Make a Family Reunion Box

 

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I have a family reunion box.  I started the box because I got tired of  getting to the family reunion and finding out that I had forgotten to bring things like tape or scissors. 

It seems like my friends and family with trailers have everything stashed behind their trailer doors but I don’t have a trailer- I have a family reunion “box”.

Here’s what I’ve stashed inside my family reunion box: Gloves, rain ponchos,  first aid, tarp, all sizes of rope and string, plastic table cloths, collapsible shovel, plastic ware, serving spoons, can opener and rags.

I always keep things like balls of every size (including wiffle and volleyballs), horseshoes, marshmallow blow sticks, Frisbees, blindfolds, dice, huge checkers set, crayons and coloring books just in case we need some extra fun at our reunion.

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Inside the family reunion box I have a smaller box with lots of compartments where I keep things like tape, scissors, pens and pencils, markers, over the counter pain medicine, reflector tape, bug spray, sun screen, wet wipes, crayons, thumb tacks, toothpaste, new toothbrush, string, nails, extra lantern supplies, matches and batteries.

I usually have what we need at our family reunion in my box- except for this year- someone needed a stapler.  I didn’t have a stapler in my box this year but you can bet I will next year!

Potatoes-in-a-Bag

A Delicious Idea From My Nephew, Brayden, for Your Family Reunion

Sometimes I get in a rut- I forget that some people don’t pack up and head for the mountains when they plan a family reunion or family gathering- instead they head for the BEACH!  And it was to the beach we went for a fun family party with my brother and his family. 

We packed up the surf boards, sunscreen and mashed potatoes- yes, MASHED POTATOES!  “Potatoes in a bag” is a fun and easy tradition Uncle Brett and Aunt Lisa have implemented in their family and would be a yummy idea for your family reunion no matter what location  you choose.

Most of the prep for “Potatoes in a bag”  was done at home.  Everyone measured 1/2 cup potato flakes in a plastic baggie and added their favorite “mix-ins” to give their bag of potatoes their own special flavor.

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At the beach, Uncle Brett heated up the water in his portable heater.  When the water was hot we added 1 cup to our bag of potatoes and squished it up in the bag until it was well mixed and creamy.  The potatoes were delish!  The beach was chilly  and wet, and the hot potatoes were a welcome treat.

Directions: Mix 1/2 cup of potato flakes with 1 cup boiling water.  Stir until blended. Add your favorite mix-ins: salt, dry ranch Salad dressing, dry onion soup mix, Butter Buds, dried parsley flakes, beef jerky pieces, diced cheese stick and a beef stick. For thinner potatoes, add more water; for thicker, add more flakes.

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If you’ve done eggs in a bag at your family reunion I think you’ll have fun with this idea.  Set out all the ingredients and mix-ins and let your family create their own delicious mashed potatoes.  Your bigger eaters may want to use 1 cup of potato flakes with 2 cups of water.

Thanks, Brayden, for a delicious family reunion idea!

Aunt MO

NOTE: Whenever you add boiling water to your baggie, always use heavy-duty or freezer zip lock bags. Although there have been no claims of injury or illness, Ziploc® states their baggies are not intended to be used at high temperatures, so use at your own risk.

S’mores in a Non-Traditional Way

I couldn’t believe that my brother gave my Mom the assignment to do S’mores for our Wells family reunion.  Not that there is anything wrong with my Mom, she makes delicious S’mores, but we were having our family reunion at a condo in Park City, Utah and Park City is known for it’s amazing skiing not fire pits and marshmallow sticks.

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But I wasn’t in charge of the family reunion this year and I decided that I shouldn’t say anything and so I just kept my mouth shut and waited to see what would happen.  (My brothers are laughing as they read this.)

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When I saw how my Mom set everything up I was very impressed.  We  got out the barbeque grill and then she arranged all the S’more making supplies on a plastic covered card table. 

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We used wood skewers for making Shiskabobs.

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Mom thought of everything- marshmallows, chocolate and crackers.  She even remembered the “Peeps” for roasted Peeps.

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So thanks to my Mom’s organization and creative thinking, the Wells family had S’mores at our family reunion.

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The lesson I learned from my Mom, and my brother too, is that even though tradition is a great thing, don’t hesitate to think “outside the box” and try old traditions in a new way.

And while your eating your S’mores try listening to the S’more song- Catchy S’more Song for  a little “non-traditional” fun.

Aunt MO

Silver Dollar Game for Your Independence Day Party

 

We have a Independence Day tradition in our family- Whenever we get together for a family or reunion or party around Independence Day we play the “Silver Dollar” game. The Silver Dollar game is a game my Mom invented to encourage us to remember our American history and important United States facts.

Mom would ask a US history question and the first one to get the answer right would get a sliver dollar. Mom has a fun way off tossing the silver dollar to the winner- I’m not sure how to describe,  it  but basically she just tosses it to the family member that has the correct answer to the question.

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Plan to play the Silver Dollar game at your Independence Day family reunion or party. Don’t have Silver Dollars? How about using 50 states quarters, red, white and blue taffy, or patriotic pencils?

Warning: If you’re family is competitive, like mine is, you may have to assign someone to be the judge and determine who is the first to raise their hand and watch out- even if you do get the answer right someone may just reach out and snatch your prize right out of the air, Oh well, it’s just part of the game and family fun!

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Below are a list of questions you can use for your Silver Dollar game:

1. What is the title of the National Anthem? 

Answer: The Star Spangled Banner

2.  Which rights is guaranteed by the first amendment

Answer: Freedom of Religion

3.  What is the title of the head of a city government

Answer: Mayor

4.  Who has the ability to declare war? 

Answer: The Congress

5.  How many full terms may a Senator serve? 

Answer: No term limits for Senators

6.  How many full terms can a President serve?

Answer: 2

7.  How many years is a full term for a Representative? 

Answer: 2

8.  Which amendment sets the minimum voting age to 18? 

Answer: 26th

9.  Who becomes President if both the President and Vice President die?  

Answer: The Speaker of the House

10.  On July 4th, 1776 we declared Independence from whom? 

Answer: Great Britain

11.  How many branches of government do we have?

Answer: 3

12.  Which is part of the Judicial branch at the federal level?  

Answer: The Supreme Court

13.  Who elects the President of the United States? 

Answer: The Electoral College

14.  How many states are there? 

Answer: 50

15.  How many stripes are there on the American Flag? 

Answer: 13

16.  Who was the President of the United States during the civil war? 

Answer: Abraham Lincoln

17. What is the introduction to the Constitution called?
Answer: The Preamble

18. Who is the President of the United States?

Answer:  Barack H. Obama

19.  Who is the current Vice President of the United States? 

Answer: Joe Biden

20.  Why did the Pilgrims come to America? 

Answer: to find religious freedom

21.  How many total Senators are there? 

Answer: 100

22.  The Constitution has how many Amendments? 

Answer: 27

23. Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence?
Answer: Thomas Jefferson

24.  According to the Constitution, a person must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to become President. Name one of these requirements.

Answer: Must be a natural born citizen of the United States; must be at least 35 years old by the time he/she will serve; must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

25. How many Presidents have been impeached

Answer: 2 Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

26.  What is the Official Language of the United States? 

Answer: None

27.  Who was the first Vice President of the United States? 

Answer: John Adams

28.  Who said "Give me liberty or give me death?" 

Answer: Patrick Henry

29.  How many Presidents were assassinated while in office? 

Answer: 4 Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, John F. Kennedy.

30. Is it ever appropriate to fly the flag upside down?

Answer: Yes, but only in an emergency. "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."

Glow in the Dark Whiffle (Wiffle) Ball for Your Family Reunion

My family loves playing Wiffle Ball. My brothers and I have played Wiffle Ball since we were just little kids living in Brigham City, Utah. Wiffle Ball is a fun game that is played like baseball but the balls and bats are made out of plastic. We were always sad when the sun went down and we had to go inside but no more- now you can play Glow in the Dark Wiffle Ball and the darker the better.

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We have played Glow-in-the Dark whiffle ball at several family reunions and it’s been a “hit” every time- literally. Here’s how to organize a Glow-in-the-Dark Wiffle Ball game for your family reunion or party.

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You will need:

2- 8 inch glow in the dark bracelets for everyone plus a few extras to stuff into the whiffle ball.

1- 22 inch glow in the dark necklace for each player

Light sticks- I like to use the emergency light sticks because they are bigger and brighter and more durable. You will use these sticks to mark the bases, pitching mound and home plate. Use a paper plate, carpet sample or rubber squares to mark the bases and set the light sticks in the middle.

Regular wiffle ball bats and balls- you don’t need to do anything with the bat. We have put glow in the dark tape on the bat and painted it with glow-in-the dark paint but you really don’t need it. cc You can also purchase a glow-in-the-dark bat and balls but it’s really not necessary.

You can use multi-colored glow bracelets and necklaces or use just two colors so that you can easily distinguish between the two teams during the game.

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Preparations:

Before the game snap 3 or 4 glow bracelets and stuff them inside the whiffle ball. Keep a few extra glow bracelets on hand because the bracelets will fall out of the whiffle ball during the game but that is just part of the fun.

Set out the bases as you would for a regular baseball game.

Divide the players into 2 equal teams. 9 players a team is the traditional standard, but for a glow-in-the-dark wiffle ball game the more the merrier.

Decide which team will take the offensive first. The offensive team will be batting and running the bases, while the defensive team will be pitching and trying to tag the offense with the ball.

Pitch the ball if you’re on defense. Pitching a wiffle ball will take some getting used to because of the way a wiffle ball moves through the air and when it’s full of glow stick it is even crazier.

Once the batter hits the wiffle ball, you’ll want to try to tag them with the ball to get an "out." When you get 3 outs, switch to offense.

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Switch places every 3 outs. You won’t necessarily want to play for 9 innings; everyone will want a turn to bat so it will depend on how large your teams are and how long you want the game to last.

The team with the most runs at the end of the Wiffle ball game is the winner. 

Planning a glow-in-the-dark wiffle ball game for your family reunion takes some preparation but it’s a fun and unusual game that everyone enjoys and is an interesting change from traditional night time family reunion activities.

Be aware when searching for Wiffle ball products, some people spell “Whiffle” ball with an “h” and some without- “Wiffle” ball.

You can purchase all of glow items mentioned in this article at the family reunion helper store along with other fun glow in the dark items.

Something New for Your Family Reunion Campfire

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.

Spray the end of a 1- inch dowel with cooking spray. Take a biscuit (i.e. Pillsbury dough, bannock dough or other substitute) or two, two if small, one if grand and wrap it around the end of the stick (make sure there are no holes in the dough). Roast over fire until golden brown. Cooking the dough will take a little patience.  You have to really move your stick around so that the end doesn’t burn.  But if you persist the end result is worth the effort.

Remove crust from stick when cool enough to touch and fill with vanilla pudding. Frost with chocolate frosting.

I found a fun new product that adds to the Éclair experience. This product hit the shelves of grocery stores in 2010 and comes from Pillsbury and is called “Easy Frost”.  It was the greatest thing for making campfire “Éclairs”.  It is rather expensive but for our family, the convenience was worth the cost.  Another way we make Éclairs more convenient is by using premade vanilla pudding in the individual serving packages.image

Aunt MO

He has no more backbone than a chocolate eclair
Theodore Roosevelt

Make a Deal at Your Family Reunion

If you have ever seen the television game show, “Let’s Make a Deal” you will probably remember that in the final moments of the show, Monty Hall would say, “I’ll give you $50.00 if you can give me a paper clip (or some other item). The audience member would dig frantically in their purse or pocket to find a paper clip and win that $50.00. Monty would sometimes ask for the strangest items but it seemed that 90% of the time someone would be carrying it around with them. Monty’s strangest “quick” deal was, “I’ll give you $50 for a Hard Boiled Egg.”

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This little game can be a fun activity that you repeat throughout your family reunion. Not much preparation is required and you can use it to fill in any lag times in your reunion. Play “Let’s Make a Deal” while you’re waiting for a meal, between acts at your family reunion talent show or even during your reunion dance. Just be sure to assign a “crazy” uncle to play the part of “Monty” for extra entertainment.

One rule you might need to enforce is- the item asked for must be on them or in a purse or bag with them. They may not run off to their tent or car to get the item.

Instead of using real money as prizes buy a bag of small 100 Grand candy bars. Below is our list of items to ask for but I’m sure you’ll come up with some good ones of your own.

Baby Toy
Baby wipe
Ball
Band-Aids
Breath mint
Book
Button
Candy
Chap Stick
Clippers
Comb
Cough drop
Coupon
Dental Floss
Deposit Slip
Diaper
Earrings
Elastic
Floss
Gum
Handkerchief
Lifesaver candy
Lip Stick
Lotion
Pacifier
Paper lip
Pens
Pencils
Pocket Knife
Receipt
Sewing kit
State Quarter
Stickers
Ticket
Toothbrush
Prescription paper
Q-tip

You can also ask for the person with the:
Most Credit Cards
Most Business Cards
Most pennies
Most pictures

Lot’s of famous families have played “Let’s Make a Deal”- the Flintstones with host "Monty Marble, Sanford and Son and the Simpsons. Plan to make this fun game part of your family too.

Aunt MO

Love is the only game that is not called on account of darkness.
Thomas Carlyle

T-Shirt Sayings and Slogan Ideas for Your Family Reunion

Choose a family reunion slogan to put on your reunion t-shirt. Wearing reunion t-shirts show identity and build family unity at your reunion. I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a family reunion “tour”shirt. Put a fun graphic or slogan on the front of your shirts and then on the back have 2011 Wells Reunion Tour and then list all the cities of where all your relatives live as the tour dates.

Check out this list of family reunion t-shirt slogans and sayings to find one that reflects the personality of your family the best.

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General Family Reunion Slogans or Sayings- Express Yourself

Wells Family- You’ve Seen the Rest Now Play With The Best
Hugs Are Fully Returnable
Home for the holidays
It’s Never Too Far For Family
Back to our Roots
Celebrate your heritage
Watering the Family Tree
Gathering around the family tree
Honoring family, mile after mile, year after year
A people without knowledge of their history… is like a tree without its roots
Love Still Keeps Us Together
A past to remember, a present to celebrate, a future to generate
All Roads Lead Home
When God Made “Smiths”, He Was Just Showing Off
Petersons- Takes one to know one
Larson family- Why be normal when you can be Extraordinary
Proud to Be On the Stewart Family Tree

Inspirational Family Reunion Slogans or Sayings

Don’t Forget to Remember
It’s not where you go or what you do It’s who is beside you that counts.
The Legacy Never Ends
New Vines from Strong Roots
Blessed by the Best, Pass It On!
We’re so elated ’cause we’re all related
In Time of Rest – in Time of Test – Family is Best.
Far Apart In Miles But Bound Together In Love.
Out of Africa
Unforgettable in So Many Ways
Zammekumme, translates as "coming together."
Bless Grandmothers! – They Minimize Our Failures and Magnify Our Successes
Reuniting the Past and Shaping the Future

Funny Family Reunion Slogans and Sayings

They’re dragging me to a party where I won’t know anyone and they call it a family reunion
It’s a Stewart thing- you just wouldn’t understand.
9 out of 10 monkeys insist we are not their descendants.
Stewart family reunion- don’t blame me
We put the FUN in Dysfunctional
From the Root to the Fruit. Ain’t we a Hoot
You Lost Me At Hello
Jensen Family- If we stopped arguing we wouldn’t talk at all
CRAZY is a relative term in my family
Places to Go, People to Annoy

Family Reunion Theme T-shirt Slogans and Sayings

Sport Theme
Petersons- The Race is On
Jensens- From Start To Finish – United!
Age and Treachery Will Always Beat Youth and Skill
The Older I Get the Better I Used to Be

Bootcamp or Patriotic Reunion Theme

United We Stand
Army: Be All That You’re Told to Be
God, Guts, Glory

Olympic Reunion Theme

2011 Family Reunion: Passing the Torch of Heritage
One team, one family, one win.
Our Olympic Rings Are Wagon Wheels

Western Reunion Theme

Round ‘em up
The herd is gathering.
Packers- How the West Was Won
What’s the Difference Between In-Laws and Outlaws? Outlaws Are Wanted

Family Reunion Picnic or Barbeque Theme

The Wells- Grillin’ & Chillin’

Mafia Family Reunion Theme

If You Can’t Beat Them, Arrange to Have Them Beaten

Pool or Water Family Reunion Theme

The Trouble With the Gene Pool Is That There’s No Lifeguard.
No water too cool for a family so hot
Jensen Family Reunion- a whale of good time

Redneck Family Reunion Theme

If It’s Called Tourist Season, Why Can’t We Hunt Them?

Cruise or Pirate Reunion Theme

Hijinks on the High Seas
Surrender the Bounty
Aaarggh!
We treasure our family

Ten Ideas for Your Family Reunion- part 2

Family Reunion Idea #6- Right/Left Gameimage

A Right/Left game is an activity everyone at your family reunion can participate in. We always ask each family member to bring a “white elephant” gift (wrapped or unwrapped) to the family reunion or party.  I always bring a few extra gifts in case someone forgets. 

How to Play: Form a circle, each time you hear the word right, pass the candy, prize, grab to the person on your right. When you hear the word left, pass to the person on your left. When you finish this story everyone opens the gift they are LEFT with. HINT: Be sure and read with lots of expression and pauses- the children in your family will have fun anticipating RIGHT or LEFT. Writing a Right/Left story is pretty easy but you can find a fun family reunion Right/Left story here.

Family Reunion Idea #7- Bloomers Game!!

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I have to include this game for your family reunion in this list because it makes me laugh.  This is a very scary game for boys ages 10- 14. (There is nothing scarier to a boy of this age than women’s underwear) This game is  good game for any family reunion but is especially fitting for a family “heritage” reunion theme.

Everyone should sit in a circle. Ask if they know what old fashioned bloomers are. Explain that in the olden days they used to call women’s underwear “bloomers”.

Hold up a box that is neatly wrapped. (In advance, you should have wrapped the box in at least ten different layers of wrapping paper.) Tell your family that inside the box are a pair of bloomers.

Everyone will pass the box around the circle while music is being played. When the music stops the person holding the box must open the box and model the bloomers for everyone to see.

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Be careful how you word your instructions because inside the box is not a pair of old fashion women’s bloomers but a pair (two) bloomers from the garden. The look of relief on the person’s face when he finds out it’s just “flowers” he is modeling and not “underwear” is a joy to see.

Family Reunion Idea #8- Tell a Scary Story

If you will be camping or sleeping over at your family reunion plan a few scary stories to share.  I have found it best to assign out scary stories in advance of your reunion so that scary story tellers can be well prepared.  There are lots of scary story resources on the web- just give your story tellers advance notice so that they can do the research and find the best ones.

I have a favorite scary story that Uncle Steven has shared at many family reunions, girls camps and scout camps.  Family members that have heard the story at previous family reunions are always excited for him to share the story with reunion “newbies”.

I didn’t write the story but like all the best scary stories it has been passed down through generations of story tellers.   The story is called “White Eyes” and  requires some 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 can find a free copy of the story here.

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.

Family Reunion Idea #9- “Are You Older Than Dirt?” Game

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It’s important to provide a wide variety of games and activities at your family reunion.  You will want to have lots or physical games but will also want to consider “Pencil and Paper” games that are not able to participate in the more active games.  One of my favorite “Pencil and Paper” games is the “Older Than Dirt” game.  In this game participants answer  twenty questions about life styles throughout the years.  For example, question number one says-

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

You can find the entire free test, “When You Were My Age” at

http://familyreunionhelper.com/blog/2010/06/older-than-dirt-game-for-your-family-reunion/

Family Reunion Idea #10-Pipe Chimes

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Make a set or two of musical pipe chimes.  Making music with pipe chimes is an easy and inexpensive way to have fun with your family. My Mom saw pipe chimes more than thirty years ago and our family has been making music with conduit pipes ever since.

Pipe chimes are easy to make and don’t require the use of expensive tools. Cut pipes to exact measurements and create your own set of musical pipe chimes. It’s so easy you might want to make two sets for use at your larger family reunions.

As long as you can read numbers, you can play pipe chimes. They are numbered 0 to 20; they also each have their note name on them, so you can play a song that you know the melody to.

You can find easy to follow instructions and thirteen fun chimes songs here.

Do I Have to Invite Everyone To My Family Reunion?

I received a question from someone planning a family reunion in August this year. This reunion planner expressed some concern over who they should invite to their reunion. There was one family in particular that she didn’t feel comfortable inviting to the reunion for various reasons.

imageIf this is your first family reunion then deciding who to invite to the reunion is one of the first questions you have to ask when planning your reunion. There are all types of reunions. You can plan reunion with just your brothers and sisters and their families for a reunion on a smaller scale. Every generation you go back makes your reunion bigger and the more people and food you need to plan for.

If you are concerned about including a family in your reunion you may want to stop short of inviting families from that generation. There are plenty of reunions or “parties” you could have that won’t include that family. For instance have a “Cousins” party or a “descendants of _____” reunion. If you are inviting the descendants of _____ and they are part of that group it is difficult to not include them, but you can invite anyone you want to a party.

image Edith Wagner of Reunions Magazine puts it this way, “A family reunion is not a wedding where you pick and choose who to invite. A family reunion should include everyone or at least you should invite everyone. Occasionally there may be family members you’d rather not encounter. On the other hand, not everyone wants to come, either, which is how it often works out.”

A good rule of thumb when deciding who to invite to your family reunion is to start with your closest relatives and work out. Begin with “Mom and Dad”- not much of a family reunion, then invite brothers and sisters and their families. Ask yourself if you have access to a reunion site that will accommodate this number of people and if you do then start adding branches from your family tree- grandparents, great grandparents etc.

Keep in mind that the further back you go the greater the numbers and keep in mind that families tend to multiply. We began with about 20 people at our first family reunion and now we’re pushing 100.

Hint: Large reunions need to be announced very far in advance to give everyone enough time to plan around it and save up. All family reunions require a significant amount of planning but larger reunions require many more hours of planning and lots of help from reunion committees.

So basically the question we should be asking is “What KIND of a reunion do I want to have?”  Those are the people you should invite.

Thanks, Linda, for a great reunion planning question.

Aunt MO