180 days.

This will be a long post, outlining what I believe is a very doable, FUN school-year photo album scrapbook.

The project is called 180 Days and it is a photo-a-day + question-of-the-week photo album I am doing with and for Clark to capture and document his senior year in high school, but you can do this for any year of school. I have enlisted a group of friends and senior moms to do this project with me–strength in numbers, right? (plus, we can share and exchange photos of key events!)

Here’s what you need:

ONE.

An inexpensive 2-up photo album that is designed to hold 200 photos. Most of these albums feature a narrow strip/sleeve designed for labeling your photos. We will use this strip/journaling area for a weekly Q&A (we will also use this strip for our title, some quotes here and there and for labeling of months etc…) I purchased my album at Target for $4.99 (it is very plain and I plan to alter it) You can purchase any 2-up album designed to hold 200 photos–as long as there is a journaling strip (see photo.)

NOTE: I created the 4×6 sheet of circles (top portion of this title page) in a text box in Word. A similar sheet is clipped to a clipboard that is hanging on Clark’s bedroom door. Each day, he fills in one circle. In the end, I’ll replace this sheet with the sheet he has filled out during the year.

TIP: You can stamp (with acrylic paint) right on top of your photo sleeves. Just use a light touch. If the impression doesn’t turn out the way you want, wipe it off and try again!

TWO.

Three or four sheets of two-sided 12×12 pattern paper. Cut these sheets into 4×6 blocks and then find 9 coordinating colors of cardstock (one for each month during the school year.) I considered doing Clark’s book in his school colors and then opted (big surprise) for a broader range of colors! The strips on the swatch ring was simply part of my organization/design process — not needed! You can pre-cut your cardstock for use in your journaling strips (keep reading for more info!)

TIP: I pre-cut my monthly slips and used some “old” Making Memories rub-ons. I have slipped these into my album already!

Journaling strips will also be used to record a weekly Q&A (I’ll text a question to Clark each week and record his answer back.) My mom friends and I have already brainstormed 50 questions to choose from for the 37 weeks of school. If you’d like these questions and a word document formatted for easy printing, email stacy@stacyjulian.com and put “180 Days” in the subject line.

I’m also using these rub-ons to occasionally note which “day” it is on our countdown from 180 to ZERO (Graduation)

For all the details (from an email I sent to the other moms) click on the “read the rest of this entry” below!

Overview
The album is called 180 Days and is a photo-a-day and question-of-the-week approach to documenting both the everyday and the extraordinary aspects of life for our kids.

Photo A Day
As the title suggests, there really are 180 (179 now) days of school before graduation–all you need to do is take a photo on each of these days. You can and should enlist your teen to help you.  These photos will not need to be cropped or arranged in any special way –this is not your typical decorative scrapbook. This is scrapbooking for busy moms. All you need to do is to keep your album and a stack of post-it-notes close at hand. After you snap your daily photo, make a note of it on a post-it and stick this post-it to one photo sleeve in your album. Once or twice a  month, upload your digital images to Walgreens or Costco and have them printed. When you get them back, slip them into your album using the post-it notes as a guide.

Note: I used our district calendar to count out our 180 days of school, holidays, etc…  and mark them off in my album. I will absolutely sit down with anyone at anytime and help you mark your album  (trust me, you won’t want to figure this out on your own) Please note that this album is only for school days — you get weekends and vacations off. Since there are 200 photo sleeves and only 180 days of school, there are a few extras sleeves that I have designated for holidays, spring break, etc…

Question of the Week
Once a week, you need to ask your senior a question. I have put a reminder on my phone, so I won’t forget! You can text, call or just ask the question and then note your teen’s answer or reply. We will type these questions and answers up on the narrow strips/journaling sleeves in our albums. There are 37 weeks of school — so here again we have extra strips in our album, that I have designated for labeling the months (September through June) with a few quotes thrown in. The best part is I have attached a word document with 50 questions ready to go! You can choose from these questions or substitute a more personally relevant question at any time. You can ask questions in any order — since most of our teens are very comfortable with texting, I think sending a quick text and typing up their responses will be a wonderful way to capture bits and pieces of their life to accompany our photos. I’ve also attached a document that features text boxes set up for easy printing of questions and answers. Save this to your computer desk top and print it out page by page as you go. I will help anyone who needs help with this!

Daily  Photos
At this point some of you are probably thinking, a photo a day, is she crazy. I won’t answer the crazy part, but I will say that you can take a photo a day–it really is easy, once you get into the habit. Ideally, you’ll get your teen to help you — this means you can send them to school (sometimes) with a small digital camera or suggest that they use the camera on their phone if they have one. You can also purchase disposable cameras and use these. Since we have a good group of seniors doing this 180 Days project, there will be lots of photos snapped and I’m sure we can do some photo sharing! While we definitely want to take pictures of our kids, the most interesting albums will have LOTS of photos of their daily life. Here’s a short list of the kinds of photos that will be really fun to look back on … and remember to get it close and photograph the details.

car
(outside, inside, license plate, mileage, gas tank, parked in the school parking lot?)

bedroom
(clean, messy, closet, nightstand, walls, etc.)

clothes
(on their bodies, on the floor, T-shirts, jeans, sock drawer, etc…)

food
(favorite candy bar, chips, soda, meals, half-empty cereal bowl –  you get the idea, right?)

school stuff
(back pack, books, homework, grades, locker, gym stuff, sports equipment)

electronics
(phone, computer, iPod, alarm clock, etc…)

We will naturally want to photograph school-related events and people, and get plenty of pictures of them with friends and family members — however, the more you practice snapping pictures of the details of their daily life, the more opportunities you will see. There’s a good chance you’ll have MORE photos than you actually need!

I think this will be a FUN process and a wonderful celebration of this pivotal year in school and life.
If you have questions, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to reply!

Comments

  1. way cool idea — I have never scrapped with a 2-up folder — I need to try this out

  2. Cool idea, as the mother of a junior I think that I need to do this next year. What a neat way to record their last year with us before they head off to wherever they are led. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ooh – Stacy! I LOVE this idea. My son is a sophmore this year but I’m tucking this idea away for his senior year.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Hi Stacy – I LOVE this idea. My daughter is a senior too and this will be a great rememberance of senior year!!

    We haven’t had the greatest August and September (so far) but this will give us both something to look forward to. And something we can do together.

    Thanks Stacy! Dori

  5. Oh, Stacy, as usual you have the best ideas! right when I need them! My 3rd child, Sean is a Senior this year and is the quiet one. I feel like I hardly know him. If I can get him to buy in to answering the texts, I think this will go a long way to helping us communicate! Thanks!!

  6. I am seeing so many possibilities for this… A pregnancy album! A first year album! Yahoo!!

  7. what about the little one’s, ya know, Kindergartner’s or lets say, uh, 1st graders! :(

  8. I love everything about this. EVERYTHING!

  9. What a great idea! I am going to steal it in just two short years when Haley is a senior.

    Hope you are feeling well!

  10. Great Idea. Mine is only in 4th grade. I think this is a great project for the senior to do. Let them take the pictures each day. I hope you will keep us all updated so that we can see how it progresses.

    Glad to see you feeling better:)

  11. Awesome idea! I could see doing this anytime. I think when they hit 13, offically a teenager, would be cool too. If you did it for anyone, anytime you could just call it “200 Days of You” or something like that.

    I’d have to find a binder style album since we have 199 days of school. (It’s counted and printed on the bottom of our schedule :) )

  12. Oooh! feeling pressure. I have just started a family POTD album and have three children.
    Grade 11, grade 9 and grade 4.
    Love the concept though.

  13. I think I’m going to try this with my 5th & 1st grader — I think the 5th grader will like the journaling aspect of it & my 1st grader is SOOOO excited for this year, I think he’ll like it too! Since we just started our 3rd day of school today, it’s easy to “catch-up” :) In fact, the only day I’m missing pictures for is today!

    Additionally, I love the idea of doing it again in a few years (8th/9th grade will be a big transition point for my kids) and seeing how the albums differ. :)

    Thanks for the idea Stacy!

  14. Kary in Colorado says:

    Great idea!! Our school started 16 August, so I’m way too behind for this year (and am already doing Project Life, so my kids are pretty photoed out), but this would be very fun to do. Maybe next year when #4 starts high school . . . she isn’t nearly as photo-adverse as her brother!

  15. Fantastic idea! I just love it. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  16. You ROCK, Stacy!
    I wish my mom would have done something like this for me. My three sons are young, but I’m already inspired and thinking of tweaking this to fit our life.
    Thanks for your continued posting, dedication and inspiration!

  17. What a fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing and I hope you continue to share the progress on this album through the year.

  18. Oh SOOOO cool !!! But not for this year, and not for a senior – DD will start school next August and I will be READY !!!

  19. I totally want to do this for my stepson who is a senior this year. I’m already behind though since school for us started August 11! I, too, am doing the Picture a Day, but hey – what’s one more picture, right?

  20. What a wonderful idea!

  21. wow … nice idea!! My parents are coming to our house for almost 180 days. I am thinking of adapting this technique, which will be a good memorabilia for both me and my parents.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  22. this will be PERFECT for my Kindergartner! As my 2nd child, the number of scrapbook pages and scrapbooks that she has vs. my first born is so much lower :( This is such a great way to “catch up”. Thank you Thank you for this idea!

  23. Loved this idea when you mentioned it on the LOM chat and it’s even better to see it in action! My dd is a senior this year so I’ve been taking photos and planning for this little album. I think it will be a fun item to display at her senior party and a keepsake for years to come.

    My question – I counted our school calendar and she only has 176 days of school because they get out a week before everyone else! What would you do for those 4 extra days. I’m thinking of including Homecoming and Prom photos (those happen on a Saturday so could easily fill in), any other thoughts?

    I also really like the little fill in the dot thing you did on the first page, so clever!

  24. What do you do with the pattern paper?

    • Great question. I think I mentioned having about 20 extra photo sleeves — a few of these extras are for holidays and spring break, but the rest of them pop up at the end of a month, because I want each new month to start on a new page/spread. My plan is to slip a piece of pattern paper in and A) just leave it for color/visual interest or B) tuck some kind of memorabilia on top of the pattern paper — perhaps a receipt or ticket or something from that particular month!

  25. this is a wonderful idea, thank you for sharing it! I am also thinking of adapting it for a deployment album.

  26. What an AWESOME idea!

    And especially for a senior year. How will I remember this project in 14 years, so I’ll do it, too!!!??? Maybe I’ll have to do this for Kindegarden next year…THEN again as a Senior. That would be cool!!!!!!

    What struck me most, as cool as this idea was, was your photo of just Clark’s hands. The second half of your original photo. Awesome perspective! I need to take a closer look at my photos I’m so keep to crop and maybe take what I crop OUT and turn it into a different kind of art. LOVE IT!

    • I love the idea of doing this for Kindergarten and then again as a senior. Also, I took the photo of clark’s face and then another of his hands — I’ve been trying to do this more lately and I love the results. I got Chase’s hands in his pockets and Trey’s shoes yesterday too — for some reason these photos seem to capture my boys as well as the face photos!

  27. This is a fabulous idea! Next year is my daughter’s last year of Middle School and she would love to participate in something like this, I think it will be great! Our school year is Feb-Dec (4 x 10week terms) here in Australia so I would have to find a bigger album or do one for each semester (half year) perhaps! Off to check out 2-up albums tomorrow!

  28. Agree, you have this amazing knack of pulling ideas all together into the best rock soup ever. How easy and I am going to try to do this with my son who just started community college here at home, my middle schooler with a new homeschooling group – lots of transitions and changes at home. And convince my circle of croppers and non-scrapbookers that they CAN do this!

  29. Really want to do this for Kenzi next year when she is a Senior….now to mark my calendar so I don’t forget. Thanks for sharing an amazing idea!

  30. Love this! You have the best ideas! I can’t wait to see how it comes out.

  31. This is brilliant. My kids are not old enough to do it, but it will go in the idea file. I love your list of everyday things to capture, too – good even if you aren’t doing a 180 Days album. Thanks for another terrific idea!

  32. LOVE IT. My son is in K this year. I am already 3 weeks behind. Well have to start now. thanks for sharing. will be emailing you soon.

  33. Loving this idea Stacy – so doable but such a treasured record. My (only) DD will start secondary school (?high school) here in New Zealand in February so I have time to get this organised and then would love to do it again 5 years later as she prepares to leave school. Thnaks for the inspiration and loving reading the ongoing ideas everyone else has submitted!

  34. What a neat idea! Where can we find the 50 questions of the week word doc?
    Cheers

  35. I’m loving this idea. My daughter has just started primary so will adapt to capture her first year of being a ‘big’ school girl ! I’m abit behind but am sure can modify to “catch” up. I’m about to have a brain storming session over coffee. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Thank you, thank you for sharing this fantastic idea. My oldest is a senior this year as well. I’m definitely going to do this for her. I’m also going to be emailing you for the questions. So inspiring….

  37. Leora Henkin says:

    Wow! I love this idea. I knew that you would come up with something really cool. Our school year started August 25th, so I will have to back track a little, but I have pictures, so…

    Thanks Stacy…and best of luck with the Relay. It sounds like a fabulous idea!

    • Leora,

      I just wish I could have gotten you the details sooner — I can barely keep up with my lie! Thanks for your patience!! I’m so happy we’re doing these senior year thing together.

  38. I wish I’d thought of this when my girls were seniors, but I’m going to adapt it for my granddaughter, due 10/31, and record her first year. She’ll be living with me for her first couple of months (along with my daughter and her big sister) so it will be easy to catch those special moments!

    I love the simplicity of this and thank you SOOOO much for sharing it with us!

  39. Kim Burningham says:

    I LOVE this idea I have a 6th grader and a Sr.!!!! very cool i was wondering how you plan to jazz up the books!! i tried it onces and it didn’t last very long!!!any ideas would be appericiated!!

  40. Love this idea and so appreciate getting your questions to help me stay on track. My son is a freshman this year and knowing how fast time flies these days, I’m going to pull my album together so I’m ready to go on day one 2014. I think I’ll use the extra slots for each “first day” of his high school year to show how much he changes during these next four years. Prom and Homecoming is also a good idea.

  41. Since I read this post yesterday, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I don’t have a senior. No, I have a 2 month old. But I thought this was such a cool idea. Then I was listening to a podcast and someone mentioned Ali Edwards’ December Daily, and I thought, That’s IT! I can modify your idea to follow my baby girl’s first Christmas. I’m so excited! Now I have to go find an album!

  42. You are so awesome! Love it. I did my third baby’s first year this way (thanks to your article in SS – I saved that issue for years just waiting for my next baby to come along). I knew it was the only way I was going to capture it with my two other children around. : ) I love that you’ve redesigned it for another purpose. I’m inspired and am going to do it again too once I decide what for. THANKS!

  43. I know there must be some way to do this for my son, who is preparing for his mission. I think documenting his journey of all the things needed before he leaves. Then, follow up with his actual mission. At least this will keep his mom (me) distracted while he is gone. Plus a really great way to help him document this time in his life. Thanks much, Stacey for this idea…….

  44. I LOVE this idea and took my first photo of my son yesterday. He is a Senior and he called me to go grab an after school snack together. Here is my struggle: School started Aug 2nd so I have to figure out photos for the first 5 weeks of school. Maybe photograph his room, car, school, friends, church, school books, etc? No pressure, right?!
    I like TracyBzz title idea – 200 days of you or 180 days of you.

    We are a military family, so I am considering adapting this idea to each duty station, maybe when we first move somewhere and again during our last year there? This will be our last year in Hawaii, so I would love to document what life is like here.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Stacy! Love this idea and simplicity and adaptability of it!

    • Lisa — I think you can totally catch up with your son. You can collect bits and pieces of memorabilia too. His schedule, his locker number and combination, receipts for ASB card, yearbook, etc … and like you said, pictures of his school, the library, the cafeteria, the football field, etc … I think if you do a photo essay of places that are familiar to him (at school and at home) it will be a great foundation for the rest of the year. Just takes lots of detail shots for the month of August and it will all look very intentional when the album is complete.

      I also adore the idea of a photo album scrapbook for each place your family has lived and loved as a military family — thank you btw, for being in the military!

  45. I love you…I really do! Always an inspiration. Thank you for sharing all these cool ideas. Oh, and did I mention I love you : )

  46. Wow, this is an awesome idea…I want to gather some of my friends and see if we can join forces to do this. I don’t have a HSer, but I do have my oldest who just left Elementary school and has started 5th grade in the Intermediate school. So many changes to document, such a cool idea!!

  47. I am going to try this as all digital…we’ll see if I can do it. My younger daughter just started last year of middle school, will be a great one to do for this transition year! Thank you

  48. I did a picture a day for the year 2009. Lucky for me it was my sons senior year. I am so glad that I was able to keep these beautiful memories for our family and future generations. The only problem with a picture a day is that I am burned out on taking pictures!!

  49. So cool, Stacy. You rock!
    Maybe I could do this with my youngest during her last year of preschool (countdown to kindergarten!)

  50. I so love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing!!!! My oldest son will be a senior in the fall. I’ll have the summer to get it all prepped. I can’t wait!

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