Way-Back Advent Calendar: The Christmas Tree

My mom was born in 1949 and along with learning to care for their first child, my grandparents also were acquiring camera skills. Therefore, you’ll have to forgive the blurriness of the following photo:

My Mom’s First Christmas, 1949

By the following year, their technique had improved somewhat (you have to admit, my mom was a moving target):

Mom’s 2nd Christmas, 1950

This is a really nice one:

Mom and Grandma Grace, 1950

By 1959, both cameras and skills had improved quite a bit:

Aunt Joan, Aunt Dorrie, Mom and Aunt Teri, 1959

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Way-Back Machine Edition

Mom, Grandma Grace, Baby Aunt Joan

A few years ago, I participated in the Geneabloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. You can read my posts here.

This year, I’m going to do something a little different. I recently acquired a bunch of photos from my mom’s childhood and a large percentage of the photos are from around the holidays. I’m going to try and post most of the photos following this year’s advent calendar prompts.

Stay tuned for lots of 1950s holiday action. The fun starts tomorrow!

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween c. 1955

While scanning family photos, my aunt and I came across this Halloween class photo (my mom is in the back row, 6th from the left, wearing a bonnet and glasses; I think she’s either a pilgrim or a nurse). This would have been circa 1955. I find the masks to her left completely terrifying. Some of the costumes remind me of the Halloween scenes from the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

October Remembrances

October is an interesting month for me and my family. We celebrate many birthdays, but we’ve also lost loved ones.
I lost my grandmother and then my mom exactly two years and one day apart from each other (October 28, 2001, and October 29, 2003, respectively). Earlier this year, I came across this photo of the two of them while going through old family photos with my aunt. I’ve since printed and framed it.

Album Rescue Project: Album 2, Photos 13-15

This next post is dedicated to Footnote Maven. I’m so excited to reveal two facts about our star:

Photo 13

She’s wearing glasses! And? I think she’s a mom! That might explain why these photos are lacking captions and codes — she probably didn’t have time to fiddle with that anymore.

Photo 14

I love these photos.

Photo 15

Mom’s Fried Flounder Plus a Tale of Soggy Spinach & Childhood Angst

This post also is available at my food blog, Freezer Full.

When I was little, my mom made fried flounder. A lot. And she always served the same thing with it. Soggy, boiled, previously frozen spinach that no amount of “Real Lemon” juice from a plastic bottle was going to save.

I hated flounder night.

I avoided the fish for years. Then, one night in my twenties, I had an epiphany. Flounder didn’t have to be served with spinach! I called mom to tell her about my discovery and asked for her fried flounder recipe.

Mom’s Fried Flounder (this is how I wrote it down during our phone conversation)

coating of flour w/salt & pepper
egg white w/water

coat one hour before

canola oil and butter or corn or olive (I’m sure I asked her, “But what if I don’t have canola oil?” Personally, I wouldn’t use olive oil)
1/2 in. thick in non-stick pan
enough heat for flour to sizzle nicely
1-2 filets at a time
serve with lemon

Tonight, I added Old Bay to the flour instead of salt and pepper. I coated the fish in the egg white-water mixture before dredging in the flour mixture. Then I let it sit in the fridge for a while before finishing the dish pretty much as described above (I used just canola oil in the pan). I fried the flounder for 2 minutes on each side and then patted the excess oil off with paper towels before putting it on the plate.

Instead of spinach, I served roasted broccoli and roasted potatoes. The broccoli was really, really good. I’m just glad I checked on it early because it was done in the oven in less than 10 minutes (the broccoli I bought at the farmer’s market is way more delicate than what you find at the supermarket).

For the roasted potatoes, I just washed some small potatoes (also from the farmer’s market), dried them and cut the larger ones so they were all the same size in the pan. I tossed them in olive oil and Old Bay and popped them in the oven with the broccoli. They did take 25 minutes. I cooked the fish during the last five minutes.

Voilà.

I Hate to Be a Wet Blanket, But…

Jeez talk about bein' a wet blanket
It’s Mother’s Day and a lot of genealogy bloggers are doing tributes to their mothers, grandmothers and other female ancestors on their blogs. Just be careful and think about the information you are putting out there for others to find and, unfortunately, potentially use against you.

Your mother’s maiden name is one of the most commonly asked security questions when you fill out an online profile that requires a password. Have you used this option in the past? Maybe think twice before putting your mother’s and even your grandmother’s maiden name out there.

Dick Eastman has written on this issue before and suggested that you not use this information when signing up for online profiles. All good and well, but if you *have* used this information in the past, be sure to protect yourself and not make such information too easily available in the public sphere.

For more information on protecting your personal identity, read up at the FTC web site. The Washington Post has some good resources and advice too.

Tuesday’s Tip: Inserting Images in GoogleDoc Spreadsheets

For the Friends Album, I created a spreadsheet to keep track of the various images and data I’ve assembled about each. One of my goals was to be able to sort the spreadsheet by location, photographer, etc. Imagine my frustration when I first sorted the spreadsheet and the photos didn’t sort with the rows.

I had initially populated the spreadsheet with images by using the menu command Insert -> Image and then resizing each image to fit the designated cell. I’m not quite sure why this command exists, because it was pointless.

After the sort didn’t work, I did some research on how images really should be included in Google spreadsheets. I found this page, which was very helpful. Instead of using the menu command, using this formula embeds the image in the selected cell:

=image(“URL”)

It was a pain to go back and repopulate the spreadsheet with images the proper way, but at least now I can sort the rows and the photos will move with them!