Personal History Through Offline Blog Books

Family Scrapbook Cover Page
Family Scrapbook featuring trip to Texas!

Many times, overwhelmed mommas are inspired to ask me about scrapbooking their children’s lives but they don’t have the supplies, knowledge, or time to get started. I see the distraught faces and want to give them a HUGE hug for the desire to preserve their children’s memories (and their own). Some are crafty. Some, not so much. But everyone wants to create a memory book for their family.

To those sweet women (and men), I say this… start small. What’s more important, that you record your memory or that you make a crafty project about a memory? It’s recording the memory in words and pictures where possible.

Personal History Through Blog Book
Cover for my annual blog book

I offer this tip. Make a blog book. A blog book is simply this… blog-like entries recorded on your computer that is printed at the end of the year. Here are the steps to making a blog book, then I’ll share why I do it this way.

  1. Use a text program such as MS Word Mac Text Edit, or OO Writer.
  2. Create one document per month and save the file with the month and year (01 Jan 2014, 02 Feb 2014, etc) in the file name.
  3. Format your page to have at least a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  4. On the first page, type the month and year again (this will be the title for each month’s chapter).
  5. Create a blog like entry. Give your entry a date, a title if you like, insert a photo (or two) and then write about the memory. You can capture memories without photos as well. Just be sure to date your entries.
  6. When the year is complete, export your documents to individual PDF files. Then use a PDF editor to merge the PDF files into one text document.
  7. Upload to your content file to a Print-on-Demand company such as
  8. Follow the websites book compilation instructions and then order your book.

The steps are pretty simple. You can get more complicated if you want.

My husband formats our book so there is plenty of gutter margin space. He also makes sure that there is enough border space around my inserted photos. And he likes to have every month start on the right-hand page. So, he’ll add extra pages if necessary to format the book.

I’m so grateful for his help. You don’t necessarily have to get involved with all of this formatting. I would suggest having that one in margin on all sides. Be sure to check with your print-on-demand company to see if there are other formatting recommendations.

Text Document for Blog Book


Why do I do this method?

  1. I use my blog book to capture my memories until I have time to make a scrapbook page.
  2. By using photos for my entries, I can write a month (or sometimes three) later rather than daily.
  3. I don’t want to share all of our family details with the world, this ‘blog’ is entirely offline.
  4. I don’t journal.
  5. I don’t have to scrapbook every memory.

If I was in a habit of writing daily or weekly, I wouldn’t forget all of the awesome details of my family’s life. However, I’m a busy mother and sometimes, I am unable to write about the great times as often as I would like. I can write every month or so and I don’t forget as much as I would if I try to write about my experiences a year or more after the experience. I can’t remember last January very well, but December and November are fairly fresh in my mind (thanks to those photos).

Here’s another great secret. Have your spouse and kids help you with your blogging (or whoever makes up your family). I’ll take photos of my kid’s events and then have them tell me their memories of it. I’ll say, “Uno says….” to help the reader of this blog book know that these are Uno’s words and not mine. Takes a HUGE load off my shoulders. The rest of the book is written from my voice. I say, “I”, “me”, “my”, etc. Don’t try to write as a narrator. Write as yourself and your other family members to help add their voice to your family project.

Scrapbooking can happen later. But if I don’t have the
memories recorded, I won’t have anything to write.

I know that if there is a year when scrapbooking is not possible, I have the memories will be ready and waiting. Perhaps you never create a scrapbook. Your blog book does what your goal of scrapbooking seeks to accomplish.

Someday I might not want to scrapbook. Maybe my kids will do all of their own scrapbooking. I know the memories are recorded and waiting to be put in another format. Isn’t that comforting?

Most importantly, I won’t have to put every photo in a scrapbook. What a relief! Some photos are triggers to remember something funny, interesting, or even sad in our lives. I can write about the memory in my blog book and I am free from having to put it into a scrapbook. I only scrapbook memories and events that a) have a lot of photos and b) are worth scrapbooking.

My greatest desire for anyone who wants to capture the memories that are happening daily is this: RECORD SOMETHING.

Find a way that works for you. But don’t forget to take photos, label them, and write down the memory that goes with them. Someday, either you or someone else can convert those memories into a presentation. But without the memories recorded… no one can’t do it.

Breathe easy. You can do it.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

2 thoughts on “Personal History Through Offline Blog Books

  1. Thanks for the anniversary wishes. I didn't realize it was my blogiversary until I saw it on Geneabloggers!

    Your family may not know it but they'll be so glad you're labeling your photos. Good for you.

    I've been blogging our family memories off line for four or five years. It really has made all the difference in getting our history recorded.

  2. Geneabloggers tells me that it's your blogiversary and I wanted to wish you a Happy Blogiversary! This is a great idea to save your memories – I wish I had done a better job when my kids were young. I am good about labeling photos!

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