Connect To The Youth In Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History


Monday, December 8, 2014

Our Family Heritage Christmas Tree



Take a look at this video that my daughter put together of us decorating our Heritage Christmas tree. This is such a wonderful way to remember and honor your ancestors during the holiday season.  Rachel shows you step-by-step how to make the various ornaments and then pull your tree together.  She even finished it off with an heirloom tree skirt.  And best of all--she wanted it in her room this year!  Score.  Hopefully those ancestors are encircling her with all that love and hope that I want for her.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Paper Dolls Now Available

Some fun parts of my Zap the Grandma Gap Workbooks to pull together are always the paper dolls. Maybe it's because it brings back memories of days past when paper dolls were all the rage, or maybe because I just love seeing all of the heritages in costumed display. I love them. And now, you can order the paper dolls for hours of fun story telling and play.

We passed these out at Rootstech last year and they were a huge hit.  People loved having an extra set of dolls ready to go.  The dolls, and their costumes, come to you on a 42" x 9" sheet, ready for coloring and cutting. Each sheet comes with the paper doll family and their personal heritage costumes. I have the paper dolls from each of my Zap the Grandma Gaps Activity Books (British, German, Swedish, Civil War, Jewish, Pioneer, and Mormon) and they are designed to go right along with my free clothing downloads available here. Our free clothing downloads include a set of modern clothes and a set of super clothes.

The dolls and their clothes are $2.50 per page. This is a great deal, especially if you have lots of grandchildren or great-grandchildren to remember this year. To avoid rush shipping, be sure to place your order by December 12, 2014, for both Chanukah and Christmas delivery. If you don't mind higher shipping charges, you have until December 17, 2014 to get your order in to us.

These really do make fabulous gifts that allow for creative play and lots of storytelling opportunities at an extremely reasonable price. As you color and cut out the dolls, you can talk with your children or grandchildren about family stories of ancestors from each culture and particulars about their daily lives. It's a fun and positive way for you to share your family ancestry with the special young ones in your life. Not to mention bringing back memories of your own childhood activities too.

Order today to ensure Chanukah or Christmas delivery in time! It'll be sure to add a special dimension and bonding moment to your family holiday celebrations.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Making Your Holidays More Meaningful

Just before Thanksgiving, over on The Chart Chick, I blogged about some creative, holiday decorating ideas that incorporate family history. I am very proud to say that I followed through on my desire to accomplish one of the ideas for my own Thanksgiving dinner and the results were amazing! Take a look at my pictures. It was really awesome to have our ancestors there at the dinner table with us.  It sparked several conversations about specific ancestors and it made us all feel a lot more thankfulness for everyone who had come before.  I think it was really beautiful too.  So we have a new holiday tradition at our house.

I put the pictures together digitally and then printed the whole thing on vinyl.  It was was really durable--even when we spilled food on it.  While that is a little outside of the norm for us, we can still do one for you, of course, if you like what you see.  Send me an email or give me a call (801-472-1091) and we can talk about the particulars of how to put your table runner together. Another option for you is something Rachel and I pulled together a couple of summers ago. You can check out the original blog post and YouTube tutorial here. Either way, I can't recommend this idea enough. It made a huge impact on our family now to share a meal with our ancestors from the past.

So this idea of decorating for the holidays with your family history got me to thinking about all the ways we could make this holiday season more meaningful. Like you, I've thought thought about what makes for a "Good Christmas Morning" or "Perfect Chanukah Gift." It isn't stuff. I know we all know this, but do we really know it? So I'm issuing a challenge to all of you (and myself) this December. Let's think of ways to really make this holiday season a meaningful one. One that, when our children and grandchildren look back, they won't remember what they got (because let's face it, they won't) but rather what they felt.

So let's talk about some ways to do that. Here's a ready to go list for you, for easy reference and personal application.  You can thank me later. ;)

  • Decorate Your Home With Memories - Take a look at my Thanksgiving Decor blog post. It's jam packed with ideas that will work for your Christmas or Chanukah celebration as well. Not to mention easy-peasy, meaningful gifts. Or better yet, center your decorations around a custom made, decorative chart. You still have time for your domestic orders to make it in time for Christmas and Chanukah! Contact us today!
  • Heartfelt Chanukah In 8 Steps - I love this article from Simple Kids. Robin, the author of this particular article, has got it right on with this! What amazing parenting advice for a meaningful, quiet remembrance of this miraculous holiday. She's even given links to help you plan your own tender moments with your family. She also offers advice on how she helps her children to understand and support their friends who celebrate Christmas, while still giving them the confidence and security of embracing their own holiday and traditions. She also gets to the heart of the whole aspect of teaching your children, through traditions, why certain aspects of Chanukah exist and how that affects them. Her words and perspectives are beautiful. What a great mom!
  • Christmas Advent Activities - So this idea may be just a little late in the game (December came fast this year!), but it's worth jumping on now, while we still can. Maybe you remember those little cardboard Advent calendars from your youth with foil wrapped chocolates, or perhaps your family lit an advent wreath, or maybe you made a paper chain at school and relished in tearing off a link each day. In whatever fashion you know an advent calendar, Thomas over at Geneabloggers has a wealth of family history themed advent ideas. In fact, I have even seen tweets already of people clamoring for his collection of genealogy themed advents. Go ahead and take a look and see what ideas tickle your family's fancy. The children will love the countdown and you will love infusing your personal family narrative into the tradition. That will last longer than any foil wrapped chocolate ever could, I promise!
  • Keep An Old Tradition - Talk to your children and find out what they think your holiday traditions are.  A few years ago, one of my employees and her husband were surprised to discover that their children considered dinner at their family's favorite restaurant in Salt Lake City and new pajama's on Christmas Eve to be "their family tradition." At the time it was something her family had only done once or twice, but the children identified it as what their family did on Christmas Eve. She and her husband didn't question it and decided that from then on, if the children felt it was a tradition, then it was. Over a decade later, they still celebrate Christmas Eve the same way.
  • Storytelling - Dig back into your memory and pull forward everything you've ever heard about how your ancestors celebrated the holidays and share it! It's fascinating to learn how things used to be and I can promise your children will absolutely appreciate their holiday now when they learn about how holidays then used to go. There is a little bit of thankfulness involved there when kids see things as they used to be. Not to mention how curious your children may become once you start talking about how meals were prepared or gifts were made. They may even want to tackle some of those things themselves--which would be a parenting touchdown for you!
  • Service - This time of year, we're all more tender hearted and aware of those who are having a harder time than we are. Opportunities to serve are endless and it seems like charities come out of the woodwork. Decide as a family on a particular charity or service project you identify with and go for it with gusto. It could be a gift tree at your local super store, Toys for Tots, Project Linus, Little Dresses for Africa, or any of your local charities. Children's hospitals are a great place to start, if you are looking for something really hands on to do with your family (meaning: your children actually see the impact of their service). One of my employees still remembers the gratitude she felt for families that came and served dinner at the Ronald McDonald House when her son was hospitalized for a week after an emergency surgery. While the businesses that ordered in pizzas were appreciated, it meant the most to her to say thank you to teenagers who had spent the day making fajitas or lasagnas with their parents. This is the easiest time of year to get your children and grandchildren invested in helping others. Start small and watch them catch fire--because they will. Service is contagious!
Hopefully this will get your gears turning on how you and your family can come together in different ways to create a more memorable and meaningful holiday season.  Televisions and Barbies only hold our attention for so long before they are just another everyday thing. But memories will light our minds for years to come--and they will be passed on for generations in future story telling. So when you get overwhelmed with your holiday to-do list, slow down and think about what really matters and what will really last. Make this holiday season one that will draw your family together and strengthen your relationships for the long haul.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Mormon Ancestor Activity Book

We're so excited to show off some more details about our new books.  Today we are going to focus on the "My Mormon Ancestor" Activity Book.

First I have to give another big thank you to my sister Amy Slade for her help with this book.  Also, many more great thanks to Erin Roudabush, Michelle Phillips and Christine Fazulyanov for their assistance in making this book happen.


With the “My Mormon Ancestor Activity Book” you can:
· Plan an Ancestor Family Home Evening
· Learn about Priesthood Line of Authority and how to trace it
· Find the Patriarchal Blessings of your ancestors
· Complete a temple dot-to-dot
· Document the church service and callings of your ancestors
· Gather information on your family’s missionaries
· Record information about the first LDS members of your family
· Make a handkerchief doll for church
Look at some of these pages:





These books make wonderful gifts for the holidays. Take advantage of the pre-release sale, 20% off all books at zapthegrandmagap.com, till November 30, 2014 and they will arrive in time for Christmas. Other great online and print resources to help families connect to each other by connecting to their past can be found at zapthegrandmagap.com.

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Pioneer Ancestor Activity Book

We're so excited to show off some details about our new books.  Today we are going to focus on the "My Pioneer Ancestor" Activity Book.

First I have to give a big thank you to my sister Amy Slade (who just had a baby!) for her help with this book.  Also great thanks to Erin Roudabush, Michelle Phillips and Christine Fazulyanov for their assistance in making this book happen.


With the “My Pioneer Ancestor Activity Book” you can:
 ·Map out the pioneer route of your ancestors
· Decide what you would pack for a journey across the plains
· Learn how to find direction by the sun
· Compare your day to the day in the life of your ancestor
· Try classic pioneer recipes
· Write a Pony Express letter to a pioneer ancestor
· Play a game about the risks along the trail
· Contrast pioneer schools and modern schools
Look at some of these pages: 






This book will arrive in time for Christmas gift giving if you order now. Take advantage of the pre-release sale, 20% off all books at zapthegrandmagap.com, until November 30, 2014. Excerpts from all of the books can be viewed on the website at zapthegrandmagap.com/brandnewbooks. Other great online and print resources can be found at zapthegrandmagap.com
to help families connect to each other by connecting to their past.

This post crossposted to thechartchick.blogspot.com. I don't usually crosspost, but we are so excited about these new books!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Jewish Ancestor

We're so excited to show off some details about our new books.  Today we are going to focus on the "My Jewish Ancestor" Activity Book. 

First I have to give a big thank you to Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Daniel Horowitz, and Tammy Hepps for their feedback.  All three were so generous with their time and help and the book is much better because of their contributions.  I am indebted and in awe of their genealogy expertise. 

You can take a look at the entire Table of Contents in our preview on the Zap The Grandma Gap website. 

With the “My Jewish Ancestor Activity Book” you can:
· Learn about Jewish history, traditions and culture
· Make and braid Challah bread with your family
· Solve a Jewish calendar crossword puzzle
· Record your family’s recipe for Charoset
· Find your family’s place in the Diaspora
· Learn the Hebrew alphabet
· Complete a genealogy word search
· Enjoy a Yiddish folktale and Nasrudin stories
· Color, cut out and tell stories with Jewish ancestor paper dolls
· Explore many other activities about your family’s history

Look at some of these pages:




This book will arrive in time for Chanukah gift giving if you order now. Take advantage of the pre-release sale, 20% off all books at zapthegrandmagap.com, until November 30, 2014. Excerpts from all of the books can be viewed on the website at zapthegrandmagap.com/brandnewbooks. Other great online and print resources can be found at zapthegrandmagap.com
to help families connect to each other by connecting to their past. 

This post crossposted to thechartchick.com

Friday, November 14, 2014

Three New "My Ancestor Activity Books"

Just in time for the holiday season, I've got some new Zap the Grandma Gap Activity Books coming your way! I am so excited to announce three new books for you to share and give to the children in your lives. I have created workbooks for the following heritages:
  • With the “My Jewish Ancestor Activity Book” you can:
    · Learn about Jewish history, traditions and culture
    · Make and braid Challah bread with your family
    · Solve a Jewish calendar crossword puzzle
    · Record your family’s recipe for Charosets
    · Find your family’s place in the Diaspora
    · Learn the Hebrew Alphabet
    · Complete a genealogy word search
    · Enjoy a Yiddish folktale and a Nasrudin stories
    · Color, cut out and tell stories with Jewish Ancestor paper dolls
  • With the “My Mormon Ancestor Activity Book” you can:
    · Plan an Ancestor Family Home Evening
    · Learn about Priesthood Line of Authority and how to trace it
    · Find the Patriarchal Blessings of your ancestors
    · Complete a temple dot-to-dot
    · Document the church service and callings of your ancestors
    · Gather information on your family’s missionaries
    · Record information about the first LDS members of your family
    · Make a handkerchief doll for church
  • With the “My Pioneer Ancestor Activity Book” you can:
    · Map out the pioneer route of your ancestors
    · Decide what you would pack for a journey across the plains
    · Learn how to find direction by the sun
    · Compare your day to the day in the life of your ancestor
    · Try classic pioneer recipes
    · Write a Pony Express letter to a pioneer ancestor
    · Play a game about the risks along the trail
    · Contrast pioneer schools and modern schools
 These workbooks books offer a variety of fun and engaging activities to introduce your children and grandchildren to different aspects of their personal heritage.  We've included activities like mazes, recipes, dot-to-dot, and our always popular paper dolls.  Science has shown us how valuable it is for our children to have a sense of self (academically and emotionally) and these books are a fantastic to way to introduce your children to family history in an easy, interactive, and fun way.
As a bonus for you, we are having a pre-order sale.   
This sale includes all of my previous Zap the Grandma Gap books and workbooks, as well.  The books will be shipping in December--perfect for gift giving.  These books make wonderful gifts for children and adults.  Order by the deadline to take advantage of this fantastic sale.

Watch the blog next week for in-depth previews of each new workbook.  And take a look at my previous books here.  I'd love to help you bring some genealogy into the lives of your young ones this holiday season.