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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

E-Book Sale Ends Today

It's the last day of 2014, can you believe it? I don't know about you, but this year flew by for me.  Time is funny that way. But as it is, I am happy to mark 2014 in my books as an author again. It was a real labor of love to add three new workbooks to my Zap the Grandma Gap collection. And then taking my entire series into the digital, e-book age was an exciting step. I really am pleased to be able to offer more workbooks, covering a wider variety of family heritages, all while trying to do it in a way that suits as many folks' preferences as possible. I really hope it will help families strengthen their relationships with each other and their ties to the past.

That said, as we close the books on 2014, we also close the books on our final sale of the year. If you didn't get a chance to take advantage of our hardcopy/e-book sale for Holiday gifts, I hope you'll do so now as a "year-end personal bonus" for yourself or a family member. The sale was designed with building your "family history and children" toolbox in mind, and is best utilized to "stock the garrison," so to speak. In other words, the more books you buy, the better deal you'll receive.

As a quick reminder the sale is as follows:
  1. Purchase a hard copy of any of my books or workbooks and receive the e-book of that same book for only $1.
  2. Purchase 5 or more e-books and receive 50% off your entire e-book order. 
For complete details on how it works, be sure to check out the original sale post, over on The Chart Chick. But do hurry because the sale ends today, December 31. 2014.

As we head into 2015, I want to wish you and your family the very best of New Years. We, at Family ChartMasters, count ourselves quite lucky to get to work with each of you and are truly grateful for your support. We hope for you and your family to have a wonderful, healthy, and safe new year of family memory making and memory discovering. Happy New Year's, everyone!

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.