A Mother’s Last Dance

When a mother finds out she is having a son, one of the future events she may dream of is the joy of dancing with her baby boy at his wedding. Mary Ann Manning had that chance taken away from her in 2010 when her son Kyle passed away at the young age of 23. According to TODAY, soon afterwards Mary Ann’s breast cancer returned after almost a decade in remission and was diagnosed as Stage 4.

With her health continuing to fail, Mary Ann’s dying wish was to make it to her son Ryan’s wedding to share that special mother-son dance. Despite suffering another stroke a day before the wedding, she still managed to be there and mustered the strength to make this dance happen. And the result is one of the most beautiful, touching moments we’ve seen caught on video.

The groom’s sister, Kristie, shared on the YouTube page, “Mary Ann Manning lost her battle with breast cancer just 3 days after this dance. She held on with all her might to give her son this last gift. It’s really the epitome of a mother’s love. She now joins her other baby boy, who passed 4 years ago, in heaven.”

We wish this brave and beautiful family all of the love and healing thoughts in the world.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations may be made in Mary Ann’s name to Hope Hospice or Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation.


Questions to Ask Your Grandparents



Inter-generational relationships are one of the most beautiful gifts in the world. The relationship between grandparent and grandchild is precious in so many different ways. Yet, how well do we really know them? As we celebrate Grandparents Day today, we felt the timing was perfect to put together a great list of questions to ask your grandparents to help us all learn more about these amazing persons who hold the key to our family history.

What greater Grandparents Day gift could there be than to spend some quality time with grandma or grandpa and talk to them about some of the most important moments and memories in their life? It’s vital that you seize this opportunity before it’s too late.

While one’s life history certainly can never fit into a single afternoon discussion, the following list of questions may very well spark some conversation-starters to get your grandparents talking about one special era of their life, whether it be childhood dreams, school experiences, or becoming parents and grandparents. (Be sure to take good notes or better yet, record their answers!)

Feel free to print this list of questions to ask your grandparents, or improvise according to your own family situation:

Childhood and School

  • Where were you born? What was your house like?
  • What is your earliest memory? Why do you think you remember this particular instance?
  • Did you have a nickname?
  • What kinds of games did you play growing up? Did you have a favorite toy?
  • What was your favorite family meal?
  • Who was your first best friend, and how did you meet? Do you still keep in touch?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What was your favorite subject in school and who was your favorite teacher?

Marriage and Children

  • When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates? When did you know you were going to marry him/her?
  • What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
  • What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
  • What made you decide to become a parent?
  • Why did you choose your children’s names?
  • What was your proudest moment as a parent?
  • What did you enjoy doing together as a family?
  • How was having grandchildren different from having children? What do you enjoy most about being a grandparent?


  • What is your favorite song?
  • What is the best advice you were ever given, and did you follow it?
  • If there was one moment in your life you could relive, what would it be and why?
  • What was your profession and how did you choose it? What was your first job?
  • If you could have had any other profession, what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
  • Of all the things you learned from your parents, what do you think was the most important?
  • What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?
  • Tell me one thing you’ve never told anyone else before.

Interviewing a grandparent can be not only a lot of fun, but informative and eye-opening as well. This may even become a fun annual Grandparents Day tradition. By focusing on a new topic or area of life each year, you will be able to get a more in-depth perspective while strengthening your relationship with each other. And your grandparents will love this trip down memory lane.

And if your grandparents are no longer with you, now is a great time to sit down and write what you do remember about them to make sure those memories are captured for generations that follow you.

What’s the greatest lesson you learned from your grandparents?


Top 10 Family Reunion Ideas

Relationships are the fabric of our lives. They are the fibers that weave all things together - Eden Frost quote | American Greetings Blog

There’s something about summer that inspires us to connect with family to celebrate the unique bond that unites us. The joy of sharing not only a cultural heritage, but a family history makes these multi-generational gatherings a time-honored tradition.

Whether it’s an elaborate gathering of the entire network of extended relatives or just your immediate family, here are some great ideas for get-togethers that will have everyone enjoying the day together and creating some special memories.

  1. Check out the zoo (and we don’t mean your zany cousins): A visit to your local zoo will bring out the kid in everyone as they explore different exhibits and learn about exotic creatures. Interactive places like this also inspire conversation and mingling throughout the group, which is the main goal of any family reunion.
  2. Croquet in the park: This centuries-old lawn game is making a comeback in a big way—and it also allows all ages and skill levels to partake in the fun. Pack a picnic, bring out the wickets and hoops, and enjoy a relaxing (and minimally competitive) sport.
  3. Celebrate your heritage: Choosing a memorable date from your family’s country of origin is a good way to help everyone remember when you’ll get together each year. Make your party a celebration of your roots by utilizing traditional colors, foods, activities, and even a little history lesson for the younger generation.
  4. Of grapes and grain: If you’re looking for a way for just the adults to enjoy some time together, visiting a local winery can be a fun way to get outside and enjoy a few spirits in good company. Check with the winery beforehand to see if reservations are necessary and if you’re permitted to bring your own snacks. If so, assign a few people to breads and fruits and ask everyone else to bring a new type of cheese to share.
  5. Take me out to the ball game: Few things say summer like a baseball game—but even if you don’t have a major league budget, minor league and local high school games can still prove to be fun for the whole family.
  6. Scrounging for clues: For another type of interactive activity, consider hosting a scavenger hunt. There are many resources on the Internet to make planning a snap. Consider assigning teams of non-immediate family members to get everyone involved and working together.
  7. Summer camp, family style: Camping doesn’t just have to be just for the experienced outdoorsmen—there are many state parks and recreation areas that offer lovely accommodations for pitching a tent or parking a recreational vehicle for a weekend of turning off the electronic devices and enjoying the great outdoors. What better way to connect than over a campfire and a few good ghost stories?
  8. Cook-off: Is your family known for their barbeque or another summer treat? Host a cook-off where the family chefs present their best recipes (and bring copies to share!) A fun set of cooking utensils makes an appropriate, yet inexpensive grand prize.
  9. Walk for a cause: Start off a traditional picnic with a purpose by signing up the family to participate in a fundraising walk. Selecting a cause that’s near and dear to your family will ensure that everyone feels connected to the event. Host a potluck picnic afterwards to keep the good times going—and pat yourselves on the back for the good deed you’ve done!
  10. Make your family tree: A great activity during any family reunion is to piece together your family tree and history. Take photos of all family members who attend and ask them to provide photos of family members who could not attend or are deceased. Consider putting this family history together in a format that everyone can order a copy of like a custom photo book.

What special things does your family do in order to stay in touch? We’d love to hear in the comments!


Game Night

Game night!

You’ve made it to Friday! The work week is coming to an end and soon you’ll be able to go home and relax, but you also want to have a little fun. Sometimes it’s hard to find the energy for a Friday night on the town – so save your energy for tomorrow – but there’s no need to waste a perfectly good Friday night. Invite a few friends over, or get the family together for a good ol’ fashion game night. Scrabble, Monopoly, Twister… get creative! The important thing is to be around people you have fun with and spend some good quality time with each other. If you’re planning a game night far enough in advance you could even send out fun invitations or cards to let everyone know what to expect. You could have themed goodies based on the games you choose – and don’t forget some good music! Everybody’s working for the weekend and now it’s finally here – so celebrate!


Indoor Adventures

What are your plans today? With a long weekend upon us due to Presidents Day on Monday, there’s no better time than now to make some memories with the family. Weather not cooperating? No problem – indoor fun is just a couple of creative thoughts away!  Don’t forget to have the camera close – you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity capture smiles, laughs and all kinds of memories! Print out the pictures you take and make a scrapbook or card featuring your indoor adventures!

Indoor adventures



Famiglia! Families come in all shapes & sizes, varieties & personalities. We all have different interpretations of what makes a family and that’s what makes every family unique and wonderful. It seems like life gets busier and busier with each passing year, but time spent with family is irreplaceable. There’s no better time than right now to reach out to someone in your family and tell them that you love them, are thinking about them or miss them. Staying connected to family – near and far – is easier than you think. Make someone’s day and send them a Thinking of You greeting card, or a Funny eCard. If you’re lucky enough to have family living close by, throw a family dinner party to catch up with everyone. Remember, every family tree needs love and support to grow!


Movie Night Done Right!

Need something fun to do? Try pulling together a movie night. Who needs the theater when you have the comfort of your own living room? Whether it’s two people or 20, movie nights make a great weekend party and the ideas are pretty much endless. Figuring out details like movie themes, recipes, décor and party favors are all part of the fun. It doesn’t matter if you go low-key or extravagant, spending time with people who make you smile, laugh and feel good is time well spent!