Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making our own books!

I meant to post about this before Christmas when we were in full-on gift making mode, but never managed to get around to it.  With Valentine's Day coming up, however, I thought I'd share a little project that my son and I did together that is an easy, fun, heartfelt way to tell someone how much you love them.  W and I love reading stories together, and sometimes story time with Daddy is even more special.  W also wanted to make a special gift for Daddy for Christmas, so we came up with the idea of writing our own "Daddy and Me" story.  We set out to make Daddy his very own book, written by W himself, that would document some of the fun things they like to do together.  You could certainly do this for anyone -- mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, a sibling -- and have multiple children take part in writing the story.  Whether you're looking for a personalized gift for Valentine's Day, a birthday, Father's Day, Mother's Day, or any special day in between, making your own book is so much fun!  Here's what we did:

First, we sat down at my computer and went through some of our favorite pictures from the past year.  I confess: I take A LOT of pictures.  I can't help it.  I just love capturing all of the fun, silly, crazy moments that make up our day to day life as a family.  If I didn't take pictures, who knows how many of those moments I would one day forget?  But I digress.  Back to making our book.  As we looked through the photos, W picked out his favorite Daddy pictures like the ones below.  As he chose his favorites, I cut and pasted them into a word document so that they could be easily printed out all at once.

Once we had all of our photos in a Word document, we looked at them again and W came up with something to say about each one.  I typed as he narrated.  Most of his story had to do with the pictures, but there were some random thoughts along the way, too.  Under the picture of them riding the train at the zoo, for example, W (who prefers to go by his nickname, Bugga) wrote:  "Bugga likes riding the train with Daddy and seeing the animals at the zoo.  Bugga also loves running around the track with Daddy and sitting on the couch reading stories.  Playing the Curious George game is fun, too.  Bugga loves Daddy!" I just let him roll with it.  After all, it's his story!

When we had finished writing the text of our story, we printed everything out, cut out the text and pictures, and were ready to get gluing.

I made a quick book by folding three pages of 8 1/2" by 11" card stock in half, snipping three small triangular cuts in the fold, and binding it all together with ribbon.  We did a practice layout of the story and pictures to make sure everything would fit before we glued it all on, but then I let W get to work.

We left enough blank space under the last part of the story for W to sign his name, and he added some foam Christmas stickers for good measure.  

Finally, it was time to put a title on our finished masterpiece.  We used some scrapbooking letter stickers that I had on hand, which worked perfectly.  Add the date and occasion as your copyright on the back, and voila!  You've got a fabulous hand-made book.  W is so proud of his masterpiece and still loves reading it aloud to us.  Needless to say, it was one of Daddy's favorite presents and is something we will keep forever.  Here's to another year of wonderful memories!


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