Low-Maintenance Memory Keeping (Part 1 of 3)

After several requests on how I organize family photos and child keepsakes, I’ve decided to (in typical Kelsey-fashion) do another mini series.  And so the categories of my upcoming mini trilogy will be as follows:

  •  Organizing Family Photos
  • Pregnancy Journals and
  • Documenting Baby/Toddler Milestones

First off, let me introduce you to one of my favorite places in my home.  These are the first things I’m taking with me (after my children, of course) in the case of fire or tornado.  Basically, it’s our life on a shelf…


The first books on the left (the multi-colored, narrow books) are our Yearbooks (which I’ll be covering today).  The other books, which we’ll be covering later this week, are my Pregnancy Journals (two for my boys here and one for my child in heaven) and then my from-birth-to-age-3 Baby Books.  Now that I have a three-year-old, I’m looking for ways to document his older boy years, but haven’t completely decided how I’m going to do that yet.

First off, let me reassure you that whatever I do has to be low-maintenance.  Life is busy, and if we are blessed with more children like we hope to be, it’s only going to get busier.  So when choosing how I wanted to record our memories, I made sure it could be sustainable.  For me, this means no crafty tape, stickers, extensive hand-written journaling, etc.

I make our family books digitally and have them printed and shipped to me.  I got started using Picaboo  which produce very good quality books that are easy to put together.  They are bit expensive ($60+) if you try and buy them without a discount, but I’ve been able to get a 50% or more off coupon every time.

I have a book on our Courtship & Engagement…


A book of our wedding…


And then one for each of the years we’ve been married…


Inside, I cram everything from pregnancy and baby pictures to family reunions…

8            9

10           11

I got started with my Yearbook idea because I wanted to document our whole family’s life (not just the babies’).  After all, life has changed so much since we were first married.  My husband has grown his business from the ground up and we’ve been through so much together.  It seemed a shame to have memory-filled pictures of life that were never revisited because they were stored on a lonely hard drive somewhere.  I thought about doing themed picture books, but I had all these pictures (of roadtrips and family celebrations) that were hard to categorize.  If I tried to do a book for each of them I’d run out of money (and time!) really quickly.

So with the Yearbook, as long as it takes place within the last 12 months, it goes in!  Sometime after our anniversary, I spend a few hours cramming all the pictures I want to keep into that book, order it, and wait for it to be shipped to me (waiting’s the hardest part).  Then it’s done until next year.  See?  Low maintenance family memories.  I love it.

I have this little dream of my grandchildren coming to visit me one day and flipping through the forty-some books on our family shelf together.  “You want to see when your Daddy was born?  Let’s find that 2012 book…  Here you go.  And look, there’s Uncle Gabriel.  See his fat, little toddler cheeks?   He looks just like your cousin so-in-so.”

Until next time!

19 thoughts on “Low-Maintenance Memory Keeping (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Amanda says:

    I love this idea! I am super meticulous about keeping my kids’ baby books, but that’s about it. I would love to have a year-at-a glance to look back at!

  2. Amanda says:

    By the way, where do you get the coupons?

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Amanda! I used to get the coupons off of Groupon, but then I signed up for Picaboo’s emails and they send me their monthly deals. There’s not a great one going on now (only 30%) but often I’ll make the book and wait to buy it until it goes to 50% or more. ~Kelsey

  3. Stephanie says:

    Hi Kelsey, I do this with my videos. It started with our wedding video, then I did my daughters birth, her first year, my sons birth, his first year…and now I do a family one each year. When they are 18, I will give them a 2 hour movie of their life. :0) I need a little inspiration to do a yearbook…so far I do a calendar each year that documents the year before. I’d like to switch to a book, although, I made a book for my daughter of her first year in preschool. It’s a storybook, entitled, ‘I Go To School’. It’s really cute. Thanks for more inspiration. I’ve really gotten my act together using your HOBinder. Sincerely, Stephanie

  4. Stephanie says:

    Hi Kelsey, thanks so much. I make the films in iMovie. It’s really easy. My movies have really come a long way since my first one. I alwasy pick a song, and edit clips to go with it. Well, the first one was my wedding video person. He did the video to our wedding song, Bubbly, by Colbie Callait. He wasn’t supposed to make a ‘short movie’ of my wedding, rather, he was to video the day…but he forgot to video my dance with my dad…so he threw in a ‘movie’ which included the last few seconds of my dance with my dad. It inspired me to keep going. I used another song by her, Capri, for my daughters birth, and, You are so beautiful, for my son’s birth. My son’s first year song is ‘Let them be little’. I can email you a link to one of the movies so you can see? You would LOVE making them. I can tell! It’s really not hard at all and I spend about 5 hours per movie…usually up all night, but that’s okay. Much easier than making a website and blog. My kids BEG me all the time to see the movies. They say they are movie stars… LOL

    • I would LOVE to see it! Please post a link. I may be bugging you for details after I look into it a bit more. Very interested. 😉 Thanks, Stephanie!

    • Traci says:

      Stephanie. I think i have i MOvie too..not sure how to use it yet! lol I have just downloaded home videos onto my computer and I have to do something creative with them for Christmas gifts.. I would love to see how you do yours!

  5. Stephanie says:

    sent you a you tube link to your email. :0)

  6. Valerie says:

    “I wanted to document our whole family’s life (not just the babies’).” – I have never looked at this way but you are SO right!! Hmm, I am going to have to think more on this idea and how I might incorporate it.
    I love all your ideas!

  7. Shannon says:


    this is pretty close to what my mom used for my sister and i growing up. The writing is in a form format so it makes it super quick and easy to do.

  8. denise says:

    hi. I just happened upon your blog by way of your “Screwtape letter”. Loved it! I started to quickly flip through your blog topics (which are quite lovely) when I got to this page about your photo year books. Knowing that you are a Christian woman I thought it appropriate to let you know that when I got to this page there was a HIGHLY offensive picture of a cartoon woman with her breasts popping out of her shirt in the advertising margin of your blog(which my 15 year old son noticed right away but I was just focused on your blog). It looks like and advertisement for a video game. Anyways, Being a Christian woman myself, I know I would want to know about anything unknowingly posted that was somewhat pornographic/offensive.

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      Thank you, Denise. Firstly, I’m sorry you had to see that. I know exactly what ad you’re referring to because I have tried to block it REPEATEDLY with no success. I tasked my husband with it this afternoon and he tweaked some of the settings around, so hopefully that will take care of it. Thanks for letting me know!

  9. ainemistig says:

    I have tried doing this, but I think I take too many pictures in a year. My husband finally loaded a back-up copy of the photos and videos I took the last couple years: 14,000+. No joke. I keep joking that going through the photos will be something someone will have to do after I die!

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