Twelve Days of Christmas Nativity

 

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On December 13th, there are officially 12 days left until Christmas! A fun and creative Christmas tradition I remember from my childhood is called "The Twelve Days of Christmas. It all starts on December 13th and continues up until Christmas Eve, December 24th. My favorite “12 Days of Christmas” is to leave one nativity piece each night and at the end of the 12 days the family will have a complete nativity scene.

First, chose a family or individual who would appreciate a little extra Christmas joy and each day, starting on the 13th, a leave a small gift for that person, anonymously.

The next step is to find a nice nativity scene, preferably with 12 pieces. Twelve piece nativities are pretty easy to find however, this year I was only able to find an 11 piece set so will also do a string of white lights, oval mirror to display or a star shaped ornament for their Christmas tree. I paid $19.00 for my nativity set.

Beginning 12 days before Christmas, deliver one piece of the nativity to your selected family. This Christmas tradition is especially fun if you are doing it with kids. Kids love to doorbell ditch and will quickly get into the Christmas spirit by taking part in The Twelve Days of Christmas. We try to do this after dark, or leave the nativity pieces on the porch when the family isn’t home. Important- don’t get caught! It’s much more fun to remain anonymous!

You may want to attach a nativity scripture to each nativity piece. You can find a free download of suitable scriptures at www.familyreunionhelper.com. Deliver one piece of the nativity each night for 12 nights– the last one being baby Jesus on the Christmas Eve, December 24th.

www.familyreunionhelper.com

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Joseph

Luke 2:4

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…

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Luke 2:7

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

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Donkey

Luke 2: 1, 3-5

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Agustus, that all the world should be taxed… And all went to be taxed, every one to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, into the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”

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Cow

John 1:3

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All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

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Lamb

Luke 2:8

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field…

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Lamb

Luke 2:8

…keeping watch over their flock by night

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Shepherd

Luke 2:20

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

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Shepherd

Luke 2:8

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

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Camel

Galatians 6:2

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

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Angel

Luke 2:9-10

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

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Star

Matthew 2:10

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

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Manger

Luke 2: 12

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

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Angel

Luke 2:15

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

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Wise Man

Matthew 2:1

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.

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Wise Man Matthew 2:12

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Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

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Wise Man

Matthew 2:11

And when they had opened their treasures, they

presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense,

and myrrh.

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Baby Jesus

Luke 2:11

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Are You Ready For Christmas- Take The Test

Are You Ready for Christmas?

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original artwork©delightful-doodles.com

Take this test to find out if you’re ready for Christmas

If you have attended a Christmas party give yourself 1 point, if you hosted a holiday party give yourself 5 points. If you didn’t yell at anyone while you were setting up for the party give yourself 2 extra points.

Give yourself 1 point if you’ve started you Christmas cards, add 5 points if you’ve mailed them. If you sent your holiday greeting on Facebook deduct 2 points.

Give yourself 1 point if you’ve started Christmas shopping and 5 points if you’ve finished all of your Christmas shopping. If you had to pay 2-day or overnight shipping on an online order so it would get here on time deduct 2 points.

Give yourself 1 point if you’ve begun your Christmas baking, and 5 points if you’re all done. If you put sprinkles on something give yourself 2 extra points.

Give yourself 1 point if your gifts are all wrapped and 5 points if you wrapped them yourself. Deduct 2 points if you paid someone to wrap them.

If you have purchased your Christmas ham give yourself 1 point. If you have purchased a Christmas turkey give yourself 5 points. If you shot a Christmas goose, give yourself 2 extra points.

Give yourself 1 point for each item you’ve eaten in December: sugar plums, a roasted chestnut, Figgie pudding, Christmas goose or eggnog. (5 points possible)

If you are wearing something red or green give yourself 1 point. If you are wearing a Christmas sweater give yourself 5 points. If you are wearing Christmas underwear give yourself 2 extra points. (Must be willing to prove it.)

If you have sung “Jingle Bells” this Christmas give yourself 1 point, if you have gone caroling, give yourself 5 points, if you have performed in a Christmas play, program or concert give yourself an extra 2 points.

If you have watched the movie, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” give yourself 1 point, if you have watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” give yourself 5 points.

If your birthday is in December give yourself 1 point, if it is Christmas Day give yourself 5 points.

If you’ve seen Santa this year, give yourself 1 point. If you’ve sat on Santa’s knee give yourself 5 points. If you’ve kissed Santa give yourself 2 extra points.

If you’ve put Christmas decorations outside your home, give yourself 1 point. If you checked to see if they were working give yourself 5 points. Give yourself 2 extra points if your lights were still working after you put them up.

If you will have 10 or less people at your table for Christmas dinner give yourself 1 point, if you will have more than 10 people at your table for Christmas dinner take some headache medicine, put your feet up and give yourself 5 points. If you will be eating a TV dinner for your Christmas meal subtract 2 points.

25 points or more- Congratulations, you’re ready for Christmas! Christmas is definitely your thing. You love every minute of the holidays.

15- 24 points- You’re getting closer! Just a few more presents to buy and it’ll be time for some hot cocoa!

Less than 15 points- It’s not Christmas yet! RIGHT? Going shopping now…

Black Friday Shopping a Family Tradition

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For our family, Black Friday shopping is a Thanksgiving tradition as rich as turkey stuffing or pumpkin pie.  We wake before the crack of dawn the morning after turkey day and start hunting down Black Friday bargains.

I know that many of you are shaking your head in disgust right now- for many  people staying up late or getting up in the wee hours of morning seems ridiculous to you.  I’ll be the first to admit that you have to be a little (maybe a lot) crazy to get up early and be standing in a long line by 5 a.m.- in the cold, and the psycho crowds, but for me, it’s not about the bargains out there or the money I might save- it’s about the family memories we make. 

Black Friday Memories

In our family we enjoy remembering the time Uncle Lee almost got trampled (Well, not really but it makes a better story) by a mob of frenzied shoppers fighting over Furby pets.

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We loved the year Sears gave out free $10.00 gift cards to the first person in line and we all came out with our purchases and hadn’t spent a dime of our own money.  My daughter still has the slippers she bought that day and wears them proudly.

Then there was the year we stood in a freezing cold Staples line and they brought everyone hot chocolate.  The hot Styrofoam cup kept our hands warm while we stood in line and talked and laughed about how stupid it was to be standing outside in the freezing cold at five in the morning.

One year our main priority was to hit the huge sock sale at Fred Meyers but when we entered the store we found it overflowing with bargain sock shoppers that we left without purchasing even one pair of socks.

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For the Wells family, Black Friday is an event and a rite of passage for pre-teens as they hope to be included in the early morning shopping spree.

My brother Lee, Uncle Steven and I are the instigators of the craziness and a few years ago we took Black Friday Shopping to a whole new level with an “Application to Go Black Friday Shopping With Aunt Mo & Uncle Lee” form.  This was a tongue-in-cheek application that those who wanted to go shopping had to fill out.  (A copy of this form can be  found at the end of this blog.)

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My brother, Scott, added some “over the top” fun to the event by organizing all of the ads for Black Friday sales in a crate with hanging file folders.  He was adamant that we return all ads to their specific file location so that everything stayed organized.  (Of course, all his organizing was only a ploy to be accepted as a member of our Black Friday shopping team.)

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Here’s some things we’ve learned to help us have a successful shopping trip:

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Make a plan.  Decide in advance which stores have the best bargains for the most shoppers in your group.

Leave your coat in the car and anything else that makes it difficult to maneuver through the store.

Beat the system by shopping in teams. We always separate into teams and go after items that we want.  One person (usually Uncle Steve) always heads for the check-out line so we don’t have to waste so much time waiting in line to check out.

One final note to store and shop owners- please don’t ruin Black Friday shopping by opening your doors a week early and calling it a “pre Black Friday” sale.  It seems that stores are opening earlier than ever and some have door busters slated for the day before Black Friday, letting you shop after Thanksgiving dinner.   I guess you’d say I am a purest- I like Black Friday where it’s supposed to be- the day after Thanksgiving, very early in the morning and surrounded by my family- at least those that filled out a Black Friday shopping application.

Aunt MO

Black Friday Application

Application to Go Black Friday Shopping With Aunt Mo & Uncle Lee

Black Friday shopping is a very serious business. It is a great honor to be part of Aunt Mo and Uncle Lee’s Black Friday shopping team. If you would like to be considered for a spot on the our Black Friday shopping team please fill out the following questioner and give it to Aunt Mo or Uncle Lee by 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day. We have very strict guidelines and take our Black Friday shopping very seriously. We will notify all successful candidates by 9:00 PM that same day. Good luck!

NAME ____________________ AGE ______

1. How many times have you been Black Friday shopping? ___________________________________

2. Are you an experienced Black Friday shopper YES or NO

3. What time will you go to bed Thanksgiving night? ________________________________________

4. Do you push the “snooze” button when your alarm goes off? YES or NO (We don’t want to wait for you)

5. What will you be shopping for? ________________________________________________________

6. Name three stores you would like to shop at? List in order of importance.

1.__________

2. __________

3. __________

7. How much cash will you bring with you? _______________________________________________

8. Do you have a credit or debit card? YES or NO (We do not allow those who use checks as they slow us down)

9. What do you feel is a good price to pay for a Hot Wheel car on Black Friday? __________________

10. Are you willing to stand in line while others shop? YES or NO

11. How fast do you run the mile? _________________________________________________________

12. How many pounds can you bench press? _______________________________________________

Please attach one letter of reference to this form.

Thank you for applying to be part of our Black Friday team. We will contact you by 9:00 PM Thanksgiving night.

When You Were My Age Giveaway

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We’re so excited about our new and updated version of “When You Were My Age Party” that we’re giving away a free copy to one of our subscribers.  Just tell us what celebration you might  use this party  for in the comments section of this blog and we will randomly select one person to receive a free copy on December 1st, 2013.

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Our new version of “When You Were My Age” includes a fill in the blank invitation and gives you 37 pages of information for the years 1921- 2010.

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This is such a fun program, fashioned after a Bill Cosby Show episode and was called, "When Mom Was my Age." We have done variations of the program for 70th and 80th birthdays and 50th wedding anniversaries. Each time we do "When You Were My Age" everyone is thrilled and excited to be a part of the celebration. Everyone has a part on the program and an opportunity to highlight world events and significant family happenings throughout the life of your loved one.

This is a great way to honor your Grandma or Grandpa on their special birthday or your Dad or Mom on their 50th anniversary. Celebrating a landmark birthday or anniversary is always going to be a lot of work but with this package you’ll be well on your way to saying "We love you" in a very special way.

When You Were My Age

M & M or Skittle Ice Breaker Game

Getting to Know You Game

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Take a bag of M&M’s or Skittles candy and tell everyone to grab a handful…or specify a number (I prefer this if you have a large group so it doesn’t take so long- I suggest each family member take 4 or 5 candies) You might also choose to split up in smaller groups such as children under 12, 12 and over, young adults etc. if you have a larger group such as a family reunion.

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Assign a different meaning to each color, blue= family, green=hobbies, yellow=animals, brown= work or school etc. Participants must tell one thing about themselves for how many candies they have in their hands using the colors as their guide. They may also eat them as they share their information.  (“Blue…I have two sisters.”, then eats the candy. “Yellow…I have a dog named Kodi.”, and eats the candy etc.) If you have two or more of the same color you have to tell one thing per candy regardless the color.

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This is a good ice breaker because you can play it as soon as your party is supposed to start and those that come a little late can participate when they arrive.

Unusual Halloween Party Ideas

 

Halloween Party Ideas to Make Your Guests “Squirm”

You may already have your own “spooky” and “scary”  Halloween party traditions but how about adopting a few new traditions that will make your guests- SQUIRM!  Keep in mind, these are “family friendly” “squirms” and hopefully nothing will be too scary for the little ones in your family.

When I think of things that make me squirm I think of bats, worms, snakes and spiders- all typical Halloween creatures.  Oh, and what about eyeballs- sure to bring on a squirm!

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It’s a Halloween Party!
Today’s the day we’re going to make you SQUIRM!

Date: ___________

Time: ___________

Place: ___________

Snakes, witches, and bats galore – Let’s see what this Halloween has in store.  Bring your family for a night of Squirms!

Decorations-

A few old brooms decorated with bows and lights makes for a fun entrance to your party.  Wrap plastic snakes around the broom handle and spiders in the bristles.

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Silhouettes make decorating easy. You can purchase spooky silhouettes or easily make your own using black paper such as teachers use for bulletin boards. Put silhouettes in windows for a fun Halloween decoration- you want your guests to start Confused smile“squirming” with fright before they even get to the door.

Don’t want to make your own silhouette- the cat pictured is actually a Martha Stewart Halloween Witch Silhouette Window Cling. This image clings to glass or mirrors and can be reused year after year.

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SQUIRMY TRICK-

Squirmy Vampire Soap

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You will need a small jar, laxative tablets (over the counter product at pharmacy), rubbing alcohol, soap and water.

In the jar, crush one or two laxative tablets and add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol.  Rub some of the mixture on your hand and allow to dry.  Then wash it off with soap.  The soapy water will turn bright red! 

NOTE:  Do not eat or drink this solution.

What happened? The laxative contains a substance called phenolphthalein, which turns bright red when mixed with an alkali base like soup.

HALLOWEEN TREAT-

Squirmy Peanut Butter Eyeballs

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Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
½ – 1 pound white chocolate candy coating
Small bag of M & M’s or Skittles
Tube of red decorator frosting

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1. Blend peanut butter and butter until creamy. Add sugar. Continue beating until it comes together and is about as thick as thick cookie dough. When well blended shape into 1 inch balls and put in the fridge on waxed paper to chill until firm. (30 minutes)

2. Melt the white candy coating in the microwave. Microwave in 60 second intervals stirring at the end of every minute until candy is smooth and creamy. Dip peanut butter balls in the candy coating and place back on your waxed paper. Immediately press a candy on top to make an iris. Place back into the fridge until set.

3. Using the tube of red decorator frosting make red squiggly blood vessels.

HINT: Since taking these photos we have found that to clean your eyes up a bit, use a paring knife to cut the excess candy coating from the eyeball- it will give your eyeball a cleaner look.

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HALLOWEEN GAMES to make you Squirm

Worms in a Pie

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You will need gummy worms, whipped cream and aluminum pie plates. Place gummy worms in the bottom  of the pie plate and then cover with whipped cream.  On the word “go” players try and eat as many gummy worms as they can find in the cream.  You can award prizes for the most worms found or most worms found in a time limit.  For extra fun, blindfold the contestants.

Bouncing Eyeballs

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Take a ping pong ball and decorate with markers to look like blood shot eyes. Then get plastic pumpkin or party cups. Now give each child an eyeball and place the plastic pumpkin or cup at the bottom of stairs or across the floor. Have each player toss or bounce the eyeball down the stairs or across the room. The goal is to see if their eyeball bounces into the pumpkin. You can give a prize to those that get it in the pumpkin. Also for young kids, you may want to place paper cups together and have each cup worth a prize.

Speaking of “eyeballs”…

SCARY STORY to make you SQUIRM-

The Legend of White Eyes

I didn’t write it nor do I know where it came from- maybe it really is a true story and came from the pages of my history book. I’ve heard a lot of scary stories when I’ve been camping but this is the only story that made me scream- I hope you scream too.

Advance preparation- besides practicing the telling of this tale you will need to take a ping-pong ball and cut it in half. Color a small dark dot on each half with a permanent marker. These will be your "white eyes". Keep them concealed in a closed hand. When the time is right, pop them on over each eye. (You may customize place names in your story to suit the occasion) NOTE: I would wait to tell this story until the little ones in your family had been tucked into bed.

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There on that side of the lake (point) is where this story took place. As you all may know, the area around here was a busy place 100 years ago due to the Gold rush. Miners turned this whole region upside down in a quest for GOLD!

Greed can be a dangerous thing, especially where Gold is involved. To find more gold meant faster production, and digging deeper underground. It also meant sacrificing safety, but they didn’t care because there were a lot of foolish men around looking to make their fortune.

One day an underground mine collapsed with 16 men still waiting to come up from a full day’s work. Hour after hour went by as they awaited their rescue. The conditions were terrible. It was pitch-black dark, and very hot, dry and dusty down deep in that shaft. The men collected droplets of water that seeped down the tunnel walls in an attempt to satisfy their dying thirst. Days went by and still no rescue. To stave off hunger, they ate rats, mushrooms, and eventually… their dead co-workers.

(Throw a log on the fire for dramatic effect! Poke away at the embers.)

Despite their hopelessness, they scraped away at the rock and debris to try and dig their way out, confident that others would be digging from the surface as part of the rescue attempt. They dug and they dug, day after day, frantically hoping to see daylight from the surface. The days stretched into weeks, and then from there, the few men left alive lost track of time, and started losing their minds.

An eternity later, the survivors finally broke through, and made two very surprising discoveries. One: there was no search party. The mining company had abandoned the mine, and simply walked away. And two… all that time underground had affected their eyes… Their eyeballs were all white, except for an itty bitty black pupil. And they could no longer tolerate sunlight. 

Being left for dead was bad enough. Turning into some sort of White-eyed freak was too much. They snapped. In their rage they made a pact to hunt down every man who abandoned them in that old mine. And soon after, mysterious instances of men being killed in the mountains around here started.

The locals at first thought it was a bear or a cougar doing all the killing. The victims were usually found mauled, bloody and torn. But; closer examination showed the teeth marks on the bodies… were from human teeth!!

(Throw log on the fire!)

One by one, those white-eyed freaks killed off every miner, and any other man they could find in this area. And to this day, you won’t find any mining around these parts. Keep in mind this all happened 100 years ago. You’re probably wondering what happened to those white-eyes?? They should all be gone now due to old age, or at least that’s what they thought… until a few weeks ago. I heard on the radio, they found a hiker mauled on that trail on the backside of the lake. And on that dead man’s neck… human teeth marks!!!

Heed my words, kids: As long as you’re close to the fire, the light will scare ‘em away, but if you need to go into the dark… (pop in the ping-pong ball props)

BEWARE of the WHITE-EYES!!!!

Aaagghhh!!!!

SQUIRMY SONGS-

Road Kill Stew
(Tune: "Three Blind Mice")

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Road kill stew, road kill stew.
Tastes so good, just like it should.
First you go down to the interstate.
You wait for the critter to meet it’s fate.
You take it home and you make it great.
Road kill stew, road kill stew.

Squirmiest Song Ever

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Nobody likes me; everybody hates me;
Guess I’ll go eat worms.
Chorus: Long, thin, slimy ones; short fat juicy ones;itsy, bitsy, fuzzy, wuzzy worms.

First you get a bucket; then you get a shovel;
Oh, how they wiggle and squirm.
Chorus

Next, you pull their heads off, then you suck their guts out;
Oh, how they wiggle and squirm.
Chorus

Down goes the first one, down goes the second one;
Oh, how they wiggle and squirm.
Chorus

Up comes the first one; up comes the second one;
Oh, how they wiggle and squirm.
Chorus

Everybody likes me; nobody hates me!
Why did I eat all those worms?
Chorus

Chop up their heads, and squeeze out their juice,
And throw their tails away.
Nobody know how I can survive
On worms three times a day!

Sneakers
(Tune: "Auld Lang Syne")

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Should old worn sneakers be thrown out;
Or stink upon a shelf?
Should holey, moldy, gym socks walk
To the washer by themselves?
My smelly shoes, so torn and rank;
How comfortable to me!
My gym socks match them perfectly;
Let’s my piggies wiggle free!


Halloween Party Jokes

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Q: What do you call a ghost in a torn sheet?
A: A holy terror

Q. What do you call a witch who lives at the beach?
A. A sand-witch.

Q. What do you call a witch’s garage?
A. A broom closet.

Q. What is a Skeleton’s favorite song.
A. Bad to the Bone.
Q. Why can’t a Skeleton Lift Weights?
A. He’s all bone and no muscle.

Q. What is a Mummie’s favorite type of music?
A. Wrap music!

Q. Why don’t mummies take vacations?
A. They’re afraid they’ll relax and unwind.

Slime Recipe

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I was going through some old family reunion papers and found this fun recipe for Ooey Gooey Gax- some people call it “slime”.  Kids love Gax/slime and it’s a perfect party craft especially if you’re outside. 

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons white glue
2 Tablespoons water
3-4 drops food coloring
1 Tablespoons Borax – usually found in the laundry detergent section of your grocery store
Plastic bag for storing Gax

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Directions:

  1. Mix 1 Tablespoon of Borax powder to 1 cup warm water.  Stir until all the powder has dissolved.  This makes sodium borate.
  2. In a smaller separate bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons glue and 2 Tablespoons water and stir well. 
  3. Add 3 drops of food coloring to the glue/water mix and stir.
  4. Add 1 Tablespoon of the sodium borate to the glue/water mixture.
  5. Stir and let sit for a few minutes and then it will be ready to play with.
  6. Place in an airtight container (Bag). 

Hints: Don’t leave Gak on fabric, vinyl or wood.  Do not eat Gak.  Make a batch of Gak before getting to your reunion so you know how it works.

This recipe only makes a small batch.

To make Glow in the Dark Slime: Add several drops of glow-in-the-dark paint during the mixing in stage 1.

The cute graphics you see on this page may be purchased from-

http://delightful-doodles.com

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Hope you have a Halloween party that makes your family squirm!

Aunt MO

Skijoring- Winter Family Fun

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What do you do when you have an old snowboard in your shed, six horses on winter vacation and five acres of snow in your pasture- you go skijoring!

Skijoring is a winter sport that originated in Scandinavia. It involves towing a skier behind horses or dogs.  Having to choose between horse  power and dog power- we choose the horses. 

Horse skijoring usually takes two people and one horse. One person rides the horse while the skier is towed behind on skis or a snowboard.

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The rider determines how fast you go and the route, while the skier holds on and tries to maintain enough control to maneuver around obstacles or perhaps towards obstacles such as a jump.

Skijoring How To

We saw a demonstration of horse skijoring at Ogden City’s Winter Fest a couple of years ago and have talked about giving it a try ever since, but this is the year we made it happen.

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We began slowly, beginning first with an inner tube.  Our horse, Raleigh, wasn’t very excited about a black donut following behind him, but with some patience and encouragement he soon caught on so we took the next step- we added a live  person!

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That didn’t seem to bother Raleigh so we strapped on the snowboard and that’s when the real skijoring began.

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Skijoring Tips

We used a light, nylon rope for our skijoring which worked fine but hope to snag a waterskiing rope before we go skijoring again- the handle would be much more comfortable.

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One thing we did discover was that when the  horse made a turn the skier would be whipped around and would come right up to the side of the horse, very much like coming out of the wake when you are water skiing only a little more extreme.

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Skijoring Jumps

Our first attempt at Skijoring was so much fun we couldn’t wait to go at it again and this time we decided to add a jump.

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Even though it was a relatively small jump we did manage to get some air.

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Raleigh- the Skijoring Hero

Although the humans did a great job at skijoring the true hero was Raleigh, our 8 year old bay Quarter horse who was thoroughly dried off and given an extra measure of oats at the end of the day.

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Because there were a lot of people that wanted to get into the action we kept the four-wheeler running with inner tubes in tow.

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When I do my family fun presentations I encourage families to “make the ordinary- extraordinary” and skijoring is a perfect example of that.  All we did was took a look at what we had available to us and turned it into some extreme family fun.

One last thing- “LIKE” us on Facebook to be eligible to win a FREE family reunion theme package!  Like us HERE.

A Night in Bethlehem Party from Hatchpatch

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If you’re planning your family Christmas party or perhaps a party for your church I found a great idea at hatchpatch.com.  I was so impressed with Hatchpatch that I just had to share. “Night in Bethlehem” is actually a party we did at our church about ten years ago but the folks at Hatchpatch have put together a party plan complete with invitation, menu and pictures.  Their plans will make your job  a lot of easier.

A Night in Bethlehem is a Christmas experience.  As a participant you come dressed in time period costumes and enter a re-creation of what the city of Bethlehem may have been like.  You pay taxes, interact with merchants and sample simple foods.  This party a wonderful way to feel the true reason for Christmas.

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If you’re looking for other ways to share the Christmas spirit consider familyreunionhelper’s  Twelve Days of Christmas Nativity.  Just purchase an 11 or 12 piece nativity and deliver one piece each night to your lucky secret friends.  Complete instructions as well as a printable for each day can be found at 12 Days Printable.

Pumpkin Tree

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Everything in October doesn’t have to be scary or frightening- find a way to celebrate the fall season by creating a pumpkin tree.  Our grandchildren were so excited to see pumpkins growing on the tree in our front yard when they came to visit this weekend. 

Grandpa grew so many pumpkins this year that even after arranging them around flower pots and bushes and lining them down the sidewalk there were still lots of pumpkins just begging to be part of the the yard décor, so Grandpa hooked pumpkin stems over the branches of our tree and now we have a “pumpkin tree”. 

Several people have stopped to ask how we made the tree- no, we tell them, we did not use wire to fasten them to the tree, no, we did not use hot glue.  We merely hooked the pumpkin’s own stems over small branches or balanced pumpkins on larger branches.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend taking a nap under the tree though, for a stiff breeze might just blow a pumpkin out of the tree and onto your head.

Squirmy Halloween Ideas & Breakfast With Witches

However. if you’re looking for a way to be scary during this Halloween season check out Aunt Mo’s “Squirmy” ideas at

CAULDRON

Squirmy Halloween Ideas

or the fun “Breakfast with Witches” party at

ROCKIN WITCH

Breakfast With Witches

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..and Happy Fall to You!

P.S. Can you find the “scary” black dog in the above picture

Scene Setters for Parties and Family Reunions

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How do you turn a forest campground into a ship on a tropical cruise? Scene setters!  I love scene setters- they are inexpensive (each piece is under $20.00 and the add ons are usually about $5.00) and they instantly make your reunion or party theme come alive!

For our “Cruisin’” family reunion we used a cruise ship scene setter to give the allusion of  being in the ocean on a luxury cruise ship.  Scene setters are usually used in a room and applied with some sort of “Sticky Tack” or tape.  Taking scene setters outside is where the real challenge is!

Each roll is usually 30 feet long and 4 feet high and because we were camping for our reunion we had to work around trees, rocks and other obstacles.  Uncle Richard, who works in construction, came to the rescue and very quickly built a background for my scene setter to go on.  Here’s how we did it-

Making Room Scene Setters Work Without a Room

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I didn’t care if the scene setter was 30 feet long or not- I believe ours ended up being 24 feet long.  Uncle Richard used plywood (the quality didn’t matter) and 2×4’s to brace it and hold it up.

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Once the background was up we used spray adhesive to attach the scene setter.  The trick to using spray adhesive is to spray both the plywood AND the scene setter.  It took three of us to keep smooth and straight but it wasn’t hard and it didn’t take long.

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There will be a few creases but it didn’t bother us at all. 

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After putting up the two large sheets of our scene setter we cut out the individual “add on” decorations.  Use your own wall adhesive for hanging or we found that if you get the add on a little wet it will just smooth on and although not permanent, adhered to our scene for the three days of our reunion.  I didn’t use all of the add ons provided- just our favorites.

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The pictures below show how a scene setter works.  This is how the makers of scene setters visualize the finished product.

Cruise Scene Setter

Tropical Cruise Ship Scene Setter

This is the top scene setter.

Ocean and Sky Backdrop

This is the bottom of the scene setter.  Each piece is 4 feet tall by 30 feet long.

Cruise Ship Deck BackdropCruise Ship Deck Backdrop

This is the “add on” we used.  We had to cut out each piece before we applied it to our scene.

Jungle Scene Setter

Other scenes are available like this fun jungle theme.  It is made up a jungle “trees” roll AND a jungle “foliage” roll.

Then you add decorations and animals.

Sports Stadium Scene Setter

I love this sports stadium scene setter.  Imagine holding a sports themed reunion or party and putting this along the walls of your gym or party room.

Sports Stadium Insta Theme

Pirate Design a Room

Design-A-Room Pirate Pack - Party Decorations & Backdrops & Scene Setters

I’ve used scene setters before- just last Christmas I used a brick like scene setter to take Santa pictures with the kids.  We held our party in the church gym and the brick background sure looked nicer than the boring white wall that we would’ve used.

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If you don’t do a 30 foot long scene and a have some pieces of your scene setter left over use on your serving table as a table cloth.

You can purchase all of the items I’ve shown you in the Family Reunion Helper store.  You’ll need some help and good adhesive to put it up but the way it transforms your room or your OUTSIDE party is almost magical.