Celebrate with me


- 1 Corinthians 5:8 (ISV)


2018 - January is hot off the presses, with new beginnings and fresh starts and a wealth of warm memories with loved ones leftover from 2017 to carry us through the year. I pray that time with family tops the list of resolutions for the new year. Create lasting memories with loved ones and be intentional with family adventures to treasure. 

Enjoy every moment of the new year. Find ways to make every day a holiday, using some of the January celebrations below or create unique family festivities to make this the best year ever!  


Bean Day – Fill the toes of old socks – but be sure there’s no holes – with dried beans. Use different colors of socks; each player will need three or four bean-bag socks. Wrap rubber bands tightly around each bean-filled toe area, leaving the ankle and top part of the sock for a ‘handle.’ Use rope or yarn to make a large tic-tac-toe board outside in the grass. Then take turns tossing the socks towards the board to see who can score three in a row first. (If you don’t have enough socks for each person to have four, use some sort of marker to designate where a person’s sock lands and toss the same sock over again.)

Puzzle Day – Find a puzzle to put together as a family project. Choose a spot where you can leave the puzzle out all month and put in a few pieces each night until you complete the puzzle.

Martin Luther King Day – Celebrate the man who, long ago, dreamed of little children joining hands with children whose skin colors didn’t come close to matching at all, but rather blended together to form an even more beautiful color when linked. Take a trip to the local library and check out books for the whole family to read this month. Find books specifically in which the main characters do not look like the family members who will be reading the books.

Frisbee Anniversary Day – Pack up some Frisbees and head to Mill Creek Park with the family on a cold day and get some exercise. Sling a few Frisbees across the field and chase after them or play toss and catch. Who can throw the farthest? Who’s the best catch?

The stroke of midnight just days ago ushered in a blank calendar, just waiting to be filled with family activities and quality time spent together. Hopefully, you had the chance to add snow activities to the memory bank earlier this week, a rarity for south-Georgia, but a great way to start off the new year. Add lots and lots of adventures to the month of January, with plans for family fun all year long. May God bless your family in the days and weeks and months ahead. 

(Originally published in part in the Statesboro Herald, January 8, 2018.)

- 1 Corinthians 5:8 (ISV)

Christmas countdown has begun

Christmas décor dazzled the horizon of most commercial entities months ago, but hopefully your family ignored the embellishments long enough to count your blessings while nibbling on turkey. However, now that the calendar has flipped over, revealing the last month of the year, it’s full-speed ahead into all things Christmas. Make the most of every minute this month with old and new family traditions and celebrations and try a few of the holidays below.
National Flashlight Day – To celebrate the shortest day of the year, give everyone a flashlight, bundle up with coats and gloves and head outside for a nighttime walk. Look at the stars overhead, listen for the hooting of an owl and watch for an armadillo or rabbit crossing the path ahead. Turn on a family favorite Christmas movie when you return from the walk and sip on hot cocoa after while you watch the show.

Winter – The calendar boasts the first day of winter during the month of December, but the south often boasts all four seasons in one week. Celebrate the beginning of the promise of cold for some folks somewhere, nevertheless, with a rousing game of snowball toss and improvise with rolled up, white socks or recycled wads of notebook or computer paper. Mark off two sides of play outside in the grass with a long piece of rope or yarn. Prepare the ‘snowballs’ by wadding up recycled white paper or gather lots of rolled-up pairs of white socks. Divide the family into two teams and give each team ten to fifteen ‘snowballs.’ Each team stands on opposite sides of the dividing line. Play Christmas songs from a phone or radio, and let the snowball tossing begin. The object of the game is to get all the snowballs on the opposing team’s side. At the end of a song, the team with the most snowballs on their side of the divider is the losing team. 

ChristmasMake a family, Christmas tree craft project to celebrate the day. First, read about some wise men who made many steps, following a star, in search of the baby Jesus. Read Matthew 2:1-12. Then have each person in the family use one of their own shoes to trace and cut out shoe prints from green construction paper. Have one of the adults also trace and cut one print from brown construction paper. On a large sheet of white poster paper, glue the brown shape near the bottom for the tree trunk. Then, carefully line up rows of shoe prints in a triangle shape to resemble a tree. For example, just above the tree trunk, line up six or eight of the adult shoe prints for the bottom row, with the ‘toes’ of the prints pointing down towards the trunk. Above that row, place five or six adult prints. The next row above could be an older child’s shoe prints, four or five of them, and the next row a younger child’s prints, three or four. End with just one shoe print on the very top of the triangle. Once you’ve placed the prints in the proper place Glue the shapes to the poster paper, but only glue the ‘heel’ of each print in place, letting the ‘toe’ part of each print hang loose for a 3-D effect. Add decorations by dipping fingers in paint and pressing fingerprints of multi-colors on the green construction paper shapes.

New Year’s EveCelebrate the last day of the year with confetti festivities. Work together as a family to make a fruit bowl snack of various colors. Use frozen ones, if necessary, to add lots of color to the bowl. Then make confetti pancakes by following the directions on a pancake mix, adding a tablespoon of rainbow-colored cupcake ‘jimmies’ (sometimes called sprinkles) to the batter before making the pancakes. Let the pancakes cool slightly, then spread frosting on top of the pancake and sprinkle a few more of the rainbow-colored ‘jimmies’ on top of the frosting. Snack on pancakes and fruit for a midnight snack, toss confetti in the air – if you’re prepared to sweep it up afterwards – and bang on pots or blow noisemakers when the clock strikes twelve.

The end of another year is rapidly approaching. Take time this season to treasure what’s really important – the love of family and friends and the very reason for the holiday celebrations. Merry Christmas; happy New Year, and may God bless you bountifully this month as you return those blessings to others. 

(Originally published in part in the Statesboro Herald December, 2017 by Julie Lavender.)

- 1 Corinthians 5:8 (ISV)


This month MAY be a great time for family fun! 

The clock is ticking in preparation for the last bell of the year to sound its celebratory ring. Big kids and little kids, parents and teachers are making plans for summer festivities. But before summer beings, use every minute possible in the month of May to complete another school year with glee and happiness. Remember to praise the kids for a stellar school year and thank a teacher or two as well. Make it a memorable May with some of the celebrations below, or make up a few of your own to anticipate the days of summer ahead.

Mother Goose Day – No one knows for sure if there was an actual woman who penned the rhymes and sonnets credited with her persona, but regardless of her origin, the lyrics that became Mother Goose rhymes were first published in a collection by Charles Perrault in 1697. How long has it been since you’ve recited a Mother Goose rhyme? Check out a book from the library and read some of the cleverly written chants aloud. Then try your hand at composing similar rhymes of your own. Maybe you could even make a family collection of your work to share next year on Mother Goose Day.     

National Salad Month – Create a salad buffet night for dinner. Chop and prepare lettuce and other greens in a large bowl. Then let the family get involved in chopping broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes. Grate carrots and zucchini. Offer bacon bits and croutons. Include various nuts, like walnuts, sunflower seeds and pecans. Use dried fruit pieces and fresh fruits, chopped. Add several types of cheeses to the buffet line. Frozen peas and raisins make a nice contribution, too. Spread out the buffet items on the table, and then let each person prepare his or her own salad bowl. Top with a favorite dressing and sit on the porch to dine.

Wildflower Week – This is a beautiful time of year to see flowers bursting forth in beauty and blossoms appearing on various trees and shrubs. Plan to take a nature hike soon and be sure to take a camera along with you. Snap pictures of flowers you find as you trek down the path. Take as close of shots as possible with the lens you have, then download them onto your computer when you get home and zoom in to check out the fine details of the creations. Lovely, aren’t they? You might even want to have a science lesson and learn to name all the parts of a flower!

National Tourism Day – Start thinking about a summer vacation and go online to find the spots you’ll not want to miss. Take a virtual tour of some of the sights and check out the menus of nearby restaurants. After you’ve talked about a trip outside the county of your residence, plan some excursions in your own hometown. Pretend to be a tourist and visit places you’ve never been or at least haven’t been in quite some time. Go to a park; visit a plant nursery; take in a museum; choose an afternoon for an architectural tour and look for Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns on various buildings. Try a new restaurant and shop in a new store. Pretend to be a tourist for an entire weekend, and see what new things you’ll find.    

Frog Jumping Day – Early in the evening and often in the cool of the morning, frogs and toads are roaming about. At dusk, the frogs are croaking and singing to one another. Be on the lookout for one or more of the amphibian type. Then play a game outside. Place a few small obstacles, like balls or boxes or old rags, in a path through the grass. Send each family member leaping like a frog along the path. The ‘jumper’ must not touch any of the obstacles and the froggie who hops along the path in the shortest time is the winning amphibian.     

Spend a-MAY-zing quality time together as a family this month. Make memories galore, celebrate the end of another school year and gear up for loads of family fun over the summer. Enjoy sharing time with those you love. You’ll be so glad you did.   

(Originally published in part in the Statesboro Herald, May 14, 2017 by Julie Lavender.)


No comments:

Post a Comment