Planning a Family Reunion? Its Time to Get to Work

Planning a family reunion can be a nightmare. But the good news is that you are not alone, we can do this together. I don’t know your specific situation but I can tell you that if you will follow three important keys you will be on your way to having a successful family reunion. So let’s get to work- first key is…

clip_image002Choose a permanent reunion date!

This is the most important aspect of reunion planning- it’s not much of a reunion if no one can attend.

clip_image004

When we began planning the “Stewart” family reunion we were only working around about 20 people and it was fairly easy to find a date that was good for everyone, but now that we are more than 100 family members strong we would never be able to find a date that met everyone’s needs. Lucky for us, about 20 years ago we set Labor Day weekend as the permanent date for our family reunion.

We have found that holding the reunion at the same time every year helps family members plan their busy lives around that weekend. They always know when the Stewart reunion will be and although the location may change the date never does. Unbelievable but true- we usually have all but about 3 family members attend our reunion each year.

If you can’t choose a permanent date, plan your next reunion date before you end the reunion you are currently attending. Planning in advance will increase the odds that more people will be able to attend the reunion, which translates into more fun for everyone. If you book early, you can most likely get better rates and/or reserve your preferred hotel or retreat site, flights and other travel arrangements. Most campgrounds and parks can be booked a year in advance.

Last of all, stick to your decision. Changing dates in the middle of planning can create a huge amount of anxiety and additional work.

To read the complete article,  “The Three Keys to a Successful Family Reunion” , follow the link below.

"Three Keys to a Successful Family Reunion"

Musical Round Songs for Your Family Reunion

Family Reunion Helper

I love singing songs around the campfire and I’ve done it at family reunions, girls camps, scout camps and at workshops. There are so many fun and traditional songs that can be sung around a fire, but my favorite songs are rounds.

image

This is how a round works. The first group begins singing the song. The second group waits and begins singing the first phrase of the song just as the pervious group starts to sing the second phrase of the song. Each group continues singing the song from start to finish. The song ends with the group who started last singing the last phrase of the song alone. It is very common to have three or four groups all singing the same round.

To be successful at singing rounds in a large group setting you have to start with a simple song to warm everyone up. A good example of a simple round song that everyone probably already knows how to sing is “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

clip_image001

If your group masters “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” challenge them with the “Sophisticated Row Row Row Your Boat” song. Be sure and make copies of the words or a large sign so that singers don’t get hung up on the lyrics.

Propel Propel Propel your craft
Placidly over the liquid solution
ecstatically ecstatically ecstatically ecstatically
existence is merely an illusion.

Other easy rounds are “Are You Sleeping” and “Kookaburra”

Kookaburra (new version)

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gum drops he can see
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
Leave some there for me

Silly Version

Kookaburra sits on the electric wire,
Jumping up and down, with his pants on fire.
Ouch, Kookaburra, ouch! Kookaburra,
Hot your tail must be!

The most fail proof way I’ve found to get family reunion groups singing rounds accurately is to be sure there is a strong singer in each group that can help lead their group. You may even want to give your leaders copies of the songs you would like to sing in a round before your reunion so they can become familiar with the music.

Once you have warmed everyone up you can move on to more challenging songs. I have found that adults and children love round singing because they can make a beautiful sound without being too talented musically. There are several songs, when sung in a round, which bring out the most beautiful harmonies.

Oh, How Lovely is the Evening

clip_image008

There are a couple of songs that have actions that go along with the words to the song. “A Ram Sam Sam” is fun sing with actions and looks pretty impressive- especially if you’re the one standing in front of the group watching.

clip_image011

What if your family is an advanced group of round singers? Try this wonderful song that is a bit more complicated and then check out the following round/cannon resources. http://roundz.tripod.com/ or “Rounds for Children” from http://sheetmusicplus.com

clip_image014

Be sure and see the fun new family reunion games and family reunion planning helps at www.famillyreunionhelper.com/ 

Aunt MO

“The only thing better than singing, is more singing.”

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 Church- Discovering the Roots and Branches of Your Family Tree

Our family reunions are full of fun games, unusual activities, creative crafts and delicious things to eat but we also take time to learn about and honor our ancestors during “Family History Church”.

Most of our family history church meetings are relatively simple but we have done some amazing and memorable things. Several years ago, we included an airplane ticket to Scotland with our family reunion invitation.

clip_image002

During the reunion, we made a huge “airplane” out of tents, tarps and lawn chairs and took off, in our makeshift plane, for a visit to our ancestral home. We lifted off to the sounds of recorded jet sound effects, and our flight attendants served us peanuts and pop. As we approached the halfway point, our plane developed engine problems and we crashed.

clip_image004

After the crash, we were greeted by a beautiful angel dressed all in white who led us to a secluded area of our campground where we were visited by six of our ancestors who shared their life stories with us. These “ancestors” were actually family members who memorized a script and dressed in costumes from the era in which they lived.

This was a very elaborate family history church and took a lot of advance preparation but it’s an activity that family members still talk about.

Most of our family history churches are not nearly as complicated.  We always begin our family history church with a prayer and a song about family history/genealogy.

http://www.lds.org/churchmusic/detailmusicPlayer/index.html?searchlanguage=1&searchcollection=2&searchseqstart=94&searchsubseqstart=%20&searchseqend=94&searchsubseqend=ZZZ

clip_image006

A few years ago we began spotlighting two family members, a child and an adult. We tell a little about the person and give them a few inexpensive gifts such as their favorite candy bar or soda. The next year those spotlighted choose another person to spotlight and so on.

I have the fun opportunity of giving a family history presentation about one of our ancestors each year.  These aren’t long, boring presentations but often include games such as “Wheel of Ancestors” or “Family Feud” and other fun activities.

clip_image008

We have made crossword puzzles, coloring books and word searches to help our family learn about their ancestors. We have even acted out fun family stories and experiences that make us laugh.  Everyone in the Stewart family know the story of Aunt Ann and the banana because we acted it out during our family history church.

clip_image010

We value the life stories of our ancestors so much. I wish I could say that all of our family are keeping wonderful descriptive journals for their posterity but we aren’t, so for more that 20 years we have asked our family to take a few minutes to fill out a journal page at our reunion. On the journal page, they record their experiences from the past year and then Grandma stores the pages in binders in hopes that some day we will compile them into family histories. Questions that are typically asked on the journal page are- What is the best thing that happened to you this year? What is the saddest thing that happened to you this year? What was the best movie you saw this year? For a more complete list of questions and sample journal pages, please download Journal Page Samples & Question Ideas.

Image 0039

Anyone who has delved into the history of their family knows that, the more information they discover about their ancestors, the more real these people become, and the more fascinating. I love to learn the stories of the people that came before me and I love to share them with my family. Family history church is a wonderful way to join the past with the present and by learning about ones ancestors, it helps us understand ourselves, our heritage and the roots and branches of our family tree.

Aunt MO

"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us,
we see the past, present and future."

Author: T.S. Eliot

My Top Ten Family Reunion Songs

I have a favorite family reunion song- it’s upbeat and fun and you feel good when you listen to it and even better when you sing it. It’s a little known song, you haven’t heard it on the radio and it’s never been on the top of the charts but it’s my favorite and I think that when you hear it you’ll like it too.

clip_image002[5]I spent a lot of time looking for my favorite family reunion song, I’ve searched the net and I’ve visited hundreds of family web pages. I found that the most used song on these family web pages is “Family Reunion” by the O’Jays”. I like the lyrics that say, “It’s so nice to see, all the folks you love together”. Not a bad song, really, the song’s only problem is that it is over used and, for my liking,  the tempo is a little slow.

There are some great family reunion songs that are regional in nature such as “Sweet Home Alabama” which would be a great reunion song if you roots were in Alabama or if Texas were your home state, “God Blessed Texas”, or "Louisiana Saturday Night" by Alabama. But you really need to be from one of those places to choose it as your favorite family reunion song.

My list of family reunion songs is quite an eclectic list, songs from many different genres. I think that a reunion song should be upbeat and fun and should make you feel good and if it meets that criterion, I don’t care who sings it or if it is considered country, rock or spiritual in nature.

Let’s start my list with a song that probably couldn’t be classified as “family reunion” music but it has a great tempo and some fun lyrics and to be perfectly honest, is just a guilty pleasure of mine. “The Boys Are Back in Town” is my number 10 choice. My number 9 choice is another fun song- one that you can use to get your “party started” but most people probably don’t think of it as a family reunion song.

Songs numbers two through eight can be considered more traditional family reunion songs and although they didn’t come immediately to my mind, seem to naturally belong on the list.

Song number one is in a class of it’s own but I want you to discover it for yourself. So read on, and when you get to song number one, prepare to be surprised.

 

#10 Boys Are Back In Town- Bruce Springstein

#9 Get the Party Started- Pink I’m comin’ up
So you better
Get this party started

#8 “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” – Bon Jovi & Sugarland Who says you can’t go home
theres only one place they call you one of their own
Just a hometown boy born a rolling stone
who says you cant go home

#7 Lights of My Hometown- Aaron Lines Don’t know how long I’ve been gone, All I know is it’s been too long

#6 Something To Be Proud Of- Montgomery Gentry That’s something to be proud of
That’s a life you can hang your hat on
That’s a chin held high as the tears fall down
A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out
Like a small town flag a-flyin’
Or a newborn baby cryin’
In the arms of the woman that you love
That’s something to be proud of

#5 Family Reunion- O’Jays It’s so nice to see, All the folks you love together

#4 Home- Chris Daughtry So I’m going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.

#3 These Are My People- Rodney Adkins These are my people
This is where I come from
Were givin’ this life everything we got and then some
It ain’t always pretty
But its real
It’s the way we were made
clip_image004[5]Wouldn’t have it any other way
These are my people

#2 We Are Family- Sister Sledge

All of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We’re giving love in a family dose

The above songs be downloaded for 99 cents at http://family-reunion-planner.fimark.net/family-reunion-songs.html

And now for MY number one family reunion song-

#1 Family Reunion- Plank Road Publishing

From the hills of California from the shores of Maine

We all come together with the same last name.

It’s our family reunion!

So many aunts and uncles

I’ll have to count again

And all these crazy cousins

I can’t believe we’re kin!

The lyrics are great but don’t mean as much until you put the fun music behind them. You can listen to this song at http://www.familyreunionhelper.com and you can download it http://www.mootoobmoosic.com

Our family has had a lot of fun with the reunion song. One year we assigned a few people from each family group to learn the song and then sing it at our family reunion. Many of the performers dressed up in Hill Billy attire and sang it with a twang. It was the highlight of the reunion and soon everyone at the reunion was singing along. It’s easy to learn and easy to sing but if you’re looking for a serious family reunion song this is not it.

“Family Reunion” is upbeat and fun but no one is going to get tears in their eyes when they listen to it- unless they’re tears of laughter!

Aunt MO

The house fly hums in the middle octave key of F.

Sing up for the blog and get the family campfire songbook free