Mashed Potato Bar

mashed potato bar

What’s a Mashed Potato Bar?

I had never heard of a “Mashed Potato  Bar” until recently   when my daughter came home from a family function with her husband’s family and they had hosted a mashed potato bar. My daughter raved about how delicious and fun the mashed potato bar was.

Of course, I’ve eaten  at lots of baked potato bars and for any years a potato bar was our  go to meal at family gatherings but a mashed potato bar is a fun new twist to that traditional and rather over  done family  reunion  meal.

Here’s how  you  put a Mashed Potato Bar together for your next family reunion or party.

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Of course,  the main ingredient is mashed potatoes.  You can make your own (see recipe below) or  you can use already prepared potatoes such as the ones Costco carries.

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Mashed Potato Bar Toppings Ideas

Serve your  potatoes in large crock pots to keep the potatoes warm and set  out various  toppings.  I’ve listed a few of our favorites but use your imagination to  customize  to your needs:

Sour cream
Chopped green onions
Mushrooms
Olives
Crumbled bacon
Finely shredded cheese
Steamed broccoli
Chopped Ham
Shredded chicken
Whipped butter
Sour cream
Frozen Peas
Ranch salad dressing
Grilled zucchini and summer squash
Caramelized onions and peppers
Freshly grated Parmesan
Tomato salsa
Tomatoes
Jalapenos
Grilled tri-tip sliced thin
Onion crisps
Country Gravy (I like to stay away from gravy, it’s the obvious choice and people aren’t’ as creative if they have gravy as a choice)
Salt and pepper

The Idaho Potato Board has their own list of ingredients for a Mashed Potato Bar which you can find by clicking on the link below.

  https://idahopotato.com/recipes/mashed-potato-bar

Serve on plain plates or bowls or fancy things up a bit by using goblets as your dishes.  You can  always find a miss-matched assortment of goblets and wine glasses at your local DI or Goodwill.

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A good basic mashed potato recipe includes just a few ingredients. Note: Baking and Russet potatoes tend to be heavier and starchier than Yukon Gold potatoes.

Basic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

  • 8 Potatoes
  • 1/2 Cup melted butter
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk ( I melt my butter in a bowl with the milk for creamier potatoes.
  • Salt
  • Fresh Pepper
  1. Peel and dice potatoes and put in pot of boiling salted water. Cover and simmer until potatoes are fork tender (20-30 minutes, depending on quantity of potatoes). Remove from heat and drain.
  2. Mash potatoes with a potato masher or a hand mixer.
  3. Add butter and milk

While doing research for this article I found this cute Mashed Potato Bar sign on Etsy.  The name of the shop that offers it for sale is the TheDoodleCoop.

Potato Bar Sign, Mashed Potatoes Sign, Make Your Own Loaded Potato Printable, Wedding Reception, Sweet Sixteen, Birthday Party, Potato Bar

TheDoodleCoop

Be sure and sign up to receive a copy of familyreunionhelper.com’s FREE reunion cookbook HERE

Tried and True Recipes

 

 

 

 

Reunion Buddies

A Getting to know you activity before the reunion even begins

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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!

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Family Reunion Bingo

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Family reunion bingo is a great ice breaker activity for family reunions or parties of any kind.  I created a family reunion bingo card several years ago that we have used over and over again. I recently received a request to create some variations to the original game and mix things ups a bit.  The competed Bingo game cards are below and ready for you to play.

Family Reunion BINGO- the Basic Game

Give family members a BINGO card and a pencil and allow a few minutes for your family members to mingle as they get signatures in the bingo squares that apply to them. You can only use a person’s signature once on your bingo sheet.  The game can  end at this point with prizes for everyone that completely  fills up their BINGO card or you can take the game a step further.

Family Reunion BINGO Variation

Write everyone’s name on a piece of paper and put it in a hat.   Pull a name out of the hat one at a time and read it out loud. If a person has that name on their sheet they can put an X on that square.  If they don’t have that name they do nothing. Keep drawing names from the hat until someone get a BINGO by competing a row, column, or diagonal with X’s.

I have created 5 variations of my original  BINGO card that you can download and print by clicking on  the file below.

Bingo Card 5

Fun Ice Breaker Game for Your Family Reunion

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This is a fun idea for an ice breaker game for your next  family reunion or family party.  It is even a fun idea for a work, school or church function.

Divide into groups of about 10.  The groups work together to determine the  total amount of points they have  earned.  Each team will need a team captain and recorder. 

You can make up your own list of points but here are a few ideas to get  you started.

1.  Counting January as one point, February as two points and so on, add up the total points of your group.

2. Score one point for each college attended.

3. Score one point for every button on each shirt.

4. Total number of pennies teammates have in their pockets.

5. Total of all sizes added together- one shoe only per person.

6.  Hair color score- Black hair- 2 points, Brown hair- 1 point, Red hair- 3  points, Grey hair- 5 points, Blonde- 1 point

7. Five points for everyone that is  wearing glasses, 2 points for contacts.

8. One point for every child each person has, twins- 5 points, triplets- 10 points.

9. Minus 1 point for every soda or pop consumed.  Plus 1 point for every glass or bottle of water.

10. 1 point for everyone that is wearing a watch.

Add up the total of points each team has and award prizes to the team that has the “most” points, “least” points, “most unorganized” etc.

Bead Geckos- A Family Reunion Ice Breaker

bead geckos

An effective way to jumpstart your family reunion is with an activity that  family members can participate in independently when they arrive at the reunion and are settling in. There is that awkward time when family arrives at the reunion  and everyone is  getting reacquainted.  Experience has proven that if there is a low key activity planned it will encourage family members to mingle and get comfortable with each other again.  A pre reunion activity also keeps younger family members busy and engaged while their parents are visiting and settled in.

Bead lizards or Geckos are the perfect solution.  Collect a supply of different colored pony beads and some satin cording and let your family create their own Geckos.

 

gecko

What you’ll need for each lizard-

  • 2 yards satin cording of your choice 
  • 1 metal keychain or lanyard hook
  • 27 colored (shown as green in the above diagram) pony beads
  • 21 colored (shown as orange in the above diagram) pony beads
  • 2 black pony beads for eyes

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I really recommend watching the following video to get some great instructions for making your bead Gecko.  The great thing is,  if you download the video to your tablet, the  video will be available to your guests and you won’t spend so much time  trying to give instructions as you’re registering your family members and getting them situated- they’ll be  able to watch the video!  The video lasts less than 2 minutes and it’s actually quite entertaining.

https://youtu.be/PI5Gxihkyes

You can  find more ice breaker ideas by following the link below

http://familyreunionhelper.com/blog/2010/03/really-cool-ice-breaker-games/

Superhero Reunion Theme

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Family Reunion Helper proudly announces the completion of their latest family reunion  theme- Superhero!

Now you can bring all the action-packed adventure and excitement of your favorite superheroes to your family reunion!

Print

A superhero reunion will appeal to family members of all ages. Superheroes have unique skills, wear awesome costumes and save the world on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.

A superhero family reunion lends itself to action-packed games, superhero training and fun activities.

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This reunion theme package includes a fun printable reunion invitation, secret super power cards, water bottle labels, superhero training cards, “what’s my super power?” activity, Kapow!, Boom! and Zap! signs and fun printables for napkin rings and table decorations.

Our superhero reunion is jam packed with more than 35 pages of ideas for many of your favorite superheroes: Batman, Spider-man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Iron-man, Flash, Hawk-eye and even Aqua-man.

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With the Superhero reunion theme your family will want to save helpless citizens, fight the forces of darkness and defeat the evil villains. Plan a superhero reunion and let your families’ powers shine. Whether they’re saving the planet or saving your family, a superhero family reunion or party will be a memorable reunion for anyone who has ever yearned to make right what’s wrong in the world.

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You can find the superhero reunion theme at Family Reunion Helper.com and by clicking on the link below.

Super Hero Family Reunion

Piñatas- a Smashing Good Time!

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Piñatas are a fun activity for birthdays, celebrations and family reunions and because they’re made with paper Mache paste and newspaper strips they’re inexpensive to make though can be expensive to fill.  You can make your own piñata or buy one in any shape or design that will add to your party’s theme.

Traditionally, to play the piñata game,you blindfold the first child in line and turn them around three times, and give them a wooden stick so they can swing at and if lucky, hit the  piñata.

Piñata Fun  with Dice

At a recent family reunion we did a fun variation of smashing the piñata by using a large dice made from a square box.  Each child rolled the “dice” to determine how many swings with a stick they would have at the piñata.  If they roll a four they try to hit the piñata 4 times.

dice

HINT:  When  planning to use a piñata as one of your activities be sure to have a plan  for how you will hang it up- tree, a beam if inside or 2 adults could hold a rope or a pole with the piñata hanging in the middle.  For safety’s sake keep everyone away from the  person  swinging at the piñata.

Pull Piñatas

”Pull” piñatas are perfect for small children or  for times when sticks may not be appropriate. Fill them  with  treats as you would a classic piñata and instead of hitting it with a stick just choose a ribbon and pull to release the trapdoor and the treats.

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Piñata Cakes

One of the most clever ideas I’ve seen on Pinterest recently is a piñata cake.  No smashing involved with  this piñata but you will  find plenty of treats inside.  Below are some quick instructions but for more detailed information click on the photo below- they’re the real experts.

Pinata party cake

A piñata cake is simple to make- just make a 3 layer, round cake.  Leave two of the layers intact for the  top and the bottom.  Frost the bottom layer.

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For the third layer, the middle layer, cut the center out and place the remaining ring on top of the bottom layer. Fill the center of the cake with  small,  unwrapped candies such as M and M’s or Skittles. Make sure you fill  the cavity to the top with candy. Frost this layer then top  with the remaining cake layer. 

Frost and decorate the cake as  desired.

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Human Piñata

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to read about “HUMAN” piñatas.  Just follow the link below to read about all the crazy fun!

human pinata

An Easter Hunt Twist

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Get Your Plastic Easter Eggs Now!

Now is this the perfect time to purchase plastic Easter eggs- not only for Easter egg hunts but for other themed parties you may have throughout the year.For instance, fill eggs with small  plastic dinosaurs for a prehistoric or dinosaur reunion or fill eggs with small plastic dragons for your medieval reunion  or princess party.

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Moana and HeiHei Fun!

With all the excitement over Moana  you could also fill plastic eggs with HeiHei memorabilia or pictures. (Take a picture or HeiHei and  then cut into puzzle pieces.  Hide one piece in each egg and when all the pieces Are found you can put the puzzle together.) These eggs would be  perfect for a HeiHei egg hunt.  I purchased them at Walmart.

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How to Play

Hide the eggs around your reunion or party location. Tell the kids that they must find all the eggs before they hatch. The person that collects the most dinosaurs or dragons (or Easter themed prize) is  the  winner. This may not be the child that finds the most eggs as not every egg will have a prize in it.

A fun twist is to tell kids that if  they find an egg that is empty, they have to put it back for another player to find. This way, the hunters will have to remember which eggs they’ve already checked…which adds to the mystery and suspense of the hunt.

 

Caveman Reunion     Medieval Reunion

Going Away Party For Your College Bound Student

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If you have a high school  graduate that is looking forward to graduating and heading off to college you might want to plan a going away party.  As part of the “Aloha” fun plan a fun  “ Day in  the Life” relay race.

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Use your imagination and personalize challenges to your student’s situation.  For instance,  you might want  to use the  following challenges:

Doing  Laundry Challenge
Have a couple of dish towels and clothespins that must be hung on the line before moving to the  next challenge.

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Garbage Challenge
Make several newspaper “balls” by squishing newspaper together.  Place a garbage can several feet away.  Before moving  to the next challenge you must toss 3 newspaper balls  into the garbage.

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Gym Time Challenge
Pick up a couple of 5 lb. weights and run from point A to point B.

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Grocery Carry Challenge

Put a few canned goods in  a grocery bag- carry the bag from point A and point B.

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Hot Tub Challenge 
Use a low bucket with warm water- time  ends when BOTH  feet are in the “hot tub”.

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The person with the fastest time receives a gift bag of apartment cleaning  supplies.

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Aquaman Super Hero Training

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Who is  Aquaman and why should he  be a featured  hero  at your superhero reunion or party?

Aquaman is the king of all things aqua. He can breathe underwater, swim at tremendous speeds, and telepathically communicate with sea life. Being able to withstand ocean depths, he gets bonus points on land with his superhuman strength, enhanced senses, and nearly impenetrable skin.

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I never knew there was a superhero named Aquaman but I’ve got to tell you- if you’re around a pool  or lake or some other water  source, Aquaman gives endless opportunities for water competitions and  games.  Try some of our favorite Aquaman  training activities:

Aquaman Treasure Hunt

Collect a bunch of pennies, nickels and other coins and throw them into the pool.  Be sure to throw coins in different depths of the pool to accommodate all swim skill levels.  Line kids up on the side of the pool and  on the word go they jump into the pol and  collect as many coins as possible. When all the coins are found, count them and add up the value.  The one with  the most money is the winner.

Aquaman Underwater Training

Participants line up on one side of the pool,  On the word “go” they jump into the pool and swim as far as they  can under water. Depending on the size of the pool and the abilities of the  swimmers,  they may be able  to swim more than  one  lap.

Aquaman Enhanced Senses Training

Use a pint water bottle with a white cap and filled it with water from the pool. Line the swimmers up on one side of the pool facing away from it. When they hear the bottle hit the water they can jump  in and begin hunting for it. The swimmer that finds the bottle is the winner.  You can play this game over and over.

Of course swimming races are fun and since Aquaman can swim at  tremendous speeds, a real natural for your superhero training.

Be sure and check  out more superhero family reunion ideas by clicking on  the picture below. 

Super Hero Family Reunion