Build Your Own Pizza Party

Build Your Own Pizza and Team Pizza Building

pizza party blog

Most families like pizza and for many families, pizza is part of their Friday night fun,  but skip ordering take out and try one of our pizza party ideas with a twist. 

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Pizza Bar

A favorite pizza activity of our kiddos is making their own own pizzas-  This is a great way for kids to create their own  custom  pizza and you know they’ll eat it because they get to choose their own toppings.

The only tricky part of a Build Your Own Pizza party is choosing the crust you want to use.  You can make your own pizza dough or buy a  premade crust.  Pictured below are some options.  We have also used English muffins, French  bread or  pita bread, left whole, for crust.   If making your crust from scratch be sure to keep each crust “personal” pan  size.

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Set out popular pizza toppings.  To get you started, the 10 most popular pizza  toppings are listed below and are a good place to start:

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Mushrooms
  3. Onions
  4. Sausage
  5. Bacon
  6. Cheese
  7. Black olives
  8. Green peppers
  9. Pineapple
  10. Spinach

Our family would include barbeque chicken and Canadian bacon to that list. You might also want to consider offering a white sauce and a red sauce as options for your pizza bar.

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Pizza Making for Teams

To add some suspense to a traditional pizza party, divide your family and friends into teams.  Give each team a premade pizza crust, a jar of pizza sauce and a bag of cheese.

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Wrap pizza toppings in gift wrap or newspaper and let each team pick 2 or 3 of the wrapped toppings.  These are the toppings that they must use on their pizza.  They won’t know what toppings they have picked until they unwrap their packages.  Decide if trading toppings will be allowed.

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After all the teams have “decorated” their pizzas and baked them, set them out for all the teams to try.  Cut pizza in small slices so there are lots of samples.  You can even give prizes for the most delicious pizza creation.

The challenge with any pizza party is getting them baked.  Individual pizzas are great because you can fit more that one pizza in your oven  at a time.  As pizzas bake you may want to play an ice breaker game to keep your guests entertained.  You can find some our favorites HERE.

The $2.00 Dinner Challenge

Making Dinner Fun!

A funny dinner tradition for your family

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Mashed Potato Bar

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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

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

Tried and True Recipes

 

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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What’s Your Leprechaun Name?

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Post a copy of this printout at the entrance to your St Patrick’s Day Party along with name tags and markers.  Party goers figure out their “Leprechaun” name, write it on a name tag and go by that name during the party.

I put my 1st grade aged grand-daughter in charge of this activity at our St Patrick’s Day breakfast.  She really had fun helping everyone’s leprechaun name and carefully wrote it on name tag stickers.

This was a very simple activity that was actually very fun and good for a few laughs. My leprechaun name is Merry McMagic.  What’s your leprechaun name?

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

How to Plan a Caroling Party

Tips for a Successful Christmas Caroling Party

Gathering your family or friends together for Christmas caroling or a family sing-a-long can make your family party fun and fairly fuss free. Consider these helpful tips when planning your family caroling party.

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Choosing the Music

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The most important element of your musical caroling  party is the music and you can download a free copy of caroling lyrics at www.familyreunionhelper.com. Caroling will be successful if everyone has the same list of carols.  Provide one song sheet for every 2 carolers. Specify how many verses you will sing of each song.  One verse is usually enough especially if caroling with children.

To build your song list you can type and print your own caroling sheets or make copies of the family reunion helper caroling book by clicking here- caroling song book.  The book is designed so that you only have to print off the music that you will use for your caroling such as- Santa songs, snow songs or spiritual songs etc.

Choose songs that are short, easy to sing, and fun. It’s also best to sing upbeat songs such as “Jingle Bells” and “Up On the Housetop”.You should plan on singing 1 or 2 songs per house and end with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.

Choose your caroling route.

My family went caroling on Christmas Eve.  Mom would choose 3 or 4 families that she knew would enjoy a caroling visit and she always made a few goodies to give them.  (Perhaps as payment for listening to us sing off key) We would complete our caroling at a local nursing home.  Many of the children were reluctant to sing at the nursing home but as the years have gone by caroling at the nursing home has become one of their most talked about memories of the season.  HINT: If you visit a hospital or a nursing home, ask for permission ahead of time to make sure your visit comes at a good time and that they can accommodate a large group.

Consider Using a Variety of Instruments

Jingle bells, cymbals and drum sticks are an easy way to make your caroling fun.  Carolers that are too shy or just don’t want to sing can participate by keeping the beat with drum sticks or shaking the bells to the beat.

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If caroling outside dress for the weather.  When sending out invitations for your caroling party be sure and let your guests know that you’ll be caroling outdoors so they can bring their hats, gloves and scarves.  A fun party favor for your party could be hand and toe warmers.

You can dress things up by asking everyone to wear a fun Santa hat or reindeer antlers.

Plan Refreshments for Your Carolers

At the end of your caroling party meet back at your house or rec hall and provide your carolers with bowls of chili and mugs of hot chocolate and marshmallows or cider.  You can keep your refreshments warm in slow cookers while you’re caroling.

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