{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!

 

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{oh hey Friday!}

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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. 

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{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

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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!

5 on Friday!

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Happy Friday! We’re gearing up for Will’s fourth birthday party tomorrow, which will be tons of fun! I can’t believe that he will be four…the time has flown by! I’m linking up with Carolina Charm  and several other bloggers for 5 on Friday.

{one} Recently, I have been entering more giveaways and contests on blogs and Facebook.  Several weeks ago, I won some model airplane kits.  Last week, I won this cute Organic Bloom frame from a local photographer who was having a giveaway on Facebook. I’ve been eyeing the Organic Bloom frames for a while but they are pricey.  I’m loving this cute mini frame, which will go well in Miss Harper’s purple and blue bedroom.
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{two} I’m enjoying having freshly picked (from our garden) flowers but my allergies are bad:( I’m frequently sneezing and have a scratchy throat.  Not fun, but it’s too nice not to be outside enjoying spring.  I’ve always heard that a good allergy remedy is to take a teaspoon of local honey each day.  Has anyone tried that?  Does it work? Now to seek out some local honey…I need to check out our local farmer’s market.

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{three} I took Will last week to get his hair cut, and of course Miss Harper wanted to come with me.  Will has always done a great job getting his hair cut.  He especially likes going to our hair stylist because she always has a graham cracker snack for the kiddos.  Last time we went, Harper wanted her hair cut as well.  Denise, the hair stylist, let her sit on the chair and gave her a pretend haircut.  Now, Harper insists that she gets her hair cut after Will each time!

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{four} I recently went through Harper’s clothes and finally moved them from a drawer in my dresser to her room.  Her dresser had been mostly empty until now.  It was just much easier for me to grab her clothes from my room since the changing table is in there.  However, I decided it was time for me to reclaim my dresser drawer! It’s amazing how many clothes I have accumulated for her and Will.  I buy clothes from my friend who has a little girl who’s almost four (her birthday is actually the day after Will’s and we were in the hospital at the same time; her room was right down the hall from me!), and my sister-in-law ships me her daughter’s old clothes. While I have tons of fall/winter clothes, my spring/summer clothing stash is looking a little small.  That means more clothes shopping! Fun!

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{five} Young House Love is one of my favorite home DIY blogs! I love reading about Sherry and John’s latest home projects.  Target recently started carrying a collection of products designed by Young House Love.  I’m loving the wall hooks, especially the key hook.

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I hope you all have  a great weekend! I will be back at the beginning of next week with a recap of Will’s 4th lego birthday party!

 

 

Weekly Pinterest Project: Week 23-DIY Reed Diffusers

In going along with the DIY household products theme, I decided to try this super easy aroma diffuser from one of my all time favorite home decorating/DIY blogs, Young House Love.

This project was very simple-you just need some wooden skewers, a glass vase, and some fragrance oil. I went with the Young House Love’s recommendation to use Mrs. Myers All Purpose Cleaner, which I found in a honeysuckle scent at our local Target. All you do is put the reeds in the vase (cut the ends if they are too long) and pour in the fragrance. The key is to frequently turn the reeds in order for the fragrance to smell stronger.

Now it’s off to decide which DIY project to do next!!

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Five on Friday!

20131025-194607.jpgHappy Friday! I’m linking up again with Darci and friends for 5 on Friday!  So glad it’s the weekend:)  Here’s what’s been happening lately…

{1} My parents visited briefly last weekend on their way back home from Pennsylvania, where they had been for the past few days visiting relatives.  Here’s my mom looking at a photo album with Will and Harper.  They love spending time with their grandparents:)  I’m looking forward to the holidays and spending lots more time with family!

visiting with grammy

{2} Once again on a pumpkin kick, I made some pumpkin cream cheese bars from the blog, The Girl Who Ate Everything.  It only took her ten minutes to whip up this recipe.  Me, on the other hand…it only took me 20 minutes. Not too bad, considering it was a pumpkin bread/muffin base from scratch and a separate cream cheese topping from scratch.  They turned out super yummy!  It’s kind of like a pumpkin roll, except much easier!

pumpkin cheesecake bars

{3} Will and Harper helped me carve a pumpkin last weekend.  Well, Will kind of supervised and Harper colored her mini pumpkin while I carved the pumpkin.  Will enjoyed scooping out the seeds and pumpkin goop.  Here are the kiddos playing with the jack o’lantern.  pumpkin carving

{4} I love the Young House Love blog!  It’s one of my favorite home blogs.  If you’ve never checked out their blog, you must!  Anyway, the other day on Facebook they posted info about sending them pics of design dilemmas.  So, I immediately jumped on this and emailed them.  We have a very open floor plan in our living room.  In the original house plans, there was a wall separating the more formal, front living room and the family room (where our tv is).  However, we wanted to have a more open space and opted not to include the wall.  We love the openness but I’m not pleased with the division between the two rooms.  I emailed them this pic (and several others) with the hopes that they will give me some advice (I even pointed out that I have a copy of their book on my bookshelf in the pic!).  I’m not getting my hopes up, though (they have so many people who email them for tips), so anyone else have advice?  I would love to have this as one big open space rather than two separate areas.  We never use the more formal part (at the front of the house, where the fireplace is), so I feel that it’s just wasted space.  living room-yhl

{5} I absolutely love this recipe for a super easy chicken parmesan bake.  Instead of breading and frying the chicken (I hate dealing with raw chicken, so this is an easy way to cook chicken without the mess), you put the chicken in a casserole dish with chopped garlic and olive oil.  Cover the chicken with spaghetti sauce and top with croutons (we love the Trader Joe’s croutons) and cheese.  Bake and voila, you have an easy chicken parmesan.  It makes great leftovers and freezes well, too. chicken parm