Roasted Peeps!

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What  a surprise I received Saturday when I dropped by my Mother-in-laws house.  She had invited a few of her great-grand children over  for an Easter celebration and they were having a grand old time roasting PEEPS marshmallow candies over an open fire. 

image There’s something unsettling about that for me- I mean WHO would roast those sweet little marshmallow chicks and bunnies over a FIRE?  And why would Grandma, of all people, encourage such a dastardly thing? The thought of sweet, innocent children putting a skewer through a marshmallow chick or bunny and roasting it over an open flame makes me cringe.

So what’s all this craziness about?  Roasted PEEPS!  According to Grandma- everyone is doing it.  PEEPS are marshmallows with sugar on top! When you roast them, the sugar caramelizes to make a hard crunchy shell. 

image As Easter draws to a close and family reunion season quickly approaches and all the pastel candy starts crowding the supermarket and drugstore shelves, consider buying some extra Peeps now for a Peep Roast at your reunion.

One thought- Peep S’mores?  Does that make them S’meeps?

Brain Teaser and Mind Reader Party Games

Brain teasers and Mind Reader party games are great fun! They can be used for family reunions to draw people together.  Brain Teasers make great ice breaker activities because they get everyone working and talking together to come up with a solution.  I still remember the first brain teaser I ever heard- 

ONE DAY A FATHER AND HIS SON ARE DRIVING DOWN THE STREET AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY HAVE A CAR ACCIDENT. THE FATHER DIES AND THE SON IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION. FIVE MINUTES LATER THE AMBULANCE COMES AND TAKES THE BOY TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. THE NURSE TELLS THE DOCTOR THAT THEY NEED TO DO SURGERY ON THE BOY AND THE DOCTOR SAYS, “I CANT DO THE SURGERY”  AND THE NURSE SAYS “WHY?”. THE DOCTOR SAYS, “THATS MY SON.” …WHO IS THE DOCTOR?

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That brain teaser drove me crazy and I finally asked, no begged for the answer.  You’ve probably already figured it out but just in case you need a little help- the doctor is the MOTHER!  So obvious!!

Research has long been touting the positive effects of playing brain teaser games but brain teaser games are actually fun too. Our family has several brain teaser games and activities that we can get together on a moments notice.  If we have some down time and need to find something to do we pull one of our favorite brain  teasers out of the hat and immediately have a fun activity for those that want to participate.  It doesn’t take long before some of us are pulling out our hair in frustration and others are laughing hysterically from the sidelines. Here’s a few of our favorite brain teasers  and mind reading games and activities.

Spoon Pictures Game

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At least two people will need to know how to play this game. One is sent out of the room (the mind reader), and the other remains inside to take a picture of someone. This is done by holding up a spoon or some polished surface to a player’s face. When the picture is taken, the mind reader is called in, given the spoon, told to look at it, and guess whose picture it is.  The mind reader studies the spoon and then says whose picture they see on the spoon. The mind reader leaves the room again, while another picture is taken, is called in, and guesses that, and so on.

If any family member thinks he can be the mind reader, he may have a trial, but he may fail.

The secret- the person that took the pictures sits in exactly the same position as the person whose picture was taken.  If his feet were crossed and his hands folded, the leader will take that position. If another person is in that position, the one who guesses waits until one makes a change, and thus the name can be guessed.

Chinese Silverware Reading Game
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Drop a pile of table knifes, or forks or spoons and it writes someone’s name. So your partner goes out of the room. Everyone in the room picks a person to be "IT" You then arrange the utensils in some random supposedly meaningful way. Partner walks back in looks intently at the utensils and then pronounces whose name they spell. What they are really watching is the way you are sitting because you are imitating the person who’s IT. (You could use any thing as your props- sticks, matches etc.)

Crystal Clear Game

This is a fun brain teaser game to do right before dinner, perhaps while everyone is waiting in line to get their food.  (They can think about the game as they move through the line.) Line six glasses up in a row. The odd ones are full, the even ones are empty. The object is to move only one glass, and by so doing line up three full glasses next to three empty glasses.

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Answer- Pour the contents of glass number five into glass number two and replace glass number five.

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Magic Squares Game

Once again it will necessary for two of the players to know how to  play this brain teaser game.    Arrange nine books or magazines on the floor in columns and rows of three.  Send the “magician/mind reader” out of the room.  As a group, choose one of the books or squares.  When the book is chosen, the magician is called in. Ask everyone in the room to concentrate on the chosen book.

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Begin by pointing at different squares repeatedly saying "Is it this the one?” The magician will tell him to stop when he is pointing at the correct square.

The trick is simple. The first time the accomplice points to a square, he points to the relevant part of the square to indicate where the correct item is in the grid of 9 items. So if he points to the top right of the first square, the correct item in the item is in the top right of the grid. For instance, the picture below shows us that the book is the one in the top right corner.  Keep pointing to a couple of books before pointing to the book that is “it”.

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You can vary this a bit so the accomplice shows the magician on  his second or third point if you want to. As people catch on they can become magicians and see if they get it right.

Scissors

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For this brain teaser game, all players will need to sit in a circle, and one is given a pair of scissors.  In turn, the scissors are passed around the circle, from one player to the next.  As a player passes the scissors to the next person they say either "I pass these scissors CROSSED" or "I pass these scissors UNCROSSED", and will be told if they are right or wrong.  The object is to try and find out what the rule is.  To make things more interesting, make a great play of turning the scissors around and opening and closing them.  The game continues until all have solved the mystery, or you take pity on those family members that remain clueless. 

The secret of this game has nothing to do with the scissors- it’s whether you have your legs crossed!

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“I pass these scissors open.”

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“I pass these scissors closed.”

Aunt MO

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”  ~e.e. cummings

Ask Aunt MO about Time Capsules

I have a question about making a time capsule. I want our family to make a time capsule at our family reunion this year but I’m not sure what we should put into the time capsule. Can you give me some more ideas for what to put into my time capsule?

Julie N.

Thanks for your question, Julie. I think you’re family will enjoy making a time capsule at your family reunion and I really think they will enjoy opening it in a few years. In my blog about time capsules I suggested that you add a newspaper to your time capsule. I think you’ll be surprised when you open the capsule to read what was going on in the world or your community at the time you made your time capsule.

You can also ask family members to write down their goals for the five years or ten years that will go by before you open the time capsule. Or write a letter to the future and tell the people what life is like for you now. Be sure and include your favorite family traditions, your worries and your joys too!

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Memorabilia from your family reunion is another fun thing to put into your time capsule. Include your family reunion invitation and schedule of events. If you have contests such as a family reunion 5K be sure and list the winners.

Add photos to your time capsule. You can ask every family to bring a family picture or if you are close to a one hour photo developer you can take a family group picture of everyone at your family reunion and put that into the time capsule.

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If you will only be storing your time capsule for five or ten years you may want to include a video messages from your family. Be careful about including a DVD for a long term time capsule, as fast as technology changes you may open the capsule and have nothing to play it on.

Get the children at your family reunion involved by cutting pictures out of a magazine showing the hottest toy of that year or the latest fashion trend. Just as we look back at the popularity of Strawberry Shortcake, Clackers, Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies and Pokeman, these are items that are sure to be left behind in a few years and will be fun to remember when the time capsule is opened.

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Leave out any substance that could decay and damage the other contents of the box. This includes rubber, wool, wood, PVC, and any perishable, liquid or edible item.

Mark everything clearly so you or others will know where each item came from and who included it when the time comes to open the capsule. Don’t assume you will remember all the details.

Good luck with your time capsule, Julie.

Aunt MO