Gumdrop Turkey Favors

Thanksgiving gumdrop turkeys for your Thanksgiving table.

turkey gumdrop

I’ve searched all over the internet for gum drop turkeys as cool as the ones my brothers and I made when we were growing up, but it appears those turkeys were one of a kind creations from my Mom.


My Mom always put her four children in charge of making the 30- 50 gum drop turkey favors for our Thanksgiving family gathering.  The turkeys were so simple to make that we required no supervision and popping a few raisins or candy corns in our mouth as we were creating them took the edge off our Thanksgiving hunger.  In fact, making gum drop turkeys soon became a tradition at my house when I had children of my own.

Over the years I exchanged the raisins we used to use for Craisens and brown toothpicks for brightly colored ones.  Hint- always use Braches candy corns- they are softer and don’t crumble as easily when you stick a toothpick in them.  Large gum drops can be difficult to find, but after extensive searching, I was able to find some on the bottom shelf, hidden behind a garbage can, (no kidding) on the Wal-mart candy isle.

As I was writing this blog, my 32 year old son walked into the kitchen where I was taking pictures and said, “Gum drop turkeys,  I remember making those!”  Just proves that something doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated or elaborate to make a lasting family memory.


Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

Aunt MO

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

– Author unknown

Squirrel’s Thanksgiving Dinner Game

A large group game for all ages- perfect for Thanksgiving fun!


For two teams you will need 4 bowls and a set of chopsticks for each person playing the game. Collect  2 of several kinds of nuts that a squirrel might eat for Thanksgiving dinner- 2 shelled peanuts, 2 almonds, 2 acorns, and 2 unshelled walnuts.

Place 2 of the bowls at one end of the room and put one of each kind of nut in each bowl. Place the other 2 empty bowls directly across from them at the other end of the room.

Divide those that want to play  into 2 equal teams. Give each person a set of chopsticks and line teams up in a row from the full bowl to the empty bowl.

On the word “go”, the person nearest the full bowl will pick up one of the nuts with their chopsticks, and will  pass it down the line to the next person, also using chopsticks. Once they have passed the first nut they can pick up the second nut and begin passing it- the don’t need to wait for the first nut to get passed to the end.

Squirrel and Autumn Nuts_04 

Participants can not use their fingers.  If they drop one of the nuts they must run it back to the starting bowl and begin passing it again.

The team that gets all four nuts to the empty bowl first wins!

NOTE:  You can easily involve more players by adding more teams or repeating the game after the first 2 teams face off ending with the “championship” game.

Squirrel and Autumn Nuts_04

You can usually purchase chopsticks from Oriental restaurants or from Amazon (100 sets for under $10.00- with prime shipping)

Ghost Cake With Flaming Eyes

ghost cake

When I was a young mother I attended a workshop that included some fun holiday cooking ideas.  The most memorable idea I came away from the workshop with was this ghost cake with flaming eyes.

The best thing about this ghost cake is that you get maximum effect for minimum effort, so, if you are a busy mom or grandma, you can whip this cake up very quickly but the “wow” factor is huge!

To make the eyes flaming you place a lemon extract-doused sugar cube inside of a clean eggshell for each eye and then you light the cubes on fire. When presenting the cake turn out the lights before bringing in the cake.


Ghost Cake Recipe


1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix, mix according to package directions
1 (7.2-ounce) package fluffy white frosting mix or make your own 7 minute frosting. (No Cook 7 Minute Frosting Recipe)
2 sugar cubes & 1 teaspoon lemon extract
Licorice string, chocolate chips, m & m’s- whatever you want to make a mouth


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan.

Prepare the cake mix as directed on package. (When you break the eggs, crack each in the middle and pour out the egg. Then save the 2 best shell halves. Wash these halves and turn upside down to dry.) After mixing, pour the batter into the pan.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. When cooled, you can remove the cake from  the pan and put on a sturdy piece of cardboard or a tray so that you can trim your cake to look more ghost- like.  I just left my cake in the baking pan and felt like it looked ghost- like enough without the extra work to decorate it.

Frost the cake. Place the 2 egg shell halves round sides down on cake for eyes. Place 1 sugar cube in each shell half. Make a mouth of licorice string.

Just before serving, pour 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract over each sugar cube. Light the eyes and amaze family and friends!

Mingle- a Hilarious Game for Large Groups


This is perhaps the best large group game we’ve ever played.  It’s a great game for young and old and requires no advance preparation or props. 

To play “Mingle” have the  participants walk around in a predetermined large area.  When you yell “Mingle Mingle” and then a number from 2 to 10. The participants must get into groups of that size.  Anyone that doesn’t fit into a group is out and must stand on the sidelines until the game ends.  For instance if you yell out the number “10” everyone gets into groups of 10.  If you’re playing with 44 people that will leave 4 people without a group and they will be out of the game. 

Continue mingling and calling out numbers until only two remain.  Regroup and play again.



Silver Dollar Game for Your Independence Day Party

silver dollar game

We have a Independence Day tradition in our family- Whenever we get together for a family or reunion or party around Independence Day we play the “Silver Dollar” game. The Silver Dollar game is a game my Mom invented to encourage us to remember our American history and important United States facts.

Mom would ask a US history question and the first one to get the answer right would get a sliver dollar. Mom has a fun way off tossing the silver dollar to the winner- I’m not sure how to describe,  it  but basically she just tosses it to the family member that has the correct answer to the question.


Plan to play the Silver Dollar game at your Independence Day family reunion or party. Don’t have Silver Dollars? How about using 50 states quarters, red, white and blue taffy, or patriotic pencils?

Warning: If your family is competitive, like mine is, you may have to assign someone to be the judge and determine who is the first to raise their hand and watch out- even if you do get the answer right someone may just reach out and snatch your prize right out of the air, Oh well, it’s just part of the game and family fun!


Below are a list of questions you can use for your Silver Dollar game:

1. What is the title of the National Anthem? 

Answer: The Star Spangled Banner

2.  Which right is guaranteed by the first amendment

Answer: Freedom of Religion

3.  What is the title of the head of a city government

Answer: Mayor

4.  Who has the ability to declare war? 

Answer: The Congress

5.  How many full terms may a Senator serve? 

Answer: No term limits for Senators

6.  How many full terms can a President serve?

Answer: 2

7.  How many years is a full term for a Representative? 

Answer: 2

8.  Which amendment sets the minimum voting age to 18? 

Answer: 26th

9.  Who becomes President if both the President and Vice President die?  

Answer: The Speaker of the House

10.  On July 4th, 1776 we declared Independence from whom? 

Answer: Great Britain

11.  How many branches of government do we have?

Answer: 3

12.  Which is part of the Judicial branch at the federal level?  

Answer: The Supreme Court

13.  Who elects the President of the United States? 

Answer: The Electoral College

14.  How many states are there? 

Answer: 50

15.  How many stripes are there on the American Flag? 

Answer: 13

16.  Who was the President of the United States during the civil war? 

Answer: Abraham Lincoln

17. What is the introduction to the Constitution called?
Answer: The Preamble

18. Who is the President of the United States?

Answer:  Barack H. Obama

19.  Who is the current Vice President of the United States? 

Answer: Joe Biden

20.  Why did the Pilgrims come to America? 

Answer: to find religious freedom

21.  How many total Senators are there? 

Answer: 100

22.  The Constitution has how many Amendments? 

Answer: 27

23. Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence?
Answer: Thomas Jefferson

24.  According to the Constitution, a person must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to become President. Name one of these requirements.

Answer: Must be a natural born citizen of the United States; must be at least 35 years old by the time he/she will serve; must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

25. How many Presidents have been impeached

Answer: 2 Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

26.  What is the Official Language of the United States? 

Answer: None

27.  Who was the first Vice President of the United States? 

Answer: John Adams

28.  Who said "Give me liberty or give me death?" 

Answer: Patrick Henry

29.  How many Presidents were assassinated while in office? 

Answer: 4 Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, John F. Kennedy.

30. Is it ever appropriate to fly the flag upside down?

Answer: Yes, but only in an emergency. "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."

Find Someone Who… Reunion Bingo

Getting To Know You Ice Breaker Game for Your Family Reunion

bigo cover

Family Reunion Bingo

A fun, traditional ice breaker game for your family reunion is the “Find Someone Who…” game.  The printable game card is set up similar to a BINGO card but our family prefers to just play the game using the entire card.

Give everyone at your reunion a copy of the game card and a pen or pencil. (Different colored pencils or markers make for a colorful card when the card is filled up.

Getting Signatures

Instruct your family to have reunion goers sign the squares that apply to them.  You can make up rules that best fit your family reunion- you may only sign one time on a card or two times on a card etc.

reunion bingo

Awarding Prizes

You may give prizes to those that complete a row across, down or diagonal such as in family reunion BINGO, but I like to award prizes to those that get every square signed.  ‘’Smarties” candies are great  prizes for those that only get a BINGO but consider giving

Kudos bars – Kudos to you
Bar None - You are the best
Milky Way or Mars bars – You’re Out of This World
M&Ms – Magnificent & Marvelous Award

or an award that goes along with your family reunion theme.

Family Reunion Bingo

Copy, paste and print on card stock this family reunion Bingo card for lots of ice breaker fun at your next family reunion.  You’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn about your family.

frh reunion bingo copy-2

How well do “Ewe” know your ancestors?

A game for getting to know your ancestors!

black sheep covern yellow

I’m always looking for fun ways to help family members learn about and make a connection with their ancestors.  We’ve played “Wheel of Ancestors” and “Ancestor Jeopardy” with large groups of our family members and I think most of our family are pretty familiar with many of our family “stories”.

Recently I decided to create a game for smaller groups.  This game is a fun way to really learn interesting facts about your ancestors and to  test the knowledge of those playing the game.  I call it the “Black Sheep Game”.

Black sheep printable

Black Sheep Game Instructions

How well do “Ewe” know your ancestors?

Print, cut and laminate several copies of the “Black Sheep” cards. You can make as many copies as you want. You can also glue a colored paper to the back of the game cards before laminating to make it more difficult to tell which cards have the “black sheep” on them.

Write ancestors or family names on each sheep card using the lines one each card. It is fun to also include family members that are well known such as Grandpa and Grandma, aunts and uncles etc. If available, you may even want to put a small picture of the ancestor on the card.


To Play:

· Turn the cards upside down in the center of the table.

· Draw a card

White Sheep Card


· If there is a white sheep on the card read the name and tell something you know about that ancestor. If you are correct you may keep the sheep card.

Shepherd Card

dws1-nativity1 (7)

· If a “shepherd” card is drawn you can “take a white sheep” card from any of the players but you must read the name on the card and say something you know about them.

Black Sheep Cards


If a “black sheep” card is drawn you lose all of your cards, they go back into the card pile.

· NOTE: Players may repeat information already used in the game.

· This game can go on forever, just end when your time is up. Count how many sheep cards each player has at the end of the time and give a prize to the player with the most cards.

Twenty Questions Game for Birthdays or Other Special Occasions

twenty questions

When we celebrate a birthday or some other special occasion we like to play a “Twenty Questions” game.  We’ve played Twenty Questions for birthdays for more years than I can remember.  My big problem with the game is making up new questions every time so I decided to be selfish and write this blog so I would have a permanent record of questions to use.

I’ve included three sets of questions to target three different age groups- the “over the hill”, “prime of life” and a version for kids.  These are not icebreaker questions but questions for testing your knowledge of the person whose life you are celebrating.

You can give everyone a copy of the questions and ask them to write their answers down or read the questions aloud and everyone, including the birthday person writes their answers on a blank piece of paper.  (You don’t need to get the answers to the questions in advance.)

These are not icebreaker questions- but questions to test your knowledge of a friend, family member or other loved one.   Their answer IS THE CORRECT ONE!

Over the Hill

dad's bday ryders eye 1625


  1. What did you want to be when you were small?

  2. What was your favorite song during your young adult years?

  3. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

  4. What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top of?

  5. How many the cities have you lived in?

  6. What was your favorite family vacation?

  7. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?

  8. Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?


  1. What is your favorite book to read?

  2. In the evening, would you rather play a game, watch a movie, or read?

  3. Who is your favorite author?

  4. What was the last movie you went to?

  5. How many pillows do you sleep with?

  6. How many languages do you speak?

  7. How many time a month do you go grocery shopping?


  1. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

  2. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

  3. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska?

  4. What one thing could you not go a day without?

  5. If you could share a meal with any 3 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

Prime of Life



  1. How many houses have you lived in?

  2. What time of day were you born- morning, noon or night?

  3. What is the best roller-coaster you ever went on?

  4. What was your favorite toy as kid?

  5. What was your first job?


  1. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

  2. What’s your favorite type of foreign food?

  3. What spice do you use the most?

  4. What was the last thing you recorded on TV?

  5. Are you a clean or a messy person?

  6. What is your favorite form of exercise?

  7. What time do you usually wake up in the morning?

  8. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

  9. What is your favorite pizza?

  10. What was the last sporting event you attended?

  11. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?


  1. Where do you want to retire?

  2. If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be?

  3. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

  4. What is your dream car?


bynna's birthday 037


  1. When you grow you will probably be __________?

  2. What is your teachers/coaches name?

  3. Who is your tallest friend?

  4. What super hero/Disney princess would you like to be?


  1. Where would you rather live- ocean or moon?

  2. What was the last restaurant you ate at?

  3. Best fieldtrip you’ve been on?

  4. Where would you like to go on vacation?


  1. Right now- is your room clean or messy?

  2. What was the last book you read?

  3. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?

  4. What magical power would you like to have?


  1. What’s your favorite zoo animal?

  2. Which sport do you like to play?

  3. What sport do you like to watch?

  4. What is your favorite toy?

  5. What is your least favorite chore?

  6. What is your favorite school lunch food?

  7. Favorite thing to do in the summer?

  8. Favorite color?

Cat Eye Flashlight Hike

cat eye hike_edited-1

Cat-eye Hike for Family Reunions or Parties

One of the most requested activities at our  family reunions is a Cat Eye hike.  You do a Cat Eye hike in the dark so it’s a  perfect activity for a “camping” family reunion. We have also done cat eye hikes in apartment complexes and residential areas.  We’ve done cat eye hikes with family reunions, girls camps and for kid parties.  It’s a fun activity but does take some time and thoughtful strategy to set up.


How to Organize a Cat Eye Hike

This hike is best done when it is very dark. Cut cat’s-eye shapes (squares work fine too) from reflective tape, available in the Family Reunion Helper store. Another product you might want to consider is “Trail Tacks”.  They are basically just thumb tacks with a reflective paint on the top.  They are visible for up to 200 yards and are great  for sticking into wooden fences etc. You will probably want to use a combination of the two products- tape and tacks.  Just be considerate of others when you set up the hike- you don’t want to be shinning flashlights into peoples windows or causing  damage with reflective tape or tacks.


It is best to set up your hike the night before guiding groups on the hike. Put cat eyes on markers or apply cat eyes to index cards and then use the cards to mark the trail. We like to set up our hikes the night before the cat eye hike is scheduled.

How to Set Up a Cat Eye Hike

When making the trail, place the eyes in such a manner that you can see only one more set of cat’s eyes from the location of one set. Hikers will shine their flashlights on the first set of eyes and then run to the second set of eyes where they will shine their flashlights around the area until they locate the next set of eyes. They will continue searching for eyes and following their path until they arrive back at camp.

If you have a large group, instead of a mass start, send groups of ten or so at a time. You can group hikers as children, teenagers and senior citizens.  Every participant will need a flashlight- you will want to remind your family members to bring a flashlight on your reunion invitation.

If camping, have S’mores for hikers when they complete the hike.

Reunion Buddies!

reunion buddy title_edited-1

Get the family reunion started early!

If you’re looking for a fun ice breaker activity and a way to generate interest in your upcoming family reunion try “Reunion Buddies” and get the  party started before the  reunion even  begins.

Reunion Buddies

About four weeks before your reunion make a double sided copy of the “Reunion  Buddies”  printable using the same  information on each side of the paper.

Match family members up into buddies making sure everyone, young and old has a reunion  buddy. 

Write one buddies name on the line that says “My Name Is” and write their buddies’ name below it on the line that says “My Buddy Is”.  You will need to do this on both sides of the  paper but reversing the information.

Send a copy of the reunion buddies printable to one of the  “buddies” with  the  instructions to fill out their  personal information and then mail the  completed  form to their buddy. Be sure and provide an address and if your reunion has the funds, a stamped envelope.

The buddy they mail the form to will complete the form and return it to back to their buddy.

Encourage buddies to spend some time with each other at your family reunion  perhaps even bringing inexpensive gifts (such as their favorite candy bar) to share.  You may even ask some family members to share what they learned about their reunion buddy.

The idea behind  “Reunion Buddies”  is to  make long lasting friendships  between cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents.  Get a new buddy every year!