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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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions

Out with the old and in with the new.  As hard as it is to believe, in a few days we will be living in a brand new year - the year 2015. As year new year starts Brenda and I set goals we would like to fulfill. Most years we manage to scratch off two or three items that have been successfully fulfilled. How? Obviously we make a list. A list of resolutions we can actually fulfill with the resources we have at hand. Next we consider the steps involved in progressively bringing our resolution to reality. In other words we consider each step a goal in itself.

That said, when making any new year's resolution consider setting several small goals as building blocks that when completed fulfill the bigger goal, your new year's resolution. And don't worry if it takes a a little more that a year to fulfill them. The objective is simply to get started and progressively reach your realistic resolve.

Here are the Top 10 realistic new year's resolutions that are not out of reach.

1. Lose 10 pounds by Spring - 1 pound a week - Avoid weight gain foods - drink water

2. Redecorate the living room -  one chair every third month of 2015

3. Plan a fun summertime family reunion - Get the app. Follow one step each week of 2015.

4. Perfect a new recipe each month - Get the app - Select the recipes - Record it on a 2015 calendar

5. Learn to speak another language - Get the app - Play it on the way to work.

6. Plant a garden with the kids - Get the app - buy a shovel - get a hoe - buy seeds - buy plants.

7. Have a yard sale - Get the app - Set a date - Make a sign -Find a big box - Throw in stuff to sell.

8. Spend more quality time with my kids - Plan it out - Say no to more work - Throw yourself into it.

9. Start dating my wife - Plan weekly date activities (Some at home, some outdoors as well as dinner restaurants and theaters) for the next two months.

10. Eat organic - Stop at the organic market. Grow organic foods. Make your own pasta, etc.

How can we set realistic goals that will progressively fulfill the resolution over time?
Let's start with item 1. Lose 10 pounds by Spring.  That's 11 weeks. Set progressive goals to lose a pound a week. How?
1. Cut down by eating on a smaller plate,
2. Drink more water.
3. Walking briskly each day. Dance to a whole song each night.
4. Avoid foods that contribute to weight gain.
5. Reward yourself for each pound lost with a broach, scarf or whatever you like.

Using this method will not only bring your new year's resolutions to reality. You will have learned to keys to planning for the future while developing the self-discipline to reach goals that will reward you exponentially for years to come.

Want to plan a summertime family reunion? First goal. Get the book or web app. Just follow the link in the Profile on this page.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In It To Win It

While I don't like change, I do like learning new things, winning people over,  and the rewards of a job well done. That said I am willing to try new things, taking a fresh look at life and see life from a different perspective if it means getting better results for all involved.

I find that discovering new lands, people, culture, foods and exotic species adds zest to life. Lately I've been learning many new things about life, history and the human condition while researching, producing and directing a new film presentation for my upcoming family night gathering. No this is not just any weekly family night. This one actually includes several different families all under one roof sharing an evening meal and video entertainment together. Why so many families?

As Brenda and I travel the Maryland circuit teaching and being taught, we develop meaningful relationships that last. Our way of keeping in touch is by having family night gathering once every few years. These events encourage mutual support and provide an exchange of guidance and wisdom needed during these challenging time. Our prime objective is to inspire strong family ties, teach kindness and consideration and preserve family and community cohesion. How can we do all that in one night?

After presenting our first film feature we have an open forum. We discuss what we saw, how we felt about it and lessons taught. We ask the right questions to stimulate thought and emphasize comments of practical value.

Successfully building a happy family begins with attitude. An attitude that is contagious. An attitude that inspires. That says I Am In This To Win It.  To aim at being successful as a husband, father, wife and mother. To win the rewards of deliberately sharing mutual filial and loyal love.

To win it requires a trustworthy proven training system, regimen and priority mind set. A life guide, if you will - Personally I find the books of Genesis, Exodus and Proverbs provides the ideal lesson plan that lays the ground work for building a close knit loyal family that stands the test of time.

Here are a few of My Life lessons
Learn and maintain humility - It's a constant process that never ends. If you think you're humble you're probably not.
Live a simple life. Only then will you discover who your family members really are.
Avoid getting caught up in corporate politics and competition, it will only distract you from what really matters - Loving your family from the inside out.
Put some love in it. (Make basic principle of love manifest in all you do.)
Remain united no matter what or who tries to pull you apart.
Cling to hope, celebrate love, honor one another
Take time to look back and cherish fond memories
Take time to look ahead and build new ones
Live in the moment, learn from the past, plan for the future
Save time, save money, save mementos and put away something for the unforeseen
Build resilience and accept challenges
Learn the joy of giving
Celebrate achievements of the heart
Teach your young to feel - To express honor, respect and appreciation
Reward good behavior - Inspire to reach greater heights
Take pride in the challenges you've met and the obstacles you've overcome
Value practical experiences - Reject fantasy and folly.
Quote words of wisdom to your family everyday
Express love for each family member when you end the day

On family night we all come together to enjoy an exciting and inspiring video presentation filled with lessons about family life, love and creation itself.  Last week Brenda, my video editor and respected movie critic, put her stamp of approval on the video feature presentation - The Book of Genesis.   That means the show will go on!  Genesis contains many stories about close knit families who sacrificed much for the sake of loyal love and preserved themselves alive in the process.When she's excited about a presenting our work I am assured that we finally have something worth presenting. While this special event is a mainstay in our bi-annual routine the fact is family night should be enjoyed every night. And that's another story soon to come...

Looking for some family fun winter vacation activities everyone's bound to enjoy?

Something else new. Starting January 2015 I will include in each post an excerpt from our book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Keepsake, my reunion event planning eBook, which is also part of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social Web App.

Get more info at

If you have any questions about the content of this article contact Mark at

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

21 Ideas To Give Back This Season

Want to do something special this season? Many are considering how to give back to the community.  Often they consider donating to a worthy cause. Here are 21 gift giving ideas that keep giving back.

Neighborhood Outreach Dinners for the Homeless
Big Brother Big Sister Mentoring
Online Fund Raising
Health Awareness Seminars
Farmers Market Outings with Seniors
Group Canning
Bake Sales For Fund Raising
Winter Wonderland Outings
Winter Fest Activities
Fall Fest Activities
Autumn Crafts
Fall Festivals
Charitable Organizing
Government Aid for Education
Scholastic Achievement Awards
Bible Travel Tours and Creation Sight Seeing
Crafts For Gift Giving
Group Bible Study by Skype
Door to Door Bible Ministry
Motivational Speaking
Bible Drama Movie Events

Check the items you've considered, share it with someone you know has experience participating or planning such an event.  Take action! Get the ball rolling and discover a 2000 year old truth. "There is more happiness in giving then in receiving."

My Gift to you. Brenda and I are active in Group Bible Study, Door to Door Bible Study, Motivational Public Speaking, Fall and Winter Fest Activities, Online Fund Raising, Crafts for Gift Giving, Bible Travel Tours and Creation Sight Seeing, Bible Drama Movie Events.  If you would like to support our work feel free to send us a modest donation.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Sunday Evening

Happy Sunday evening to you. I hope each of you are having a cozy relaxing night with your loved ones. It's a coconut cake and warm coconut milk night for us. What ever you do, just keep putting some love in it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Family - How To Stay Connected

This is the perfect season to start planning your 2015 family reunion. At this time of year family tends to keep in touch as visits, letters, phone calls, Skype, cards and thoughtful gestures increase.

How can you take advantage of the engagements of the season to stay connected? One way is to use this time to get your family reunion plans off the ground. Here is a helpful short list to get the ball rolling.

Reunion Start-up Short List
Update and organize the past two years of family photos according to event.
1. Update your family contacts on Facebook or Google+
2. Send a theme and activity questionnaire to all family members
3. Select your family reunion planning committee from first responders to the questionnaire
4. Schedule and hold a family reunion committee meeting within the next two weeks.

Consider their ideas on activities everyone will enjoy. Now the fun begins. Some activities may include providing entertainment at the event such as Family Reunion Ball. Skits. A family reunion talent show. Have volunteers send demos acting out or demonstrating their talent via video or Skype. Have the committee come together to view the demos as well as organize the main event. Sound exciting? It gets better. 

The committee gets to vote on the entertainment, talent and skits while enjoy pot luck meals to be featured at the reunion event. And there's more... Take a virtual group tour of some of the hotels and banquet halls to be considered right from your arm chair. This is bound to inspire ideas for the banquet hall dinner program.

5. Get inspired. Read my book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Keepsake or get the reunion planning web app featured on this blog for pre-written itineraries, dinner programs and associated activities.

Both the book and app contain vital information tips and tools you'll need to have an informative and productive family reunion planning meetings.  The book and app contain detailed departmental worksheets for each member of the committee according to their duties and assignments.  The app explains how to take advantage of specific social networking tools and features to prepare for and manage the reunion planning committee successfully.

So there's no reason to put off having your next family reunion meeting since you now have the tools you need to get the job done and get it done right. This is the season for getting in touch. Find out how planning your next family reunion will help them stay in connected.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Early Family Reunion Planning Strategy

They say the best laid plans do not always work out. Why? Experts say timing can be a contributor to a plans success or failure. Often because these plans require several hands on deck, getting full support is often the key to getting any idea off the ground, up and running.

So you talked to your family over dinner this past November and presented your ideas for the next family reunion. They liked what they heard and you've heard nothing more from them about it sense. Not to worry. That's typical. Likely they're both preoccupied with the everyday task of survival or they're just waiting to hear what your next move will be.

So what is the next move? Now would be the time to have a handy family reunion planning guide to lay out the course.  Why an event guide? These guides often are written based on an experienced reunion planners tried and proven event planning strategy.  A strategy that will get everyone inspired and motivated to pitch in and get the reunion event planning wheels turning full speed ahead. That said, enter Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app. This app presents a step by step method of planning your reunion event and via it's ebook feature it outlines how to get all in the family involved.

Best of all you don't have to download it and install it to your device or PC. Just go to the URL and sign-in. Next follow the steps one by one and you'll have your reunion plans up and running in no time.

Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Ways To Find Party Supply Bargains

Brenda and I are the masters of event planning, or so we like to think. But if you're not careful great party planning can way heavily on the purse strings. Your best bet is to stock party supplies for all your future events once the bargain season rolls in. And guess what? It just did. So lets talk about how to find those bargains shall we?

Here is a list of top tips to find great bargains right in your neighborhood shopping district.

  1. Make a list of all the supplies you will need for your next party, gathering and reunion event.
    List things like dinnerware, board games, stationery, balloons, tableware, party favors, gifts...
  2. Take time now to apply for store discount cards and collect coupon codes. Save codes and bar coded coupons on your mobile device. You'll save up to 50% on your shopping bill.
  3. Grab the Sunday newspaper and peruse the store ad section. Compare prices and circle lowest prices. Cut out coupons and organize them by store.
  4. Ask store clerks to direct you to the clearance bins. 
  5. Shop for party supplies a day or two after a holiday, particularly Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and St. Patrick's Day
  6. Shop all dollar stores before shopping at large discount Marts.
  7. Join shopping clubs and buy supplies in bulk. Share and trade the booty with family. friends and neighbors.
  8. Remember that long trips to remote shopping districts may help you save a few extra dollars on the shopping bill itself, but will the gas, mileage and wear and tear on your vehicle make it worth venturing out?. That said, consider shopping for supplies online at stores that offer coupon code discounts, frequent shopper credits and free shipping.
  9. Shop for pre-season sales on off-season products such as those found at
  10. Take advantage of pre-season deals such as Pre-Black Friday Sales and Cyber Monday discounts featured at
Happy bargain hunting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

12 Ways To Honor Your Mother and Father

There is a saying I am particularly fond of. "When I was weak, family saved me."  We were weak when we were born. We could do nothing for ourselves. But we are reading this blog because we survived not by our own will but that of a caring family member who loved us.  The fact is family often comes through when no one else will.  They deserve our deepest respect. How can we show this regard in such a way that it is undeniable?

Showing Deep Respect

Visit and write them more often. Express appreciation for specific things they have done. Take the time to take them out and show them off to friends and acquaintances. Speak respectfully and kindly of them. As they get older they may need financial support. Always leave them a little extra. Help them to grow old gracefully. Overlook minor issues while making them feel more secure. Give them reassurance of your love long before they ask for it.

There is another saying. "Honor your father and mother." Yes respect is felt, but honor is shown publicly. How?  Being quick, not slow, to reveal the deep respect we have for them within. Always say thank you and openly speak humble expressions of love before all onlookers. Another way is to shower your elders with a cascade of tokens of appreciation throughout the year. That said, after they have paid the price and bore the brunt of our burdens... after they carried the load that we could not carry, it only makes sense to give back in an even bigger way. How can we do that?

Showing Honor Before Others

One of the best ways of showing honor is planning an event for that very reason and inviting friends and family to attend.  When doing so choreograph a series of expressions of honor sure to become memorable moments they won't soon forget. Here are a few ideas that are bound to inspire you and touch the heart of your loved one.

1. Hold an honorary dinner ceremony highlighting specific acts of kindness and love.
2. Sing 2 or more songs dedicated to the life of the honoree.
3. To mothers give a large flower bouquet fit for Queen.
4. To fathers place upon his neck  a bronze medal.
5. Have family members recite a poem about the past present and future.
6. Read passages from a family memory book.
7. Tell tasteful stories laced with good humor and gratitude.
8. Raise a long horizontal banner the carries a phrase often spoken by the honoree.
9. Relate how the words and actions of the honoree inspired family members.
10. Have a lineup of young people each saying thank you as they walk by placing the written words .they speak in a keepsake treasure chest.
11. Play a video of special moments in time growing up under the care of those being honored.
12. Take pictures and video and make a keepsake they will enjoy the rest of their days.

There are so many other ways to honor your loved ones each and every day. But this is how you show honor in the most memorable sort of way.

More Tips and Ideas

For more ideas tips and guides to plan and arrange your next family event consult Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app. Or get the book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Keepsake sold at most online bookstores such as Google Books, Google Shopping and What? Don't have the latest copy of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner yet? Follow the links on this blog to access the family reunion planner app complete with eBook detailing how to plan an honorary dinner program and Ball for the Living Legends in your family.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

1000 Delicious Breakfast Lunch And Dinner Recipes

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Food glorious food. What's so great about food this time of year?  It's baking season! And that means it's time to get your cook on. So what's on your list of new recipes to try this season.

Back in the day your great grandparents probably cooked and baked throughout the day every day of the week. Now, depending on your family routine cooking and baking may only occur a few times a week if that. 

Eating It Together

Many families tend to eat separately, grabbing a snack or piece of fruit on the go. That said, consider rethinking what, how and when your family eats. 

My family discovered that helping prepare a meal, set the table and eating together at the family dinner table allows them to relax, talk about their day, get much needed direction and inspiration, build trust, extend mutual support, develop loyalty and self esteem. This is the stuff real family life is made of.

While many families cook at least once a day, before you turn that oven on think about conserving energy by consolidating your baking at certain hours of the day a few days of the week. 

1000 Delicious Breakfast Lunch Dinner and Dessert Recipes

Now let's get to the good stuff. Recipes! Here are some great recipes and tips for busy families.

1. Cook your meal in a crock pot

2. Buy premixed salad fixings

3. Go low on carbs and refined sugars but high on flavor

4. Get your fruits and veggies from a farmers market

5. By whole wheat pastas and bread

6. Use rust resistant cookware

7. Use sea salt and lemon juice and apple cider vinegar

8. Throw you dinner in the crock pot in the morning and set to low

By early evening you will have the most flavorful tender meat you've ever eaten. 

Checkout these delicious recipes your family will gladly come home for.
1000 Family RecipesBon app├ętit.

Looking for some great recipes for your next family dinner or family gathering? It's in there. Fimark's Family Reunion Planner social web app.
Don't have the family event planner yet? Get it now on discount. Just follow the link below.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Family Reunion Planning Video

I love Family Reunions

Happy Family Reunion Planning 

The harvest season is here. It's a time to reminisce of fond memories. To explore your roots, history and talents. To plan a celebration of family at your next family reunion. Fimark Home Online wishes you a happy family reunion planning month.  

Get ready to get inspired. Watch the "I Love Family Reunions" video and see how you can make the most of Family Reunion Planning Month.

Find out how to plan a memorable family reunion. Get Fimark's Family Reunion Planner web app and download everything you need to plan, organize and manage your next family reunion event. Includes:

Dinner Program Template
Itinerary Template
Keepsake Memory Booklet Maker Template
Family Activity Ideas List
Family Reunion Songs List
Family Tree
Genealogy Pedigree
Genealogy Research Forms
Hotels Review Forms
Budget Estimator and List
Post Event Questionnaire
Survey Letter
Welcome Letter
and more...

"We wrote the book on family reunion planning."
Explore the family reunion planning web app and guide book. Follow the link on the blogs page.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How To Celebrate November's Family Reunion Planning Month

Happy November. And what a month it is. Just look at all the family related observations over the next four weeks.

Annual Family Reunion Planning Month

November is also Family Reunion Planning Month. What's it all about? To raise awareness of family values and bring the family closer by focusing on family activities everyone can enjoy. 

Benefits of Observation

During this month and the months to follow families often begin planning the next family reunion event. This is the time of year household members define this basic social structure of society - the family, and the varying roles each one plays contributing to good household management, mutual support and needed social identity. A means to this end is genealogy research and reunion event planning.   

Planning Your Next Family Reunion

Does your family have talent?  Discover family talents such as story telling, comedy, singing, composing and playing music, puppetry, dance or acrobatics, arts and crafts or theatrical skills. Enjoy it just for family fun.

If your family is really talented spend some of Family Reunion Planning Month practicing for a family or community talent show. Present a song in concert with a family reunion theme or a G-rated and parent approved family comedy. Create and perform a skit regarding family life featuring important family values taut in a creative, meaningful and inspiring way.  Example:  the "Home Improvement" sitcoms.

Create a compelling family novel, movie or genealogy presentation. Put your performance or presentation online via Youtube, Pinterest or other social media and inspire the world to maintain family first values during Novembers Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

How To Promote The Cause

If you own business website, manage a group or are administrator of a personal or business social network promote family reunion planning month by posting a reminder on your site, group board or across your social network pages using the pins found at. or share the links below.


Official Website


Business Promotion

Make Family Reunion Planning Month recognition a part of your business marketing effort. Offer a discount to patrons who are planning their next family reunion.  Print or post reunion event planning info graphics and add your business card or company stamp and use them as handouts to patrons in your business area. Hold a contest and offer a free copy of Fimark's Family Reunion Planning Guide and Keepsake paperback book or ebook to the winners. 

For more information regarding promoting Family Reunion Planning Month across radio and television broadcast networks ...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Virginia Beach In The Fall

Brenda and I spent our honeymoon vacation in a lovely hotel suite by the beach, Beautiful Virginia Beach to be exact. The weather was kind to us. The food, absolutely delicious.  The best thing about Virginia Beach in the fall is the fact that there's only a spattering of vacationers walking, biking and sitting on the beach. That said it's like the entire beach is all yours morning noon and night.

Packing For The Trip

We don't pack anything that's particularly different compared to other trips. But we do prepare an anniversary love basket complete with snacks, favorite DVD's and during our stay we fill it with anniversary keepsakes.  I also prepare an anniversary memories video consisting of video we shot throughout the past year starting with our last anniversary vacation.

Virginia Beach Surprises

We were amazed at how much upper Atlantic Avenue has transformed into an upscale square of galleries, cafes and posh, luxury hotels.  Atlantic Avenue is now where it's happening and the place to be.

We were surprised one morning to see of a lively group of dolphins frolicking against lapping waves and a flock of gulls overhead. The gulls were feeding while the dolphins were wave surfing only yards from our high rise suite. Virginia Beach is alive and well in the fall.

Being known as the Bubble Man back home I decided to take my bubble gear on our anniversary vacation and spend a few hours each day rolling out man sized glistening rainbow colored bubbles gently sweeping across the sand.

It was a wonderful experience. I am always amazed at the shape form and size these mega-bubbles take on a sunny low wind day. And what a good week it was, perfect for making bubble art in the sky.

Night Sky Bubbling

My most memorable moment was late in the evening when the sun went down and left a black velvet sky studded with stars. Brenda and I were sitting on the patio of our suite star gazing. I had just completed putting the last of 72 mini bubbles wands on by home made bubble sprayer. I dipped it in my special-made bubble solution and swoosh! Hundreds of floating crystal pearls lit the starry sky. A thing of sheer beauty graced our 34th honeymoon night.

Making Bubble Conversation

While making bubble art in the sky I always get a chance to talk to people about life, family and the meaning and purpose of life. In most cases people volunteer information about their lives without even asking. They seem eager to talk and listen to the musings and guidance of a bubble man. Why? I don't really know accept the fact that anyone who has the courage to make bubbles must be listener.

If you're looking for family fun activities and craft ideas for your next family weekend get-away subscribe and plus 1 and above all feel free to share. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Family Reunion Activity Ideas

When the subject of planning a family reunion comes up among family members many find it hard to agree on the location or activities. Does this dilemma often delay the planning process? Don't be dismayed. When the well runs dry of good ideas for your next family reunion here are a few suggestions that will get your planning off and running straight to the finish line.

1. Choose a Theme
2. Choose Theme Related Activities
3. Choose the Ideal Location
4. Create your Itinerary and Luncheon/Dinner Program
5. Event Planning Software

Choose a Family Reunion Theme

The first step in planning the event is choosing a theme. Your theme will help you determine activities, location and the items in your Itinerary and dinner program. There are a number of themes common to annual family gatherings. Themes are often centered on the family name, homestead and heritage. Other themes may be closely tied to the activities of the event such as the following:

Traditional Themed Gathering
Genealogy Homestead Tour
Family Fest
Family Reunion Cruise
Living Legends Ball

Theme Based Event Planners

Some event planning applications feature theme based planning. Each theme comes with a pre-written itinerary, dinner program and activities we well as logos and even t-shirt and invitations designs.

Choose Family Reunion Theme Related Activities

Now that your theme is established you can better consider activities that would be appropriate for this special occasion. Typical activities may include a visit to the old homestead, luncheon program on the premises, family history recital, story time, presentation of family quilt or other heirloom, honoring of family elders. Some of these activities may be incorporated in a dinner program. If your throwing an outdoor event consider having a sing-a-thon, outdoor games or a bubble master bubble show.

Choose The Ideal location

Having established the theme and an outline of activities, choosing an ideal location should be much easier. The locations considered should allow for the enjoyment of most if not all activities listed.

Create Your Itinerary

Once the location is selected it is time to start putting together an itinerary of event. Create a simple list of activities and include the day and time each activity is scheduled.

Event Planning Apps

As said earlier, reunion planning software applications make theme selection and associated activities a whole lot easier. When looking for such as app choose one that provides a theme selector. Theme selectors guide you through the initial planning process by providing theme related activities, pre-written itinerary and luncheon/dinner programs. Other important features would include a timeline planner and attendee roster. Even better, select reunion planning apps that include a supplies and services list with a budget calculation feature. Event planning web apps like Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app feature all the above suggestions along with detailed planning, organizing and management tips as well as printable templates, tools and guides.

So if you're struggling to come up with some fresh and creative ideas for your next reunion, start by selecting a family reunion theme and associated activities. That said, a reliable theme based reunion event planning application may be all that's needed to jump start your next fun filled family reunion event.

Need Help Planning Your Family Reunion?

Click the Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app link found below this article.or visit

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Making Your Family History Documentary Movie

Having done my Family History Research I've accumulated quite a bit of data including video, photos, audio interviews, stories about the old days and music reminiscent of each era. And now it's time to bring it all together in presentation format.

Of the many ideas I've used to record family history one of the most enjoyable is family history documenting in photos and video. That said, I will make a documentary movie of my family history.
This lunch break project just keeps getting better.

While at first I considered attempting to pull this off from scratch using only ideas as they came to me, I later decided to take a more professional approach and learn from the masters of cinema. I closely studied a few well prepared family history documentaries presented by, and revisited some very touching interviews found at Using a few well chosen documentaries of study as a visual/audio template I will script write, direct and produce the movie in similar fashion.

The Script

Using my family history blog compilation which now reads like a biographical novel I will start writing a detailed script of narration dialogue starting from the earliest years of my families history and describe the land, work, political mood, daily routine and social events my ancestors enjoyed. I will gradually introduce the next generation from birth to adulthood describing the land,  daily routine, work, political and social events experienced by each generation up to the present.

Side notes and brackets will include the titles of background music that will be played and interview snippets I will insert along the way.

As I write the script I will predetermine directorial scenes as the following example shows:
Opening Scene - A low lit room as the camera slowly moves toward a vintage living room radio.
Sounds of the radio broadcasts of the day fill the room as the camera slowly sweeps toward framed photos on the mantel.

Audio Narration

As the camera turns toward and moves out of the window a panoramic scene of the bustling city  mothers parents settled into leads into audio narration that begins to tell the family story.

As the narration progresses we slide through photos taken of the houses my mother and father lived in as children complete with street signs and then we progress through images of them as a teenagers. Audio of my mother and father telling the story of how they met, dated, courted and wed takes over.

The number of interviews outlined in the script will translate into quite a bit of dialogue. Watching only the speaker through the entire interview could prove monotonous and downright tiresome. That said, while the interviewee is talking I'll add some breakaway scenes that are descriptive of the subject at hand.

As they talk about their courtship we see video segments of how life was in those days.
Scenes of a local ice cream parlor.
A couple sharing an ice cream soda.
A circus parading down the neighborhood
A television broadcast of a local baseball game or popular entertainer of the day.

Developing and Directing Scenes

When considering the kind of footage to shoot and add to the documentary it's best to start off with some specific ideas regarding location, setting and lighting. When shooting a scene I'll allow those involved to be as relaxed and natural as possible. In some cases I will just raise the camera and let them go about their activities.

I will use similar camera angles, locations, subjects and techniques as in my visual/audio documentary templates to capture the essence of the moment in time being described by the narrator and interviewees.  The following scenes and still life visuals are required for this documentary:

1. Nostalgic era photos such as my parents childhood home, activities growing up, and
their first home after marriage and the day to day activities we enjoyed as a family.
2. Nostalgic era video such as a horse and fruit carriage, a television baseball game, entertainers and other moving pictures of the day
3. Scenes of family gatherings
4. Scenes of weddings, births, showers and graduation
5. Video of feet walking toward destinations being discussed
6. Silhouettes of faces looking out windows
7. Movie segments with scenes similar to settings or situations being described
8. Hand turning through the pages of a family album
9. Hand opening a family keepsake booklet
10. Hands cooking at stove
11. Scenes of engineers using schematics, musicians writing and playing music, trolley drivers,  grocery managers talking to store clerks.

Most of these scenes are already in my Lunch Break Family History Research Files. I have photos and video of family gatherings, weddings, births, graduation, news reels and historic events, Other scenes I will have to develop and shoot myself.

Video Equipment

Much of my video footage can be shot using a smart phone camera or tablet. Consider using some royalty free photos and video where appropriate. Creative Commons licensed video can be found at

As I studied other documentaries I took note of specific desired scenes, music sequences, locations and photo stills I had the equipment and competence to reproduce in my movie.

My family history documentary movie is starting to take shape, life and form. I am pulling it all together using a simple video compiler like Windows Movie Maker.

Background Music

I will use varied genres of background music for interviews depending on the type of story the interviewee is telling. When I'm shooting a spirited bubbly interview I'll use upbeat background music. Something light and jazzy. When it is a more somber and reflective interview I'll use background music that dignifies the mood.

The script will step me through the entire process of documentary movie production from beginning to a bitter-sweet conclusion. Hope you're enjoying your Lunch Break Family History Research project.  Other fun family related projects can be found using Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app. Click the link found below this blog post.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lunch Break Family History Project Research Part 3

In this third and final presentation of the Lunch Break Family History Project series, we consider some very specific ways to present those family history gems.  

Preparing Data For Family History Presentation

If you're copying and/or downloading information in appropriate files on your device or laptop as you go at some point you'll want to create one running file or eBook consisting of all useful content in your research depository in chronological order.  This can be put in your Chronological Compilation file. (See previous article in this three part series for more information on file structure.)  

Remember, each file you create or download and drop into your depository should have a chronological date designation in the file name such 1871_great_Illinois_migration or 1914_military_record. In addition you may wish to create sub-folders with year or period designations such as Civil War, or Post Civil War.  This will help you maintain chronological order when creating your presentation.

Online Presentations

You want to maintain a compilation of research that has been validated as an authentic part of your family history archives. One of the best ways to link and structure your notes, records, video and photos is using by way of a blog. The records can be linked and structured and presented in a very attractive way. Blogs have advanced to social application like Google Plus and Facebook and made more interactive using features like Hangouts and such.

Creative Presentations

Next consult your presentation ideas file for creative ways to present your research offline. Presentations can be in the form of a display table, wall chart, decorative photo compilation complete with notes and news clippings or some other presentation form like video. For imaginative genealogy presentation ideas visit our Fimark Genealogy Presentation Awards pages at....

Explore all free family history/genealogy resources available online at
Don't hesitate to arrange a family event where family history presentations can be put on display. November is Family Reunion Planning Month. For fascinating and engaging Annual Family Reunion Planning Month observation ideas read our blog post

Lunch Break Family History Research Project Part 2

Your Lunch Break Family History Research Project is about to embark on a fascinating journey. There are many ways to perform family history research online. Start by researching the family surname spellings, meaning and origins. Remember to focus on the genealogy definition. Document surname origins and map out your origin destinations. The land(s) from which your family came.  If you run into a roadblock look up marriage certificates, divorce records, death records, cemetaries and military records. A final resort would be DNA records.

It's recommended that you keep your research findings in a depository on your mobile device or laptop computer.  If you prefer to write on paper consider using a notebook as well as research forms ideal for PDF notation or printing paper compilations that will help you keep your research organized and in logical order. Many of these forms (in MS Word .doc format) can be downloaded for free at

If your research becomes location specific consider looking up family history blogs using specific locations and all versions of your family surname.

Fascinating Journey

Now lets make things more interesting. So you found out your ancestors migrated from another state,  country or continent? Visit researched destinations online. Discover the layout of the land, culture and the social and political climate of their day. Want to dig deeper? Need more details? If your research gradually becomes more ethnic, culture and race specific, for example African American, Jewish or Irish, a good place to continue your search might be or

Signing up to web sites like and may reveal more about your origins from several interesting angles much of which may already by compiled for your examination by other family researchers.

Take Your Time

Give yourself a day at the library or Family History Center, ask a relative those burning family history questions you've always wondered about and start collecting photos, recording audio/video interviews while taking notes of each family members story.

Family History Compilation

When doing family history research it's important to take notes as you go. Your notes would include the following:
Your research objects and findings
All web sites visited
Objectives and findings from the visit
Next task, approach and results
Copy, download or links to useful content, documents, research tools, etc.

Research Depository

Create a depository in the form of a Hierarchical filing system. Your main folder can be titled Surname_History where Surname is the last name of the family you are researching. You may need to create sub-folders for various spelling versions of that surname. You may also need sub-folder for dated materials such as Civil War records or Post Civil War research. Files that are specific to dates can be dated by year, for example: 1871_migration or 1948_migration.

Name folders as follow:

1. Notes
2. Articles
3. Photos
4. Video
5. Presentation Ideas
6. Chronological Compilation
7. Presentation
8. Misc

This evening look for our final article in this Lunch Break Family History Research series we'll discuss how to create family history presentations online using s blog and eBook application, presentations on DVD, research paper compilations and how to find other creative genealogy research presentation ideas from Fimark's Genealogy Presentation Awards.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lunch Hour Family History Research Project Part 1

October is Family History Month. And while some say the future isn't written yet, one thing is certain, much of the past is well documented and waiting for your eager perusal. Once you begin research your family history things are bound to start getting downright fascinating.

You'll find your lunch break history project the beginning of an amazing journey leading to weekend library archive visits, town tours, trips to exotic places, history book reading, interviews, newsreel study, documentaries and yes even Hollywood movies defining the places, times and artifacts you've uncovered.

Family History Month

Family history enthusiasts celebrate Family History Month every October. There are many reasons why October is the ideal calendar month for discovering your family story.  It's a great indoor activity. It's the season writers take pen in hand, researchers post new findings and online genealogy related social engagements goes viral. It's a time of year we like to dig in and get engrossed in some good ol' adventurous reading.

When did it all begin? In 2001, Congress first passed a resolution introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who wrote, "By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family." So get ready to embark on an engrossing journey in family history research and compilation during your next lunch break.

Family History Research

The information you find when researching your family history can explain how your family got here and why. Your work may also reveal defining characteristics, attributes, innate abilities, competencies, viewpoints and an outlook peculiar to your kinfolk answering the question regarding what makes you tick.

This  three part Family History Month article series will explain step by step the how to's of family history research and help you set up your Lunch Hour family history research project depository, compilation files complete with tips and access to some very creative presentation ideas.

Our next article Lunch Hour Family History Research Project Part 2 will focus on setting up and organizing your project files and a comprehensive list of online resources at your disposal. Stand by. Part 2 will be published this afternoon. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Family Reunion Reminders

Fall Reminders: Now is the time to start planning for a special event in November. We'll get back to that later in this post, but first... 

Autumnal Equinox

The autumnal equinox was Monday, Sept. 22 at 9:29 p.m marking the beginning of fall season in the northern hemisphere. The word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator.

At this time of year the temperatures begin to drop and the days start to get shorter than the nights. Personally I prefer longer days but colder, shorter  nights are a great time to get warm and cozy. I do like sitting by the fire with Brenda and playing music and sipping a nice warm brew with an oven toasted danish or home baked cookie for desert.

What The Proverbs Say

Some believe that how quickly leaves fall off trees serve as an indicator of what's in store for the winter. There's an old weather proverb that states, "If autumn leaves are slow to fall, prepare for a cold winter." 

Another proverb states: "Go to the ant..." What can you learn from ants this time of year? They teach us that diligent effort is needed if we wish to produce good fruitage. “Go to the ant, you lazy one; see its ways and become wise. Although it has no commander, officer or ruler, it prepares its food even in the summer; it has gathered its food supplies even in the harvest.” (Prov. 6:6-8)

I'm probably more of a gatherer than a hunter although I've had my moments. But speaking of good fruitage and gathering food supplies, It's canning time again! My sister Karen and niece Joy have spent the spring and summer growing herbs and veggies and I have dubbed myself the royal sampler of these delicious jarred gems just as soon as I can twist those tight lids off.

Looking for some tasty canning recipes? Here are a few I love straight from our 1000 Family Recipes page. Enjoy!

Fall Reminders

This is the best time of year to starting planning for next years family reunion.  That's why our group of family reunion planners dubbed November Family Reunion Planning Month. Why is November the ideal time to begin planning and organizing your next family reunion? Not only are prices on outdoor event supplies and equipment low but the season to gather with extended family will soon be upon us.  From November to January events involving the extended family make it an ideal time to come together and assist with family reunion preparations including photo and recipe swapping, heirloom documentation, refurbishment and display, genealogy research and interviews.

For more ways to observe Novembers Family Reunion Planning Month read...

Making Family Reunion Planning Month Tradition

How can you make observing Family Reunion Planning Month a regular family tradition? Mid September begin sending out text reminders about the next family reunion planning meeting to all in the family and close friends. Before the meeting start brainstorming ideas for establishing date, venue and activity ideas. Also consider establishing an official family heirloom whether it be a hand-me-down artifact, a recipe book (see Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide and Keepsake Book) or a newly made quilt with patches of fabric material representing a special occasion from each household. 

Some families have created a family heirloom from baby clothes and accories everyone knitted over the years. You may event consider having an early fall knitting party just for that purpose. Brenda spent the past 4 years knitting scarves, hats and a beautiful blanket for our granddaughter which she still sleeps with after 4 years.

See our Knitting section for some great bootie knitting ideas:

Welcome to the autumn season. The perfect season to enjoy the warmer times of our lives. 

Go ahead get inspired. Get the family reunion event planning app. What. Don't have Fimark's Family Reunion Planner social web app yet? ... the family reunion planning app click on the link found on this blog page.

Monday, September 15, 2014

10 Fun Fall Activity Ideas

Fall is just around the corner. The days get shorter. The sky turns into a fiery gold and mahogany sheaf laying a rustic leafy carpet of harvest pastels.  This is the season of Autumn Festivals where creativity knows no bounds. That said, why not plan your own fall fest this year. It's a wonderful way to introduce the seasons bounty to sons and daughters and make unforgettable memories along the way.

Here are some activity ideas:

Fall Fest Activity List

  1. Plan an autumn stroll in the park and stop for some refreshing apple cider and warm pumpkin or sweet potato pie right from the picnic basket.  
  2. Collect colorful leaves and press them in the pages of your favorite books. Pine cones, leaves and hazelnuts to make an autumn reef. 
  3. Have a leaf raking party with all your family and friends including an outdoor BBQ and leaf bagging relay race.
  4. Visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. 
  5. Have a scarf or sweater knitting party.
  6. Make your own kites and go kite flying this fall.
  7. Have a harvest recipe swap complete with a dish tasting party.
  8. Have a harvest themed bake sale.
  9. Have an autumn themed book swapping party for adults and the kids.
  10. Visit local fall festivals and enjoy those juicy sweet caramel apples.
  11. Plan a school, club, corporation or community fall fest. 
Get fall festival marketing memorabilia ideas here.

Preserving Memories

Did you enjoy this years family reunion? Use the Newsletter template and Slide show app that comes in Fimark's award winning Family Reunion Planner Social web app and publish those memories. 

The web app interface provides access to all our standard event planning templates, printables, worksheets in pdf and word format and ebooks as well as the reunion planning spreadsheet with attendee database. What, don't have Fimark's award winning Family Reunion Planner Social web app yet? Good news. The app is reduced from $49 to only $39 for a limited time. Go to and get started on your family reunion fundraiser, newsletter, slideshow and your next fun filled family reunion event.