Create a Cities and Towns Game

You can create a fun pencil and paper game using the names of the cities and towns in your state.  It’s pretty simple to do, especially if you get a few people together to brainstorm with you.  Things might get a little silly as you match up clues and cities but in the end you should have 20- 25 clues for your next reunion  or party.

Utah Cities and Towns Game

Here’s the game we made for our state, Utah.  Hopefully our ideas will help you create a game for your state. The first part is the clue the second  part is the city or town name that matches the clue.

1. Get on a horse smiling- Mount Pleasant

2. What it costs- Price

3. What you do for a girl in need- Helper

4. Has figs in in- Newton

5. Always around a dam site- Beaver

6. Place of 360 degrees- Circleville

7. A wealthy meadow- Richfield

8. Big Wind- Hurricane

9. Fragrant Tree- Cedar

10. Spanish headdress- Mexican Hat

11. A wreath of flowers- Garland

12. Hurrah!- Eureka!

13. Happy outlook- Pleasant View

14. Everyone is under 21- Minersville

15. A prickly weed- Thistle

16. Halfway there- Midway

17. Put your money on us- Backus

18. Give your boy money- Payson

19. A dragging gun holster- Logan

20. Nothing beautiful about her- Plain City

21. What you do with the little cars at mines- Orem

22. His dad is a firearm- Gunnison

Brain Games For Your Family Reunion

Planning Activities For Everyone

I always plan lots of physical activities for our family reunions- there’s no sitting around when  I  plan a reunion.  However; not  everyone is able to join in on a game of “Whiffle Ball” or run an obstacle course so I like to plan some “brain games” for them. 

You  can incorporate brain games into every reunion theme- Boot Camp, All Sport and Olympic themes are perfect themes for brain games.   If you are giving awards for your activities be sure to include awards for your “brain  games”.

Listed below is a one of my favorite brain games –

Brain Game

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1. How many outs are in an inning of baseball? (6)

2. We celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July in the United States. Is there a 4th of July in England. (Yes, there is a 4th of July everywhere.)

3. Some months have 31 days, some have 30, how many have 28? (They all do)

4. You have become lost in the woods at night. It is winter and getting very cold. Spotting an abandoned cabin, you go inside. By the moonlight you see an oil lamp, an oil heater and some kindling wood in a fireplace. But you discover you only have one match. What do you light first? (the match)

5. Your doctor gives you three pills and tells you to take one every half hour. How long do they last? (One hour. Example: 12:00, 12:30, 1:00)

6. In the state of Mississippi, is it legal for a man to marry his widow’s sister? (He can’t; he’s dead)

7. Take two apples from three apples. How many do you get? (Two, you took two)

8. You’re a school bus driver. At the first stop in the morning, you pick up an eight year old and a six year old. At the second stop you pick up a third grader and two fourth graders. At the third stop you pick up the Gibson twins who are 11 and one five year old. At the fourth stop you pick up one 12 year old and three children who are seven. How old is the bus driver? (Your age, you are the school bus driver.)

9. Divide 30 by ½ and add 10. What do you get? (70)

10. How many animals did Moses take onto the ark? (None, Moses wasn’t on the ark, Noah was)

11. You build a house with four southern exposures. A bear walks by your living room window. What color is the bear? (white, it is a Polar Bear. You are at the north pole.)

12. You have two coins that total 55 cents. One of them is not a nickel. What are they? (Half dollar and a nickel)

13. Billy’s mom has three kids. One is Penny and one is Nickel. What is the name of her third kid? (Billy)

The Family That Eats Together Stays Together

 

Or Forcing Your Family to Mingle

One difficult part of a family reunion or party can be getting your family to mingle during meal time.  We usually have each family group sitting together- the Maddox family, the Wynnes and the Stewarts all sitting in their own little group.  It’s not that we don’t like each other or don’t get along-we just gravitate to our  own family group.

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Here’s a fun way to mix things up.  Put a pieces of colored tape or ribbon on each chair or seating space (if you’re dealing with picnic benches)  When everyone has begun eating announce that everyone sitting on a yellow space must switch places with another yellow.  A few minutes later have pinks switch and so on.

DO NOT make it too complicated!  If you have green switch with pink and yellow with red, nothing will happen- everyone will remain in their original seat.  If you’re family is compliant and seems to enjoy the mixing up you could try switching two colors at a time but for the most part it’s best  to focus on one color at a time.  You don’t have to mix people up all in one meal- keep the colors on during your entire reunion and only do a couple of swaps per meal.

Towards the end of the meal you can announce “Rainbow Mixup” and everyone has to switch places.

HINT:  Choose a meal that doesn’t have a lot of plates and silverware etc. to be moved.

Disney Frozen Party

Big problem- how to have a “Frozen” party without any “Frozen” themed decorations? 

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When I started planning a Frozen party  for my (adult) daughter I found that EVERYTHING was sold out- online and locally.

I had to rethink my  plan and find creative ways to add a “Frozen” theme to my party without using pre-designed products. It wasn’t as fancy as a party with Elsa and Anna’s faces printed on plates, napkins and cups, but it actually turned out to be quite fun.  (Surprise- in the last moments of party planning I did score a package of Frozen dinner plates and mixed with purple plates they looked pretty cute.)

As most of my parties are, this was a family party which included infants to Grandma and Grandpa.

Frozen Decorations

Decorating was difficult without any official Frozen products.  Instead of focusing on the characters from the movie I focused on the colors of Frozen.  I used a purple tablecloth, blue napkins and pink forks.  My balloons and crepe paper followed the same color scheme.  I wanted to cut out some snowflakes but ran out of time.

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Frozen Games

We played three games using the Frozen theme.

1. Elsa and Anna

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Play this game  like the traditional “Red Light Green Light”game.  When you hold up a picture of Anna everyone runs but if you hold up a picture of Elsa everyone must FREEZE! I found Elsa and Anna pictures on the internet using an image search.  (You can also find pictures of all the Frozen characters- use them to help with all phases of your party.)

2. Ice Cube

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I froze a marble in an ice cube for every participant.  The goal was to be the first to melt the ice and reveal the marble.  If they dropped it or hit it with something they were out of the game.  I used “Hot Hands” hand warmers for the prize.

2. Freezing

I wrapped Fla-Vor-Ice cycles (unfrozen) in 10 layers of wrapping paper.  The package was then passed around while music from the Frozen soundtrack played.  When I stopped the music the person holding the  package took one layer of wrapping paper off the package.  The game continued until the package was unwrapped and the person left unwrapping the last layer got to keep the Flavorice as their prize.

Frozen Food

We served little bags of carrots that we called “Olaf Noses”.

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I made water bottle labels that said, “Melted Snowman” on them- probably should have said “Melted Olaf” but that may have been too upsetting for the younger crowd.

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Blue Jell-O that has set up and then  cut into cubes also adds to the Frozen theme.

Frozen Party Prizes

For prizes be creative and use gums and mints with an “icy” theme.  Winterfresh gum, sparkly blue fingernail polish, blue rock candy sticks, mints and gums can be fun  prizes.

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Frozen Cake

I did find one “official” item that I could purchase for my party.  It was a Disney Frozen Edible Image Cake Toppers Frosting Sheet.  I thought it might be hard to use but I just gently pealed the frosting sheet off the backing and placed it on my cake.

I bought  it here for about $10.00 (with shipping).

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One more thought- check out Etsy and  search for “Frozen Party” and you’ll find some cute, instant download, Frozen decorations (Water bottle labels, cupcake toppers, bag toppers and invitations) that could really enhance your party.

If you can find official Frozen themed products then consider yourself lucky- if not, use your imagination and create your own Frozen party.  I hope these ideas will get you thinking.

Party Games 411

  • Party Games 411

  • What Game Should We Play?

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.

Jugball

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Jugball is a game that the Stewart family “invented” about 20 years ago and has become a family favorite at our annual family reunions. It doesn’t matter what else we do or what our reunion theme is, we always play Jugball.

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Jugball Milk Jugs

The most difficult part of Jugball is getting enough jugs for everyone to use. We ask family members to bring their own jugs and then an extra jug for someone who forgets theirs.  We just cut the bottom out of old milk jugs.  If you wanted to be  creative you could decorate them with duct tape  and  markers but we play with our jugs just the way they are.  A note about the ball- bring several types and sizes of balls to see what works for you.  You don’t want a ball that is too bouncy or it will be difficult to keep in your jug.

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Jugball Rules- sort of

I’ve never played Jugball but those that do assure me that it is  an easy game to learn.  It’s pretty much like football with goal being to get the jugball into the end zone in a teammate’s jug.

First mark off a large field, with boundaries and two end zones.

The game begins with a(throw off), and the receiving team may either catch the jugball, and move it from there, or drop it, or let it hit the ground upon reception. Then, the receiving team works the jugball forward, toward the other team’s end zone. The ball may move only through the air.

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Upon catching a pass, a player must stop running (you are allowed to be carried two steps by the act of the catch), and try to find a teammate who is trying to get open. This game continues until a point is scored, at which point the scoring team throws off.

If, at any point, the jugball hits the ground (not during a throw off), the team who was not in possession before the fault assumes control.

A score happens when a player catches the jugball in the other team’s end zone. If an out of bounds pass happens, the other team throws in from that spot on the boundary.

The defense may cover the player with possession of the ball, like defenders in basketball (but the jugball may not be knocked out of a players jug, it must be allowed to be thrown). Also, if the other team is on offense, it is worth simply knocking down the jugball if catching it is difficult, as this will also result in a change of possession.

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My favorite thing about Jugball is that our family just made it up at  family reunion.  It doesn’t take a lot of expensive equipment or extensive planning- you just do it.  If you’re family tries Jugball it might become a family tradition at your reunions or maybe… you’ll make up your own game.

Tips for Hosting a Successful Party

This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks. Sarah is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger.

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Tips for Hosting a Successful Party

Playing host or hostess is an extremely rewarding experience; especially when bringing loved ones together to celebrate family ties. But it can also be a daunting proposal for party planners faced with coordinating the wide variety of details involved in carrying-off successful parties.

You are out to have a good time too, so getting a firm handle on your party plans allows you to relax and go with the flow. Use these proven tips to take the stress out of the equation, launching trouble-free fun for your entire family.

Plan Ahead for Success

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Start your party planning effort with a wide angle view; roughly deciding when you’d like to host a gathering. Certain times each year, like holiday seasons and summer months; when kids are out of school, are heavily scheduled for many families, so choosing prime-time dates may limit your guest list. On the other hand, advance notice gives friends and family plenty of time to mark the date for your special event.

At the very least, craft your timetable much as you would for a wedding or other occasion, supplying at least a month’s notice for your guests. As you firm-up plans, consider other things that might be happening in people’s lives. Graduation season, for example, furnishes built-in commitments for families, who may not be able to attend your party during this busy period. Major, isolated events can also hinder attendance – don’t try to compete with sporting events or religious holidays for your guests’ attention.

Keep it Simple

Hosting festive gatherings immediately pushes your own expectations higher. After all, you want to put your best foot forward, staging a memorable event. For successful parties, resist the urge to take on more than you can reasonably handle – despite your desire to impress your guests.

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Ambitious menus, for example, quickly spiral beyond manageability, taking all the fun out of host and hostess duties. Instead of trying new dishes and calling-on exotic ingredients, stick to simpler fare, using proven recipes and sure-thing crowd-pleasing dishes. And don’t forget to project your menu selections to the scale of your party. While elaborate canapés with detailed presentations are manageable by the dozen, you may find it unreasonable to produce hundreds of them for large parties.

Though variety is the spice of life, you needn’t prove it with sprawling menu selections. Instead, focus on a few well-prepared offerings with mass appeal. And whenever possible, include items you can prepare ahead of time, reducing your commitment on the big day.

Call-In Reinforcements

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Family gatherings are all about having fun and reconnecting with loved ones you don’t see as often as you’d like. When working out the details of your party, remember others have walked before you, facing the same host and hostess duties on your plate. To ease your own burden, enlist the help of friends and family willing to contribute to the party-planning effort. Each aspect covered by helpers checks a responsibility off your own list; leading to a well-rounded event and less stress for you.

Mobilize volunteers in ways that help you most. If you need a decorating committee, for instance, tap creative contributors for ideas and input fostering festive ambiance. Or if the party grows beyond numbers you generally accommodate, request spare chairs, tables, and other needed items from helpers, rather than buying or renting them yourself.

Hosting parties can be fun, as long as you don’t become overwhelmed. For sure-fire success, start with a reasonable game plan, using advance coordination to rein in the details. And don’t be afraid to use helpful volunteers to pull-off entertaining, worry-free events.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from Freepeoplesearch.org. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com

Olympic Games Party 2014

 

I’m always looking for an excuse to have a party and the Olympics is great excuse!  I really didn’t come up with the idea until Friday morning (our weekly pizza and game night) so I had to do things fast!

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Sochi Olympic Mascot Print Outs

The Sochi mascots are soooo cute. I found  a great site with these printouts that I used for decorating.  This site  is great because they give you the option of printing them in color or black and white.  My granddaughter spent a significant time coloring her own mascots to take home.  Follow the link below  to print out your Sochi mascots.

dltk-kids Olympic Mascots

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Olympic Rings Cake

This Olympic rings cake is super simple.  I originally wanted to use fruit to make the rings but most of the fruit I needed to use was $5.00 for a small container so I opted for a less healthy option and went with M&Ms.  Use a glass or a round cookie cutter to mark where the rings should  go before placing your candies.

Sochi Olympic Placemats

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I also made placemats  for each  of the grandkids.  I just printed this cute picture of the mascots on two pieces of 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of paper.  There are many complicated ways to do this but the way I do  it is so simple! 

First make your image as large as possible on your in the “portrait” layout. Some of the picture will be pulled off the page- that’s what it’s supposed to do.   Print this half of your picture.  Then carefully drag the portion of your picture that was cut off back onto the paper and print it off.   Match the two halves together, cut off the white area on the inside edge, overlap until the picture matches up perfectly, tape together and then laminate.

Follow this link for the picture I used to make my placemats.

Sochi Olympic Mascot Placemats

Red, White and Blue Drink

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The idea behind this drink is choosing 3 drinks with varying sugar content and layering the drinks with the highest sugar on the bottom working up to the no-sugar drink on top. We used cranberry juice  for the bottom layer, blue Gatorade for the middle layer and Sprite Zero with 0 grams sugar for the top layer. Just fill each glass with ice, pour  in the cranberry juice, followed by the Gatorade and top with the Sprite.  This would be perfect for your Independence Day party also.

Olympic Rings Pizza

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I’m kind of embarrassed to show this picture of our Olympic rings pizzas but like said, I didn’t give myself much time to throw this party  together.  If you have a large group you could just buy 5 pizzas and set them on your serving area in a “ring” arrangement.  We only had 12 at our party and couldn’t really justify buying 5 pizzas so I made my own  dough  and made five mini pizzas.  I also made a large pizza so I would have enough  food to feed my family but this is what I  put  on the table.

Red, White and Blue Salad

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My daughter made red, white and blue salad using strawberries, blueberries and Feta cheese.  She served it with a raspberry vinaigrette for the dressing.

What’s the deal with all the red, white and blue you may ask- well,  besides celebrating the Sochi Olympics we wanted to cheer  on our own USA athletes and wish them luck.

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I decorated the table with my Olympic placemats, a light blue tablecloth, blue plates with white and blue candies sprinkled around.  It really wasn’t too fancy but when my grand-daughter walked into the room and saw it she exclaimed, “Oh look, it’s a party!”  She was so excited she danced with joy.  So glad I threw this Olympic party together!

Aunt MO

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.