How to Easily Display Family Photos

Perfect for permanent displays at Grandma’s house or temporary displays at a family reunion

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My mother in law is grandma, great grandma and great great  grandma to over 100 children.  She does a wonderful job at remembering their names, their birthdays and anniversaries.  “Cookie Grandma”, as some of her great grandkids call her, has worked hard to keep pictures of her prosperity hanging on her wall.

At first, she kept frames of all of grandkids on her wall but there are so many kids and they changed so much that it became a real chore to change photos and rearrange the frames every time she got a new photo.

Through much trial and error, I think Cookie Grandma finally found the perfect solution to hanging all those photos.  Now, she uses photo/curtain clips and wire.

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Each photo is glued to a piece of poster board or heavy card board and can easily be changed by merely turning the card board around and gluing another photo on it. The clips she used are inexpensive and simple to use.

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You can purchase the clips here by following this link

Hanging the wire was simple and didn’t put near as many holes in the wall as hanging frames.  Grandma did get some help with this part of the installation.

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This is great idea to hang photos in any home but I also thought it would be a fun way to hang photos at your family reunion.  It could be an easy way to display photos of ancestors, of a past reunion, or a way to honor those that have past.  Of course, you shouldn’t be screwing eye bolts into the wall of your conference center or into a tree, but a piece of string tied between two posts would work perfectly with these clips.  And look at the cute LED photo clips I found on Amazon. 

Photo clips make it so easy to swap out and rearrange  photos and it was the perfect solution for Cookie Grandma to display all of her posterity.

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Getting to Know Your Family

An ice breaker family reunion game

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I mistakenly thought every family had played the “Identify the Picture” game at their family reunion or party until I had a conversation with a lady this week who had no idea what the  game was.  So, just in  case you haven’t  played “Identify the Picture” I’ll tell you how it works.  

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This game is actually the perfect ice breaker game for your family reunion. It can also be a fun game for a family baby shower if you used baby pictures and a fun wedding shower or engagement party game if you use wedding  or couple pictures.

Annie Stanworth

For the family reunion version of the game, you will need to display photos of family members that will be attending your reunion, photos of your ancestors or a mix of the two.  Put the photos in no particular order and with no identifying marks on them, other than a number, around your reunion location.  You can just tape them to the wall or put them on poster board or cork board.  To play the game, family members write down the number and the name of who they think is in the photo.  The person that gets the most correct answers is the winner.

When we were unable to hold our family reunion in 2020, we did a version of this game virtually.  I posted photos of our ancestors on our family Facebook page and challenged family members to guess who was in the picture.  It was the perfect virtual reunion game- it got everyone chatting about the photos and reconnecting with aunts, uncles and cousins.

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People take so many photos these days that it makes this reunion game a lot easier to put together  than it used to be.  It’s fun trying to guess who each person is and marvel at family resemblances. It’s a game you can put up before the reunion begins and leave up until  everyone leaves.  If you want to get people talking at your family reunion, “Identify the Picture” is a great conversation starter.

Family Reunion Helper Is Having an Etsy Sale!

Family Reunion Helper Is Having an Etsy Sale!

Whether or not you had your family reunion or postponed it until next year, at Family Reunion Helper, we’re celebrating a new family reunion season ever by offering 20% off our reunion theme packages.vista

Typically, Memorial Day is the “official” beginning of family reunion season, but January is the month families choose a reunion theme and start making their plans.

In 2020 our family was only able to attend one of our family reunions, a smallish one- just 35 people, but cancelled our Labor Day  reunion of over 100 family members.  We also didn’t celebrate with extended family a 90th birthday and a 65th wedding anniversary.  We kept those celebrations a lot smaller and more intimate.

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This year, we’re moving forward- no more canceling family reunions and celebrations. We will certainly support health guidelines, but instead of wondering if we are having a reunion- we’re going to plan for it!  

For all of you that are moving forward with us, FAMILY REUNION HELPER IS HAVING A SALE IN THEIR ETSY SHOP! Follow the link below to receive 20% off any reunion theme package.This even includes the wildly popular Family Reunion Brag Badges! But hurry, sale ends January 24th . Here’s to a great 2021!

Follow the link below to the Family Reunion Etsy shop.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FamilyReunionHelper?ref=search_shop_redirect

How to Plan a Caroling Party

Tips for a Successful Christmas Caroling Party

Gathering your family or friends together for Christmas caroling or a family sing-a-long can make your family party fun and fairly fuss free. Consider these helpful tips when planning your family caroling party.

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Choosing the Music

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The most important element of your musical caroling  party is the music and you can download a free copy of caroling lyrics at www.familyreunionhelper.com. Caroling will be successful if everyone has the same list of carols.  Provide one song sheet for every 2 carolers. Specify how many verses you will sing of each song.  One verse is usually enough especially if caroling with children.

To build your song list you can type and print your own caroling sheets or make copies of the family reunion helper caroling book by clicking here- caroling song book.  The book is designed so that you only have to print off the music that you will use for your caroling such as- Santa songs, snow songs or spiritual songs etc.

Choose songs that are short, easy to sing, and fun. It’s also best to sing upbeat songs such as “Jingle Bells” and “Up On the Housetop”.You should plan on singing 1 or 2 songs per house and end with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.

Choose your caroling route.

My family went caroling on Christmas Eve.  Mom would choose 3 or 4 families that she knew would enjoy a caroling visit and she always made a few goodies to give them.  (Perhaps as payment for listening to us sing off key) We would complete our caroling at a local nursing home.  Many of the children were reluctant to sing at the nursing home but as the years have gone by caroling at the nursing home has become one of their most talked about memories of the season.  HINT: If you visit a hospital or a nursing home, ask for permission ahead of time to make sure your visit comes at a good time and that they can accommodate a large group.

Consider Using a Variety of Instruments

Jingle bells, cymbals and drum sticks are an easy way to make your caroling fun.  Carolers that are too shy or just don’t want to sing can participate by keeping the beat with drum sticks or shaking the bells to the beat.

Dress for the Weather

If caroling outside dress for the weather.  When sending out invitations for your caroling party be sure and let your guests know that you’ll be caroling outdoors so they can bring their hats, gloves and scarves.  A fun party favor for your party could be hand and toe warmers. You can dress things up by asking everyone to wear a fun Santa hat or reindeer antlers.

Plan Refreshments for Your Carolers

At the end of your caroling party meet back at your house or rec hall and provide your carolers with bowls of chili and mugs of hot chocolate and marshmallows or cider.  You can keep your refreshments warm in slow cookers while you’re caroling.

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Reunion in a Pandemic

No space for our Space family reunion

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Labor Day weekend is traditionally the holiday the Stewart family gathers for their annual family reunion. We’ve been gathering without interruption for 37 years but what do you do during a pandemic?  Well, in our case, we cancelled our family reunion.  I’m not even going to get into the whys and why nots we hashed  over to make our decision, but one huge reason we cancelled is that the campground we usually hold our reunion at put a limit of 50 campers at the site.  The Stewart family is over a 100 people strong now so instead of trying to find a new location and dealing with masks and social distancing… we cancelled.

But our Space Reunion was planned and ready to go.  So hey, we’re ready for next year and who knows how many great ideas we may come up with and extra 12 months to plan.

Fun Breakfast for Your Family Reunion

Fruit in a waffle cone!

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My sister in law made these fun waffle cone fruit bowls for breakfast at our family reunion.  They were a light and delicious way to start a hot summer day.  They were simple and easy to put together for our reunion crowd. There really isn’t a recipe, just add an even amount to strawberry yogurt to each waffle bowl, fill each bowl with seasonal fruit and serve immediately.

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Fruit suggestions are sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, pineapple, mandarin oranges, kiwi and grapes.  We used Kroger brand waffle bowls. Waffle bowls can be very fragile and even though they are packed quite well it is likely you will have a couple that are broken.  I recommend buying an extra box of waffle bowls to replace the broken bowls you might have.

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Marbles and Your Space Themed Family Reunion

Marbles Make Great Planets

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These are not marbles, they are planets.  Each marble represents a planet (yes, we included Pluto) and will be given to older children at our space reunion as they complete planet oriented challenges and activities.

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At one time, you could purchase marbles that represented each planet but I could only find Earth marbles and Jupiter marbles. For the other planets, I had to search for marbles that in some way highlighted a distinguishing feature of each  planet. I choose red Rooster marbles to represent the “red  planet” Mars and because Neptune is the coldest planet due to its proximity to the sun, I choose Ice Queen marbles. 

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I purchased my marbles from a local toy store and paid $3.25 a bag (24 marbles and 1 shooter).  When I searched online, I found marbles for $3.50 a bag plus shipping.

Shooter marbles are the large ones used for “shooting’’ when  playing marbles.  There is one in  each bag, so I’m currently looking for a good resource and price for 1 inch  shooters.  I’ll let you know  when I find them.

I loved playing marbles as a kid and so we plan to teach and play marbles with our kids at the end of our planet fun. 

Marble planets are going to be great for the older children at your family reunion but for the toddlers you might want to consider these Universe Stress balls.  They’re $9.99 at Oriental Trading for all 9 balls.

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Pick Your Present!

My New Favorite Way to Give Gifts

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I have 2 sons and a son in law and this year I tried something new for their Fathers Day gifts- I let them pick their own gifts.  Well, not totally, I put together 3 boxes and after the boxes were  filled with surprises and wrapped, then they got to pick their gift.

Each box was different- I had a technology box, builder box and a snack box. Each box contained a gift card and then a couple of things to go along with it.  Value of each box was about $30.00.

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I wrapped all three gifts in plain old newspaper- nothing fancy about it and with no clue to what was inside.

Crafty Holiday Gift Wrap - Craft Critique

We had a little competition to see who got to choose their  present first but you could do it oldest to youngest or by roll of the dice etc.

The $20.00 Bill

Just as the guys were about to pick their  present, my husband put a $20.00 bill on the table and gave them the option to chose the cash instead of a box.  There were no takers- everyone went for the boxes.

This is also a fun way to give out  prizes at family reunions. Just wrap a variety of prizes and let the winner  pick the prize they want from the pile- they get a prize but it’s a little more exciting and  extends the fun a little longer. 

Nature Scavenger Hunts for Your Family Reunion.

How to Plan a Scavenger Hunt | A Healthier Michigan

I love scavenger hunts! I remember the first scavenger hunt we did at a family reunion.  The kids in our family were little then so Uncle Brad had a big rope and made all the kids hold on to it as they hunted together.  Times change and now those once little kids are all grown up and they enjoy more challenging activities.

I was recently made aware of a website with some great nature hikes and scavenger hunts and I thought I should share it with you.  If your family reunion is outside you’ll want to read some of their wonderful ideas for nature scavenger hunts for kids with free  printables.  The site is called My Open Country and can be found by clicking on the this link-

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The folks at My Open Country will take you through the nuts and bolts of an outdoor scavenger hunt for kids, from the initial prep and planning right down to the itty bitties of ‘treasure’ selection. They want to help you find a fun, safe and healthy way for you and your kids to get out and enjoy your time together.  The “search” feature on their site is great!

Nature scavenger hunt

You can find lots of fun scavenger hunt ideas at familyreunionhelper.com by clicking on the following links.

https://familyreunionhelper.com/blog/2016/04/the-ultimate-guide-to-treasure-hunts-and-scavenger-hunts/

https://familyreunionhelper.com/blog/2013/08/treasure-hunts-and-scavanger-hunts/

How Sweet It Is- Candy Bar Games

Two pretty sweet printable gams- and they’re free!

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If you’ve decide you can’t just eat chocolate while quarantined, maybe you’d like to play a couple of chocolaty games.

Whenever I plan a  party or a family reunion I like  to have an activity  or game that people can play when they first arrive. The goal is to get family members, or friends, laughing and talking  with each  other.  The “How Sweet It Is” free printable fits the bill and coming up with prizes for the winners is  a snap- candy bars!  I suggest the snack size because you’ll probably have several winners.  This ice breaker game is great for large or small group games and for family members of most ages. You can download the free printable by clicking below.  Don’t forget to download the answer key.

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Do you think you’d recognize your favorite candy bar without the wrapper?  Try this game and see if you’re right.  I got the Almond Joy bar right off but there were a few bars that proved quite challenging.  Now, don’t  peek at the answers until you’ve made you’re guesses.  You can find your free printable here-

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Answer Key

  1. Snickers
  2. Butterfinger
  3. Baby Ruth
  4. Milky Way
  5. PayDay
  6. Whatchamacallit
  7. 3 Musketeers
  8. 5th Avenue
  9. Almond Joy
  10. 100 Grand