Mashed Potato Bar

mashed potato bar

What’s a Mashed Potato Bar?

I had never heard of a “Mashed Potato  Bar” until recently   when my daughter came home from a family function with her husband’s family and they had hosted a mashed potato bar. My daughter raved about how delicious and fun the mashed potato bar was.

Of course, I’ve eaten  at lots of baked potato bars and for any years a potato bar was our  go to meal at family gatherings but a mashed potato bar is a fun new twist to that traditional and rather over  done family  reunion  meal.

Here’s how  you  put a Mashed Potato Bar together for your next family reunion or party.

m potato bar

Of course,  the main ingredient is mashed potatoes.  You can make your own (see recipe below) or  you can use already prepared potatoes such as the ones Costco carries.

Image result for costco mashed potatoes

Mashed Potato Bar Toppings Ideas

Serve your  potatoes in large crock pots to keep the potatoes warm and set  out various  toppings.  I’ve listed a few of our favorites but use your imagination to  customize  to your needs:

Sour cream
Chopped green onions
Crumbled bacon
Finely shredded cheese
Steamed broccoli
Chopped Ham
Shredded chicken
Whipped butter
Sour cream
Frozen Peas
Ranch salad dressing
Grilled zucchini and summer squash
Caramelized onions and peppers
Freshly grated Parmesan
Tomato salsa
Grilled tri-tip sliced thin
Onion crisps
Country Gravy (I like to stay away from gravy, it’s the obvious choice and people aren’t’ as creative if they have gravy as a choice)
Salt and pepper

The Idaho Potato Board has their own list of ingredients for a Mashed Potato Bar which you can find by clicking on the link below.

Serve on plain plates or bowls or fancy things up a bit by using goblets as your dishes.  You can  always find a miss-matched assortment of goblets and wine glasses at your local DI or Goodwill.

Image result for potato bar toppings

A good basic mashed potato recipe includes just a few ingredients. Note: Baking and Russet potatoes tend to be heavier and starchier than Yukon Gold potatoes.

Basic Mashed Potatoes Recipe

  • 8 Potatoes
  • 1/2 Cup melted butter
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk ( I melt my butter in a bowl with the milk for creamier potatoes.
  • Salt
  • Fresh Pepper
  1. Peel and dice potatoes and put in pot of boiling salted water. Cover and simmer until potatoes are fork tender (20-30 minutes, depending on quantity of potatoes). Remove from heat and drain.
  2. Mash potatoes with a potato masher or a hand mixer.
  3. Add butter and milk

While doing research for this article I found this cute Mashed Potato Bar sign on Etsy.  The name of the shop that offers it for sale is the TheDoodleCoop.

Potato Bar Sign, Mashed Potatoes Sign, Make Your Own Loaded Potato Printable, Wedding Reception, Sweet Sixteen, Birthday Party, Potato Bar


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

Tried and True Recipes





Mafia Themed Activities for Your Family Reunion or Party

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Let us make you an offer you can’t refuse-

When it was first suggested that we use “Mafia” as our theme for the Stewart family reunion I was a little apprehensive but after three days of Mafia activities over Labor Day I’ve decided that “Mafia” is just another word for “Family”. Family can also be friends, and so a Mafia theme for a reunion or party is a great idea. Included in this party pack are invitations and activities for a party or reunion for either your friends or your family.

You will have fun creating Mafia names for your guests using the list of names and name tags included in this party theme package.

Guests can also fill out an application to join the Mafia using the “Complete Mafia Dictionary” to decipher Mafia lingo.

Test your Mafia IQ to see if you should be “The Boss” or “Knuckles”.

If you are having an indoor party consider playing the party game, “Mafia”. The game of Mafia is all about the power of bluffing and knowing when other people are bluffing themselves. You can be a member of the Mafia, a towns person, the FBI or the Moderator in this elimination and guessing game. You will vote out other players and try to avoid being murdered in the middle of the night by the Mafia!

If you planning an outside party play “Steal the Flag” using marshmallow shooters. Instructions for making custom shooters are included.

Mafia Party

Printables include invitations, The “Complete Mafia Dictionary”, Mafia Application, Mafia funny money, Mafia IQ test, water bottle labels, Mafia name tags and playing cards for the game, Mafia.

Cosa Nostran (This thing is ours!)

Mafia reunion or family party

Mafia Party

Storing Your Reunion Photos

cloud blog

Where to Store Your Family Reunion Photos?

There’s no doubt about it, organizing a family reunion is the hard part. We drift apart over time because of studies, work, marriage, or just drift. Some families are closer than others. It’s even more so for cousins or between generations. When you have the family reunion worked out and you are going to meet, it’s natural to think of photos and videos of the event, but what do you do with them? How do you share them?

Technology now makes it easier to not only find lost or distant family members and to trace our family histories, but to also store and share photos and videos. By creating a single cloud account, families can let everyone have access to them – they can download other people’s photographs or upload their own. These can be from the reunion or from their lives and those from the past.

The question is then which cloud service is best. A good cloud storage service for families is low cost, preferably free, but is also secure. It should be encrypted so to protect users but be accessible from any device where the user knows the login details. To find out more about these services and what to look out for, check out this piece on the top 3 family friendly cloud services.

Reunion Buddies

A Getting to know you activity before the reunion even begins

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Get the family reunion started early!

If you’re looking for a fun ice breaker activity and a way to generate interest in your upcoming family reunion try “Reunion Buddies” and get the  party started before the  reunion even  begins.

Reunion Buddies

About four weeks before your reunion make a double sided copy of the “Reunion  Buddies”  printable using the same  information on each side of the paper.

Match family members up into buddies making sure everyone, young and old has a reunion  buddy. 

Write one buddies name on the line that says “My Name Is” and write their buddies’ name below it on the line that says “My Buddy Is”.  You will need to do this on both sides of the  paper but reversing the information.

Send a copy of the reunion buddies printable to one of the  “buddies” with  the  instructions to fill out their  personal information and then mail the  completed  form to their buddy. Be sure and provide an address and if your reunion has the funds, a stamped envelope.

The buddy they mail the form to will complete the form and return it to back to their buddy.

Encourage buddies to spend some time with each other at your family reunion  perhaps even bringing inexpensive gifts (such as their favorite candy bar) to share.  You may even ask some family members to share what they learned about their reunion buddy.

The idea behind  “Reunion Buddies”  is to  make long lasting friendships  between cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents.  Get a new buddy every year!


Family Reunion Bingo

find someone

Family reunion bingo is a great ice breaker activity for family reunions or parties of any kind.  I created a family reunion bingo card several years ago that we have used over and over again. I recently received a request to create some variations to the original game and mix things ups a bit.  The competed Bingo game cards are below and ready for you to play.

Family Reunion BINGO- the Basic Game

Give family members a BINGO card and a pencil and allow a few minutes for your family members to mingle as they get signatures in the bingo squares that apply to them. You can only use a person’s signature once on your bingo sheet.  The game can  end at this point with prizes for everyone that completely  fills up their BINGO card or you can take the game a step further.

Family Reunion BINGO Variation

Write everyone’s name on a piece of paper and put it in a hat.   Pull a name out of the hat one at a time and read it out loud. If a person has that name on their sheet they can put an X on that square.  If they don’t have that name they do nothing. Keep drawing names from the hat until someone get a BINGO by competing a row, column, or diagonal with X’s.

I have created 5 variations of my original  BINGO card that you can download and print by clicking on  the file below.

Bingo Card 5

Whether the Weather

weather blog


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! 

Since my first visit to their website I have used their information at when  planning several family functions and each  time their predictions turned out to be accurate.  About a year  ago, I  used the weathertab website to get an  idea but how weather would be for our family reunion/vacation (12 months in the future) would be in sunny southern  California.  They predicted that the weather on the dates we would  be in California, it would rain for 3 days and they were right- it rained 3 of the days we were at Disneyland. (Which isn’t  necessarily a bad thing- no crowds and no waiting in line.)

The 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 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 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 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.

The cute graphics in  this blog have been  purchased from Kimberly Stewart,

Fun Ice Breaker Game for Your Family Reunion

ice breaker


This is a fun idea for an ice breaker game for your next  family reunion or family party.  It is even a fun idea for a work, school or church function.

Divide into groups of about 10.  The groups work together to determine the  total amount of points they have  earned.  Each team will need a team captain and recorder. 

You can make up your own list of points but here are a few ideas to get  you started.

1.  Counting January as one point, February as two points and so on, add up the total points of your group.

2. Score one point for each college attended.

3. Score one point for every button on each shirt.

4. Total number of pennies teammates have in their pockets.

5. Total of all sizes added together- one shoe only per person.

6.  Hair color score- Black hair- 2 points, Brown hair- 1 point, Red hair- 3  points, Grey hair- 5 points, Blonde- 1 point

7. Five points for everyone that is  wearing glasses, 2 points for contacts.

8. One point for every child each person has, twins- 5 points, triplets- 10 points.

9. Minus 1 point for every soda or pop consumed.  Plus 1 point for every glass or bottle of water.

10. 1 point for everyone that is wearing a watch.

Add up the total of points each team has and award prizes to the team that has the “most” points, “least” points, “most unorganized” etc.

Superhero Reunion Theme

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Family Reunion Helper proudly announces the completion of their latest family reunion  theme- Superhero!

Now you can bring all the action-packed adventure and excitement of your favorite superheroes to your family reunion!


A superhero reunion will appeal to family members of all ages. Superheroes have unique skills, wear awesome costumes and save the world on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.

A superhero family reunion lends itself to action-packed games, superhero training and fun activities.

secret super power copy

This reunion theme package includes a fun printable reunion invitation, secret super power cards, water bottle labels, superhero training cards, “what’s my super power?” activity, Kapow!, Boom! and Zap! signs and fun printables for napkin rings and table decorations.

Our superhero reunion is jam packed with more than 35 pages of ideas for many of your favorite superheroes: Batman, Spider-man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Iron-man, Flash, Hawk-eye and even Aqua-man.

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With the Superhero reunion theme your family will want to save helpless citizens, fight the forces of darkness and defeat the evil villains. Plan a superhero reunion and let your families’ powers shine. Whether they’re saving the planet or saving your family, a superhero family reunion or party will be a memorable reunion for anyone who has ever yearned to make right what’s wrong in the world.


You can find the superhero reunion theme at Family Reunion and by clicking on the link below.

Super Hero Family Reunion

Aquaman Super Hero Training


Who is  Aquaman and why should he  be a featured  hero  at your superhero reunion or party?

Aquaman is the king of all things aqua. He can breathe underwater, swim at tremendous speeds, and telepathically communicate with sea life. Being able to withstand ocean depths, he gets bonus points on land with his superhuman strength, enhanced senses, and nearly impenetrable skin.


I never knew there was a superhero named Aquaman but I’ve got to tell you- if you’re around a pool  or lake or some other water  source, Aquaman gives endless opportunities for water competitions and  games.  Try some of our favorite Aquaman  training activities:

Aquaman Treasure Hunt

Collect a bunch of pennies, nickels and other coins and throw them into the pool.  Be sure to throw coins in different depths of the pool to accommodate all swim skill levels.  Line kids up on the side of the pool and  on the word go they jump into the pol and  collect as many coins as possible. When all the coins are found, count them and add up the value.  The one with  the most money is the winner.

Aquaman Underwater Training

Participants line up on one side of the pool,  On the word “go” they jump into the pool and swim as far as they  can under water. Depending on the size of the pool and the abilities of the  swimmers,  they may be able  to swim more than  one  lap.

Aquaman Enhanced Senses Training

Use a pint water bottle with a white cap and filled it with water from the pool. Line the swimmers up on one side of the pool facing away from it. When they hear the bottle hit the water they can jump  in and begin hunting for it. The swimmer that finds the bottle is the winner.  You can play this game over and over.

Of course swimming races are fun and since Aquaman can swim at  tremendous speeds, a real natural for your superhero training.

Be sure and check  out more superhero family reunion ideas by clicking on  the picture below. 

Super Hero Family Reunion

Our Favorite Family Reunion Dinner-Dutch Oven Stacked Enchiladas

 dutch oven enchiladas

This is our favorite family reunion recipe- you make it one pot and it feeds 12- 14 depending on serving size.  We like to cook this in our Dutch ovens over a campfire but this recipe can easily be prepared and then baked in your oven.  Basically all you are doing is warming it up and melting the cheese.  We serve it with lettuce,  chopped tomatoes, sour cream salsa and tortilla.  Dutch oven stacked enchiladas is such a flexible recipe that you can substitute or add any ingredients that you desire.  You can easily make it spicy or keep it mild for the kids in  your family. It’s the perfect recipe for your family gathering. This recipe adapts easily to a 14 inch oven and even cake pan or casserole dish. 

DSC_0384Dutch Oven Enchiladas

2 lbs. hamburger
1 cup water
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce
1 10-ounce can tomato soup
2 cups of salsa (mild or hot)
1 can olives, sliced
2 lb package shredded cheese
Flour tortillas (9-inch size)
Optional: for extra spice add 2- small cans diced chilies and one package taco mix


Heat 12 inch Dutch Oven over coals.
Brown hamburger, onion and salt
Drain drippings.
Add soup, water, enchilada sauce and salsa.
Simmer 10 minutes.
Put ¾ of hamburger and sauce mixture into separate container.
Arrange 3 tortillas over mixture remaining in oven.
Alternate meat, cheese and tortillas in three layers ending with cheese and olives.


Bake with 12 coals underneath and 16 on top until heated through about 45 minutes or in your oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an  hour.

Hint: Serve these enchiladas to your guests to be sure you get to the  bottom of your stack. You don’t want them to scrape off the top of enchilada stack.
Serves: 12- 14