Summer memories! They’re some of the best kind. When I was asked to be the #familyhistoryfriday contributor here at Evolve, our lovely owner Krista told me that the focus of the blog was going to be about learning, growing, telling our stories, and developing our talents. This mission is what’s behind the tagline: live, grow, give. Everything about #familyhistoryfriday is focused in one way or another on those three points. When we’re talking about stories, photos, memories, family, and connections, each of those goals –live, grow, and give– quite naturally come through. The next several #familyhistoryfridays will be a series called “Giving from the Heart.” As summer wraps up, there are several ways to live, grow, and give in a way that connects families and preserves wonderful memories, stories, and photos to look back on when summer is gone.
God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” -James M. Barrie
What Do You Want to Remember?
Some summers consist of special family vacations, others of family reunions or just evenings on the patio sipping lemonade. Did you attend a wedding this summer? How did you celebrate Independence Day? What pictures did you take? If you took a poll among family members, what would the Top Ten Memories of your summer be?
Taking time to write down memories is good for the heart and soul, and it’s especially beneficial when coupled with photos. Too often photos of special moments just float around in the cloud or stay on phones or cameras indefinitely. Instead of letting your summer memories fade, preserve them. It’s a way to give from the heart both to yourself and your family.
Unfortunately, we take pictures because we want to remember and then we treat them like we want to forget. Let’s change that this summer!
What to do First
Memory-keeping is one of the first things to go in our busy society. If our memories didn’t matter, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But our memories DO matter. We benefit from sitting down to put our experiences to paper, and we benefit from our photos in tactile (hand-held) form just as much. Memory-keeping in this way is cathartic and even increases happiness! Studies show if you want to be happier instantly, look back at happy times! There are lots of other benefits, too. So let’s get you started!
The first thing to do is to set aside time. Like all worthy endeavors, memory-keeping doesn’t just happen on a random Tuesday when you unexpectedly find yourself with a couple of hours of free time. (I mean, how many times has that happened to you so far?) If the thought of making time for preserving your summer memories seems a little overwhelming, I would first suggest thinking outside the box a little.
What makes memory-keeping Mom’s job? Why not make it a family activity? You could even make it a family tradition! In fact, here are some steps to making memory-keeping a family tradition. Another great way to make time to preserve your summer memories is to do it with someone else! If you make an appointment with a friend or sibling or a group of friends, it’s on your calendar and much more likely to happen!
If you need a little more help finding time, I have some really fantastic ideas and suggestions for you at this link, including:
- how to make time for the things you love
- how to actually create time
- ways to look at time and “time management” differently
- ten productivity hacks
- why we’re too busy to be productive and what to do about it
After you’ve set aside time, choose how you want to preserve your summer memories and photos. If you need photo organization help or help getting your pictures from your phone to your computer, go here next.
Options to Preserve Your Summer Memories
Photos are a fantastic guide to trigger memories. It’s important to preserve photos in a way that allows you to write out your memories, too. It’s one reason that digital photo storage is not really the goal. Why would you focus so much on STORING something that you actually want to SEE? What good does a photo in the cloud do us if we can’t tell its story? Writing out what you remember about the event or the person in the photo is how we get the roses in December.
Back in March we looked at some of the most popular ways to preserve photos and memories these days: digital scrap pages, easy scrapbooking kits, digital storybooking, and paper scrapbooking. (Didn’t you love the history of scrapbooking in that last one? I thought it was so interesting!) Of course, there’s also the decades-old tradition of printing up your pictures and putting them in a simple album from any craft or big box store.
Quality has come a long way in recent years, but it’s still one of the biggest things to look for. You definitely don’t want to spend the time (or money) to preserve your precious summer memories and photos only to have it fall apart 5 or 10 years from now.
My Two Favorite Methods: Number One
Although some people prefer a more hands-on method for preserving photos and memories, I like digital books and scrap pages for two reasons. First, you get to skip the extra step of printing photos. Second, digital allows for multiple copies (to give multiple kids, for example) without extra work.
My usual method for preserving my own pictures is with Heritage Makers scrap pages. Quality is a big reason that I choose this method for my own memory-keeping, but Heirloom Assurance and the 200,000+ pieces of FREE digital art are others. (Here are all my reasons for choosing Heritage Makers. I just haven’t seen anything comparable.) Because this is what I do for ALL my memory-keeping, I preserve my summer photos this way, too. If scrap pages interest you, you can see how I make them here at this video (where you’ll watch me preserve my summer 2017 photos and memories).
If you’re looking to preserve only your summer memories and photos in one place, go for books! This Disneyland book is one example (template 136483 here, available as an 8×8 or 12×12 hardbound book as well as 8×8 soft bound). If you didn’t Disney this summer, there are hundreds of fully-editable (change anything!) templates here, too. (Another reason Heritage Makers is one of my favorite methods!)
This other template is just perfect for a collection of summer memories, I think. (Another thing I love about Heritage Makers is there’s no limit to photos or text, so you can write as much as you want and include as many pictures as you want per page.) This summer memories book is a little 5.5×5.5 size. It’s softbound. (If you like the idea of a softbound book because they’re cheaper, be sure you’re getting one that uses PUR binding like this one does. Glued-in pages can crack over time, causing the pages to fall out.) At $9, it’s a pretty wallet-friendly way to give your summer memories and photos a good home, too! (It’s template 144811 here if you need it.)
Whether heirloom-quality books or scrap pages are your thing, I’ve made you a very detailed video introduction to Heritage Makers digital publishing to get you on your way.
My Two Favorite Methods: Number Two
Another method I tried recently is a digital book without the “scrapbook”-y look. If you are looking for a fast and simple solution to get your summer photos and memories into an heirloom-quality book, this is it!
I used Snap2Finish for this book. I have always loved a more scrapbook-type look, so I wasn’t sure if I would like Snap2Finish. Because it is the same high quality as my go-to, Heritage Makers, I decided to give it a shot. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! It’s obviously a cleaner, more basic and simple look, but the book came together so fast that it was lots of fun to make. Kids would have fun sitting on laps in front of computers helping Mom or Dad preserve summer memories this way! If you don’t want to spend a lot of creative time with your summer memories, this is a fantastic option!
You’ll see exactly what I mean in this video about how to use Snap2Finish. In fact, you get to see me making that Arches book!
Here’s Your Homework
Set aside time, decide if you want to preserve your summer memories as a family or by yourself or with friends, then choose your favorite method. Then GO! Whatever high-quality method you choose, it’s the best one–because you’re doing it!
When you’ve given your precious photos and memories a home that will be treasured for years to come, show it off! My Facebook group is just the place! Request to join here and then take photos of what you created and post them in the group. We’ll congratulate you on being the hero of your family and celebrate with you. I can’t wait to see what you’ve done.