Jugball

clip_image004

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.

clip_image006

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.

clip_image002

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.

clip_image008

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.

clip_image010

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.

m & M

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

image

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.

DSC_0541

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

clip_image002

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

Family Reunion T Shirt

20140116_091530

One of my music students came to class wearing this fun reunion shirt and I just couldn’t help but share it with you.  Such a fun and simple design. Notice the family name at the top and the date and place at the  bottom of the shirt. 

We’ve done a lot of reunion shirts over the years but when this cute little guy wore an old shirt his dad wore I was thrilled.  Keeping old reunion t-shirts year after year means you always have something to wear to the family reunion!

Camp oz 238

When You Were My Age Giveaway

image

We’re so excited about our new and updated version of “When You Were My Age Party” that we’re giving away a free copy to one of our subscribers.  Just tell us what celebration you might  use this party  for in the comments section of this blog and we will randomly select one person to receive a free copy on December 1st, 2013.

image

Our new version of “When You Were My Age” includes a fill in the blank invitation and gives you 37 pages of information for the years 1921- 2010.

image

This is such a fun program, fashioned after a Bill Cosby Show episode and was called, "When Mom Was my Age." We have done variations of the program for 70th and 80th birthdays and 50th wedding anniversaries. Each time we do "When You Were My Age" everyone is thrilled and excited to be a part of the celebration. Everyone has a part on the program and an opportunity to highlight world events and significant family happenings throughout the life of your loved one.

This is a great way to honor your Grandma or Grandpa on their special birthday or your Dad or Mom on their 50th anniversary. Celebrating a landmark birthday or anniversary is always going to be a lot of work but with this package you’ll be well on your way to saying "We love you" in a very special way.

When You Were My Age

M & M or Skittle Ice Breaker Game

Getting to Know You Game

kory's still photos 321

Take a bag of M&M’s or Skittles candy and tell everyone to grab a handful…or specify a number (I prefer this if you have a large group so it doesn’t take so long- I suggest each family member take 4 or 5 candies) You might also choose to split up in smaller groups such as children under 12, 12 and over, young adults etc. if you have a larger group such as a family reunion.

kory's still photos 324

Assign a different meaning to each color, blue= family, green=hobbies, yellow=animals, brown= work or school etc. Participants must tell one thing about themselves for how many candies they have in their hands using the colors as their guide. They may also eat them as they share their information.  (“Blue…I have two sisters.”, then eats the candy. “Yellow…I have a dog named Kodi.”, and eats the candy etc.) If you have two or more of the same color you have to tell one thing per candy regardless the color.

kory's still photos 318

This is a good ice breaker because you can play it as soon as your party is supposed to start and those that come a little late can participate when they arrive.

Dinosaur Party Game

clip_image002

Carnivores vs. Herbivores Game

This is a fun dinosaur game to play outside. Divide family members into two teams, the Carnivores and the Herbivores.

Give each Carnivore a small sheet of dinosaur stickers. When you say "Go", the Carnivores chase the Herbivores. A Herbivore is "caught" when a Carnivore places a sticker on his or her back. The Herbivore must "freeze" until another Herbivore releases him or her by removing the sticker.

Play until the Carnivores run out of stickers. Distribute stickers to the Herbivores and repeat the game.

NOTE:  This game comes from our Caveman Reunion Theme. 
Caveman Reunion

Time Capsule Dig

Family Reunion Time Capsule

Five years later and we finally got to dig up our time capsule!  Five years ago at our Stewart family reunion we had every family member fill out a questionnaire.  We asked questions about the present, their predictions for the future and invited everyone to set some goals that they hoped to accomplish by the time we opened the capsule in 2013.

On the 2nd day of our reunion this year, we went to Grandma’s house where the time capsule was buried to begin our search for the capsule we had buried five years ago.  We followed a very funny set of clues that cousin Tyler made up to find the capsule. 

Camp oz 058

The first clue took us to the "”three pronged wooded fork” and then led us to a spot under Grandma’s bathroom window…. but there was no capsule there.

Camp oz 054

Retracing our steps we realized that we had misinterpreted the clues and on this attempt found the time capsule buried at the corner of the house.  It took a little digging and we broke the lid off of the capsule but we found all our questionnaires safe and sound.

Camp oz 057

Camp oz 060

Family History Church

We read our questionnaires at  the conclusion of our annual family history “church” we hold at each reunion.  Some of us found that we had remained focused during the five years and completed our goals and some found that their goals had been forgotten.  Some of us predicted what the price of gas would be in 2013 pretty accurately and some found they were living in a fantasy land. We had questioners from old boyfriends that had attended our reunion that year and from a dear Grandpa who had passed away.

Camp oz 488

Our family time capsule was a big hit and family members voted to make another time capsule next year.  We’re already working on the questions for our new questionnaire.

Family Reunion Payback Pockets

Payback pockets are a fun way to pay back family members for the difference they have made in your life.  Payback pockets are a fun way to “pay back” your family for the difference they have made in your life-  way of showing appreciation and a way  of saying thanks.

Camp oz 111

Our Payback pockets were labeled in fun way using money terms such as Steve’s Sawbucks, Ann’s Ante and Lynn’s Loot.

Writing Station

Set up a writing “station” and stock it with stationary, stickers, markers and colored paper.  Having fun stickers and stationary encourages family members to write notes. 

Camp oz 012

You don’t need to set aside any time for note writing during your reunion.  Family members will find their own time  to write  whether it’s during some reunion downtime or during an activity they may not wish to participate in.

Camp oz 089

The little ones in our family had fun writing notes, well, actually drawing pictures, and they loved using the markers and stickers.

Camp oz 098

The reunion planners used the pockets as a way of delivering special treats and surprises during our reunion.  One day each Big Six received crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for S’mores around the campfire.  Another day  bouquet of lollypops was delivered to each pocket.

Camp oz 109

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.

clip_image002

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!

Stewart Summer party 037

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.

5th grandparets 013

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.

5th grandparets 016

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!

Splash

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.

clip_image002[4]

Stating the Obvious

24th volleyball 029

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

clip_image002[6]

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

320

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!