The what I did on my summer vacation (book)

Packing lunches and evenings filled with homework and chaos is upon us.  While I love a routine, summers end quickly approaching makes me blue – and bitter – but mostly blue.  I believe summer deserves a speeding ticket or a do over.

This year, and last, I collected and edited all those great summer snapshots and loaded them into a photo book.  It’s a fun way to document summers slower pace and family adventures.  Before you eye roll my organization and sentimental nature, let me give you a what’s in it for you overview.

  • The first full week of school when one of your children tells you they need to provide some summer fun evidence – tomorrow.  Photo book…check.
  • Load and edit the photos now.  Place the order for yours plus two extra books.  Tuck those bonus books away for Grandmas, etc. come the holidays.  Proactive holiday shopping..check.
  • If you are like me I rarely print photos.  Computers and iPhones have become my electronic photo albums.  With that said, handing your kids an actual book filled with printed pictures of their summer escapades is novel, dare I say – cool.  Hipster Mom status…check.
  • Each summer simply place the previous summers book out for family and guest to enjoy.  It’s a nostalgic coffee table book…The usual coffee table magazine alternative…check.
  • When winters never ending cold hovers over us, it’s nice to curl up with some fond summer memories and cocoa.  Seasonal affective disorder therapy…check.

Sites like Shutterfly, Snapfish and even Wal-Mart provide easy to design photo books.  Simply choose a style and layout and start creating.

For reference, here is this years 716 summer photo book.  On the title page I added the words – Summer is.  At this stage in the game I ask the LaLas to choose a few favorite photos and memories for our book.


The 2014 summer photo book

On each page that follows I included snapshots from summer 2014 and a caption that follows the Summer is theme.  Summer is watermelon, friends, nature walks, the beach…you get the drift.

To edit my summer snapshots I used the  A Beautiful Mess app.  You can find the free Beautiful Mess app on the app store.  I used the same filter on each of my photos to add continuity and then added the text.  The Beautiful Mess app is a breeze to use and I love the personal touch that the writing and filters add to my very average photos.  I have to admit I use my iPhone for most of my snapshots.  After months of shopping and finally selecting a fancy camera that would surely help make me the next Annie Leibovitz, I almost exclusively use my iPhone for photos (thanks Steve Jobs).  Using the app, I open my favorite snapshots directly from my camera roll, edit, add text and then save back to my camera roll – it’s a snap.  A Beautiful Mess app bonus – photo collages – sweet!

A Beautiful Mess app

A Beautiful Mess app


Fast forward to blue and bitter summer end and time to build your photo book.  I shopped a few sites and landed on the Wal-Mart photo website.  The price range for photo books is anywhere from $10 to $30 depending upon coupon, Groupon, number of photos, size of book or other deals that may be available.  My book was about $10 less vs. some of the other sites, but again you need to shop around.  I selected an 8 1/2 X 11, hard back, photo book.  I have found that it holds up better to little, greasy nacho fingers.   I also used this site for our 2013 book.  I like the look of hap hazard photos on the pages and some sites require you to plug photos into a pre-determined template.  The big box store photo site allows me to live outside the box for photo books…go figure.  I like the ease of editing the photo book from my desktop.  I simply uploaded the photos from my phone and I was ready to create my book.

You can select full page photo layout or add a collage:


Photo collage + single photo

I like layering full page snapshots of places we visited, or even food we enjoyed and then adding another photo or two to the page:


Favorite places + favorite faces

Its also fun to include snapshots of family favorite hot spots:


Full page destination snapshots

You can layout each page to your liking or choose a traditional preselected layout depending upon the photos you plan to use.  


Photo book layout options

Voila – I selected a clean and simple white cover this year for the ottoman in our living room:


Because summers speeding ticket and that do over will need to wait – capture all of this years goodness in your very own Summer is book.

Love summer as much as I do?  Follow me and my boards including Little Mrs Summertime on Pinterest.

Little Mrs Summertime via Pinterest

Little Mrs Summertime via Pinterest


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