S’MEEPS- a S’more Lovers Guide to Roasted Peeps


What  a surprise I received Saturday when I dropped by my Mother-in-laws house.  She had invited a few of her great-grand children over  for an Easter celebration and they were having a grand old time roasting PEEPS marshmallow candies over an open fire. 


There’s actually something unsettling about that for me- I mean WHO would roast those sweet little marshmallow chicks and bunnies over a FIRE?  And why would Grandma, of all people, encourage such a dastardly thing? The thought of sweet, innocent children putting a skewer through a marshmallow chick or bunny and roasting it over an open flame makes me cringe.

So what’s all this craziness about?  Roasted PEEPS!  According to Grandma- everyone is doing it.  PEEPS are marshmallows with sugar on top! When you roast them, the sugar caramelizes to make a hard crunchy shell. easter 466

As Easter draws to a close and family reunion season quickly approaches and all the pastel candy starts crowding the supermarket and drugstore shelves, consider buying some extra Peeps now for a Peep Roast at your reunion.

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One thought- Peep S’mores?  Does that make them S’meeps? We decided to give “S’meeps” a try and quite honestly, they were delicious.  I used a silicone Peep mold from Wilton to make chocolate the same shape as my bunny Peeps and regular graham crackers. Cook over a fire and assemble as you do for S’mores.

Although I’ve got to admit, all this Peeps silliness makes me wonder- what will they think of next?  Oh, and don’t forget, purchase extra  Peeps to have  on hand for your summer camping trip.

Free Party Game Resource

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Friday night is pizza and game night at my house.  We have our favorite games and we have our favorite pizza but some nights we’re in the mood to try something new.  I  know where to find new pizza combinations and now I know where to find new game ideas.

If you’re looking for a game to play you should check out this new game site- Party Games 411.  It’s a very simple site to use and a marvelous resource  for party planners.

I plan a lot of  parties and family reunions and I am always looking  for a new game or activity.  I search the web trying to find ideas but this site is the easiest way I’ve found.

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Search for a Game

There are several ways to search for a game at Party Games 411. You can:

1. Enter the number of players and the location (inside or outside) that the game will be played.  For instance, I searched for an indoor or outdoor game for  80 people and it gave me 40 possible games we could  play.

2. You can also search for games alphabetically.

3. You can search for particular game by entering the name of it. 

Each game gives you recommended ages and game requirements and easy to understand rules and instructions.

Games, Games, Games

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You will find ideas for card games, team building games, tag games, mind games,  party games, large group games and so much more.  So next time you ask, “What game should we  play?” check out Party Games 411.

Fox and Geese- a Snow Game

fox and geese blog

When I was a young girl I loved playing “Fox and Geese” with my brothers in the snow.  Mostly, I liked making the paths and geese nests because when it came right down to playing the game, I wasn’t a fast runner and was usually the fox for the majority of the game.

My husband likes to play “Fox  and Geese” too so when we had a couple years ago when we had a snow party for my family we were excited to share this game of tag with my nieces and nephews.Picture2008 355 (2)

How To Play Fox and Geese

The game of Fox and Geese is played in the snow where the players clear paths in the snow.  As I have learned, in the “olden days”, the paths were made in the shape of a spoked wheel, but most of the fun for us has been to make our creative paths with special safety zone “nests” scattered throughout the paths.

fox and geese

Make Fox and Goose Trails

It’s best to play Fox and Geese when  there is fresh snow on  the ground or at least snow that no v one has been walking on.  To make paths or trails, walk through the snow packing it down until it makes a clearing defined trail.  Make several goose nests that are safety zones for the geese to get away from the fox.  These are just a circle of packed down  snow big enough for one person  to stand in a time.  You don’t want too  many goose nests or it will be difficult for the fox to catch a goose.

How to Play Fox and Geese

Choose one person to be the fox. The fox tries to tag the rest of the players, who are the geese. All the players must stay within the boundaries of the paths. Whoever is tagged by the fox then becomes the fox and has to chase the geese. Only one goose can be in a nest at a time.  If you have a big group  playing you  may have more than one fox.

A “No Snow” Alternative

An alternative to playing in the snow is to mark four squares on the playground, each 10 feet across. Every player stands on one of the lines forming the square. A signal is given, and the person who is “it” has 10 seconds to touch as many players as he/she can. Players who are tagged sit down in the marked area. All players must stay on the lines while being chased.

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Fox and Geese Board Game

Another Fox and Geese Variation that I have recently become aware of is a “Fox and Geese” board game.  It’s an old-time game using marbles. Fox chases Geese. Geese try to hem Fox in. If you’re from the country, you understand the strategy. Then game is available here and in the family reunion helper store.

Plastic Wrap Ball Party Game

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What could be more fun than a huge ball of plastic wrap with lots of prizes layered throughout the ball? My sister in law has done this for her kids for years, but it wasn’t until just recently, when we played this game at a family Christmas party that I remembered how much fun it was.


Here is how it works!

The first person with the ball starts unwrapping it while the person on their right rolls a pair of dice, trying to roll doubles.

Once doubles are rolled, the ball is passed to the next player and the sequence begins again.

The person with the ball doesn’t stop unwrapping it until the person to their right rolls doubles. This makes for some fun suspense in the game!

As the player unwrap the prizes they put them in their own pile- everyone keeps the prizes they unwrap.

How To Make a Plastic Wrap Ball

Pre-Stretch Wrap

To make the ball gather 50- 100 prizes.  Small packages of candy work well, especially M&M’s and Skittles.  You can also use erasers, hair barrettes and ribbons, Hot Wheel cars and other small prizes. At our Christmas party we had two plastic wrap balls, a girl ball and a boy ball and the prizes in it were items our boys and girls typically enjoy.

To start the ball, use a 2- 3 inch rubber ball such as a bouncy ball.  You can also use a good sized bell or rattle that will make noise as kids get closer to the center of the ball.20151219_140852

Place a piece of candy or prize on the ball and wrap it up with the plastic.

Every few layers, use tape to seal up the recently wrapped layer as this will make the game a little more challenging.

Continued this process (adding prizes and wrapping with plastic wrap until it is the size of a soccer ball (minimum) or basketball (maximum).

I’ve heard this game  called the saranwrap-ball game, the tape ball game and money ball (this version uses only money).  But whatever you call it it all comes down to a fun party game that everyone can participate in.

A Tongue in Cheek List of Reasons to Play Pipe Chimes


December is a  great time to dig up your set of pipe chimes and make some holiday music with your family and friends. 

Making music with pipe chimes is an easy and inexpensive way to have fun with your family. My Mom saw pipe chimes more than thirty years ago and our family has been making music with conduit pipes ever since.

Kids and adults are amazed how easy they are to play, and how wonderful they sound.  It’s so fun to play a song you recognize and have it sound good. For pipes, they are well tuned and have a good sound. 

Pipe Chimes Book

The most frustrating thing about pipe chimes is getting music for them so I decided to put together my own  “Pipe Chimes Music Book”.  Most of the music in book one is Christmas music but I’ve also included songs for every day singing as well and if you have a specific song you want to play you can use the note chart I’ve included to write your own music.

Pipe Chimes Book 2

With the success of book  one, I decided to compile a  second book of chimes music. Included in book 2 are eleven songs arranged specifically for pipe chimes choirs. “Red River Valley” features beautiful harmonies and is for more advanced chimes players. You will find “America the Beautiful” a challenge but will love the finished product after a few practices. For small groups we’ve included “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Au Clair De La Lune”.

As long as you can read numbers, you can play pipe chimes.  They are numbered 0 to 20; they also each have their note name on them, so you can play a song that you know the melody to. 

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Now, here’s my list of-

Top Ten Reasons to Learn to Play the Pipe Chimes

10. A pipe chime doubles as a game piece in an over- sized Clue game.

9. American Idol now lets you use an instrument.

8. Studies show that the resonating tones of pipe chimes stimulates hair follicles which encourages hair growth.

7. Chuck Norris plays pipe chimes.

6. Pipe chime playing is good for your hands. I probably have stronger hands/fingers than most people I know. And have you ever noticed the hands of a pianist? Beautiful, long, tapered fingers. Chances are that if you’ve ever admired someone’s hands, they play the piano… or pipe chimes.

5. Playing pipe chimes helps you burn calories. A 155 pound person burns 281 calories in an hour of pipe chime playing.

4. You can join AFPOPCP – The association for the preservation of pipe chime playing You get positive vibes from playing pipe chimes.

3. People will automatically assume you’re a genius. Really, I’ve heard this lot. People uttering “He/she plays the pipe chimes” in the same tone reserved for “He/she has an IQ of 180.” You just can’t help but admire someone that plays an instrument.

2. Colleges like musical instruments on applications–it’s never too early to boost your kid’s qualifications! 100s of college scholarships for Pipe Chime playing go unclaimed each year.

And the number one reason to play pipe chimes…

1. Self-defense!  No one  messes with someone  carrying a pipe in  their hands!

Squirrel’s Thanksgiving Dinner Game

A large group game for all ages- perfect for Thanksgiving fun!


For two teams you will need 4 bowls and a set of chopsticks for each person playing the game. Collect  2 of several kinds of nuts that a squirrel might eat for Thanksgiving dinner- 2 shelled peanuts, 2 almonds, 2 acorns, and 2 unshelled walnuts.

Place 2 of the bowls at one end of the room and put one of each kind of nut in each bowl. Place the other 2 empty bowls directly across from them at the other end of the room.

Divide those that want to play  into 2 equal teams. Give each person a set of chopsticks and line teams up in a row from the full bowl to the empty bowl.

On the word “go”, the person nearest the full bowl will pick up one of the nuts with their chopsticks, and will  pass it down the line to the next person, also using chopsticks. Once they have passed the first nut they can pick up the second nut and begin passing it- the don’t need to wait for the first nut to get passed to the end.

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Participants can not use their fingers.  If they drop one of the nuts they must run it back to the starting bowl and begin passing it again.

The team that gets all four nuts to the empty bowl first wins!

NOTE:  You can easily involve more players by adding more teams or repeating the game after the first 2 teams face off ending with the “championship” game.

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You can usually purchase chopsticks from Oriental restaurants or from Amazon (100 sets for under $10.00- with prime shipping)

Halloween Party Ideas to Make Your Guests “Squirm” and maybe even Scream!

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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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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.


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.



Squirmy Vampire Soap


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.


Squirmy Peanut Butter Eyeballs


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


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.


HALLOWEEN GAMES to make you Squirm

Worms in a Pie


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


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”…


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.


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)




Road Kill Stew
(Tune: “Three Blind Mice”)


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


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.

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

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

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

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

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!

(Tune: “Auld Lang Syne”)


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


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


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.


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



  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-


Whether the Weather

Predicting the weather for your next family reunion- yes, there is a tool to help!


A couple of months ago I was directed to a website that promised to provide free long range weather forecasts to help with planning outdoor activities.  I was excited to think there was a website like this, because, if you’ve ever been in charge of an outdoor family reunion or gathering of some sort, you know the most difficult thing  to predict is the WEATHER! 

The http://www.weathertab.com/ website doesn’t guarantee that their information is 100 percent accurate but their research and science does give you a bit of an advantage when trying to choose a date for your family reunion and they do say that their forecasts “start where others stop”.

The weathertab site can show you the predicted weather for 1 day to 18 months in advance, it is always free and requires no subscription or registration.


I put the weathertab site to the test when planning my husband’s 60th birthday party.  I choose to have his celebration a day earlier because there was only a 13% chance of rain on that day instead of his actual birthday when there was a 39% chance of rain.

I felt lucky when we had a wonderfully sunny,  no rain party on his special day.  I’m excited to use the site when planning next years family reunion. Check out http://www.weathertab.com/ when planning your reunion too and see if WeatherTAB’s  long range weather forecast can help you find a reunion day with a lower chance of rain too.

Ghost Cake With Flaming Eyes

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When I was a young mother I attended a workshop that included some fun holiday cooking ideas.  The most memorable idea I came away from the workshop with was this ghost cake with flaming eyes.

The best thing about this ghost cake is that you get maximum effect for minimum effort, so, if you are a busy mom or grandma, you can whip this cake up very quickly but the “wow” factor is huge!

To make the eyes flaming you place a lemon extract-doused sugar cube inside of a clean eggshell for each eye and then you light the cubes on fire. When presenting the cake turn out the lights before bringing in the cake.


Ghost Cake Recipe


1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix, mix according to package directions
1 (7.2-ounce) package fluffy white frosting mix or make your own 7 minute frosting. (No Cook 7 Minute Frosting Recipe)
2 sugar cubes & 1 teaspoon lemon extract
Licorice string, chocolate chips, m & m’s- whatever you want to make a mouth


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan.

Prepare the cake mix as directed on package. (When you break the eggs, crack each in the middle and pour out the egg. Then save the 2 best shell halves. Wash these halves and turn upside down to dry.) After mixing, pour the batter into the pan.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. When cooled, you can remove the cake from  the pan and put on a sturdy piece of cardboard or a tray so that you can trim your cake to look more ghost- like.  I just left my cake in the baking pan and felt like it looked ghost- like enough without the extra work to decorate it.

Frost the cake. Place the 2 egg shell halves round sides down on cake for eyes. Place 1 sugar cube in each shell half. Make a mouth of licorice string.

Just before serving, pour 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract over each sugar cube. Light the eyes and amaze family and friends!

Mingle- a Hilarious Game for Large Groups


This is perhaps the best large group game we’ve ever played.  It’s a great game for young and old and requires no advance preparation or props. 

To play “Mingle” have the  participants walk around in a predetermined large area.  When you yell “Mingle Mingle” and then a number from 2 to 10. The participants must get into groups of that size.  Anyone that doesn’t fit into a group is out and must stand on the sidelines until the game ends.  For instance if you yell out the number “10” everyone gets into groups of 10.  If you’re playing with 44 people that will leave 4 people without a group and they will be out of the game. 

Continue mingling and calling out numbers until only two remain.  Regroup and play again.