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How To Organize A Family Reunion

If you want all the details on how to organize a family reunion look no further. We have everything from breaking down the cost, activities, meals, and more!

At the beginning of the week we all piled into the car and headed up to Idaho. This was the first year that Derek's immediate family hosted a family reunion, and I'm pretty sure it's something that we're going to repeat each summer. It was honestly so much fun and it was such a great way to be able to get the entire family together, have fun, and not spend 10,000 years cleaning up Derek's parents house afterwards. I've had a lot of people ask for details about the reunion, so I'll share as much as I know in case anyone else is wondering how to plan a family reunion.

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I do want to start off by saying Derek's sister planned this first reunion and did an amazing job. I think the plan is for it to rotate among Derek's family who plans it in subsequent years and Keriana honestly did such a fabulous job this year that it really made an awesome blue print for us moving forward. 

How to Organize a Family Reunion:

Where to host a family reunion?

We did ours in Driggs, ID. This was a one hour drive from Derek's parents house, and a 4-5 hour drive for us from Utah. Most of Derek's siblings all live in the same town as his parents, or the next town over. Most people had a short dive except for Derek and I, and his sister who lives in Pocatello.

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If you're planning a reunion, picking a place that is within a good driving distance for most families is ideal. I think we originally picked Driggs because it was a short driving distance to Yellowstone National Park, which I think originally we were going to go to, but with covid-19 I think the entrance was closed so we wound up doing other activities instead, but it wound up being just as fun.

Try picking a location that has a huge focal point such as a lake, a national park, or some sort of key highlight, and then it will make it easier to plan activities around that. Then look for places that are big enough to host all of you. I think we found our place on Air BNB, so look on home rental sites like that to see what you can find. We wound up having enough space for each family to use two bedrooms. 

Who to invite to a family reunion?

Honestly, you can make it as big or small as you would like. Derek has a large family (his parents have 9 kids, and there are 20 grandchildren so far), all together there was 36 people. It might have been a little unreasonable to plan an event for anyone outside of the children, spouse, grandchildren circle, but if you have a smaller family you could totally include extended family to make it more inclusive. 

How to plan meals for a family reunion?

Each of the married spouses and Derek's parents took turns rotating through the meals. Derek's sister and her husband were in charge of dinner the first night, and then his other sister and her husband cooked breakfast the next morning, Jacob and Krista were in charge of lunch on Monday, and Maurcine and Dakota were in charge of Monday dinner. Derek's mom and dad were in charge of breakfast on Tuesday, and Derek and I were in charge of Tuesday lunch. This made it really easy for delegating responsibility and knowing what to bring. We all brought additional snacks and pretty much shared those in between meals for kids when they were hungry.

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How to divide expenses for a family reunion?

This was a question someone sent me on Instagram and I'm not really sure the exact answer. Everyone who was in charge of cooking a meal purchased all the food and supplies for that meal. I believe all the married couples and Derek's parents spilt the cost of where we stayed six ways (there might have been others who did contribute but I'm just guessing). Most of the activities that we did didn't cost anything (aside from some prizes and candy and things like that, and I assume Derek's sister paid for those so thank you Keriana if you're reading this!). One night the entire family went horseback riding for two hours and I'm sure there was a fee for that, I'm assuming paid for by Derek's parents. 

What activities to do at a family reunion?

I'll share the full schedule we used for the reunion at the bottom of this post but here is an extensive list of all the activities we did at the reunion:

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  1. Face Game: Derek's sister asked for everyone to send an individual picture of everyone in the family, she then took two different people and morphed their faces together, and everyone had to guess which to people in the family were morphed into one photo. Everyone had a piece of paper numbered 1-36 and whoever got the most guesses right at the end of the game won a prize. I don't know what app Keriana used to make the photos, but there seems to be a lot of options when you google it. 
  2. Minute to Win it Games: The first night we were there we played a bunch of minute to win it games with all of the nieces and nephews and they had a ton of fun. You can find a ton of options for games to play on pinterest! 
  3. Family 5k and Running Events: We held a family 5k that went from where we were staying and ended at a local high school track. The family members that weren't running met us there in their cars, and manned the streets directing the runners where to go. Once everyone was done running the 5k we did 100m and 400m races for all the kids and adults to participate in. 
  4. Outdoor games: After the races we did some games on the football field like a family relay race, a freeze dance competition where one kid would pick which dance to do (most of ours turned into dancing like some animal) then the music would stop and we'd pick a new dance and did this 5-6 times before going onto the next activity. We also tapped a bunch of candy to a plain t-shirt and put it on the oldest nephew and had him run around the field with all the other nieces and nephews chasing him and trying to rip the candy off. 
  5. Horse Back Riding: We paid to ride horses for two hours and each kid had about 10-12 minutes on the horse before getting down and letting the next person have a turn. If there aren't horses where you're staying maybe you could rent some ATVs, go boating, some sort of big adventure that everyone can participate in. 
  6. Hike/Picnic: We were originally going to go on a hike around a lake near where we were staying on the last day, but it rained and we all ended up going home early. But hiking is a super easy go-to activity. 
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What to do during down time in a family reunion?

We had lots of downtime at night after dinner, and during the afternoon between lunch and dinner on the second day. Where we stayed had a big yard, a hot tub, TV for movies, and we brought lots of board games. During the downtime everyone kind of did their own thing and it was really nice. Most of the kids all played really well together, I got a nap at one point, and a lot of the adults played board games, cards, or just simply talked. It was really chill and didn't feel like it needed to be planned or overly scheduled.

How to keep everyone on schedule at a family reunion?

Derek's sister wrote an itinerary and had it hanging up on a lot of the walls where we were staying, and sent it to everyone a week or so before we got there. Everyone knew what to expect and what time all the meals were happening, and when we had to be in certain places for horse riding and major activities like that. Did we stick to the schedule perfectly down to the second? No, but we stuck to it pretty well and it was just really nice for everyone to be on the same page about when certain things were happening so we had general idea for what to expect.

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Family Reunion Awards:

Derek's sister made medals for all of the nieces and nephews out of canning lids and ribbon that said "Flamm Reunion 2020" on them and were super cute. She also bought 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals for each of the running events that were held, and ribbons for other things like best chef, the freeze dance competition, and other fun little games. She also gave gift cards along with some of the awards as well which was super fun. Derek's family is really into Boggle and they even bought a trophy that will travel to all future reunions and get engraved with the Boggle campion's name on it for that year.

This is pretty much all the information I have on how to organize and plan a family reunion. If you have any tips or suggestions that have worked well for you, I'd love to know about it in the comments below!

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My 2021 Mantra of The Year + Goals

Welcome to 2021 my friends! Is it just me, or did you too wake up with a renewed sense of hope for the future and better days ahead? I feel hopeful at the optimism a new year can bring and can't wait to get started on some new goals.

I've really struggled with goal setting the last few years. I set really high goals for myself, and often achieve them, but they never change me in the way I hope they will. I keep thinking that if I check certain boxes that I'll have a better self-confidence, self-worth, that I'll feel more worthy of being a human being for doing certain things... and it's just not the case. In 2020 I've learned that no amount of athletic pursuit, work, or education will ever fill this need that I have to find value and worth from the outside world. 

In 2021 my hope is to do more things for my own personal happiness and development, and to stop chasing this ideal life that I think other people want me to have. So over the next 12 months I hope to work on several things to better myself, for no other reason than they bring me personal happiness, no strings attached. 

Go Skiing at Least 10 Times: 

We live within 45 minutes of at least three different ski resorts (Snowbasin, Nordic Valley, and Powder Mountain). Right after Christmas Derek and I went skiing for the first time in 10 years and I loved it so much. I want to take advantage of these mountains that are right at our fingertips, and hope to get Kyle into lessons and skiing this year too. We also got skis for Kinlsey and need to figure out the best and safest way to get her on the mountain as well. 

Practice The Piano Three Times a Week: 

We got a free piano from some friends when we moved this summer, and Kyle started taking lessons last month. I learned to play a little bit when we lived in Georgia and have been working through Kyle's lesson sheets along with him each week. I would like to learn to play a recital worthy piece by the end of the year that uses both hands and the pedal. 

Build An Accessible Wheelchair Ramp to Our Front Door:

We bought this house because it was basically one of the only houses available that checked most of the accessibility needs we had for Kinsley. That being said we have about 2-3 steps to get into the front of the house, and to go out to the backyard. Kinsley is getting to the point where it's hard for me to lift her, and I need Derek to carry her out to the car for me most mornings for school. Our hope is to get a concrete ramp poured this spring so that she can use her walker or wheelchair to get to the car on her own. She can get into the car without being lifted with minimal support, so a ramp will make this entire process about 95% hands off from me. 

One of Kinsley's classmate's parents owns a landscaping company and gave us a pretty good quote to get this done, we're hoping to use our stimulus check to make it a reality. Here is a little inspiration pic of what we're going for. 

Finish Furnishing the Main Living Area of Our House:

With the Christmas decorations gone, it's very clear that we have nothing in the upstairs of our house. We're hoping to give a little refresh to our kitchen with new cabinet doors and a coat of paint, a new light above the dining room table, some barstools, and maybe a new backsplash in the kitchen. This will do a lot to fill in the gaps we currently have. We also need to figure out a new TV stand situation because the one we have is too small for the space. 

Produce Three Blog Posts Per Week:

The last few years I've really struggled to figure out where I wanted this blog to go, and what the purpose was behind what I wanted to be doing. This last year I realized that food will always be a go-to over here, and that I love sharing seasonally focused content (book lists, holiday crafts/projects, monthly coloring pages, etc...) I want this space to be a go-to for family friendly related content. My plan is to share one recipe a week on Mondays, one seasonally related post on Wednesdays, and a family journal type post on Fridays. 

This feels really manageable for me and like something I can keep up on. There will certainly be posts that vary from that outline depending on brands I work with that might need something posted on a Tuesday or Thursday, or if I have a post I want to write about pets or finances that may vary from the previously mentioned topics, but the overall focus of what I want to be doing is there, and I have a lot of fun content already planned for January that I'm excited about! 

My 2021 Mantra:

A few weeks ago when I was on my treadmill I had this phrase, "fill in the cracks" come to my mind and I loved it so much. In February of 2019 my life slowly started unraveling at the seams and it didn't really stop until about the fall of that year. Without going into too much detail I'd basically found out that everything I believed about my life up until that point was based off of lies, I completed 57 college credits in a year for a degree in a field that I can't necessarily say I fully respect all the ideologies behind, and my faith had been shaken more than we were from the Utah earthquake of 2020. 

My hope in 2021 is that I can "fill in the cracks" and start to meaningfully piece my life back together. Sure what I once thought to be true about my life will never be that reality again but I can move forward to restore and improve relationships and make those more meaningful and stronger than they've been the last 20 years. 

I can find joy and satisfaction through my work blogging, and doing marketing for a local small business, and be satisfied knowing I'm doing things that fill me with joy and passion. Are they things I thought I'd be doing after graduating? No. Can I sleep better at night knowing that they align with core values? Absolutely yes. 

And most importantly, I need to fill in the cracks of my faith. I don't think I need to say more than that right now, as it all feels super personal, but I know how much more I could be doing, and the gap between where I am and where I wish I was is vast. Here's to finding more answers than questions in 2021.

What are some things you're working on in 2021? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below. 

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50 Inexpensive At Home Date Night Ideas

Derek and I hardly ever go on dates outside of our house. It's typically really hard to find people who are willing to watch our kids, and when we do, we feel like we need to rush the date and get home as soon as possible. There is also the fact that you have to pay a babysitter, which I'm not opposed to doing, it's just for more reasons than one, a lot easier for us to have at-home dates instead of leaving the house.

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With coronavirus still in full swing and people not really knowing when it will be completely okay for them to have a babysitter come over, and to actually leave and go on a date, I thought I'd share 50 at-home date night ideas for you to utilize during this time at home, and beyond. Pretty much all of these ideas involve ordering in, or going and getting take-out as step one, unless otherwise mentioned. 

50 At Home Date Night Ideas:

  1. Dinner and a Movie
  2. Card Games: Some of our favorites are Uno, Phase 10, Spit, and Rook
  3. iPad Games: Download a bunch of games on your phone or iPad and have fun playing them back and forth with one another. Some of our favorites are hangman, connect four, bowling, and the dot game. 
  4. Backyard Fire: Fire pits don't need to be expensive. You can gather a bunch of bricks and stack them in a circle, or buy an inexpensive one for $30-$50. Roast s'mores or hotdogs, and cuddle after you put the kids to bed! 
  5. Play Board Games: Some of our favorites are Scattagories, Boggle, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Risk.
  6. Make Dinner Together: Make a new recipe that you typically wouldn't make for your kids 
  7. Make Dessert Together: Already ate dinner with the kids? Once they're in bed make dessert and turn on a movie!
  8. Play Question and Answers: Look up a bunch of random questions online, and take turns going back and forth answering them. This could be great if you have a spouse who isn't very chatty. 
  9. Have a Backyard Picnic: Get food to go, or make something in the kitchen, and hangout on a blanket in the backyard and eat together!
  10. Paint Night: Find a painting video on youtube, and then go out and get the supplies you need to make it happen. Dollar Tree has a lot of paint supplies, along with Michael's. Don't forget your coupons!
  11. Watch a Movie Outside: If you have a projector you can setup a sheet and your favorite movie and watch outside when it gets dark! 
  12. Lay Out in the Hammock and Watch the Stars
  13. Have a Food/Drink Tasting Night: Get a few fancy root beers, or cookies from different cookie shops, or different cheeses or meats, and sample each one and talk about which ones were your favorites and why. 
  14. Listen to a Podcast: Follow up with discussing what you liked and what you didn't
  15. Have a Video Game Night: We have the Super Nintendo with all the old games pre-loaded on it! It would be fun to see who can beat who at the old school games!
  16. Have a Fondue Night
  17. Have a Bookclub for Two: Get two copies of a book, read them separately, and then discuss what you liked and what you didn't on your date night. 
  18. Have a Living Room Campout: Bring the sleeping bags inside, make s'mores, and even turn on the fireplace for a little ambiance.
  19. Have a Snowy Night Party: If there is snow outside, put the kids to bed, make a snowman together, have a snowball fight, and when it gets too cold, come inside and have hot cocoa by the fire and warm up to a movie!
  20. Play Twister!
  21. Plant a Garden: Always want to plant a garden but haven't gotten around to it? Make it into a fun date night!
  22. Have a Spa Night: You can do some facial masks, get rid of those nose hairs, and even throw in a massage if you want! 
  23. Do a Workout Together: Hit up Youtube for some workout videos, and then make a healthy dinner or do some meal prep together afterwards!  
  24. Pull out the Photo Albums: Take out your old photo albums and look through all the pictures together. 
  25. Plan a trip: Pull out your computers and each take 30 minutes planning your dream vacation, and then share your ideas with your spouse. Even if you don't take the trip, its still fun to see what each of you come up with!
  26. Assemble a Puzzle Together: Get a fun puzzle off of Amazon and spend the night putting it together! 
  27. Tackle a Home Improvement Project: Paint a room or lay some new floors (make sure it's relatively small and easy so that you can finish it in a night and feel good about yourselves)!
  28. Play card Games
  29. Paint Mugs and Plates: There is a place in Utah called Color Me Mine, where people paint pottery for date nights. You could easily recreate this from the comfort of your home. 
  30. Play Yard Games Together: There are so many fun options like Corn Hole, Ladder Golf, Kan Jam, Spike Ball, or even make an oversized yard game like Jenga!
  31. Get Dressed up for a Fancy Dinner: Put on a nice dress with full hair and makeup, and have your husband get in a suit and tie, and have a nice candlelit dinner at home!
  32. Learn a TikTok Dance: You don't have to actually post it, but we all know this would cause plenty of fun and laughter. 
  33. Bake a Fancy Cake Together: Hone in your cake decorating skills and try to make a great tasting and beautifully looking cake. Cakes by Courtney has tons of tips and amazing recipes. 
  34. Have an Ice Cream Sundae Competition: Who can make the best looking, and best tasting sundae? Get all the fixings at the store and find out!
  35. Do Yoga Together: Similar to doing a workout, but a lot less sweat. 
  36. Binge a Season of your Favorite Show: Some of our favorites are The Office, Brooklyn 99, Friends, and Seinfeld. 
  37. Have a Dessert Only Dinner: Get a bunch of your favorite treats and watch a movie while you eat. Turns out when you're the adult you don't have to have your real dinner first. 
  38. Watch the Sunrise/Sunset: Wake up early, or stay up late, and watch the sun come up or go down together. 
  39. At Home Escape Room: There are tons of escape room games on amazon that you can purchase so you don't have to make up your own, and it will be a lot more fun and challenging than a normal board game!
  40. Guess the Food: Pick a bunch of foods from your pantry/fridge. Blindfold your spouse and see if they can guess each food. 
  41. Get Crafty with the Kids Art Supplies: Pull out all your kids supplies and see who can make the best... anything. 
  42. Learn a New Game: Grab a new game you've never played before and figure it out together
  43. Try Deep Frying Everything: Look through your pantry and try deep frying things, Oreos, chocolate, string cheese, etc.. 
  44. Take Online Personality Tests
  45. At-Home Prom Night: Dress up for prom and play all the best songs from the year you graduated high school. 
  46. Watch a Comedy Show Online
  47. Tie-Dye T-Shirts: Tie-dye is making a huge comeback right now anyways. Get some white shirts, and a tie-dye kit and make a night of it!
  48. Backyard Olympics: If you're competitive The Creative Bite has a ton of backyard games you can play. Compete against your spouse and see who is the winner!
  49. Take French Lessons: It is the language of love after all ;) 
  50. Make Pottery Together: Mold some clay or try one of these pottery wheel kits for kids, and see what you can come up with! 
Do you have any fun at-home date night ideas that you love? I'd love to hear them in the comments below! 

If you liked this post, 50 Inexpensive At Home Date Night Ideas, you might also like:

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