May 23, 2012

Sunset Photos for your Bellflower Book

Here are some beautiful photographs of sunsets to fill empty photo space in your Bellflower Book.  They would be great in any book, but especially in books being given as personalized graduation gifts, Father's Day gifts and significant birthday gifts.  They would also be inspiring in encouragement or tribute books to memorialize someone special.

All of these photos are in the public domain and are free for your personal use.  There are two photos shown for each image.  The small photo shows the complete picture and the enlarged photo is what you should use for your download.  Downloading the enlarged photo will guarantee that it is the right size for your Bellflower Book.

Please share and enjoy!

May 16, 2012

The Perfect Poem for your Oldest Friend

Reading this poem immediately reminded me of  my relationship with my oldest friend and Bellflower Books business partner Heather Smith.  I thought it would be a great addition to any Bellflower Book being given to a good friend as a wedding, birthday, new baby or support gift.  It would look perfect spread across two pages with old school photos or photo collages on each page.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and that you have someone special in your life that you can relate this to as well:)

The Stages of Friendship

In kindergarten your idea of a good friend
was the person who let you have the red crayon
when all that was left was the ugly black one.

In first grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who went to the bathroom with you
and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.

In second grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who helped you stand up
to the class bully.

In third grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who shared their lunch
with you when you forgot yours on the bus.

In fourth grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who was willing to switch square dancing
partners in gym so you wouldn't have to be
stuck do-si-do-ing with the dork of the class.

In fifth grade your idea of a friend
was the person who saved a seat
on the back of the bus for you.

In sixth grade your idea of a friend
was the person who went up to your new crush,
and asked them to dance with you,
so that if they said no
you wouldn't have to be embarrassed.

In seventh grade your idea of a friend was
the person who let you copy the social studies homework
from the night before that you had forgotten about.

In eighth grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who helped you pack up your
stuffed animals and old baseball cards
so that your room would be a "high schooler's" room,
but didn't laugh at you when you
finished and broke out into tears.

In ninth grade your idea of a good friend
to that "cool" party thrown by a senior
so you wouldn't wind up
being the only freshman there.

In tenth grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who changed their schedule so
you would have someone to sit with at lunch.

In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who gave you rides in their new car,
convinced your parents that you shouldn't be grounded,
consoled you when you broke up with your significant other
and found you a date to the prom.

In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who helped you pick out a college,
assured you that you would get into that college,
helped you deal with your parents who were having
a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go.

At graduation your idea of a good friend
was the person who was crying on the inside but
managed the biggest smile one could give
as they congratulated you.

The summer after twelfth grade your idea of a good friend
was the person who helped you clean up from that party.
Helped you sneak out of the house when you just
couldn't deal with your parents.
Assured you that now that you and your
significant other were back together,
you could make it through anything.
Helped you pack up for college
and just silently hugged you as you looked
through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories
you were leaving behind.

And finally on those last days of childhood,
went out of their way to come over
and send you off with a hug, a lot of memories
and reassurance that you would make it in college
as well as you had these past 18 years.
But most importantly sent you off to college
knowing you were loved.

Now, your idea of a good friend is still the person
who gives you the better of the two choices.
Holds your hand when you're scared.
Helps you fight off those who try to take advantage of you.
Thinks of you at times when you are not there.
Reminds you of what you have forgotten.
Helps you put the past behind you but understands
when you need to hold on to it a little longer.
Stays with you so that you have confidence.
Goes out of their way to make time for you.
Helps you clear up your mistakes.
Helps you deal with pressure from others.
Smiles for you when they are sad.
Helps you become a better person.
However most importantly loves you!

--- Author Unknown

May 11, 2012

Wonderful Quotes about Mothers

Happy early Mother's Day!  I found this selection of quotes about Mothers and thought they would be perfect to put in a Mother's Day card or in a Bellflower Book for a special mother in your life. I have also included some artwork by one of my favorite artists, Mary Cassatt.  Enjoy!

Mary Cassatt ~ Mother and Child III
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” ~ Elizabeth Stone, high school literature teacher and author of A Boy I Once Knew
“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.~ Dorothy Fisher, American social activist and author
 “Men are what their mothers made them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher and poet
 “The strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver, American writer and author of Pigs in Heaven
“My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart – a heart so large that everybody's joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation.” ~ Mark Twain, American author and humorist
Mary Cassatt ~ Mother and Child
 “A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.” ~ Peter De Vries, American editor and novelist
 “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” ~ Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

“A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity; it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” ~ Agatha Christie, English crime writer of novels, plays and short stories

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
~Honore de Balzac, author
Mary Cassatt ~ Mother and Two Children

“The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.”
~Henry Ward Beecher, US Congressional clergyman

“By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.”
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author

May 9, 2012

Spring Flower Photos for your Bellflower Book

Sometimes when people create a Bellflower Book we notice that there are a few pages without photographs.  A lot of the time this is because the person creating the page did not have a proper photo for the occasion.  We decided to help people out by creating a series of blog posts with somewhat "generic" but attractive photographs that can be plugged in for many occasions.  These beautiful spring flowers would be perfect for books with wedding, birthday, anniversary, sympathy, tribute or new baby themes.  The best part about these photos as that they are considered to be in the "public domain" so we are not violating any copyrite laws!  The images shown below are just a fragment of the actual photograph.  I needed to add them to the blog in "actual size" so that when you click to save them they will be saved in a file size large enough to produce a full sized photo in your book!  Just click, save to your desktop as a jpg and upload to any page of your Bellflower Book in need of a special photograph.  See below for an example of how wonderfully this works:)

May 7, 2012

Photo Collages for your Bellflower Book Made Easy!

One of the biggest questions that people ask us is if they can put more than one photo on a page in their Bellflower Book.  The answer YES as long as those photos have been combined into one file or jpg.  The best way to do this is by creating a photo collage.

I recently stumbled upon an app that makes creating photo collages from pictures in your phone extremely easy!  The app is Photo Collage HD – the Amazing Pic-Frame & Pic-Collage & Postcards Manager Plus iLoader for Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr Pro and can be purchased from the itunes store for only $0.99.

Here is an example of what it can very easily do:

And this is how this image looks in your Bellflower Book:

Even though it is extremely self-explanatory, here are the simple instructions:

1) Select a Frame from the many wonderful options.  You can even customize this frame by adjusting the color, margin width and corners.  See below:

2) Choose your photos - you can even have friends and family participating in your book send their photos right to your phone!

3) After your photos have been chosen, it is easy to adjust them within the template with their simple editing functions.

4) The last step is to email this photo to yourself so that it can be downloading onto your desktop for easy upload into your Bellflower Book.  There may even be an easier way to do this if all of your systems are connected!

5) To send your collage, touch the button on the top right of your screen and email the photo. Make sure that the file size is large.  You may have to play around with file size a bit to make sure the photo is not too large to upload into your Bellflower Book or that it is not too small.  I have found that keeping the size at "normal" then emailing it as "large" works best.

6) Once the photo is emailed, download and save it and you are good to go!

March 4, 2012

A Meaningful Gift for a New Mom

Having your first baby is such an exciting time!  We have had many books come through our printers to celebrate this special occasion as a gift from a husband to a wife or as an extremely special gift from a group of family and friends to the expectant mother at her baby shower. Rather than one more rattle or pacifier, give a personal baby shower present that the new parents will treasure long after Junior is out of diapers.

One of the many options for a "Baby Shower" themed book

There are many creative ways to create a Bellflower Book for your favorite new mom to let her know that she is loved, appreciated and cared for.  Here are some of our favorites!

A personalized memory book full of favorite photos and warm wishes makes a beautiful and unique gift for the new Mom.
Invite her closest friends and family members to shower her with good wishes.
This creative baby shower gift could include reasons why she’ll make a great mom, tips for motherhood, fun memories of her life before children, or reminders of why she is so important to you.

Don’t forget that Moms pregnant for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time (or more!) need encouragement too!
Why not make a personalized book full of reasons why you think this special person is a great Mom? She will love the encouragement.

Make a custom photo book for the baby!
Have friends and family contribute photos and write special letters to the new baby welcoming him or her into the world. Include favorite stories about the new Mom and Dad, advice from older brothers or sisters, or favorite memories from grandparents and other relatives.
A personalized book for the baby is a unique shower gift that will be treasured by both the Mom and the little one (when she learns to read).

Build a custom cookbook!
Collaborate with friends and family members to create a book of delicious and easy recipes. Make sure to include a photo of the finished product! What a great resource for the busy new mom!

Do you have an idea for a "New Mom" themed Bellflower Book?  Please let us know!  We'd love to include it in future "inspiration" :)

March 2, 2012

Grandma Corrigan's Irish Soda Bread

It is March!  Spring is almost here, so naturally I had to make my Grandmother's special Irish soda bread.  Even though she was 100% German, she always created one heck of an amazing St. Patty's Day dinner.  I always loved her soda bread because it was extremely moist, unlike a lot of the drier versions out there.  This year I decided to make the bread into muffins and they turned out great!

My Grandma was a huge lover of holidays so every holiday holds a special memory for me of special "Corrigan Family Traditions".  I am happy to share this one with you!

Grandma Corrigan's Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Preheat oven to 350

3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup golden raisins

roughly 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and buttermilk set aside for glaze

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients and raisins together.  Make a "well" in the center.  Add the buttermilk and then mix together.  If you choose to make a bread instead of muffins, pour the dough into a greased round or square cake pan and bake for roughly 45 minutes.  Check the top, once it is starting to turn a golden brown pour the glaze of equal parts buttermilk and powdered sugar on top and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Make sure to insert a toothpick in the middle to insure it is baked completely.  Sometimes the center can get gooey.

For muffins, pour batter 2/3 of the way in greased or lined muffin pans and bake for around 15 minutes, add glaze to the tops and bake for and additional 1-2.  Again, you will know when they are ready when the tops start showing signs of turning a light golden brown.

Enjoy and happy St. Patrick's Day in advance!

February 28, 2012

Etsy Favorite: Sweet Charity Designs - Art Helping to Educate -

Handmade jewelry from freshwater pearls and genuine stone

All Proceeds to Charity - Give a Gift that Gives Back

This Etsy shop is close to my heart because it is MINE!  Since I became pregnant with my son close to seven years ago I have been making and selling jewelry, donating 100% of the proceeds to causes close to my heart.  By working with Sister Mary Clement of the Sisters of Saint Casimir I have raised close to $10,000 for the scholarship fund at Maria High School on the South Side of Chicago where I formally taught. I always thought of Maria High School as an oasis in the inner city because it was a safe please for girls to go to school and reach their full potential.  Sister Clement and I make quite a team!  I purchase the materials and create the jewelry, and she attends craft shows all over the Chicago area selling it.

All Proceeds to Charity - Give a Gift that Gives Back

Although I am still raising money for the scholarship fund Sister Clement campaigns for, the items currently in my Etsy Shop were made to raise money in support of my son's former preschool teacher's mission trip to Haiti.  She will be working with the Brad Reddick School in Savanette, Haiti. As soon as I found out she was going I volunteered to raise funds. It means a ton to me to be able to support such an amazing woman and I am so happy that the many students at the Brad Reddick School will have the priceless opportunity to learn from her.

100% of Proceeds to Charity
Please spread the word about what I am trying to accomplish.  My jewelry is made from quality genuine stone, glass and freshwater pearls and each piece is created by me by hand.  A piece of jewelry from Sweet Charity Designs makes the perfect "gift that gives back" so please think of us when you are looking for a special gift for someone!  I have also been commissioned to do jewelry for weddings, proms and other special occasions.

100% of Proceeds to Charity

Making jewelry is one of my favorite stress relievers and I love that I can use my talent to help others.  If you have an idea for how to help me promote my cause, please email me at kerry (at) bellflowerbooks (dot) com.

February 24, 2012

Great Quote to add to a Wedding Themed book!

We have many customers who create a Bellflower Book as an exceptionally meaningful wedding gift for someone special in their lives.  I saw this quote on Pinterest and thought it would make a great page in a wedding or engagement themed book!

February 22, 2012

Guest Post Series - My Birth Story

My Birth Story
Barbara Clemont - Ferrand of the blog Footprints in the Sand 
 The Survival of an American Wife and Mother in France

When my first son was born I took the time to write down all of those details that I didn’t want to forget – time we arrived at the hospital, time of birth, length, weight – all those things that seem important at the time.  I never took the time, however, to write down the emotion of the day. 

In a way it all still seems like a blur, even two year later.  My son decided to make his arrival a month before his due date.   I had no idea I was in labor and thankfully my husband urged us to rush to the hospital or I might have given birth at home.

The moment the midwife informed me that the baby would be arriving that day, fear kicked in.  Not the fear of having a baby, but the fear about having a healthy baby. All around us the nurses were preparing for the worst – incubators and the like.  They were very honest that the baby was premature and he might be born with complications.  This was certainly not what an emotional woman in labor needed to hear.

After the epidural calmed my physical pain, everyone in the room disappeared to let my husband and I get some rest.  In those moments of calm my husband sat next to me holding my hand.  This was definitely not how either of us had expected this experience to happen.

In those moments I realized that it would be the last time that it would ever be just the two of us.  As I closed my eyes I could hear the machine slowly humming the baby’s heart rate.  The sound was so rhythmic and warm, bringing us reassurance that we would be able to get through it.

After a few hours the doctors and nurses were back in the room guiding me through the birthing process.  Through it all, my husband’s hand never left mine.  And in a matter of minutes our son, Nathan, was born. 

Before I could lay eyes on our son, I turned to my husband who had tears in his eyes.  The love for his son was instantaneous and I suddenly began to cry.  I had so much love for the moment; so much love for my husband, for my son.

After a few moments they placed my son on my chest, and I was flooded.  In one instant I had become a mother; we had become a family.

Looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing; the magical moment of being just two people and suddenly becoming three.  The notion of family suddenly changed and we had all of the family we could have ever needed in that room.

To hear more from Barbara check out her blog Footprints in the Sand, Facebook Page, and follow her on Pinterest  and Twitter

If you are interested in sharing a birth or wedding story with us, please contact kerry (at) Bellflowerbooks (dot) com

February 20, 2012

Are you following us on Pinterest???

Are you following us on Pinterest?  If not, you should be!

Pinterest is a new social media site focused on visually sharing and organizing great ideas discovered online.  We are addicted!

An Example of one of our "Pin Boards"

Follow us on Pinterest to gain access to "pin boards" full of ideas for home decor, Bellflower Books,  delicious recipes, organization, gardening, kids crafts and activities and many, many more!

Our username is BFBOOKS

Hope to see you there!

January 18, 2012

Guest Post Series ~ My Wedding Story by, Alyssa Duncan

This wedding story is from Alyssa Duncan of the blog inthelandoflou

My husband and I got engaged in September of 2009. He took me on a trip to beautiful Lake Tahoe and proposed in Emerald Bay. It was perfect. When we got back, we started looking at dates for getting married. We had originally planned on summer of 2010 but the more time went by, the more I didn’t want to wait that long. So hubby proposed Valentine’s Day. He thought it would be sweet to always have our anniversary on the most romantic day of the year (and part of me still thinks he wanted an easy anniversary date). But the more he thought about it, trying to plan anniversary trips around Valentine’s would be really hard. So we chose the week after, February 19th. We wanted to keep it small and sweet, hubby had been married before and I was engaged before, so I wasn’t interested in doing everything, down to the last detail, all over again. So we limited our guest list to immediate family and a few close friends…no more than 30 of us all together.

Then, just after the New Year, we got the news that he would be deploying to Haiti. He was supposed to be back in time, but it wasn’t guaranteed. If he did indeed end up getting back before our planned wedding, February 19th, we weren’t sure if we’d have enough time to go get our marriage license before we left for our honeymoon the next day. On the morning he was supposed to leave, he ended up getting held back a day. On a whim, while I was sitting at work bumming out about him being gone the month before our wedding, I called him up and suggested just going down to the courthouse and getting married that day. “Okay…” is what he came back with, haha. Then it was a mad scramble to get down there. I had to call someone in to cover for me at work, he had to try and get off work early…My mom really, really, really wanted to be there…so after some haggling, we decided to let my parents and then Chad’s mom and his brother come down from Denver to see us get married. I ran back to the house, my mom brought me a white dress from her closet, I did my hair really quickly, Chad rushed home from work, and we got to the courthouse JUST before it closed for the day. Phew!

We raised our right hands in front of the woman who was processing our paperwork, my mom snapped a couple quick photos, and then we stepped out into the hall (underneath the cheesiest flowered arch in front of a mint green wall) to exchange rings. WE signed our names, had our witnesses sign theirs, and just like that…we were married. We all went back to our house, both families gave us cards, and then left us to our newlywed devices….;) We had a nice dinner at Texas Roadhouse and then came back to the house to…wait for it…do homework. Yep, Chad had a course to complete that night so we cracked a bottle of wine, shared a glass, and then he went up to the office to complete his class. Trust me, that’s not ALL he did all night…so it turned out splendidly.

The next morning we were up by 6 so that he could pack all of the last-minute stuff, our buddy Gary came by at 7, and he was off to the airport by 7:30. I didn’t even get to spend the first 24 hours as a married woman with my husband. :/

In just under a month, he came back, we got “married”(again) at our originally planned wedding ceremony with our 30 guests, my bi gwhite dress, and his handsome teal bowtie. We didn’t have a formal reception,just punch and cupcakes, and visiting with our friends and family. After maybean hour, we headed downtown to take some wedding pictures and after we were finished, rushed home to get out of our wedding finery (we were not made to live in fancy clothes). Since we were leaving the next morning for our honeymoon in Vegas, we returned his tux that night, went to Target and bought a backpack and a dvd shelf, picked up dinner at Panda Express, and fell asleep onthe couch watching The Bourne Identity. Yeah, we’re classy like that.

We left early the next morning for Vegas and spent a wonderfully relaxing week seeing shows, walking the strip, shopping, eating, and of course…loving on each other like CRAZY.  I look back at our“double wedding”, one at the courthouse, one with less than 30 people, and I wouldn’t change a thing. We didn’t go into debt over our big day, we spent it with the people we’re closest to, and it was perfectly memorable. This week is oursecond anniversary (we count our first wedding as our technical anniversarydate, but still celebrate the second one with a nice dinner or something) and I couldn’t be happier…married for two years, Momma to a six-month old baby, and full of stories to tell about it all.

To hear more from Alyssa check out her blog or follow her on twitter @mrsalyssaduncan

***If you are interested in guest posting for us please email me at kerry (a) bellflowerbooks (dot) com

January 16, 2012

Guest Post Series ~ My Birth Story by, Kerry of Bellflower Books

My son at 6 ~ Well worth the trouble:)

Since a Bellflower Book makes an incredibly meaningful gift for weddings, anniversaries and new babies, we have started a special new guest post series to pay tribute to these events!  I have decided to kick this series off with a post of my own.

I was debating between telling the sweet and predictable story about my perfect little wedding day, or the somewhat crazy and dysfunctional story about the birth of my first child.  I decided that dysfunction is usually a lot more interesting:)

When I had my son I was in my 20's and living in Chicago.  I was one of the first in my group of friends to get pregnant and I will admit to being absolutely clueless.  Lucky for me I had an extremely healthy pregnancy, so when I went into deliver I figured that everything would run smoothly.

Unfortunately the doctor I was seeing (who was recommended to me by another clueless friend) only delivered in two hospitals that were both located in horrible neighborhoods and a little shady.  I picked what I figured was the lessor of 2 evils.  After growing up in a small town in Ohio, I figured a hospital was a hospital and that I would receive great care no matter where I went.  Plus, I loved my doctor.  I loved my doctor because every time I went in for a routine visit he would let me "see my baby" by giving me an ultrasound even though I was having an extremely normal and healthy pregnancy.  At the time I had no idea that this type of treatment was pretty abnormal and that through all of these un-needed ultrasounds my excellent insurance was helping to support their struggling practice.

My son who is a very active child was also a very active fetus.  Two weeks before his due date I felt his activity sharply decrease.  I immediately went to my doctor, found out I was dilated, stopped at Dairy Queen for a chicken sandwich and chocolate ice cream cone, then went to the hospital.  Things weren't progressing like my doctor hoped, so he started me on pitocin.  I got an epidural and was pretty optimistic about how I thought things would progress.  My younger sister showed up with a nice spread of appetizers for her, my husband and my parents who were driving in from Toledo.  I was on the phone with my friends naively making plans to have them for dinner and celebrate two days later.

Then everything went downhill pretty quickly.  The pitocin worked, my contractions started coming quick, but they hurt really bad.  The epidural hadn't clicked in quite like it was supposed to.  Then before I knew it and before my parents had arrived I had to start to push.  Each time I pushed the baby's heart plummeted.  I pushed three times before I was whisked away emergency style for a c-section.  I knew something was wrong but it was all happening so fast that I wasn't quite sure what was going on.  My parents arrived just in time to see me prepped for surgery and headed into the operating room.

This is where the complications with the anesthetic caused some problems.  Since the epidural was not working properly, I was not numb where I should have been and there was not time to sedate me further so I pretty much felt my c-section.  I can distinctly remember making my first choice and sacrifice as a mother when I knew my baby was in trouble and that the only way to help him was to forfeit any additional anesthetic attempts and to go in after him.  I can remember screaming and crying but I don't remember the pain.  I think that my husband will be traumatized forever.  I had to tell him to stop telling his version of the story from the other side of the curtain.  It was not pretty.

And because this was my first birth I didn't realize that it was odd to painfully feel every stitch as they sewed me back up, and even odder that I did not see my baby until a good half hour later.

The good news is that we are all okay.  After the surgery the resident anesthesiologist was considerate enough to apologize to me for his mistakes and hook me up to a nice morphine drip which caused me to see mushrooms and faeries on the wall opposite my bed.  My son developed jaundice and had to spend most of his time in the NICU, which was probably for the best since I was pretty out of it for a while.  He actually looked pretty fine to us and we didn't know if the NICU was absolutely necessary, but then again we had great insurance which I think may have influenced people to take "extra precautions".

The hospital I gave birth in has since closed and the last I heard it has been slated for demolition.

Over six years later I don't think my stomach muscles will ever be the same, but things are good.  I used all of this as a giant learning experience for when I had my second child.  I changed doctors and went to one of the best women's hospitals in the nation where I had a planned C-Section that went so smoothly I didn't even realize it was happening. I was actually shocked when it was over so quickly without so much as a shriek or a tear.  I had a flat screen TV, gourmet room service and frankly a wonderful time in recovery.  It was like a vacation.  See... the first birth story is much more exciting:)

***If you would like to join our guest post series and share your wedding or birth story, please contact me at kerry (at) Bellflowerbooks (dot) com

January 11, 2012

Our New Guest Post Series

We are so excited to announce our new guest post series for 2012!  Last year we focused on paying tribute to meaningful people in our lives.  This year we are going to focus on sharing stories about meaningful events! 

Since so many of our books are created for weddings, anniversaries and new babies, we have decided to take guest posts from people telling their special wedding and birth stories.  I am so excited to read these posts and I am even looking forward to sharing my own!

If you are interested in being a part of this series, please email me at: kerry (at) BellflowerBooks (dot) com.

January 9, 2012

A New Year full of New Memories

This is a page that was created by my sister after a visit last January

Every year I use our website to create special memory books for my kids.  I am usually horrible about writing stuff down, so I have found that my account with Bellflower Books has made it easy to quickly type in a fun or funny story about my kids.  This is great because at the end of each year I have an individualized and personal memory book for each of my kids.  I make sure to have friends, babysitters and relatives contribute as well, especially if we take a special vacation together or if they come to visit us.

This will be the third year that I embark on this mission to preserve their special memories.  Considering it is a special book just about them, they absolutely love looking through the finished product and remembering all of the fun and silly times we have had together.  I have even printed "back-up" copies to put away for when they are grown.  I figured that by the time they are 18 or so these copies are going to be pretty "loved" and a little worn, so it would be really special to give them a set of brand new books for their own collection.  I hope that someday their kids will enjoy reading them and relating to the incredible and entertaining people they were are children:)
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