{yearly photo books}

Back in 2011, I came across this post by Katie Bower of Bower Power and loved the idea of a family yearbook. Kiddo yearbooks are the best way for me to organize and print zillions of pictures that I take of Harper and Will (I’m really, really bad about actually printing out pictures throughout the year, except for when we have professional pics taken….anyone else like that?!). 

I started creating yearly photo books chronicling the year in photographs for Will after he turned one and did the same for Harper after her first birthday.  I have worked on Harper’s second photo book this summer and finally finished it! I worked on it little bits at a time in the evenings and during naps but kicked it into high gear when My Publisher* came out with their best (for what I was purchasing) coupon code that had to be used by July 28 (*not sponsored by them at all; I just love their photo books!).  I always max out at 100 pages, so the deal I was on the lookout for was free extra pages. The grand total before the coupon for three photo books (I always order one for both sets of grandparents) was $327.57! Yikes! With the coupon, my total came to $118.93. Shipping is pricy-$22.97, but the quality of the photo books is worth it. Including shipping and tax, each book cost $39.64. Not too bad, considering it comes with a lovely linen cover and Harper’s book this year had over 600 pictures in it!

Another favorite blog of mine, Young House Love, hopped on the My Publisher bandwagon after reading about Katie Bower’s photo books {how cool is it that they’re real life friends!}. Check out their fun post about how “photo albums are dead to us” here (complete sidenote: I really miss their posts on BabyCenter) and other photo album posts herehere, and here. Katie Bower also has several other good photo book posts. 

Anyway, back to my photo books, ha! It comes packaged in a fun red box that says, “Ta da, I’m here…”IMG_8757Every time I get a package from My Publisher, I can’t wait to open up the box and look at my latest photo book creation!IMG_8760I love how thin the books are and the look of the linen covers. I’m soon going to run out of color choices for the books, ha! Below are Will’s three books (sage, navy, taupe) and Harper’s (grey, ivory). IMG_8768Here are the front covers of the books.  My plan is to continue creating one book per kid for a while…we’re going to have a lot of books! Luckily, they are narrow and fit nicely on my bookshelf. 

IMG_8767I organize the photos in chronological order from just after the birthday party through the kiddo’s next birthday party. For example, Harper’s second year photo book (below, that I just finished) was from March 2013 (right after she turned one) through March 2014. I ended with her 2nd birthday party.  

Here’s just a glimpse at some of the pages and the different layouts.  This page only has three pictures but most of the other pages have more than that (in order to fit in all the pictures I had selected…I still wasn’t able to use all the pictures I wanted due to the huge # of pics I took).  IMG_8739Summertime fun with the cousins…IMG_8742I include our professional photo sessions we do with a local photographer.  Last year, we took pics in summer and fall.  This year, we’re only going to take fall pics. IMG_8740More summertime fun.  When creating the pages, you select the number of pics you want to include on the page and the program gives you several options for layouts.  One thing I forgot to mention is that you download the free My Publisher software to your computer and create the book that way.  Once the book is finished, you upload and purchase your masterpiece:)IMG_8738 IMG_8736 IMG_8735I try to organize the pictures by event/trip, etc.  For example, below is our yearly trip to the peach orchard.  I included two pages from our peach picking trip. IMG_8744More fall scenes-the page on the left is our pumpkin patch trip and the right page is our apple orchard trip. IMG_8746Our professional fall photos…these covered several pages.IMG_8748IMG_8747Scenes from Harper’s 2nd birthday party.IMG_8753At the very end of the book, I include several pages of Instagram pics from the year.  I selected a page of 12 square pictures to display these pics.  It’s nice to end with a year recap from Instagram, plus, it helps if I have a few extra pages that I need to fill up (though that usually doesn’t happen!). IMG_8754

IMG_8755I’m curious to see how others create photo books for their kiddos!



Midweek Randoms!


Happy Wednesday! I’m linking up again with Megan from In This Wonderful LIfe for Midweek Randoms!

~I love how you can do small, inexpensive touches in your home.  I recently bought a new rug for our back door at a great price from Kohls.  It looks so, so much better than the old, faded rug we had!


~Last night, we went to our community’s National Night Out.  Will had lots of fun looking at the fire trucks, police cars, and medical helicopter.  He was able to get several of the vehicles, which he thought was pretty cool!  Miss H. just walked around held daddy’s hand.  She was most interested in the cats and dogs that were up for adoption.


~Will’s photo book arrived! It turned out very well! I can’t wait to share it with his grandparents:)  My goal this fall/winter is to put together a family photo yearbook from 2004-2010 (when we got married up to the birth of our son).  Then I will be all caught up with photo books until March when Miss H. will turn two (oh my!!).


~We are spending our last few days of summer going to the park, getting haircuts, and playing outside!  This summer went by WAY TOO fast! It just seemed like it was the end of the school year:(  I finished my last work day on Monday, so I’m going to enjoy the last few days before school starts on the 12th.


~We had the best time last weekend with my family!  My brother and his family flew in from Colorado to visit, so we headed home to my parents to see everyone.  Harper and Will played nonstop with their cousins, who are five and two and a half.  Our time was spent playing outside, catching fireflies, swimming, playing in the sandbox, riding a train, eating yummy food outdoors, picking vegetables in the garden and just hanging out and visiting.  I plan to post about our trip at a later point.

Photo books

I love taking pictures, and once I had kids, I started taking tons of pictures to document their life. I started a traditional baby book for Will but haven’t completed it. I haven’t even bought a baby book for Miss H! However, I have created yearly photo books for them to document all their firsts as well as the daily happenings in our lives. Compiling the books digitally and being able to manipulate the photos on the computer is so much more my style than the more traditional scrapbooking. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was inspired to create the yearly photo book by Katie Bower from Bower Power. Another of my fave blogs, Young House Love also started creating a yearbook to document their lives. Sidenote-another goal of mine is to create a family yearbook from 2004-2010 (when we got married through the birth of our son). I’ve got 2010 on covered with my kids’ photo books but need to go back to 2004 to document our lives as newlyweds, as we built our first home, etc.

Here’s the process on how I create my kids’ photo books:

1-Take lots of pictures throughout the year (and I mean LOTS!). I currently have 36,000+ pictures on my computer:)

2-As soon as they turn a year older, I get to work on their photo books. For example, my daughter was born in March 2012. I waited until March 2013 to sort through, edit, and compile her photos into a 100 page book.

3-I used My Publisher* to create the book. I’ve been very happy with them; they produce a high quality photo book. I prefer the simple linen covers for my books and like to have all pictures on the pages (no text). As for milestones, I added a page at the end of the book with dates to document when my daughter got her first tooth, started crawling, walking, etc.

4-I work on the book in the evenings after the kids are in bed. It takes a while (several months of working on it a few days a week for an hour or so) but it’s worth it. I’d like to get more efficient and work on the book at the end of each month. We’ll see, ha!

5-Once the book is finished, I wait until My Publisher comes out with the best coupon code. Since I use all 100 pages of the book, full price for one book is around $100! Yikes! Plus, I order a copy for both sets of grandparents. The best deal for me is the $35 photo book (with up to 100 pages). The hardest part is waiting for the deal…sometimes it may be a month or two before they come out with that deal again.

Below are some pictures of my kids’ first year photo book. Enjoy:)

*I was not compensated in any way for the photo books. I just love their products!







Productive day!

Busy day yesterday…I took Harper and Will to the Momma Goose Storytime at our local library in the morning followed by some playtime at the park. We headed home for lunch and then it was time for naps. Both kids slept at the same time…for two hours!! Yay! I was able to get some things done around the house, write a blog post and try to figure out some settings on the blog, and work on my son’s third year photo book. I was inspired to create a photo book documenting my kids’ first year, second year, etc, after seeing this post on Bower Power Blog (love Katie’s blog!). http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2011/04/happiness-has-arrived/. I will write more about the photo books in another post in the future but below are two pictures that show what my son’s first year and second year photo books look like. I especially like how many photos are condensed into one slim book (in the second picture, the photo books are on the far right-two for my son and one that I just completed of Harper’s first year).

I also got to hang out with some of my good friends and co-workers last night as we celebrated our assistant principal’s new position as principal at another school in our county. While we are very sad to see her leave, we are excited for her new opportunity. Lots of changes ahead for us at our school next year.