage of this unique opportunity and make extra family memories. Celebrate with some of the holidays below or create your own festivities.
Independence Day — Encourage patriotic creativeness with this fun craft: On a sheet of white poster board, glue a square of blue felt in one corner. Glue red and white ribbons in place, alternately, on the poster board, leaving extra ribbon to extend beyond the poster board. Glue white, miniature cupcake liners on the blue felt. Hang the flag decoration and watch the ribbons wave in the breeze.
Hot Dog Month, Hamburger Month, and Baked Bean Month — Combine these three celebrations for a summer evening of fun. Fire up the grill and cook some burgers and dogs to serve alongside a crock pot of baked beans, or add these ingredients to a cooking of baked beans for a one-pot-barbecue: browned ground beef, chopped onions, sliced wieners, and cheddar cheese. Bake accordingly.
Railroad Day — Locate information about the First Transcontinental Railroad. Where were the reference points for the east coast and west coast? What town is famous for the location of the last driven stake for the railroad? Has your family ever traveled by train? Plan a train vacation for the future – one to take part in or one to dream about. Meanwhile, use individual cereal boxes to make a toy train. Cut one cereal box in half; glue one half in the center of another cereal box for the caboose and glue the other half onto one end of another cereal box for the engine. Attach round crackers with frosting for wheels. Cut out the center front panel of empty cereal boxes for the train cars; then fill the cars with cereal pieces, crackers, or raw veggies and serve as an afternoon snack.
Fried Chicken Day and Picnic Month — Go for a picnic every weekend of July — that makes five picnics to enjoy this month. Grab some fried chicken and picnic at the beach, the park, the backyard, the lake, or the den floor. Read aloud The Most Perfect Spot, Picnic at Camp Shalom, or Halmoni and the Picnic to hear about other picnic adventures.
Pecan Pie Day – Make a delicious homemade pecan pie to celebrate your southern heritage, and if you’re not a native southerner, pretend to be while you bake this delight. Combine one stick of melted and cooled margarine with one cup of sugar, one cup of light corn syrup, and three eggs. Stir in two cups of chopped pecans and two teaspoons of vanilla flavoring. Divide the mixture between two unbaked pie shells, then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Enjoy!
Amelia Earhart — An adventurer at an early age along with her sister, Amelia Earhart climbed trees, fashioned a roller coaster, and kept worms and toads as pets, long ago when young ladies didn’t partake in such shenanigans. Years later, her adventurous spirit led her to become the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic, and eventually set other records, as well. Celebrate Earhart’s accomplishments with aerial fun. Purchase inexpensive balsawood planes and send them soaring on a sunny afternoon. See whose planes can travel the farthest or turn the most somersaults before gliding safely to the ground.
The beginning of July signified the half-way point of the year 2011. Have you created memorable adventures with family thus far? Have you celebrated the gift of life with your kids? Use every day in July, including the extra weekend, to make fun-filled, lasting memories to treasure with those dearest to you. Happy Summer!
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender celebrates with husband David and children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel, and Jessica.