Pancake Bar

Pancake Party- a delicious way to feed your family.

Pancake bars are easy to put together and can easily be customized to your family’s needs.  The toppings are limited only by your imagination and the pancake recipe can be your favorite store brand or a family favorite recipe.

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I’ve hosted a couple of pancake bars over the years, and it’s one of my favorite ways to celebrate pretty much anything. Christmas, neighborhood get-togethers, church functions, birthdays and fund raisers  or sleepovers.  It can also be a pretty inexpensive  way to do breakfast at a family reunion.

You can cook your pancakes on  the  spot or make a big batch of pancakes ahead of time.  Just be sure to let your precooked pancakes cool then stack them between sheets of parchment paper and freeze them for later.  When you’re ready to use your premade pancakes you can reheat the pancakes in the oven, microwave or Dutch oven.

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I like to serve a variety of toppings with plenty of options for those that are eating healthy and for those that like to to make the craziest looking pancake they can. 

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The most popular item on my pancake bar is the spray whipping cream. When planning your pancake bar, you can really just think ice cream sundaes and that will help you come up with  some fun toppings. Here’s some of our favorites: 

  • Butter
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nutella
  • Honey
  • Yogurt
  • Fruits such as peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and sliced bananas.
  • M & M’s
  • Crushed butterfingers
  • Toasted nuts
  • Gummy Bears
  • Sweetened shredded coconut
  • Sprinkles
  • Mini Marshmallows 
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Syrups such as Maple, Cinnamon, Raspberry of Strawberry
  • Hershey’s syrup

You can serve your pancakes alone (which is  what I like to do)  or add a side of bacon,, sausage or eggs.  Either way, everyone can find something to love on a pancake  bar and no one should go away hungry.

Water Games for Your Family Reunion

Or… some fun ways to cool off on  a hot summer day!
For the Little Ones

Birdie In My Cup

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Players form a circle and one player goes to the center with a cup of water or a squirt bottle. He says, “I have a little birdie in my cup. What color is he? He then goes around the circle and gives each player a chance to guess the color. If they guess correctly he flicks or sprays water on the the player. Then they switch places and that player becomes ”It”.

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One child stands at the far side of the yard to be the caller and the rest of the children line up at the opposite side of the yard. Set up a sprinkler in the middle of the yard and turn it on. The caller will turn their back to the other kids and says “green light.” When they say green light, the rest of the kids will try to move across the yard to reach the caller. When the caller turns around and says, “red light,” kids have to freeze where they are. If they don’t freeze, they will be sent back to the starting line.

Whoever can tag the caller first wins and becomes the next caller.

For the Older “Kids”
Sponge Soaker

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In sponge soaker, teams take turns running to a bucket to fill their sponge with water and run back (keeping the sponge above their head).  Then squeeze it into an empty bucket, the winning team is the first to have a full bucket of water. You can also play this game with a glass of water instead of sponges.

WATER BALLOON DODGEBALL

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of water balloPool Party Kit 2 Elements (4)ons. Water balloons are labor intensive and a safety hazard if you don’t get them all picked up, but I always make an exception for Water Balloon Dodge ball.

For this game you will need water balloons (about 5 per person) and a container. (To keep your balloons from breaking prematurely, fill the container with water so the balloons can float rather than put pressure on each other. If you prefer not to use water to fill your container, try a plastic trash bag: This allows the balloons to spread out and may help to relieve the pressure.)

Divide the playing field into two halves using rope, tape or cones to make a line to mark the middle . Fill up the balloons and put them in the middle of the playing field. For this game, you probably want water balloons that are a bit bigger so they break easily (but not so easily they break when you throw it).
 
Split players into two teams and have one team go on each side of the line. Water balloon dodge ball is just like regular dodge ball. Players have to race to get a water balloon out of the bucket in the middle of the field and throw water balloons at each other from their side of the yard- no head shots.  When the balloons are gone, the team with the most players is the winning team.  Losing team has to help fill balloons for the next round.  Be prepared with tons of water balloons.

 

Beach Ball Race. Pool Party Kit 2 Elements (26)

You’ll need an inflatable beach ball and water gun for each player. Designate a Starting Line and a Finish Line. To begin, line up the beach balls on the Starting Line. On “Go”, everyone shoots their balls with their water guns. The first ball over the finish line wins.

Freeze Water Gun Tag

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You’ll need one water-gun. Select one player to be “It”. Give “It” the water gun, and on “Go” have “It” try to tag the other players by squirting them. Whoever gets tagged becomes frozen until another player crawls between their legs.

 

Water Surprise
This is my favorite game!Pool Party Kit 2 Elements (8)

Put a line of cups on a table. Fill about half of the cups full with water and leave the other ones empty.

Play: Take turns and have each player one at a time choose a cup without looking (blindfold or cover their eyes). Once they’ve chosen the cup, they have to dump it on their head.

If there is water in the cup, they get wet and are out. If there is not water, they continue to the next round. The last dry kid standing wins.

For the Artsy Family Members

KOOL-AID PAINTING… Sprinkle unsweetened Kool-Aid on a piece a paper. Move a piece of ice over the Kool-Aid. Watch as the Kool-Aid turns to liquid and makes a yummy smelling picture.

SIDE WALK PAINT- a twist on sidewalk chalk.

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You will need equal portions of water and corn starch and mix well. Mix by adding a little at a time of both the water and cornstarch until you have the quantity and texture that you want. Your paint” should be thick and not runny. (Remember, cornstarch will get super thick as you’re mixing and thin out when you stop.) Start with 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. cornstarch and add a little less than 1/4 cup of cold water. To make colors add a drop of food coloring. You can then use this paint to paint on the sidewalk. Give it a few minutes to dry and you’ll have a wonderful work of ART! It washes off easily with a pail of water or hose.  

Silver Dollar Game for Your Independence Day Party

4th of July Games

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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.

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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!

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

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:  Donald Trump

19.  Who is the current Vice President of the United States?
Answer: Mike Pence

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.”

31. What is the tallest mountain the US?
Answer: Mt McKinley, located in the state of Alaska it reaches 20,320 ft (6,194 m) above sea level.

32. Who was the first man to walk on the moon?
Answer: American Neil Armstrong (July 21, 1969).

33. What ocean is off the Florida coast?
Answer: The Atlantic Ocean

Cruisin’ Classic Party Cars

Cardboard Classic Cars Party Planner Food Serving Tray

Look at this fun party idea I saw!

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The  theme for 5th grade graduation at our school was “Cruisin’ into  6th grade”.  As a party favor”, each student was given a cardboard classic car filled  with candy.  I thought  the  cars were such a great idea and my mind started whirling with  how to use  them. For instance,  what  a great idea for a  retirement  party, “Cruisin’  into retirement”, Cruisin’ into college or these 50’s themed cars  would be great for a 50th birthday  or wedding  anniversary.

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The cars have a compartment in them for burgers and fries, candy, popcorn or even money. 

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I was able to find several resources for purchasing the  cars, Etsy, Ebay and Amazon all had  good options.  The cars aren’t  cheap, you can pay anywhere from   to $2.00 per car in sets of 12- 36.  I purchased 36 cars for $37.80 and so that’s how many people I’ll  invite to my husband’s retirement party. (Whenever that is)  Several places will sell you a single  car  for 1.99 which  would be a fun “congratulations” prize for a teenager that just  passed their drivers test.

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As I searched for “Classic” cars I also found options for trucks, Dunwoody, Hot Rod and blue & pink birthday versions.  I thought these cars were such a fun and unusual idea for a party idea- can’t wait until mine arrive.

My New Favorite Reunion Recipe

Biscuit & Gravy Casserole for a Crowd

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Uncle Steven attended a camp out with about 90 youth this past week.  When her was telling me about the camp he said his  favorite thing to eat was the Biscuit and Gravy casserole they had for breakfast.  It sounded delicious and so I  contacted  the camp cook and  she shared her recipe and I tried it out on  my family.  Kids and adults thought it was delicious  and it was super easy.

Biscuits and Gravy Casserole Recipe

I made 2 cake pans (9×13) of this so I doubled the recipe.  I used 1 lb sausage and 1 lb ground beef.

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Ingredients

1 lb bulk pork breakfast sausage or ground beef

1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Southern Homestyle refrigerated Buttermilk biscuits (8 biscuits)

1 pkg of biscuit gravy mix (should make 1 quart of gravy)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook sausage/ground beef until browned and thoroughly cooked.

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Using another pan, cook gravy according  to package directions.. Combine thickened gravy and meat. Spoon into a 9×13 dish.

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    Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into fourths. Top sausage mixture with biscuit pieces.

    Sprinkle with a little cheese if desired.

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    Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and biscuits are golden brown.

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    Serve & enjoy but don’t plan on leftovers.  I plan on using this recipe to feed family at two reunions this year. I think I’ll cook the meat and  make the  gravy in advance so I just need to assemble the casserole a couple of hours before we eat.

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Five Things Reunion Planners Should Stop Doing Now

Aunt Mo shares her reunion  planning advise with  Reunion Workbook magazine readers.

Family Reunion Helper is proud to partner with Reunions Workbook magazine to bring you, “Five Thing Reunion Planners Should Stop Doing Now”. http://reunionsworkbook.com/five-things-reunion-planners-should-stop-doing-now/

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Family Reunion Brag Badges

The Ultimate “Getting to Know You” Game for Your Family Reunion

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A family reunion “Brag Badge” is a small tag, somewhat resembling a “military dog tag” that represents the hobbies, interests, occupations and accomplishments of members of your family.

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Collecting Brag Badges is so much fun that quite often children in  the family will see a badge they want to earn and they’ll run off looking for a family member that will help them earn badge they desire and they’ll connect with a new cousin, aunt or uncle or be surprised by the accomplishments or interests of a favorite relative.

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With Brag Badges, family members will  have fun discovering their relatives that love ice cream, pizza and dancing.  They’ll find relatives  that drive trucks, teach school and relatives that have been to Hawaii. They’ll find relatives that are Eagle Scouts,  Veterans and couples that have been married for 50 years.  They’ll discover relatives that share their same  birth month, like to  read, play baseball and so much more. IMG_0507 (2)

Brag Badges are a perfect way for your family to to show off their interests, talents and achievements and are great way for family members to get to know each other!

When I use Brag Badges at a family reunion I require that badges are signed before they can be earned so that family members will always remember who the relative was that helped them earn the badge. 

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I display my brag badges at our family reunions in needle craft organizers you can purchase by following the link below. I like to leave the badges on a table and let reunion goers supervise themselves. You can purchase the needlepoint cases in the Family Reunion Store. If using all of the badges included in this download you will need to purchase several cases.

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The graphics on these badges are so cute your family will love them!  Over 60 different “Brag Badges” are included in this digital download- all in bright COLOR!  There are 4 of each design but you can print as many copies as you need- depending on the size of your family. You don’t need one of each design for everyone in your family- it makes badges more valuable if the the number is limited.

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Print the Brag Badges on card stock, laminate, cut and  punch a hole in the top of each badge.  The hole is  for the ball bead chain  to  wear around your neck and to display the Brag Badge discoveries you have made.  You can  purchase 50 chains in the Family Reunion Helper store for less than $8.00.

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This fun family reunion resource includes over 60 brag badges in color and printer friendly version. Brag Badges help family members connect in a way they will never forget.  You can purchase a complete set of Brag Badges in  the Family Reunion Helper Store

Punch a Bunch Party Game- DIY

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My family is really enjoying punch boards. A punch board is an exciting way to award prizes. This game show activity allows each person to punch ​through the tissue paper to find a toy or treat, or whatever you decide to put in it. We have even put gift cards in  them. Punch boards are perfect for family reunions, especially if your theme is a circus or carnival  theme.

You’ve seen punch boards on the popular TV game show, The Price is Right, but a punch board can be a fun addition to your family reunion.  A punch board is a fun way to distribute prizes bit you can also use a punch board to make assignments or choose what activity you will do next.

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A larger board can also be a fair way to divide into teams- for example- write families names on slips of paper (Aunt Geri’s family or Uncle Dan’s family etc.)  Punch two or more holes- those families join  together to make a tug a war, softball or family skit group.  You can use the same strategy to assign seating for meals to mix things up a bit.

We have one punch board at our house that we change to fit the theme of  the party we are having.  If you’re having a super hero party or reunion the punch board becomes the perfect- Smash Hulk board.

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Creating Your Punch Board

To create your punch board you will need:

  • sturdy poster board or a piece of cardboard
  • tissue paper
  • Plastic disposable  bowls, lunch sacks or sandwich bags
  • prizes
  • tape & hot glue
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  • The first  punch board we created we used one  sheet  of tissue paper to cover the entire back of the board.  Since then we have found that covering each hole with individual squares seems to work best as  punching one hole may pull the paper from around other holes.  Tape each square securely around individual  holes.

  • Behind the Punch Board

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There are several  options for hiding prizes behind your punch board.  My favorite option is plastic bowls. Carefully run a line of hot glue around the rim of your bowl and attach it to the inside of the tissue covered holes, with the prize inside.  Be sure and put your prize or secret message inside the bowl before attaching it to the board. Other options include taping a lunch sack to the back of each hole or plastic sandwich bags.

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Punch boards also make fun advent calendars.  Create yours with 24 holes and 24 prizes.  Punch out one prize each day to help count down days until Christmas or your favorite holiday.

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t admit to you  that building your own punch board may drive your crazy.  Taping all the bags on the back and making sure the prizes stay in place can be frustrating so if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making your own punch board you can purchase a reasonably priced board by following this link.

https://www.shindigz.com/personalized-prize-punch-game/p/GAMPAB?gclid=CjwKCAjwypjVBRANEiwAJAxlImgxyEZ7zdpjd0JzEVlt4UsIbx24ynwBLB78oJ53fDilfdoFGewT2xoCFD8QAvD_BwE

Personalized Prize Punch Game

Shrink, Shrank, Shrunk

ShRink Art for Your Family  Reunion

I’ve been a Shrinky Dink  fan  for probably 30 years or better, way before they had the fancy kits they have now.  When  I  first started making Shrinky DInks we called them  Shrink  Art and we used either plain sheets of plastic or clean or  clear #6 plastic we got from the bakery.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking  about, Shrink Art is made with thin plastic sheets that shrink down about 45% when you put them in the oven. Not only does the material shrink, but whatever artwork you draw/print on them will also shrink with it. So, you can draw and color a design in  it’s  large form  where it is easy to see and work  with  and then shrink it down so  it is more the size of a charm or an ornament.

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I love to use shrink art for family reunions and parties.  They make great dog tags, charms, pins and beads. Our Oz inspired family reunion includes a template to be used with Shrink Art.  We had so much  fun making the dog tags and our family  loved wearing them  during the reunion.

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To make Shrink Art,preheat your oven  to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

Trace your design on the plastic using a   permanent marker such as a Sharpie marker.   You can draw your own design or trace a  clip art picture you  found  on the internet or use a coloring  page.

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Color your picture with permanent markers or colored pencils. If your plastic has a rough side,  color on  that side.

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Cut out your picture and if you will be putting it on a string or chain punch a hole in it.  You will not  be able  to make any holes  or cuts once your  picture has baked as it will be too thick.

Line a cookie sheet or tray with foil or baking paper. Arrange your pictures,color side up on the tray.

Bake in  the oven for 3- 5 minutes.  Keep your  eye on  them as they bake (that’s half the fun).  At first your pictures will curl up but don’t panic, they will flatten out again.  Once they flatten out bake for a few more seconds then remove from the oven.  If they aren’t quite flat you can flatten them by  pressing them a little more with a hot  pad or wooden  spoon.

When  cooled remove them from the pan  and you’re ready to use and enjoy your Shrink  Art.

The Shrinky Dinks brand makes some fun pre-printed designs that you can  purchase if you want to try out the process before striking out on your own.  You can purchase the pre- printed Shrinky Dink designs or sheets of plain Shrinky Dink plastic by following the  link below. 

 

Fool Your Family With These Family Friendly Pranks

Our top 5 April fools tricks and treAts

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When my kids were little, it became tradition at my house to have “funny” food for one of our April Fools Day meals.  For many years I made “Flannel” pancakes.  I don’t know why but I fooled my family for probably 5 years in a row with my flannel pancakes. 

Now that my kids are grown  with kids of their own we continue the tradition but have added additional pranks- my favorite being my delicious Aprils Fools Brownies.  Actually  they are BROWN- E’s.

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To make my delicious Brown-E’s  I put a bunch of brown capitol E’s in my  special brownie pan and cover it with foil. At the end of  dinner I ask everyone if they still  have room for a brown-E.  This prank has been going on for about 3 years and I’m afraid this year the older grandkids will remember this trick.DSCN4341

For Sale Sign

Another fun way I’ve fooled my grandkids, which all live with a 1/2 mile of my house, is to put a “For Sale” in my front yard. They didn’t that was very funny and fortunately, neither did our good neighbors.

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Frozen Breakfast

Put cereal and milk in a bowl and let it freeze overnight. You can freeze it with the spoon in it or not. The next morning right before breakfast, take the bowl out of the freezer and pour a little bit of fresh milk on top.When your hungry kids try to dig in, they’ll find that their cereal won’t budge.

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Flannel Pancakes


When cooking pancakes put a piece of white flannel, about 3”x3”, into each pancake and cook as usual. Flannel makes pancakes impossible to cut and eaters will become quite frustrated until they realize they’ve been fooled. This is an easy trick to do when serving many people. Put one flannel pancake on a plate with two or three other pancakes.

Non-drinkable Juice


What you’ll need:
Clear drinking glasses, Jell-o, Straws

The night before make some jell-o in clear juice glasses.  Use a flavor that matches the juice they drink – such as grape, orange etc. Fill the glass about ¾ full and after it starts to set, insert a drinking straw. Once it is set, it will look like a normal glass of juice with a straw in it. Simply set it at their place at the breakfast table.  Provide spoons so they can eat the gelatin when they realize they can’t drink it.

And here’s one more fun idea.  Take a few quarters and Gorilla glue them on the sidewalk or walkway leading up to your house.  When the grandkids, or your guests, try to pick them up they’re stuck. Warning- the glue will leave a dark spot on your concrete when you pry it off.