{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!



{oh hey Friday!}


Happy Friday:) I’m linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey Friday! I love having a place for a random brain dump each week, ha!

{one} Are my kids the only ones who act up and goof off at story time? All the other kids sit quietly and listen to the story.  My kids, on the other hand, are rolling around the floor, taking their shoes off, and not paying a bit of attention to the librarian read a story about sharks. See Harper there in the pink on the floor? She decided to roll around on the floor and refused to wear her shoes. Will attempted to do the same thing but he looked back at me and I gave him the look.  Otherwise, he would have been right there with her, ha! Anyway, I love taking them to story time and other events. It’s just amusing to see how they behave versus other children. 


{two} On Tuesday, we had a movie and park/picnic day! Our movie theater shows $1 movies during the summer, so we went with our neighbors to see The Croods. Harper and Will did a pretty good job during the movie, though they got a little restless towards the end. Both were definitely ready for some fun park time afterwards! We checked out a (new to us) park that had a really fun wooden castle. 20140723-205737-75457327.jpg


20140723-205737-75457115.jpg{three} Zucchini bread! We picked a huge zucchini from our garden the other day, so I whipped up a new chocolate chip zucchini bread recipe. It was good, but not as delicious as the chocolate zucchini bread recipe from This Week for Dinner. Do you have a go-to zucchini recipe?20140723-205737-75457810.jpg

{four} From our garden, we have also picked several green peppers. I made some yummy chicken cheesesteaks with peppers and onions this week. They were so good and easy to make…they will be part of my go-to meals from now on:) 20140723-205737-75457611.jpg

{five} Ten years…my hubby and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary yesterday. We got married what seems like so long ago, on July 24, 2004. Here we are, ten years, two houses, and two kiddos later:) Love ya, babe! I recently saw this idea on Young House Love and started digging back through our old pictures trying to find one of us each year on/around our anniversary. I wish we would have started this from the beginning-taking a picture of us on 7/24 each year. I plan on starting now and finding pics from previous years to frame. However, it’s been tough to find many pictures of us pre-kiddos. My siblings and husband call me “Mamarazzi” since I constantly have my camera with me and take tons of pictures, ha! So we’re good on pics of us as a family since 2010. Anything before that…not so much. I couldn’t find a single picture of the two of us in 2007:(20140723-205738-75458035.jpgHappy Friday!

Eighteen months

I love pulling up old photos on the computer and comparing Will at Harper’s current age. Here’s a picture of Will and Harper at 18 months. Sorry for the bad quality of Will ‘s pic- it’s a picture of a picture! You can definitely tell that they’re related:)



Five on Friday!

Happy Friday! I’m linking up again with Darci and friends at The Good LIfe Blog for Five on Friday! I’m looking forward to a low key weekend with the family:)


{1} I’ve been seeing reviews of Stitch Fix all over the blogosphere and am going to give it a try! My friend ordered her first Stitch Fix box the other day, and I’m curious to see what she gets! I filled out my style profile but haven’t ordered my box yet. It’s such a cool concept-a box full of stylish clothes and accessories shipped to you, buy what you want, return the rest. It seems like there’s boxes for everything nowadays: kids’ crafts, make-up, clothes, baby products, snacks, etc. So fun because I love to get packages:)

{2} The blue/green color combo has been one of my favorites lately, especially on Miss H. This was one of her birthday outfits that her granddaddy picked out for her–good taste! Miss H. is so petite that her capris end up being pants on her, ha! I also pair these pants with a navy blue and white striped shirt. And the crocs-she wears them every day! They are so tiny! Size three (the smallest size that Crocs makes).


{3} Recipe fail:( Last year, I saw a two ingredient pumpkin brownie recipe on PInterest but decided to pass. I thought it sounded kind of weird, even though I really like chocolate and pumpkin (separately). Well, this year, I decided to try it. Let me just say we ended up eating one brownie and throwing the rest away. I was warned by the comments that it is a very dense brownie with a strong pumpkin flavor, so I thought I was prepared. However, the combination was not very tasty to me. It was a super dense, heavy brownie with a strange taste. Anyway, this is my second pumpkin recipe that was not good. I made a pumpkin pasta dish several years ago that we had to toss-it was disgusting. After that, I decided never to make any savory pumpkin recipes again. However, I thought I would be safe with the chocolate and pumpkin combo. After all, I love pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips, ha! This weekend I hope to do better by making a tried and true pumpkin recipe-maybe bread or whoopie pies:)


{4} I love how my kiddos’ favorite toys are simple, household objects like boxes and spoons, instead of the toys they get for their birthdays and Christmas:) Here’s Miss H. playing in a box that we’ve had for several months. Harper and Will love to color and decorate it, then get in the box and push each other around the house!


Here’s Will playing with my twist ties and clothespins as I put dishes away. He loves playing with any kitchen tools and utensils that I will give him.


{5} Does anyone else have too many pictures saved on their computer? I have WAY TOO many and need to go through and delete more. My computer recently popped up with a message that my hard drive is almost full, yikes! I really need to just slowly go through a few pictures each night and delete not so great pics. I’ve been too busy working on my Shutterfly photo books in the evenings and haven’t had time to delete pics. Maybe next week…

Have a super weekend:)