To All The Dads in All The World

Happy Father’s Day!

Help your Dad feel like the great Dad he is by holding a special party for him on Father’s Day.  Family Reunion  Helper makes it easy with these downloads:

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If your Dad loves tools try playing the Father’s Day “Tool Game”.  A link to the FREE game can be found below.

Father’s Day Tool Game

To decorate your party print off the fun Father’s day printables to make a banner, water bottle labels, signs and invitations.

Happy Dad’s Day Banner

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Make Dad a candy bar poster for Father’s Day.  It will be a delicious present he can enjoy for weeks.  Take the “thinking” out of it by getting ideas at family reunion helper.

Candy Bar Posters

And if you’re just looking for a good Father’s Day quote-

"My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." — Clarence Budington Kelland

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-

Family Reunion Campfire Treats

 

Dutch oven chocolate chip cookies for your family reunion.

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If you want to be the post popular person at your family reunion, mix up a batch of these Dutch oven chocolate chip cookies.  You may even be able to pull S’more cookers away from the campfire to eat one of these delicious warm cookies.

Cookies baked in a Dutch oven seem to be moister than those cooked in a regular oven.  The less air space in a Dutch oven keeps them moist throughout the cooking process. The amount of heat used might need to be adjusted depending on your elevation. Be sure to rotate the oven clockwise and the lid counterclockwise a quarter turn every few minutes to avoid hot spots. 

You can find the recipe we use at our family reunions at
Dutch Oven Cookies

Campfire Éclairs

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Our friends the Cutlers, introduced us to “Campfire Éclairs” several years ago and Campfire Éclairs have been a fun family reunion tradition ever since.  If you need a break from S’Mores (how could you need a break from S’Mores?) try these delicious Campfire Éclairs at your next family reunion.  They’re fun and easy to make.  All you need is a large 1 inch dowel, Pillsbury biscuit dough, instant vanilla pudding and a can of chocolate frosting. Read how to do it by following this link.
Campfire Éclairs

Banana Boats

Is your family tired of S’mores and other traditional campfire treats?  Tired of S’mores- no never.  Well maybe you’re ready for a change?  Try some yummy “Banana Boats” cooked over the fire. 

Just like S’mores, everyone makes their own.  Just set out toppings such as chocolate chips, peanut or butterscotch chips,  coconut, chocolate sauce, peanut butter, mini marshmallows, honey, Nutella, and jam.  You will also need a banana for everyone and a piece of tin foil.  You eat this gooey treat with a spoon.  If you have a freezer available top off your banana with a scoop of ice cream for a real banana split.

Follow this link for complete Banana Boat instructions
Banana Boats

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Good Songs for Your Family Independence Day Party

I once attended a fireworks show that put music to their fireworks display and it was my favorite works show ever!  It seems that most of the bigger show are doing that now and with a little bit of effort you can put together some great songs about “America” for your family reunion, party or family get-together too.  Because families are so eclectic I tried to include something for everyone. 

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Here’s a list to get you started:

Living in America by James Brown
Start your Independence Day party off right with some good dance music.  One of those “earworm” songs that gets stuck in your head.

“America the Beautiful” Ray Charles
No one does it better!

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“Only in America” Brooks and Dunn
“Where we dream as big as we want to
We all get a chance
Everybody gets to dance
Only in America”

“Back in the USA"  Chuck Berry
This song is a classic.

“Courtesy of the Red White and Blue” Toby Keith
Toby Keith got a lot of grief over writing this song. It was written after the 9-11 incident, and helps us remember that there are men dying so we can sleep at peace each night.  And don’t forget Toby’s other great song, “American Soldier”.

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“Arlington” Trace Adkins
This song songs tells of war from a soldier’s perspective after he has died in battle.  Listen to the words, it always gets to me.

“This Country Stands” Dyer Highway
Good song from a new group, brother and his two sisters, all under 18 years of age.

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“America Saturday Night” Brad Paisley
Sums up America’s diversity and how we embrace the traditions and cultures of America’s people.

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“Born in the USA” Bruce Springsteen
A 4th of July classic- perfect for your fireworks show.

“God Bless the USA” Lee Greenwood
I teach this song to my music students every year and you’d think I’d be sick iof it by now but even though it came out 25 years ago it still makes me proud to be an American every time I sing it. Some people refer to this song as the “unofficial” national anthem.

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Sweet Home Alabama” Lynyrd Skynyrd Band
Well, it’s a song about one of the great states in Aerica and I just love the music!  And besides what’s a party without some Southern Rock!

Keep on Rocking in the Free World by Bon Jovi
This song has become a classic fireworks songs for Independence Day

“Fightn’ Side of Me” Merle Haggard
In this song Merle Haggard talks about how everyone has the right to stand up for what they believe, but don’t run down the country.

“Some Gave All” Billy Ray Cyrus
A heartfelt performance on this loving tribute to the men and women that fight for our freedom each day which has nothing to do with “boot scootin’”.

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“If You’re Reading This” Tim McGraw
The song tells the story of a soldier that has passed on, and his wishes on how he’d like to be remembered, and where he’d like to be buried. 

And finally, though not technically a song-
“America, Why I Love Her” John Wayne

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Even as I put this list together I realized that I was leaving out some great American music.  Share your favorites and I’ll add them to the list.

Happy Independence Day!

Aunt MO

Back to Basics Family Reunion Planning

As we approach July 4th weekend, summer celebrations and family vacations are in full swing. Combine the two and you’ve got a family reunion — one of the most popular types of celebrations during the summer months. With family reunions comes lots of planning and potentially lots of stress and anxiety.

The warmer months are a great time to plan a family for a reunion! The weather is nice, people generally have more flexibility with vacation schedules, traveling is much easier, and the options for planning a family reunion are endless!

Organizing a family reunion might seem like a daunting task, but once you get all of the pieces in place it’s not much different from planning any type of event. It also helps to have a family reunion planning checklist to keep you organized.

For tips on how to plan a family reunion, use this checklist from familyreunionhelper.com and punchbowl.com to keep organized.

  • Date Selection: When you schedule the family reunion, keep in mind that you want the most people to attend as possible. Summer is a busy time for family vacations, weddings, and other events so date selection is likely going to be the most challenging part of your planning. Fortunately, Punchbowl makes it easy to find the best date for a large group with our Date Decider feature. Propose a few dates, then send your Date Decider to each family. Once family members respond, you’ll be given the ideal date for the family reunion.
  • Guest List: Build the guest list for your family reunion. This will include extended family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and beyond. The size of your guest list will inform what type of venue you will need. Once you have the guest list prepared, send an online Save the Date to make sure guests put the date on their calendars.

  • Location: Family reunion venues are everywhere. Just think of places that can hold a large group, provide food and drinks, and has room for activities. Some of the best family reunion places are outdoor venues, such as a beach or state park. State parks are great because there’s open space for frisbee, crochet, and other outdoor games. They often have swimming and hiking/biking trails as well. Another plus: they’re usually pet-friendly. Contact your local state parks to check on availability for a big group before finalizing a date.
  • Choose a Theme: A family reunion doesn’t have to have a theme to be successful but creating a theme for a family reunion is a great way to interest people and make them more likely to attend. A reunion invitation that invites you to a “Prehistoric” reunion for Brontosaurs burgers is more interesting than an invitation that invites you  to a family reunion at “the park”. 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. 
  • Invitations: Once you have the date and location finalized, send the family reunion invitations. In addition to basic details such as the date and time, include a map for guests who are coming from out of town. You can also include a list of activities and suggest that guests bring certain items such as beach chairs if the event will be outdoors. Punchbowl.com is a website that can help you with your family reunion or party invitations.  With their fun online options you can easily send out your reunion invitations and keep track of the RSVPs.

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  • Food/Drinks: Get everyone involved in the meal planning with a potluck list. Use Punchbowl’s Potluck feature to first add everything you think you’ll need to the potluck list (make sure to include things like cups and plates), and easily let everyone sign up to bring items when they respond to your online invitation. In addition to RSVPs, you’ll have what they’re bringing (in case you need to remind them before the event). You can also create a section of your Potluck list for additional items such as blankets, chairs, frisbees, etc.
  • Favors: Family reunions are often special events that occur infrequently. Mark the occasion with a special family reunion party favor that guests can take home to remember the event. Great ideas for family reunion favors include personalized T-shirts with your family name and the date of the reunion or custom beach towels with the name of the event and the date.
  • Games & Activities: For the best family reunion games and activities check out Aunt Mo’s blog and the “Family Fun” drop down at www.familyreunionhelper.com/
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If you follow these basic guidelines for planning a family reunion, you will be well on your way to creating wonderful memories for your family. You can add some of your own touches depending on the venue you choose. For example, bunches of balloons can be added to create a festive atmosphere. You could hire a caterer to host a clambake if you don’t want to ask your guests to bring items. Find ways to make it your own and make it personal for your family members!

When You Were My Age- Ideas for Your Milestone Birthday or 50th Wedding Anniversary

Family Reunion Helper is excited to announce the release of their latest family reunion idea- “When You Were My Age”.   This exciting package is the perfect tool to helping you plan an 80th birthday party or 50th wedding celebration.

The first time my family presented a “When You Were My Age” program was for an 80th birthday party and I spent hours and hours and hours and HOURS at several different library’s doing research, now thanks to the internet it just took hours and HOURS to do the research.  

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 a good sport 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.

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Ideas are included for every year from 1920- 2005 to help that special family member celebrate a significant birthday or anniversary and relive some of the most memorable moments in history- the world’s and their own.

“When you were my age the year was 1921. A gallon of gas cost 20 cents, and a loaf of bread cost 12 cents. In 1921 Lie Detector was invented and Franklin D. Roosevelt at 39 years old contracts Polio. Channel Number 5 perfume was introduced and Albert Einstein receives the Nobel Prize in Physics. When you were my age the Chicago White Sox Baseball team was accused of throwing the World Series and Irving Berlin’s song "All By Myself" becomes popular.”

imageBesides the "When You Were My Age" program you will find information on making your loved one’s 80th birthday or 50th wedding anniversary a recognized holiday in your community by issuing an official proclamation of the event. You will also receive a fun "Older Than Dirt" test that will help determine just how old you REALLY are.

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

Aunt MO

May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine.
–Frank Sinatra

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now.
–Anonymous

www.familyreunionhelper.com/

Gimme A Point

Use this game as an ice breaker game for your family reunion or party.  Make a copy of the game for every participant and give them a copy and a pencil when they arrive at your family reunion.  Your family can work on the game until you feel like everyone has arrived at your reunion site then call everyone together and go through the questions.  Your family will want to share their unusual and funny answers.  Be sure and have a prize for the winner of the game and perhaps for the person with the lowest score.  This is also  a fun time to give out a few family reunion awards such as the  tallest person at the reunion, the person that traveled the farthest to the reunion or the youngest person at your family reunion. 

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1. Give yourself 1 point for every button you are wearing.

2. Deduct 1 point for every 5 minutes you were late for this reunion.  

3. Add 1 point for each size shoe in shoe you are wearing. (Size 7- 7 points)

4. Add 5 points for every penny in your pocket or purse.

5. If you are wearing any pink, add 10 points to your score.

6. If you made your bed this morning give yourself 10 points.

     If your mother made your bed deduct 5 points.

     If your bed is not made deduct 10 points.

7. If your eyes are brown or green give yourself 5 points.

8. If you have grey in your hair give yourself 10 points.

9. Add 1 point for every egg you have eaten this week.

10. Give yourself 5 points for every game of golf you played in July.

11. Add 1 point for every baseball game you’ve watched this summer.

12. If you emptied the dishwasher or washed the dishes today give yourself 10 points.

13. If you are over 6 feet tall give yourself 5 points.

14. If you are under 5 feet tall give yourself 10 points.

15. If you sent more than 100 texts this week add 5 points to your score.

16. If you are over 50 and sent 1 txt this week add 10 points to your score.

17. Give yourself 1 point for every mile you walked or ran this week.

18. If you are wearing a belt give yourself 5 points.

19. If you have a dog give yourself 5 points.

20.  Give yourself 1 point for every 100 miles you traveled to be at this family reunion.

Okay, you can add up your score and put the total here-         

___________

More fun family reunion games are available in the “family fun” drop down at www.familyreunionhelper.com/ 

Aunt MO

“People are more honest around  a campfire.”- Megan

Best Scary Story Ive Heard Around a Campfire

The Legend of White Eyes

I didn’t write it nor do I know where it came from- maybe it really is a true story and came from the pages of my history book. I’ve heard a lot of scary stories when I’ve been camping but this is the only story that made me scream- I hope you scream too.

Advance preparation- besides practicing the telling of this tale you will need to take a ping-pong ball and cut it in half. Color a small dark dot on each half with a permanent marker. These will be your "white eyes". Keep them concealed in a closed hand. When the time is right, pop them on over each eye. (You may customize place names in your story to suit the occasion) NOTE: I would wait to tell this story until the little ones in your family had been tucked into bed.

Cut-other-ping-pong-ball

There on that side of the lake (point) is where this story took place. As you all may know, the area around here was a busy place 100 years ago due to the Gold rush. Miners turned this whole region upside down in a quest for GOLD!

Greed can be a dangerous thing, especially where Gold is involved. To find more gold meant faster production, and digging deeper underground. It also meant sacrificing safety, but they didn’t care because there were a lot of foolish men around looking to make their fortune.

One day an underground mine collapsed with 16 men still waiting to come up from a full day’s work. Hour after hour went by as they awaited their rescue. The conditions were terrible. It was pitch-black dark, and very hot, dry and dusty down deep in that shaft. The men collected droplets of water that seeped down the tunnel walls in an attempt to satisfy their dying thirst. Days went by and still no rescue. To stave off hunger, they ate rats, mushrooms, and eventually… their dead co-workers.

(Throw a log on the fire for dramatic effect! Poke away at the embers.)

Despite their hopelessness, they scraped away at the rock and debris to try and dig their way out, confident that others would be digging from the surface as part of the rescue attempt. They dug and they dug, day after day, frantically hoping to see daylight from the surface. The days stretched into weeks, and then from there, the few men left alive lost track of time, and started losing their minds.

An eternity later, the survivors finally broke through, and made two very surprising discoveries. One: there was no search party. The mining company had abandoned the mine, and simply walked away. And two… all that time underground had affected their eyes… Their eyeballs were all white, except for an itty bitty black pupil. And they could no longer tolerate sunlight. 

Being left for dead was bad enough. Turning into some sort of White-eyed freak was too much. They snapped. In their rage they made a pact to hunt down every man who abandoned them in that old mine. And soon after, mysterious instances of men being killed in the mountains around here started.

The locals at first thought it was a bear or a cougar doing all the killing. The victims were usually found mauled, bloody and torn. But; closer examination showed the teeth marks on the bodies… were from human teeth!!

(Throw log on the fire!)

One by one, those white-eyed freaks killed off every miner, and any other man they could find in this area. And to this day, you won’t find any mining around these parts. Keep in mind this all happened 100 years ago. You’re probably wondering what happened to those white-eyes?? They should all be gone now due to old age, or at least that’s what they thought… until a few weeks ago. I heard on the radio, they found a hiker mauled on that trail on the backside of the lake. And on that dead man’s neck… human teeth marks!!!

Heed my words, kids: As long as you’re close to the fire, the light will scare ‘em away, but if you need to go into the dark… (pop in the ping-pong ball props)

BEWARE of the WHITE-EYES!!!!

Aaagghhh!!!!

Aunt MO

Older Than Dirt Game for Your Family Reunion

I’m always looking for fun games to play at our family reunions- especially pencil and paper games, so I was quite excited when a friend of mine sent me the following game.  I have to admit, however, that I was a little disappointed to find out that I am actually “older than dirt”!  How about you-

“Are YOU Older Than Dirt?"

1. In the 1940′s, where were automobile headlight high beam switches located?

a. On the floor shift knob

b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch

c. Next to the horn

2. What would you do with an old soda bottle with holes the bottle cap?

a. Capture lightning bugs

b. Sprinkle clothes before ironing

c. Shaker for sea salt

3. In the 50’s what cost 20 cents?

a. Gallon of gas

b. Postage stamp

c. Loaf of bread

4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance?

a. Blackjack

b. Gin

c. Craps!

5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when none were available due to rationing during W.W.II?

a. Suntan

b. Leg painting

c. Wearing slacks

6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn’t tell whether it was coming or going?clip_image004[5]

a. Studebaker

b. Nash Metro

c. Tucker

7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid?

a. Strips of dried peanut butter

b. Chocolate licorice bars

c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

8. How was Butch wax used?

a. To stiffen a flat-top haircut so it stood up

b. To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing

c. On the wheels of roller skates to prevent rust

9. Before in-line skates, how did you keep your roller skates attachedclip_image006[6] to your shoes?

a. With clamps, tightened by a skate key

b. Woven straps that crossed the foot

c. Long pieces of twine

10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision?

a. Consider all the facts

b. Ask Mom

c. Eeny-meeny-miney- mo

11. What was the most dreaded disease in the 1940′s-50′s

a. Smallpox

b. AIDS

c. Polio

12. "I’ll be down to get you in a ________, Honey"

a. Station wagon

b. Taxi

c. Streetcar

13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy’s pet pony? clip_image008[6]

a. Old Blue

b. Paint

c. Macaroni

14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill?

a. Part of the game of hide and seek

b. What you did when your Mom called you in to do chores

c. How you prepared for an A-bomb attack

15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doodyclip_image010[6] show?

a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring

b. Princess Sacajawea

c. Princess Moonshadow

16. What did all the really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were handed out in school?

a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink

b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window

c. Wrote another pupil’s name on the top, to avoid looking bad when they flunked

17. Why did your Mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps withclip_image012[5] purchases?

a. To keep you out of mischief by licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum

b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items

c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick-on tattoos

18. Praise the Lord, and pass the _________?

a. Meatballs

b. Dames

c. Ammunition

19. 1930’s college fad

a. Swallowing goldfish

b. Collecting bottle caps

c. Streakingclip_image014[5]

20. Who left his heart in San Francisco?

a. Tony Bennett

b. Xavier Cugat

c. George Gershwin

www.familyreunionhelper.com

ANSWERS

1. b) On the floor, to the left of the clutch. Hand controls, popular in Europe, took till the late ’60′s to catch on.

2. b) To sprinkle clothes before ironing. Who had a steam iron?

3. a) Gallon of gas- 20 cents, stamp- 3 cents, bread- 14 cents

4. a) Blackjack Gum.

5. b) Special makeup was applied, followed by drawing a seam down the back of the leg with eyebrow pencil.

6. a) 1946 Studebaker.

7. c) Wax coke bottles containing super-sweet colored water. They were called "Nik-L-Nip"

8 a) Wax for your flat top (butch) haircut.

9. a) With clamps, tightened by a skate key, which you wore on a shoestring around your neck.

10. c) Eeny-meeny-miney- mo.

11. c) Polio. In beginning of August, swimming pools were closed, movies and other public gathering places were closed to try to prevent spread of the disease.

12. b) Taxi. Better be ready by half-past eight!

13. c) Macaroni.

14. c) Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill.

15. a) Princess Summerfallwinterspring. She was another puppet.

16. a) Immediately sniffed the purple ink.

17. b) Put in a special stamp book, they could be traded for household items at the Green Stamp store.

18. c) Ammunition, and we’ll all be free.

19. a) Swallowing goldfish

20. a) Tony Bennett

SCORING

18-20 correct: You are older than dirt!

12-18 correct: Not quite dirt yet, but you’re getting there.

0-11 correct: You are just a young “whippersnapper” and if you don’t know what that is ask someone that is “older than dirt”.

For more fun family reunion and party games visit www.familyreunionhelper.com

Family Reunion Helper Five Dollar Off Soon to Expire

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer and the family reunion season and to help you with your family reunion planning www.familyreunionhelper.com is offering $5.00 off any of our reunion themes until midnight, May 31st.

First step is to select the family reunion theme that best fits your family.  Each reunion theme comes with free downloadable games, activities, recipes, printables and templates to simplify, inspire and  guide your reunion planning.

And now, to jump start your reunion, all family reunion packages are $5.00 off.

You will need to  login or enter your credit card information before you can enter coupon code reunion2010 and receive $5.00 off your reunion package- but hurry, this coupon code expires tonight at midnight!

Happy Memorial Day!

Aunt MO