Location, Location- What’s Your Favorite Family Reunion Location?

A real estate agent will tell you- location is everything when buying a house and family reunion planners will heartily agree that when planning a reunion- LOCATION is everything!

Tell us about your favorite family reunion location- where is it at and why do you go there?

For many families, returning to a much-loved reunion destination has become an annual tradition.  After several years that location may feel more like home than home itself.

Our Favorite Family Reunion Location

We have the greatest little reunion site It’s called Hansen Park in Elwood Utah.  It has a huge covered bowery with a kitchen, a fire pit, restrooms and even a baseball diamond and small basketball court.



Someone must have told the good people of Elwood what a treasure they have because they have now made it as difficult as possible to reserve the park and our family has just given up trying to get it- but if you can find a friend that lives in Elwood they may just be able to help you out.

Family Reunion Camping


In the years before Hansen Park and the years after- we have spent many family reunions in group site C and D in Box Elder Campground.  It’s a little more like “roughing it” then Hansen Park and the kids get dirtier because there is a lot more dirt.  It’s true camping and all of us except the mom’s that have kids that crawl love it.  There are lots of picnic tables, restrooms and beautiful shade trees. Parking can sometimes be a challenge but we’ve learned to adapt.

If you’re looking for a campground you can find a list of campgrounds in the US and make reservations at http://www.reserveamerica.com/

Family Reunion at the Lake


In the years that we had access to a boat we held our family reunions at Bear Lake.  The water is some of the bluest I’ve ever seen but hold your reunion in June and it will be some of the coldest water you’ve ever jumped in.  You can camp at locations such as Rendezvous Beach or rent a condo close by.

If you’re looking for  a list of lakes in North America you could use http://www.greatlakesnorthamerica.com/ as a resource.


Of course, if I had unlimited resources I would probably choose a cruise for my favorite family reunion location, but since that isn’t an option, you’ll find my family campin’ out at good ole campsite C and lovin’ every minute of it!

Tell us about your favorite family reunion location

Tell us about your favorite family reunion location- where is it at and why do you go there?  It may feel like you’re giving up your favorite fishin’ hole but please share- what works for your family?

Aunt MO

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.


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)



Aunt MO

What do Pudgies, Toasties, Jaffles and Hobos Have in Common?

No, we’re not talking about the loved ones that will be attending your family reunion- we’re talking about Pie Irons! Pie Irons are known by many different names, Pudgie Pies, Pioneer Pies, Fire Pies, Toasties and Jaffles, but each name is referring to ingredient-filled "pockets" of bread toasted over a campfire. Cooking with pie irons is a long time tradition at our family reunions.

Camp cooking doesn’t have to be just hot dogs and roasted marshmallows. Our family reunions wouldn’t be complete without a delicious raspberry pie cooked over the campfire and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. With a pie iron, you can cook anything from a simple grilled-cheese and ham sandwich to a delicious berry pie for dessert.

In its most basic function, a pie iron is a way to cook grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit pies over an open fire. This is done by placing the food inside the pie iron and then locking the two sides closed with a metal hook. Metal rods with wood handles extend from the castings so the user can easily maneuver the pie iron over a campfire. A few minute over the heat, usually 4 to 6 minutes, and you will have perfectly toasted sandwich or pie.

Pie Irons are available in both cast iron & aluminum. Our family prefers cast iron. They come in several different shapes; round, square, oblong and double. For our family reunions, we only use square irons.product_thumb.php A slice of bread fits perfectly in a square pie iron but the “waffle” pie irons I’ve seen look fun too. Some day I’m going to buy waffle style irons for our family reunion and use them for breakfast. Aunt Lynn doesn’t think she’s had breakfast unless she has had a piece of toast so we’ve even used our pie irons for toast.

To make the most simple of pies, just take two slices of bread (buttered on the outsides), fill with jam, cheese, meat or pie filling- you don’t need much, then place inside the pie iron and lock it closed. Hold it over your campfire for a few minutes on each side and you’ll soon be eating a grilled cheese sandwich or a scrumptious apple pie.

At our family reunions, we like to make fruit pies in the evening while we are sitting around the campfire visiting, singing or playing games. About ten years ago, at a family reunion, cousin Mindy suggested that we sprinkle our freshly baked pies with sugar and cinnamon when we dump it out of the pie iron. Yummy! Some of our favorite flavors of fruit pies are lemon and raspberry. Another family favorite at our family reunions are “Cherry Cheese Turnovers- the recipe is below.

Cherry Cheese Turnover

Cream Cheese

Cherry Pie Filling

Butter or Pam cooking spray

2 Slices of white bread

Butter or add cooking spray to one side of each slice of bread and place buttered-side-out in pie iron.  Fill with a Tablespoon of cream cheese and a Tablespoon of cherry pie filling.  Cook on camp stove or in fire until golden brown.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Pie Irons are great for making ham and cheese sandwiches, individual pizzas and dessert pies but you don’t have to always use bread pockets when you use your pie irons. At our family reunions, we have made omelets and hash brown potatoes in our pie makers. Use your imagination- I even heard of a family that makes Baked Alaska in their irons. That’s a recipe I’ve got to try! Here’s a fun recipe using tortillas.


10" Flour Tortilla’s

Shredded Cheese

Grilled Chicken Strips

Taco Seasoning

Sour Cream, olives, salsa etc.

Spray both sides of Irons well, with non stick cooking oil. Lay Tortilla in middle of one Pie Iron. Fill with 3 to 4 strips of cooked and thawed chicken, sprinkle 1/8 cup of cheese and taco seasoning to taste. Fold the Tortilla in on all sides, close Pie Iron and cook until Tortilla is golden brown on both sides.  Serve cut in half with sour cream and salsa.

A basic pie iron can be purchased for about $20.00 at Sporting Goods/Camping & Outdoor Stores, BBQ & Kitchen Specialty Stores, Campgrounds, RV Stores, & Hardware stores. I once stumbled onto store liquidation and bought pie irons for $6.00 a piece. I bought every iron they had in stock. An online resource .

You don’t need a pie iron for every person at your family reunion, just cook your pie and pass the iron onto the next person. After you’ve introduced your family to pie irons at your next family reunion everyone will want to have one- selling pie irons might even be a great fund raiser! More great recipes can be found at www.familyreunionhelper.com under “Tried and True” recipes.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

Aunt MO