I am sure we can all recall some wonderful memories of visiting Grammas house or gathering with family during special days when everyone would bring a dish to pass. And we all had that one dish we hoped and prayed would be there. Was it Aunt Betty’s famous deviled eggs, or Gramma Alice’s jello mold with fruit. Maybe it was homemade Chicken and Noodles. Whatever the case, there are meals that make us feel like we are home. In the safety and comfort of our loved ones. I feel very fortunate that I have several recipes that have been handed down from my family – and some of them I still use on a regular basis. Others are more for special occasions. But then I am sad when I remember that one of my grandmas did not write down any of her recipes. She cooked using the lil pinch of this and a tad of that measuring. I really did love her cornbread and fried corn. Guess I need to find out if any other relatives ever wrote down her directions.
So now that your mouth is watering and you are rummaging through the kitchen cabinets, let’s talk about how you can give someone the gift of love and family history all in one. Make a collection of recipes from family (and friends) and put them into a recipe book. Not the old boring typed out list of ingredients and steps to follow. But scan a digital image of the handwritten recipe card, even with all the stains and creases in it – that way you know it was loved. Ask family to send you photos of the recipes if they don’t have the means to scan it. Or maybe at the next family gathering, you ask everyone to bring the copies of their favorite recipes and then YOU scan them all for your collection and then they get the original back.
Now you go back home and have all these recipes. I use FOREVER Artisan 5 software to create a book easily and quickly – add the background papers, insert the digital files onto the pages, if I am lucky enough I can add a photo of the actual dish after it was made or maybe a photo of the cook who I got the recipe from. Make it personal. Add some comments and modifications in the margins as to how you change the recipe (for instance, I put oatmeal instead of bread crumbs in my meatloaf). Some of the recipes will be handwritten, hard to read and fading – include the recipe card and then next to it, type out the info again so you don’t have to strain to read it while cooking. Intermingle recipes from each side of the family. Make it about sharing family history as well as some comfort food.
I recently put out a request to family to send me recipes from their kitchen. When I got them all, I incorporated them into a book and then made multiple copies, we have 3 family weddings this year. So guess what the bridal shower gift is?? A handmade book created by me containing some of the recipes the couple would have grown up on and will want to share in their new home! I did personalize each book with their engagement photo on the first page but EVERYTHING else is exactly the same. So easy. Let me know if you want help putting together your own recipe book, for a great gift to share with family.
I can smell the bread baking in Grandma’s house right now. YUM!!!
This Mother’s Day, why not spend some time finding out about her life before she had kids. Here are some possible questions you could ask her:
1- What was your favorite food that Gramma cooked?
2- What was your favorite place to eat out?
3- Did you have a special hat to wear for Easter or other holidays?
4- What was your favorite thing to do at school?
5- How often did you and your friends have sleepovers?
6- Did the sleepovers occur at your house or a friend’s house?
7- What was the one chore your parents had you do that you just hated?
8- What type of car did your family drive when you were a kid?
9- Where was your first vacation that you remember as a kid?
10- Did you have a diary that you wrote in? Did your parents know?
And then when you have Mom's answers, you could write down your answers, and if you have daughters, have them also write answers down. Then share all three generations to look for similarities and differences. What a great way to spend some quality time.
2015. Where does the time go? We have made it through the holidays and almost the first month of the new year. Life is still crazy - traveling, when I can, to be with my Dad during his cancer journey. Happy to say only 6 more days of radiation and getting the results from the CT scan. Hoping for a clear scan and a chance to kick cancer to the curb. But what about resolutions? Have you already fallen off the wagon with the goals you set for yourself this year? Have you even made some goals for the upcoming months? I would like to offer some ideas that will help you with that.
So Valentine's Day is in a few weeks. It doesn't have to be about mushy love, show some love to those around you. Offer to do some chores for someone unable to handle them, help with a fundraiser, or find a charitable cause you believe in. I have had the great fortune of helping a first year teacher with a project on DonorChoose.org, been able to provide lodging for an out of town family when they lost their mom, and I have been able to help a client get some old family photographs digitized and on flashdrives to share with siblings. Have you looked at those around you to see where needs might be? It doesn't have to be anything big.
Speaking of photos, maybe you have ran across some old photos and you want to do something with them. Have you seen the idea on social media of the generational photo with each person holding the photo of the person in their next generation. What a cool gift to give to all who were in the photo (4 or 5 generations are typical). I can help with getting photos scanned for you, books made to share with family and friends, and even introduce you to a great way to safeguard your photos for generations.
Speaking of making a difference, Lent is approaching as well. For those of us in the Catholic faith, Lent typically means giving up something for 40 days. I always twisted that around for our kids and my students in CCD to "add" something new to your day. Instead of seeing it as a loss, look at it as a gain. Maybe it is adding the task of writing a note to someone who could use a kind word and a little encouragement, how about spending a few minutes each day sorting through your photo stacks and labeling them with name and date so that the info is not lost, or what about spending some time each week with a family member and sharing stories. Not only will those you interact feel the love, you will also be impacted.
So as we look for things to do and curtail our cabin fever, don't feel like it has to be anything huge and newsworthy, make it meaningful to someone close to you. And celebrate the memories you share.
I am a Certified Photo Organizer. I have a passion for helping people in many ways. I am a life-long learner and this new business venture is just another path I am following.