Profile + Web App

My photo
Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Black Friday Shopping Experiences and Tips

Black Friday Shopping Tips
Black Friday Shopping Tips

If you're planning on going out tonight or early tomorrow morning to grab the black friday treasures on your shopping list you'll want to read these urgent shopping tips now.

So Brenda just came through the door at 6:30 exhausted and in a state of shock. "It was crazy out there. The cars heading for Walmart were lined up several block down the street from the store parking lot." When I finally got in the lot I could not find a shopping cart. When I went to get the crock pot I had on my list they were all gone. People were standing in line carrying all the crock pots waiting for the cashiers to open the registers at 6pm when the Black Friday prices go in effect. It was crazy." That said, here's how you need to prepare before venturing out to shop.

1. Find out in advance what's in stock at all the stores you plan to shop at.

2. Gas up good. Your car may be stuck in traffic, looping the parking lot 10 times and delayed trying to make your way out of the parking lot on the to other stores.

3. Instead of finding immediate parking bring a driver and have him drop you off in the vicinity of the parking lot. Let the driver find a parking spot while you go inside and do the shopping.

4. Bring a large shopping bag or two of your own or a see through carrying case or large basket or a wheel cart if your getting larger items. Don't have any of these? A baby stroller will do.

5. Know where the items are located. If you can get your hands on a schematic that tells you what floor and aisle your items are on the better. Now chart your course as expediently as possible.

6. Some items go faster the others. Much has to do with demand and price. Obviously brand name cookware and flatware will go fast as many plan to use these this weekend and in the weeks to come so grab that first and fast.

7. If you're using coupons make sure in advance that they will be honored on items drastically reduced on Black Friday. Read the fine print and whatever you can find online.

8. If you want to avoid the craziness and don't mind waiting for delivery early next week consider ordering and take advantage of free shipping.

9. Whatever you do, be it shopping online or at the local store, if the items on your shopping list are in high demand get it sooner than later.

Lowest Priced Shopping Online Black Friday Deals

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Put Some Love In It.

A long time ago I learned that in order for anything to be meaningful and valuable, be it an act or gift, you have to put some love into it. Since then I try to put some love in everything I do. Including writing this blog. 

People who stay together as a family don't stay together simply by putting family first. They stay together because they've learned to put love in what they do with the family, for family and everyone that touches the lives of each person in that family. So when doing something as simple as making a phone call or planning a meal or something big like planning a social event with friends or family, or something even bigger like raising a child, these are the times to take deliberately action and show just how committed to the task of loving that person you are.

Planning Dinner Time
Brenda and I share dinner time together everyday. We don't just eat together. We put some love in it. We plan our meals together. We consider what we both like eating, the taste and most of all make sure that it's wholesome. While she does most of the cooking I thank her for the meal with a kiss and wash the dishes.  

Making Phone Calls
We don't just call when something is up. We put some love in it. We call each other everyday. During these calls we exchange an expression of endearment before ending the conversation. She calls me Booh. I call her Baah. In addition we don't let anything get in the way of our Friday evening date night. Because we are both frugal we will plan something simple like a picnic and stroll around the reservoir or listen to oldies but goodies in the car with the top open. Or watch a movie or two at home sharing a bowl of popcorn or chips. 

Planning A Gathering
My wife, Brenda, is the kind of person who likes to get up and go. She is ultra social. Most of what I like to do is here at home. I like to paint, do crafts, bake, write and entertain. In this way we are very different, but by putting some love in it we've learned to empower ourselves with these differences. How? 

One day outgoing Brenda asked me to help her plan activities for a social event. She focused on decorating the facility, preparing the menu and organizing banquet style service. I focused on entertaining the guests. I always like to interject a creative wholesome message about family and marriage in what I do without it being too obvious at the beginning. One of the games I created for this gathering is called "Getting to Know You" for engaged or newly wed couples. It's a bunch of questions on cards designed to open a dialog about what each person in the relationship strongly believes in. On first glance the questions are a bit funny or peculiar, but on second glance they have deeper meaning. In most cases the answers inspire a deeper love and regard for the other person in the relationship because it reveals favorable principles, experiences and standards the person is guided by. A good place to start when building a strong house.

Raising Our Children
Regarding raising children. We knew early on that it would be hard work. When Brenda became pregnant it was then that we put some love in it. How. To start, our children were the result of our commitment and love for each other, not the other way around. The training we gave them was carefully thought out, both by consulting the ultimate guidebook on child rearing the bible. The book contains helpful advice that would have otherwise taken me years to figure out if I figured it out at all. Things like: 

1. "Treat others as you want to be treated"
2. "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving."
3. "Don't think more of yourself than it is necessary to think."
4. Regarding being loyal to ones wife: "Drink water out of your own cistern. Don't give away your dignity to another woman. Be happy with the wife you married when young." 
5. "Children are like arrows" - They need to be guided in the right direction.
6. "Love hopes all things. Love endures all things. Love does not keep account of the injury." 

If I were asked, what was the secret to staying married to your wife for so long? I would say. "We did not just stay together. We learned early on to put some love in it."

Planning a family reunion? To get  more information about Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app click on the link on this blog page or access the profiles page.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Finding Cyber Monday Prices Everyday

So I have my black friday and cyber monday shopping list together and I know where I'm going to make the purchases. Suddenly I get this nagging feeling that there is a lower price on a more high quality product right under my nose and I don't want to miss out. The question is are we really getting the lowest price on that black friday, cyber monday sale? There is a way to find out. How?  

First Step - Know exactly what you want and need.That means taking the time to consider what's most important to you in a product. Consider how the product will best serve you. The features that would be most useful to you. Consider how you use similar products you already have and ways to improve it's design and output for more convenient or skillful handling and performance.

Overall you want to give thought to the following preferences: Color, texture, feel, handling, versatility, quality, power and performance. And of course the price your budget can handle compared to the list price and lowest price available. 

Second: Know the list price. The true list price is the Manufacturers price not the store list price.

Third: Always, always and finally always compare prices in ads to determine the absolute lowest price offered and consider if you need a store shoppers card or if there is some other qualifying factor needed to get the item at that price. In other words read the fine print on the ad.

Fourth: Take into consideration shipping costs. Many store offer free shipping upon reaching a certain spending threshhold. 

It's Cyber Monday Everyday with Widgets

Many shoppers have never considered using a shopping list widget. But there are many of them online in the form of a listmania or wish list. An whatever items you wish from the featured store or shopping network.

Here are a few examples. 

Listmania: Black Friday Everyday Shopping List 

Wish lists: Sometimes taking the time to put together a wishlist featuring the lowest prices you've seen online is the way to go about forming a checklist of items to shop for when the time is right. Add items from any store found in your browser. The checklist automatically links to it and the image. Share it, sends it and access it from your smartphone. Here is an example of a wish list.

Cyber Monday Everyday Web App

A good application for shopping is one that allows you to establish a budget, create a list of items you want, check list prices, find bargains, calculate the cost and and stick to your budget. There a little web app that can help you do all of that. Shopping Budget Checklist Maker.

Want more shopping tips? Read More Here

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pinterest Black Friday Consumers Consortium

Brenda and I are planning a big family night event in January 2014.  It was in 2011 that we took advantage of the after holiday sales and used deeply discounted materials to make props for the dinner theater play.  We saved about 50% on materials that season. 

Lesson learned: If you're planning a few events next year this is a reminder to take advantage of Black Friday the day after the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be using a rather unique approach to bargain shopping. We're getting help from our reunion planners group on Pinterest this year. 

Right now as I write this blog and for the next 10 days pinned request is circulating among Pinterest users.  "Pin The Best Black Friday Deals Ever Board". That's the request that rang out early Tuesday morning to over 1100 followers of my Back Friday Pinterest board. 

The Details

The pin lists specific products I'm searching for. Things like a flat screen TV and Blue Ray player. I want top of the line, well rated quality products at the cheapest Black Friday price. No I don't want to read all the circulars of hundreds of stores. Just tell me what you've seen and pin it or link to it in your comments. 

It goes without saying everyone wants to get the absolute lowest price on products sold online and in local stores and so do I. But finding the absolute lowest price ever is another story. That's where fellow pinterest board readers will come in handy. It's a great way to exchange recommendations and show off your online bargain hunting savvy.

Pinterest's Black Friday Consumers Consortium

When you think about it online shopping has come a long way compared to internet bargain hunting a decage ago. Now there is an ever growing frugal shopping movement complete with consumer reviews, product ratings and the ability to search multiple stores at once. I call it a "Frugal Consumers Consortium". And now the movement is hitting Pinterest boards and I intend to take advantage of it. So when it's time to take a coffee break  turn on your monitor, connect to Pinterest and help me find the absolute lowest discount on my shopping list? See what's been pinned so far at...

Big Thanks! See you at the boards.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Family Reunion Planning Tips

I really am anxious to start planning the next event. I was hoping I could do something this month. If I had my way I would have an event program that looks something like this:

1.  Warm welcome with jazz tunes
2.  Dinner
3.  Puppet show as child sings.
4.  Guess Who Game
5.  Video Interviews
6.  Please and Thank You Song
7.  Kids Dance Segment
Closing thanks. Please drive home carefully and thank you for coming.

So how can you get your family reunion planning started this month?

1.  Choose A Theme
2.  Reunion Activity Ideas
3.  Consider Your Budget
4.  Send Survey Options
5.  Announce Event
6.  Delegate Assignments
7.  Raise Funds
8.  Pay Vendors
10. Enjoy Your Reunion

Need more help? Become a member of the Family Reunion Planners Group. We give support in the following areas.

Once you've purchased Fimark's Family Reunion Planning Social Web app you will then be an official member of The Family Reunion Planners Groups. As a Family Reunion Planners Group member you will have access to our support team via

We are now accepting donations of $39. Your donation comes with support for free family reunion banner design, photo restoration services and keepsake booklet maker support all found in Fimark's Family Reunion Planner web app. A bonus gift for your donation.

The web app is an event planning interface with a feature that steps you thru the event planning process. In addition the app rolls over 10 event planning apps into one and provides three different event planning apps. One for those who like to use a spreadsheet and docs. The other for those who use Google Plus, Google Drive and Google Docs and another web app for Facebook users. The app also provides access to the Fimark Family Reunion Planner ebook in flipbook, pdf and doc format. What more could you want?

App Support Bug Fix
Family Reunion Planning Social Web app users who have had intermittent issues with blank white screens and misaligned Todo lists need to update the web app. To do this first save the url to the web app in your browser. Then clear history and any cookies associated with frpsocial in your browser. Next remove the app from your facebook page. After this is done go to the url you saved in your browser and login. Your app will then be updated. For more support contact us at

Congratulations on your decision to get an early start planning your next family reunion. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Annual Family Reunion Planning Month Is On

Annual Family Reunion Planning Month is being observed by an ever growing diverse group of family reunion enthusiasts, genealogists, culture fest and history buffs to promote awareness of family values to bring family and community closer together.

According to Mark Askew, author of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner and founder of the reunion planning group that spearheads the FRPM movement many large family groups, schools, community groups, hotel and resort chains and tour travel companies have joined ranks to hold a FRPM workshops. Other hold free community concerts, school talent shows featuring family groups or historic community presentations featuring town and city tours or free restaurant taste tests.

This is a great time to invite family reunion planners as well as family recipe cooking demonstrations during FRPM food fests. "Two of our favorite activities has been having a neighborhood lawn and leaf party one weekend and a food fest the next", Mark reminisces.

Mutual support in the household engenders sustainable personal, community and  economic growth as families focus on family union. The key is by promoting fun and lively activities such as genealogy presentations, creative talent shows, culture fests, tourism and community and neighborhood volunteer work all with a view to family and community empowerment. 

During Family Reunion Planning Month families take the time to define roles, reward hard work and creativity while honing skills that contribute to good household management and mutual support. Creative family reunion planning contributes all that and more as families prepare reunion entertainment, diverse cultural fests and genealogy presentations in a fun and engaging way.

Annual Family Reunion Planning Month is a time to provide the family with an identity everyone can be proud of.  It's purpose is to give meaning and value to family life by honoring family legends, promoting family heritage and creating or maintaining traditions centered around family heirlooms.

This is a great time for hometown family fun. It's also a time for businesses, community groups, schools and organizations to creatively showcase practical services and resources to promote family, culture, community and economic empowerment. Buy out time now to get involved in something fulfilling everyone in the household will enjoy.

How will you be observing this enriching event? How can FRPM unite your family this year? How can FRPM and your business promote economic empowerment? Find out how you can get involved. Read more here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fun November Activities

Incoming! November 2013. One of the most beautiful months of the year. Crimson gold maple, emerald green pine, vivid amber and copper leaves. Beside being awestruck by the autumn scenery how do you plan to enjoy the month? Get you plans down quick, November will pass as quickly as it has come. Consult the activity calendars of local community groups online.

Activities may include local fund raiser bake sales featuring the season harvest. While you're attending grab not one but two sweet potato pies, a gallon of apple cider and caramel candy apples on a stick. During the month of November trees pass from green to brilliant tones as if each tree was kissed by the fiery sunset sky.

Soon every leaf will find it's way to veritable ground. That said, it's time to plan a fun family leaf raking party. In the neighborhood I grew up trees were a plenty so there was always work to be done stuffing scores of leaf bags until you drop. And drop we did... canon balling right into a mountainous pile of leafs.

Throwing fun leaf raking parties was also our specialty. It was a fun but practical way to get all the kids together, organize games and races while getting a big job completed in little time. The biggest task was feeding the masses of energetic helpers. Pizza, grilled hot dogs and hamburgers washed down with apple cider easily gets the job done. Getting inspired? When planning your Leaf raking party consider the following:

Things you need:

1. A big yard with leaves galore!
2. Rakes and whisk brushes
3. Leaf bags
4. A grill
5. Food and drinks
6. Camera for photos and video
7. Lot's of kids and those young at heart
8. An activities and game itinerary
9. Two food tables and chairs
10. Waste containers

1. Biggest Leaf Pile Contest - Form teams and try to rake the biggest pile
2. Leaf Pile Dome Jump - Try to jump in the center of the pile and remove the dome
3. Leaf Bag Relay Race -  Fill as many leaf bags as possible
4. Leaf Bag Filling Race - Try to find remaining leaves and fill your bag as high as possible
5. Leaf Bag moving -  Move as many leaf bags to designated spots

Recording The Event:
1. Take photos and video of each event
2. Use video as play by play documentation
3. Make a sports cast game video just for fun
4. Create a slideshow of the event
5. Use photos for scrapbook keepsake

When making your video consider using creative ways to present it. Many video and slideshow applications contain filters and motion settings just like the professionals use. Use grey-scale, slow motion and fade in and out sequencing. I like to start out with normal motion, then cut to slow motion and fade into a still life scene and turn it grey-scale as a way of capturing and holding the memory in time. The presentation really comes to life when background music is added.

Promote November's Family Reunion Planning Month.  Family is a big deal. Support and nurture our most precious resource the Family as only family can. Have a Family Fall Fest or plan your next family reunion.Get more information and ideas in the reunion event planning book, 'Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guidebook and Keepsake'

 You'll find great deals on family reunion cruises this time of year at  Looking for ideas for gifts and awards?

Planning a family reunion? To get  more information about Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app click on the link on this blog page or access the profiles page.