Tackling a Massive Project: The Family Photo Book

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howtodoafamilyphotobook

Confession.

The last family photo book I did was 2010. My 2nd born’s baby book goes up to her 5th month. It has plagued me with guilt!

My lack of being able to manage my family photos and create books where my kids can actually enjoy the photos has at times, kept me up at night. Ridiculous? Yes. True? Yes!

I loved looking through my mom’s albums she did for our family when I was young. And although we now have the cool factor of being able to create some amazing books on our computer, I truly think it was way easier to do albums back then!  You printed your photos, glued the best ones in an album and you were done!

Now I have thousands and thousands of photos, many of which are 10 shots of the SAME thing, so to organize them and put them into a book is a massive project if you get behind. But mamas, I tackled the family photo book project this month, and I am 3/4 done! Can I get a Hallelujah?!  Not done with the past 6 years, but 3/4 done with ONE year, which was my goal.

How to Make a Family Photo Book  

If you are plagued with the same lack of photo album guilt and the massive project that ensues, here’s how I made it into a manageable project.

1. Start Now and Work Backwards

The thought of going back to 2011 and working up was overwhelming, so I decided I am going to do ONE year, 2015, from January – New Years Eve, and make a book for both of my girls individually.

2. Give Yourself a Deadline 

I have been unsuccessful in the past because it has not been a priority and there was no deadline to get it done.  I decided starting this year, I am going to make a book of the previous year for both my girls, and give it to them on Valentine’s Day.

3. Work in Small Chunks of Time to Edit and Create 

I have found working on the project in chunks of time has helped.  For example, when I sit down, I will decide to do a month or two at once, like Valentine’s to Easter, that sort of thing. Makes it easier to get my head around a small block of time.

4. Edit, Delete and Organize 

To start, go through all your photos in that time period and edit. Delete all of the shots of the same thing, with the exception of the best one, etc. so you can pare down the number of images.  Your computer storage will also thank you.

I then created two folders for both girls and then dragged the images I wanted to use in their books into their individual folders. This made it easy to upload since they were all in one place.

5. Pick Your Photo Book Site and Create Your Project

I went with Shutterfly (affiliate link) because I am familiar with the site and it is pretty user-friendly. But there are a ton of sites you can choose from. Once you pick a company, select the photo book you want, and create your project.  Then upload the photos from the chunk of time you are working on and start designing.

I find that it is good to mix up the editing and organizing with the creating, because it gives you a break and avoids project burn out. Going through a year’s worth of photos to edit at one time is a nightmare, but doing a couple months of editing, and then putting your favorites from that block of time into a book and getting to create is a nice balance. Then, back to editing the next chunk of time.

6. Schedule Time Each Day to Work on It 

Schedule little bits of time each day to chip away at the project has helped. Once you get on a roll, it’s easy to keep up with momentum.

7. Stay on Top of it Throughout the Year

Doing one year for two girls at one time has been a LOT of work.  Once 2015 is done, starting next month I am going to try to stay on top of it and do the project throughout the year so I can be working on the book as the year goes on.

Maybe then I will have some time to go back and tackle 2011. Ugh. And my videos. Hold me.

Hope this helps! If anyone else has any tips on how to create family photo books I would love to hear your advice!

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Thank You Note Tips for Kids By Emma

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Thank You Note Tips for Kids

Thank You Note Tips for Kids

My name is Emma and my mom let me write this guest post for her. I hope you will share it with your kids. I am 9 years old and in 4th grade. I noticed that adults get really happy when you show that you appreciate your gift. When we receive gifts my mom is always asking for me to write a thank you note. I have had lots of experience writing thank you notes, so I decided to write a post on how to write the perfect thank you note for kids.

Step 1.

When you write your thank you note you always have to write the date in the top right hand corner. Not just 1-6-16 you want to actually want to write it out. For example, January 11, 2016.

Step 2.

To show that you are writing to them you want to start with dear. Like this, Dear Emma. After you write your dear whoever you are writing to you add a comma. For example, Dear Emma,. Then you skip a line and indent. Indenting is when you don’t start at the end of the line, you start your word two fingers in from the edge.

Step 3.

To start your thank you note you start with an opener. For example, Thank you so much for whatever they got you. After that you could just go on and say why you like it, but I think it is nice to say something like, I appreciate you getting it for me, or I use it all the time. So the person that is reading it will think that you really enjoyed it!

Step 4.

You should always tell the person why you loved the gift so much, or what you love to do with the gift. You could say, I wear my new dress all the time! Or I love to draw with my markers all the time! But don’t just copy me, say what you loved about your gift.

Step 5.

You need a closer. A closer is a sentence that wraps up your writing. You could say, thank you so much again! Or you could say, I hope I see you again soon. Whatever you want to say to wrap your writing up.

Step 6.

End you writing with Love, Emma, but with your name. You could also say sincerely, gratefully, your friend, or yours truly. There are so many other things you could say but I couldn’t name them all because there’s so many. Thank you for reading my post! I hope you share it with your kids!

Here is an example of one of my thank you notes:

thanksnote

 

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Increase Your Happiness in 2 Minutes a Day

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increaseyourhappiness

Before Christmas I was bedridden with the flu and unable to do anything except watch endless T.V.  I watched countless Sex and the City reruns, episodes of Hoarders (which made me feel like I actually am pretty organized), This is 40, the comedy which I actually found to actually be a little depressing, then I happened upon Oprah’s SuperSoul Sessions on the OWN Network and

I

was

hooked.

You guys, please DVR the shows or watch the speakers online, INCREDIBLE. And

Get

ready

to

be

inspired.

One speaker I fell in love with was Shawn Achor who spoke on The Life-Altering Power of a Positive Mind < – watch it now. Please.

I am a total believer in the power of positive thinking and found his research and points to be SO powerful. We can transform our lives at any time, with the power of our thoughts and the renewing of our minds and optimism is a daily spiritual practice.

Increase Your Happiness in a Daily 2 Minute Positive Habit

One of the biggest take aways I got from this session were simple ways we can increase our happiness in just two minutes a day. That’s all! Fast forward to about the 27 minute mark in the talk if you are short on time, but please go back and watch the whole thing when you can.

Here is my favorite 2 minute daily positive habit:

Take a moment to send a positive email or text, thanking or praising someone you know.  Like he says on the video, after doing it for 3 days you will be hooked. And maybe, just maybe you will start a ripple effect of happiness.

Thanks for letting me share this.

Here is my 2 minute positive email to all of you taking the time to read this sentence right now. I want you to know just how deeply I appreciate you taking your time to read my words and how much I appreciate your support. More than words can even express, THANK YOU!

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A Life Cleanse

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lifecleanse

With the New Year upon us I wanted to share a life-changing experience I had this year I have been calling my life cleanse.  Sort of like a dietary cleanse, but for your life. And you can eat! Bonus!

Many times the New Year is filled with all sorts of aspirations, goals and packed with things we want to do more of. But there are some years where it is okay, in fact it is downright liberating, to make it a goal to do less. You heard it here first mamas.

My life cleanse 

My life cleanse was not voluntary or planned, but happened as a result of my mom’s cancer diagnosis in August. When my mom was first diagnosed, I didn’t know how I was going to make it through. Our family is so close. So close. I went into survival mode because I wanted to be there for every step of this journey with her. To do this, I knew instinctively I had to clear out every obligation in my life to make the time to deal with what was ahead of us, and at that point I had no idea.

Without even truly thinking about it, I cancelled every single obligation off of my calendar with the exception of the basic things I needed to do to take care of my own family and carry on “life as normal” for my girls while also allowing me the time to be able to help my parents. Everything.

I turned down three newly signed blog contracts, emailed our PTA and told them I couldn’t do my position I had just signed up for, let the classroom volunteer list pass by me at Back-to-School night without signing up, and canceled every upcoming event, meeting, and work appointment not absolutely necessary.

After I did this, I had the time when my girls were at school to do the calls, research and attend the appointments I needed to get her on the best path of treatment. The time I got to spend with my parents and sister going to all the appointments and coming together to figure this out as a family is something I am so incredibly grateful for.

The Re-Entry: Breathe. Then Listen 

Once she was in treatment, we were on a path to getting her well, and the initial flurry of research and appointments and opinions and 2nd opinions was over. The tornado that had blown into our lives had passed through, of course leaving wreckage in its wake, but once she was in treatment, the dust somewhat settled.

breathe

With my calendar cleared out, for the first time in I can’t remember how long, I found myself, having time to slow down and breathe.

Then I listened.

When you stop for awhile from the everyday frazzle fest, you give yourself the chance to listen to your life in a new way.  Mamas, our lives are talking to us – we just have to take the time to listen!

I paid attention to the things I was really missing  as a result of my life cleanse, and had new clarity of the things in my life that are truly important to me.

I started adding things one by one back into my calendar, but with a deliberateness I never had before.  If I was going to add something back in, it was something I really wanted, not a “pile it on because I am already too overwhelmed to stop and say no”, way.

Feeling frazzled? Give a life cleanse a try. 

As a result of my life cleanse, I realized I was holding myself captive by a million obligations that had accumulated over the years.  And there were so many things I could cut out to free up the space to breathe. It’s okay to slow down. It’s healthy to slow down.

If you are feeling at the end of your rope, give it a try, even for a week or two. Cancel everything not deemed essential and give yourself permission to do less for a period of time and listen to how you feel. It might just be life-changing for you too.

A little bit of lemonade.

Our family was delivered a big ol’ truck full of lemons this year.  But even in the most heinous of situations, there is always, always something positive that can make a little lemonade.

My life cleanse was a little bit of lemonade. I took my life of running 100mph down to 30 and it feels SO GOOD.  In fact, my New Years resolution this year is to stay at 30 and really, consciously take the time to continue listening.

Happy New Years! May 2016 be full of less for you and your families!

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Frogglez Goggles

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Recently I was contacted by a company called Frogglez which claims to make the best swim goggles for kids – comfortable, leak-free, pain-free goggles. I was interested to learn more.

Over the years  I have dished out a ton of money on swim goggles for my girls and have yet to find a pair they actually like and wear! Until now!

The design is fabulous and my girls love them.  Here they are explaining why they love these comfortable swim goggles for kids!

Click on over to Amazon and buy your Frogglez here (affiliate link)! Your kids will love them too!

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