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my children’s project life albums {recording memories}

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This is the fourth post in my how we keep and record memories series.  I hope you click over to read all the posts!

So far, I’ve explained how I put our digital photos into every-six-month-photo books from Shutterfly.  I also shared how I put my children’s tot school and preschool work in their own school notebooks.  And thirdly, I shared our family’s project life album, which is a compilation of all the best.

But I want my children to have albums of their own, devoted solely to them.  With little memories and phrases and moments that they can relish in for years to come.  What about the memories?  What about the little cutesy things my kids say or do?  Or the outings I want to remember?  Or the hilarious nature walk we took?  You can’t record all of these little memories in a digital album that you are making a couple months down the road….  I like to write it all down!

Some questions come to mind while I was searching for the perfect solution….

How can I easily write down memories?

I can I effectively write down memories, so I don’t forget what was said or done?

Is there a way to not work on an album for a couple months, but be able to easily pick it back up after a 2-3 hour session of work?

What pictures should I include?

I explained what Project Life is in my third post of the series, Our Family Project Life Album.  But just to briefly explain, it is a simple photo and memory organization system.  All you need is an album, your photos, project life sheet protectors,  project life cards, and a pen.  No cutting or sticking or gluing required.  Much, much easier and faster than the detailed scrapbooking I used to do!!

Here is one of my daughter’s two-spread pages….DSC03110

Example of a Project Life Core Kit….DSC03318

album + page protectors + core kit + pictures + pen

{This post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy.} 

Project Life supplies I currently use:

You can purchase from Amazon, Becky Higgins’ site, Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby.  Different places have different sales, so make sure to check around!!

Project Life page protectors {I primarily use Design A and Design D and Design H, — we also use Design B and Design F and 5×7 vertical5×7 horizontal, and 8 1/2 by 11 pages — but there are many designs to choose from : all of my page protectors are kept in a simple white 3-ring binder}

12 x 12 Album

Olive Edition Core Kit {our family album} {which is on sale for $10 at Amazon right now!!}

Jade Edition Core Kit {my son’s album}

Happy Edition Core Kit {my son’s album)

5th & Frolic Edition Core Kit {my daughter’s album – available only at Michael’s – a mini kit giveaway is below!}

Dreamy Edition Core Kit {for my daughter’s album – available now at Michael’s!}

Mini Kits: Baby for HerBaby for Him, SeasonsHolidaysFlea MarketDaydreamer {this one’s my favorite for little girls!!}, Merry & Bright

Themed Cards: GirlFallChristmas

Corner rounder for photos {I don’t use this every time, but ideally, I’d like to}

Black pens {my favorite pen of all time}


Project Life memory albums for each of my children

My children each have a special album to call their own.  And now that my son is older, he loves loves loves going through his album to see his memories.  I make a two-page spread {sometimes more} every month of each of my children’s lives.  Pink for May and blue for John.  I keep photos and memory cards for each child in the albums.


Before…. how I recorded our memories ….

Before I started this system, I wrote memories into a little book by date {One Line a Day Book}.  I carried the little book with me and wrote things down.  But it left me wanting more.  Every month needed a picture…. Would my child really want this little book in their adulthood?  The memories are tucked away and hard to see with my tiny cursive writing.  Not thrilled.  But I kept it going for about a year.


The little book I used may be perfect for someone who just wants one little book tucked away.  It is so cute and perfect.  For me, it wasn’t enough.  I wanted to be able to see the memories with pictures, so I decided to write down every memory in my sweet little One Line a Day book onto a little Project Life card {with my beloved Paper Mate pens}.  This was tedious and took a while, but it was oh so worth it to see those little cards in John’s album.  Now they are more accessible to those who want to read through, rather than having them in the tiny book.  This works for me.  Everyone must find the solution for them.

Now…. how I record our memories…..


Their little boxes of cards

Each of my children have an album.  Every time there is a memory: a thought I have, a phrase they say, a move they make, I can get out one of my two little boxes {girl colors for May and boy colors for John} and write down the memory.  Their boxes {from Michael’s} are sitting in my kitchen — I reach for the little cards almost every day.

I tuck the filled card in the back of the box.  That’s it.


I have a box for John and a box for May.

At the beginning of each month, I pick a “color theme” for each child.  This is just because I love these cards, they are so beautiful and I like picking through them.  It could certainly be done without the meticulous choosing, but I like to choose: okay yellow and gray for John this month and pink and green for May.  Perfect!  All the cards are lined up and ready for recording memories.

I often have 1 or 2 or even 3 months of memories in the back of each kids’ box, just patiently waiting for me to put it into the Project Life album.

Organizing the little cards

The Project Life cards are so adorable.  There are so many editions and themes and colors to choose from.cute.  I always open everything up and organize them by color schemes.  Here are a couple pictures of my craziness.


Organizing and ordering the pictures

Every now and then, I take my little memory {4×3} cards out, and slip them into the page protectors of the kids’ big Project Life albums.  Now that the memories are ready.  All that’s left is the pictures.  Every four to six months, or so, I organize my children’s pictures by month.  The very best ones that signify the memories of that month.  I organize them in iPhoto {you can read more how I organize pictures here}.  Then I upload to Shutterfly and make an order of pictures.  It is very hard to scale down to the best 8 or 10 photos of the month, so I always end up with extras for our family album, or to put around the house or give to grandparents.

This just works.  It took me a while to figure it all out, how I wanted to do it, but I’m so happy with my system!!


My husband got this shot of me feverishly working on our living room floor.  “Don’t step on these memories, kids!!” haha

I crave this time.  Absolutely love it.

For the first 12 months

For the first of year of each of my children’s lives, I wrote down memories and milestones for each month.  I kept an document on my computer to keep track of these precious moments.  So, I have 12 months of memories.  I printed these months onto some cute paper, cut them, and put them in some 5×7 Project Life page protectors.  {There are so many different page protector designs, so you can fit almost anything into these albums!}

It’s so wonderful to see the first twelve months take shape in these albums.  Priceless memories that I hope my children will cherish as much as I do.

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My son loves his albums and asks to look at them often….

Each month has a two page spread, either Design A or Design D, often with an extra little half page {Design H} between because I have too many cards written or too many pictures :)

DSC03100 DSC03118DSC03089 DSC03090 DSC03091 DSC03092 DSC03093

And my sweet girl’s albums are a treasure too….

DSC03095DSC03096 DSC03097 DSC03098 DSC03106 DSC03107 DSC03108
DSC03112 DSC03114

In the end….

I invented the perfect system for me.  It took me a while to realize what I wanted to do and accomplish.  I want my children to know that I took the time to see them.  To watch and learn and know them.

They will each have about 4 or 5 albums by the time they are done wiht high school.  John’s first one is already complete!  Four years of sweet beautiful boy.

I know, I know, he may not want these {boys may be that way — so my husband tells me}, but then I will keep his, or give them to his wife.  I think I will have to take high quality copies of each album, so I have the collection too.

{Some people use digital Project Life for this reason — you can make multiple copies!  I chose not to go this route, because I like to hand write my memories in the moment: read: I’m in the stone-age, and I don’t have a smartphone, so I’m sure there is an app for all of this by now. But I am not proficient with PhotoShop and I like to do this with my hands, so this works for me.  Everyone takes a different road. If you love going the all digital, no paper and photos and sometimes mess on your hands, that would be perfect.}

The most important thing I can say is….

Write it down, take the picture, remember.  The little ones won’t be little always.

Shutterfly Photo Books 728x90

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One Comment

  1. This is beautiful. Seeing how milestones take shape in albums and having a tangible thing to look back on is such a nice idea. Thanks for sharing.

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