Archive | Summer

Family Reunion Ideas

Our family is BIG on family reunions.  We have always had them, before I was born, until now, and still going.  We have big extended reunions, but we also do our immediate family reunion too.  Since I am in charge of the immediate family reunion this year, I thought I would share a few tips and suggestions.

How to Plan a Family Reunion

• If your family is BIG, plan it, put in on the calendar and take as many people as can come.  If you try to wait until EVERYONE can come, you might be waiting a long time.

• Plan in advance.  I booked a cabin last fall for our family to enjoy this summer.  Good places schedule up fast, especially on holiday weekends.

• Be organized.  Organize the meals (meal assignments), organize activities, and organize games.  Having a plan (but still being flexible) is very helpful.

How to Make Your Family Reunion Fun

1. Activities as a family

Birthday Bash – It has become our tradition to have a big birthday bash at our reunion every year.  We celebrate everyones birthday’s at once.  We do a gift exchange and enjoy cake and ice cream.

Water games – Whether it is swimming, sliding, water balloons, a lake, a river, or a pool, we seem to always find some water to play in.

Parks – Last year, we found these teeter-totters at a nearby park.  Everyone got in on the action and it ended up being one of the highlights of the reunion.  We laughed and laughed.

Horse Ride  – When we are close to home, we enjoy adding a horse back ride into our activities.

Scavenger Hunt – Work as teams (mixed of both adults and kids) to get to the prize.  My favorite activity like this we have done is when Mark and Natalie planned an amazing race.  We had to go to certain locations and take pictures (proof we were there!)  One of the stops on the amazing race was getting a milkshake and eating it.  Tons of fun for everyone.

Family Pictures Video – Several year ago I started making “slide show” type movies to watch at each reunion.  I use pictures collected from everyone of all the events within the last year.  Most years, after watching the new video, we watch the old ones too!  The kids love this.  It reminds me of when my dad used to pull out the slides and we would laugh for hours.

Service Projects – Emily planned a service project for our family last year.  We all went to a rest home and did some musical numbers for them to enjoy.  We played the piano, sang, and played some bells.  The old people loved it and hoped we would come back again.

2. Activities for the kids

Story time – Last year, Emily assigned each of us mom’s to tell a story to the kids each night.  (About 2 stories per night.)  These can be favorite stories, family stories, “when I was young” stories, scripture stories, or made up stories.  The kids will love it.

Crafts – My kids love anything to do with paper, scissors, glue, and tape.  This year I am thinking about decorating T-shirts.

Boys/Girls time – One year, we had the girls make jewelry while the boys went bowling.  Girls love doing crafts, but the boys might enjoy a hike better.

3. Activities for the adults

Game night – After the kids go to bed, us adults love to pull out the games.  Sometimes it’s games that we can play all together, and sometimes we have a few games going at once. We grew up playing cards, so that is what we enjoy playing the most.  A new favorite is Wackee Six.

Question game – Visiting with each other is fun, but sometimes a few questions help get the ball rolling. Last year, Emily had questions that we all drew out of a hat and had to answer.  Some were serious, like where do you see you and your family in the next 5 years?  Some were more funny, like what is a funny memory you have from your childhood?  I think we could visit all night very easily, if our spouses would let us.  🙂

4. Document your family reunions

Take lots of pictures.  My kids love looking back at the things we have done together.  It is also fun to note the location, who was in charge, the activities you did, etc…

Planning a family reunion is a lot of work, but the memories that we make with our families will stay with us forever.  It will be time well spent, I promise.

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Someday Crafts


Fun in the Sun

Last summer my kids were still really small.
I had a barely 2 year old, and a new(ish) baby…
so needless to say, we didn’t get out much.
This year though, we’re planning lots of fun things! 
Here are some of the things we’ve done in the past,
and some links to posts with great ideas we hope to do this summer.
I think all kids love water, even if it’s just in tupperware or buckets.
Emily told me that she’s let her kids paint the sidewalks with water using foam brushes, 
or a spray bottle– brilliant! 
(I’m totally doing that)
 Last summer we started family movie night once a week.
Addie was mostly in it for the popcorn,
but hey, so was I.
 We also love Jamba Juice.
Did you know they have little kid sized cups?
We just had them pour some from ours into her own little personal cup, and she loved it.
 The summer is a perfect time for outdoor food!
The options are endless here.
 Sidewalk chalk is a definite must every summer..
 We also took lots of picnics to local parks.
 I found a park near our house last summer that had little water fountains,
perfect for toddlers.
Gardening with the little ones is perfect too,
they are really interested in dirt and growing things right now.
 We also love going on walks, and sometimes get a fun treat along the way.
We’re really looking forward to this summer.
I’ve found some great posts lately about summer activities 
Now all we need is the sun,
and we’ll be in business!

Are we there yet???

Traveling during the summer!
Are you dreading your LONG road trips this summer?
Well, worry no more!  I’ve got you covered.  Even if you don’t have a DVD player! 🙂
*My top 4 things to pack*
#1.  It’s always a good idea to have a travel bag, just for them, filled with a plethora of silly things that will keep them occupied.  (However, don’t let them see it! They’ll want everything all at once.)  Go to the dollar store and get lots of cheap toys and then wrap them up.  Then when you get down the road a bit and need something to keep them entertained, let them reach in and pick something. 
(Or I numbered mine, so that they all got the same thing at the same time! NO FIGHTING=Happy Momma!)
My kids LOVED the slinkies!!
#2.  Another good thing to pack is a map of where you are going.  Then I colored a green dot on where we started and a red dot where we were going to stop.  I also colored a few more dots along our path so that when they asked me where we were or “how much further?”
I could say, “we just passed the purple dot.”
This is a great way to teach them about map-reading and directions!

#3. WIPES!!  These are great for cleaning up spills or sticky fingers.  Even on older kids!

#4. And probably most important….SNACKS!  Make your own trail mix with things your kids like, put cereal in individual baggies, apples slices (dried or dipped in Sprite to keep them from turning brown), string cheese, cut up veggies, fruit roll ups or fruit snacks, and bottles of water are some ideas. 

*My top 4 things to do to pass the time*
#1. Change seating a bit periodically.  
If Mom or Dad can sit in the back, even for just a little while, the kids will LOVE it! 
#2.  Give the kids cheap, fun things to play with that won’t make a mess! 
(ie. Aluminum foil (see who can make the coolest shape), stickers, a box of band aids,
paper (for origami), or pipe cleaners!)
#3.  Bring along a few CD’s with kids songs that know they’ll enjoy.
Singing is always a fun way to pass the time during a long trip.   
Teach your kids some oldies like On Top Of Spaghetti, You Are My Sunshine, or The Ants Go Marching One By One.
#4.  Games!  We LOVE to play the dot game, word searches, or road trip bingo!
You can go HERE to print games or HERE to print bingo cards!
We also bring along electronic travel games like this Sudoku game. No pieces to lose! 🙂 Ha ha!
Audio books— or read books
Mystery writing -on backs or hands
Bubble gum blowing contests (keeps ears popped too!)
Sewing cards-older kids could have a lace race
Black paper and chalk
License plate game (for younger kids you can already have the states listed and they just have to check them off.)
Find the ABC’s on the billboards and signs
File Folder Games – print free ones HERE.
Scavenger hunt: a yellow house, billboard with a baby on it, or 20 cows.
Road trip math (figure out gas mileage, miles between destinations, and cost of gas)
Have a spelling bee
Ask everyone what their favorites are (movie, book, food, treats, etc.)
I spy or 20 questions
(This game helps teach kids to look at the bright side of things in a silly way.  For example, you say, “unfortunately, there’s a tiger in the car.”  Your son says, “fortunately, he doesn’t eat boys.”
This or thatwould you rather have an ice cream cone or a popsicle?