On our travels we’ve been keeping a blog with updates and photos. It seems like a better way to let people know what we are doing than the mass email shot approach (which no one really reads and you always offend someone by forgetting to add them to the list).
I keep up-to-date on blogs, news, journal publications and assorted RSS feeds with google reader. Explaining what that means to non-geeks is almost impossible. A friend of mine had exactly this problem with his folks and came up with the idea of Feed My Inbox.
FMI is the simplest way to keep up with feeds. To subscribe to a blog you go to Feed My Inbox, enter the blog addess, your email address and then click a link in the confirmation email you get sent. From then on FMI will send you a daily email with feed updates. For low volume RSS consumption it looks perfect.