Family Fun: 10 Things You Shouldn’t Forget When Organizing a Family Gathering Outdoors

When planning an outdoor family get together, there are many things to remember to ensure that everything goes as planned and everyone has a great time. Last summer I was the organizer for my family’s annual family reunion, which I decided to hold at a local park near my home.

The experience of hosting our gathering gave me a great deal of insight into how to best plan for an outdoor event of this kind. Let’s take a look at the 10 things you shouldn’t forget when organizing a family gathering.


Location is key when it comes to planning any family gathering. If you will be hosting family members from a wide geographical area, putting some effort into choosing a central location will be much appreciated by all.

Along with the general location, be sure to choose a spot that can accommodate the number of guests you are anticipating. If any family members require the venue to be handicap accessible, be sure to find that out in advance. I highly recommend personally scouting out locations to see first hand if the location will be a good fit your family’s event.

Festive Music

One of the quickest and easiest ways to set a festive mood is with music. Ask ahead of time if your location has a power source to plug a cd player or speakers into. If electricity is not available, be sure to pack extra batteries.

Family gatherings usually include relatives from many different age groups. Try to curate a playlist that will please everyone by selecting songs from a variety of genres and time periods. An alternative to making a playlist is to find a streaming music station that plays upbeat music without too many commercials.

Bug & Sun Protection

When an event takes place outdoors, it is important to plan for both bug and sun protection. Nothing ruins a fun family get together than mosquito bites and sunburns.

Provide a basket of child-safe bug sprays and sunscreens in a variety of SPF’s and you’ll save the day when they’re needed. Another unique idea for sun protection would be to have custom hats or sun visors made with your family’s name and the date emblazoned on them.

Inclement Weather Provisions

Keep an eye on weather reports the week leading up to the event so you won’t be caught off guard. My number one recommendation for handling weather issues is to choose an outdoor location that has a covered area such as a gazebo or pavilion that would be available for you to use.

Picking up a few dollar store ponchos and umbrellas is also a good idea, along with throwing a stack of old beach towels in your car for the inevitable puddle jumping child.

Comfortable Seating

Keep your guests’ comfort in mind when planning your outdoor event. Nothing puts a damper on a party like a lack of or uncomfortable seating options. If your venue doesn’t have adequate seating, bring along outdoor furniture chairs of your own to provide comfort for all your family members.

Activities for All Ages

Family gatherings are a wonderful way to bring the generations together in a fun, festive environment. Old fashioned games such as egg spoon races, hula hoop contests and three-legged races are fun for all. Family trivia and bingo games will include family members who may be more comfortable sitting down.

Guess who is a great game to play at a family gathering. Ask each guest to bring a baby or childhood picture of themselves, pin them on a poster board with a letter next to each photo and have everyone write down their guesses. Have a few little prizes on hand for the winners!

Food Allergies & Restrictions

When planning the menu for your event, take some time to take food allergies and restrictions into consideration. Have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free items available for family members that require them.

If any family members have food allergies, be sure to spread the word in advance of the event so foods with the allergen are not brought to the gathering. Providing labels for each dish that lists the ingredients can let your guests feel free to eat without having to ask questions about each dish.


Some municipal parks and outdoor pavilions require a permit for use. Contact local township officials to see what permits may be needed. Small town park permits are usually quite inexpensive, but it may take time for them to be processed so plan accordingly.

Health & Safety

When events are outdoors, there are a few health and safety precautions to consider to make sure all guests are properly cared for. The number one consideration is to choose a venue with adequate restroom facilities. Make sure that any games or activities are planned away from parking lots and heavy foot traffic, to avoid any injuries.

Bring a well-stocked first aid kit with you to the event. Antiseptic spray, pain reliever and band-aids are the most common items that are requested at outdoor parties and events. Frozen sponges work great in a pinch for twisted ankles or bug bites and they keep easily in a cooler.

Stick to a Budget

Above all else, don’t use a family gathering as an excuse to blow your budget or go into debt. Set a clear budget before beginning your planning and hold yourself accountable throughout the whole process.

A great way to curb costs is to make your event pot luck instead of hiring a caterer. Finding a free or inexpensive location will set the entire gathering up to be on the budget.

With a little bit of preparation, your outdoor family event will go smoothly and be remembered fondly for years to come. Take the time to think about these ten pointers ahead of time and you’ll be able to enjoy the event and make memories with your loved ones.

Protecting Your Delicate Instrument: 3 Considerations to Make Before Shipping Piano

Are you planning to move your piano, but aren’t sure where to begin? Shipping a piano is a difficult process—after all, a piano is one of the heaviest, most fragile, and most expensive items you can own. If you intend to move it yourself, we’ve assembled a guide to help you do it as safely and smoothly as possible.

Asking For Help

Pianos are heavy and awkwardly shaped, which is why the cost to move a piano is often high. To move one safely, you’ll need at least two or three strong helpers. Depending on the piano’s shape, its weight distribution may vary, and it’s important to know what to expect.

Having the Proper Equipment

Before shipping your piano, be sure you have the right equipment, including:

  • Blankets to shield the piano from bumps
  • Strong moving straps to safely lift and tightly hold the piano
  • Two or three furniture dollies that can support the piano’s weight and move it across flat surfaces

Even if the piano has wheels, they’re not strong enough to move it more than a few inches. If you aren’t sure where to find the above items, a professional piano mover may be able to offer some helpful advice.

Planning the Move

Before the shipper arrives, be sure you’ve measured all stairwells and doorways to ensure that the piano will fit. If you’re moving an entire household full of possessions, putting the piano in the truck first will help keep it stable throughout the shipping process.

Securing the Lid

An important thing to remember is to keep the keyboard lid closed. If the lid isn’t lockable, use some shipping tape to keep it from coming open. Piano movers often use blankets under the keyboard lid for extra protection. Wrap the entire piano with blankets, securing them with moving tape. Be sure to cover all the corners to prevent damage.

Getting Ready for Lift-Off

Once your piano is locked, padded, and secured, it’s time to do the heavy lifting. Using straps, you and your helpers will need to lift it off the ground just enough to get the furniture dollies underneath. Keep the piano upright at all times, and once the dollies are in place, you’ll be able to slowly and gently move the piano along smooth surfaces.


Once the piano is at the moving truck, be sure the ramp is in position. Push the dollies up the ramp, retaining control of the piano and communicating with your helpers throughout the process. Once it’s in the truck, pack other items around it to protect it and keep it in place.

Bringing it Home

Once your piano has arrived at its destination, it’s time to unpack it. During a household move, the piano will be the last thing that comes out of the truck. Using the same procedures and tools as before, safely and slowly move the piano down the ramps on the furniture dollies. Before wheeling it inside, be sure its resting place is clean and clutter-free. After it’s settled in, you’ll need to have it tuned again.

Getting Help

As shown here, shipping a piano is a complicated process. If you’re unsure of your piano-moving skills, consider asking for professional help. With the right tools, skills, and expert advice, your piano will be in its new home and making beautiful music before you know it.

A Timeless Father’s Day Gift! {Giveaway}

Disclosure: TCMS has partnered with Jord Watches for this review post. All opinions remain my own and weren’t influenced. My opinions may differ from others as well as those of the company.

Father’s Day is right around the corner and the gift search has begun! We all have that one person that is super hard to shop for and for me it’s the men in my life. Both my husband and my father are super hard to shop for. I tend to give my dad gift cards because I’m never sure what he likes, wants, or needs. My husband on the other hand usually gets a well-thought-out gift, it just takes me forever to make a decision on it.

Luckily, Jord Watches halted my search this year with their modern wood watches. They combine style, comfort, and luxury in one to provide unique wood watches that are remarkable and make for the perfect gift!

The elegant presentation will leave you speechless and is sure to impress even the hardest person to shop for! The watch arrives in a stunning cedar humidor watch box. It’s also paired with a manual, a cleansing cloth, and a 6 month supply of Jord preserve finishing oil. This combination ensures that your timepiece will last for years to come!

My husband was elated when he opened the Ebony and Rosewood Dover. The contrast between the Ebony and Rosewood really make this timepiece the center of attention. Pair that with the full skeleton design to create a timepiece that is unforgettable!

He immediately conditioned it and put it on, without hesitation. The fit was perfect and he was smiling ear to ear! He wears his watch daily and has received many compliments on it. This timepiece is a conversation starter. It embraces and enhances my husband’s bold, outgoing nature. I love that it pairs well with any outfit. This watch looks great regardless of whether you’re wearing a 3 piece suit, a button down, or tee. We recommend Jord watches over and over again!

Jord watches are sure to impress this Father’s day! However, they also make for a great gift all year long and don’t be afraid to spoil yourself either! Jord also offers beautiful wood watches for women.

The breathtaking beauty isn’t the only thing that sets Jord watches apart! Jord (pronounced as Yoda without the a) was founded in 2013 with a mission to create designer watches from natural materials. Each Jord series incorporates natural wood with a premium quartz, chronograph, automatic movement. They value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living because they are aware of the need to make time count. Jord believes that moments are bigger than minutes so they design watches that tell more than just time.

What are you waiting for? Tell your story today with a Jord watch!


One person will win $100 off a Jord watch of their choosing. Simply fill out the form before 5/5/2019 for your chance to win!

Connect with Jord!

Wooden Wrist Watch