Sunday, August 31, 2008
We couldn't have done it without all of you!
Thanks to everyone who visited our booth and offered such warm words of encouragement.
Thanks to an amazing group of friends who gave up personal time with family to sweat alongside us. You know who you are guys... we're forever in your debt!
And a special thanks must once again go out to our families. Not only did they support our being gone for three straight days, but they gave up plenty of home-cooked meals, time away from their own activities and a life of normality as we prepared for the event. If you can imagine, Suni's husband Mike not only tended his own family during our absence, but took in two of my boys... they had such a blast, they didn't want to come home!
Check back in the next few days. We have a lot of orders to fill, but can't wait to show you how we made the fun family frame.
Oh, did we remember to thank Marilyn at Constant Growing Amazment? Gotta' check out who she claimed as a favorite vendor at Swiss Days. Now... who could it be?
Monday, August 25, 2008
Stuffed French Toast
10 slices french bread or
bakery bread (thicker cut)
2 8-oz cream cheese (sounds like a lot. Guess what? It is! And worth EVERY pound!)
1 doz eggs
1 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
Remove crusts from bread. Cube and place 1/2 of the bread in a buttered 9x13 casserole pan. Cube the cream cheese and place over bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Add remaining bread. Combine eggs, milk, syrup and vanilla. Pour over bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Next day, bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with buttermilk syrup.
1 cube butter (here's another diet buster)
1/2 C buttermilk (or 1 C milk with 1 T vinegar)
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Combine butter, buttermilk and sugar. Melt over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, remove from heat. Add vanilla and baking soda. Stir (it will foam up for a moment).
I will start the mom party shortly after posting this blog. It would be nice to think that I'm blasting MY music of choice, or maybe, instead, curled up on the couch with a favorite book basking in the total silence. But no. I will use my first hours of freedom to try to salvage the house.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
No worries here though. We'll be polished and spiffed up by next Friday! We can't wait to share our newest products and hope that you'll come and make a point of stopping by our booth (B50) to tell us what you think.
Monday, August 18, 2008
It wasn't that long ago that I would have been hard pressed to get my hands on a baby picture of one of my children. It wasn't that we didn't have a million cute photos of the kids in every possible baby phase. I just hadn't gotten around to organizing the boxes and boxes that grew from my feeble attempts to stay on top of the pile.
I didn't feel in control of our photo madness until I started digitizing our pictures. What a difference it has made. I am now prepared for any family reunion, heritage project or school report that comes up; even those eleventh hour panic requests.
Here's some simple steps to preparing your pictures so that future generations can enjoy them. Everyone is at different stages. If you've already done step one, move to the next step. Remember to take baby steps! Some of these tasks will seem daunting, but it will also be an enjoyable trip down memory lane and your efforts will be appreciated for years to come.
Step One: Organize your pictures. Get a photo box (or a shoe box works) and organize your pictures in a way that makes the most sense to you. You might want to chronologically organize your pictures by date or event. I made a separate box for each member of the family. When I filled a box, I simply created a new box. The photo boxes usually come with simple dividers, or you can make some using 3"x5" cards. A box holds a LOT of photos! Breaking them into smaller, manageable sections using the dividers will make it easier to find a photograph when you need it.
Pictures already organized? Lucky you! Have you checked with your parents or grandparents to see what treasures they might have that need preserving?
Step Two: Document your pictures. I can't tell you how many family pictures I have inherited that we haven't a clue who's in them. It doesn't take long for the memory to blur. I didn't think I would ever forget the precious baby moments of each of our boys and yet, pile on a decade of additional memories and those sweet little faces start to look alike. What I wouldn't give to have some sort of clue to help me put names to the unknown family faces on the pictures I inherited. Use an archival pen to document your pictures and you'll guarantee that future generations will have no problem knowing their heritage. To avoid guesswork, include the day, month and year of each picture (if you can). Give the full name of individuals featured in the picture. Try to document the location of the photograph.
Step 3: Digitize your collection. I can't tell you what a great investment a personal scanner is. Prices have dropped immensely, and you can pick up a solid unit for about $100. Of course, you'll need a personal computer with sufficient storage for high-quality digital files. A CD burner will let you create a backup disk, as well as easily save copies for family members. External hard drives are another great way to back up your picture collection. I actually have two external hard drives. I pack one up and send it to a neighbors when we go on vacation just as an added measure to protect these valuable images.
Once all of the photographs have been scanned and saved, organize them into appropriately labeled folders on your computer. Our system is based on surnames and dates. Set up something that works for you. Consider uploading some of your family favorites to a photo hosting website such as Flickr, Photobucket, Image Shack so they can easily be shared with friends and family members.
Important Note: Digitized images are not considered a replacement for originals! Data (i.e. your image files) can be lost when the storage media deteriorates. Who hasn't had their hard drive crash? Software and hardware technology is constantly changing. Remember floppy disks? I have no way of reading them now. PROTECT YOUR ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS! Store them in an acid-free environment,
Still going strong? Don't forget important documents and material possesions. Look for postcards and letters. Include programs, diplomas and certificates. Now is a great time to round up each family members' birth certificate, christening or baptismal records, marriage certificates, etc. for permanent protection. Grab your camera and snap pictures of Grandpa's coalminers lantern or Grandma's hat pins. While only one person can enjoy the original item, everyone can appreciate the memory.
Should I remove my photographs from old albums?
How to protect your original family photographs
Protecting family documents
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The Church History Museum Store - SLC
Mormon Handicraft -Midvale, Orem and St. George, Utah
Fotoworx - Kanab
Country Crossing - Oak City
Ensign Books -Upland
Book Castle - Newhall
Zions Books - Visalia
Far West Books and Gifts - Kennewick
Beehive Books and More - Edgewood
Bell's Family Books - Twin Falls
Latter Day Cottage - Tucson
Allyn House - Nauvoo
We will be oh, so grateful if you will patronize these stores and, of course, see what you think of our products. We're confident that you will LOVE how easy we've made it to remember!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Turn your kids into cub-reporters. Deck 'em out with a mini-tape recorder (if you have one) or a pen and note paper always work. Have some fun with it. Help them come up with a pseudonym. Make official credentials. Throw on a hat, vest or tie and your child is ready to hit the streets! Be sure to have a mini lesson on the 5 'W's of good investigative reporting. Prepare some basic questions such as a favorite movie, best subject in school or first paying job. Have them start by interviewing someone that is already familiar. Maybe this will be a sibling or parent. As they become comfortable with the process, have them branch out to more distant relatives. Pictures add a lot to any story. Let them use an older digital camera to snap a picture. If that's not possible, include a picture from your files, or have your child add a drawing to their report.
Not only is this a great way to become more familiar with family members, but your children will start to recognize how things like fads and technology change over time. They might also notice that some things --such as peer pressure and sibling rivalry, never change.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We hope we're wildly busy this week, but not so busy that we don't have time to do a short walk-about. There's some cool stuff out there that needs a closer inspection.
Special thanks goes to Suni for helping me keep my cool through late night set-ups, broken printers, and the million things that needed to be done after a long vacation. Everyone needs some Suni in their lives!
Monday, August 4, 2008
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN GUILTY OF LOOKING AT OTHERS YOUR OWN AGE AND THINKING, SURELY I CAN'T LOOK THAT OLD. WELL, YOU'LL LOVE THIS TALE OF WOE.
MY NAME IS ALICE SMITH AND I WAS SITTING IN THE WAITING ROOM FOR MY FIRST APPOINTMENT WITH A NEW DENTIST. I NOTICED HIS DDS DIPLOMA, WHICH BORE HIS FULL NAME. SUDDENLY, I REMEMBERED A TALL, HANDSOME, DARK-HAIRED BOY WITH THE SAME NAME HAD BEEN IN MY HIGH SCHOOL CLASS SOME 30-ODD YEARS AGO. COULD HE BE THE SAME GUY THAT I HAD A SECRET CRUSH ON, WAY BACK THEN?
UPON SEEING HIM, HOWEVER, I QUICKLY DISCARDED ANY SUCH THOUGHT. THIS BALDING, GRAY-HAIRED MAN WITH THE DEEPLY LINED FACE WAS WAY TOO OLD TO HAVE BEEN MY CLASSMATE. AFTER HE EXAMINED MY TEETH, I ASKED HIM IF HE HAD ATTENDED MORGAN PARK HIGH SCHOOL.
"YES. YES, I DID. I'M A MUSTANG," HE GLEAMED WITH PRIDE.
"WHEN DID YOU GRADUATE?" I ASKED.
HE ANSWERED, "IN 1975. WHY DO YOU ASK?"
"YOU WERE IN MY CLASS!" I EXCLAIMED.
HE LOOKED AT ME CLOSELY AND THEN, THAT UGLY, OLD, BALD, WRINKLED, FAT-ASS, GRAY-HAIRED, DECREPIT OLD MAN ASKED, "REALLY? WHAT DID YOU TEACH?"
Friday, August 1, 2008
The house of my youth was right where I left it. It had weathered time beautifully, and by the looks of the toys scattered throughout the yard, seemed to be raising another happy generation. The path through the woods was still there. I took that path, rain or shine, to school for many years. The grade school and middle school were right where I remembered them. The high school was there too. It was in the middle of a major face lift, but a million memories of its former glory were easily discernible from the construction changes. It was all there before my eyes. The streets were familiar and comfortable. Even Main Street was just like I remembered it. No, it was better than I remembered. The Boy Blue Ice Cream Parlor was no longer there, but since it had been replaced with a nostalgic Malt Shoppe, I couldn't complain.