A Gift to Touch Their Hearts for Grandparents Day (And It’s Free)

Ten Reasons a Photo Mambo Frame is the Perfect Gift for Grandparents Day

  1. The Grandparents get 20 new pictures of the grand kids
  2. They’ll enjoy seeing your smiling faces in those pictures month after month (pictures stay on display)
  3. You send it without leaving your armchair
  4. It arrives the same day you send it (a procrastinator’s dream)
  5. This gift keeps giving all year long (updates as you send new pictures)
  6. FREE, but worth 20,000 words (If a picture paints a thousand words….)
  7. You can send it in 15 minutes or less
  8. Kill 4 birds with one stone — send it to all the Grandparents at once
  9. Private — you’re not sharing the pictures of your kids with the world; only with the grandparents
  10. The thought you put into picking the best photos will touch their hearts
  11. What?  It goes to 11?  Did we mention….they get 20 new pictures of the grand kids that they’ll see day after day, all year long.

Grandparents were the inspiration behind Photo Mambo, so we think t makes a pretty terrific Grandparents Day gift.  We Gift that Keeps Givinghope you will too.  Send them a Photo Mambo Frame filled with pictures of the family this Grandparents Day.  It’s fast and easy to do:

  • Get the Photo Mambo app for your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC here
  • Pick 10-20 pictures and send them to the grandparents.  Photo Mambo makes it easy to include a note telling them Happy Grandparents Day.
  • They’ll get an email inviting them to install the Photo Mambo Frame on their iPad, Mac, or PC.
  • Once they do, they’ll be able to enjoy your pictures day after day.  On computers, the frame acts like a screensaver so they’ll see it every day.  With the iPad we love that it turns our tablet into a picture frame while we’re powering up.  One click of the Photo Mambo app while it’s charging and your iPad becomes an auto-updating picture frame.

I hope Photo Mambo will help connect the generations for your family this Grandparents Day.


Here’s to the Truly Grand Grandparents

Grandparents were the inspiration behind Photo Mambo.  So, we wanted to take a moment this Grandparents Day to say thanks for the remarkable, important role they play in our kids’ lives (and in ours).  Here is a video card to say thanks to the Grands. It is inspired by our own grandparents (my granddad did teach me to bait a hook, although he was perplexed by my discomfort about killing the worms).  We hope it reminds you of the goodness of the grandparents in your life, and we hope you’ll share it with them, and your friends, to honor Grandparents everywhere.  Happy Grandparents Day!

If you’re wondering why grandparents were the inspiration for Photo Mambo ….  I realized, when I became a mom, that my parents really wanted an easier way to be able to see the pictures of their grandchildren day after day.   We created Photo Mambo as a simple, private, more lasting way to share pictures.  Photo Mambo transforms any iPad or computer screen into a digital picture frame that displays shared pictures day after day and updates itself whenever you send new pictures.  No need for the grandparents to download, search for, or save the pictures, they simply pop into the frame and stay there to be enjoyed week after week.  If you feel inspired, give it a try.  We think it makes a delightful way to say “I love you” for Grandparents Day.


Do We Really Need Grandparents Day?

Sunday September 7th is National Grandparents Day here in the United States.  It’s a celebration that’s been disparaged as a Hallmark holiday,* and called redundant in the wake of Mother’s and Father’s Days.  And it’s certainly true, in our family, that grandmas are celebrated on Mother’s Day and grandpas feted on Dad’s Day.   And yet, I just can’t seem to muster cynicism for a holiday set aside to honor the grandest people in my and my child’s life.

I hold some pretty strong beliefs about the importance of “The Grands”, as one friend calls them.  I was lucky enough to have wonderful grandparents – one grandmother who was my #1 cheerleader and who still represents to me the ideal of unconditional love – and another grandmother who embodied a strength, pluck, and independence that inspired you to reach for distant dreams.    In turn, my own child is immersed in a village of equally nurturing grandparents (and god-parents), who shower her with love and acceptance.

There is much research highlighting the supportive role grandparents play in a child’s life.  Scholars have noted that close grand-parental relationships improve emotional well-being in the teen and young adult years, help children adjust during divorce, and create an “emotional sanctuary from the pressures of the outside world”.**

So, the idea that we might set aside a special day to honor these “Grands” strikes me as simply an ideal opportunity to appreciate the wonderful, amazing, important role they play in our lives.  Even if we did already give them a gift for Mother’s and Father’s Day!

We made the video card above to honor The Grands. It was, at least in part, inspired by my own grandparents, ( my grandma did sing Elvis to us).  It features a snippet of some terrific music by Rebecca Roubion.  We hope you enjoy it, and invite you to send it to your Grands.  Either on September 7th, or whenever you the mood strikes you.


Deb Whitman is a co-founder of private, family photo sharing service, Photo Mambo, which allows you to transform loved ones’ iPads and computers into a digital picture frame that updates itself. 

* By the way, National Grandparents Day wasn’t created by either Hallmark or 123Greetings.com, it originated with Marian McQuade, an activist on senior issues and vice-chair of the West Virginia Commission on Aging.  She had 43 grandchildren.  President Jimmy Carter signed a bill designating the first Grandparents Day in 1979.

** The quote is taken from the book, Grandparents, Grandchildren: The Vital Connection by Arthur Kornhaber, Kenneth L. Woodward, the other results are from research by Sarah A. Ruiz and Professor Merril Silverstein, and by Gretchen Lussier, Kirby Deater-Deckard, Judy Dunn, and Lisa Davies.

Back to School

First Day of School Photo Traditions

As we arrived for the first day back to school, we saw the familiar line of families waiting to take pictures in front of the school

signboard.  I love this tradition of taking essentially the same picture of your kids, year after year, on the first day of school.  It’s an easy way to capture a time-series of similar shots you can enjoy (and use to the kids’chagrin at their graduation parties). With consistency and tenacity, you can end up with a 13-image time-series like this one.

Our version of the tradition is super simple: a picture with the backpack before we head out the door. That’s about all I can manage most “first days of school”, and I figure it has the highest chance of being a picture my child will still let me take when she is 12, 14, or 16.  I like to pair up this year’s photo with her kinder photo and Photo Mambo it off to share with the grandparents and aunties/uncles.

Some folks get super creative about this tradition. So, if you’re looking for inspiration, check out this Pinterest board for ideas like:

  • Order a large t-shirt printed with their graduation year and photograph them in that shirt every year through graduation
  • Chalk boards with the current grade and other info (like what I want to be when I grow up)
  • Apple on the head (sort of a William Tell thing?)
  • Have them hold a picture frame that says what grade they’re in
  • Pictures with the school bus or the family dog.
  • Lots of super-fancy printable signs to hold.
  • And don’t miss the photo showing 13 years of the kid standing in the same pose.

As fun as some of those pictures are, I might not count on them for a time-series.  By 4th grade, the embarrassment factor sets in, and asking them to pose in a too-big t-shirt or hold a fancy sign may earn you eye-rolling refusals.  If you’re planning a time-series, you might want to grab a simpler picture in addition to the more elaborate ones when they’re little.  Just to keep your options open.

As my fellow procrastinators know, the “first day” bonafides of your image need not be pristine.  I guarantee that a review of our “first day” pictures will turn up at least one year where the date on my photo wouldn’t agree with the school calendar’s first-day records.   First day…4th day… it all works.

Hope your family’s first day back to school is preceded by pleasant anticipation and succeeded by smiles!

5 Last Minute Fathers Day Gift Ideas copy

Last Minute Dad’s Day Gifts That’ll Surprise Him (In a Good Way!)

Procrastinators of the World, I salute us!  We know that just because we didn’t look for a gift until the day before Father’s Day (or the day of), it’s not because we don’t care.  So….here are 5 gifts from the heart meant to show dad (or grandpa) how much you care.  All of which you can pull off on June 15th, if need be.

Office Dad

If dad works in an office, give him a gift that’ll brighten his desk day after day — a picture frame/screensaver for his computer or iPad that automatically updates when you send new pictures.  An app called Photo Mambo (available for iPhone/iPad, Mac or PC) 4. dad with comptuerwill let you send Dad a beautiful digital picture frame filled with pictures.  Unlike most digital frames…there is no hardware to buy, and no tedious uploading of images with a memory card.  This frame runs on Dad’s computer or iPad and automatically updates whenever you send new pictures from your phone or computer. So, grab the Photo Mambo app, pick a set of pictures for Dad, and send him a Photo Mambo Frame, along with a promise to send him new pictures at least once a month for the next year.  It’s a gift he’ll love all year long. Free at http://www.photomambo.com

Outdoors Dad

If dad considers himself an outdoorsman, check out the Pocket Rocket camping stove at REI.  We were camping a few weekends ago and all the dads were happily comparing who had the lightest weight camping stoves. (Smaller is better).  No matter that this was a car-camping trip where some of these dads brought Costco mattresses and frying pans….the camp_stoveallure of a tiny camping stove seemed to take them fondly back to their pre-kid days as serious backpacking campers.  So, even if dad’s “real” camping outings currently involve a 4-room Coleman tent and a family-pack of folding chairs, this little stove just might speak to the backpacker locked somewhere in his heart, waiting pop back out again when the kids turn 15!  $39.99 at an REI store near you!


Geek Dad

Need something last minute to delight the geek in your dad or grand-dad?  How about a “Pi r Squared” square apple pie?

Square Pi Pie via Flickr by Dann  Tolliver

Square Pi Pie via Flickr by Dann Tolliver

Yes, it’s a little corny, but what nerdy dad worth his salt doesn’t love pi?  I mean pie.  The one in this picture looks a bit rectangular, but it’d be easy enough to do in a square pan.  Need a recipe?  This one looks pretty good…  About $7 worth of ingredients at 350 degrees.

Hail to the Chef Dad

If your dad is the king of the BBQ Grill, brighten up his grilling area by hanging string lights above the grill for him.  Surprise him with this cheery, thoughtful way to celebrate your favorite BBQ chef.  $14.99 at Target.

Any Dad (or GrandDad)

Grab the kids and take a special picture for Father’s Day.  Walgreens (or most drugstores) can do a nice 8×10 print for you Dad Banner for Father's Daysame-day.  Check out an array of clever photo set-ups here, or on this Pinterest board.


So, fear not my fellow procrastinators.  There is plenty of time to pull together a great gift to show dad how much you care.




Best of Fathers Day (2) edited

Father’s Day Pictures to Delight Dad and GrandDads

As we head towards Father’s Day, I wanted to share some of our favorite ideas for Father’s Day pictures.  Pictures can be a terrific gift for even the most tough-to-buy-for dad or grand-dad.

Fancy Footwork

This photo lets the kids bare their soles.  (Sorry, I know….).   I really love this picture concept.  Just be forewarned that THE hardest thing about capturing this shot is getting ticklish feet to stay still long enough to get the words written.  Much hilarity, and some smudging, ensued in our photo shoot.

Best of Fathers Day (7) edited

The inspiration for this shot came from a terrific blog, BeAFunMum.  Kelly’s image, below, shows how nicely this idea works with  a larger family, as well.  Kelly, many thanks for letting us share your picture here!
Feelings on feet copy of image from BeAFunMum Blog used with permission

Rockin’ Dad

The kids had a LOT of fun taking these photos.  We bought some Paper Jamz guitars ($20 – $30) and some felt letters and let them channel their inner rock stars.  As a bonus, the guitars were a big hit for playing around after the shoot (fair warning….you will want to befriend the volume knob).    And what dad doesn’t want to be told that he rocks on Father’s Day?

Best Fathers DayBest of Fathers Day (2) edited

Shadow Dancers

Make your father’s day message shadowy.  Generally, shooting near mid-day is terrible because of the harsh shadows.  This will be the one shot you actually want to shoot near mid-day (2 pm is good for shadows that are long enough but not crazy long).  One key trick…to hold the insides of letters like “O” and “D” in place, use toothpicks, which work best when the sign is cut from foam board.  The image on the left is mine; the better shot on the right comes from TwoGirlzStuff.  It’s very popular on Pinterest, and thank you Aja for letting us share your wonderful image and for inspiring our photo shoot!

best fathers day 7We heart dad from twogirlzstuff blog used with permission

Chalky Delight

Send dad or grandpa a delightful bit of chalk art to brighten up his Father’s Day.

Best of Fathers Day (43) edited 3

Signs of the Times

And finally, it’s easy to make (or buy) some signs that let the kids declare their love.  The hand-made messages are always fabulous, but if you are looking for the bubble signs like we used in the bottom two photos, check out Happy Booths on Etsy.  They do a great job.  (We made a special order for the Father’s Day signs).

fathers day sign composite

Of course, we hope you will send your fabulous Father’s Day pictures via Photo Mambo, so Dad and Grandpas can enjoy your Father’s Day greetings day after day.  Send a Photo Mambo frame to dad’s work computer, where he’ll enjoy seeing the pictures this week, next week, and for years to come.  Or send a Photo Mambo frame to grandpa’s iPad so he can enjoy the smiles again and again.

4. dad with comptuer5. Grandpa with ipad
On behalf of all of us at Photo Mambo, we hope your Father’s Day will be filled with joyful photos and much love!  And thanks so much to our friends who allowed us to share their children’s pictures with you.

Make Your Throwback Thursday Pix Into a Great Mother’s Day Gift

Ever posted Throwback Thursday pictures?*  Pulling your Throwback Thursday pix, or any set of meaningful old photos and

Throwback Thursday pix make a great Mother's Day gift when gathered in a Photo Mambo Frame

Throwback Thursday pix make a great Mother’s Day gift when gathered in a Photo Mambo Frame

placing them in a Photo Mambo Frame can make a really lovely Mother’s Day gift.  The Photo Mambo Frame will transform mom’s computer screen or iPad into a digital picture frame, displaying the special memories in the old family photos day after day.

You can learn more about how to make and share a Photo Mambo Frame here.   Maybe some sweet old pictures will the perfect gift this year.