Using Your Super Hero Powers to Wipe Out Dead Air At Your Family Reunion

Splash

How to Destroy Boring Family Reunion
“Dead Air”

Back in my 20’s I worked as a disc jockey at a radio station.  About the worst thing a deejay could do back then and I’m  pretty sure now, is to have “dead air”.  Dead air is an unintended period of silence during a radio broadcast.  I have been unfortunate enough to experience some  periods of dead air when I worked as a disc jockey, usually because I was unprepared, unorganized or because there was an equipment mal-function.  I have also experienced “dead air” at a family reunion.

It is most common to experience reunion or party dead air between the time when family or guests are arriving and the time when the planned activities are scheduled to begin.  I know you’ve experienced it- people just standing around in awkward silence not sure what they’re supposed to be doing and wishing that they had someone to talk to.

There is a solution to doing away with reunion dead air- be prepared, be organized and PLAN an activity that doesn’t have to be supervised.

A few of our favorite dead air busters are:

Sugar Cookie Decorating

BAM

When we arrived at Aunt Karen’s dinosaur reunion twenty or so years ago, we found plastic wrapped dinosaurs shaped sugar cookies tied to trees and fences all around the park where the reunion was held.  After checking in, everyone went on a dinosaur hunt to find the perfect sugar cookie and then on  to the decorating station where we found frosting, sprinkles and candies to decorate our cookies.

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As we frosted and decorated our cookies, other family members arrived and we laughed, talked and ate our dinosaur masterpieces and Bam- dead air destroyed!

DIY Tee Shirts

POW

The Brown family used a creative idea to not only take care of dead air but to also personalize their reunion t-shirts.

Instead of doing a generic design on their shirts they did stick figures of a family and when family members arrived at the reunion  they painted their own shirt using fabric paints and markers.  Everyone was so busy and excited about their shirts they chatted and shared ideas and Pow- dead air busted!

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Boondoggle

Boondoggle will keep most kids, 10 and over occupied for any dead air during your reunion.  By taking two strings of boondoggle, you can weave, braid, or otherwise knot it to create some fun projects.

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Set out a few spools of boondoggle and a few clips or key chains and before   you know it, young and old will be making new boondoggle creations.

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You will need someone to man the boondoggle station that knows how to start boondoggle.  If someone in your family has been to a girl or boy scout camp they probably already know how to do boondoggle.  A good resource for learning boondoggle basics is Boondoggle Man- and Splash- dead air busted!

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NOTE: If using an activity for the older children, like boondoggle, don’t forget to set out something for the younger ones such as coloring pages, a kiddy pool  filled with sand or a few soft balls.

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Stating the Obvious

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Here’s the obvious boredom busters- set up volleyball, badminton, croquet, horseshoes or any activity that  will get your family interacting with each other. 

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I have a giant Checkers game that I set out at every reunion (it’s tradition) and before too  long one of the cousins will challenge an uncle to a game and a crowd will  gather around to watch. 

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to set these games up but it sure adds to the reunion fun.

When most of your family has arrived at the reunion it’s time to move on to your planned activities, usually ice breaker games, but with some extra planning and effort on your part their won’t be much ice to break- families members will feel right at home because you’ve used your super hero powers to destroy reunion dead air.

5 Dollars Off Any $19.95 Reunion Theme Package

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Had the pleasure of stopping by the Mower family reunion today. It was so fun to see everyone visiting, enjoying yummy food and kids playing on the toys. Seeing them having such a good time made me excited for family reunion season. Can’t wait to get together with our extended family!

To get the reunion season started off right, family reunion helper is offering 5.00 off any of their $19.95 reunion theme packages. Circus, Caveman, Heritage, All-sport, Western or any of our fun reunion themes.

Just enter the code "reunion2013" at check out. This offer expires at midnight, May 27th 2013, Memorial Day- the start of family reunion season!

Have a Circus and Carnival Family Reunion

 

Ladies & Gentlemen,
Children of all Ages…
Family Reunion Helper
is proud to present…
A Circus and Carnival family reunion!

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No need to run off and join the circus- you’re family will have more fun than they ever imagined when you create a Circus-themed family reunion!

Circus Parade

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Begin your family reunion with a circus parade. Ask everyone to dress up as clowns, wild animals, popcorn venders or circus performers. Decorate bikes, strollers and wheelchairs and give prizes for the most creative and unusual costumes. You might want to have a few extra crazy wigs, wacky bow ties and plastic noses for those that forget their costume.

Carnival Booths

My favorite thing about a circus themed family reunion is that it is so easy to make assignments.  Assign individual families a game booth for your carnival. They can be responsible for the game and prizes for their booth.

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Circus Acts

Assign family members a circus act (silly and creative acts are the best) and don’t forget a ringmaster to keep things lively.

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Face Painting

Get the teenagers in your family involved by asking them to be in charge of a face painting booth.  Kids love to have fun with their favorite animated characters and cartoon idols. Face painting is popular but you will need more than one painter to accommodate all the children that want their faces painted at your circus reunion.

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Circus Party Games and Activities

You can find lots of fun circus party and and game activities in familyreunionhelper.com’s reunion theme package.  Consider a game of “Clown Softball”.  It’s a mixed up and silly way to play softball that will get team members and spectators laughing.

Or how about a “Big Top” parachute?  Parachutes are so fun and can add to your circus theme if you call it the “Circus Big Top”. The best thing about a parachute is that up to 25-30 people can be kept busy and that there are no actual winners and losers in the games.

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It’s important to include activities for family members that don’t want to be as physical as the younger set. Pass out copies of the “How Well Do You Know the Circus?” Quiz and give a box of animal crackers to the person that gets the highest score.  Test your circus knowledge with this sample question  from the quiz.

1. About how long is the RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY train?

a. 1 mile

b. 21 cars

c. 1.5 miles

The answer- A, 1 mile.

You can find a copy of the quiz as well as lots of fun activities at familyreunionhelper.com. They are included in the Circus themed reunion.

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If you’re looking for a family reunion that gives your family a chance to clown around then a “Circus” theme is the one for you.

Thanks to the Banner family for many of the photos posted in this blog.  You can certainly tell that they are a supportive and fun family.  Organizer of the Banner reunion was the Ric and Jill Crowther family.

New and Improved Circus Family Reunion or Party

Ladies & Gentlemen,
Children of all Ages…
Family Reunion Helper
is proud to present…
A Circus and Carnival family reunion!

Not everything is new about familyreunionhelper’s “Circus” reunion but we’ve made some changes that we think you’ll love. 

Circus Invitations

Our new fill in the blank Circus invitations are so fun.  Just print on cardstock, fill in the blanks and mail to family and friends. There are two styles to choose from and a “save the date” card.

Circus Water Bottle Labels

The Circus family now includes circus themed water bottle labels that come in three fun styles and circus bag toppers that can be stapled to bags of popcorn, animal crackers or cotton candy.

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Although we’ve included some fun circus printables to our circus theme we’ve kept the tried and true games and activities that we know your family will love.

If you’re looking for a family reunion that gives your family a chance to clown around then a “Circus” theme is the one for you.

Circus Family Reunion

Circus Reunion

Family Reunion Planning Committees

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Family Reunion Chairperson

  • Provides coordination between other committees and provides "big-picture" guidance for reunion planning and execution.
  • Recognize and thanks volunteers
  • Welcome family members when they arrive at your family reunion and help everyone feel comfortable
  • Troubleshoot any problems

Food Chairperson & Committee

(I highly recommend having a committee to work with the food chairperson. Feeding a large group of people with different tastes is perhaps one of the, most difficult parts of planning a family reunion. You can make it easy on yourself by selecting a menu that relates to your theme, or perhaps one that celebrates your family’s heritage. Take advantage of family cooking specialties such as Dutch Oven cooks, Aunt Mo;s onion rings, Grandma’s potato salad,, Uncle Richards’ Homemade Root Beer or Uncle Ben’s Turkey Steaks. Cooking hot dogs over the fire, Tacos in a Bag or using Pie Irons (recipes for these foods can be found at www.familyreunionhelper.com) can also lighten the food committee’s load. You can ask families to provide their own lunch but eat as a group for breakfast and dinner.)

  • Plan menus
  • One option is to find a caterer or restaurant to do at least part of the work for you.
  • For group meals, assign each family (or families) to one night of dinner duty or another meal.
  • Determine and reserve needed equipment (tents, barbecue cookers, tables, etc.).
  • Purchase required nonperishable. Arrange for their storage and delivery to the site.
  • Make assignments for preparing meals, cooking and cleanup
  • Make shopping list
  • Buy paper plates, napkins, tablecloths and plastic silverware
  • Ice for keeping food cold
  • Provide bags and boxes for garbage and don’t forget a container for recycling aluminum cans.
  • Make assignments for set up and clean up at each meal.

Family History Chairperson

  • Purchase or make a guest book to collect signatures, addresses, and other important information, as well as serve as a permanent record of the reunion.
  • If you have a large family, you may want to provide name badges to help family members become better acquainted with each other.
  • Make displays of family history pictures or a family tree wall chart.
  • Make a family history page for each person at your family reunion to fill out. Ideas for questions and sample pages can be found at Journal Page Samples & Question Ideas.
  • Prepare a family history presentation as determined by the reunion committee.

Invitation and PR Chairperson

  • Provide decorations, invitations, and signs
  • Invitations should create interest and anticipation
  • Be sure to include directions to the reunion site.
  • Mention if the guests should bring along any special clothing or equipment.
  • Include special assignments such as food assignments, decoration assignments or activity assignments. (The more assignments you give out the better participation you will have.)
  • Make signs to post along roadways directing your family members to the reunion site.
  • If RSVP is required, include an RSVP date, along with an e-mail address, phone number, or mailing address to which they can respond.

Events Chairperson

  • Plan activities and entertainment
  • Make assignments to individual families (when our family gets together, each of the original six children plan an activity. This year we are having a circus/carnival theme at our family reunion and each of the “Big Six” will provide a carnival type game.)
  • Responsible for awards, certificates and prizes
  • Arrange for some ongoing activities that family members can do on their own such as basketball, croquet, badminton, and volleyball.
  • You don’t need to occupy everyone all the time, but planned activities and ice-breakers at your family reunion will provide an easy way for people who do not know each other well to comfortable spend time together. Include activities that will appeal to all ages and further family knowledge of shared heritage. You may also want to award prizes for special distinctions such as oldest family member or longest distance traveled to attend.

Photography Chairperson

  • In charge of the photographer, videographer, and memory album. Hires professionals or takes responsibility for taking photos themselves.
  • Can put together a digital scrapbook of the family reunion for raising reunion funds.
  • Schedules time for “whole group” family reunion photo.
  • Takes individual photos of families in costume.
  • Can put together a family slide or presentation of the previous years family reunion to be viewed at one of the evening presentations.
  • Distributes copies of family reunion portraits – don’t forget to include postage when charging for photos.

T-Shirt & Souvenir Chairperson

  • Order T-shirts or other family reunion souvenirs
  • Find a company that designs T-shirts or a family member to design a custom shirt.
  • Determine sizes and number of shirts.
  • Collect T-shirt money
  • Distribute shirts at the family reunion

Finance & Fundraising Chairperson

  • Plan fund raising activities for your family reunion such as an auction or raffle.
  • Manage all funds and banking responsibilities
  • Collect all monies from fees and fundraising activities.
  • Manage donations and expenses associated with planning and executing the family reunion
  • Track Expenses
  • Make financial report available to reunion chairperson and family

Facilities Chairperson

If you are having your family reunion at a hotel or resort, you may want to have a facilities chairperson. A facilities chairperson should determine the following and make reservations with the most appropriate site:

  • Your group’s per night budget, Number of rooms required, Hotel’s location, Amenities (on-site restaurant, pool, in-room kitchens etc.), Meeting space and catering services available, Shuttle service and parking
  • Negotiate and book facilities and coordinate lodging
  • Meet with hotel staff, visit facility
  • Be the liaison between hotel and family members during family reunion activities.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Family Reunion Chairperson document

Planning a Family Reunion Checklist

12 Months prior

(Make these decisions before leaving your reunion) Planning in advance will increase the odds that more people will be able to attend the reunion, which translates into more fun for everyone. By booking early, you can most likely secure better rates and/or reserve your preferred hotel or retreat site, flights and other travel arrangements. Most campgrounds and parks can be booked a year in advance.

  • Set date
    • The best of all situations is to hold your family reunion at the same time every year. Choose a holiday such as Memorial Day or Labor Day or a weekend such as the third weekend in August etc. Finally, stick to your decision. Changing dates mid-stream can create a huge amount of additional work.

  • Choose location
    • Aim for a family reunion location that is most accessible and affordable to the majority of people you want to attend. If family members are located in one area, then select a reunion location that’s nearby. If everyone is scattered, then choose a central location to help cut down on travel expenses. Most locations will need to be reserved a year in advance, campgrounds, hotels and conference centers, cruises, condos, resorts and parks etc.
    • If possible arrange an on site inspection of your family reunion site. You will be able to check out your reunion site amenities and recognize challenges you may need to plan around. At a campground or park, check for fire pits, covered bowery or picnic tables and benches. If your site is a hotel or condo you will be able to assess for yourself banquet facilities, room amenities, meeting room sizes and cleanliness of the location.
    • Contact local hotels and reserve blocks of rooms for out of town visitors

  • Choose a reunion theme
    • Creating a theme for a family reunion is a great way to interest people and make them more likely to attend. It also makes things more fun when it comes to being imaginative with food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion. Family history themes are especially popular, as are family reunions which celebrate a very special family member’s birthday or anniversary, or the family’s cultural heritage.
  • Compile a list of family members and update mailing and email lists
    • A clipboard with a list of family names can be passed around during the family reunion. Family members can make corrections and add new emails and address to the list. Be sure and assign a family member to be in charge of this list.

9 months Prior

  • Make final reservations–remember that some family members will have to cancel, and others may decide to show up at the last minute.
  • Schedule events and activities that require advance registration or booking
  • Make contact with family members by email to keep them up to date on family reunion plans. Encourage email contacts to help spread the word.

6 Months Prior

  • Have planning meeting either on phone or in person with committee chairmen/ make assignments
    • Send “save the date” cards or emails- include cost per person or family and what is included in the ticket price, if you are charging admission fees. Inform of any fundraising activities you will be having- such as a family auctions so that family members can be preparing items for donation.
    • Confirm reservations
    • Make final decisions

3 Months Prior

  • Make special assignments such as activities and games , so volunteers have time to prepare and purchase supplies for their assignment
  • Order souvenirs, T-shirts etc.

2 Months Prior

  • Send detailed schedule and assignments
    • Directions on how to get to the family reunion site.
    • Date, time, and location of the reunion.
    • Remind family members to bring their fund raising donations
    • Remind family members of assignments
  • Gave a confirmation call to caters, photographers etc.
  • Start purchasing non-perishable items: dry goods, decorations, supplies, etc. Watch for sales to get the best prices.

1 Month Prior

  • Review final details with family reunion committee
  • Confirm with relatives who are bringing food or other supplies.
  • Contact restaurants or caterers with a final guest count if necessary.
  • Order any products or supplies that must be delivered to assure timely delivery.

Week Before

  • Get chairs, tables, grills and other items
  • Buy last-minute decorations and supplies and perishable items
  • Make final preparations such as signs and welcome banners.

Day Of Family Reunion

  • Set up and decorate family reunion site
  • Post flyers with family reunion schedule for family to reference
  • Welcome family members as they arrive at your family reunion

Click here to download a PDF version of the family reunion checklist

3 Keys to a Successful Family Reunion

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Planning a family reunion can be a nightmare. But the good news is that you are not alone, we can do this together. I don?t know your specific situation but I can tell you that if you will follow these 3 important keys you will be on your way to having a successful family reunion. So let?s get to work- first key is…

Choose a permanent reunion date

This is the most important aspect of reunion planning- it’s not much of a reunion if no one can attend.

When we began planning the “Stewart” family reunion we were only working around about 20 people and it was fairly easy to find a date that was good for everyone, but now that we are more than 100 family members strong we would never be able to find a date that met everyone?s needs. Lucky for us, about 20 years ago we set Labor Day weekend as the permanent date for our family reunion.

We have found that holding the reunion at the same time every year helps family members plan their busy lives around that weekend. They always know when the Stewart reunion will be and although the location may change the date never does. Unbelievable but true- we usually have all but about 3 family members attend our reunion each year.

If you can?t choose a permanent date, plan your next reunion date before you end the reunion you are currently attending. Planning in advance will increase the odds that more people will be able to attend the reunion, which translates into more fun for everyone. If you book early, you can most likely get better rates and/or reserve your preferred hotel or retreat site, flights and other travel arrangements. Most campgrounds and parks can be booked a year in advance.

Last of all, stick to your decision. Changing dates in the middle of planning can create a huge amount of anxiety and additional work.

Delegate!

People always wonder why we have such good attendance at our reunions and I tell them, “Because everyone has a job!” There is always someway that everyone can contribute to your reunion no matter what their age or their ability. You can assign a couple of pre-teen girls to do a story time or games for the younger children at your reunion, ask a 5 year old to bring a can of olives or assign someone that loves music to lead a sing- a- long.

It’s impossible to organize a reunion by yourself, I know, because I„ve tried it. Not only that, but it is good to have the input of different family members’ points of views. Family members that have a responsibility feel greater ownership in the reunion.

Delegate tasks according to those with special talents, skills and connections. Our Uncle Ben owns a restaurant whose specialty is turkey steaks and quite often we have turkey steaks at our reunions or family parties. We have great Dutch oven cooks in our family and of course, we give them the opportunity to practice their skills. Use the resources that you have.

There are certain jobs at our reunions that have become tradition- for instance cousin R.D. and Uncle Richard always make the homemade root beer, Aunt Lynn is always in charge of Bunko and Uncle Steven always makes his Dutch oven potatoes.

So how do you put all these people and their great ideas together? Let me tell you how we do it. There are six original children in the Stewart family; we call them the “Big 6”. We schedule a planning meeting and ask that there be a representative from each Big 6 family at the meeting. These people become your liaison from each branch of the family.

At the meeting we discuss our plans and make assignments, that way every family has a representative and if they have concerns they can be addressed at that meeting and each families? fun ideas can be implemented. We ask for volunteers to be in charge of each major aspect of the reunion – food, family history, invitations, photography, games and activities, finances and facilities. The chairman of the committee, that?s me, takes the ideas and suggestions home and makes a master plan or schedule which is emailed to the committee members for their approval.

A reunion committee is essential to planning a smooth, successful family reunion. Be sure your chairman (if you?re reading this than the chairman is probably YOU) is creative, energetic and willing to put in the time and effort required to organize a reunion.

Planning a family reunion is a too big a job for one person, so make a checklist, get some help, put your entire family to work and let everyone share in the satisfaction of a job well done!

Select a Theme!

A theme gives your family get-together an added twist that can build excitement. Choosing a theme for a family reunion is a great way to interest people and make them more likely to attend your reunion. Who wouldn?t want to attend a “Caveman” reunion? A theme also makes it more fun to plan when it comes to being imaginative with food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion.

If you have a wedding anniversary or a significant birthday coming up in your family you could choose to celebrate around those special events. If your grandparents were married in the 50?s, plan a fifties reunion complete with poodle skirts and sodas. If Aunt Addie will be turning 70, celebrate with her by having a seventies party- make tie-dyed shirts and decorate with peace and flower power signs.

Just because it is a family reunion doesn?t mean the theme has to be centered on the family itself. Plenty of other party themes are perfect for a reunion. Plan a western, caveman, boot camp or other similar theme.

A few years ago my sister-in-law suggested that we have a caveman reunion and I was pretty nervous about it- caveman? How do we do a caveman reunion? But we all shared ideas at our planning meeting and guess what- our caveman reunion turned out to be one of our best family reunions ever.

Whatever theme you choose, design your decorations, food, activities and games around that theme. Your caveman theme might feature Brontosaurus burgers and a dinosaur egg hunt or a pirate theme might include Barbecued Parrot and a treasure hunt.

Planning a family reunion requires serious effort and thoughtful strategic planning but if will follow these 3 important keys you will be well on your way to a memorable and successful family reunion. And who knows- maybe they?ll want you to be in charge next year too.

Aunt MO

Click here to download a PDF version of the 3 Keys to a Successful Family Reunion

How Much Do I Need to Feed 100?

Feeding 100 or more family or friends?  Here’s what you’ll need.

Basic guidelines-adjust as needed

Feeding 100:

Applesauce
2 gallons

Baked beans
5 gallons

Bread
10 loaves

Butter
3 pounds

Cakes
8-10

Chicken
40 pounds

Cold Meats
25 lbs. 4 oz per serving

Cheese Slices
20 lbs. 3 oz per serving

Casseroles or equivalent
10-12 – 9×13

Coffee (for 100 cups)
1 to 1½ pounds

Ham
40 pounds

Hamburger
30 pounds

Hot Dogs
25 pounds

Ice Cream
4 gallons

Jello (3 1/2 oz packets)
17 packages

Milk
6 Gallons

Pancake mix
13 lbs. to serve 100

Pies
18

Potatoes
35 pounds

Salad dressing
3 quarts

Soup
5 gallons

Potato Salad
12 quarts

Potato chips
6 lb.

String beans
3 gallons

Turkey
70 pounds

Tortilla chips
8 lb..

Vegetable salad
20 qt.

A wonderful website that will help you convert your recipes is

http://www.fruitfromwashington.com/Recipes/scale/recipeconversions.php

Just enter your ingredients and the amount of people you want to serve. It makes adapting old family favorites much easier.

Meatball Hoagies

400 small, frozen meatballs
100 sub sandwich rolls
3 C. olive oil
9 large onions, peeled and sliced thin
3 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped, optional
3 lb. mushrooms, sliced, optional
7 jars (each about 32 oz.) chunky-style spaghetti sauce
3 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat the meatballs according to pack age directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven. Sauté green peppers, onions, mushrooms until just tender. In a separate pan, heat spaghetti sauce.

Put 4 meatballs in each roll, then drizzle with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 100 sandwiches.

Ham Salad Sandwiches

4 lb. Fully cooked ham or ring bologna, coarsely ground
3 C. Chopped sweet pickles
2 C. Mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 jar (2 oz.) Diced pimentos, drained
100 slices Bread
Lettuce leaves, optional

Combine ham, pickles, mayonnaise and pimentos; mix well. Spoon 1/4 cup onto 50 slices of bread; top with lettuce if desired and remaining bread.

Yield: 50 servings. Double for 100.

Wagon Wheel Spaghetti

1 qt. onions, diced or 1/4 cup dried onions
9 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1 gal plus 2 quarts canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp. dried oregano leaf
2 tsp. dried thyme leaf
2 tbsp. dried basil leaf
1 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. granulated garlic
5 1/4 lbs. wagon wheel pasta
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Sauté onions and turkey until no signs of pink remain. Drain fat and return to heat.

Add diced tomatoes, oregano, thyme, basil, salt, pepper and garlic to turkey mixture and simmer, covered, for one hour over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Cook pasta in boiling water until tender-firm, about 8 minutes. Drain.

Add drained, cooked pasta and parmesan to turkey mixture and blend. Heat to 165°F. Portion using a No. 6 scoop, (2/3 cup).

Yield: 100 servings

Lemonade Salad or Dessert

20 pkg. (3 ounces each) lemon gelatin
24 c. boiling water
4 cans (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate
4 cartons (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed.

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in lemonade until dissolved. Chill until partially set. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into 4 13-in. x 9-in. pan (2) Chill until firm.

Serves 100

Macaroni Salad for 100

6 lb. fully cooked ham, cubed
6 lb. macaroni, cooked & drained and rinsed under cold water and drained
3 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
2 bags, frozen peas, thawed, 20 ounces each
2 bunches celery, chopped (12 cups)
2 lg. onions, chopped (2 1/2 cups)
2 cans pitted sliced ripe olives, drained

Dressing

2 qt. mayonnaise
1 bottle western or french salad dressing
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup light cream
1 1/2 tsp. onion salt
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Combine first 7 ingredients. Combine all dressing ingredients; pour over the ham mixture and toss well to coat. Refrigerate.

Potato Salad for 100

30 lbs. potatoes
4 c. chopped onions
7 1/2 c. chopped celery
30 hard boiled eggs

Dressing:

6 tbsp. salt or to taste
2 tbsp. pepper
2 qts. mayonnaise
2 qts. Miracle Whip

Cook potatoes until tender. Cool. Peel and cut up. Add onions, celery, and eggs. Mix dressing ingredients together and stir into potato mixture.

Refrigerate overnight to let flavors blend.

Coleslaw for 100

6 heads of cabbage
5 cups shredded carrots
1 head purple cabbage – chopped

Shred cabbage and carrots and store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Add purple cabbage when you add the dressing.

Dressing:

1 gallon mayonnaise
2 packages ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup vinegar
Sugar and salt to taste

Mix together, put on cabbage just before serving.

If dressing is too thick add just a little milk.

You can also add green peppers finely chopped if you like.

Marshmallow Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

4-1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temperature

9 packages devils food cake mix
6-3/4 cups creamy peanut butter, warm
2-1/4 lbs. large marshmallows, quartered

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine butter and dry cake mixes in a bowl until crumbly. Reserve 7 lbs. of mixture. Pat remaining crumb mixture into 9 ungreased 9×13 inch pans or equivalent. Combine peanut butter and marshmallows in a bowl. Spread evenly over crumb mixture in the pans.

(If space and bowls are a problem, you can mix each cake mix separately)

Crumble reserved cake mixture over top and bake 20 minutes.

Let cool before cutting into bars.

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.

Rainy Family Reunion?

Three Day Family Reunion
Two days of severe thunderstorms-
Are you kidding me!!!!

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Be Prepared for Bad Weather

The Stewart family has held their family reunion on Labor Day weekend for almost 30 years and in all those years we have only had rain three times- we’re either “lucky” or “blessed”.  When I do family reunion presentations I talk about the “Three Keys to a Successful Family Reunion” but after our last reunion I think I will add a fourth key- be prepared for bad weather!

The challenge was not keeping dry in our tents but keeping dry as we did our many fun activities and how to keep 80 people out of the rain while doing them. 

I would always prefer to have our family reunion in sunny weather but every outdoor reunion or party should have an alternative plan, in case the weather becomes uncooperative. It isn’t always reasonable to cancel the reunion or reschedule, instead you need to have a “plan B”.

Surviving a Family Reunion in Bad Weather

Plan Ahead

When I checked the weather forecast the day before we left for our campsite I realized that we could have some rainy weather so sent off a quick email to family members asking them to bring tarps and ropes and to prepare for stormy weather.  Our guys are so resourceful they were able to cover all of the tables and cooking area.  I learned that no matter what the forecast pack a large tarp and rope when packing for our reunion.

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Alternate Activities

Luckily we had planned some activities that we could do under the tarps as it rained and we adjusted our schedule to fit whatever the rain was doing. We played BINGO during one downpour which provided good entertainment for everyone. From now on I will always include BINGO supplies when packing for our reunion- just in case.

We planned the Not So Newlywed game as one of our activities and played the first half of the game in the sunshine and for the last half moved in under the tarps when the rain began to fall.

BUNKO is a great group game that mixes everyone up and gets them working together. It takes very few supplies (dice, pencils and score sheets) and can easily be a permanent addition to your reunion supplies.

You can also throw in a few board games, puzzles and a deck of cards.

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Reserve an Alternate Indoor Location

I wish I had thought of this before our reunion.  About 2 miles from our reunion campsite was a church.  We could have reserved it for a nominal fee and then when it started raining it would have been a great place to play some fun group games and perhaps eat a meal.

If you’re close to a town, take everyone bowling, to an indoor pool or a movie. Hopefully, a few hours later, the weather will be more cooperative. If not, stop at a restaurant or fast food place for an ice cream treat or a full meal.

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Our reunion theme this year was “Cruisin’” and it appeared the “captain” of our ship was not very experienced as he kept steering our cruise ship into major tropical storms.  However, his “passengers” were amazingly positive in spite of the weather.  A couple of times I thought about suggesting we “dock the ship” and go home but with everyone working together and helping each other it turned out to be one of our best family reunions ever.  Oh, and we did get ONE day without rain.

You can read more about planning for stormy weather at Planning for Stormy Weather.  And remember-