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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.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Making Family Night A Hit

1. Family Night - A Big Hit
2. Making It All Work
3. Surprise Surprise
4. Food Glorious Food

Family Night - A Big Hit
This is an exciting time of year for me and Brenda. We are planning our annual Family Night with family and friends of the family. We started this traditional gathering in order to celebrate family values, present good parenting ideas and connect closer with our youth while giving them an opportunity to reveal their hidden talents, interests and their more mature side. 

Since the very first annual Family Night it's been anxiously anticipated among families in several groups in our community. 

It's amazing what gathering purely for the sake of connecting can do to the spirit of a child. Often teens distance themselves due to misunderstanding what a busy schedule of hard-working parents can do to them. This often leads to unspoken heartache and disappointment, making the parents job even more difficult. But when family members come together to prepare for Family Night doing what they all love doing most wounds quickly heal.

Making It All Work
Four key factors to making this work for each family member are:
  1. Get the youth involved in the planning, writing and organizing process. 
  2. Make sure there are plenty of eats the young folk and parents like and allowing them to clown around while taking snack breaks each hour or so. 
  3. Set up the show in dinner theater fashion. 
  4. Have the participants serve meals and soft-drinks to the older ones so they can connect with them in a special way.
One of the biggest hits of a our semi-formal family night affair is the Talent Show. Every second is savored and parents are proud of whatever their children do. Another hit is a well prepared drama complete with dignified comedy, cuteness and bitter-sweet situations.

Surprise Surprise
This years event will feature a movie taken of lasts years Family Night drama with added footage and a slideshow segment of all our kids growing up from infancy. 
To add some snap and surprise there's sneak peak "guess who" footage of the parents when they were the same age as their children. 

The folks were thinking about getting warm and staying warm throughout the coming winter months. Coats, jackets hat's, caps, scarves and gloves are on the top of the list. Brenda's even started knitting again. 
I decided to feature an adventurous knitting class scene in the drama. How could I knitting class scene possibly be exciting and adventurous.? We pulled it off. 

Read about the history of knitting and weaving and you'll see for yourself what a fascinating journey this artistic way of life has taken from the days of old to our time. According to the reviews the knitting scene went off quite well and now folks are seriously considering having a weaving/knitting class of their own once or twice a month.

Read about the history of knitting and weaving and you'll see for yourself what a fascinating journey this artistic way of life has taken from the days of old to our time. According to the reviews the knitting scene went off quite well and now folks are seriously considering having a weaving/knitting class of their own once or twice a month.
Read about the history of knitting and weaving and you'll see for yourself what a fascinating journey this artistic way of life has taken from the days of old to our time. According to the reviews the knitting scene went off quite well and now folks are seriously considering having a weaving/knitting class of their own once or twice a month.

Food Glorious Food
What inspires good spirited merriment better than a good hot meal. Depending on the season and economy we either have a potluck meal presentation where all the invited guests bring a dish or we will have it catered. Frankly they seem to prefer the variety in potluck banquet style dinners. 

Fimark's new Family Reunion Planner Social application soon to be released will feature a Family Recipe Collector via a Pinterest app. You can share recipes, get recipe ideas and comment on them. 

Take a sneak peak at some of the recipes that will be featured at

Planning and Decorating
We get our planning and decorating ideas, music and supplies and gift ideas browsing online stores around this time to take advantage of Black Friday Week specials. 

Happy Family Reunion and Family Night Planning!

Mark and Brenda

The Family Reunion Book is now 40% off. Was $29, now only $16.99

Family Reunion Supplies - Get up to 55% off during Black Friday Week

Family Night Theme Music just 0.99

Monday, November 12, 2012

Autumn - A Celebration of Family

This time of year is best enjoyed with family and good friends. It's a great time for neighborhood walks. front porch dining in flannel and wool sweaters. Brenda and I love taking long leisurely drives and enjoying the brilliant fall foliage.

Stop at a vegetable and fruit stand and drink down a cup of fresh apple cider. Taste chutney on sweet and salty crackers and spice bread.

As you're heading home watch a slow sun set, tell stories about your childhood, youth and growing up while enjoying the scent of pine cones, and wood stove embers stir in the sweet smell of harvest.

This is the month to celebrate family tradition enjoy the tastes of your culture. It's also the ideal time to plan your next family reunion.  What better time to begin baking and cooking then Autumn. It's a time to crank up the oven heat, get cozy and fill your home or apartment with the scent of roasted nuts, grains, pumpkin, ginger, honey and Cinnamon.  Serve robust dishes that warm you up deep down like chili, brothy beef stew or minestrone
or good old chunky chicken pot pie.

Bring the family together, enjoy engaging activities like updating a special family events calender, creating family slides shows, make printable and online keepsake booklets, design colorful t-shirts and collect and try out traditional and new family recipes. The sky is the limit.

Now you can do all that and more under the golden tree. Fimark Home Online and Legendary Heritage Heirlooms present a suite of family reunion planning tools and applications that include exciting craft, recipe and party and dinner planning ideas. And best of all you can do it all and share it all while staying connected to long-distance friends and family online.

Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social includes the following:
Why learn new applications and perform tedious record keeping when much of the work has already been done for you within the applications and devices you normally use each day.  Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social integrates the family reunion planning process with many of the powerful social application you already use to enhance your event planning experience your way.

With Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social you get the job done more quickly performing up to 80% of your planning tasks online.
This is the future of event planning utilizing the best in cloud database and  DOM technology, online document sharing and social network integration.

With three options available for planning your Family reunion  Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social is more flexible and greener than ever before while helping you expedite tasks in a more organized and time efficient way.  Reduce footwork, lower event planning costs and spare your reunion funds for other uses.

Often event planning involves lots of time consuming data entry, numerous meetings with the family reunion planning committee, visits to hotels, collecting fees, reliance on a slow post mail system, the cost of stamps and shipping and delivery of t-shirts, the hunt for quality services and vendors and having to raise more funds to offset unexpected costs.

The Fimark Family Reunion Planner Social is designed to eliminate all of that while helping you save money, scores of tasks over weeks of time? How? 

The planner includes online tools, apps and spreadsheets integrated into a document sharing and conferencing system so other committee members can assist in getting certain tasks done and maintain good record keeping.

The  reunion planning interface features award winning services like family reunion  hotel finder,  reviews and online tours, committee video conferencing and spreadsheet document sharing,  and a means to import social network contacts to spreadsheet format not to mention the ability to design your custom T-shirt online and share with family members across several social networks enabling them to buy shirts online. 

You'll also enjoy bulk discounts for group orders and fast printing and shipping. Conference online using state-of-the-art conferencing programs. Hold a seasonal shopping fundraiser online and invite members to order products they need and love while profits are deposited into the reunion account. Make use of fundraiser widgets and Facebook apps to make donations convenient for all.

Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social to be released November 26th.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Family Autumn Fests

Low swirling winds sweeping up golden leaves and the scent of logs burning can quickly stir the heart. Warm woolen sweaters, pumpkins and multi-colored corn cobs seem to make each porch front more cozy and inviting. Autumn at its best.

But what's even better are the feasts. Sweet potato and pumpkin pie. Warm apple cider, corn wine, maple syrup on pancakes, turkey or chicken smothered in gravy with hot buttered veggies on the side. If you're the kind of person who likes an autumn cookout or a big spread in the dining room it's Family Fest Time!

At this time of the year families comes together to render much needed support, encouragement and inspiration. This led to a relatively new and exciting concept in family reunion planning. An annual observance established in 2005.

Family Reunion Planning Month
An observance centering around family reunion planning. The observance began when a family reunion planning group of 400 members agreed to make November the month to commence family reunion event planning. Mark Askew, founder of the groups official monthly newsletter, published and promoted the observance in his book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner. Read more at, keyword "Family Reunion."

Why November? 10 good reasons.

1. November is the time of year extended families come together making this an ideal time to discuss and establish suggested dates and activities for the next family reunion.

2. November - January are periods of time where families swap photos and videos. It's an ideal time to start putting together materials for family scrapbooks, family history books, memory books and family reunion keepsake booklets.

3. During this time elder family members like to keep family traditions alive and may make their own proclamations, education and financial planning and seek to empower the family union in some other way. Family reunion planning helps to serve that purpose as well.

4. November thru December is one of the more intimate times of the year. Indoor activities are the norm. This includes story telling. An ideal season to do family history information gathering including interviewing the elders of the family.

5. November starts nine weeks before the close of year. A good time to note the family's contributions toward bettering the community and set goals to complete important tasks before years end. One such task could be to establish a date, time and place to hold the next family reunion.

6. Many November observances are family oriented. Aside from the obvious, others including:

National Adoption Month
I Am So Thankful Month
Child Safety and Protection Month
Family Stories Month
National Family Caregiver Month
National Family Literacy Month
International Creative Child and Adult Month

That said, the fact that spending time with family is already being given serious consideration during this season makes it ideal for family reunion planning.

7. It a great time of year for family outings including nature walks, visiting museums and relatives near and far.

8. A season families plan short modest vacations and enjoy indoor recreational activities.

9. It's a traditional time of year to express thanks, gratitude and appreciation.

10. This is also a good time to get all family members involved in the family reunion planning process and appoint each and every family member over some aspect of the event.

November's Family Reunion Planning Month observance puts family in an ideal position to enjoy a veritable family fest at its best. 

Mark Angelo Askew is the Author of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner and Keepsake and Fimark's My Keepsake Wedding Planner. Fimark Home Online at, a family oriented special occasions planning resources featuring templates, planners and free printables for weddings, showers, anniversaries, graduations, sports events and seasonal family events including Autumn, Winter and Summer Family Fests.

Planning a family reunion? Don't have Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app yet? Get it at this summers discount special. List Price $49. Now $39 for a limited time. You save $10 dollars. No coupon code needed. For more information about the family reunion planning app click on the link found on this blog page or go to profiles.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coming Soon Fall 2012

Brenda and I still enjoy going to the movies together and enjoying a well written and directed theatrical presentation by individuals with high standards for life and filial love.  And if you're like us you always get excited when a new family movie trailer is released. Nothing like having something to look forward to.

Coming Soon This Fall

Speaking of movie trailers... Have you noticed how specific dates are never given, just something like "Coming soon... Fall 2012" or "Summer 2013?" While anxious anticipation of something - anything stirs the emotions and charges the senses there is nothing that even comes close to the warm,  sweet anticipation of something truly good that's soon to come. That's the way Brenda and I feel about the changing of the seasons. Can you feel that deep inner anticipation of summer changing into fall and all the activities of the harvest season soon to come? We do sure do.

What do you call that?  We call it hope. While hope is like a small warm ember burning at your core,  it can be like a rising flame becoming strikingly powerful and all consuming. But hope is not to be confused with a wish. A wish can be momentary and fleeting due to the fact that it is based on something not so easily obtained. 

Hope is much more. It is the knowledge that what is desired can be obtained or that certain key events will unfold for the best. A wise man once pointed out how hope has as it's basis well-grounded "evident realities".  

Do You Remember

Do you remember when you first heard the artfully contrived words: "Hope springs" and "hope floats" in fictional books and movies? Still they do not come close to the realities of hope we see everyday of our lives. The clearing of grounds surrounded by a gate and a prominent sign indicating the building of a community college strategically placed next to a 50 year old high school.  A small town turning into a bustling community. A congregation of 8 or more soon becoming a community order assisting thousands in raising the quality life. Hope is all around us. Helping us become our best selves.

Hope Builds

The fact is hope envisions. Hope plans. Hope organizes. Hope builds and hope manages.  One day Brenda and her cousins embraced a spark of hope. They envisioned a family reunion that would honor and award their elders with a token of love and appreciation unlike anything they had expressed before. And over time with good planning and organizing it became a reality. I remember being so impressed that I asked her to consider serving as a reunion planning consultant. Today we enjoy helping others empower their families hopes and dreams with engaging online content, event planning tools, fun family craft activities that make for the most memorable events. 

A recent email from someone who hoped to be inspired and envision, plan organize her family reunion event came to us after we assisted her with her Keepsake Family Reunion Booklet.

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE WITH THIS! IT BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYES TO SEE HOW YOU BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER! May God bless  you for the kindness you have given to me and my family to make our reunion a beautiful remembrance of our roots."

- Chastity.

Our pleasure Chastity. Looking for something more to envision, plan and organize your next family reunion event?  Get ready for Fimark's new Family Reunion Planner Social. Connect, survey, announce and plan your next family reunion and life events like never before with new apps connected to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yahoo and Google Plus accounts. New social network enabled surveys, invitations and flyers included. See your family interact with you as you organize the event right on your laptop, desktop, phone or tablet.  News updates about Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social coming soon Fall 2012.

For more information about Fimark's Family Reunion Planner subscribe to this blog or Facebook at and

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's Already In There

Have you ever bought an accessory only to find out that you already have two or three of them at home? Or you purchase a pack of hot dogs and a pack of hot dog rolls only to discover there are not enough rolls for each hot dog? It seems to me that having too much of one thing and not enough of the other is a marketing strategy for the unsuspecting victim to fork over more money then intended. Well it's time to fight back. How? By making good use of what you already have.

Smart Phone Apps
Using your smartphone list every product you purchase and store it in an inventory application. Keep an inventory of all the products and  accessories you've purchased in alpha order. If the item requires replacement indicate this with an alphabetic marker (r). Also add the item barcode number so you can find out if it's compatible with another product you wish to purchase.

Bar Code Scanning
It's time to start using these smartphone apps for more than just lists. Download a bar code scanner along with compatible apps that allow you to do price comparisons, calculate the cost of budget supplies and maintain an inventory complete with warranty info and product manual instructions. It's the smarter way to enter data. Now you're armed and ready to shop smart and save.

It's In Already There
Making good use of what you already have requires knowing all there is to know about the products and applications you've purchased. Many times our reunion planners forget all the many features in Fimark's Family Reunion Planner and end up scouring the Internet for other applications, poems, certificates and books. No need. Just consider the following features in the reunion event planning application and online worksheets/printables download interface.

First off you have three different reunion planning guides in one. On the "WORKBOOKS" interface you have access to two workbooks/guides. One in PDF form and the other in MS Word format. Both are complete guides with worksheets for editing and printing. On the interface itself are printable worksheets for taking a survey,  setting up your daily itinerary, dinner banquet program, reunion keepsake booklet and welcome letter as well as access to 12 flyers.

If you're looking for tour services, shows, restaurants and vendors in the area  just go to the "LOOKUP" panel in your Family Reunion Planner interface.

If you're looking for award certificates it's included in your Family Reunion Planner package. Remember all printables including poems, booklets greetings cards and flyers are free when you purchase Fimark's Family Reunion Planner.  Just click the "Get Theme Printables Here" link on the blue bar on the download interface.

Just want a few printable items? Download them at...

If you need to create a family reunion keepsake memory booklet it's included in your Family Reunion Planner package free. If you don't have the package and just want the reunion booklet you can download it at...

2. Family Reunion Store
Looking for bargain discounts on party and outdoor supplies for your family reunion and other upcoming events? Visit our Family Reunion Store and compare prices, read product reviews and take advantage of free shipping. Just go to

If you're looking for family reunion gifts like family reunion caps or aprons go to*/

3. Family Reunion Poems

If you're looking for meaningful inspiring family reunion poems you'll find five free popular poems when you purchase Fimark's Family Reunion Planner package. Just click the "Get Themed Printables Here"  link on the blue bar of the application. Just want a few of these beautiful poems? It's in there.

Did you know the author of the poem "Finding Our Way Home" and "We Rise To Tell The Story" is also the author of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Book and Keepsake? Get the book and family reunion applications at a deep discount with Season Specials.

4. Season Specials
What? Don't have Fimark's Family Reunion Planner social web app yet?
Now there is a summer special going on. Get the complete Family Reunion Planner package which includes Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide ebook, and Instant download of all printables, applications and worksheets.  List Price $49. Now $39 for a limited time. You save $10 dollars. No coupon code needed. For more information about the family reunion planning app click on the link found on this blog page or go to profiles.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Most Popular Family Reunion Activities

Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Favorite Reunion Activities Survey
Ever wonder what folks at most family reunions like to do most in terms of activities? Well we've tallied up the survey and presented it to you in Pinterest pincard format so you can print it or share it via email, Pinterst board and present it during your next family reunion meetings. Here are the results. 


Talent Show
  16 voted (53%)
Banquet Dinner
  14 voted  (46%)
  13 voted  (43%)
Line Dancing
  10 voted  (33%)
Genealogy Presentation
  9 voted  (30%)
Story Time
  5 voted  (16%)
Family Reunion Cruise
  5 voted  (16%)
Recipe Swap - Cooking and Eating
  5 voted  (16%)

And the winner is family reunion talents shows with  the traditional family reunion banquet as 2nd runner up and trailing third place is outdoor games.

Now you have a guide to make your family reunion both fun and exciting. Something to please almost everyone. If your event is more then one day why not add one or two more of the more popular activities each day.

For more information about setting up an playing games, talent shows and theme based banquet dinner programs, consult Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Reunion Software and/or Book available at

Are your family reunion organization and management tasks firmly in place? Are you certain you haven't missed an important element? Want to know how to get everyone more involved? Do you have enough funds for unexpected expenses? Want to reduce costs? Get these answers and more from our newly released book "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide & Keepsake" If your reunion event is only weeks away it's still not too late to get things just as they need to be. Take a look inside the book.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hot Fun In The Summertime

The weather was the hottest in 30 years. Real feel 100 degrees! A real scorcher if I should say so myself and for a time we wondered if anyone would show up.

A no-show would be no surprise considering that the night before a brutal thunder storm moved with winds as high as 80 miles per hour. The severe storm knocked out power lines over a wide 30 mile radius and downed large 20 year old trees.

Many of the invitees were without power in their homes while others had to contend with structural damage. When we arrived at the park we were glad to see that no trees were down and the pavilions were in good condition. Still we noticed that the power outlets were dead. That meant our well planned surprise mini concert would have to be postponed. Not a disappointment. We would have more time to rehearse and present it during our September event. Just one more thing to look forward to.

Still we fired up the grill, blew up and hung decorative balloons and streamers, started up the bubble blowers and made sure we had plenty of iced water and cool water games. Then we waited, and waited and waited.

A few hours later a few showed up. An hour later more arrived. In time over 60 filled the two pavilions. The congregation annual Family BBQ had begun. This summer the event would be held at MeadowWood Park in Huntvalley MD.

The small park with lots of grassland was a first for us. It had a large playing field, cool shady pavilions and a small stream and cross bridge that local kids used to catch crayfish.

Family, friends and friends of friends attended. Everyone from little ones to our eldest were fully involved in the activities of the day.

As usual Brenda and I did much of the planning organizing and directing. We like to do something different each year and build anticipation weeks in advance. Wonderful memories were made, old friendships rekindled and new ones made.

Our activity list was as follows:
1, Face Painting
2. Bubble Games
3. Water Balloon Toss
4. Card Games
5. Prizes and Rewards

1. Face Painting - Face painting is indeed a craft requiring some practice. What you need is soft oil based face paint found at any party planning store or craft store. Small soft sponges. Soft bristle paint brushes work well. Stencils for making starts and heart shapes. Paper towels and soapy water for clean up.

2. Bubble Games - Kids will play with this for hours. What you need are various bubble wands in all shapes and sizes. A large flat tub full of bubble solution. Water and towels to wash soapy hands and faces.

3. Water Balloon Toss - Water balloons are a wonderful way to cool off in the hot sun. You'll need at least one hundred balloons for 10 minutes of fun. Small balloons are preferred as they are easy to handle and throw. Multiple colors make for a more attractive display that kids can't resist. Avoid over filling the balloon as they will burst as soon as they are handled. Fill the balloons with cool water only and place in a cool shady place until the games begin.

The most exciting activity of the day was throwing water balloons at each other mainly to cool off. The kids and kids at heart loved it.

After the games were over we offered stuffed bears, flamingos and monkeys to all the kids who helped clean up the water balloon fallout. They quickly cleaned up and excitedly claimed their prized rewards with great glee. The kids seemed to like the long armed stuffed monkeys best of all.

For more ideas for your summer reunion look inside Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app. Follow the link on this page or access it from my profile.

Looking for more fantastic family reunion activity ideas? Find 7 fresh ideas at...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting To Know Us

Most of you know that Brenda and I are the authors and co-authors of the "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner" and Fimark's My Keepsake Wedding  Planner, both works inspired by me and Brenda's 30 year love of event planning. These books were written to encourage family commitment,  support and unity in your household and community. 
Family Reunion Poem "We Rise To Tell Ehe Story"
Family Reunion Poem "We Rise To Tell Ehe Story"
by Mark Askew
Did You Know?
Many of our current readers may not know that this blogger is also the author of the poems "Finding Our Way Back Home" and "We Rise To Tell the Story", two popular family reunion poems about generations that have come and gone leaving significant contributions toward building a strong house. Brenda and I are also founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group which promotes November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Fun Poetic Craft Ideas
Thinking about offering a gift to family reunion attendees. Here are five fun crafts poetic art ideas you can do yourself with a color printer.

1. Download one of the poems mentioned above and printing it on a large or extra large t-shirt.

2. Print the poem on transparent paper and press between two glass panels. Insert bottom edge of panels into a grooved stand or use a transparent plastic counter top brochure display holder. Makes a great center piece on your photo table.

3. Print it on paper and iron it on 11x14 size canvas and frame it.

4. Print it on a plaque.

5. Print it on transfer paper and iron it on fabric and create a wall hanging.

Webinar and Speaking Engagements
Brenda and I are involed in webinars and giving  personal counseling to newly engaged couples, newly weds, wedding officiation and we speak before groups of 100 to 10,000 about the principles that lead to happy family life. While we are booked in these areas months in advance we will always take time to answer your event planning questions online via email.

Most of all we love to take the celebratory approach to buiding strong families by encouraging family gatherings filled with nothing but fun, inspiring and meaningful activities all the family will enjoy. Your success is our greatest reward.

Summer Savings News:
Did you know that Fimark's Family Reunion Planner keepsake guidebook was marked down from $29 to $17.99. Even better, now it's only $16.19 just in time for summer savings. This books makes a great keepsake gift for reunion attendees and planners. Buy two or more and get free shipping! Go to

Announcing a special Family Reunion Planning Package offer to all reunion  planners this summer only. Today you can get the Complete Family Reunion Planner Guide and Keepsake package including the 132 page ebook, the reunion planner  web app along with instant download of all printables poems and worksheets.  Follow the link on this page or access it from my profile.

Happy Family Reunion Planning!

Mark & Brenda

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June Planning Reminders

Event planners the family reunion season is upon us. In one week many of you
will be enjoying your family reunion event and many will be going back home with
lasting memories, more support and assurance thanks to your efforts. We commend
you for your hard work.

We would like to remind you of a few follow up tasks necessary to making your
event flow smoothly:

1. Make certain all members have their t-shirt orders. (See the timeline
checklist in the Family Reunion Planner) Point them to the website if they have
not ordered. or order ready made theme based  t-shirts at*/

2. Follow up with department heads and make sure everyone has what they need
including materials and supplies. (See the materials and supplies checklist in
the Family Reunion Planner)

3. Remind them of their responsibilities. (See the department worksheets in the
Family Reunion Planner)

4. Some family members may have recently run into a snag attending. Render
support where needed.

5. Follow up with vendors and facility managers to make sure you will recieve
the timely quality services you expect. (See the timeline checklist in the Family
Reunion Planner)

6. Make certain family members know how to reach their destination. A few
families tend to get lost traveling to every event. Send them directions via
email or post mail. Have them follow a capable traveler.

7. Get help wrapping up your final tasks. No need to do it all yourself. Invite
a couple of extra hands over and put in a long night completing tasks.

8. give yourself a day of rest before the big event.

9. Don't have the Fimark's Complete Family Reunion Planner application yet?
For more ideas for your summer reunion look inside Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app. Follow the link on this page or access it from my profile.

Happy Family Reunion Planning!

Mark & Brenda

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How To Increase Event Funds

Your family reunion is just around the corner and you need to increase event funds fast? Fund raisers can be costly. Who wants to end up investing more than what was made.

To make your fun raiser a festive, colorful and interest event for all get as many involved in donating used items and craft items.  The more creative the better. Keep in mind that having a fund drive is a craft in and of itself. Setting up attractive displays takes some forethought.

Make items eye catching, inviting and laughable with punchy, witty price tags and colorful persuasive labels.

The key is to sell items that cost close to nothing but are valuable to the buyer. Here are some great DIY Fund Drive ideas courtesy of Fimark Home Online.

DIY Fund Drive Ideas by Fimark Home Online
DIY Fund Drive Ideas provided by
Visit us at 

Like three or more of the listed ideas? Why not combine them all. The more variety the more support your fund drive will receive. Detail exactly what will be featured at the fund drive event and send out at least three reminders up to the day of the event.

Online Payment Systems
Many reunion planners have lamented about getting reunion dues in on time. If you are asking attendees to mail you money or drop off cash you're in for a long wait. Why? Some folks don't write checks or handle cash daily anymore. They pay bills online. That said,  setup your Paypal, Google Wallet or other online payment system asap or get a website that takes payments like the one reviewed here...

Send online payment ready emails to each family member to make the payment process easier. 

Inspiring Incentive
Sometimes attendees need incentive to get those fees paid. Here are some dues payment incentives. Offer rewards for the first 10 0r 20 payees. Offer special seating at the reception for those who send payments early. Offer a special party favor to early payees. Offer mention in the family reunion keepsake booklet. 

Hand out certificates, a baked item or award them with a favorite keepsake heirloom like the family reunion planning keepsake book featured at Createspace...  This 132 page Family Reunion Planner keepsake book can be given to timely payees. The event planning book contains a family reunion planner, family tree, pedigree, family recipes section, journal and reunion themes and games. Makes a great fund drive offering, gift, reward and family heirloom. It also contains detailed cost saving fund drive ideas to raise money for your event.

Visit us at

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Planning For The Unexpected

Throwing a family reunion event can be very the catalyst to creating sweet memories that will last for many generations to come. Suffice it to say, celebrating life, family bonds and the principles that maintain them is the ultimate gift all attendees will receive. That said, no matter what happens or does not happen good times will be had.

Time And Unforeseen Occurrence
An ancient book once said, "Enjoy the fruitage of your labor." Still as with any event there will be those unexpected and unforeseen situations that bear the mark of disrupting the most well planned reunion event. That same ancient book reads, "Time and unforeseen occurrence befalls us all." That said, the question is; how do you navigate through the unexpected and unforeseen?

Brace For Impact - Soften The Bow
I am reminded of a certain family member who after donning a particularly nice dress, tripped,  broke a heel and landed on her bottom. She laughed, got up and was thankful for having a soft cushioned backside that broke the impact of the fall. She is the one and only person I know who can brace for impact and control her fall always landing on her bottom. The lesson? When planning your event anticipate the unexpected, brace for impact and prepare in such a way that you cushion the blow.

Often the unexpected comes in the form of an unexpected expense or an unforeseen need. The situation may  require the cushion of extra funds while the unforeseen need may require additional time, manpower or other resources. Having on hand additional volunteers, extra place settings, chairs, tables and t-shirts will quickly resolve many problems.

A Little More Is Better Than Not Enough
Consider having plenty of food and drink instead of just enough. Just enough can easily translate into not enough when unexpected guests arrive or there is a spill. Have an extra room available for an unexpected arrival and above all schedule as much advanced preparation time as possible. Do you have a family member with a medical background? Make sure they are visible and ready to respond to any health related emergency that may come up.  If you're traveling to an out-of-town event remember  pack an emergency kit.

It is best to have everything associated with the banquet reception completed 2 hours or more before the event so there will be plenty of time to respond to the unexpected. While you cannot foresee every possible scenario, the principle of being well prepared for the unexpected can help cushion the blow when the unforeseen occurs allowing the reunion event to proceed as planned.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Remembering To Give Back

Nature survives based on the principle of procreation, duplication and restoration. We survive based on the principle of giving back. That said, what ever we glean we replace or restore so that when taking, all is not used up, lost or discarded.

Harvest season leads to a season of restoration and a season of planting in order to Harvest once again. As we pick, prune, weed and replenish top soil we are rewarded for our hard work.

 Family members have long held to the tradition of giving back to fathers and mothers so that they are able to see good for all their hard work. We give back by handling them delicately in their golden years and instilling confidence, honor and love as they age.

The Giver is The Receiver

We are both the giver and the receiver. The taker and restorer. The user and replenisher. As such I certainly am in good company. Most of my readers have in some way given back to me and Brenda for our efforts to inspire, entertain and provide practical guides and tools to families the world over. It is gratifying to see thousands of users spending precious time making use of our event planning tools and tips. But most gratifying of all is when you the reader take those 3 seconds to say "I like this" and leave a comment or two that lifts our spirits so much that we fairly bust with more creativity ideas, tips and tools. In other words you're giving back makes us give you even more. Giving back is usually an easy touch and go process. 3 second opportunities to give back are available anytime and anywhere.

Giving Back Opportunities
This concept of giving back reminds me of my recent visit to my Pinterest page at You'll notice today that the most prominent pin is our book Fmark's Family Reunion Planner. Why so high in the page of pins? Because Pinterest users took the time to give back. Over 22 users liked the book in just three weeks. 77 user repinned the book to their own Pinterest page. Brenda and I can honestly say we see good for all our hard work.

Giving Back On
Still there is a dilemma when it comes to how users give back by way of recommendations, comments. likes and support of our resource. For example, over the years Google Wallet users have rewarded Fimark Home Online resources and books with a good star rating, we still enjoy the #2 ranking spot for keyword "Family reunion planner" on Google search engines. So what's the dilemma?  On our most esteemed users seem to hesitate rating and reviewing the reunion planning book. This has baffled us of late considering the fact the we get so many positive reviews elsewhere. That said we invite you to visit our page at and take 3 seconds to rate our Book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner. Thanks for giving back.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Family Reunion Planning Reminders

Weekend Reminders

Family reunion planners, we are heading into May. Nothing is more important at this time then following-up and wrapping up all event planning loose ends. See your Complete Family Reunion Planner personal event planning interface timeline to keep up-to-date with tasks.

Answer these questions:
1. T-shirt orders out? (see T-shirt panel on the event planner interface)
2. Keepsake Reunion Booklet complete? (see booklet icon)
3. Camera media and batteries purchased? (see Store panel)
4. Complete itinerary sent out? (see theme selector panel/itinerary icon)
5. All outdoor and indoor event supplies acquired? (see Budget and Store panels)
6. Are all department volunteers and committee members on the same page regarding tasks, deadlines, times and places to meet for setup?
(Access all department worksheets on the Workbooks panel)

Money Saving Tips
Need to save money? Here are three money saving tips and one new money saving feature in your complete Family Reunion Planner 3.0 intereface.

1. Ask attendees to donate supplies to the event such as grills, decorations, lawn furniture, canopies, coolers, music equipment, etc.

2. Have attendees purchase there own last minute t-shirts online. (See T-shirt Designer panel)

3. Ask family members to donate services toward the event in exchange for advertising in the Family Reunion Keepsake booklet. Such services may include photography, Keepsake CDrom, DJ, Catering, discounted travel packages, limo services, etc.

4. Get free printables - Patrons of the Complete Famiiy Reunion Planner 3.0 can download all 5 reunion theme printable packages at no additional cost. Each package includes theme based Reunion themed poems, reunion cards, flyers, invitations, banners, honorary award certificates, t-shirts, caps and aprons. Use the link on the family reunion planner dashboard called "Get Theme Printables Here."

You can download theme based printables and print them yourself or edit and order prints online. Bulk discounts apply to select print orders. Free shipping available on seasonal/select products at*/ or go to 

Access the Print Shop from your Complete Family Reunion Planner Interface. If you purchased the Family Reunion Planner at any time between 2005 and 2010 you are entitled to the online access link to the Family Reunion Planner 3.0. Simply send your purchase number to

Those using the evaluation version of the family planner are directed to the public theme printables page at where theme based printables can be purchased and downloaded.

Don't have Fimark's Family Reunion Planner yet? Enjoy season discounts on the complete family reunion planner and save up to $35. Regular price $99. Discounted as low as $65 at

Happy Family Reunion Planning!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An International Celebration

What wonderful family reunions this family must have. Herbert and Zelma have been married for 86 years. Both over were over 100 years of age when this picture was taken. They received a signed commendation from President Obama with a promise of an official invitation to the White House to meet him.  

Does this handsome couple hold the Guinness World Record for the longest marriage of a living couple?

Down in the Guinness Book of World Records they're long lasting marriage was pinned.

The couple actually have a twitter page. When asked what is their secret to staying together so long. Zelma says “There isn’t any secret. It was only God that kept us together.” 

Herbert and Zelma live in the home he built in 1942. They enjoy the visits of their grandchildren and great grandchildren. A testimony to the endurance of true love as written in a 
best-selling 1900 year old ancient guidebook: "love endures all things... love never fails" Congratulations Herbert and Zelma and Happy 86th Wedding Anniversary!

For more tips on developing an enduring marriage read the closing 10 pages of our book "Fimark's My Keepsake Wedding Planneran excellent gift for those recently engaged. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Words of Wisdom and Movitation

Some words of wisdom and motivation for all our 2012 family reunion planners out there.

so live!

"Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful."

That's our motto.

"Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful."

Great wedding or family reunion slogan

"Individually we are special. Together we are spectacular"

indeed."Where there is love, there is life."

Visit my Pinterest "Well Said" board for more inspiration.

A Book of Wisdom: Fimark's Family Reunion Planner. Everything you need to plan a memorable family reunion. Includes the popular family reunion poem "Finding Our Way Back Home."

This family reunion planning guide includes a timeline planner, checklists, budget list, themes and associated itineraries and dinner programs.     The keepsake features include a signature of ownership page, an event details page, an event planning journal and a family recipe compiler complete with sections to record the history behind the family recipe. And it also includes one of Mark Askew's popular family reunion poems "Finding Our Way Home."
Happy family reunion planning!