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Exclusive articles, interviews, and insights covering downsizing & decluttering, genealogy, photos and other media, aging well, travel, and more. We’re here to help you capture the big little moments and stories to bring meaning and even order to all of life’s collections for generations.
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New Holiday Recipes to Mingle With Your Favorites

Reading time: 3 minutes

Ah, holiday menus. There tend to be two camps: “We love to mix in new recipes each year to keep things fresh for the holidays,” and "Why mess with perfection? We serve the same menu every year.” 

It’s certainly easier than ever to find new recipes to keep things interesting, whether you have the New York Times recipes app, look forward to the new Bon Appétit magazine each season, or collect cookbooks. And if you have a diverse crowd to feed or a food-enthusiast crowd joining your table, you may have even more motivation and leeway to mix it up. 

This year, as you plan out your menus, we want to encourage you to add one or two new recipes that are crowd pleasers and brain healthy, too. (And be sure to Artifct them all to easily share and recreate in the future. Bonus points if you include video of key steps or the awesome results!)  

Please don’t get any wild ideas that we are contorting your beloved holiday meals to fit some sort of dietary fad. The reality is that the food we eat on a regular basis is as much a part of our healthcare as is the steps we take in a day. If we can integrate more brain healthy crowd-pleasing recipes into our holiday repertoire, too, why shouldn’t we? 

Holiday Perfect, Brain-Healthy Recipes 

Don’t worry, folks, we did not spin up an Artifcts food test kitchen to create recipes to test on you all. We’ve left the science of food to the people with the training and expertise.  

We turned to Annie Fenn, physician, chef, culinary instructor, science advisor, and author of none other than The Brain Health Kitchen: Preventing Alzheimer’s Through Food. She is the only doctor-meets-chef who is exclusively focused on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. You can find her on Instagram at @BrainHealthKitchen and via her online community’s Brain Health Kitchen newsletter, too. 

Annie has kindly offered up two recipes, one sweet and one savory, for us to share with you today that we hope are homeruns in your household. Each uses easy-to-find ingredients popularly associated with cool weather holidays spent with family and friends.


Pleasantly tart and packed with antioxidants, cranberries deserve to be a part of your brain-healthy dietary pattern year-round. It’s best to enjoy them as a whole fruit rather than dried or juiced, since those processes add a lot of sugar. For this tender pumpkin muffin, you’ll use whole fresh or frozen cranberries, which burst as they bake—adding pockets of jammy fruit. These muffins pack in a nice roster of brain- healthy ingredients, from the almond, oat, and flaxseed batter to the sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top. Excerpted from The Brain Health Kitchen, by Annie Fenn (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2023.

Pumpkin and Cranberry Muffins

Click the photo for the complete recipe on Artifcts.
Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski.


Typical spinach artichoke dip wears a health halo that comes from having the word spinach in the name. Although it may sound good for you, it is all too often loaded with saturated fat and an excessive amount of sodium in a cheesy base that makes it easy to overindulge. Enter this brain-healthy take on the classic dip, which pairs the spinach—and lots of it— with a creamy, cashew-based sauce. If you love artichokes, you’ll like this version even better than the standard, since the artichoke flavor really shines, and you still get to dip the crispy chips in the hot, creamy dip. Excerpted from The Brain Health Kitchen, by Annie Fenn (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2023. 

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Click the photo for the complete recipe on Artifcts.
Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski.

And to further help you in all things culinary and introduce some fun new family activities, we’ll be sharing a special Saturday-edition of ARTIcles by Artifcts this weekend. Recipes will be among the topics we'll cover. Stay tuned!


You may also enjoy these additional ARTIcles by Artifcts:

How to Artifct Those Recipes

The Three Things I Wish My Mother had Artifcted

What's Your Stuffing Style

Inspirational Checklist: Culinary Connections


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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How Well-Managed Is Your Family History Estate? 

We’ve all seen recent media articles of Baby Boomers confronting how their possessions should be handled after they’ve died. While the topics of “Swedish death cleaning” and “tidying up” are at the forefront, few articles discuss how “family history” should be passed on, too, so that it contributes to a family’s legacy. 

Even if you haven’t self-published a family history book, researched your roots for years, or even built a family tree, you’ve likely been a “steward” for at least some stories, heirlooms, and “stuff.” 

Family Keeper vs. Family Steward 

There is a big difference between a “keeper” of a family’s history and a “steward” of items which make up that history. Different mindsets seem to govern how each person approaches their possessions.  

A keeper often has a protective sense of ownership of items and sometimes becomes defensive when asked to share them. You may have encountered an aunt or an uncle who is sitting on family photo albums, boxes of heirlooms, etc. They tend to treat these items as “holy relics” and have a wealth of stories to go along with each item. And when you ask them how they plan to pass those items on to someone else in the family, often they evade the topic or are at a loss for words (and plans). 

A steward takes a very different approach, like someone tending a garden. Not only have they taken the time to preserve photos and heirlooms against damage and loss, but they’ve also documented the stories that bring those items to life in fixed form, not just in your memory. And after years of cultivating that family history “garden,” they are willing to pass the items to a younger generation of stewards who can continue to preserve the family’s legacy. 

Cultivating Your Family History Garden 

Going from keeper to steward can be challenging. Here are some tips and tricks on making that journey:

  • Take a deep breath. If you are in possession of years of photos and other family items, start with small mini-projects to avoid becoming overwhelmed. This could mean simply sorting photos from slides and negatives. The next project would then be to decide what gets scanned and how to scan them. Then move on to the next project, and the next project, and so on. 
  • Create a stewardship plan. If you find yourself jumping from project to project without making any progress, create a simple plan. Name the task, write a short description, enter a start date and desired end date. Add a notes section so that if you do jump to a new project without finishing the current one, you note where you left off. 

Use Artifcts timeline time period notes to support research planning

  • Set priorities. Some stewards will “rank” their projects using a “1, 2, 3” method. A 1 signifies high priority projects such as interviewing the oldest relatives in the family. Use a 2 for medium priority projects such as documenting family stories and getting them in a fixed format. And finally, 3 is for low priority projects such as file renaming of scanned photos. 

About those oldest relatives, legendary television news anchor Bob Jordan agrees. Watch this snippet. The complete discussion from Evenings with Artifcts with Bob is available here.
  • Leverage technology. Today many tools are available to assist with completing those family history projects, and it can be difficult to determine which tools are the best. Look for tools that help you document family stories and heirlooms—like Artifcts—and allow you to share that process and results with other family members.  

Artifcts can help you build a virtual “family history library” that is easy to pass on to others in the family. Consider using the QR code available for each Artifct you create and place it on or near an heirloom. The next time family members visit, sit back, and wait for the younger ones to scan the code with their mobile device to learn more about that heirloom. I also recommend printing the QR code for your entire Artifcts collection and including it with your important documents, like your will, deeds, and insurance policies. 

Tip from Artifcts - Use the In the future field for decisions on disposition of assets


We all want to be good caretakers of our family history, but the mere idea of passing away can cause the work of stewardship to be delayed. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. There are so many products, tools, and services that can help you go from keeper to steward.  

And there’s no reason why you can’t involve the younger generation NOW rather than waiting until it is too late. Create a series of family projects using Artifcts to document family heirlooms and to share their stories so those precious items finally have a voice and can be heard. 


If family history and genealogy are on your mind, we have additional ARTIcles by Artifcts that might interest you!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Stuck in the Middle, With Stuff: The Sandwich Generation

Reading time: 4 minutes

Got stuff coming at you from both ends – kids and parents? Feel like the peanut butter and jelly mushed in the middle of a generation sandwich? 

Well, I do. I’ve got stuff coming at me from my mom and dad80 years of collections and counting—as well as stuff I still can’t shake from 26+ years of parenting. Bottom line, it’s a lot of stuff.  

Until recently, I felt that having lots of stuff required having bigger spaces and storage, lots of storage. The responsibility fell on me to keep it all and be ready to receive more if or when my parents are gone and as my kids move out but are not yet willing to “receive” their stuff. 

Times and circumstances changed quickly for me, however, and my “storage unit” mentality shifted from “more is better” to “why do I have all this stuff, and do I really need it.” I have moved and downsized twice over the past three years, forcing me to take a hard look at what I have, what I need, and what I want to keep for my kids. Thankfully for me, Artifcts came into being just as I was embarking on my first downsize.    

What I See Now When I Look at My Parents’ Stuff 

On my mom’s side of the fence, she has lots of stuff. Some of it is really important—mementos of her early days with my father, pieces of family history she’s carefully curated over generations. She is certainly the family-keeper. Other things are, well, I assume just things. The problem is sometimes I’m wrong.   

Take for instance a brick that was tucked in the back of her hutch. Family heirloom or home improvement project gone awry? Family heirloom! Turns out it is a brick from the church she and my father were married in way back when. HOW was anyone supposed to know? Even she admits that she only told me the story when I had the brick in my hand, ready to put it in the garbage bag. Family history crisis averted. Family history Artifcted. 


Family history, Artifcted!

I’ll give my mom a lot of credit—she’s Artifcted over 200 items, a lot of them we’ve done together, or she’s done with her grandkids. She’s led the way in capturing and sharing our family history through Artifcts. I know she has a lot more to do, and I am hoping to get other family members involved in helping her in the months ahead. 

My older brother retires in a few months, which I think makes him the perfect person to pass the baton to as our family history documenter/Artifcter. As he combs through the generic and obvious stuff, I’ll ask him to put aside anything with a possible story or deeper meaning. The 12-year-old food cans in the cupboard are trash. But what about the vintage kid art (did I make that?), the scraps of cloth in a bin (unfinished baby blanket?), or gold Egyptian hieroglyphic pendant (travel memento?). Those unknowns must have a story behind them. We are lucky that our mom is still with us, and that she is there to tell us the stories as we decide what to the keep, toss, or donate.  

The Kids’ Items Got Some Tough Love, Too 

On the kid’s side, oh – that’s the guilt factor! I have those odd drawings, the report cards, the clay ceramic blobs shaped like an abstract [insert word here]. The kids just look to their futures and walk out of their rooms without even dusting. After months, you go in and look around and find things that you wish you hadn’t found. Then, you realize they’re not coming back to clean it out. Then you realize you’re moving and they’re still not coming back to help.   

For me, I packed up what I thought was important and then started Artifcting the things that I knew were important but would sit in a box FOREVER if I hadn’t Artifcted them. What’s the point of boxing things up if you’re never going to look at them again?   

Yes, the kids may get upset that I didn’t keep their heartthrob concert poster signed by [insert name of a not so famous side-stage performer], but a quick Internet search revealed it would cost more to buy a poster tube than the poster was worth. What to do when faced with such a tough decision? Well, Artifct it and be done with it! If the kids complain, I’ll show them the memory, have them add to the story, and make a real moment out of it. 

The moral of this tale is simple: sandwich life is tough enough without all the stuff weighing you down. Artifct! Artifcting has enabled me to document our family stories, enjoy reliving moments with my family, and most importantly, let go of the stuff that doesn’t matter! Well, at least not all of the stuff. My wife likes to remind me that we still have bins that have not been opened since the last move, but that’s another story and task for another day.  


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Value of Cherished Objects in Our Life Stories

Reading time: 4 minutes  

Objects are important to us for a reason. While it can be that they have monetary value or are particularly beautiful, their real value comes from the meanings we attach to them.  

People’s life stories are intertwined with objects; they tell us about that person, and they hold memories and emotions in their own right. That is why we pass them down through the generations as family heirlooms, and it is why we cherish and take care of them.  

This is part of the reason why LifeTime Memoirs does what it does. The team at LifeTime Memoirs believes that there is no greater gift that you can give to the future generations of your family than your life story, shared in the form of a private autobiography that combines memory and heirloom.  

LifeTime Memoirs helps people to unlock their thoughts and memories, something that is deeply significant to the company’s founders, Roy Moëd and Yvette Conn. 

Roy’s inspiration for founding LifeTime Memoirs was very personal. It all started when Roy realized that he was not listening properly whenever his father, Jules, told stories. Like many of us, he thought that he had heard them all before, but he was so wrong! Roy decided that he wanted to capture those stories for his family and future generations and for Jules to have a wonderful project to focus on. The excitement and joy that Jules felt in reliving the stories of his life was palpable, and he revelled in remembering stories that he didn’t even know he had forgotten.  

More than 10 years on, what began with Roy’s father is now making a difference to so many people around the world. 

Suitably aligning with Roy’s passion and dedication to the art of memoir writing, one of the treasured items that he has Artifcted, and that he would feature in his own life story, is a poem. Roy writes, “In 1969, as a 16-year-old schoolboy writing an English literature exam in London, I scribbled four simple lines on the back of the exercise book that I used for my poetry.  

Poem handwritten on sheet of paper


I can’t now remember why or where these lines came from, although a lot of the poetry I wrote at the time was relatively introspective. I rediscovered it later in life, when my interest in my old poetry was reawakened, and a friend engraved it on a carving of a wooden sculpture of a book. I also started to use it on cards that I would send to people. I honestly didn’t think I’d written it, so I Googled everything I could but realized that it was original. It obviously has a lot of meaning to me. 

Considering that over 50 years on, my business is in memoir writing and especially legacy, this short poem is now very poignant.” 

One of Yvette’s Artifcts is also a book, though it is somewhat different to Roy’s book.  

Old book belonging to Yvette Conn Artifcts


“It was presented to my mother in the 1960s,” Yvette writes. “It was given to her by her grandmother as a wedding present. It is absolutely extraordinary, giving huge insight into Victorian England and life at that time.”

If you happened to page through one of our authors’ books, the chances are that you wouldn’t just find photos of marriages, births, parties, and the like but other equally interesting forms of imagery, too. At LifeTime Memoirs, and particularly within the company’s bespoke Opus department, the team stretches the boundaries of what autobiographies can look like to create something truly special.  

Books can contain scans of important documents, such as marriage certificates, programs from significant events, and newspaper articles that detail the author’s achievements. They can also contain photographs of objects small (jewelry, toys, and even tools) and large (furniture and cars appear frequently). These all provide rich texture and context to the narrative. Often, these objects and documents have considerable wear and tear, and that in itself tells a story to the reader.

Both LifeTime Memoirs and Artifcts value the idea of capturing cherished objects and preserving their meaning for future generations, and of seizing this as an opportunity to declutter and downsize. Photographing treasured objects and documents comes in handy when people have to decide what to keep and what to purge from their homes. Few of us can keep everything, but, even if we have to get rid of an heirloom, we can still preserve its stories. LifeTime Memoirs’ recommendation is to take a photo, capture the story—ideally through creating a simple Artifct—and let that story continue in another household.

The fact that objects are so integral to the tapestry of our lives is something that we strive to reflect in our books. This way, the precious possessions that our authors treasure become immortalised in the autobiographies they write and share with future generations. As with Roy and Yvette’s own Artifcts, the books themselves eventually turn into precious heirlooms: memory made material.


As one of our Allies in 'Stuff', LifeBook Memoirs is offering all Artifct members an exclusive $500 off any private autobiography package. If you’d like to find out more about starting your private memoir journey give one of their expert memoir advisors a call on +1-844-669-5039, or visit the LifeTime Memoirs website

Even more reason to capture your life stories in your own autobiography!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Bonus Epilogue: Why One Mom Moved Beyond Memory Boxes and Instagram

Today we have a special contribution from a guest curator who said enough to the status quo. In her case, that means turning a new leaf in her approach to saving family memories and mementos by no longer relying on keepsake boxes, Instagram, and photo albums alone. These were the options that got her through the exhausting early days of motherhood + entrepreneurship + life all jumbled together in what we call LIFE! Now, she’s moving on with Artifcts. 


When Elena, my second daughter, was born 23 months after her sister Estella, I was suddenly in the throes of a very unique and personal post-partum reality. We were still in the midst of COVID and on top of all that, my startup company was just two years old. I was just trying to survive.

While I wanted to capture all of my girls' incredible baby moments, the idea of creating a baby book or scrapbook seemed very time-consuming and utterly impossible at the time. The best I could do was collect random mementos for each of my girls and place them in a box, hoping to alleviate the guilt of not doing more. Ironically, I couldn't even tell you what was in my older daughter's box without taking a look. And even then, many of the items are now a blur. I know what is in Elena’s but only because I just started filling it. 

Then there’s my family and friends, near and far. I post on Instagram so they can at least see the funny things the girls do. But that’s all I mostly post – the funny moments like Estella eating flaming hot Cheetos for the first time or trying to eat the sand at the beach.

While people get a sense of their personalities, there is nothing super personal about my feed. There’s nothing that shows who my girls really are, what they are learning, or what they are experiencing. And you would think they are raising themselves, as I am completely absent, except for my voice from time to time.

Re-experiencing Life through Artifcts 

I recently sat down with my friend Ellen who is the co-founder of Artifcts. Artifcts offers concierge Artifcting and I wanted to support her, so I decided to spend some time together Artifcting. I’ll be honest, I love Ellen, but until we sat down together, I really didn’t get how magical Artifcts is. (Now I see there is literally a testimonial on the membership page that says the same. I should have believed them!)

Before she arrived, I pulled out a few pieces of family heirloom jewelry, some artwork I inherited from my grandmother, and my daughters’ memento boxes. As we Artifcted, I realized how valuable it was to attach a story to an object.  As I was Artifcting my two engagement rings (There's a story!) I realized I could combine the photos with an audio recording of myself telling the story for my daughters, bringing the whole experience to life for them to treasure at a later date. And I can add the appraisal documents for my rings to the Artifct and even say who will get my rings one day in the future (one for each, obviously) That’s not something I can or WOULD do on Instagram.

Artifcts is everything I never knew I needed.

I tried out Artifcting videos and photos already on my phone, clicking share and choosing the Artifcts app. It’s just as easy as posting to Instagram. Now finding a cute memory and photo of Elena is much easier because all I have to do is open the Artifcts app, rather than combing through 1,000s of photos on my phone.

Pause now and create a new Artifct, just for you!  


So, what will I do now?

I’m still going to use Instagram for those laugh-out-loud moments, but I’ll be adding my friends and family to Artifcts so I can share more meaningful moments and objects with them privately. I know I can always post an Artifct to Instagram, too. I now have a digital scrapbook of Artifcts for my girls, for me, and for my family. Once I started Artifcting, I could feel the guilt start melting away. Artifcts is everything I never knew I needed, an easy way to collect my memories and connect them with my family and friends. Moms, Dads, get in there. You won’t regret it. 


Remember, Father's Day is tomorrow!

Take 30% off with code DadStories30. We'll email you a printable gift card, too!

Gift Dad Artifcts to capture his stories! Use DadStories30 code for 30% off.

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Could You and Should You Part with a Family Photo?

Today our invited guest curator, genealogy expert Thomas MacEntee of, explores drastic methods used to ensure future access to precious family photos. You might just discover you have company in your own approach to old family photos!


I’ll admit I’m a sucker for click-bait news headlines like the recent one, 'I sold family heirloom to pay for my wedding - guests are now refusing to attend'. Basically, the eldest son in a family inherited a valuable family heirloom and decided to sell it in order to fund a lavish destination wedding. His reasoning? “I'm not much for big family traditions, so although it's a nice thing to have, I'm not massively attached to it. I have plenty of other good memories of my father and I don't need a fancy heirloom to remember him by.” 

I won’t weigh in with my opinion on this specific situation (well, okay, I will at the end of this article), but many of us experience similar dilemmas. The heirlooms we inherit are often not “high value” and consist mainly of family photographs. And many of these items hold no sentimental value for us. The challenge? What to do with the vast collection of family photos especially if we haven’t found a family member interested in keeping them? How do we ensure that these items are available for future generations? 

What Should Stay When I Go? Should I Keep or Should I Throw? 

I recently celebrated a Big Birthday (one that ends in a 0) which caused me to ponder my own mortality and what I would be leaving behind for my family to sort through. I have a HUGE collection of family photos dating back to the 1860s … literally over 4,000 photos. While I have spent many hours digitizing and cataloguing these images, what is the next logical step?  

The concept of “Swedish death cleaning” has always intrigued me: the process of cataloguing items accumulated during one’s life and attaching notes or instructions as to how they should be passed on or disposed of. Would I be willing to do the same with old family photos? Just like the article about selling an heirloom that one deems less important than other family members, what is my duty to hold on to and preserve family photos and what methods should I use?

Golf tally card and photo in an old scrapbook

Facing a similar dilemma with family scrapbooks?

My Decision and My Methodology 

I consider myself a “steward” for my family photos as well as my genealogy research. I don’t have a deep need to hold on to the actual photograph of my great-grandfather John Ralph Austin at age 18 months taken in 1897. The image has been scanned, catalogued, and I have even Artifcted it here.

Old fashioned black and white photo of a child in a long gone on a chair circa 1897

What I haven’t yet decided is:

    1. If I still want to keep this photo;  
    2. If I want to send it on to an organization like the Lewis County Historical Society in Lowville, New York where my great-grandfather was born; or  
    3. If I’ll simply include it in my estate plan and let my executors decide on the disposition.

A neat feature when creating an Artifct is the In The Future field where I can designate what I want done with the photo:

In the Future menu with options to sell, bequeath and more

Give it a try! Click the image to create a new Artifct. Or edit an existing Artifct and use the 'In the Future' field.

While every family historian has different approaches to preservation of heirlooms, I strongly recommend creating a digital copy of the item in case the original is lost due to fire, flood, natural disaster, etc. In addition, make sure that digital copy is somehow backed up to the Cloud, an external server or some mechanism providing redundancy.  


In terms of the valuable family heirloom mentioned at the beginning of this article, I thought it was very poor form for the groom not to consult with the rest of the family, especially the younger brother who had a keen interest in keeping the item. Again, this simple act is in line with my role as a steward for my family history and heirlooms. What may not seem sentimental to me, may have a strong attraction for one of my cousins or other family members.

Please put together a plan on managing your family heirlooms and seek input from others in the family. It’s so easy to do here at Artifcts. Spur conversations about valuable or sentimental items, even if it is just a phone call or video call. Often you’ll gain perspective by learning more about the heirloom: what you remember about the item could be very different from that of an aunt or a cousin. At the very least you’ll collect new information to expand the story of that precious family Artifct.


If photos are weighing on or inspiring you, we have additional ARTIcles by Artifcts that might interest you!


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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