National Collecting Rocks Day

Did you today, September 16th, is National Collecting Rocks Day? Are you wondering how to celebrate? Well, simply go outdoors and collect rocks. Rock collecting is an easy pastime to start with your family. Children love to collect. Who knows, go on outings to collect rocks may lead to a lifetime love of geology.

Why Collect Rocks?

Collecting rocks is a hands-on learning experience. Unplug from your devices and spend an afternoon outdoors. Turn rock collecting into an adventure for your family. Rock collecting has many benefits, including:

  • Building vocabulary
  • Increasing fine motor skills by searching and picking up rocks
  • Expands imagination
  • Builds large motor skills by walking to find the rocks.
  • Promotes family togetherness
  • Provides a foundation for further learning

Plus, collecting rocks is fun.

Ideas for Your Rock Collection

How many rocks did you find? Are you wondering what to do with your collected rocks? Check out the following ideas.

  • Identify: Rocks fall into three main categories, sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. Identifying rocks is a great learning experience.
  • Display: Using old egg cartons or other throw-away plastic containers, display your rocks. Egg cartons are wonderful to separate and label your latest rock finds. Or invest in a larger container to continuously fill to show your rocks.
  • Paint: Paint and hide larger rocks around your community.
  • Crafts: Smaller rocks or stones are great for crafting. Arrange your rocks into animal shapes or other patterns. Glue the rocks to a board to display on the wall.
  • Make Jewelry: With the right type of crafting material, you can turn rocks into necklaces and bracelets.
  • Polish: Invest in a rock tumbler to polish and shine your finds.

Fall is an excellent time to go rock collecting with your family. But be warned, once started collecting rocks is addicting. You may want to check pockets before doing the wash. Finding a hand full of rocks in each pocket is an expected outcome for starting rock collecting.

Going Back to Hogwarts

Harry Potter fans worldwide celebrate September 1st as the day to return to Hogwarts. Since social distancing and restrictions are still in effect for many areas, finding small ways to celebrate is essential. Are you wondering how to celebrate going back to Hogwarts? Check out the following ideas for inspiration.

Celebrating Going Back to Hogwarts

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen,

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

J.K. Rowling

Return to Hogwarts in your own way by participating in different family-friendly activities.

  • Watch the Movies: Make some popcorn, order pizza, and pick your favorite Harry Potter movie to watch. Choosing a favorite may be difficult; you can always binge-watch the entire series over the next couple of days.
  • Re-Read the Series: Curl up under your favorite blanket and spend time re-reading the series. Or read the series together as a family.
  • Listen to the Audio Versions: Do you have other work to do? Turn on the audio version of the series.
  • Make Wizarding World Themed Food: In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin stated, “Eat, you’ll feel better.” Of course, this was after an encounter with a Dementor. But the sentiment still holds up for returning to Hogwarts. Make chocolate frogs, coins, or a complete meal based on the food from the Hogwarts’ feast. Don’t forget the cake.
  • Have a Craft Day: Pull out your crafting supply stash and make Wizarding World themed crafts.
    Melt pony beads on old pizza pans to create large Harry Potter inspired sun catchers.

    There are numerous easy crafts to make, including owls, plaster frogs, coins, ornaments, and more. Of course, you will need your own wand.

  • Participate in Online Events: With all the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, many sites, including the Wizarding World, are hosting online events.
  • Listen to a Podcast: Find a new or re-listen to Harry Potter-themed podcasts.
  • Play Games: From video games to board games, play Wizarding World and Harry Potter themed games.

Do you want to know the best way to celebrate going back to Hogwarts? Have fun. Enjoy time with your family. Or curl up with your dog and dive back into the Wizarding World by reading the very first Harry Potter book.

Christmas in July: Homemade Gift Wrap

Are you celebrating Christmas in July? Do you need more easy crafts to keep kids busy? When staying close to home, being creative is an excellent way to pass the time. Consider making homemade wrapping paper to use later during the Christmas season. The handmade gift wrap is an easy project for all ages.

Materials Needed:

  • Sponges
  • Scissors
  • Butcher paper, newsprint, or other types of packing paper
  • Paint
  • Containers for paint
  • Markers

Instructions:

  1. Cut sponges into various shapes, for example, Christmas trees, gift boxes, stars, and ornaments. (Help younger children cut the sponges into shapes.)
  2. Spread your choice of paper on a flat surface.
  3. Squirt small amounts of paint in your container.
  4. Dip your cut sponge into the paint.
  5. Make sure the paint covers the entire sponge for a precise shape.
  6. Press sponge on to the paper. When you are finished, simply rinse the sponges of the entire paint residue. You can use the sponges more than once.
  7. Continue the process until you reach your desired design.
  8. Allow the paint shapes to dry.
  9. Use markers to add outlines, Christmas songs, Bible verses, names, or other designs to your gift wrap.
  10. Now, wrap your Christmas gifts and enjoy your finalized product.

Homemade gift wrap is an excellent way to provide a personalized touch to your presents. Use your imagination to create numerous sheets of wrapping paper. You can always set the mood by playing Christmas music.

Christmas in July: Making Ornaments

How is your Christmas in July celebrations going? Are you still looking for family-friendly activities to keep kids busy? Consider making ornaments from plaster. One of the best aspects of making ornaments now, you can save them to hang on your Christmas tree in December.

Materials Needed:

  • Christmas themed molds or pans (The plaster does not harm them, just wash thoroughly after use.)
  • Plaster
  • Throw away containers for mixing plaster. (Remember not to pour remaining plaster down the sink.)
  • Water
  • Paint in various colors
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Place newspapers or other protective materials on your counter.
  2. Mix plaster as directed. Always add the plaster mixture to the water for a smooth and consistent mixture. (Keep in mind, the plaster hardens quickly. You need to have your molds ready to go. You can add a little extra water to provide a bit more time).
  3. Fill molds.
  4. Place hangers into your mold. (Paper clips or pop can tab work great for an instant, inexpensive hook).
  5. Allow your ornaments to dry.
  6. Gently remove the ornaments from the molds. You may need to tap on the mold to loosen the ornament.
  7. Paint the ornaments.

Even younger children can help with the painting process. Just do not forget to add the date on the back. The ornaments can quickly turn into a lasting treasure.

Christmas in July: Make Sugar Cookies

Are you looking for another simple way to celebrate Christmas in July? Dig out your favorite sugar cookie recipe, find a new one on Pinterest, or grab a tube of dough at your local store. Regardless of your method, sugar cookies are a fun way to celebrate Christmas in July.

  1. Bake your cookies from the method of choice.
  2. Allow your batch of sugar cookies to cool.
  3. Frost cookies.
  4. Decorate

Do you want to get the kids involved in making sugar cookies to celebrate Christmas in July? Set out different types of holiday sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, and other toppings. Then, ask your children to help decorate the cookies. Making up new designs and colors provides added fun.

Finally, time to eat the cookies. Put a plate of cookies out as part of family night.

You can always add a nice cup of hot chocolate or milk to the celebration. Now, the next challenge, who gets to pick the Christmas movie?

Christmas in July: Pretzel Treats

Are you celebrating Christmas in July? Are you watching your favorite Christmas show? Do you need a quick and easy snack with a Christmas theme? Pretzel treats are a fun way to celebrate Christmas in July.

Materials Needed:

  • Dipping chocolate
  • Pretzels of any style
  • Sprinkles or other types of toppings (You can use anything to decorate the pretzels. Other toppings include nuts, miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc.)

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency.
  3. Dip pretzels in chocolate.
  4. Add sprinkles. For extra fun, allow your children to help decorate with the sprinkles. Creating their own snacks is a great way to get everyone involved.
  5. Allow the chocolate to harden.

Christmas in July: Family Movie Night

Time to unplug, step away from the local news, and enjoy Christmas in July with a movie night. Order pizza, make some popcorn or other tasty snacks to make movie night extra special.

Do you need some movie ideas for your family, friends, or just you and your dog? Check out the following list of 50 movies to celebrate Christmas in July. 

 

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  • Holiday in the Wild (2019)
  • Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (2012)
  • The Star (2017)
  • Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year (2002)
  • Elf (2003)
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
  • A Christmas Story (1983)
  • The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas (2012)
  • If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie (2016)
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
  • The Litte Drummer Boy
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Micky’s Once Upon a Christmas
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol
  • The Muppet’s Christmas Carol
  • Polar Express (2004)
  • A Fairly Odd Christmas (2012)
  • Home Alone (1990)
  • I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a Sponge Bob Christmas
  • Paw Patrol: Pups Save Christmas
  • The Knight Before Christmas (2019)
  • Klaus (2019)
  • Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017)
  • The Flight Before Christmas
  • Jingle All the Way (1996)
  • The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • Noelle (2019)
  • The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
  • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
  • Disney’s Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
  • The Year Without Santa Claus
  • Trolls Holiday (2017)
  • Santa Hunters (2014)
  • Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
  • My Dad is Scrooge (2014)
  • Chilly Christmas (2012)
  • Saving Santa (2013)
  • Bah, Humduck: A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006)
  • Merry Christmas Drake and Josh (2008)
  • Arthur Christmas (2011)
  • Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale 2007)
  • Yogi’s First Christmas (1980)
  • In Search of Santa (2004)

 

Enjoy your movie night!

Celebrating Christmas in July

Social distancing, the news, and other regular commitments add stress and worry to daily living. Taking the time to celebrate whimsical, unofficial holidays gives you a chance to relax. Celebrating Christmas in July is all about having fun in the middle of summer. A small taste of Christmas bliss may be an added blessing.

The history of celebrating Christmas in July seems unclear with different versions of the beginning. For the most part, the origin of the unofficial celebration began at a Keystone Camp in 1933 in Brevard, North Carolina. The two-day event, July 24 and 25, had all the holiday trimmings, including Santa Claus (Milbrand, 2020). Over time, Christmas in July has grown to include marketing campaigns, festivals, movies, and much more.

How to Celebrate Christmas in July

Celebrating Christmas in July can be a smaller version of your regular holiday activities. Do you need some inspiration on how to celebrate Christmas in July? Check out the following.

  • Watch Movies: Enjoy your seasonal favorites twice a year. Watch Christmas movies or cartoons, Make the activity part of your regular family night.
  • Elf on the Shelf: Is the Elf on the Shelf part of your holiday celebration? Bring him or her out as a mid-year check-in.
  • Bake: Make seasonal holiday treats. Christmas cookies are a great addition to family night.
  • Send Cards: No, they do not need to be Christmas cards, just the sentiment of thinking of you and wishing you well.
  • Decorate: Include some holiday decorations to celebrate Christmas in July. You can either pull out all of your Christmas decorations or hang a few twinkle lights as a more subtle way to celebrate.
  • Family Meal: Make the traditional Christmas family meal or host a BBQ to enjoy the summer season.
  • Do Crafts: Make wreaths, ornaments, or other seasonal items. The best part, put these items away to decorate at Christmas.
  • Exchange Gifts: When giving gifts as part of your Christmas in July celebrations, think stocking stuffers. Small, inexpensive gifts for your child to use. Also, do not forget the dog.

Celebrating Christmas in July provides you with a chance to prepare for the holiday season. Use the mid-summer celebration as a template of the activities you want to do at Christmas time.

 

Reference:

Milbrand, Lisa. (2020). https://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/christmas-in-july

National Ice Cream Day

Did you know Sunday, July 19th is National Ice Cream Day? So, how do you celebrate? Eat ice cream, of course.

Ways to Celebrate National Ice Cream Day

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. If you need some helpful hints, check out the following.

  • Go Out for Ice Cream: Due to social distancing, many ice cream establishments allow for drive-thru service only. But you still can get your favorite flavors. Grab an ice cream cone, banana split, sundae, or your favorite flavors in a bowl to enjoy. If there’s a park close by, enjoy your choice while sitting in nature. After you finished, walk the paths and have fun being outdoors.
  • Create a Sundae Bar: Hos ta special Sunday afternoon treat for your family by creating a sundae bar. Pick up your favorite gallon of ice cream. Next, add a variety of toppings, including whip cream, sprinkles, nuts, candies, and flavored syrups. Finally, begin the creative process of making the perfect bowl of ice cream.
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches: If you want a more straightforward approach to celebrating National Ice Cream Day, eat ice cream sandwiches. The chocolate cookie filled with ice cream is a perfect treat. For younger children, you can always cut the ice cream sandwich into two smaller pieces.
  • Ice Cream Floats: Vanilla ice cream and root beer are two traditional float favorites. But, you can experiment with your favorite flavors to find the perfect combination to enjoy on National Ice Cream Day.
Vanilla Ice Cream and Orange Soda
  • Your Favorites: Often, after a long day, a little splurging is necessary to relax. Scroop a bowl of your favorite flavor of ice cream and binge-watch a television series or movie.

Whether you go all out with a massive ice cream sundae creation or simply enjoy your favorite, celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Often, small celebrations turn into the biggest memories.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Most people associate the first day of summer with the 3-day Memorial weekend. But technically this year, on June 20, 2020, the northern hemisphere will officially begin the first day of summer. Staying light longer, the sun will finally reach the furthest northern point in the sky. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year. After the summer solstice, the days will begin to lose light.

Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Different cultures have a wide range of traditions to welcome the summer. Unfortunately, due to recent health mandates, social distancing, and stay at home guidelines, many festivals and celebrations are canceled this year. But do not let all the restrictions keep you from celebrating the summer solstice.

  • Go Hiking: Numerous parks are open to the public. Yes, social distancing still applies to the trails, but you still can enjoy the great outdoors. Hike a new trail. Spend an extra hour outdoors. Hiking is good for the entire family. Even young children can enjoy easy trails. Of course, don’t forget your dog.
  • Go for a Walk: A simple walk around the block can be refreshing. Walk to your local park. The playground equipment may still be inaccessible. But enjoy the different paths throughout the park. If you are working, go for a short walk on your lunch break.
  • Enjoy Nature: Take a leisurely stroll in your local park to enjoy nature. Take along binoculars and a camera to capture your view. If you are allowed, pick wildflowers, collect rocks, and other nature items to use for craft projects later.
  • Meditate or Pray: Sitting outside in nature is the perfect time to reflect. Give yourself time to meditate or pray.
  • Watch the Sunrise or Sunset: Taking a moment out of your day to simply watch the sunrise or set, gives you a chance to relax and destress.
  • Cook a Feast: Okay, a simple BBQ or a picnic will do the trick. But cooking a meal and enjoying the celebration as a family is a great way to honor the changing season.
  • Host a Bonfire: If you haven’t used your fire pit this year yet, the summer solstice is the perfect day to start. Build a small fire, watch the sunset, and marvel at the stars. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolatey, marshmallow goodness of S’mores.
  • Celebrate Virtual: Due to restrictions, many popular sites, including Stonehenge, are celebrating the summer solstice online. Watch the sunrise or set, listen to music, or watch an event.

Regardless of the way you celebrate the solstice, enjoy the summer day. Summer goes by quickly. Soon, the cold weather will return.