How Can we Use Our Family History in Our Gift Giving?

I wanted my grand daughter to see what she, and  her mother, grandmother and great grandmother looked like all around the same age.

I wanted my grand daughter to see what she, and her mother, grandmother and great grandmother looked like all around the same age.

I know my husband does not like to think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, so the fact that I am working on Christmas gifts year round seems all the more crazy to him. When you have a family as large as ours and a limited retirement income, I have to work on my ideas year round to have a chance to make the gifts that I want to give. After all, I want them to be personal and show that some thoughtfulness went in to the gift making process. I love everything to do with Family, and my favorite things to do is to create and plan thoughtful gifts to those I want to show my love to.

Even as a small child I loved to hear the stories from the older family members about the life events of our ancestors. I really look forward to when the new season of “Who Do You Think You Are” starts, so I can hear how other peoples family history is discovered in this weekly hour-long show. The reason I liked to have scriptures read to me by my mother at a very young age, was to hear cool family stories about the joys and trails that these people went through in their lives. My mother’s calming voice as she read to me at bedtime is still some of my fondest childhood memories. OK, I will confess something that if my school mate friends would have known back in those days, I would have been teased about big time. What started out as my mother reading to me bedtime stories as a young girl continued on until well into my teens years. Yes, I could have read them myself, and did that lots of times, but for some reason my mom enjoyed our reading time as much as I did so I did not pass up the chance to just relax and let her relate those tender bed story’s. I am a history fan for the same reasons. I love to know how peoples choices in their own lives have affected the lives of others. This is an area that just comes as a natural interest to me. I was shocked as I became a teenager to find out not everyone shares the same enthusiasm for learning and telling stories about their family history as I do. Yet I have found out now, that at some point in most people’s lives we all start to wonder about our own family history. The lucky ones are the ones who do it while their parents or grandparents are still alive and they are able to tell us about some of our family history. We do have sites like that is a good resource to help us discover some of our family history. But lets be honest, “How many of us have old family photos that we have no idea who the different people are? “

For me personally, I ask myself how could I preserve my own family history in ways that whenever different family members might become interested in their family history they would have a resource to use? I wanted to make the family history places that I love a place that would hopefully become an easy and enjoyable way for other family members to learn some of the answers to the questions they might have about our family ancestors. I want my children and grandchildren and the ones who come after them to know not just their ancestors names and data like their birth-date and death dates, but I want them to know the person, the life events that molded the lives of all our different family members.

I wanted to show my father in his Marine uniform one of left is taken in early 1950's and one on right taken in 2013

I wanted to show my father in his Marine uniform one of left is taken in early 1950’s and one on right taken in 2013

I have my father, who does well just to turn on his computer to write a letter on his computer, and in contrast I have an eight year old granddaughter, who lives 2500 miles away from me, who will Skype, or Face Time me so she can talk me through how to do very advanced things on my computer. So here is a few things I tied to take advantage of to get our family history digitized and put our different websites on so any of our family members who do use the computer could have as much access to any family data that I could share.


I scanned as many of the family photos from my grandparents and parents photo albums. I put them on many different websites, from my Facebook photo albums, to genealogy websites like,,, and


One Christmas I made CD’s with personal labels of thousands of our old family photos and gave them to each of my different family members, so they too would have all the old family photos that I tried to organize and label.

I took all the old 8mm family films and VHS home videos, and I transferred them over to digital format. This is a process I am still working on, but one day I hope to have them edited and done in a way that I can give each family member their own copy of as many of our old family movies on DVD’s so they can watch them on their computers or TV.


I have some dairies of family members who have died, I want to one day take the parts I do not think they would mind sharing with other family members, and get them typed up on the computer, and place them in the above genealogy websites in that person’s area so anyone who is searching for them in the future will be able to learn more than just their name and dates.


I have some recipe fill boxes from family members who have died. I want to type up their recipes so their present day family can enjoy many treats from the past. I want to make up a family recipe book to give to the family members, and then also put their recipes on the above website so others in the future can try them and feel a little more connected to their ancestors.


I love to give my grandchildren a book as part of the Christmas gifts each year. I am in the process of attempting to make up a “Children” bedtime story book to give them of their real life ancestors. I want to include any maps of the area they lived and any photos we have. Why not let some of their bedtime stories be about their own personal history.


Another idea, is taking old photos of family members and putting them on my computer, then turning them into coloring pictures. Write a little something of who it is and why it’s part of the family coloring book. I want to make up coloring books for the younger grandchildren as a gift. This would be a wonderful quiet time, or family home evening active to have them do and to learn more about their family from the past and color Great grandpas face any color they want to.

My grandfather Heber Danner age 20, My father Donald B Danner age 20, and my son Donald E Liggett age 18. Photoshop to show how they all look the same , maybe like they are related ;)

My grandfather Heber Danner age 20, My father Donald B Danner age 20, and my son Donald E Liggett age 18. Photoshop to show how they all look the same , maybe like they are related 😉


You can go to most stores that sell computer items and buy a package of cloth transfer paper and then take old photos of family members and photo shop the person you plan to give the gift to in with an older ancestor who they look like. Then print the iron on photo to make a pillow case, a tee-shirt or something that you know they would maybe enjoy.


For several years I have been working on a Book project where I separated the different family lines. I hope if I ever finish that line back at least 10 generations, I can also make up books to give the family members.


On my Facebook page, I started several Family pages and I post all that I find on to that page. I use these pages as a means for different family members to view or to also post their findings, and come and share what others have posted. This is a good resource to learn and to help others in our family stay connected with the all family, past, present and future.

My Grandmother Ellen Barrett Danner

I am always looking for ideas of how to create fun and more personal gifts that also focus on our family history. If anyone has some ideas please share them here. I enjoy combining the things that I love to do and in so doing also give and share my findings of my family history with those I love.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


Anyone who knows me, knows I love to spend lots of time going through old family photos. As I look at the photos I am involved with, it’s like being in a time machine, and I am instantly back to the day and time the photos were being taken. As I prepared for this week blog, and I was looking at the different family photos in my life, I found myself asking myself this question over and over again, what memories in my life do I have the most happiness from? Is it the time in my life when I was the child and going to family events that involved my grandparents and other extended family; or, is it the times in my life I was the parent or grandparent?







I would like to share a part from a book entitled “Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace” by Kent Nerburn, written in 1999 about his own life experiences.


“We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


– Maya Angelou said ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’


May we make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by reminding ourselves that often it is the random acts of kindness that most benefit all of us? Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.”


Happiness to me is Spending Time with Family

My life might not be prefect, but anytime I am with my family, it do not need to be any more happier or prefect for me!

My life might not be prefect, but anytime I am with my family, it does not need to be any more happier or prefect for me!

I will be turning 54 years old in a few weeks. Yesterday I hosted my youngest daughter, Melissa’s first baby’s baby shower. That is where the above photo was taken. When I was a lot younger, thinner and not as wise I would have most likely been embarrassed of the photo for how unflattering it is of me. I am heavier now than I ever thought I would be. I don’t always take the time, like I use to blow dry my hair and get my make up on before I go out to our family events. The aging process, mixed in with a life of learning to deal is different illness and side effects of the medicines I need to take has taken its toll on me. Yet, somehow when I see the happiness on all of our faces, knowing that those who know me, and accept me for who I am , flaws and all, enjoy the time they share with me, as much as I enjoy spending with them … I don’t see the extra weight, the wrinkles, the gray hair … instead I see an aging grandmother of going on 18 grandchildren enjoying all the blessings of my family life.

It’s a shame that it takes the aging process before our vision of what really matters in life to become more clear. I cherish the moments I am blessed to share in the little and big events of my family. Yes, there are things about myself I still want to keep working to improve, but for now I jokingly say “I need to have a bigger lap to hold and cuddle all the grand-babies that keep blessing my life.” I know we don’t get everything we want, but I do know God does give us everything we need. My life is far from being prefect, but when I look at the above photo, I proudly and honestly say to myself,” I do not need to be any more happy than in the prefect moments of my life spending and sharing my heart and time with my family.”

My Siblings


“I know it’s a cliché, but the whole family is just whacked. I mean, we’re all out of our minds. They’re the funniest, most eccentric bizarre people I’ve ever met, my siblings.”
― Dana Carvey

I am the fifth of six children in my family. My husband is an only child, whose father died when he was almost nine years old. As I tell my husband of the different things my siblings and I did in our childhood, he is amazed any of us made it to adulthood. To be honest my siblings and I agree with him. We were your typical kind of siblings that fought, teased, laughed, played, and tattle on each other. There is a large age gap from the oldest, my brother Don who was born in 1951 and the youngest, my sister Kathy born in 1966. What one of us could not think up to do, there was the others to come up with something. We shared many memories in our childhood. I love it when we now can get together and start telling some of our cherished childhood stories. We retell many of the same ones, yet laugh just as hard every time.
I cannot image how boring and lonely my life would have been without my partners in crime siblings. We each are so different, yet we love each other for who we are.

My older brother Fred, passed away in 2010, and it still is something I cannot totally come to terms with. I find myself talking to him all the time when I am doing something he and I did together. His death was a wakeup call for me to remember how precious each moment in our lives is. How important it is not to take our live ones for granted. Our daily responsibilities keep us busier than I would like, and the time we can get together seem further and further apart as our own individual families have grown, but when we do get together, it’s as if not time has passed and we are those silly childhood siblings laughing and carrying on as we always have done.

My husband bought me a wonderful artwork I hang on my wall that I make sure I read each day that I would like to close my blog this week with.

By Tim Tarrant
No matter how great the distance, we return, bearing the bruises of the paths we’ve chosen.
We come to join in laughter, in comfort, and in grief.
In this house spirits soar, souls dance, and magically we make up for the lost time.
We gather in a whirling celebration of life and like the river that run into the sea, we are once again whole.
We take comfort in knowing that through moments of great joy and times of sobering reality, we are surrounded by all that we will ever need … each other.

I love you Brothers Donald K, and Fredrick K; and Sisters Joann, Theresa M, and Katherine E Danner. Thank you for all the cherished sibling memories that I have. There will always be a bond between us that nothing can take away from us.

Mom & My Siblings and Me

lol we all have our crazy family moments, that are not so funny while we are living in them, but afterwards as we retell the stories, the laughter is priceless.

What sibling memories do my blog readers have that you are willing to share?

Danny and My 18 Grandchildren ~ 2014 ~

I love my family

I love my family

“Grand children are God’s way of compensating us for growing old”. ~Mary H. Waldrip

This coming Monday will be our oldest Grandson, Skylar’s 23rd Birthday (Happy Birthday Sky we love you). Today is a day I am reflecting back over my life as a child, a parent and as a grandparent. Over the last three weeks my husband Danny and I have had the pleasure of hanging out with most of our grandchildren at some point or another. Our grand daughter Ilana, who will be 9 years old in September, who lives in Maryland has been here visiting since Father’s Day, and what a joy it was. I did all in my power to pack in as much memory making stuff with her while she was here that I could, this since we don’t get to see her as often as the other grandchildren who live close by. We picked Cherries (25 pounds) and made cherry jam for her to take back as gifts for her family and friends on the East coast. We worked some on her scrapbook and we did some of her family history. You are never to young to learn how important family is in your life. She made it home safely today after going on her first time airplane ride going alone without an adult. It was a non stop flight, but a long 3 and half hour wait for her parents and grandparents until she was home. I really love it when they come, and I cry like a baby when the time comes for the “Good-byes”. I cannot express enough how much Grandpa and I love each and every one of our grandchildren even if we don’t get to see some of them as often. We are so proud of the individuals they each are growing into. Our oldest granddaughter Shalyse is getting married this coming March to a young man that our family loves and we are excited to welcome Tyler into our family. Our family is growing up so fast and I thank God everyday that we are blessed to be part of each of our grandchildren’s lives. We have grandson # 9 due on August 28th, and grand daughter #9 due on Oct 24th ( my oldest brother’s birthday). I just wanted to reflect and enjoy each and every moment that I have been blessed to spend with my grandchildren.

There’s nothing like having a grandchild to restore faith to heredity. ~Doug Larsen

The idea that no one is perfect is a view most commonly held by people with no grandchildren. ~Doug Larson

Grandparents are a family’s greatest treasure, the founders of a loving legacy, The greatest storytellers, the keepers of traditions that linger on in cherished memory. Grandparents are the family’s strong foundation. Their very special love sets them apart. Through happiness and sorrow, through their special love and caring, grandparents keep a family close at heart. ~author unknown

Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent. ~Donald A. Norberg

Grandparents are there to help the child get into mischief they haven’t thought of yet. ~Gene Perret

Grandparents are similar to a piece of string – handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren. ~Author Unknown

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. ~Alex Haley

Because (grandparents) are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations. ~Jimmy Cart

It’s funny what happens when you become a grandparent. You start to act all goofy and do things you never thought you’d do. It’s terrific. ~ Mike Krzyzewski

Grandparents, like heroes, are as necessary to a child’s growth as vitamins. ~Joyce Allston

Grandchildren: the only people who can get more out of you than the IRS. ~Gene Perret

The presence of a grandparent confirms that parents were, indeed, little once, too, and that people who are little can grow to be big, can become parents, and one day even have grandchildren of their own. So often we think of grandparents as belonging to the past; but in this important way, grandparents, for young children, belong to the future. ~Fred Rogers

Something magical happens when parents turns into grandparents. Their attitude changes from “money-doesn’t-grow-on-trees” to spending it like it does.? ~ Paul Linden

My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too. ~Gene Perret