My New Favorite Reunion Recipe

Biscuit & Gravy Casserole for a Crowd

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Uncle Steven attended a camp out with about 90 youth this past week.  When her was telling me about the camp he said his  favorite thing to eat was the Biscuit and Gravy casserole they had for breakfast.  It sounded delicious and so I  contacted  the camp cook and  she shared her recipe and I tried it out on  my family.  Kids and adults thought it was delicious  and it was super easy.

Biscuits and Gravy Casserole Recipe

I made 2 cake pans (9×13) of this so I doubled the recipe.  I used 1 lb sausage and 1 lb ground beef.

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Ingredients

1 lb bulk pork breakfast sausage or ground beef

1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Southern Homestyle refrigerated Buttermilk biscuits (8 biscuits)

1 pkg of biscuit gravy mix (should make 1 quart of gravy)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook sausage/ground beef until browned and thoroughly cooked.

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Using another pan, cook gravy according  to package directions.. Combine thickened gravy and meat. Spoon into a 9×13 dish.

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    Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into fourths. Top sausage mixture with biscuit pieces.

    Sprinkle with a little cheese if desired.

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    Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and biscuits are golden brown.

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    Serve & enjoy but don’t plan on leftovers.  I plan on using this recipe to feed family at two reunions this year. I think I’ll cook the meat and  make the  gravy in advance so I just need to assemble the casserole a couple of hours before we eat.

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Five Things Reunion Planners Should Stop Doing Now

Aunt Mo shares her reunion  planning advise with  Reunion Workbook magazine readers.

Family Reunion Helper is proud to partner with Reunions Workbook magazine to bring you, “Five Thing Reunion Planners Should Stop Doing Now”. http://reunionsworkbook.com/five-things-reunion-planners-should-stop-doing-now/

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Family Reunion Brag Badges

The Ultimate “Getting to Know You” Game for Your Family Reunion

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A family reunion “Brag Badge” is a small tag, somewhat resembling a “military dog tag” that represents the hobbies, interests, occupations and accomplishments of members of your family.

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Collecting Brag Badges is so much fun that quite often children in  the family will see a badge they want to earn and they’ll run off looking for a family member that will help them earn badge they desire and they’ll connect with a new cousin, aunt or uncle or be surprised by the accomplishments or interests of a favorite relative.

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With Brag Badges, family members will  have fun discovering their relatives that love ice cream, pizza and dancing.  They’ll find relatives  that drive trucks, teach school and relatives that have been to Hawaii. They’ll find relatives that are Eagle Scouts,  Veterans and couples that have been married for 50 years.  They’ll discover relatives that share their same  birth month, like to  read, play baseball and so much more. IMG_0507 (2)

Brag Badges are a perfect way for your family to to show off their interests, talents and achievements and are great way for family members to get to know each other!

When I use Brag Badges at a family reunion I require that badges are signed before they can be earned so that family members will always remember who the relative was that helped them earn the badge. 

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I display my brag badges at our family reunions in needle craft organizers you can purchase by following the link below. I like to leave the badges on a table and let reunion goers supervise themselves. You can purchase the needlepoint cases in the Family Reunion Store. If using all of the badges included in this download you will need to purchase several cases.

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The graphics on these badges are so cute your family will love them!  Over 60 different “Brag Badges” are included in this digital download- all in bright COLOR!  There are 4 of each design but you can print as many copies as you need- depending on the size of your family. You don’t need one of each design for everyone in your family- it makes badges more valuable if the the number is limited.

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Print the Brag Badges on card stock, laminate, cut and  punch a hole in the top of each badge.  The hole is  for the ball bead chain  to  wear around your neck and to display the Brag Badge discoveries you have made.  You can  purchase 50 chains in the Family Reunion Helper store for less than $8.00.

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This fun family reunion resource includes over 60 brag badges in color and printer friendly version. Brag Badges help family members connect in a way they will never forget.  You can purchase a complete set of Brag Badges in  the Family Reunion Helper Store

Punch a Bunch Party Game- DIY

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My family is really enjoying punch boards. A punch board is an exciting way to award prizes. This game show activity allows each person to punch ​through the tissue paper to find a toy or treat, or whatever you decide to put in it. We have even put gift cards in  them. Punch boards are perfect for family reunions, especially if your theme is a circus or carnival  theme.

You’ve seen punch boards on the popular TV game show, The Price is Right, but a punch board can be a fun addition to your family reunion.  A punch board is a fun way to distribute prizes bit you can also use a punch board to make assignments or choose what activity you will do next.

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A larger board can also be a fair way to divide into teams- for example- write families names on slips of paper (Aunt Geri’s family or Uncle Dan’s family etc.)  Punch two or more holes- those families join  together to make a tug a war, softball or family skit group.  You can use the same strategy to assign seating for meals to mix things up a bit.

We have one punch board at our house that we change to fit the theme of  the party we are having.  If you’re having a super hero party or reunion the punch board becomes the perfect- Smash Hulk board.

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Creating Your Punch Board

To create your punch board you will need:

  • sturdy poster board or a piece of cardboard
  • tissue paper
  • Plastic disposable  bowls, lunch sacks or sandwich bags
  • prizes
  • tape & hot glue
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  • The first  punch board we created we used one  sheet  of tissue paper to cover the entire back of the board.  Since then we have found that covering each hole with individual squares seems to work best as  punching one hole may pull the paper from around other holes.  Tape each square securely around individual  holes.

  • Behind the Punch Board

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There are several  options for hiding prizes behind your punch board.  My favorite option is plastic bowls. Carefully run a line of hot glue around the rim of your bowl and attach it to the inside of the tissue covered holes, with the prize inside.  Be sure and put your prize or secret message inside the bowl before attaching it to the board. Other options include taping a lunch sack to the back of each hole or plastic sandwich bags.

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Punch boards also make fun advent calendars.  Create yours with 24 holes and 24 prizes.  Punch out one prize each day to help count down days until Christmas or your favorite holiday.

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t admit to you  that building your own punch board may drive your crazy.  Taping all the bags on the back and making sure the prizes stay in place can be frustrating so if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making your own punch board you can purchase a reasonably priced board by following this link.

https://www.shindigz.com/personalized-prize-punch-game/p/GAMPAB?gclid=CjwKCAjwypjVBRANEiwAJAxlImgxyEZ7zdpjd0JzEVlt4UsIbx24ynwBLB78oJ53fDilfdoFGewT2xoCFD8QAvD_BwE

Personalized Prize Punch Game

Shrink, Shrank, Shrunk

ShRink Art for Your Family  Reunion

I’ve been a Shrinky Dink  fan  for probably 30 years or better, way before they had the fancy kits they have now.  When  I  first started making Shrinky DInks we called them  Shrink  Art and we used either plain sheets of plastic or clean or  clear #6 plastic we got from the bakery.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking  about, Shrink Art is made with thin plastic sheets that shrink down about 45% when you put them in the oven. Not only does the material shrink, but whatever artwork you draw/print on them will also shrink with it. So, you can draw and color a design in  it’s  large form  where it is easy to see and work  with  and then shrink it down so  it is more the size of a charm or an ornament.

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I love to use shrink art for family reunions and parties.  They make great dog tags, charms, pins and beads. Our Oz inspired family reunion includes a template to be used with Shrink Art.  We had so much  fun making the dog tags and our family  loved wearing them  during the reunion.

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To make Shrink Art,preheat your oven  to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

Trace your design on the plastic using a   permanent marker such as a Sharpie marker.   You can draw your own design or trace a  clip art picture you  found  on the internet or use a coloring  page.

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Color your picture with permanent markers or colored pencils. If your plastic has a rough side,  color on  that side.

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Cut out your picture and if you will be putting it on a string or chain punch a hole in it.  You will not  be able  to make any holes  or cuts once your  picture has baked as it will be too thick.

Line a cookie sheet or tray with foil or baking paper. Arrange your pictures,color side up on the tray.

Bake in  the oven for 3- 5 minutes.  Keep your  eye on  them as they bake (that’s half the fun).  At first your pictures will curl up but don’t panic, they will flatten out again.  Once they flatten out bake for a few more seconds then remove from the oven.  If they aren’t quite flat you can flatten them by  pressing them a little more with a hot  pad or wooden  spoon.

When  cooled remove them from the pan  and you’re ready to use and enjoy your Shrink  Art.

The Shrinky Dinks brand makes some fun pre-printed designs that you can  purchase if you want to try out the process before striking out on your own.  You can purchase the pre- printed Shrinky Dink designs or sheets of plain Shrinky Dink plastic by following the  link below. 

 

Fool Your Family With These Family Friendly Pranks

Our top 5 April fools tricks and treAts

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When my kids were little, it became tradition at my house to have “funny” food for one of our April Fools Day meals.  For many years I made “Flannel” pancakes.  I don’t know why but I fooled my family for probably 5 years in a row with my flannel pancakes. 

Now that my kids are grown  with kids of their own we continue the tradition but have added additional pranks- my favorite being my delicious Aprils Fools Brownies.  Actually  they are BROWN- E’s.

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To make my delicious Brown-E’s  I put a bunch of brown capitol E’s in my  special brownie pan and cover it with foil. At the end of  dinner I ask everyone if they still  have room for a brown-E.  This prank has been going on for about 3 years and I’m afraid this year the older grandkids will remember this trick.DSCN4341

For Sale Sign

Another fun way I’ve fooled my grandkids, which all live with a 1/2 mile of my house, is to put a “For Sale” in my front yard. They didn’t that was very funny and fortunately, neither did our good neighbors.

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Frozen Breakfast

Put cereal and milk in a bowl and let it freeze overnight. You can freeze it with the spoon in it or not. The next morning right before breakfast, take the bowl out of the freezer and pour a little bit of fresh milk on top.When your hungry kids try to dig in, they’ll find that their cereal won’t budge.

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Flannel Pancakes


When cooking pancakes put a piece of white flannel, about 3”x3”, into each pancake and cook as usual. Flannel makes pancakes impossible to cut and eaters will become quite frustrated until they realize they’ve been fooled. This is an easy trick to do when serving many people. Put one flannel pancake on a plate with two or three other pancakes.

Non-drinkable Juice


What you’ll need:
Clear drinking glasses, Jell-o, Straws

The night before make some jell-o in clear juice glasses.  Use a flavor that matches the juice they drink – such as grape, orange etc. Fill the glass about ¾ full and after it starts to set, insert a drinking straw. Once it is set, it will look like a normal glass of juice with a straw in it. Simply set it at their place at the breakfast table.  Provide spoons so they can eat the gelatin when they realize they can’t drink it.

And here’s one more fun idea.  Take a few quarters and Gorilla glue them on the sidewalk or walkway leading up to your house.  When the grandkids, or your guests, try to pick them up they’re stuck. Warning- the glue will leave a dark spot on your concrete when you pry it off.

What is a Reunion Theme Package?

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At Familyreunionhelper.com we sell reunion  theme  packages.  What’s a theme package you ask?  Most of our digital downloads include 45 or more pages of invitations, name tags, water bottle labels, games,activities, templates and printables that compliment the theme you have chosen.

The following is an  example of a name tag from our Heritage Reunion.

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This cute invitation is from our Circus reunion.  Just print it off and then fill  in the blanks with  your personalized reunion information.

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Our Caveman reunion invitation is sure to get the kids excited about attending all the prehistoric fun.

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Water bottle labels are a wonderful  way to address your reunion theme and if everyone writes their name on the label, bottles don’t get mixed up or lost as easily.

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Our theme packages also include pages and pages or games and activities that go along with the theme you’ve chosen.  You can spend hours searching the web for your ideas but these have been tried and tested and we know they work.  Here’s a page from our Superhero reunion.

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Our reunion  theme packages include tons of extras like these certificates from  our Medieval Reunion and printable signs from our “No Place Like Home”, Oz inspired reunion.

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Each of our reunion theme packages includes printable games and puzzles that go along with your theme. Like this  Valentine’s game that is part of our “Home for the Holidays” reunion.

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Our reunion  themes also include food ideas that compliment your theme.  Check out this recipe for “Parrot” (tastes a lot like chicken”)- it serves 100.

Barbeque Captain’s “Parrot”

Serves 100.

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2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 ounces dehydrated onions
7 pounds 3 ounces catsup
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 pound 8 ounces brown sugar, packed
48 pounds chicken, cut-up

For barbecue sauce: Simmer chicken stock and onions over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add catsup, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.

Rinse chicken in cold water. Drain well. Arrange 25 pieces of chicken on each sheet pan (18 x 26 x 1 inch). Brush 3/4 to 1 quart of barbecue sauce over chicken in each pan. Bake uncovered until tender, checking frequently. Cook in conventional oven at 425 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Many of our themes have printable food tents like our Western  Reunion food tent featured here.

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We’ve tried to think  of everything we could to make your reunion planning  easier and  less stressful.  Check out Family Reunion  Helper.com today and choose the reunion  theme package that best suites your family.  You can be sure that each package is jammed packed of ideas, game, activities and printables to get your creative juices flowing. Click on our logo below and follow the link.

FamilyReunionHelper

St Patrick’s Day Party Games

Game Ideas for Your Irish Party

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Whether celebrating St Patrick’s Day or considering your Irish roots at your next family reunion here are a couple of fun Irish game ideas.

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Musical Shamrock Game

Make very large green shamrock shapes about  2 feet square.  They don’t need to be fancy just simple shamrock shapes.  The ideas is similar to “musical chairs” game- you want to have fewer shamrocks than players. Scatter shamrocks over the playing area.  Explain that as the music plays all the players must keep moving but must stay off the shamrocks.   When the music stops players run to a shamrock.  However, each shamrock must have three players on it. Those with only one or two as well as those that have nowhere to stand are eliminated.  Remove a shamrock or two after each round.  (You always want to have fewer shamrocks than players)  Winners of the game  are those who have not been eliminated when only one shamrock remains.  Give out green lollypops, cupcakes or stickers for prizes.

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Irish Scavenger Hunt

Divide into teams, giving each team an identical list of green items.  Tell each team that they must stay together when searching for their green items.

Some ideas to search for:

  • Something that grows green
  • Something you are wearing that is green
  • Green crayon, green colored pencil, green marker
  • Find a plastic item that is green
  • Find something soft that is green
  • Something hard that is green
  • Find something you can build with that is green
  • Green snack
  • 3 leaf clover
  • Fruit that is green
  • Vegetable that is green
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Irish “Road Bowling” Game

Croquet is supposed to have come from a game called Crookey in Northern Ireland but another fun “real” Irish game is “Road Bowling”.
Road bowling is an unusual version of bowling that is particular to Ireland. It is played with a steal shot, (or use your own idea for a ball of some sort) which is tossed under arm by the player down a twisty road. The player who gets to the finish line with the least amount of throws wins.

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Why should you never iron a 4-leaf clover? You
don’t want to press your luck.

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

Olympic Crossword Puzzle

Check out this fun Olympic themed crossword taken from the pages of our Olympic themed family reunion and party.
http://familyreunionhelper.com/products/products.php…

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The Ultimate Guide For Choosing a Family Reunion Theme

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Excite family members by using a reunion theme!

Are you looking for a way to excite family members and stir up interest about your next family reunion? Choosing a reunion theme is a great way to build excitement for upcoming and make it more likely family members will want to attend. clip_image004

A reunion invitation that invites you to a “Prehistoric” reunion for Brontosaurs burgers and a dinosaur egg hunt is more interesting than an invitation that invites you to a family reunion at “the park” for hamburgers.

A reunion theme helps to drive your reunion and with a little imagination food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion becomes a memorable event.

 

clip_image006Themes are inexpensive to implement and can inspire the creative side of many members in your family. Ask for their theme ideas, brainstorm and see what they come up with. Our best family reunion themes have come from brainstorming about themes. When a “Caveman”, Mafia and Oz theme were suggested in one of our brainstorming sessions I was kind of worried about what we would do but those themes are some of our favorites and have left us with some amazing reunion memories. Below are just a few family reunion themes that you may want to consider for your next family event.

All- Sport or Olympic Themed Reunion

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Get away from a boring sit around and just visit family reunion and jump into some action-packed fun with an All-sport or Olympic themed family reunion.

Activities- Soccer, volleyball, “whiffle” ball, Whacky miniature golf. Hold a cheerleader camp for the girls in your family and a sports camp for the boys. Go bowling or hold a family 5K. Give a family reunion MVP award.  For fun variations of these favorite sports- whiffle ball, soccer, bowling, swimming and volleyball plus lots of great ideas for your sports themed reunion.

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Food- Smoothies, “Breakfast of Champions” or “Long Jump” lunch hoagies.

Wear– Favorite team jerseys and t-shirt. Make a family t-shirt fashioned after a sports jersey.

Decorations: Pom, poms, pennants, sports balls, sports posters and plastic tablecloths.

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Olympic Reunion
Family History or Family Heritage Reunion

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If your family reunion is held near where the family originated, then schedule a trip to the old family homestead, church or cemetery. You can use this as an opportunity to share family memories, or go a step further and recruit the clan to clean up the ancestral cemetery plots or research the family in old church records. Hold your reunion at the family home if available or in the town where one of your ancestors were born, raised, married or buried. You can find more Family History ideas for your family reunion at wwwfamilyreunionhelper.com.

Food – Use an ancestor’s home country as theme for your meals. Use recipes from that county and set tables with a centerpiece of memorabilia and a picture of your ancestor. If your people come from Italy, serve a spaghetti dinner, from Mexico, serve tacos, enchiladas or tamales. Box lunches are a fun idea to share an old-time tradition.

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At our Family Heritage reunion, the girls in the family designed and decorated shoe boxes at home. We provided sandwich fixin’s, individual chip packages, fruit snacks and drink boxes along with cookies for dessert. The girls made lunches for two and put them in their box. We gave each box a number and the guys in the family each drew a number out of hat to determine which lunch they got to eat and which girl they ate lunch with. In a few instances, we had more girls than guys and so doubled up.

Activities – Play “classic” games at your reunion such as “3-legged race, gunny sack race, Annie I Over. Create a huge wall chart of your family so everyone can see how they are related. Take “old-time” photos and have everyone dress up. Make a family “time capsule”.

Dress – In the ethnic costume of your ancestors.

Ancestor Coloring Book- Making a heritage-coloring book about one of your ancestors is clip_image022a monumental task but it’s a wonderful way to make family history come alive for the little ones in your family. If you have an artist in the family, then designing a coloring book will be much easier for you. If you don’t have a talented artist in the family a great resource is http://store.doverpublications.com/by- subject-coloring-books.html.

 Family Heritage Reunion

Sun, Sand and Surf Reunion Theme

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If your reunion is in the summertime then it’s the perfect time for a Sun, Sand & Surf family reunion theme. Merge your beach reunion ideas with your Hawaiian reunion ideas for double the fun.

Invitations: Consider sending “Message in a Bottle” invitations to encourage family members to attend your family reunion or write out your reunion invitation on a beach ball with a permanent marker.

Activities: Sand candles and castles, sand art, volleyball variations and swimming pool games.

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Aquatic Obstacle Course: Use sprinklers, Slip-N-Slides, baby pools, limbo sticks and hula hoops to create an obstacle course for wet and wild reunion fun!

Food: Sub sandwiches, fruit trays, shish kabobs, fruit kabobs, gold fish crackers.

Decorations are easy for a beach themed family reunion. Use beach umbrellas, Beach towels, Beach balls, Paper party lanterns, Paper Palm trees and party lights on a string. travel posters, flowers, straw skirt table. Don’t forget to use pink flamingos in your decorating and be sure to include music from the Beach Boys to round out your reunion theme.

Beach Reunion

Wedding Anniversary or Significant Birthday Family Reunion Theme

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Planning a family reunion around an important wedding anniversary or milestone birthday makes for an easy but memorable family reunion.

Invitation – Put two photos of the honored couple on the invitation: their original wedding photo and a current photo.

Food – Finger foods and a “wedding” cake.

Activities- “When You Were My Age” A Celebration of Life’s Memorable Moments. This is such a fun program, fashioned after a Bill Cosby Show episode and was called, “When Mom Was my Age.” We have done variations of the program for 70th and 80th birthdays and 50th wedding anniversaries. Each time we do “When You Were My Age” everyone is a good sport and excited to be a part of the celebration. Everyone has a part on the program and an opportunity to highlight world events and significant family happenings throughout the life of your loved one. Download the “When You Were My Age” from Family Reunion Helper or write a “This Is Your Life” program for your reunion celebration.

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Decorations –Photos and other various memorabilia of the couple’s life together.

When You Were My Age

Three Ring Circus and Carnival Reunion Theme

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Begin your reunion with a circus parade and invite everyone to dress in fun costumes and march around your reunion site.

Food –Circus food- corn dogs, cotton candy and popcorn.

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Activities – As your family arrives, have then guess how many circus animal cookies or peanuts are in a jar. The person who guesses closest to the actual number wins the jar full of treats. Have a carnival. Assign 6- 10 family members a carnival booth. Children earn prizes at each booth. Face painting, fishing booth, fortune teller, Plinko, Dart Throw etc. Consider renting a bounce house for the little ones in your family. For more ideas check out the family reunion “circus” theme at www.familyreunionhelpercom/

Decorations – Balloons, tents and circus animal cutouts.

Circus Reunion

There’s no place like home- Wizard of Oz Theme inspired theme

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Oz Themed Activities

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Design an obstacle course depicting famous scenes from the movie. Run through a tissue paper poppy field, jump over bale of straw etc. Make bottle tornados and make a yellow brick road out of scrap lumber. Plan an activity that represents each Oz character such as paper plate lions, red glitter shoes and

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Decorations- Make flying monkeys from black poster board and hang around your reunion location. Use rainbow colored tablecloths (one color per table).

Food- “Ding Dong” the witch is dead Ding Dong cakes, rainbow lollypops, Lions, Tigers and Bears animal crackers and melted witch treats.

 

There's No Place Like Home

Western Themed Reunion


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Western Reunion Themed Activities

Make ponies from dollar store pool noodles and have a pool noodle rodeo. Shoot at targets with rubber band guns or pvc pipe bow and arrows. Make a family totem pole or try some line dance.

clip_image056Food- Call the food you serve” vittles”. Have a chili cook off., have a Texas Straw Hat food bar or serve barbeque, spareribs or grilled hamburgers. Use tin pie plates, mason jars with handles and lots of bandanas.

clip_image058Decorations- Put up a large ranch sign at the party entrance. Print off some wanted posters. To make it more fun, get hold of some photos of the guests and put them on the posters. Place some paper or real horseshoes on the path leading to the party entrance. Create a teepee out of a large sheet and some wooden dowels. Create a large cactus out of a cardboard box or even buy some inflatable ones. Cover the party food table in a red and white checkered cloth and hang up a sign saying “SALOON”.

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Western Family Reunion