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

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Grandmother Tea Party

Joan Elder was gracious enough to send me a wonderful idea recently that I'm so excited to share with you.  She had a Tea Party with her granddaughters and taught them about her grandmother.  You can tell she is a great storyteller and when you add food, you can tell she had a winning combination.  

Here is what she wrote:
Meissen-teacup pinkrose01 This is the idea I was telling you about. It was so fun!!!  This sit down type activity works better for me than trying to do some physical activity where I am trying to keep up with my active grandchildren. I am going to adapt it to different ancestors. It could be a picnic lunch, or a day of fishing, or...but pulling out the items that go with the person works well...especially when some of them are treats! I did the tea party with my 9, 7, 5, and 2 year old grandchildren all together. I was able to captivate their attention for over an hour. Food will do it. (and pictures and stories). I sent one of them home with a picture of them, myself, and the ancestor in wallet sized photos in a $.99 double frame from WalMart. Going to make scrapbook pages of it as well (hopefully), and continue doing it for the rest of my 22 grandchildren.

[She wrote out a whole lesson plan for it.  (I especially love the pink foam roller story.  What grandchild wouldn't?)]
Bertha Marie Tea Party
(a tradition that began March 4, 2013)

Set out mom’s china
A picture of Bertha Marie
Pretty Bowl with cards in them

Pointing to Bertha Marie’s picture in the center of the table, talk about how we wouldn’t all be here if it wasn’t for her. This is my ___. Because she had Joan, who had ___, who had you. She is how we all got here. We owe her a lot just for that. Do you know her name? Do you know who she is to you? (g grandmother).
   These dishes you are eating off of are hers. She liked nice things. Let me tell you a story about them.

Magic China – show picture of the upside down car at Joan Marie’s wedding. Tell story how the china was in the trunk of the car, and not one piece of china was broken when the car was rolled. Joan Marie’s brother Ken was the boy driving the car on Joan’s and Russell’s wedding day. The crash happened after the wedding. Fortunately, Uncle Ken was not hurt either.

Have the following items ready, but unseen. These will be brought out as the coordinating card is drawn; Pictures, Chocolate Éclair, Butterfinger bars (one for each child is more impressive), donut for each child, the fixings for chocolate malt (vanilla ice cream, milk, chocolate syrup, powdered malt), Reinking book, (Schafer book if you have it of mom and her 4 Schafer kids).

Cards with these words on in (put them in a pretty bowl for children to draw out. I choose one that is her favorite color, then ask the kids if they know why I chose this light aqua color) –
Thrifty $$$, Hard Working, Beautiful, Kind, Fair & Honest, Funny, Talented

 ‘Beautiful’ Card
Bertha Marie’s high school picture – show other pictures of Bertha; her other high school pictures, she and her mom together, and other girls in our family; Joan Marie’s senior picture, Katie’s, Rainy’s, Krystal’s, Melinda’s and Krystal’s 4 month old baby picture. Tell how Sierra and Krystal looked exactly the same when they were 4 months old. That’s because we are all related!
   Bertha Marie was very beautiful, and us girls get some of our beauty from Bertha Marie. But she was not just pretty on the outside. Let’s find out how she was beautiful on the inside.

‘Fair & Honest’ Card
Butterfinger Candy Bars – Mom didn’t want us to eat sugar. She didn’t like it giving us cavities. We didn’t have it around the house much, only on special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes I would find a candy bar wrapper under mom’s seat in the car. She would feel embarrassed, because she was breaking one of her own rules. Her face would turn bright red. She didn’t like it that she had been not fair, so she would buy one for us. Do you know what kind of candy bar was her favorite?  Butterfinger. (Take out the Butterfingers) And she would give one to each of us! (And pass them out to each kid).

True and faithful to her husband   

‘Kind’ Card
Donuts – have Reinking book ready – show picture of donuts in Fritz’s kitchen. Tell how mom used to come in with her buddies when she was like 5, reach up above her head, and pull them off the table one by one, and pass them out to her friends.
   Story about her taking the Switzer kids in
   Story about her sending money to cousins after WWII in worn torn Germany.
   Story about her sending money to her nephew that was going to college to help      with tuition costs. She did these things quietly, without bragging or fanfare. I never knew till only recently.

Chocolate Malt Fixings – Tradition of going to Lawton Pharmacy where they had ‘fountain drinks,’ and made Chocolate malts from scratch. We all loved these as much as we did eclairs! Mom would always ask for ‘double chocolate’ and ‘double malt.’ That means she had them put extra in of the things that made it taste so good. Well, sorry to say, but us kids were so greedy when we had a chocolate malt in front of us.

‘Talents’ Card (pie, oatmeal cookies, sewing)
Reinking Book- Show picture of Singer Sewing Machine. Tell how her mother Ruby taught her how to sew. And that she sewed all of her clothes (show picture of Bertha Marie in the suit she sewed. See the page labeled ‘After the War.’
   Could tell how she made the best pies with perfectly fluted edges. And the best oatmeal cookies. I (Joan) remember hiding under the table once, and sneaking one off to eat while mom was still baking more. Bran Muffins for breakfast.

‘Funny’ Card
Funny Story – mom used to wear foam rollers (explain. They were often pink). One time, we were sleeping in a cabin on a little island in Washington, called Lopez Island. It was a cool vacation for us, because it was nearly on the beach, and we got to go play at the beach during the day. We could tell the cabin was full of mice, because when we laid down and turned the lights out to go to sleep, we could hear the mice scratching and knawing in the drawers and cupboards. Well in the middle of the night, we all woke up scared when we heard mom screaming!!! When we turned the lights on, we found her squeezing one of her pink foam rollers! Apparently, she thought there was a mouse in her hair…and SHE SQUEEZED HIM TO DEATH! But, it was just her pink roller.

‘Hard Working’ Card
Bought houses and apartment buildings, and fixed them up. When someone would move out, she would clean up all their trash and mess, and paint all their walls perfectly, and make the whole apartment like new again. She would repair fences. She worked hard.

‘Thrifty $$$’ card
Tell the meaning of thrifty. Ask how much they can buy at the dollar store. Can they buy pants? Or a coat? Or a dress? Well Bertha Marie always shopped for bargains. One time she bought a nice dress for $1! She was a real shopper.
She would always save her money first before buying something. She loved antiques. They were expensive. She would save up, then buy the piece of furniture. (Show picture of brass clock, Roberta’s grandfather clock, lamp, bedroom set?) Don’t have pictures of these items yet.
   Because she worked hard, saved her money, and was thrifty, she became rich.

‘Fun’ Card
    When Bertha Marie was about 5 or 7, she won a scooter for free! You had to collect labels on cans. Her dad was a cook, so he saved all of his. Neighbors saved theirs. It was at a time when everyone was poor because of the depression. She was so excited when she won the prize. That would be like winning a motorcycle today. (show picture of she and scooter in the Reinking book. Point out her mom and dad on the front. Talk about how they saved their money. Show family car and house in Seattle. Show the Hooverville houses that some people had to live in.)
   Chocolate Éclair – this was Bertha Marie’s favorite treat. One time she told us kids that she had found the best eclaris! When we asked her where, she said they were on the other side of town (20 minutes away). Ask the children, “What would you do?” Pause. Well we asked her if we could go right now and go try them.  “What do you think she said?” Pause, “You’re right! She said yes, and so we all piled into the car lickity split, and got to that special bakery on the other side of town. “Do you think they were the best?” Yep! Well, maybe you had better try these and see what you think. (Pull out eclairs)

Thanks so much for the inspiration Joan.  I can't wait to try this.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Santa Claus as an ally

I received a wonderful idea from Nancy Roach that might work for your family and I'm so glad she agreed to let me share it with you here.  She is friends with Patricia Burrow and had a twist on Patricia's idea about getting children to write their own stories.  I thought this one was particularly useful since it involves Santa.  Anything with Santa will be attractive and get their attention don't you think?  Thanks Nancy for this great idea!  I'm going to see if it will work on my kids this year too. 

Patricia says, "When my children were growing up, they would write letters to Santa every year. As they got older they would include in those letters to Santa what had gone on in their lives "since you were here last year." Those letters are a wonderful way of remembering what the child considered important enough to share with Santa. Even in college I told the kids to write their letter to Santa or there might not be any presents. They would good-naturedly reply to keep Mom happy so I have those college memories of what happened during the year too. My daughters are keeping the tradition alive with my grandchildren."
Nancy Roach
Scottsdale, AZ

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mother's Day Sale. Our lowest prices ever on the Zap The Grandma Gap Books so you can pamper your mom.

We sent out an email today about the Mother's Day sales we have going.  I'll post them here too so that everyone gets to hear about it.  If you didn't get the newsletter, you can sign up here.

Two Mother's Day Specials That Will Strengthen Your Family Relationships And Help You Honor Your Heritage.

Mother's day is a great time to celebrate the heritage you've been given and we want to help you honor and give back to the mothers and grandmothers in your life.  We've paired up offers from and for some great ideas to show your love to the mothers and grandmothers in your life.

Honoring Grandma
Our Deepest Discount Ever On Canvas Custom Charts 2 Days Only
If you've been waiting to create one of our beautiful canvas giclee masterpieces, now is the time.  Honor your Mom and teach your family about their heritage with a beautiful expression of your family.  Submit your files by midnight Thursday and get 1/2 off any custom canvas giclee genealogy chart. 
Sale Price: $54.95 - $142.45 Regular Price: $109.95-$285.95 S & H: $11.95Send us your files now.  We'll work back and forth with you until it is just what you are looking for, and have it shipped in time for Mother's Day.  Sale ends midnight May 2nd

Zap The Grandma Gap Books
Zap The Grandma Gap Books New Lower Pricing and Mother's Day Special
Because of the amazing reception we've already had for our new books, we have a new distributor who has allowed us to be able to dramatically drop the prices.   And we've dropped them even further for the Mothers and Grandmothers in your life.  Check out the excerpts and the great reviews.  A quick and easy present to strengthen your family and honor your heritage.
Our Price: $30.00 S & H: $5.00Order now, sale ends May 7th
When you honor the mothers in your life you strengthen those family relationships and create a culture of respect and gratitude in your own life and in the next generations of your family. Let us know what we can do to help you in that endeavor.  We send you our best wishes for a healing, inspirational, wonderful and blessed Mother's day.

(And don't fret if  you want to take advantage of this opportunity to treat yourself to a chart or the books you've been wanting for yourself.  Your Mom would be proud of you for sharing your family's heritage and for taking good care of yourself too.  :))

A great new magazine review from

I'm so excited to show you the first published magazine review we have for the book, and the first international review.  I have had such a wonderful time talking with editor Helen Tovey about the principles in Zap The Grandma Gap.  She has been so excited about it and even has been trying some of the ideas out on her own children.  Here's what she wrote me in an email last month: 

Lastly – about your wonderful tips that I’ve tried and which have worked. Here are some examples…
I’ve dug out my Reader’s Digest Cookery Year from the 1970s and baked the jumbles with one daughter (my mum always used to bake these for us when we were kids) and in reminiscing about this it led on to all sorts of other family stories – as happens!
I ‘walked the walk’ when they were around (usually I do my fh when they’re out at hockey etc) and the same daughter joined in (she offered!) with helping scanning.
I sang (very badly!) ‘Over the sea to sky’ to the other daughter – as my mum’s mum used to sing it to her when she was little.

More than anything you changed my attitude, really encouraging me, so that I’ve been just dropping bits of fh into casual random conversations much more than I would usually – and they’ve liked chatting about it, reflecting on it and joining in.
Our family is a very complicated one, and I found your realistic attitude very heartening too – ie that you need to share and learn from the good and the bad parts of the past.
I'm so glad she found the book encouraging.  That is what I was trying to do--express the idea that no matter what your family background is like, you will grow and become stronger by knowing more about it.

So then, I received this in the mail..  :)

Here's what was inside:

 Thanks so much to Helen Tovey and her team at Family Tree Magazine UK.  You absolutely have made it all worthwhile.