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>> Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Beth's white chicken lasagna looks so good!!  I can't wait to try that one.

Today I want to share one of the ways I try to record some special things about my kids at each age.  I have mentioned here before that I am a huge fan of Photoshop Elements and digital scrapbooking.  I abandoned paper scrapbooking some time ago, because it just wasn't for me.  I used Photoshop Elements to create this project, but I really want to focus more on the concept because it could be done with paper scrapbooking or using a service like Shutterfly or Picaboo to create a book.

Starting about 18 months ago I decided to create a photo book each year for each of my kids.  I began a yearly family book with pictures from our trips and adventures when my son was born 7 years ago.  I used to dedicate a page for each kid in the yearly book to talk about their personalities, but I decided that I wanted to do a better job of recording more about them at each age. They change so much from year to year.

This was the first one I made, and I have since made one for my older son.  I am behind, of course, and need to finish up two more.

First gather your pictures.  I like to use the same "photo session" for the book since I have random snapshots galore in our family books.  But you could use whatever you wanted.

Then, I gather a list of questions to ask them.  Those will vary according to age, and I'll give you some ideas below.  They may not answer all the questions, so I choose from those I've asked when I'm putting the book together.

Next, I try to think of other things I want to add.  In this book, I took some washable paint, coated my son's hand and foot, and pressed each on a blank sheet of paper.  Then I scanned the prints to include them in the book.  Other examples would be art work, writing samples,  etc.  As they get older, have them answer some of the questions in their own hand writing and scan those in.

Finally, I assemble the book and print it.  The whole project really doesn't take that long, and it's such an amazing keepsake. 

Obviously, at two the ability of a child to answer "interview" questions is limited.  Between 3 and 5, kids give some really cute answers to questions.  And at my older son's age, 7, the answers are very thoughtful.  For this book, I had a couple pages I left out that contained more of his favorites -- songs, shows, books, etc.

I printed my book through a company called WHCC; the print quality is very high and the paper I chose was very thick.  Other options are shutterfly, picaboo, mixbook, and blurb to name a few.  I only have experience with a couple of those, so read some online reviews before choosing and wait for the sales.

And here are some questions to start with:
Favorites -- food, movie, song, tv show, book, toy, game, color, animal, smell, place to visit, etc
What job do you want to have when you grow up?
What is something your mom always says to you?  dad?
What makes you happy?  sad?
What is your favorite school memory this year?
What is your favorite class at school?
Who is your best friend?
What are you good at?
What does your dad do at work?  your mom?
What do you like to do the most?
What is the best gift you've ever gotten?  given someone else?
What do you worry about?
What makes you special?  What makes your family special?
What are the things you can't live without?
If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
What is the hardest thing about being a kid?  The best thing?
What 5 words describe you best?
If you were in charge of the world, what rule would you make everyone follow?  (the answers to this question are sometimes amazing and usually really sweet)

Add any questions you can think of!  Ask your child if there is anything else they want to add about themselves.

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