Lemon Jell-O to Feed a Crowd

A Favorite Family Reunion “Side”

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I  love this salad, it’s inexpensive to make, quick to put together (it takes awhile to set  though) and everyone loves it.  I’m not really sure that you should call it a salad, there’s  no  fruit in it,  let’s just call it a “side”.   The fun thing about this side dish  is that it  separates and looks like you’ve spent a lot of time working on layers.  In  reality, it just makes the layers  all  by itself.

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Lemon Jell-O for a Crowd

3 (3 oz.) pkg. lemon Jell-O
4 c. boiling water
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade consentrate
1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip
1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip- for the top layer

Mix Jell-O and water until Jell-O is dissolved.  Add lemonade and stir. Refrigerate until syrupy.


Fold in the whipped topping to the Jell-O and pour into a clear glass  dish (I used a 10 x 15 Pyrex glass dish) and refrigerate until  firm.


In  the above photo you can see the layers  beginning  to form even as I’m folding in the whipped topping.

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Spread a top layer for whipped topping over the Jell-O when set. 

You  change this recipe up to make it a fun side dish for using orange Jell-O with a can of orange juice and serving at your  Halloween or Autumn gathering.

I’m not a great food photographer, I’m more of a, “I’ve got 80 people to feed how do I do that easily, inexpensively and deliciously” type of person.  This lemon “side” is the answer for our family reunions and parties.

A Question of 3’s

A printable version of the Tribond game

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One of our local radio stations is having a contest.  They give you three words and you have to to figure out what the three words have in common.  The example I heard on the radio was- Penny, Ford Motor Company, Nebraska.  I was pretty excited when I  figured it out. (Too bad I was driving and couldn’t call the station to win my prize.) 

It did give me an idea of a printable game I could share on familyreunionhelper.com and after doing some research, came up with the  printable game that I call “A Question of 3’s”  All you need is a copy of the  game  for each player which you can find below and a pencil. Oh, and the answer to the puzzle I heard on the radio- they are all Lincolns.


1. All are tables
2. All are worms
3. All have rings
4. All are cracked
5. All have whites
6. Types of berries
7. All have holes
8. All have Lincolns
9. All are pitched
10. Types of boards
11. Types of poles
12. Types of tellers
13. All have shells
14. All can be carved
15. Types of winds
16. All have capes
17. Types of mail
18. Can be tuned
19. Make deliveries
20. All have pockets

Fun T-shirt Idea for Your Family Reunion

A brand new idea for family reunion t-shirts!


One of my students wore this shirt to class one day and of course when I saw it I started thinking “family reunion”.  If your family isn’t too big this could be a fun idea for your next family reunion.

Ask family members to draw a simple picture of themselves.  The most difficult part of this
project will be getting the drawings returned to you.  If you have enough time you may want to get the drawings at your family Christmas party and then you would have  them for your  summer  reunion.

My  “go to” t-shirt company is


Kdee, their designer,( Kdeewood.au@gmail.com ) is so good to work with and can arrange your drawings on your shirt so they look great.

If you don’t have room on  your shirt for people to draw their whole body you can just do “heads”.

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Thanks to Mrs.Rinker and her kindergarten kids for this fun new idea for family reunion t-shirts.

The $2.00 Dinner Challenge

Making Dinner Fun!

A funny dinner tradition for your family


When my children were little we called it the $1.00 dinner challenge- you could buy a lot more for $1.00 back then.  Now call it the $2.00 dinner challenge but  we still have as much fun as we did in the days when a dollar could actually buy something.


I’m not even sure where the idea came from,but the dinner challenge became a tradition that we would do  when a cousin came for a sleepover.  This is not a tradition for a huge group of people such as an extended family reunion but it’s a ton of fun for a more manageable group of aunts, uncles and cousins.


Here’s how it works-

Give everyone in your family $2 in cash. (Or whatever amount you feel is appropriate) As a family, go to your local grocery store. Walk around the store and look for food that you can purchase for $2. When you’ve looked around a bit, choose the item you want to serve for dinner, pay for it and wait  for  everyone in  your family to finish shopping.  (You want to keep your purchase a secret from the  others but it is best to shop in teams especially if you have younger children.)

Our grandchildren are 10 years and  younger (mostly younger) so we had each child team  up with an  adult.  They put their money together so each team had $4.00 to spend.


Our grandkids get so excited about what they have  purchased they can hardly stand the car ride back to the house to prepare their food.  We have to juggle time in the kitchen mixing, baking and microwaving but eventually everyone is ready and we all sit down at the table to our $2.00 challenge feast.  Even the pickiest of eaters will find something to eat at this table- because they choose it!

Some helpful  hints and a funny story- Set some  guidelines such as, Can  two people put their money together? Can you purchase a dessert item? How long do you have to prepare  the food when  you arrive home?  etc.

One year my niece choose  Jell-O for her food  item.  It would’ve taken hours for the Jell-O to set up but we prepared it anyway and ate  it for a  late night snack.

Does your family to take the $2.00 Challenge?

How Sweet it Is! Candy Match Game

A pretty sweet printable game- and it’s free!

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Whenever I plan a  I party or a family reunion I like  to have an activity  or game that people can play when they first arrive. The goal is to get family members, or friends, laughing and talking  with each  other.  The “How Sweet It Is” free printable fits the bill and coming up with prizes for the winners is  a snap- candy bars!  I suggest the snack size because you’ll probably have several winners.  This ice breaker game is great for large or small group games and for family members of most ages. You can download the free printable by clicking below.  Don’t forget to download the answer key.

Nature Scavenger Hunt {with free printable}

Nature Scavenger Hunt-  fun activity for your family reunion

Nature scavenger hunt

If your family reunion location  is at a park or a campground this Nature Scavenger Hunt  is a wonderful excuse to get outside, have some fun, and spend time together as a family.

Just  print off our fun Scavenger Hunt printable on heavy cardstock and  give everyone a copy along with a pencil and let the fun  begin.  You can  work as teams or individually, it can be a  race or a contest to see who finds the most items. Allow everyone an opportunity to show off their favorite find.

You can  find the link for our Nature  Scavenger Hunt below- or right-click on the picture above, save it to your computer, and print.

Potatoes in a Bag

A Delicious Idea From My Nephew, Brayden, for Your Family Reunion

Sometimes I get in a rut- I forget that some people don’t pack up and head for the mountains when they plan a family reunion or family gathering- instead they head for the BEACH!  And it was to the beach we went for a fun family party with my brother and his family. 

We packed up the surf boards, sunscreen and mashed potatoes- yes, MASHED POTATOES!  “Potatoes in a bag” is a fun and easy tradition Uncle Brett and Aunt Lisa have implemented in their family and would be a yummy idea for your family reunion no matter what location  you choose.

Most of the prep for “Potatoes in a bag”  was done at home.  Everyone measured 1/2 cup potato flakes in a plastic baggie and added their favorite “mix-ins” to give their bag of potatoes their own special flavor.


At the beach, Uncle Brett heated up the water in his portable heater.  When the water was hot we added 1 cup to our bag of potatoes and squished it up in the bag until it was well mixed and creamy.  The potatoes were delish!  The beach was chilly  and wet, and the hot potatoes were a welcome treat.

Directions: Mix 1/2 cup of potato flakes with 1 cup boiling water.  Stir until blended. Add your favorite mix-ins: salt, dry ranch Salad dressing, dry onion soup mix, Butter Buds, dried parsley flakes, beef jerky pieces, diced cheese stick and a beef stick. For thinner potatoes, add more water; for thicker, add more flakes.


If you’ve done eggs in a bag at your family reunion I think you’ll have fun with this idea.  Set out all the ingredients and mix-ins and let your family create their own delicious mashed potatoes.  Your bigger eaters may want to use 1 cup of potato flakes with 2 cups of water.

Thanks, Brayden, for a delicious family reunion idea! And if you’re looking for fun beach themed ideas for your family reunion, check out our Beach family reunion for lots of fun in the sun ideas.

Beach Family Reunion

Beach Reunion


Aunt MO

NOTE: Whenever you add boiling water to your baggie, always use heavy-duty or freezer zip lock bags. Although there have been no claims of injury or illness, Ziploc® states their baggies are not intended to be used at high temperatures, so use at your own risk.

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The Latest Trend in Family Reunion T-shirts

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I LOVE family reunion T-shirts!  They are the ultimate “party favor” or “souvenir” that family members can take home with them after the reunion fun is over. Reunion T-shirts are a  reminder of the good times had at that years family reunion. 

There’s a new reunion T-shirt trend going around and I think it’s great!  We used to take family pictures at our reunion  like the one  below (we used paper plates  with  numbers on it). 

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But now, families are  having fun applying this idea to t-shirts. Each family has a different color, and each t-shirt gets a number on the back representing the order you joined the family (through marriage or birth).


You can have each generation be a color and the in laws all have their own color as well. Then, every person is either numbered according to birth order (by generation) or by when they married into the family.

If there are people at the reunion who aren’t yet married into the family, you can give them a shirt with a question mark on it as in, who will be the next lucky member of the family?”

When it comes to  figuring out what  number everyone  is your  most valuable resource will be the matriarch of the family. Make a list of each  family member and when they became part of the family.  You may want to ask your family to email you their birthdates and anniversary to make  sure your list is accurate.  Email  the completed list to your family so they can double  check your  numbers.


A  common design for  the front of the shirts is  a  fun idea.  You may  want to have a  t-shirt company  print the  common design on the front  of each shirt  and then apply the numbers yourself, especially if you are doing multiple  colors.

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Of  course, you’ll  want to  take a  family picture.  Take  a picture with everyone facing forward and then do a second photo of  the  back of the shirts. I  just love  this latest trend in family reunion t-shirts. If you decide  to do this at your  reunion, send us  a photo and we’ll feature your family on our  website. 

The Family Reunion Planner’s Shopping List

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10 things every family reunion planner needs in her arsenal

Here’s my list of top ten tools I need to pull off a family reunion:


1. Divider Sticky Notes 60 Ruled Notes- I am an organization freak and these are perfect for keeping everything organized. They are like regular sticky notes but they have a tab that makes everything easier to find. They are very helpful when  organizing your registration binder. You can find them at Amazon following the  link below.

2. Tape- every size and every type.  Be sure and include Duct tape.

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3. Jumbo paper clips– It seems that every time I try to clip together a group of paper they get all messed up. The clips come off and I end up with a bigger mess than if I had just stacked them .  I found these jumbo paper clips a couple of years ago and I use them for everything.  They may seem  pricey but after you’ve used them I think you’ll agree with me- it’s a screaming deal!

4. Ziploc bags– These bags go a long way to keeping me organized and I’m not talking about food.  I use Ziploc bags to keep office supplies, game pieces, personal grooming supplies and a host of other items grouped together.   For me, they have to be the bags with  the zipper that slides across the top- they are faster to close and I know for sure that they are sealed. I like to put groups of items such as pencils and markers in smaller quart size bags and use gallon sized bags for larger items such as props for a game, items for a costume or all the tape variations I’ve collected.

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5. Sharpie markers– more than one.  I usually keep at least one Sharpie in my  pocket at all times during a family reunion.  A Sharpie for me and one or two to loan out.

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6. A Laminator– I was so surprised to learn that I could buy a laminator for less than $20.00 and although they are  pretty slow I  love not gathering up all my signs, name tags and table toppers to take to the copy store for laminating . With this inexpensive laminator you can laminate documents up to 9 inches wide and it warms up and is ready to use in about 5 minutes. I still take my large jobs to the copy store but there are so many times I need to laminate a few items and this product has really saved me tons of time and trips to the store.   Don’t forget the laminating pouches also available at Amazon.

7. Cell phone– You might think that’s a  pretty obvious choice but when it comes to planning a family reunion it a cellphone is the perfect place to store your lists. Just a take a  photo of the agreement for the  rental site and you’ve got it at your fingertips when you need to show your reservation.  Take a photo of your t-shirt order, family list, agenda and rules and instructions and you won’t have to run off to grab your files- they’ll be  right there in the  palm of your  hand. (Not to mention all the phone numbers you’ll have handy)

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8. Storage containers– I usually use Rubbermaid containers but paper boxes will work as well.  I use one box or container for each day and time period.  For instance- Saturday morning, Saturday evening and Saturday morning. As I prepare and pack for the reunion Ii I put everything I need for that time period  in its  box.    At the reunion location I organize the containers according to the day and time when their contents will be needed.  This saves me from having to dig through a jumble of boxes and bags.

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9. Camera– I need my own personal  camera, preferably one that fits in my pocket. (If your phone takes good pictures that may be all you need.)  I don’t like to rely on others to take pictures of the reunion so I like to have my own  camera to take pictures whenever or wherever I want.  I like to document many aspects of the reunion for my blogs and reunion theme packages and with my personal camera I’m sure  to get just the shot I’m  looking for.

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10. Emergency items– I’m talking about “fun” emergencies.  If you have the following items you always have a fun game or activity if something doesn’t go quite right or if you  have time to fill:  A ball, 2 large dice and a deck of cards.

I prefer a playground ball that you can kick, jumbo dice and a regular deck of  playing cards.  You might also want  to include sidewalk chalk, colored markers, Frisbees and a rope for group jumping games.

PSYCH! A Multiplayer Game For Your Phone and… Your Family Reunion


I recently attended my nieces wedding,  luncheon and reception. Everything was beautiful and I loved being part of the festivities but like most weddings and such there is a lot of downtime for those of us who are basically spectators.  During one of these downtimes my brother introduced us to  a fun  game you can  play on your phone that involves everyone.

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The name of the game is Psych!  Choose from a variety of fun categories in which each player makes up fake answers to real trivia questions.

According to the games own  description-  the idea behind the game is to get together with a bunch of friends and answer ridiculous trivia questions. The catch is, the multiple choices you’re given include the correct answer as well as a bunch of incorrect answers which are provided by the other players. So, say for instance the question popped up of “Who is the Editor in Chief of TouchArcade?” “Eli Hodapp” would be in there somewhere, along with whatever else anyone playing decides to toss into the mix as possible answers.

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Anyone who knows me will understand that, after playing a few rounds of Pysch! with  my family, my “reunion” brain kicked into gear and I immediately began to think of ways to use the game at a family reunion.

Can you imagine how excited the teenagers in  your family would be if you asked them  to get their cellphones for a game they would be playing. Psych! is a clever way to get family members that just  can’t seem set their cellphones  down to join in  a game or activity to participate with the group.

Psych! is also a pretty fun  way  to get to know family members that you see only once a year at the  family reunion.  Some of the  game options give you a real opportunity to see into your cousin’s psyche.

“PSYCH!” is the perfect app for game night, road trips, or even waiting in line. So grab your phones, gather ‘round, and get ready for a gaming experience unlike anything you’ve ever tried!

NOTE:There’s in-game ads as well, which can be removed for $2.99. If you’re just downloading the game to play with a friend (who might have bought a ton of stuff in-game), it’s totally free.