Our Favorite Halloween Treat

Peanut butter Eyeballs!

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We love peanut butter eyeballs.  My daughter found  the recipe several years ago  and it has  since been a Halloween family favorite.  The little kids in our family like them because they’re kinda scary, Grandma likes them because they don’t look very realistic and everyone likes them because they’re delicious! The saying, “bet you can’t eat just one!” certainly applies to these delicious treats. 

What you will need:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 pound white candy coating (in small pieces) or white chocolate chips
24 milk chocolate M&M’s
1 tablespoon water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

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Directions

  1. Mix together 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter and butter. Roll into 1-in. balls; place on a waxed paper-lined pan. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
  2. In a microwave, melt white candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. Immediately top of each eyeball with an M and  M to make the pupil.

Make squiggly lines to make the eyeballs  look “bloodshot”. 

Makes about 2 dozen eyeballs.

Jelly Bean Bracelets Ice Breaker

Ice breakers for all kids

Whether planning a family reunion or party, I always like to  provide an activity that gives family members an activity to do while waiting for the organized activities to begin.  For instance, in the Caveman reunion, reunion goers decorated dinosaur sugar cookies.  This is a great way to get family members reconnect with each other and shouldn’t require hands on attention from the reunion planner.

Here are fun idea that fit the bill-

Jelly Bean Bracelets

What could be better then jewelry you can eat?

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Purchase lots of bags of Jelly beans (Try buying these at after Easter sales), sewing needles, Jewelry cord that is stretchy and scissors.

Cut the jewelry cord about 7″ long. Tie knots about 1 inch from the bottom of the cord. Thread the cord through the sewing needle. Tip- be sure the the cord you use will fit through the  eye  of the needle.

Push the needle through the center of each jelly bean to thread them, then push them down to the bottom of the cord. Continue to add jelly beans, about 15- 20 depending on your wrist size, until the bracelet is long enough. When your bracelet is long enough, tie the two ends together securely using several knots.

Tip: If the needle gets sticky give it a quick cleaning with baby wipes to clean off your needle.

Working on this project will kids talking and help them get reacquainted.  I think you’ll be surprised at the fun color combination your family will come up with.  Have I mentioned that this is a fun idea for your Easter celebration?

How to Light Up Your Family Reunion

Or… how to say reunion thank yous with candy light bulbs

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My son is an electrician and for his birthday my daughter came up with these cute light bulb favors for everyone that came to his party.  It was  the perfect idea for an electrician’s birthday but I couldn’t help but think about how to use these bulbs for a family reunion.

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We purchased our  “light bulbs” from Amazon.  They are about a dollar a piece.  We filled them with Skittles candies.  It was kind of a pain separating the candy into different colors but it looked cute when we were done.  I liked how the yellow ones looked best so if I ever did this again I would probably fill them  with Lemonhead candies.

Although I haven’t used this idea for a family reunion, though I will, here are some ideas I came up with:

If you have a contest and want to give a prize to the person that gets the most answers correct, you could say, “You’re the BRIGHTEST bulb in the box”.

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To say thank you-

Thanks for sharing your BRIGHT ideas. 

Thanks for being a LIGHT to our family.

You LIGHT up my life! Thanks for all your help with our family reunion.

Thanks for making our family reunion BRIGHTER

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Encouragement-

Be BRIGHT share your LIGHT

You’re future is looking BRIGHT

Let your LIGHT so SHINE

I’m sure there’s a lot of ideas out there- if you have one you’d like to share, please comment and let us know.  SHINE on!

Pudding Painting

The delicious way to paint.

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What can I say- pudding painting is a very messy, very fun activity.  It’s perfect for days that you have  planned a water slide or sprinkle under the trampoline activity because it makes clean up super easy!

The first time I did pudding painting was in the 80’s when I had a cousins party for all my nieces and nephews and they still talk about how fun it was. Most recently, I had a pudding painting party with my grandkids and they had a ball.

There are a couple of ways you can do pudding painting.  You can mix up your own pudding (vanilla is great because you can add food coloring to make different colors) or you can buy the already made puddings in the single serving containers.

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This was an activity I did outside on a table covered with a plastic table cloth.  I gave each child a large sheet of paper (like teachers use on their bulletin boards) and let them paint away. 

Over the years I have found that some children do not like getting their hands messy so I like to provide other “tools” for them to use.  Things like spatulas and larger paint brushes work well.

When kids are done painting you can let their paintings dry in the sun and if you have planned a water activity,they’ll be all cleaned up in a splish and a splash.

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Campfire Cookies

An Easy to Make Treat for Your Camping Family Reunion

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One side of our family always goes camping for our family reunions and when I saw a photo of these campfire cookies I just knew we needed to add them to our reunion schedule.

Begin by frosting a sugar cookie with green frosting. Crush 2 snack size Oreo cookies on top of the frosting to resemble dirt.

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Add 3 unwrapped Tootsie Roll candies for logs and cut up red, yellow and orange gummy candies to resemble fire.

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Put 3 mini marshmallows on the ends of 3 pretzel sticks. Place sticks on each cookie in a pyramid shape over the campfire, making sure the marshmallows touch at the top.

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For added fun, take a lighter and run it over the marshmallows to give them a roasted look!

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Goose Chase- an App for Reunion Fun

A Scavenger Hunt for Your Family Reunion

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At our back to school faculty meeting  we  played a game using the Goose Chase app.  The entire time we were playing the game I kept thinking how fun this game would be for a family reunion- and I couldn’t wait to share it  with you.

Here’s how it works. GooseChase is basically a scavenger hunt. You go to the Goose Chase website where you build your game. You give your game a name and can also set how long the game will run and whether there’s a password to join.

Each GooseChase game has a list of missions for participants to complete. You can create your mission list using their bank of 100+ tested missions or by designing your own from scratch.

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Missions have a name, description, point value and an optional link or photo to provide extra information. To complete a mission, select it from the list and follow the instructions to receive the allotted points.  Our team had 6 people in it and we piled into a car and drove around to complete  our challenges. With real-time activity feeds and rankings, you’re able to see everything as it happens. At the end of the game we were able to watch a slideshow of all the photos & videos which was a ton of fun.

“GooseChase got people moving around, talking to each other and laughing.  If I have any reservations about GooseChase  it is the cost.  It may be out of the reach for some family reunions and church groups but they do have an educational license for schools etc. and there is a free version if you only have 3 teams.

You can read more about GooseChase at GooseChase.

Flour War

Flour Fight Festival for your family reunion

I’ve seen a lot of fun group games but when I was invited to participate in a “Flour” war I was totally blown  away- almost literally.  I had never seen such a thing but it was sure a good time for everyone that  participated.

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Here’s how it  works.  First thing is to make your flour “bombs”.  Use small popcorn bags and fill  them with  flour.  Twist the end tightly on each bag but don’t tie or tape it closed.  You will want to  make  lots and lots of these.

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At the beginning of the game, put all of the flour bombs on the dividing line between the two teams. Have players line up on their side equal distances from the dividing line.

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When someone yells “go,” all players can make a run for the flour bombs and grab as many as they can. Then it becomes like Dodge Ball.  Players throw their flour bombs to the opposing team.  When you run  out of flour bomb just pick up more from the ground.

The white marks left by the flour bombs will help settle disputes as to whether someone was hit or not. (Wearing dark shirts is recommended).

You might want to make rules about hoarding flour bombs, and remind teams that all hits must be below the neck.  In most games, if you get hit you are out of the game but when throwing flour bombs everyone stays in the game and when the  flour is all gone  everyone lines up and awards can be given for the most  flour and the least etc.

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Flour wars is actually a real thing.  For 200 years a battle has taken place in Ibi, Alicante, Spain. Not fought with swords or guns, but with flour and eggs. Every year on December 28th the town celebrates Els Enfarinats, better known as the Flour Fight Festival. This is Spain’s version of April Fool’s Day. At the end of the day there is a massive food fight, complete with fire crackers, to commemorate the day. I’m not sure I could handle the egg part of that competition but if Spain is part of your heritage it might be fun to share this information with your family.

And most importantly, the flour will disappear within 10 minutes of your battle but please be good stewards of the environment by picking up all the discharged bombs- paper popcorn bags..

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Pancake Bar

Pancake Party- a delicious way to feed your family.

Pancake bars are easy to put together and can easily be customized to your family’s needs.  The toppings are limited only by your imagination and the pancake recipe can be your favorite store brand or a family favorite recipe.

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I’ve hosted a couple of pancake bars over the years, and it’s one of my favorite ways to celebrate pretty much anything. Christmas, neighborhood get-togethers, church functions, birthdays and fund raisers  or sleepovers.  It can also be a pretty inexpensive  way to do breakfast at a family reunion.

You can cook your pancakes on  the  spot or make a big batch of pancakes ahead of time.  Just be sure to let your precooked pancakes cool then stack them between sheets of parchment paper and freeze them for later.  When you’re ready to use your premade pancakes you can reheat the pancakes in the oven, microwave or Dutch oven.

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I like to serve a variety of toppings with plenty of options for those that are eating healthy and for those that like to to make the craziest looking pancake they can. 

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The most popular item on my pancake bar is the spray whipping cream. When planning your pancake bar, you can really just think ice cream sundaes and that will help you come up with  some fun toppings. Here’s some of our favorites: 

  • Butter
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nutella
  • Honey
  • Yogurt
  • Fruits such as peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and sliced bananas.
  • M & M’s
  • Crushed butterfingers
  • Toasted nuts
  • Gummy Bears
  • Sweetened shredded coconut
  • Sprinkles
  • Mini Marshmallows 
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Syrups such as Maple, Cinnamon, Raspberry of Strawberry
  • Hershey’s syrup

You can serve your pancakes alone (which is  what I like to do)  or add a side of bacon,, sausage or eggs.  Either way, everyone can find something to love on a pancake  bar and no one should go away hungry.

Water Games for Your Family Reunion

Or… some fun ways to cool off on  a hot summer day!
For the Little Ones

Birdie In My Cup

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Players form a circle and one player goes to the center with a cup of water or a squirt bottle. He says, “I have a little birdie in my cup. What color is he? He then goes around the circle and gives each player a chance to guess the color. If they guess correctly he flicks or sprays water on the the player. Then they switch places and that player becomes ”It”.

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One child stands at the far side of the yard to be the caller and the rest of the children line up at the opposite side of the yard. Set up a sprinkler in the middle of the yard and turn it on. The caller will turn their back to the other kids and says “green light.” When they say green light, the rest of the kids will try to move across the yard to reach the caller. When the caller turns around and says, “red light,” kids have to freeze where they are. If they don’t freeze, they will be sent back to the starting line.

Whoever can tag the caller first wins and becomes the next caller.

For the Older “Kids”
Sponge Soaker

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In sponge soaker, teams take turns running to a bucket to fill their sponge with water and run back (keeping the sponge above their head).  Then squeeze it into an empty bucket, the winning team is the first to have a full bucket of water. You can also play this game with a glass of water instead of sponges.

WATER BALLOON DODGEBALL

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of water balloPool Party Kit 2 Elements (4)ons. Water balloons are labor intensive and a safety hazard if you don’t get them all picked up, but I always make an exception for Water Balloon Dodge ball.

For this game you will need water balloons (about 5 per person) and a container. (To keep your balloons from breaking prematurely, fill the container with water so the balloons can float rather than put pressure on each other. If you prefer not to use water to fill your container, try a plastic trash bag: This allows the balloons to spread out and may help to relieve the pressure.)

Divide the playing field into two halves using rope, tape or cones to make a line to mark the middle . Fill up the balloons and put them in the middle of the playing field. For this game, you probably want water balloons that are a bit bigger so they break easily (but not so easily they break when you throw it).
 
Split players into two teams and have one team go on each side of the line. Water balloon dodge ball is just like regular dodge ball. Players have to race to get a water balloon out of the bucket in the middle of the field and throw water balloons at each other from their side of the yard- no head shots.  When the balloons are gone, the team with the most players is the winning team.  Losing team has to help fill balloons for the next round.  Be prepared with tons of water balloons.

 

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You’ll need an inflatable beach ball and water gun for each player. Designate a Starting Line and a Finish Line. To begin, line up the beach balls on the Starting Line. On “Go”, everyone shoots their balls with their water guns. The first ball over the finish line wins.

Freeze Water Gun Tag

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You’ll need one water-gun. Select one player to be “It”. Give “It” the water gun, and on “Go” have “It” try to tag the other players by squirting them. Whoever gets tagged becomes frozen until another player crawls between their legs.

 

Water Surprise
This is my favorite game!Pool Party Kit 2 Elements (8)

Put a line of cups on a table. Fill about half of the cups full with water and leave the other ones empty.

Play: Take turns and have each player one at a time choose a cup without looking (blindfold or cover their eyes). Once they’ve chosen the cup, they have to dump it on their head.

If there is water in the cup, they get wet and are out. If there is not water, they continue to the next round. The last dry kid standing wins.

For the Artsy Family Members

KOOL-AID PAINTING… Sprinkle unsweetened Kool-Aid on a piece a paper. Move a piece of ice over the Kool-Aid. Watch as the Kool-Aid turns to liquid and makes a yummy smelling picture.

SIDE WALK PAINT- a twist on sidewalk chalk.

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You will need equal portions of water and corn starch and mix well. Mix by adding a little at a time of both the water and cornstarch until you have the quantity and texture that you want. Your paint” should be thick and not runny. (Remember, cornstarch will get super thick as you’re mixing and thin out when you stop.) Start with 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. cornstarch and add a little less than 1/4 cup of cold water. To make colors add a drop of food coloring. You can then use this paint to paint on the sidewalk. Give it a few minutes to dry and you’ll have a wonderful work of ART! It washes off easily with a pail of water or hose.  

Silver Dollar Game for Your Independence Day Party

4th of July Games

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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 your 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:

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 right 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:  Donald Trump

19.  Who is the current Vice President of the United States?
Answer: Mike Pence

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.”

31. What is the tallest mountain the US?
Answer: Mt McKinley, located in the state of Alaska it reaches 20,320 ft (6,194 m) above sea level.

32. Who was the first man to walk on the moon?
Answer: American Neil Armstrong (July 21, 1969).

33. What ocean is off the Florida coast?
Answer: The Atlantic Ocean