To Scrapbook or Not?

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Years ago, I was a scrapbooking queen. I spent every spare dollar on supplies. I drove miles to visit scrapbooking shops and to attend scrapbooking conferences.

This was all pre-internet, too!

As our family grew, I determined that I would make sure that every milestone of my children’s lives would be carefully documented within the pages of color coordinated scrapbooks. I was a dreamer.

Yes, yes, I was.

Fast forward ten years or so. The boys, ages 13, 10, 8, and 6, each have at least one album. The girls? None. Other things have taken precedence over my scrapbooking hobby.

However, I don’t want my girls to follow the typical pattern of “the baby doesn’t have a baby book.” So, I’m turning to you for advice and input.

What would you do?

As it’s been four years since I last cropped a photo, I’m a little “behind the times” in terms of products that are available and techniques that are being used.

One of my goals this year is to do something with our photos. I figure this project is a good one to figure out.

I don’t have time for cute or elaborate layouts. I have four years of photos stored digitally. The choices, as I see them, are

  • do nothing
  • do my best to physically cut and paste simple designs and get my girls’ albums complete
  • create my albums online via Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly
  • or ?????

Any suggestions?

If you had four years and two albums to document, what is the quickest and simplest way that you would approach it?

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  1. I don’t know if you solved your dilemma on your scrapbook situation, but I am going to post what I love to do now for quick easy scrapbooks. It is Studio J from Close To My Heart…..yes, I am a consultant….not spamming, just sharing something I love. It is free to try, but once you do I know you can get those albums whipped out in no time and beautifully too! Let me know if you give it a try and if you like it. If you have any questions feel free to contact me!

  2. Hello. I know this is an old thread but I thought I’d add my 2 cents. I’m a photographer and a busy mother of 2. (Is there any other kind?!) I used to hand scrap, then I moved to digital scrapping….now I’m about 4 years behind. (And yeah, my youngest is about to turn 4.)

    Because of what I do, my home is filled with nice pictures on the wall of both kids, but my youngest has no pics of himself in an album. Both of my boys love to look through the albums that we have, and I always feel bad for my Micah. My recommendation for you is to buy the big binder type of scrapbook with sleeves for your 4x6s and try to organize by date. Perhaps add a SMALL bit of text, like a label…not some massive S.B. journaling. That’s it.

    My mother has always taken lots and lots of family pictures. And she always got them into an albulm one way or the other. And I can honestly say that I enjoy looking back at the pictures in the plain albums every bit as much as the 3 or so nicely scrapped ones she has. Maybe even more, because there’s no competition for the image….just my childhood memories plain and simple. <3

  3. Thanks for answering. I understand time going by quick πŸ™‚ I have made 2 storybooks last year for my twin niece and nephew, and am working for two for this year. In the meantime my sister has not done much on putting her pictures into her books (she does make them traditional ones, but only with the highlights…but still is behind). Good luck on working on your books. (you might want to find a group that meets every so often and crop with them…seems that was the only way I got my sons books done).

  4. I just came across your question and I am curious to what you decided to do with your girl’s pictures. As you can see I am a CM Consultant, I am surprised how many people answered your question. I would like to know which way you went and what your experience was. I did not read all the answers here… There is just not enough time πŸ™‚

    1. I went with…. nothing. Last year just got away from me, and I haven’t done anything yet. I keep waiting for a time to print and just crank out pages. I’ll probably do a CM book for each girl and then try to finish off the boys so that they make sense.

      1. I am in the same boat. My son is graduating in May and I am at age 3! I use CM 12×12 albums and I have decided to scrap in a similar fashion to the Project life pocket pages. You can trim the photos to fit in a square pattern like the pocket pages and use one for journaling. You can mat the pics if you like, round corners etc. all journaling goes in the one box. Catch up on putting the pics in and then let your girls embellish with the stickers they like later. It’s about the pictures anyway, not the embellishments. By doing it this way I can use the simple Project Life format, but use the albums and pages I already have.

  5. I’ve been following with interest this whole Project Life phenomen (spelling?). However, these albums cost about $100 each to get sent to Australia, money I just don’t have πŸ™ Soooooo, here’s what I do:
    1. I bought some albums with blank black pages. I would look for as big as you can afford, my pages are just smaller than a normal scrapbook page and this makes for extra fiddling.
    2. I take my photos and get them printed on a weekly basis. I also crop, remove red eye, delete double ups, play with the lighting, etc BEFORE i get them printed.
    3. Glue some nice paper down over the black page (not necessary, but makes it look purdy).
    4. Compose your photos and glue ’em down. I also add things like a nice painting or recipe that matches up with my photos (this week’s will include a lock of hair from their haircuts today). I use clear contact paper to hold these down.
    5. Then I measure any gaps between photos to create a little commentary. This is where I write a little about the photo or my child’s current obsession.
    6. Write out all the dates for this year’s weeks and glue them on the page as needed. This helps you keep track of what week and month of the year the photos were taken at.
    7. I keep a wallet called “Photo Album Project” and keep everything (like photos, paper & those dates I mentioned) in here.
    8. I sit down one night a week and do all this gluing and commentary and I’m done.

    Even my husband is impressed with our ‘storybook’ for 2011. I hope this helps. You may wanna do this per kid, but ours is simply a family project for now. I will play around with this concept in years to come, but for now it’s a family album!

  6. I wanted a great scrapbook for my daughter’s first year and was a collector of scrapbook supplies but never took the time to make a traditional one. I found the site and love it. Great classy layouts. Not too much manipulation so you can make great progress in a short amount of time. It can add it, aorudn $5.00/page to have printed, but they always run sales. I have foudn the quality to be wonderful adn I don’t mind paying the money. I’ve even asked for their giftcards for holidays.

  7. I would personally suggest trying Creative Memories supplies. We are not about scrapbooking anymore we are about helping you with easy and quick solutions to get those photo into albums quickly through traditional or digital!! I would suggest two things that will make getting years of photo’s done quickly, for photo’s on hand I would us the PicFolio Album, the Expandable PicFolio or Quick Kits. What makes these album So quick is that you just slide each picture right into a sleeve, use a album kit to decorate and you are done in less then 30 min. You truly could get 4 albums done a month taking one day a week to put them together.

    Another opition with traditional is CM carries power pallets that everything you need to complete an album, embellishments, paper, journal paper and our paper is reversible you can use both sides. If you didnt want to you could stick each page in as is, add embellishments and your pictures and have a great album in again about 30 minutes!

    For all your digital pictures I would suggest Storybook Creator Plus 3.0,

    This is the newest and easiest way to put together tons of picture quick and easy. Our storybooks are high quality hard cover back with quality printing. We have pre-designed pages that make this even easier cause all you have to do is drag and drop your photos right into the book. You can also edit any part of the book there is NOTHING you are stuck with on each page. You can also design your own pages. With this software you can also make awesome gifts to give, such as calendars, posters, mugs and photo cards. CM did as much work as they could to make this super easy for all those who take pictures.

    I would say YES to doing something with your photo’s. They tell a story and show those in the photo just how important they are. I would love to help you in any way get started.

    Please visit my CM site at and Facebook for my work or you can email me [email protected]

    Hope you find a solution to all your photo needs!

    In his love,
    Sonya Schroeder

  8. I haven’t read over the other replies, but my advice is to go digital. I noticed your albums look like Creative Memories albums. I use their Storybook program and Memory Manager. I wouldn’t use one without the other because it’s too much work otherwise. You purchase kits and add-ons online, which you use over and over again, and they also have some free stuff. The catch to this, as with traditional sb-ing is the fact that you have a few kids, like me, so that will require more pages. And the more pages you have, the more money you spend. I didn’t notice it when I did it traditionally because you bought along the way and used old supplies, etc. Purchasing the album all at once, however, makes it harder to spend it because it seems like so much at once as opposed to having in spread out over the time you put it together.

  9. I soooo feel your frustration! That’s exactly what brought me to this site…looking for perspective on my photo hobby. I miss the days when I just took my 35mm roll to walmart, got the pics, shared them with everyone, dated the envelope, and put them in a pretty box to store. That was simple. Then I got into scrapbooking and went crazy! I even became a CM consultant. It became overwhelming on top of my full time job. So I kinda just quit cold turkey. I realized I had all the milestones done: babies first years, their preschool years, and their school years, my wedding, their sports, my and hubby’s high school. I then started doing year books. But lost my steam by that point. Now I have a couple years of photos on my computer, two completed CM digital albums on my computer (but lack of cash to order them) and now trying to make my life simple again. I think the point is sit down and think about what is really important and set some goals. For me, the handmade milestones were important, but now they are done and I have to decide what to do about the everyday, year to year stuff. Do I create a digital album for each year? or do I just get each set of pics printed and throw them in a box like my pre-scrapbooking days? or do I get them printed in a spiral bound 4X6 with some journaling (done this with shutterfly and love it). Right now I’m sitting on two free shutterfly coupons for digital albums. My husband likes the digital – he seems to be more impressed with them, and my kids like my handmade – but they are mostly about them! But my need is to get them done simply and regularly and not let them pile up or even wait til the end of the year before I put together a year’s worth. SIMPLICITY is what is important to me at this point.

  10. I had the same problem. I have now turned to pocket pages. I use a 12 x 12 binder or album and use the 4 x 6 pockets or sometimes the other “hybrid” sizes. I only “scrap” a 4 x 6 title and just put the pictures in the pockets. If the pictures are something special I can always scrap those. It has been such a relief to those under control. I also started with current pics and worked backwards. Using the pockets makes it so flexible to ad or remove and the picture are uncut. SO FAST. Hope this helps

  11. Jessica, Today I made a digital album using iPhoto. I don’t know if you have a Mac but this really only took me 6 hours. I think my pics are further behind than yours. I have 6 years on my computer. My decision is to make an old fashioned album for my 6th and try to catch up my other children’s albums that way, but to do one digital family album a year. I do think the old fashioned way is cheaper. All of my research is showing the digital 12X12’s can be very expensive. You can see my family album I created today on my last blog entry. Thanks for doing this post. It truly inspired me and I appreciate all the input from your readers.

  12. Has anyone used I used them this year for our Christmas cards and they turned out great. I noticed they have 12X12 books that you can buy by the page. That looked intriguing to me but I’ve not seen anyone mention their products.

    I’m one in the same dilemma as Jessica. I’ve got 6 children and have albums for some of them. I’m about 5 years behind on family albums. My 3 year old has no printed pictures πŸ™

    I’m thinking I may do an old-fashioned album for all the children but try to catch up family albums digitally.

  13. I started out making a “real” scrapbook for my son and I got a whole 5 pages into it. It has sat on my table for over a year now, completely unchanged and unfinished. I decided to make digital ones using Picaboo and they have turned out great! I made one that documents his first year, and another one that was a little simpler to give away as gifts on Christmas (huge hit). I used coupon codes to offset the cost of printing them, but the program and digital copies are totally free.
    I’d definitely recommend the Picaboo program because it has options that fit any level of effort you are wanting to put into it.
    You can always do the digital ones now and save the “real” ones for graduation/18th birthday/wedding gifts. That way you’d get the best of both worlds.
    Good luck!

  14. I do a both paper and scissors as well as digital scrapbooking. I would say digital saves time and money, what with the tons of free downloads online!! I personally love shabbyprincess and peppermint creative. I use Photoshop CS and that’s really simple. And to save some money on printing, instead of doing the usual 12 x 12 size, create on a A4/ letter sized format and print it off your regular photo printer at home! πŸ™‚

  15. I had the same dilemia. About 5 years backlog for both of our boys. Decided to donate all of the old scrapbook materials & tools to the school and go digital. I chose Picaboo after review 2 or 3 others & just got two completed books back. The boys are happy & I think they are terrific. Hit the highlights and keep it simple. The kids mostly want to look at themselves & laugh at the memories. Picaboo is affordable & easy. There is a sale every few weeks.

  16. I’m all about the digital photo books – greatest invention ever. And I love that you can always get 5×7 deals, so I’ll make little flip books just about certain events – the kids love to look thru these over and over (and it keeps them occupied to not over-look at the “good” ones). I also love that they are saved on file and if I want to print out extra copies in the future (one for each kid?) I can. Something spilled on it – print another one!

    If you have hundreds of prints sitting around, like I did, there’s a great service thru where you send them all off and they scan them for you and a few days later all your old prints are digital files. Of course they aren’t great quality (not because the scans aren’t high-res, but because the prints weren’t that great). I had over 3000 prints scanned and I’m now in the process of putting together a photo book of my study abroad trip from 1997!

    Have fun!

  17. I may be unpopular but I think you should try your best to do an actual physical scrapbook!!! Let’s face it, your daughters will appreciate it so much more than sons would…

    I would only scrapbook the most special photos and then you could include digital print outs in the same album of the more day to day stuff, but I would try and have one album for them at least… I know I am really behind on my boy’s baby books but for my second baby’s month by month album I am going to use a sort of “template” type idea and do each month page the exact same layout, just different paper, accessories, photos. I find the most time consuming thing is just designing the layout so if you have that figured out the rest is not so bad right?

  18. I put together a years worth of photos in about 3 hours on Shutterfly. It’s quick and easy and they run great specials all the time. Good luck!

  19. Shutterfly books are a wonderful choice. If you’re looking for an option that includes more journaling of their stories, it’s fun to use a blog printing website!

    I keep our blog as a family scrapbook, and once a year, I get it printed at is another similar choice. Both offer coupon codes from time to time.

    You just input the site address for your blog, make a few choices, and the book is ready to print. (Blurb can be a little more complicated, but gives you more choices.)

    It costs me $60 – $80 per year to print it, and it allows me the option of slowly adding stories throughout the year without the mess and fuss of scrapbooking.

    Each of my kiddos gets a paper scrapbook of their first year. And that’s it! πŸ˜‰

  20. I do enjoy the digital books, yet I would do a traditional scrapbook. Traditional albums can have memorabilia and your handwriting in them. Order the photos you need online then do the two albums at the same time. Just lay them out together and do similar page lay outs. If you do some of your cropping before you order the photos you’ll only have to do it once per photo!

  21. Personally, I think that you should do a CM album for each of the girlies 1st years. (Didn’t I give you some girly pages or kit of some sort?) Keep it simple — a few pages for pregnancy & birth and then maybe 1 dps for each month. That way, each kid has one that was lovingly handmade by momma. I think that there is something special about having YOUR handwriting in the album. Then, go ahead and switch to digital if it is easier to keep up.

  22. I so appreciate this question and everyone’s input. I’ve been thinking about this recently because I too am behind on scrapbooking now that I have five children and am homeschooling.
    Thanks to the Life as Mom advice, I am putting together a household notebook with daily/weekly/monthly checklists. I have actually added “work on personal scrapbook” to my weekly list for the following reasons:
    1. I love to scrapbook (as in traditional scrapbooking–cutting, mounting, embellishments of ribbons, buttons, etc.)
    2. My children LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to look at our scrapbooks and see pictures of our family and friends.
    3. I have all of my photos in scrapbooks up until the ones from about 3 years ago. That’s when baby #4 came along.
    4. Working on my scrapbooks once a week is better than nothing. Surely someday I will catch up.

  23. I personally am a fan of digital scrapbooking, if simply because the fanbase is SO huge, there are forums and galleries EVERYWHERE with inspiration and yes, even pages you can just plain copy with your own photos. However I believe that you need to have some skill with a photo-editing software to really make them look good. If that doesn’t interest you, I’d “shop your supplies” and do at least a first year book in paper for your girls. I wouldn’t “do nothing.” However, your girls aren’t going to really treasure this book right now — what they treasure is making memories NOW, not memories past — so write down what details you can remember and keep it safe, and go ahead and keep the fancy books on your shelf until your kids are older. Maybe they can even help you make their baby book when they’re old enough (say 11 or 12) and THAT can be a wonderful memory for them. I know I would have loved doing something like that with my mom.

    If you do decide to try the digiscrapping route with a program on your own computer (such as Photoshop or something like it, with layers, a “from scratch” thing, not Shutterfly or online premade stuff) — please feel free to send me an email, I used to be a digiscrap designer and although I don’t sell my kits anymore I have several kits I created just gathering dust on my server. I’d be happy to send them to you.

  24. gives you 4 free photobooks per month. They have ads inside of them but their or perforated so you can tear them out.

  25. I would do memory boxes. Pick out or create beautiful a beautiful box for each girl and then put all your special treasures and photos in there. When the occassion (and time) strikes, add special notes and letters about how proud you are of them or how much they are growing up. Just think how much they will enjoy reading those!

  26. I am right there with you. My oldest (5yr) is the only one that I have a scrapbook for. Did I mention that I have 4 kids? I started Project Life last year and love it! There are so many options and ways of doing it. Even digitally if that is what you are into.
    I love that it only takes a few minutes to keep up with it. I have started one for this year and it is probably the best investment that I have ever made. It can be from the whole family too. Everyone can contribute. That is one of the things that I love best.
    Good luck!

  27. I’m in agreement with the suggestions to use leftover scrapbook stuff that you have…if you have enough for a whole book and won’t have to buy more. That might take a little more planning than usual. Shutterfly is a great option if you want a photo book without much journaling, and they have some great sales occasionally. You can create your book and save it to print until there’s a good sale. Creative Memories has an easy to use free software without many bells and whistles, but it will give you a book that’s as good as what Shutterfly offers with the option of journaling.

  28. another vote for ‘digital’ scrapbooks/photo albums. It is SO.EASY! You can do a little at a time & save it; you can often get it fairly cheaply (free shipping, % off…or even FREE – they’ve had groupons for shutterfly books in the past!) and I don’t have to worry about little pieces coming unstuck/unglued and having alittle person accidentally ingest them. πŸ˜‰

  29. I started feeling very behind in my books, to the point that every time I went to work on one it felt like a job trying to catch up with all the photos. One of my goal for this year is to just relax! So with that in mind I’m looking at my scrapbooking different this year. 1. Scrapbooking is mommy’s time to relax! 2. It’s does not have to be done in order nor does the album have to be finished this year. 3. I will not buy supplies this year with the exception of glue.

  30. Shutterfly, without a doubt. I switched over 4 years ago. (And caught up on the baby’s book pretty quickly) It’s easy to download and they have options to simplify the process or if you want more control over layouts, etc you can choose the other option (forget what they call it). For me, it is the only way to go. I like shutterfly better than Kodak, snapfish, etc. They have had the best photo quality and the books have held up well.

  31. I see you have CM scrapbooks — I personally NEED to touch and create and it is my favorite company to scrap with. But what I do for my photos is keep a chronological family album and then do Shutterfly or Snapfish (or one of the many companies) for themed events (youth group ski trip, girl scout camping trip). Plus! I wait for the specials that offer a free book and you only pay shipping (keeping it frugal!)
    I agree with Misty — print your pictures (again when specials are offered!) As a wise friend says “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be jpegs!” My daughter loves to scrapbook her own albums (she started when she was about 7 or 8). It is great quality time spent together!

  32. I love picaboo digital photo books. I have made one each year for the first three years of my son’s life and am working on my first for my younger son. That program allows you to change the layout in any way you want and also offers dozens of premade layouts. I group like photos to tell mini stories on each page and then the last few pages tend to just be favorite snapshots from the year that didn’t fit anywhere else. I was recently able to purchase a groupon for $25 for $100 worth of books so I made four books shipped for a total of $27.

  33. See you use Creative Memories. πŸ™‚ Awesome quality. Their digital books are great quality, too, but very pricey. I’ve found a good alternative: It’s an online digital scrapbooking software (nothing to download) and they have a ton of content there already, so you don’t have to buy ANYTHING until you’re ready to order your finished book. Also, if you decide to go with real software like photoshop or CM’s Storybook Creator Plus, you can upload finished pages to Mixbook and have them bound into a book. Quality is on par with CM’s, stitch-bound (Shutterfly’s books are glue-bound. I spend $100 there on one for my daughter and it came apart in 6 months) and VERY high quality. Prices are very reasonable (better than Shutterfly) and they often have sales. Just my 2cents.

  34. print your favorites and do it the old fashioned way, put them in an album. then, as your kids get older, let them make their own albums. scrapbooking does not have to be expensive. it is more about getting the picture in the book and journaling the memory. but just a good ol’ picture albums brings back lots of memories and times together. i am also learning that you don’t print them all, just the good ones. this saves a lot of cash. walgreens runs great deals for 9 cents a print, then you can print a few at a time. have fun!

  35. There are a lot of suggestions here so I’m not sure if this was brought up or not but I really like the collages that you can do through Walgreens. While this isn’t the traditional scrapbooking or even digital scrapbooking it is a great way to have all the pictures of a certain event/holiday on a page. I have done many of these collages for myself and my family and everyone loves them. You can do as little as two pictures or as many as 20. You can look at them every day and still see something you didn’t see last time. I could look at them for hours. The other great thing is that Walgreens has sales on these or even times when you can get them for free πŸ™‚

  36. I use shutterfly. I find their program to be the easiest to use (I’ve used them all), plus they seem to have better deals more often. I did my first one several years ago when they were giving away a free one and I was hooked! Now I keep my photos loaded on the site and create books when I have time. Then when they have a deal (before xmas or Thanksgiving they had a buy 1 get 2 free deal) I put on the finishing touches and order. This keeps me from getting too far behind and allows me to get in on the deals without staying up for 48 hours straight to finish up! The books are great quality and if I want more than one copy (one for each kid, say) then it is easy to order a second copy. I highly recommend going high tech and selling all the scrapbook supplies to the retired or no kids people!

  37. I, too, am a “scrapbooking queen”. I have started 4 “first year” albums and finished almost all of them..Then, each of our 4 children has a “birthday album”- 2 pages a year showing the normal stuff, etc. Each child also has /or has had an abc album begun for them..but I still have tons of photos that “live” on our computer. I have very limited time to scrapbook, but I love to do it! I have also involved my oldest daughter in it. We have way too much stuff and are looking to go thru it and then USE IT. Eventually. Hugs to you, my sister Scrapbooking queen!

  38. The photobooks from shutterfly and snapfish are fine but, when the children get older they will want their scrapbook the same. It’s only fair you do them a nice one too! Keep it even, no regrets!!!! Go buy two scrapbook already ready for photos (keeping it simple) and retrieve two photos from Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th July,summer vacation and some school pictures. That will cover a years worth. Do this on or wherever. When you get 4 years worth, paste them in the ready to go album and your done!!!!!!

  39. I say make each girl one beautiful book of your favorite photos with Shutterfly or wherever you already have your photos stored, as this will save you tons of time! They will each have great pictures and a sweet momento, and I don’t think they will question the different format or lack of huge books. Most of our kids get technology more than we do!

  40. I really think because the youngest(s) often feel left out later in life when they come to appreciate those albums, I would make sure each child had at least one “real” made by your hands. Then, I think the rest from a snapfish/kodak would be ok.

  41. At this point, I too, would go for digital. One thing that led me to aim for switching over from traditional to digital was this blog post comparing the physical difference between 200 pages of digital vs traditional.
    There is a learning curve that has inhibited me from really getting going, but I’ve heard great things about Creative Memories software, and there are tons and tons of tips and tutorials available, both free and for purchase, for Photoshop Elements.

    Also, about 3 years ago, I started using this system; (If you page down to September 11, 2008, there are pictures of what it looks like inside the album.) All the pictures are together in one place, but I can scrap the ones I want (or have time to) and leave extras in the sleeves. If you’re sticking with traditional, I highly recommend a system like this, and believe several companies have similar options.

    Interesting discussion!

  42. I like shutterfly to do little quick books. But I LOVE Studio J to make pages to go in albums with my traditional pages.

  43. I started as a paper scrapbooker. Loved it, found it relaxing and enjoyable. But, it took a lot of time and I felt like I handled things too many times. Last year I went digital with MixBook and loved it. Simple, quick and efficient. I did a annual book and printed a copy for each child.

  44. I see several people who have mentioned Becky Higgins’s Project Life. I agree with that! One way to use them is do a photo a day and journal about it. BUT, in your case, you can just start pulling out meaningful photos, slip the photo into the protector and journal on the tag and slip the tag in. No adhesive, no cutting – everything is done. But they girls will have a “scrapbook-y” book like the boys have. I love it!

    I also saw a few different references to Stacy Julian – her books and her Library of Memories class. Both awesome recources too! I really love Stacy’s way of thinking about photos and memory keeping. You are not behind – you are going to choose to tell the meaningful stories!

  45. I love to scrapbook, and have not jumped to digital. Here is what I’ve adapted and what I recommend to my friends who are overwhelmed that they are too far behind. Don’t scrapbook every photo you have! I only scrapbook the photos that have special meaning (child’s birth, but only at the hospital; first day of school; losing first tooth, etc.) AND that have a story you want to tell. A special memory that you want to remember and you want your child to remember. I then put the rest of my photos in a standard photo album. I also embellish the standard photo album with appropriate stickers, and even do short journaling with scrapbook paper inserted into the photo sleeves. It still has the feel of a scrapbook, but with much less work. The third thing I do is have separate “travel” albums, where our trips and vacations go – if I feel like scrapbooking them. And finally, when I just want to scrap and have a short amount of time, I LOVE to make mini albums (6×6 is my most favorite because it is so easy to make – just slice a 12×12 sheet in half twice, and there you go). The mini albums give me my scrapbook fix, while actually being able to complete something. I keep them in a basket and my kids love to look through them. The minis are whatever strikes me – one year’s summer vacation; my baby meeting his family for the first time; 5 things I loved about my son when he was 5; christmas through the years – you get the idea. So that’s my scrapbooking approach – good luck in your scrappin adventures!

  46. I am so glad you asked this question. It is nice to have others’ opinions on this matter as it is something affecting me, too. Please let us know what you decide to do. Personally, I like playing with paper and photos too much to give it up. I’ll have time to get caught up when the kids are grown and gone. Until then, I play in my scrapbook room whenever I can, which is not very often.

  47. I definitely gravitate to photo books (we use our mac to make ours!). We do one every time we travel (which is often!). However, I think for your girls I’d make it an “even playing field” with the brothers so they don’t complain in years to come. But for the future, photo books are the way to go!!

  48. Considering the expense, time, and space I would totally recommend digital scrap-booking. It’s all stored on the computer, you can walk away at any time and not worry about the kid’s messing it up, on top of all this you only buy products once and then you can reuse them.

  49. I have a Macbook so I use iphoto as well but have read that Shutterfly is great! (The best of the publishers). The books I have created are “cocktail table” beautiful compared to my scrapbooks. It would take me a day to scrap a page and people would ooh and aah about my pages rather than my photos. Now it is about the content of my photos—and I can be creative. I can do a book on “boating” and throw in pictures from many years and another of Christmas past and present. Such fun—allows for so much creativity in a totally different way. And the final product looks like “college” compared to “kindergarten”.

  50. I haven’t been able to read through all the comments, but I LOVE the books you can make with iPhoto. The quality is fantastic!! Good luck!!!!

  51. Another suggestion is to invest in a dvd slideshow program and create “scrapbooks” they can view on the tv.

    Your story sounds very similar to mine. I was heavily into Creative Memories. I would drag my husband around to scrapbooking stores each weekend, despite the fact that we had a good one right here in town. I had my own Accucut machine and about 100 dies for it. However like you, life got busier and scrapbooking fell the wayside. I tried digital scrapbooking for awhile. It definitely is less expensive but still time-consuming. So now what I do is create a photo slideshow of each year and put it on dvd. The program I have allows you to put text with each picture so I still am able to make note of what is in each picture. You can also put music with it if you like. The software converts it to a format that can be viewed on tv. Much less time-consuming, yet our photos are still in a form everyone can enjoy. I also do the blog into a book thing for our family that an earlier commenter mentioned. Despite having a ton of supplies, I doubt Iwill go back to traditional scrapbooking ever again.

  52. Jess- Do you still do a family blog? You can turn your blogs into books OR I also use shutterfly and make vacation or holiday books. They always have deals going. Good luck!

  53. My husband LOVES video editing and is convinced that photo albums are “obsolete”. Therefore, we frame pictures we really love, and my husband creates beautiful highlight videos of our babies using pictures and videos of them. They are wonderful! We can burn copies for our families and watch them together periodically to remember. If that is your cup of tea, it is an inexpensive and really neat heirloom to create.

    1. What program does your husband use for video editting? Also, I want to store my videos on the web somewhere….but don’t have a web-site. Any recommendations??? You Tube? Is there any others? Thanks!

  54. I was a CM consultant for almost 7 years and while I still have tons of supplies I have fallen in love with Digitial Scrapbooking. I Use the Creative Memories software and add my own bits and pieces to it… I love that I can work on a page or 2 and not feel like I’ve made a huge mess. We also use the CM software with our homeschool co-op to create our annual yearbook. You can print pages at most online places as well as places like Costco. I actually created a couple pages for the boys printed them twice and did the journalling by hand for each boy.

  55. Hands down – go to and do a digital one. You send the photos, pick your layout and they ship you a shiny, professionally done deal when it’s all done. And it doesn’t cost a ton. We do it for our mission teams.

  56. Another supporter of Project Life!! I have been doing it for 2 years now and LOVE it. It is also so adapable that you can use it to record all baby’s firsts, school days, favorite pictures from the month/year, etc. The ideas are enless. It is a great product – so well made, the binder is worth it’s weight in gold. This year I plan to do monthly layouts instead of 365 pictures again – just to change things up. Good luck, can’t wait to hear what you decide to do!

  57. From your photo I can see you are familiar with Creative Memories. I was never much of a fan of their traditional scrapbooking stuff (tools yes, but paper and add-ons not so much). But their digital scrapbooking is awesome and the program is easy. AND it can be made for a fraction of the cost of those traditional style books in a fraction of the time. Digital scrapbooking is the way to go.

  58. I love digital scrapping and I was a die hard traditional scrapper to the point that I sold Stampin Up AND Creative Memories. Now I spend my creative time in both digi scrapping and using the We R Memory Makers divided page protectors for those pictures I already have printed. For you, if you are short on time I would do the WRM system. Go through your photos and keep all the “good” ones and/or photoshop them to be better and have them printed. then invest in your page protectors, cut, journal and add stickers and ta-da…all done.

  59. Try 20 years and 100 books πŸ™‚ I’m interested to see everyone’s responses because I too am very far behind.

  60. I love to scrapbook – the traditional kind and yes, I’m behind, but I love it too much to give up! Some day I willget caught up! If my MIL with 9 kids can do it – I can too! I follow the CM power method (cropping and laying things out ahead of time) and I can finish my over-stuffed yearly album in about 48 hours. That’s just me though.

    My suggestion is this: A friend of mind who has 7 kids does traditional albums for each of her kids but here’s the kicker: she only does professional photos, one two-page spread of birthday and christmas each year and that’s it. She said it’s great becuase instead of running around at sports games or concerts, she just buys the professional pic and that’s it. Total pages per year: 3-6 depending on how many professional pics she has. Easy as pie!

    I like my camera and my pics a bit too much to follow that but I think the idea is great!

    Hope that helps someone out there!

  61. I would do them online/digitally….i prefer Creative Memories software, but thats just a personal preference

  62. I didn’t read through all the comments to see if someone mentioned this but I just started using LumaPix by FotoFusion. Like you, I have fallen way behind in my scrapbooking and really want the younger children to have an album too. I am a hands on type crafter and didn’t think I would like digital scrapbooking. My sis-in-law kept telling me that I had to try it. I’ve been doing it for a month and LOVE it! I can’t believe how simple it is to craft a page – and I’m not real computer savvy! Best of all, if I’m interrupted my the children or decide it is time to go to bed, all I do is hit Save – no huge scrapping mess to put away!


  63. I would definitely go with something easy like Shutterfly or this year I did Picaboo. I have 4 kids and I do one album per year – they get them on Christmas Eve. I just pick out the best pictures of the year of that particular child as well as pictures of them with siblings, grandparents and friends. I try to keep the cost of each around $40 which seems like a lot when you’re paying all at once but I be if you added up the money for the traditional paper kind it would be a lot more.
    I too used to scrapbook with my first and always felt a lot of guilt about having all that stuff and not using it, but that was all removed when I lost all of my scrapbooking stuff earlier this year. We were moving and our storage building flooded; while I was sad about some of the stuff we lost I felt a tremendous relief that I no longer had all thr scrapbooking supplies to feel guilty about. Mom’s have enough to feel “Mommy guilt” about – scrapbooking shouldn’t be one of them.

  64. I love picaboo digital scrapbooking. Plus their prices for printing are reasonable (and there’s always a sale). Plus its easy to sit down for a few minutes and do a page or two as opposed to traditional scrapbooking. By the time you pull out all your supplies, your time is gone.

  65. I too was once like you… have stacks of those same scrapbooks all filled to the brim. I would go to scrapbook stores and spend money galore on paper that I just had to have and of course i had to have more than one sheet of each of them. then my husband got hurt at work and was off work for a year and a half. I decided that the money should be spent on things such as bills and food …. then i took up a part time job since he was at home with the kids. I did not touch a picture in 2 years. Fast forward to now I have sold 90% of my scrapbooking supplies at way way less than i paid for them. and I now do things digitally. I have photoshop elements and use that to crop and adjust lighting issue in pictures ect. If I have time I will put together a book using snapfish or shutterfly but usually I just post my favorite few on my blog to share with friends and family. I have had my blog printed out and this is a great way to “document” our lives and actually have the pictures ( even though only a few of them) out of the computer and in a book. I would love to have tons of free time to edit all my pictures and upload them into cute books but such is not the case. I wish you luck in your journey

  66. This very thing has been on my mind too! I found a book called “Simple Scrapbooks: 25 Fun and Meaningful Books You Can Make in a Weekend” by Stacy Julian. I believe it is out of print. It helped me think outside of the box in a big way. She suggests different formulas to help you create doable albums. I have decided to catch up on my kids’ baby books, creating one “spread” for each year of their lives until school. Then, once they start school I am starting school books that follow Stacy Julian’s simple school book formula which is the following, made in a 12 x 12 album:
    a page with their school photo, a page about school, a spread about the rest of life (family, sports, trips), and a handmade pocket page where you can insert any memorabilia that reflects that child’s year.

    I plan to use Shutterfly to make chronological books for me to keep and for the kids to have something to look at now as they are growing up.

  67. I started a family blog with our third child and once I completed a year of blogging I used to turn it into a book. It will pull all of your posts right into a book format. Then you have pictures and text all together on the same page with minimal work from yourself. You can arrange and edit to your desire, but I’ve found it to be much simpler and happier than paper scrapping which takes way too much time with my four kids four and under.

  68. We used Shutterfly to make photo books of our wedding to give to our parents for a Christmas present. It was very easy. You can get as involved in the creation of it as you want or you can let Shutterfly do the work for you. I’m going to need to do the same thing for my daughter who is approaching 2. We have a pink storage box with all her “stuff” and some photos. YIKES! The task is daunting. Good luck to you!

  69. Digital would be the quickest, easiest method. And if you’re not quite ready to go all-digital, you can do a mix… for example… print a photo collage, put it on a cardstock background, add a few embellishments and done…

    But… if you prefer traditional scrapbooking, I’d also recommend pre-made page kits. There’s a million different varieties out on the market (in a variety of price ranges) that are a quick way to get things documented without re-inventing the wheel.

    There’s also some albums that have different sheet protector styles (in varying pocket sizes) that allow you to scrapbook whatever you want and drop in photos everywhere else. Takes away some of the pressure and they still look great!

    I have the privilege of working in the scrapbooking industry as a buyer, so I’m around it all the time. But that doesn’t matter!! I’ve got a 4 yr old who only has about the first 5 months of her life scrapbooked!! The biggest thing is to find a method you like, set aside some time daily, weekly, monthly–whatever, remember that you don’t have to scrapbook EVERY photo–just the highlights, and most importantly think about your motive. Deciding WHY it is you want to scrapbook will help you decide HOW you want to scrapbook. πŸ™‚

    And… good luck!

  70. I saw it was already mentioned but I would def. recommend Project Life by Becky Higgins easy as pie, and you can do it anyway you like or its all drawn out for you to follow instuctions if you prefer that. I too have 4 kids 3,5,7& 9 for the moment and I think this is going to be fantabulous!

  71. Check out this website:

    You will need photoshop or another similiar program. It takes a little while to learn ,but it is all the fun of a crop/paper scrapping without the mess!It is digital so easy to burn to CDs(We had a fire and I highly recommend putting pictures and pages on CD’s in a fire box.Our Sentry box worked great.)You can print them or even transfer pages to books in shutterfly ect.

    There are so many fun digital sets,embellishments,stickers,ect!!And you can find many FREE. ;o)

  72. I think that we all use our time according to our own priorties so none of us should feel bad about the things we can’t find time for because we are taking care of the things that are important. That said, I had a mom who dumped all the pictures she took(at least those she actually got printed) into a big cardboard box and there they still sit. So, when I started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of pictures after three children, I too searched for a quick, easy way to get it done. I use Story Book Creator from Creative Memories but I’ve also used Schutterfly to make a book. Shutterfly is much simpler to use but CM gives you the flexibility to print out pages that fit in CM albums. (My kids are still little so I know that they will inevitable rip pages from the books!) CM also has a big learning curve in my opinion. Good luck catching up!

  73. I recently used Shutterfly to make a photo album of my 1 year old for his grandparents for Christmas. I liked it so much that I decided I would make a photo album for each year of my 2 children’s lives! It’s easy, fun, and there are often coupons and deals!

  74. me too! I still have all the supplies, but not the time. I LOVE
    the books look like store quailty ( I get a book jacket added). If you sign up for emails they always have a coupon and are super easy to use. I do a yearly book- they save them online so if anything happens to them, I can order another. Good luck with those photos!

  75. Simplify-simplify! : ) I would go with whatever is easiest for you. For hardcopy if you are concerned about the girls not having a book to hold in their hand. Go back to an old fashioned photo album and don’t worry about it, who you are today is not who you were then when you spent time on the scrapbooking thing although I’m sure they were lovely books.

    For me? True confession time at age 50? I started a Hallmark baby book with my first baby girl, our daughter, now 28. Our second baby girl, now 25, a less elaborate unfinished one. Our third baby girl, now 21? I think I have one. For our fourth baby girl? I’m just not sure… I do have boxes of photos with dates written on back plus digital online. And ya know? None of this has ever caused any problems or has ever been hardly noticed because they understand how busy life in a functioning home is. There are just other priorities going on… Living life & loving, is more important than the little details hanging over our heads. K.I.S.S. Dorothy Moore alway said…Keep it Simple Sweetie.

    Once at Hobby Lobby there was a young mom with me on the scrapbook paper aisle. She chose one and only one paper. She said she did one page at a time, but only when she had the time to do that one page. I thought she was one smart cookie. : )

    The scrapbooking thing really has become out of hand in my opinion. My dd21 was going to work as a nanny for a young woman who wanted to pay her to scrapbook as one of her duties.

    That’s my two cents. Hope I didn’t say too much. Just follow the Lord as I know you do, He will lead and guide. What would Jesus say? : ) Your children won’t remember much about an absence of a scrapbook but they will remember absence of a preoccupied not all there Mommy. Even now, our four dds are stay at home daughters at this time in their life. But I am often reminded to be all there, a young woman with a Mom-blog reminds me of that. (big smile)

    Hugs & Blessings!

  76. I just started diving into digital scrapbooking using Adobe Photoshop Elements. It has been wonderful. I have only used the free “kits” through Design House Digital’s website, but the pages I have come up with have been great! They really only took a short time to do. You can get as elaborate or as simple as you want as well. I have TONS of actual paper scrapbooking supplies upstairs and now I just wonder who I can sell them too! πŸ™‚ I’m hooked. I haven’t printed anything yet, but I have seen that you can print digital scrapbooking pages on Shutterfly. πŸ™‚

  77. I am not a scrapbooker at all, but I love our Shutterfly type albums. This year, I also did a blog book which basically prints all of my blog entries for a given time and all of the pictures associated with it and it serves as a pretty good “baby book” by marking all of the important events in my son’s first year. It might work for you if you blogged your girls’ baby years.

    1. @Kendell, How much did this cost, Kendell? Any about how much a page? Page size? I know! A lot of questions, but I am thinking about going this direction and want to consider the cost. Thanks!

  78. apparently this is a common story :)…my poor daughter is not even out of the hospital in her baby book, whereas her brother’s first 3 years of life are documented on a monthly (if not more) basis…

    My husband finally bought me iscrapbook for my mac and I love it. Click and drag, type a memory and move on to the next page. It’s simple, it was $30 for the software, and the books are cute. And I can do it when I have time and energy and not take up the entire kitchen table with it!!

    Good luck!

  79. I’ve just recently switched from traditional scrapbooking to digital from Creative Memories. You can have the books bound like you would at Shutterfly if you’d like or have the individual pages printed to insert into your own albums. Another bonus with digital is that boxes and boxes of supplies aren’t needed.

    1. another one to look into is the
      Scrapbooks Please website:
      99 cent 12×12 page prints.

  80. I have to echo Project Life – we did it last year and it’s terrific. I love the creativity of scrapbooking but with the kids, I just don’t make the time. So having the drop-in albums really saves time. You can buy other (more affordable) types but her kits are very high quality and pretty! I’ve done digital books too, and they turn out lovely, but I just enjoy handling the actual photos – not sure why!

  81. I’m surprised that no one has mentioned just family blogging! I started blogging 3 and a half years ago, when I was 3 months pregnant with my first- and it has been an awesome way for me to document memories, reflect and share our pictures and stories with our families and friends! (And its FREE!) Why invest so much time and energy to have your work only sit on a shelf?

    If I were you, I’d spend time creating a family blog with all of your kids/marriage and family milestones and I’d tag each child specifically. Years down the road EVERYONE in your family can enjoy all of the pictures and all of the stories!

  82. Stacy Julian’s class, Library of Memories TOTALLY CHANGED my scrapbook outlook. I went from “can’t scrap, I am too far behind” to enjoying scrabooking in a way that is managable for my life right now. It seems expensive, but you get three years worth of classes for one enrollment fee. (Take the class one year and you get to audit the class for the next two years).
    I know this years class is set to start in May. HTH.

  83. I hear ya. I am “behind” and I only have 2 kids! While I love to do classic srcapping with paper and embellishments I have used digital to “catch up” on my family Christmas album. I use Close to My Heart’s program called Studio J. There are many layouts to choose from and all you have to do is upload photos, then choose your paper pack and drag your photos to the photos wells. It sizes them perfectly. You can make the layouts as simple or embellished as you like. The quality of printing is amazing. Beautiful layouts can be created quickly. You can try it out for free to decide it you like it at the link listed above.

  84. It’s nice to know I am not the only one who has let her hobby fall by the wayside once kids arrived. πŸ™‚

    We moved to KY when my daughter was about 18 months, and all my scrapbooking supplies have remained in the attic. I think I will be selling/giving it away soon. Aside from not having time or space to work on it, there are literally NO scrapbooking stores here for supplies, classes, ideas, etc. So I have turned to digital.

    I have only created photo books on Shutterfly so far, but I love it. At least once per year you can find a good deal on books and the printing is really nice. (I saw a friend’s photo book printed from SnapFish but it wasn’t nearly as nice in terms of quality.) I am glad to know about Picaboo, too, and will look into that.

    I’ve just been keeping a family album, per year, and a small book yearly/as needed for the kids. It has worked out well, and around the holidays, it’s easy to order an extra copy for the grandparents. Makes an easy gift if you’re already ordering one for yourself! πŸ™‚

  85. I have never been a scrapbook-er. I have many friends who have been or are and it has never appealed to me although I love to admire their handiwork. Sometimes, I make a digital album (like for our recent “Great Western Vacation) for our coffee table or for another reason. I use Walmart or Shutterfly. I highly recommend digital albums or scrapbooks. They have tons of choices, they aren’t that expensive and they are less time consuming. BUT that doesn’t mean they don’t properly and beautifully showcase your wonderful memories. They do exactly that which is what scrapbooking is all about anyway!

  86. I was a CM consultant for 10 years (that was 2 years ago), so I have shelves just like your picture. As an experiment, I did an entire year’s worth of digital pictures over Christmas break, using CM’s Storybook Creator software. Took me 30 days to do an entire year’s worth! That’s 75 pages! Still 12 x 12, still embellished, but done digitally. No mess, and I felt just as accomplished when holding the digital book as the traditional one. Software is well worth the money. I’ve made cards, calendars, etc., and exported them as JPGs to whatever photo site was offering me the best deal, not just CM. I still do traditional for, say, school albums, but besides that, I’m digital all the way, baby!

  87. I scrapbooked for about a year and a half while Peter and I were dating and then engaged. I got one book completely done and part of a second one and then the wind went out of my sails and I haven’t touched the books in over 11 years. I’m all for Snapfish doing the work for you – the point, afterall, is to save and share the memories. It doesn’t matter if you spend hours cropping and pasting or if it comes in a neat, pre-bound book. You still spent the time to show your kids/family that they are special and worth remembering.

  88. Well, after 14 years, I still am a “scrapbooking queen”! πŸ˜‰ In fact, I have made it into a small business for myself for the past 6 years. That said, I still do books full of traditional layouts, I do digital books on occasion & I have taken to another method also which I use for things that I want to document, but don’t want to spend a lot of time on. I use this method for Christmas pictures each year, vacations, birthdays, etc. – usually things that I have a lot of pictures for. What I do is kind of a cross between a photo album & a scrapbook – I take a photo album with 4″x6″ slots and for many of the slots, I simply slide the photos in. For other slots, I may put journaling in one, or a title in one. I take a couple of the photos & trim them down to 3.5″x5.5″ and mat them on colored cardstock or patterned paper. I may add embellishments , I may not. Another option is that they now make predivided page protectors for scrapbooks with different configurations & sizes (I am currently doing a book like this also) where again, you are sliding photos into protectors, and adding as much or as little “scrapbooking stuff” as you want.So, especially if you already have tons of pictures that you have already printed out, my recommendation would be one of those 2 options. If you don’t , then the digital is a great option too!

  89. I used the free Creative Memory Digital program. LOVE them. Because I digitally did my daughter’s this year and due to lack of time, I created a photo montage of our 2010 set to music…I’m choosing that option again for next year as well.

  90. Shutterfly is easy because you can upload your photos, chose your layout and the put the photos in the book for you. However, I prefer Picaboo. I have books from both companies and the Picaboo books are more “heirloom” quality to my way of thinking. A little more work, and perhaps a little more expensive, but worth it in the long run. I love digital scrapbooks-and anyway, isn’t it all about the photos?

  91. I felt the same pull, I scrapbooked before children and now that I have kids I don’t have as much time to do it. I have done the snapfish books (usually free ones I have codes for.) In December I went with my mother to a crop and worked on more recent photos, and I loved it!
    I am looking at this year and I want to scrapbook again. I am using the “use what’s in your pantry” way of scrapbooking. I have been re organizing my supplies (remembering what I have along the way) and jumping back in. But I’m not buying anything new! I want to use what I have and other than printing out photos (99 cents for 99 photos at snapfish) I’m not buying anything else…when I’m done and I’m done, and I hope I end up with some nice scrapbooks.

    1. @Melanie, I’ve been approaching my scrapbooking with the “use what’s in your pantry” philosophy, too… and it’s been both challenging and rewarding forcing myself to use all of the supplies I’ve long since invested in!

  92. I recommend Shutterfly or going digital, but I highly recommend doing SOMETHING. It dawned on me that late last year that my children were missing out on the photos and memories that I took of them because I didn’t build in time to scrapbook. It’s ok to do something creative and make time for it (appointment with yourself) if it will bless your family. I finally finished up a Disney album from 2005… My son could barely remember the trip. I don’t want that to happen again. So I’m trying to build in time and my children love looking at themselves and each other in the albums. How you do it is a preference, just make sure you have some way to bless your children with those memories in a tangible way. As a homeschooler, could you build it as a family project? My niece and sister in law go to retreats together and make her album together. Your daughters are young, but that may be an option some day πŸ™‚ my 2 cents. hth.

  93. I have 6 kids, ranging in age from 18 months to almost 12. I created paper scrapbooks for the first four kids, finding a natural stopping point at Kindergarten age. Then for our most recent two kids I made shutterfly books for them online. My almost 4 year old has 3 completed Shutterfly books and one that will be done for her in May. The digital books are perfect for “catching” up. You can create them quickly on the computer and wait for a great sale and then buy them. I love that if they get torn or destroyed, then I can simply order another one exactly like it. Not so with the paper ones. I love my older books, but the are cumbersome, heavy, prone to tearing easily even with page protectors and one of a kind, therefore can NOT be replaced. I wish I had been able to do digital with all the kids.
    They way I scrapbook after they turn 5 is I create one homeschool yearbook with a compilation of all of our family highlights, field trips and fun stuff. I take some time through the year working on pages so it’s not overwhelming. I’ve posted many of the pages I made for our yearbook on my blog if you want to see some ideas.

  94. Some moms were just having this discussion on Monday while the kids were playing! I have tons of supplies, only a partial book for myself done and totes full of stuff. I would recommend going digital and doing an online book. I am trying to go through my stuff now to put in boxes so we can actually go through the stuff and look at it!

  95. Oh, how many times have I heard the same story …. we are leading such busy lives, there isn’t time to scrapbook. Personally, I am doing lots of digital scrapbooking with the Storybook Creator Plus Software from Creative Memories, but another option is to contact a Personal Photo Organizer to do it for you. My website address is provided, but you can also go to the home page and since PPO in lots of parts of the country. I know this is a busy season of life, but the story of their life is something your children will treasure!

  96. I love, love, love my Shutterfly albums! Baby #3’s baby album was created on Shutterfly and ever since then I have made a yearly 8×8 album for each kiddo and a yearly family album. Shutterfly is always having sales, free shipping, and every once in a while I snag a free album code πŸ™‚

    I too have a bunch of paper scrapbooking supplies waiting to be used…but I am now letting the kiddos use most of it for art projects πŸ™‚

  97. I’ve been very happy with Much cuter than plain ol’ shutterfly books, cheaper than paper scrapbooking, and they take up WAY less shelf space.

  98. Shutterfly. Shutterfly. Shutterfly. You will love them! We also had a surplus of pictures of our two year old, and I made two books in a week. I’m being smarter with my younger son and starting his first year book now πŸ™‚ Kelli of the Enjoying the Small Things blog has info about her Shutterfly books under her Photo FAQ page, which is where we got our inspiration from. Good luck!

  99. I scrap only Christmas photos (I decided early on to limit myself!) but would like to do something for my boys (aged 4.5 and 3) and girl (3 months) that isn’t too cutesy or time consuming. So this year I plan to pic one or two photos from each month of their lives and enlarge and mount them in a nice album, maybe with some journalling. That way it is something from me which shows them my favourite photos and hopefully they won’t inherit too much clutter from me when they leave home πŸ™‚

  100. I only ever managed to get one child’s first year documented with journalling and everything, and another child’s first year in pictures. After that? Notta! I really love those little books that you can get and Ill probably have to get around to those one of these days. I know that here you can save codes from diaper packages and get a book or two for free.

  101. I, like you, had set a goal to document my children’s lives in scrapbooks. Not knowing how many children I would have, I tried to set what I thought were realistic goals so that oldest didn’t get albums while younger ones didn’t. I came up with a 1st year album and a school year album for each kid. Kid #1 the 1st year album was mostly done by the first birthday. Kid #2, I finished the “1st year” album when he was 5. Kid #3 is 3 years old and I have scrapped his first 3 months. What I did for #2, since there was so much time lapsed between that 1st year and the 5 year old that he was…I used some pictures of him from 15 months until 2.5 on one page, highlighting some of him doing some of his favorite things (to tell the story, so to speak) and then I had pictures of him at 3, 4, and 5 and I ended the book there. Not every moment is documented. I think that if the other kids have a scrapbook that the younger ones should, too. But, not every detail needs to be in there. Use the pictures to tell the story of their first year.

    As far as my “school albums”, #1 is in 4th grade and I have only scrapped her 1st year of preschool. No other “school albums” for the other kids, but I do have files where I store pictures of them from activities or awards or other things. I know you didn’t ask about this, but since you home school, maybe make it a project that you work on with the older kids to create 1-2 pages that tell the story/highlights of that year for each of the kids. They can get involved with the scrapping and record keeping…one might put in a trip or a book or a show or cooking or whatever and the story that they each tell would be wonderful. For your younger kids you can make 1-2 pages to give a snapshot of what they were like at 3, for example.

  102. Digital scrapbooking! You can make one page and print it multiple times for different kids. You could also make one layout and switch out the pictures easily for different kids. I like to keep my layouts super-simple: just slap down a piece of “paper” and the photos on top. I do make sure to meticulously label as that is one thing I regret about my childhood pictures.

    There is a lot of stuff available for free although it takes a bit of time to hunt it down sometimes; spending a few dollars may be worth it.

    Cons: there’s a bit of a learning curve; printing can get pricey.

  103. If you are over the whole cute layout thing, I would go with Shutterfly, they make it super easy to put together a book. They have “storyboards” where you just drag the pic to a “page” then when you are done the computer designs your book in seconds! and if you don’t like how they are arranged you can change it with limited amount of clicks.

  104. I LOVE my Creative Memories stuff. I have their digital package and it’s so much easier than traditional scrapping. I still don’t have as much time to do that as I’d like, but it’s much faster, especitally if you get the premade pages. I do a mix of premade and homemade. I also bought one of their Milestones albums for family since I take way more pics than I can put on a scrapbook page and I’d like to display them. It was easy but $$$$ so we only have one right now. One didn’t even fit a whole year of pictures for the 6 of us.

  105. This is such a tough one and I’m right there with you. I LOVE scrapbooking, like the paper kind–but too, have years worth of photos stored on my computer. I have tons of scrapbooking supplies and yet all my most recent albums have been made digitally using Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Picaboo. I have yet to finish my 3 year old’s baby book or start little brother’s (who is 9 months).
    So, here’s my take: Since your boys all have handmade albums by you, you don’t want to leave the girls out. Although the digital photobooks take less time, I personally don’t think they are quite as sentimental. When you are gone, your children will treasure having a book handmade by you, with your handwriting, etc.
    So, I say do 1 paper book for each of the girls (even if it’s small or not as elaborate)–maybe just their first year. Then, for all the rest of the years, go ahead and do digital photobooks.
    A sort of a compromise! πŸ™‚

    1. @Sara @ Mom Endeavors, I agree. Everything about our culture is turning digital–so handmade scrapbooks are going to be extra-special to our kids!

      Personal opinion: We Moms got too caught up in the “perfection” of the books. The scrapbooking trends became more and more polished, professional, elaborate, and intimidating. It really went far from it’s roots of just using “scrap” paper to create a memory book.

      I went to a craft night at church and got caught up on my books in about 5 hours–because I let go of the goal of perfection embraced “Made Lovingly By Mom”. I used what I had…swapped supplies with friends…and I’m caught up! Err…I was a few months ago anyway… πŸ™‚

    2. @Sara @ Mom Endeavors, I’ve had this same dilemma – my older boys baby books are done – the younger kids . . . hardly anything – and my youngest (adopted) has nothing. I’ve thought about switching to shutterfly – but after watching a friend of mine die suddenly and early from cancer – and leaving behind 2 young kids – it was neat to see her scrapbooks she lovingly made (and tried to catch up on near the end) by hand – with her own handwriting. I can imagine it will be something those 2 treasure as they won’t remember much about their mom because they were so young. You can’t duplicate that with digital printing. Near the end, our church even had a scrapbooking day where several ladies got together and helped her layout basic pages to get her caught up – and then she filled in some of the pages with her own journaling, etc.
      Anyways – I’m still debating what to do with mine – but I do think I should at least have a handmade babybook for each of them. The 1st two boys have stuff through kindergarten in theirs – but the others may just have the 1st couple years. We’ll see. I am slowly getting rid of all my scrapbooking supplies though -as I realized I was no longer a scrapbooker – but a scrapbooking supplies collector. πŸ™‚

  106. I’m the same way. I finally decided to sell my entire collection of scrapbook and stamping supplies. I’m going digital now but as a designer I like to fuss a bit more. There’s all kinds of digital kits (a lot are free) that you can use. I love the site.

    I also have a friend who uses Picasa on her computer (which also manages your photos), creates collages (you can make them 12 x 12) and then has them printed. Costco will print 12×12 sheets and there are lots of other online places that do it as well. Cheapest I’ve found is about $1.49 a page. That would be a super simple way to go.

  107. Check out Becky Higgins Project Life. While it is often used as a photo a day for a year type album, you could easily do it other ways. Each page has pockets (like baseball card holders) for 4×6 pictures & little journaling cards. Easy peasy to assemble.

  108. Yeah, I got started on Hannahs (my oldest who is 6) and haven’t finished it, let alone put one together for my other 2. Currently I’m sick, but I would put one together. The easiest way to do that would be to create one online, but you are going to want something to put on the shelf like you have for the others. As far as I know, there are websites out there that will print the final product and send it to you (for an arm at least). Your other option is to print out the photos and put together a scrapbook by hand, which to me is much more fun..

  109. I’m a scrapper too…or was one before I had children! I’ve been thinking on this same thing lately. I don’t want to spend the time and money to do scrapbooking the way I used to. I love the albums you can print on Shutterfly etc, but I think I’m am going to do something like this
    Only not doing the one pic every day, using the divided pocket pages with my own paper (because I have A LOT πŸ™‚ )

    1. @Sara,
      You can by all sorts of different divided pockets pages for albums, doesn’t have to be hers. Although, the Project Life kits are really nice. My mom just got hers.

      1. You should read Becky Higgins blog post today — inspiring! (I just started Project Life, and I have hope for catching up)

  110. I feel the same way! I recently started using smilebox, which is digital scrapbooking that looks just like a hand made page, but completely digital. They even come out with new layouts all of the time. You can also personalize the layouts with text, and embelishments. I hope this helps. They have many site’s just like this, all you have to do is find one that suits your needs.

  111. I think the quickest & simplest would be to do the online photobooks from Snapfish, Shutterfly, or one of those companies. Or, if you already have some empty photo albums lying around, you could simply order prints and fill up an album.

    I love scrapbooking, but have only recently started to make *real* time for it. Before then, I ordered prints for blank photo albums.

  112. Oh, I look forward to responses here. I was a scrap book junkie and have about 15 albums just like your picture. (Creative memories!) Used to spend all my time/money on my hobby. Once I went digital I quit “keeping up.” (The fact that six children and homeschooling leaves little time or money for such endeavors might have something to do with it!) I’ve not put a picture in a book in 5 years and I too REALLY want to do something about all these pictures. Can’t wait to get some advice right along with ya!

  113. I would definitely suggest digital scrapping. I don’t have a specific site or software in mind, but it’s so much easier than traditional scrapping. Plus, if you mess up, you haven’t demolished your photos! πŸ˜€