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Picture of The Family Potluck Challenge: Game on!
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This playful Potluck Challenge is designed to get everyone in your family involved... especially the kids. They'll learn a little something about cooking, planning, team work, organization and achievement... all rolled into one delicious, fun-filled event!

Sometimes we forget that the most important things in life aren't "things" at all. They are the special people and the joyous memories that warm your heart and always bring a smile to your face.

Most of us take family meals for granted. But if you stop and think about it, family meals aren't just about food. They're about yums and laughter. They're about happy tummies and that wonderful sound of silence when everyone stops talking because they're too busy eating!

Are you ready to make some happy memories?  

The family that plays together stays together, so maybe it's time to get moving and start a whole new family tradition!

Let the Family Potluck Challenge begin! 
 
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Step 1: Family decisions:

Picture of Family decisions:
The fun starts with a family vote on the party theme, and here are just a few ideas:
  • Luau
  • Fiesta
  • Beach
  • Safari
  • Patriotic
  • Mardi Gras
  • Sports
  • Western
  • Costume Party
  • International
Choose food categories for a balanced Potluck Dinner.  Examples include:
  1. Beverage
  2. Appetizer
  3. Salad
  4. Bread
  5. Vegetables
  6. Meat
  7. Dessert
  8. Or?
Once the food categories have been determined, write them on individual slips of paper and put them in a hat... or bag. Just for the sake of silly fun, blindfold each "contestant" (even the teenagers and adults!) and turn them around 3 times.Then have them draw a slip of paper to determine the category of food they'll be preparing.

If your family is small, each member can draw 2 categories. Better yet, invite their friends to join the fun. If you've got a herd of kids, let them pair up into teams.  Bottom line: The more the merrier!

If you have a child who can't participate in food preparation, put them in charge of Entertainment... or Party and Award Ribbon decorating.
(See step 5.)  They just might enjoy being "The BOSS" of something for a change! ;-)

Step 2: Guidelines:

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Call them "guidelines" if you must. It's really just a fancy word for rules.  Keep the parameters of acceptability fair and simple!

For example:
  1. No food fights? ;-)  
  2. Every food entry MUST be sampled by each Contestant... even if it's just a bite.
  3. Each Contestant is required to clean up after themselves in the kitchen.
  4. Laughter required!
  5. Whining discouraged.
  6. Yelling prohibited. (This applies especially to the adults!)
This is your Family Potluck Challenge... you decide! ;-)

Step 3: Cooking with Kids

Picture of Cooking with Kids
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An Adult consultant/supervisor (or 2) will be needed for this Challenge.

First-time-Chefs-in-training need supervision and children should never cook alone.  Don't "assume" that your child knows how to operate a kitchen appliance just from watching you.

A refresher course in Kitchen Safety will help prevent mishaps, and here's a very good place to start: http://www.justmommies.com/articles/kitchen-safety.shtml


The job of "Consulting" has some important requirements of it's own:

The Consultant must have the patience of a Saint, an unflappable  sense of humor and common sense.

If little Matty starts envisioning Tuna Salad with chocolate-dill pickle sauce, it's the Consultant's responsibility to gently steer the recipe in a different direction. (but did you know that a tiny pinch of ground cinnamon tastes wonderful in Tuna salad? It really does!)

The idea is not to curb the child's imagination; but to nudge, guide and nurture it.  

As Albert Einstein once said:  "Imagination is more important than knowledge... for knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world..."  Now, I ask you... who's going to argue with Al??? ;-)

Older kids can surf the web or scour Mom's cookbooks. With your help, the littler ones can too! (Or how about a parent-child trip to the local library?) 

It's also the consultant's job to supervise the use of knives, hot ovens, stovetops, grills... and to delegate authority when neccessary. For the sake of safety, children should never be allowed to cook alone.

Step 4: Can one kitchen handle it?

Picture of Can one kitchen handle it?
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Family homes only have one kitchen but  there are plenty of delicious make-ahead entrees. What better place to start a recipe search than right here on Instructables? 

http://www.instructables.com/tag/type-id/guide-true/category-food/

For more options to free up your kitchen, check out this Instructable :

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-keep-your-family-OUT-of-the-kitchen/

Step 5: Prizes? You betcha! Voting? You decide!

Picture of Prizes? You betcha! Voting? You decide!
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The Family Potluck Challenge can be as big (or small) a "production" as you want to make it.  

Above all, it should be FUN. Every man, woman AND CHILD deserves to feel valued and appreciated for their hard work and effort. ;-)

Prizes can be as simple as a Ribbon... a Certificates of Achievement ... a NEW CAR (laughs hysterically!) ... or anything in between. (Our Government may not know the definition of the word "Budget", but if you're raisng a family, I'll bet you do!)

Use this opportunity to bring out the craftiness in your kids!  Give 'em construction paper, crayons, paints and glue and let 'em have fun creating handmade ribbons and rosettes. 

I made this Blue Ribbon and personalized it for my very sweet sweetheart.  I used 2 coffee filters, 2 sizes of paper cupcake liners, colored markers, scissors, cardboard and some spray paint... and it was even fun for ME... a real "grown-up"!  I glued a magnet on the back and it will now forever adorn our refrigerator... and make him smile ;-)

The internet is also full of websites that offer FREE printable Award Certificates that can be personalized for this Family Challenge and every family member.

Consider some fun (and funny) Prize Categories such as:
  • Best Tasting Dish
  • Most Creative Dish
  • Good Sportsmanship Award
  • Best Presentation
  • I'd-Eat-That-Again!
  • Looks aren't everything!
  • Better Luck Next Time!
Go to the dollar store and take look around. You'll find some great toy prizes for the kids... and even some hilarious gag prizes for teens and adults

Print up voting cards for each family member in advance... and keep the voting SECRET just like they do on Survivor. Who doesn't LOVE a good "mystery"? ;-D 

Step 6: Savoring the food and the moment...

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Life "happens" in the blink of an eye, whether we're ready or not.  Give yourself permission to enjoy it... right now!

One minute we're 8 years old... wishing we were 18... then we're 43 and half-wishing we were 18 all over again.

I can safely guarantee you won't spend one minute of your golden years looking back and wishing you'd spent more time raking the lawn or doing the laundry.

Still need a little convincing? I don't think anyone says/sings it better than Trace Adkins in this moving UTube Music Video, titled:

"You're Gonna Miss This"

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBDN8yWyNYU&ob=av2n


 





sunshiine3 years ago
I love it! You have been busy!
bajablue (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
(((hugs)))

Don't you wish our folks had done something this FUN when we were growing up?

Life is too dang short to be little!