Friday, October 18

LIFE | Neighborhood Fall Family Picnic

I wanted to send you off into the weekend with some great images from the Fall Family Picnic we had a couple of weekends ago.

I was in charge of organizing it so I was all about trying to come up with a variety of activities to keep the kids (and adults) busy. But I wanted the activities to be pretty simple so there wasn't a lot of prep work that needed to be done for myself or for the other volunteers that helped to make this all happen!

We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is centered around an expansive area of...

Gorgeous old oaks and a beautiful open field of green grass.

There's also a pretty gazebo on one end 
our typical meeting place for neighborhood events like this one.

I'll label the photos so you know what's going on in the images and then if you want to pull off one of these for your own neighborhood (or for family events, birthday celebrations and my favorite…family reunions!!) 
you can find more of the detailed information at the bottom of the post.










There were plenty of activities to keep the little ones busy but the highlight of my day was the very last event of the Family Picnic - the pie-eating contest!!

We wrangled up 5 willing (and not so willing) participants. One of them was a (SUPER) mom who volunteered to sit alongside the line up of male contestants. Her husband couldn't be there that day and so she sat in his place to make the day memorable for her kids! If that's not LOVE that then I don't know what is.

We presented each contestant with a plain pumpkin pie and explained the rules. (They had 2 minutes to finish as much of the pie as they could and whoever ate the most would be declared the winner).

BUT just before we started the contest, I presented the crowd of onlookers with a question: "Wouldn't everyone agree pie is so much better with some whipped cream?" Of course they agreed so myself and a couple of assistants squirted on a generous helping of whipped cream - which was all a ploy for better photographs! *wink*

It was a really close call between two of the more competitive males in the bunch.
The prize? A gift card to Perkins for...what else??? A fabulous pie! Ha!! *wink*

The day was absolutely FUN! It's something I'll remember for a long time to come.
There were a lot of families, couples, both older and younger and lots of kids who took part.
We had about 60+ people participate so I was happy to have such a good turnout.

The only bummer about the day was that neither of my older girls were able to attend due to a competition they were participating in AND they both had Homecoming that same night.


Pumpkin Run (which was really a fast walk)
Object: Balance a mini pumpkin on your head and walk quickly to the finish line.

Tic Tac Toe Loved this brilliant, simple idea I randomly came up with.
Use mini frisbees as the tac tac toe pieces.
Spray paint the game board in the grass.

The fact that you can set this game up anywhere makes it great for any outside activity/event and I will DEFINITELY be doing this again. The plastic playing pieces are durable and weather resistant and set up and clean up is a cinch!

Was thinking you could use bucket lids as game pieces too.
I created an "X" on some of the frisbees using duct tape and then left the other frisbees plain for the "O" pieces.

Bobbing for Apples
We set up a long bench with individual pails and one apple in each pail right next to the gazebo.
(We needed a water resource and there was already a hose there).
For sanitary purposes we refilled the water and added a new apple for each new contestant.

Crafts Tables
Craft #1: Decorated White Paper Lunch Sacks
We had the kids decorate paper bags when they arrived at the picnic with crayons and foam autumn leaf stickers. The idea was for them to then use the bag to put the small prizes they'd be receiving at each game station. 

Craft #2: Coloring Page
We provided Fall themed coloring pages for the kids to color.

Craft #3: Scarecrow Foam Craft
Scarecrow Foam Craft Packages were given to the kids interested in making a scarecrow.

3-Legged Race
I cut strips of fabric from my stash of material and kept these in a metal bucket right next to the sign for 
racers to grab and put back as they were done.

Sack Race
Grain sacks would've been so much more appropriate but we just used pillowcases for the races.

Corn Hole
We had a corn hole game set up - even though there are no photos to share. 
Thanks for bringing this to the picnic Renee!!

Raffle Contests
Attendees were given tickets as they signed in to the picnic.
If they RSVP'd prior to the picnic they earned extra tickets at sign in.

Raffle Prize #1: Cupcake Delights Gift Card - our favorite local cupcakery
Raffle Prize #2: Starbucks Gift Card and package of SB Pumpkin Coffee 
Raffle Prize #3: Kernel Seasons Movie Night Prize Pack

We had different prizes at each game station which included the following:
- stickers
- finger pulls
- variety of candy
- rainbow loom bracelets - made by a sweet 9 year old girl in our neighborhood and donated as part of the picnic prizes!

The neighborhood association provided subs and water bottles for everyone.
Attendees were asked to bring a side dish - and boy did they! We had two long tables packed with delicious picnic foods! There was also a Popcorn Bar set up and it was a hit. (more details HERE).

All of the photos you see here were taken by other people.
My sweet friend and neighbor, Allison, took a few photos and the rest were taken by her dad.
I'm so grateful they were able to snap these for me to be able to look back on all of the fun details from the day. 

I'm also grateful to the handful of volunteers that showed up with tables, chairs, ice, trash cans and willing hands to man some of the game/activity stations and set everything up and then take it all down. It was definitely a collaborative effort and I couldn't have made it all happen without their help! (Amy, Allison, Renee, Joan, Stu & Perry). Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!

Of course...I have to also thank my stepdad for helping me re-work the popcorn cart to make it presentable for the picnic. It had been sitting for nearly two years and the top wood piece needed to be replaced and I wanted the two front posts removed that I had used to create the canopy on the original Popcorn Cart. He also showed up on the day of the event with his truck to help us get the popcorn cart to the designated picnic area. Thank you Rick!!

J takes no part in the preparations for any of the events/parties I plan and organize out of protest in a sense because he knows how busy I already am with running multiple businesses, managing a household and having a busy schedule with three children. He doesn't support the idea of me volunteering (or getting volunteered) to do things like this. 

HOWEVER, I have to say he always comes through on the actual day of the event and helps me execute the last minute details that need to be taken care of. (transporting the popcorn cart, picking up the food items, stopping by Sam's for the bulk paper products and water bottles, set up and clean up). I was exceptionally grateful on the day of the picnic when he shooed me off from the event early to be able to help my two older girls get ready for their special Homecoming night together! He thinks I always take on too much and I know in a lot of ways he's right. At the same time I love doing things like this and if there weren't for more people like "me" (willing to take on too much) then I believe the world would be a very different place...with absolutely less celebrations - that's for sure! Ha!!

Because of the Homecoming, I ended up having to leave the picnic early and didn't make it back to help with clean up! To make things worse, my girls weren't ready before the sun went down so I didn't get the photos I wanted using natural light. Despite that, here are some photos from their big night!

I only picked up a total of 6 mini frisbees for the Tic Tac Toe game. (3 X's and 3 O's). It wasn't until someone pointed it out that I realized I'd made an error! You might only need 3 X's or 3 O's to get 3-in-a-row but you actually need 4-5 of each color in order to REALLY play the game! Oops!

The sack race almost didn't happen because we ended up having only two pillowcases.
At the brilliant suggestion of one of the neighbors we turned the race into a team relay - having the kids put on and take off the pillowcases as part of the race. Yay! We solved the dilemma and played on. of the pillowcases was completely shredded after a couple of the older kids raced with them so this particular activity was very short-lived. (we got some great photos though before it ended).

The large black trash bags I gave J for the trash cans ended up being too small so we couldn't line our trash cans with anything. Yucky clean up!

Boys + Popcorn Bar = Disaster
As a mother of 3 girls I don't have any experience with how boys operate - except the memories I have growing up with my younger brother. I'm sure not all 8-10 year old boys are like this but I was a little taken back when I looked over to see a group of boys sitting down at a table with plates piled high and spilling over with popcorn and candy toppings from the popcorn bar. (I guess the brown bags that were provided to them weren't big enough)? Then, as I listened to their conversation, I realized they had filled their water bottles with reeses pieces (from the popcorn bar) and were shaking them up to make the water turn into something that looked like something I won't repeat. Yuck!

UNPLUGGED #5 - A Black Eye
This was actually pre-picnic but it's worth mentioning!
When I picked Ella up from pre-school on Friday, the day before the picnic, she had a HUGE shiner/black eye. It was swollen and cut and looked like she'd joined the MMA. Seriously. She had apparently bumped it (really hard) on the monkey bars while on the playground. But guess what?! None of the teachers even knew because Ella never cried!! What?!
They noticed it when the kids lined up to go back inside the classroom and by that time it was almost time for school to be dismissed. My poor sweet girl.

She's such a tough cookie. 
I have to give her daddy credit for that because he's always doing things to try to toughen her up.
(Wrestling with her and writing off boo-boos as if they're non-existent or no big deal).
I'm pretty much opposite of that - although I've gotten MUCH better with time and multiple kids.

You can hardly see it in the couple of photos in this post thankfully but trust me - I was freaked out!
It was so much worse on Friday so I was so grateful it wasn't as swollen on Saturday.
I was so sad to have her attend the picnic looking like we'd beaten her. *wink*
It's almost all gone now - just a tee tiny bit of yellowing left. 
Too bad it wasn't closer to Halloween when it happened - we could've played off of it for her costume. A Boxer? Monster? Frankenstein? We could've put on an eye patch and called her a PIRATE. Ha! I'm kidding!!

Don't laugh! Did you know I had never even stepped foot into a Starbucks until I went and picked up the gift card for one of the Raffle Ticket Winners? I'm not a coffee drinker so there's been no reason for me to check it out. Can you believe that? I did eye some tasty treats while I was in there though! *wink*


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