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Fun with the Family -Julie Lavender
Celebrate the month of love with family
Julie Lavender
Julie Lavender

A short month with cold temperatures warrants extra effort to make warm memories with those you love. Find cool ways to celebrate the month of love that will bring warmth and a treasure trove of fun times and memory-making events. Incorporate some of these odd, but real, holiday ideas into the February festivities. Share the love all month long! 

➤ Radio Day — “Listening to the radio” doesn’t mean the same thing to younger generations as it does to those sporting a few years on their driver’s license. However, it’s much easier these days to find a variety of genres and music types, whether you’re listening through sites on the computer, an app on the phone, from speakers in the car, or, the “old fashioned way” with an actual, real-life radio in the home. Take some time throughout the month to tune in to new radio stations. If rock and roll is your favorite, look for a jazz station to enjoy. If you prefer country music, scroll until you find a rhythm and blues station. In fact, you can find practically any decade of music online these days, too. Treat the children to music from “back in the day” and hopefully they’ll appreciate it as much as you did, and it might even become their new favorite music, too! 

➤ Make a Friend Day — In this new season of isolation and working from home and distancing, making new friends becomes challenging. Don’t give up the act of turning an acquaintance or stranger into a friend, however. This world will be a sad place if we do! Get creative to make a new friend, more than just one day this month, and treasure that new relationship. Teach the kids to do the same, at school or church or the park or grocery store. Enjoy books about friendship to continue the celebration. 

➤ Valentine’s Day — Help the kids make a fun butterfly craft to celebrate All Hearts Day! Give each child a wooden craft stick and markers or paint. While the painted or markered craft stick dries, let the kids trace and cut two different sizes of hearts on pink, white or red construction paper. Heart-shaped cookie cutters work great as patterns for this. Cut two smaller hearts and two slightly larger ones. These will be the wings for the Valentine’s butterfly. On the smaller hearts, apply glitter with a thin layer of glue. When the heart pieces dry, glue each smaller heart to a larger one. Then glue the “wings” to the wooden craft stick, close to the top to resemble wings. Glue wiggly eyes to the stick and glue black craft pipe cleaner pieces for antennae. Voila! A butterfly love bug for the season! 

➤ Feed the Birds Day — Remember to take care of the birds in your yard during the cold month of February. Take a field trip as a family to purchase a new bird feeder and bird seed to place in your yard. Or, scatter birdseed in the front and back yard to attract the winged beauties. Sit on the porch often this month and watch the birds arrive and feast. Go for walks and look for birds, listening for them before you even spot them. For added fun, purchase a bird feeder for someone in your neighborhood or friend-group who might need the company of the winged creatures on a wintry day.  

➤ Cook a Sweet Potato Day — Gather in the kitchen to make this yummy sweet potato casserole. Add 1 3/4 pounds of peeled, cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook 15 to 20 minutes. When tender, drain and use a mixer to mash the sweet potatoes. Add 4 tablespoons of melted butter to the potatoes. Allow the mixture to cool while you mix these ingredients: 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 large eggs. Stir well. When the potatoes are cooled, add the brown sugar mixture and blend well. Transfer to a buttered, 2-quart baking dish. For the topping, combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 3/4 cup of pecans. Sprinkle a small handful of miniature marshmallows over the top of the casserole. Then spread the pecan mixture over the top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy! 

Bundle up for lots of outdoor time this month and then come inside to enjoy hot cocoa by the fire or snuggled underneath a blanket. Create lots of lasting, memorable celebrations with those you love. Enjoy the month of love together and happy February! 

Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender loves encouraging families to make memories filled with love and fun. She is the author of "365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories and Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime."

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