Cat Eye Flashlight Hike

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Cat-eye Hike for Family Reunions or Parties

One of the most requested activities at our  family reunions is a Cat Eye hike.  You do a Cat Eye hike in the dark so it’s a  perfect activity for a “camping” family reunion. We have also done cat eye hikes in apartment complexes and residential areas.  We’ve done cat eye hikes with family reunions, girls camps and for kid parties.  It’s a fun activity but does take some time and thoughtful strategy to set up.

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How to Organize a Cat Eye Hike

This hike is best done when it is very dark. Cut cat’s-eye shapes (squares work fine too) from reflective tape, available in the Family Reunion Helper store. Another product you might want to consider is “Trail Tacks”.  They are basically just thumb tacks with a reflective paint on the top.  They are visible for up to 200 yards and are great  for sticking into wooden fences etc. You will probably want to use a combination of the two products- tape and tacks.  Just be considerate of others when you set up the hike- you don’t want to be shinning flashlights into peoples windows or causing  damage with reflective tape or tacks.

 

It is best to set up your hike the night before guiding groups on the hike. Put cat eyes on markers or apply cat eyes to index cards and then use the cards to mark the trail. We like to set up our hikes the night before the cat eye hike is scheduled.

How to Set Up a Cat Eye Hike

When making the trail, place the eyes in such a manner that you can see only one more set of cat’s eyes from the location of one set. Hikers will shine their flashlights on the first set of eyes and then run to the second set of eyes where they will shine their flashlights around the area until they locate the next set of eyes. They will continue searching for eyes and following their path until they arrive back at camp.

If you have a large group, instead of a mass start, send groups of ten or so at a time. You can group hikers as children, teenagers and senior citizens.  Every participant will need a flashlight- you will want to remind your family members to bring a flashlight on your reunion invitation.

If camping, have S’mores for hikers when they complete the hike.

Genealogy Icebreaker Activities for Your Family Reunion

Icebreaker Activities

Family Tree Photo

Make a live family tree and take a photo. Arrange family members as they would be on a genealogical chart of the family.  Begin  with Grandma and Grandpa.  Add a branch consisting of their children and spouses.  Add additional branches for each of their children and so on. Be sure and take a picture- preferably from an elevated position.

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Birthday Game

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Mix family members up and divide into groups or ten or so. Challenge family members to put themselves in order of their birth date (day, month and year). If you have mostly young children the challenge should be to get in a line, oldest to youngest.  To make the  challenge more difficult try doing it blindfolded and tell them “No Talking!”  It’s amazing how resourceful they will be communicating in other ways.

To involve your entire family ask those that were born in January to get together in one group; do the same for each of the other months. Then have the members of the January group give their birthdates, such as January 21, January 9, etc. and  line up  accordingly. This is fun activity that forges an immediate bond between those that share the same birthday or even birthday month.  This activity is especially effective with reunions of 100  or more participants.

Family Reunion Concentration Game

This activity takes some  advance planning.  Create a "memory" or "concentration" game. You will need 54 cards with 26 pairs of pictures on them.  With so many digital options this is a fairly easy but still a time consuming idea.  Make two copies of each photo- be sure and include name, birthdate and birthplace of each person.  You can make a game using ancestors or using photos of family members that are attending the current reunion.  With this game you will reconnect with the past or make connections with the present.

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Family Tree Chart

Make a huge family tree on and display it during the reunion. You can have large 36” x 48” “engineering prints” made at Staples for under $10.00 that work perfectly for this kind of presentation. Be sure and make 8 1/2 x 11 copies of the tree for each family to take home.  The chart pictured above is another option.  It is available from My History and is a fill in the blank type chart.

Name Tags for Your Family Reunion

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Be creative  with  your reunion name tags.  When family members check in at your reunion site give them each a name tag.  But instead of the same old  “my name  is” name tags be a little creative.  Put different design on name tags so that everyone with design sits at the same table for meals and are on the same team when dividing for activities.  This helps family members get acquainted or Reacquainted with family members they don’t see often. The tags above are from the family reunion helper Heritage Reunion.

Family Reunion Payback Pockets

Payback pockets are a fun way to pay back family members for the difference they have made in your life.  Payback pockets are a fun way to “pay back” your family for the difference they have made in your life-  way of showing appreciation and a way  of saying thanks.

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Our Payback pockets were labeled in fun way using money terms such as Steve’s Sawbucks, Ann’s Ante and Lynn’s Loot.

Writing Station

Set up a writing “station” and stock it with stationary, stickers, markers and colored paper.  Having fun stickers and stationary encourages family members to write notes. 

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You don’t need to set aside any time for note writing during your reunion.  Family members will find their own time  to write  whether it’s during some reunion downtime or during an activity they may not wish to participate in.

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The little ones in our family had fun writing notes, well, actually drawing pictures, and they loved using the markers and stickers.

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The reunion planners used the pockets as a way of delivering special treats and surprises during our reunion.  One day each Big Six received crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for S’mores around the campfire.  Another day  bouquet of lollypops was delivered to each pocket.

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5 Dollars Off Any $19.95 Reunion Theme Package

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Had the pleasure of stopping by the Mower family reunion today. It was so fun to see everyone visiting, enjoying yummy food and kids playing on the toys. Seeing them having such a good time made me excited for family reunion season. Can’t wait to get together with our extended family!

To get the reunion season started off right, family reunion helper is offering 5.00 off any of their $19.95 reunion theme packages. Circus, Caveman, Heritage, All-sport, Western or any of our fun reunion themes.

Just enter the code "reunion2013" at check out. This offer expires at midnight, May 27th 2013, Memorial Day- the start of family reunion season!

Not-So-Newlywed Game

Cruise ships are famous for their scrumptious never-ending food and their fun entertainment.  Many  entertainment options are designed to get ship-goers an opportunity to participate in the fun.  As we plan our “Crusin” family reunion we looked for opportunities to get family members involved and decided a “Not-So-Newlywed” game would fit the bill.

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Rules for Not-So-Newlywed Game

The Newlywed Game is played in couples. Choose a variety of couples such as the longest married couple; the most recently married, a favorite of the family, and a couple that you just know will have funny answers. It is best to limit the game to four couples though you may use more if you need to. The disadvantage is that the more couples the longer the game so think about you audience and how long the game will keep their interest.

There are two rounds- one for the men and one for the women. Couples are awarded points for each correct answer based on the value of the question. All couples receive the points for each correct answer. Highest score after the second rounds wins the game.

There is no right or wrong answers- the answers the couples give must just be the same.

Begin the game with all couples sitting together at the front of the room or your playing area. Introduce the host of the game (Choose someone who will be happy to do it, has a good sense of humor and will make the game fun for everyone.) Then excuse the women (have them escorted to a room or area here they will not be able to hear their husband’s answers) The host can then ask the husbands the following questions. Do not attempt to explain the questions- if they have a question about the question just repeat it but don’t explain it.

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Not-So-Newlywed Questions for Men

5 pts What is your wife’s blood type?

5pts. What is your wife’s favorite salad dressing?

5 pts At what specific game or sport will your wife say that she is better than you?

10 pts. What traffic sign best describes your wife?

10 pts. Without looking what is the highest denomination bill in your wallet right now?

25 pts. What cereal best describes your marriage? Life, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Nut ‘n Honey

When you have answers for all of these questions, invite the women back in to sit by their husbands and ask them the same questions you asked the men.

5 pts What is your blood type?

5pts. What is your favorite salad dressing?

5 pts At what specific game or sport are you better at then your husband?

10 pts. What traffic sign did your husband say best describes you?

10 pts. What is the highest denomination bill in your husband’s wallet right now?

25 pts. What cereal best describes your marriage? Life, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Nut ‘n Honey

Recognize the couple with the highest score so far and of course, poke a little friendly fun at the couple with the lowest score. Then dismiss the men and ask the women the next round of questions.

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Not-So-Newlywed Questions for Women

5 pts. What is your husband’s shoe size?

5 pts. What color is your husband’s favorite tie?

5 pts. What was the last movie you and your spouse last saw together?

10 pts. When did your husband say he actually realized for the first time that he was seriously in

love with you?

10 pts. What is your husband’s favorite snack before going to bed?

25 pts. What movie star will your husband say he is most like: Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or John Wayne?

When you have answers for all of these questions, invite the men back in to sit by their husbands and ask them the same questions you asked the women.

5 pts. What is your shoe size?

5 pts. What color is your favorite tie?

5 pts. What was the last movie you and your spouse last saw together?

10 pts. When did you realize for the first time that you were seriously in love with your wife?

10 pts. What is your favorite snack before going to bed?

25 pts. What movie star will your wife say you are most like- Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or John Wayne?

Total the points and award prizes to the winning couple. You may also award smaller prizes to the 2nd and 3rd place couple and a booby prize to the losing couple (box of Milk Duds for being such duds)

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Additional Questions to Substitute as Needed:

What is your spouse’s dream car?

What is your spouse’s favorite color?

What will your wife say is the one gift she received this Christmas that she loved the most?

What is the most unusual piece of clothing that your wife wears?

What is the color of your spouse’s toothbrush?

Which one of your wife’s friends would you say is the biggest gossip?

How many windows will your spouse say are in the largest room of your home?

What is the license plate number on your car?

What was your curfew when you were dating?

What did you do on your first date?

What percentage of the housework would your husband say he does?

Husbands, if your wife could send you to a Body Repair Shop, what on you would she have fixed?

What home improvement project needs to be done next at your house?

What time of day was your first child born?

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Home for the Holidays Family Reunion

You can find more fun activities like the “Not-so-Newlywed” game in the “Home for the Holidays” reunion theme package.

“Home for the Holidays” is one of our favorite family reunion themes. It is especially appropriate if you have a family member such as a serviceman or missionary that has been away from the family for awhile.

We celebrated every holiday we could think of during the three-day family reunion. We went trick or treating to family trailers and tents. When we woke up Sunday morning, the children found the Easter Bunny had left plastic eggs all over the campground and we had a huge family birthday cake. We celebrated Thanksgiving with a delicious turkey and even played a Christmas Right/Left game.

Dutch Oven Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shortening or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Preparation:

Cream together shortening, brown sugar, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beat well. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Gently stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls into a Dutch oven.  If using a 12" Dutch oven, about 8 cookies will fit at one time. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until light brown. Use 6 coals on bottom, 22 on top. As the coals burn down just add more cooking time or light some more coals part way through. Servings: 3 dozen

Fun Pizza Party Twist

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To add some suspense to a traditional pizza party divide you family and friends into teams.  Give each team a premade pizza crust a jar of pizza sauce and a bag of cheese.

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Wrap pizza toppings in gift wrap or newspaper and let each team pick 2 or 3 of the wrapped toppings.  These are the toppings that they must use on their pizza.

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After all the teams have “decorated” their pizzas and baked them, set them out for everyone to try.  Cut pizza in small slices so there are lots of samples.

Below is a list of popular pizza toppings:

MEAT

  • Pepperoni
  • Ham
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Salami
  • Proscuitto
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Chorizo
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Meatballs
  • Ground Pork
  • VEGETABLES
    • Artichoke Hearts
    • Bell Peppers
    • Spinach
    • Sun Dried Tomatoes
    • Asparagus
    • Cauliflower
    • Red onions
    • Herbs (Fresh if Available)
    • Portobello Mushrooms
    • Kalamata Olives
    • Leeks
    • Mushrooms
    • Corn
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini
    • Chili Peppers
    • Squash
    • Eggplant
    • Jalapeno Peppers
    • Olives

     

More Cousin Party Ideas

Cousin parties or camps provide a great chance for all of the cousins to spend time with each other and is a wonderful way for those long-distance cousins to get together with one another and nurture those relationships. The younger cousins begin to look up to the older ones and the older ones take on a protective nature.

The one thing that seems to be important to the success of a cousins party or camp is that NO parents are allowed.  Thanks to Lisa and Annette for sharing the following cousin party ideas.

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Grandma and Grandpa Hale have a cousins Christmas party every year.  It is always on a Saturday afternoon in December.  They invite all grade school age children.  The kids who move out of grade school that year come back as the helper.  They are great helpers and take their job seriously.  No grown ups are allowed.  Grandma Hale been doing her cousins party for many years and she suggests that it works much better without any parents. 

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Some of their cousin party traditional activities include:
* a craft
*play the candy bar game http://familyreunionhelper.com/blog/2011/06/candy-bar-game-for-your-family-reunion/
*Decorate Grandma and Grandpa’s Christmas tree
*They go out for pizza
* They go to the theater, watch the dollar movie and see Santa or stay home and watch a movie if the party falls on a weekend that Santa is not visiting.
*White elephant gift exchange – They play the game where you can choose a new present or steal some one else’s http://familyreunionhelper.com/blog/2011/04/ten-ideas-for-your-family-reunion-part-2/
* Sleep over for one night
*They go to church – Two aunts come before church and have a beauty shop to do all the girls hair.
*They have a family night lesson – given by one of the older children who come prepared.
*They eat dinner and go home
Hint for parents of the cousins- Grandma and Grandpa are tired. Parents come on time!

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The Parson family has a “Cousins Camp” that lasts an entire week.  The cousins come prepared to go swimming and fishing at the beach.  They eat watermelon and hotdogs and when they get back to Grandma’s house after the beach they make homemade ice cream while everyone showers. One of their traditional activities is to play hide and seek and Annie I Over.

The Parson family have a special “workshop”day where they the cousins rotate from station to station learning new things.  One year Grandma and Grandpa had a neighbor come teach the cousins how to play tennis, then the girls rotated to the fingernail painting station and boys rotated to the bird house building station.  The last station was decorating sugar cookies.  One year the cousins all made decorative stepping stones that have become a lasting treasure in Grandma’s flower garden.

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When everyone is tucked into their sleeping bags at night Grandpa tells stories until the cousins reluctantly fall asleep.

Whether an afternoon, one night sleepover or a week long camp consider planning a cousin’s party with your family.  It’s a fun way to have a family reunion with the very best part of your family.

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.

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Cookie Sheet Apple Pie for Your Family Reunion

Now that you have chosen your family reunion theme and planned your games and activities you’ve got to figure out a way to feed all the hungry people that will show up at your reunion.  For many folks the most important part of the family reunion is the – FOOD!

Feeding a 100 family members can be tricky and so I was thrilled when Marilyn Hunsaker shared her “Cookie Sheet Apple Pie” recipe at a family reunion presentation I gave recently.  Most pies serve only 6 or maybe 8 but this cookie sheet pie serves 16-20.  You will need 5   cookie sheet pies to feed a family of 100.

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Cookie Sheet Apple Pie Recipe  (16-20 Servings)

  • Ingredients
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 cups shortening
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup plus 4-1/2 teaspoons water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 cups sliced peeled apples  (Marilyn uses 6- 8 Granny Smith apples)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 egg whites, beat until foamy
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup powder sugar

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk the egg yolks, water and lemon juice; gradually add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Divide dough in half so that one portion is slightly larger than the other. On a lightly floured surface, roll out larger portion to fit the bottom and sides of a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Arrange apples over crust. Combine the sugar, cornflakes, cinnamon and nutmeg; sprinkle over apples.
  • Roll out remaining dough to fit top of pie; place over apples. Seal edges; cut slits in top. Brush with egg white. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake 20-25 minutes longer or until golden brown.
  • Let pie mostly cool then mix 1/4 cup milk (plus enough more to make a thin glaze) in 1 cup powder sugar.  Drizzle over the top of the pie.
  • Yield: 16-20 servings.

NOTE:  When preparing the apples, Marilyn will peel and slice them the day before and put them in a pan.  She adds enough water to cover the apples and bring them to a boil then she removes them from the heat and lets them cool.  Put a plate on top to push the apples down and refrigerate.  The next day drain the water off the apples and follow the recipe.