Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Family History Challenge

With Christmas on it's way there is lots to do and traditions all around us. How often do we take a moment to ponder where our family traditions came from. This year I wanted my families traditions to be a reflection of both my husband and my family cultural heritage.  I started thinking about the countries that our ancestors came from. My family is from Italy, Ireland, Norway, France and Britain. My husbands family is from Germany, Britain, Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland.

This months challenge is to learn more about the Christmas traditions in the countries that your family originated from and implement one of them.

I found some sites that had basic information that can get you started.

          The tradition that we decided to incorporate in to our Christmas is the Advent Calender from Germany.There are lots of different interpretations of the Advent Calender so I am going to pass on some of my favorites.

 I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and are able to spend it with loved ones.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Family History Challenge

 Growing up I always heard stories of the amazing food Nana would make on her wood-burning stove. My mom said that she would make ravioli for Thanksgiving and that there were photos of her drying noodles on the front porch. When she passed away none of us had any of her recipes so I have been working on recreating them.

    This months challenge is to find or recreate an old family recipe and then to share it with us and make it for Thanksgiving. When you make it on Thanksgiving let your family know the history behind it. It can be a lot of fun to dust off an old family recipe and pass it on to the next generation.

This is a recipe for pizzelle an Italian Christmas cookie and is the
closest I have been able to find to the ones my Nana would make. These are made on a special press. When you take them out of the press you dust them with powdered sugar.

Pizzelles Ingredients
 makes 2 dozen
  •  3 eggs 
  •  3/4 cup white sugar 
  •  1/2 cup butter, melted 
  •  1 tablespoon anise extract 
  •  1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  •  2 teaspoons baking powder

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Non-candy Halloween Ideas

  There are growing number of children who have food allergies, in addition not all parents want their children to have candy.  For these reasons I am very excited about  having options for trick-or-treaters. The teal pumpkin project by the Food Allergy Research and Education organization helps parents find homes that have a non-candy option for their children with food allergies.

This year our family has decided to join the teal pumpkin project and provide options to those that visit us on Halloween. It cost only $7 at the dollar store and the picture is of some of the things we got. It should be enough for 50 kids.

For those who would also like to provide options but don't know what to get here are some ideas.

Non-Food Ideas
1. stickers (96 per pack)
2. army men (30 per pack)
3. glow sticks (3-7 per pack)
4. bracelets (3-5 per pack)
5. pencils (12 per pack)
6.bouncy balls
7. toy cars
8. rubber ducky
9. spider rings
10. bubbles 
11. yo-yo
12. kazoos
13. playing cards

 Non-Candy Ideas
1. string cheese
2. granola bars
3. rasins
4. dehydrated fruit
5.fruit cups
6. popcorn
7. pretzels

 You may choose to have candy as well as some of these other options. What ever you do, I invite you to join the teal pumpkin project. Also let me know any other ideas you may have.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October Family History Challenge

     Fall is in the air and the leaves are changing color. As a result I have been thinking about family history activities that I can do and the Find a Grave project came to mind.

   Find a grave is an online database that contains records of graves and pictures of the headstones allowing individuals the opportunity to search for the resting places of their ancestors. Also this site is free. The reason that this site is able to provide this information for free is because volunteers go to the cemeteries near them and gather the information to add to the database.

  With this in mind and Halloween as my inspiration I have developed my October Family History Challenge. The challenge is to help Find A Grave by going to the site and finding a cemetery near you that needs to be added. Next take a tip to the cemetery of choice, then spend some time taking pictures and collecting information. When you are ready to upload your information here.

  This last Saturday my family, accompanied by a friend, had the opportunity to gather the information on over 50 graves. We will be uploading all the photos and information during the week. However, we saw something that made us very sad at the cemetery. In the tree line we found a pile of discarded headstones. We don't know why they were there, but we hope they were just old headstones that had been replaced. Regardless we gathered the information that we could and will be adding it as well.

Okay, now your turn! After you have completed your challenge leave a comment and let me know how it went. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 Ways You Can Stand For The Family

   I cam across an article on about a recent conference on the topic of standing for the family that I want to pass on. The article gave 5 ways that we can defend our beliefs on the family.

They are:

 "Know what’s at stake
The key to standing up for the family, according to Slater, is to know what’s really at stake. Using statistical research to back up its pro-family positions on societal issues, Family Watch International submits,
“A lot of the ills we face in society stem from the breakdown of the family and the acceptance of sexual relationships outside marriage,” Slater said.
Slater continued, “Studies indicate that people do best in families with married parents.” Issues like financial wellbeing, education, sexual health, self-esteem and physical health are all affected by the role of the family. To understand the integral role of the family in society is to understand what’s really at stake.

Understand the “packaging”
According to Slater, an attack on the family isn’t necessarily a blatant assault. Often, these messages are disseminated subtly and strategically. A big step in standing up for the family is to understand how this ideology is packaged.
Slater recommends attending the Stand for the Family Conference in Provo on Sept. 19, which will offer internationally recognized pro-family speakers, sharing a wealth of information to recognize how the attacks on the family come packaged and what can be done to stop them.
“We’re hoping to open the eyes of parents to help them see the broader picture,” Slater said.
Among the topics discussed will be the sexualization of children, and how tax dollars are spent to create sexual education that is harmful to kids and families. Slater’s book also thoroughly addresses this “packaging.”

Continue to get educated
Whether it's the upcoming Stand for the Family Conference or another event, attending functions like these will connect parents with tools and resources for continued awareness and education.
Attendees can opt to receive ongoing alerts and newsletters from Family Watch or other organizations or to participate in volunteer opportunities through which they can stand up for the family within their own communities.
“If (parents) just spend a bit of time on the Internet regularly, they'll be able to keep up to date on these issues. A few minutes every week makes a huge difference,” said Slater.

Make your voice heard
Standing up for the family doesn’t mean you have to be a full-time activist. Just being available to sign petitions, attending pro-family rallies and writing to your local leaders on important topics can make a big difference in your community.
“Respond to newspaper articles, write editorials, write a blog — there’s so much that any person, no matter how busy, can do,” Slater said.

Learn how to defend your position
According to Slater, defending the family shouldn’t be a negative experience. In fact, with a bit of training, people can arm themselves with nonconfrontational methods of standing up for what they believe.
“It’s not us against them,” Slater said. “We care about all individuals enough to say that certain choices lead to negative outcomes. We are not a religious organization. We take our stance from social statistics.”
Standing up for the family may seem unpopular and even a bit intimidating, but anyone who is willing to put forth a little effort can make a big difference.
“I’ve seen over and over again where one person made a difference,” Slater said. “When a person will stand up for the truth, it changes the debate. We want to empower people to be that one voice — a voice that’s both courageous and kind.”"

The family is the foundation  for society and if we allow it to be devalued, redefined and demeaned then our very way of life will be put in jeopardy. It is not easy to stand up for what you believe in and many of us that believe in the traditional family are busy tacking care of our own families, however we must do what we can with the tools that we have. As an often used quote says "If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


  Recently my huby and I were discussing family history with a friend who is from the Caribbean. He was telling us that there is no way for him to work on finding his ancestors because there are no records from his country online. My husband wanted to see if that was correct and in the process he found out that the records are not searchable yet but they are on their way. This is thanks to a process called indexing.
  "Indexing is the process of creating indexes for record collections.  Having indexes allows researchers to more quickly find records for specific individuals; without them, researchers might have to look through hundreds or thousands of records to locate an individual record." (
  The reason we can learn about our family history from the comfort of our homes is because individuals, mostly volunteers, have done the indexing required to create the databases that we use to search for our ancestors.
  If you are unable to find information about your family it would be worth considering becoming an indexing volunteer. You can do this several ways. The first method I would recommend is through Family Search. They have an amazing setup and will teach you step by step how to do it. Another method is helping with the Find A Grave project. If there is a cemetery near you that they don't have in their database you can take photos of the headstones. You then upload the photos and enter the information on the headstone and where it was located.
   There is something for everyone when it comes to family history.

 ( I didn't make this video it is from

Monday, September 1, 2014

Family History I'm lovin' it!!!!

   I have been spending a lot of time this last month on Family History. For those of you who are not familiar with this it is the study of the lives of your ancestors. This last month I have found several new ancestors that I didn't previously know of. It was really exciting! I also learned that one of my ancestors served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War!!

   If you want to start learning about your family a great place to begin is with creating something called a family tree. Here is an few example.

 Family Search is a great website to help you put together a family tree. Part of what makes it great is that it is free to use and has just released an app for all of you smartphone/tablet users. In addition it has a large database of recourse you can use to learn more about your ancestors.

   Also for those of you new to family history if you want to see stories about others discovering their family history you should check-out the TLC show Who Do You Think You Are.

This will most likely be the first posts of many about one of my favorite things to do. So stay tuned for more exciting finds.