Friday, November 18, 2011

65 Organizing Our Thoughts and Memories

Our coffee table recently got a new accessory that I couldn't be more smitten with...


A closer look at what I am hinting at?



So now let me explain.

I borrowed an idea I actually got from Peyton's brilliant teacher.  Seriously, one of my most favorite ideas.  Especially because I am always so sentimental.  And even if you are not a mushy gooshy like me, this idea may still be genius enough to be adapted to your life anyway.

Each Friday, Peyton brings home a notebook.  Inside the notebook is a back-and-forth journal/letter writing to mom and dad.  He writes us a letter with his current thoughts {or even just about his day and what they did}, then we write back.  Each week we are creating a notebook of memories, feelings and love.  Seriously, fantastic right?!

Why wouldn't I elaborate on that idea for our family?

Of course, any notebook or journal would work perfectly for this idea.  It doesn't have to be pretty or fancy pants, but I found the most incredible coupon code on one of my favorite blogs {I bet if you dig, you might still find it}, that allowed me to order two customized/personalized journals for free, plus the cost of shipping.  Um, yes please and THANK YOU!


I ordered them through Paper Coterie and was left extremely impressed with the quality of the journals {and no, they don't even know I am mentioning them, just sharing my personal opinion}.  The journals arrived quickly and wrapped pretty and they even sent a special little gift.  Gotta love great service like that!  I am so excited that I now have two new coffee table books that will be filled with all of our thoughts and letters to one another!

Yes, I did say two.  I had one book created for our boys:


Following the same theme we have been doing with Peyton, the plan is to write to each boy in here, and even encourage them to write to one another.  It's also a place for me to jot down favorite memories with them, or the funny things they say and do.  I am going to challenge us to fill up the book, and maybe do one annually depending on how successful it is!

The other book is for the hubs and I...



Same philosophy, and I am pretty sure B just lost his man card. 

I have a bit of a hopeless romantic heart in me so hopefully this will be a way we can share our lovey dove feelings with one another.  And keep them and cherish them and then have our kids read them to their kids some day {meaning it will stay PG}.  Hopefully this won't be a giant epic fail... 

So there you have it.  Our new plan to organize our family fun thoughts and memories!


Anyone else do something similar?  How is it going?  Other than photographs, what other creative ways do you have to keep track of your memories?  Anyone else snag a wonderful idea from an unexpected place?

65 comments:

  1. That is such a lovely idea. I am pretty smitten with your pen cup there too! One of my favourite memory building activities I adopted from someone in blogland (ignore my bad memory if it was from here!) was to surprise the kids with a board game set up on the dining table for breakfast on the weekend. I don't do it every weekend but my kids really love it when I do. Not memory saving exactly but memory building. On crazy weeks when we barely get time to sit down together in between everyone's activities, I also set up an ongoing board game for us to play a little bit at a time as we get the chance (blockus is great for this). It helps us to connect if only for a few minutes during a quick dinner.

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  2. So cute! It would never fly in my house with my boyfriend, I couldn't even get him to write down 5 things he'd like to do before we turn 40!

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  3. One of my favorite memory saving items is Project Life by Becky Higgins. It puts pictures and stories together! I love that it is so easy to do and all the cute stuff is done for you so it saves so much time. It is like scrapbooking for the nonscrapbooker (or the really time strapped one!) She has a video explaining it at the end of this page: http://www.beckyhiggins.com/products/

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  4. awww I LOVE this idea!!! Its so sweet and a fabulous way to keep all those memories in one place :)

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  5. I love this idea! :O) Will be using this! I am your newest GFC follower. I love your blog and look forward to getting many more ideas from you!

    Hope you will follow back when you have time. www.buildingourstory.com

    Happy Friday!
    ~Censie

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  6. That is super cute...wonder what my one year old would draw me (she would actually consider this writing lol)?

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  7. Very cute idea. My boyfriend and I have had to be long distance during different periods of our relationship, and we have two journals that we keep. We each have one, and every night we write down 2-3 sentences to the other person. Then when we see each other again, we switch books. It's wonderful to go back and look at them. The books span nearly 5 years of our relationship now. We haven't been long distance all that time (thank goodness), but having the books helps when we are separated.

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  8. Oh, what an incredible idea! I initially thought about making a journal for each of our children, but since Baby #2 is still on the way, there aren't any pictures yet. :-) I ended up ordering two different journals for my husband and me to write to each other in. I figure once we fill one up, we can move on to the other. Thanks for the wonderfully romantic early-Christmas-present idea! (The code worked for me as of this afternoon).

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  9. What an amazing idea! I may have to adapt it to our house, if you dont mind. Those notebooks are adorable!!

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  10. What a cute idea. I started Journals for my girls a little over a year ago. I got a separate Journal for each of them. I write down all of the special moments that I want to cherish with them. I'm planning on keeping it a secret from them and giving it to them as a gift when they are older. Either for their wedding or baby shower with their first child.

    Jamie
    http://diyhshp.blogspot.com/
    P.S. I have another giveaway going on right now. Would love you to stop by and check it out.

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  11. Such a bummer that the $30 coupon code has expired! But now I'll have to check out Paper Coterie and fall in love anyway. :) I love me some cute paper products on all kinds!

    Also, Bryan does not need to worry about losing his man card for journaling with/to you! I began a journal to my future husband (before knowing who he would be) and then began addressing my letters to my husband by name (once I knew I wanted to marry him, which was pretty quickly, haha). He loves and cherishes it, and when he was deployed a couple years ago, I kept writing to him, and he started a journal for me. They are awesome things we treasure, and my hubs is still pretty manly. :)

    Anyway, very cute idea to do this with your kids! Please keep us posted on how it goes with both journals. :)

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  12. I too LOVE this idea!!! I checked in to the coupon {even called} and it is in fact expired, but she told me to keep my eye out~ more coupons will be out there for recipe books etc.

    Thank you for sharing this and all your ideas!! Now I am off to try and find those adorable colorful pens!! :)

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  13. That is such a Great idea! When I was 16 I started a journal to my future husband. I always planned on editing and re-writing it when I knew who that person was. Now that I do I am going to order one of these with our photo on it! It will be great to add our engagement story to it and other great memories!

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  14. Coupon code is still working! Just ordered two journals for one for my son and one for me and my husband! Thanks for the wonderful idea Jen! And the code is happybirthday! It's all over the internet if you google it! Just worked for me this afternoon!

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  15. I totally Love paper coterie! I could spend a million bucks on their website! This is such a cute idea, thanks for posting! Love the new look of the blog and holly smokes your page hits at the bottom! Half a million... congrats, you deserve it... keep up the awesome work! and keep those ideas coming.

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  16. What a cute idea! And, tell B he's more manly for actually doing it. :)

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  17. ahhhhhh this is perfect for our deployment distance!!!!! I'm going to have one made for P and I so we can write back and forth between care packages! THANKS JEN!!!!! I'm head over feet for this idea too! you rock!

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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  18. What a wonderful Idea! Thanks for always giving such wondeful ideas. I am making journals as we speak :) My poor hubs lost the man card a long time ago hahah I make him do lovey dovey stuff all the time!

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  19. This is a precious idea...although my boys can't write yet, I would love to do this with each of them, where their brother, me or the hubs could write them love notes back and forth, it would be like a suprise everyday to see if and what someone wrote! Not to mention a great thing to take with them when they leave home(:

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  20. Sadly, I didn't order these (though I just saw a comment it worked for someone here today so I may have to try it). I started writing letters to my first when I was pregnant but have let it slide. I also started email addresses for both of my girls (3 and 7 mos) so I can quickly send them a note (like last night when my bitty crawled for the first time) and pictures/video. Still, there's something special about handwritten stuff so I'd like to continue that too. I actually pinned something similar where you have a notebook and write letters back and forth to your kids a while ago - gotta love Pinterest!

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  21. I don't know if it's a new code, but there IS an active one. I JUST now used it - YAY!!!

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  22. these look very cool. off to check them out. thanks for sharing.

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  23. this is a super cute idea :)
    Where to find the time to do such a thing tho?

    I may have one of these made (or maybe two?) for my husband and I when he deploys..

    thanks for the idea !

    lovelovelove
    moo.

    http://themusingsoflilmoomoo.blogspot.com

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  24. Last year, my daughter gave me a blank journal for Christmas. I wasn't totally sure what to use it for and then had an idea. I wrote her a note in it before a special event, telling her I was proud of her, and left it on her bed for her to find. She didn't mention it, but I knew she'd read it. Not too long after that, she wrote me a note in it and left it on my bed. Now it goes back and forth between us periodically. I usually write a note when there's something special going on, or she's stressed, or I'm going to be away for a weekend. She replies a few days later. It has ended up being a special way for us to communicate.

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  25. My husband and I have been doing something like this for the past nine years. Ours are very unfancy Moleskine notebooks, but I like that, because they're easier to fit into random places for the other to find. We've been known to leave one in the medicine cabinet for the morning or the console of the other's car. We have a lot of fun with it.

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  26. This is such a timely post. My MO is trailing paper and pen everywhere, spilling breakfast on it and just writing because he can at 5. Was wondering how i would bottle his enthusiasm..... journalling. Brilliant!

    This would have been fab for my deployed husband last year. However it may just still work with his long shifts as a back and forth thoughts journal.... if he's willing.

    Fab!

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  27. I LOVE this idea! My son is just learning to write so it will probably have to wait a year or two, but I will definitely keep this in mind for the future.

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  28. The code worked! Just used it

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  29. LOVE the idea and the COLORED PENS absolutely SEAL THE DEAL. As for the 'marriage' book...this is what Marriage Encounters tell you to do - they send you home with the book :) - as well as military couples weekend my husband and I have been on...you are on the right track!

    Jen - thanks so much for your inspiration. LOVE what you do.

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  30. Hi Jen, I've just recently found your blog and let me tell you, it has been amazing for my life! I know that sounds over the top, but I have been trying to get organized forever and this blog has really inspired me to get my butt in gear. All of your ideas and tips and hints have really got me on the go to get my house and myself organized from top to bottom. I am a gushy mush too and I love the sentimental ideas and I love pictures. Your blog has become a true inspiration for myself and my family so THANK YOU for doing this for me and everyone else. I look forward to reading all the previous blogs and the ones to come. Have a great weekend.
    Charisse

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  31. Can't find the code. can someone help.

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  32. Steph b.. the code is happybirthday. The web says it expired 2 days ago, but I just ordered and it still works :)
    -Kelly

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  33. What a beautiful idea. As a teacher my students had a journal to write with me back and forth. Sort of a safe haven and place to share amidst a busy school routine. But never dreamed of doing it with their parents. So wonderful. I will adopt this for our family for sure. I really love the idea of doing one for my hubby and me. hmmmm. would he write in it more than twice? not sure!

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  34. This could not be more appropriate.

    My wedding gift from my husband was a book. He wrote me a book. Seriously! He wrote a proper real life book all about our three year relationship up until the week before we got married. Documenting everything from our first kiss to the things that tried us. It's amazing.

    I'm in the middle of posting The Book up on my blog bit by bit for all to read.

    But he says he wants to write one for each chapter of our life together and these journals would be perfect for that.

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  35. Oh my goodness! I took advantage of that coupon code too and fell in LOVE with Papercoterie.com! I made several gratitude journals as Christmas gifts including one for me and my son. I also made one in which I am writing down all the funny, sweet and silly things he does and says and then another for me to continue to write letters to him on his birthday! These are AWESOME!!!

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  36. Thanks so much for sharing this!
    I just paid the $11 shipping for two custom journals. I'm going to use one for myself (I'm a notebook/sticky pad kind of girl) and then I put a family photo on the "So Grateful" one. I'm going to have everyone in my family write something they're thankful for each time we're together. :) Love this! Thanks again!

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  37. Jenn, when Paper Coterie was just a Beta site, I discovered them and ordered a TON from them. Truly a wonderful company!! I had two journals made one that said Things Joey says.... And one that says Things Jenna says.... And I fill it with all the funny things they do and say. I even ordered one for my hubby and I to write in about each other. I tend to say things before I think and sometimes they are really dopey and really funny and we will jot it down in our own book. It's so fun! Good luck with your books too :)

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  38. That is such a great idea! so many times things will happen, or my kids will do or say something that i want to remember...and without fail, I forget within 10 mins! What a great way keep them together, and to have to look back on. Not to mention great writing practice for the kids!!! That will be such a treasure to you all some day!!

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  39. every day my husband and i wrote little notes to each other but it was usually things like "this is what i'm doing today" because he worked nights and I worked days. but since it was mostly just scribbles we didn't save them all. :o/ of course, now that he has passed away, I sure wish I had saved more of them. So your idea is fantastic, and hopefully your hubby loves you more than his status as a male. :) enjoy!

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  40. I love your blog, you help me get so many ideas on organization!!! I love organizing and having clean home.



    Come Visit&Get Comfortable
    WWW.STAYYOUNGFOREVER.BLOGSPOT.COM

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  41. I love this idea! I actually started one of these when my hubby & I got engaged 9 years ago! We do not write in it nearly as much as we did back then, but it's such an awesome keepsake & I hope that over our lifetime we'll fill it up & that it will be treasured by future generations!

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  42. Such a sweet idea! I checked out the deal on the journals but alas, shipping to Canada was a bit too much for me. I love their books though - very pretty!

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  43. Tried the code today and it worked. I ordered one for each of my girls so that I can journal the little every day things that they do. So excited. Thank you!

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  44. What a great idea! The journals are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
    I do something similar, but now I am inspired by your beautiful journals.

    I started keeping a journal for each of my children when I was pregnant with them. At each of their birthdays I write in their journal, sharing specials things about them that they may want to know when they're older. I write cute sayings that they say or what they like to do, read, watch, etc. I also have my husband and their grandparents write in their journals at least once a year. I will also pick up their journals throughout the year to write quick notes.

    Another journal that I have is an anniversary journal. My husband and I received it as a gift in the mail shortly after our wedding. We now write letters to each other in it on our anniversary, sharing with each other our reflections of the year and thoughts about the future. I treasure this journal immensenly. I now give an anniversary journal as a gift to dear friends or relatives who get married.

    Happy decorating & living-
    Megan

    http://cottagebluedesigns.blogspot.com/

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  45. Hi Jen
    I started something similar with my nephew. My younger brother and his wife are the first ones to have children in the family and we were all SOOOO stoked when we found out Eva was pregnant. The night they told me, I knew I had to start something...so, I took out a journal I had lying around and started writing little notes to my Turnip (really his name is Evan, but we found out Eva was pregnant early and we didn't want to call the baby "It" so that's my nickname) We just recently found out Eva is pregnant again and so we are continuing the notes for ALL the future kids in the same journal...and more as our family grows.

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  46. Sometimes I wonder if you must have the most organized house in the whole world and how you ever come up with any more organizing projects to post about. In case you ever wanted to start a special "visit a reader's home and organize it" column, I'm volunteering my house and I'll pay for your flight to Tampa. And I'm not kidding. :)

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  47. Just wanted to know who won the neatdesk??
    felicialetran@yahoo.com
    thanks
    Felicia Nguyen

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  48. I just ordered 2 recipe books for christmas gifts and paid only $10.90 with shipping. If you use the code "HAPPYBIRTHDAY" you will get $30 off a $30 or more order. :)

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  49. Started Following on Pinterest AND Facebook- Love your blog! (atirrel@gmail.com)

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  50. I love the journaling idea, but it's way too mushy for my husband. I print hardback "yearbooks" for our family every year featuring posts from our family blog that I write noting everything from important events to just us being silly. I use the website www.blurb.com. They print excellent quality books and often have discount codes for 20% off or free shipping. It's a bit time consuming, but they are constantly updating the software to make it easier. it's a great way to keep all of our happenings in a neat and organized place. Not to mention the books look fantastic displayed on our mantle for visitors to browse.

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  51. I like SILHOUETTE CAMEO on Facebook

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  52. I totally added SILHOUETTE CAMEO to my pinterest page because it's pretty awesome and I want one.

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  53. Hi,
    I've been a secret lurker for a long time and just wanted to say...Hi!
    I love your ideas and you have personally taken many hours away from my studying and assignment work-thanks very much ;)
    I mean I really DO need to know how to organise my sons lego at 1am the night before an exam!!!
    Alice x

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  54. My husband and I had a journal like this when we started dating. I was still in high school and he already served in German military, so we only got to see each other on weekends or not even then. So both of us usually had the journal for about a week and wrote in it and then we exchanged.
    We haven't written in a journal since we moved together but I kept every single letter or note or post-it he ever wrote to me in a box. It's a nice collection by now but not as neat as the journal from our early days.
    PS: We're actually not as old as it now may have sounded, I'm 29 and he's 32, we just found each other early in life. ;)

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  55. What a lovely idea. I'm not sure I could get my sweetie to do anything like that... but I love the idea of it. LOL

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  56. The "HAPPYBIRTHDAY" promo code didn't work for me, but there are several other codes available. "TELLYOURSTORY" for 40% off; "FACEBOOKHOLIDAY" for 65% (expires TONIGHT, 11/21); and there was another one for free shipping on purchases of $30 or more. I ordered EIGHT "PEACE LOVE & JOY holiday memories of The ABC Family" journals to give away as gifts! Shipping was the same on one book or 8, so combine and save! Thanks again!

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  57. we dont really do anything exactly like this, but for my 2 year old daughter i set up an email address for her and send her emails every so often about what she has been up to. i include photos too sometimes. sometimes the emails are long, and sometimes they are short (like this: dear shirley, today you learned how to pick your nose! love, mommy). hopefully when she is older, she can email me back! we also have a little blog that my husband updates about our daughter. im pregnant again, so we will probably change it to a family blog, but i will probably do the same thing - set up an email for the new little one. im much too busy for a baby book!

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  58. You can use coupon code "TIPSYHOLIDAY" for $30 off now! :o)

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  59. How do you get such clear pictures? I use mine on the micro setting, but mine don't come out half as good as this.

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  60. @Jessy, I use a Canon Rebel XSi and LOVE it. I take all of my photos in the P setting and do my best to use as much natural lighting and hold as still as possible. :)

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  61. My husband started our boys baby journals in a file on his computer from the day we found out I was pregnant. It is on my computer now because I am with them most of the day. I add little milestones or add recordings of their cute little voices.

    Shelby

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  62. Hi Jen just wondering how the journals are going & if you have filled them up yet?

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  63. I was wondering the same thing. Such a great idea, did you keep it up?? I would like to start one with my little boy actually. That's it,my mind is made up, Im doing it.

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