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. 

 

New Years Man- A Family Tradition

You’ve probably never heard of the  New Years Man but it’s a family tradition that has  been part of our family for generations.New Years Man

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s customary in Spain to quickly eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock. Each grape supposedly signifies good luck for one month of the coming year.  People around the world celebrate the  coming of the new year in many different ways but our families’ New Years tradition is one you’ve probably never heard of.

Every New Years Eve, if we have cleaned our rooms and put away our Christmas gifts, the “New Years Man” will  stop at our house and leave one last holiday gift.   I have no idea how the New Years Man tradition in  my family but it’s a tradition that goes back many generations. 

My Mom  remembers- “On  New Years Eve,  at bedtime we would make a “nest” out of our clothes.  While we were sleeping the New Years man would come and put goodies in our nest—It was always something to eat, candy, fruit etc.  Not toys.  Never a lot but we could tell he had been there “checking ” up on us. We  thought it was fun!” 

The tradition continued when  I was a child.  My parents used the New Years Man as a bribe to motivate us to clean up and put our Christmas things away. 

The New Years Man tradition has evolved to him bringing a small toy, treat or book etc. on New Years Eve for every girl  or boy that has put away their Christmas presents and cleaned their room so that it is spotless.  On New Years Eve we write our names on  a paper plate and if our rooms are clean the New Years Man will leave us a special prize.

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I don’t know what the  New Years Man looks like and I don’t know where he comes from but  I  do know that as a child I was extremely motivated to get my room cleaned and my Christmas gifts put away so that the  New Years man would leave me one more gift for the season.  I’m  sure that having the  house  clean  and orderly for the first day of the new year was well the effort  for my parents.

Fun Reindeer Party Ideas

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Magic Reindeer Food

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When you sprinkle magic reindeer food on your lawn on Christmas Eve, it leaves a glittering path–and a sweet treat–for Rudolph and Blitzon and their  friends.

Make a bag of Magic Reindeer food for each family that attends your party or as an inexpensive stocking stuffer for each child.

Package this simple recipe in zipper food storage bags, and add a free printable gift tag containing the Magic Reindeer Food poem to make Magic Reindeer Food easy to make–and to give.

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Magic Reindeer Food Recipe

In a large bowl or container, mix:

1/4- 1/2 cup uncooked oats
1/4 cup red or green sugar crystals
Small sealable bag
Magic Reindeer Food poem (You can find a free printable of the poem at Magic Reindeer Food Poem)

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Package Magic Reindeer food in small food storage bags or holiday gift bags.

HINT: You can use craft glitter in your magic reindeer food but colored sugar crystals (as used for cake decorating)are safer for other animals or birds that may ingest it.

Reindeer Noses

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Another fun reindeer games party favor is a bag of reindeer noses.

I wanted the perfect gift for you-
But couldn’t decide just what to do.
I almost sent you a dozen roses-
Instead here’s a bag of…
reindeer noses

Reindeer noses are simply seven brown candies such as “Whoppers” and one red candy (to represent Rudolf). I used sour cherry candies for my red nose.  You may find a free printable of the reindeer nose poem below. Just copy and paste into your document.

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Log Reindeer Centerpieces

Log reindeer are the perfect project for your centerpieces. Simply reuse scraps of wood and timber from your woodpile, drill a few holes, and glue it all together. You’ll need a few thicker logs for the body and head; long, thin sticks for the legs, and pronged branches for your reindeer’s antlers. Add bow, bells or tinsel to complete your project.  After the party you can give away part of your herd as prizes or save them to give as neighbor gifts.

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Reindeer Cupcakes

Bake cupcakes according to package directions and frost generously with chocolate frosting.  Top with pretzels for the antlers, a Nilla Wafer for the face, white frosting dots for the eyes, back pearl sprinkles or black icing for the eyeballs, and brown and red candies for the nose.

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Santa Pancakes

HINT:  We made the pancake base of our Santa pancakes before arriving at the party.  Because they are a little time consuming we began decorating them in advance.  We noticed that the whipped cream started getting soft and didn’t look as cute.  Solution- get more help with the decorating so that you can make them on the spot.

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Reindeer Games Minute To Win It

We used the “Minute to Win It” format for our “reindeer games”.  We divided into four teams- team Rudolf, team Blitzen, team Dasher and team Donner and competed in 8 different challenges. We projected a countdown clock on the wall so that everyone could join in the drama as the seconds counted down.  For more information on Minute the Win It games check out the following link.

http://familyreunionhelper.com/blog/2011/10/minute-to-win-it-party-2/

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Giant Yardzee Game For Your Reunion or Outdoor Party

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I’ve never gotten too excited about all the “giant” yard games you  find on the internet but a couple of weeks ago I actually saw a giant Yahtzee game. I got to touch it, roll the dice and count up my score and I thought, “Hey this would be fun for our next family reunion!”  (I  think that about a lot of things)

Giant Yardzee is pretty simple to make.  You’ll need  5 dice cut from 4″x”4″ fence posts.  Cut each cube to 3.5 inches to make a perfect cube.Sand as necessary and paint in bright colors.  To make dots use a circle template to paint them on or use stickers or circles cut with a 1 inch hole punch.

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This is a very cute bucket to store Yardzee score cards and markers in but a 5 gallon bucket is more practical as it will also hold your dice.

Print off giant sized Yahtzee score cards- there are many free ones on the internet- here’s one resource.http://www.memory-improvement-tips.com/support-files/yahtzee-score-sheet-large.pdf

Playing using normal Yahtzee rules.

Did you know- A single “dice” is called a die and multiples are called dice. The round dots on a die are called pips!

Orange You Glad It’s Summer!

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What a clever way to say thank you to a teacher, friend or co-worker.  Include a basket or gift bag full of “orange” items.Some orange things you can include are:
orange jello
orange gum
orange breath mints
orange Kool-aid
orange soda such  as Shasta orange or Sunkist
Reese’s Pieces
non-food items such as orange colored pencils, markers, lip gloss, post it notes, straws or nail  polish.

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Put items in a cute gift bag or box (preferably orange).
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Copy the orange at the top of this article, cut out and attach with bright orange ribbon to your gift.  Don’t forget to right your own personal message.

Use the “orange” theme to say thank you to special people at your reunion or “orange you glad it’s your birthday” for someone who celebrates their birthday during your reunion. 

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You can also create a “box of sunshine” for someone by replacing orange items with yellow things- yellow Jell-O, lemonheads and lemonade mix etc.

Or put  together a green  basket filled with green Mike  and Ikes, peace tea, wintergreen life savers, green  pear, green apples and fruit gum.  It’s perfect for St Patrick’s Day or use as a thank you at your family reunion- “We’re LUCKY to have you in our family.”