I just got home this evening from Seattle.
I flew there yesterday to surprise my mom for her 70th birthday.

I brought her a 14 page scrapbook that I made yesterday before I left.
I emailed my siblings last week and asked them to send me a list of words that describe our mother. I edited the list and added words so that I had a total of seventy.
The title page establishes the color scheme …

It is a very SIMPLE scrapbook.
I followed the same design scheme with four, 4×4 photos on the left and two 4×6 photos on the right. I adhered ten paper word strips to each page.

As I was working on it, I realized that the photos I had of her were not really representative of her role as mother and grandmother of our whole family. I brought my paper scraps with me and after dinner, we pulled out a BUNCH of other pictures she had and I made 14 additional pages. The pictures we found filled in so many blanks and touched upon so many aspects of her personality and experiences. I mixed in these new pages, so that each spread now features five words. The whole album looks super planned, when it reality the reason I was able to get it done was by giving myself permission to make it completely random. I literally slapped pictures down.

And here’s the take away.
She has a finished scrapbook.
Yes, I could have spent more time collecting and collating and assembling, but I don’t have that kind of time right now and rather than allow pictures to stay tucked in a “someday” box for one more year, she now has a finished scrapbook. These pictures (all mixed up) can be viewed and enjoyed. We talked about the idea of turning this into what I call an index album. All she would have to do is number each photo and create a journaling entry on a few sheets of cardstock slipped into the back flap of the album.

Today, we went on a nice long walk.

we wandered around Trader Joe’s.

we visited the Seattle Temple.

we bought matching (mine is blue and hers is white) spring blouses at her favorite store!

we ate lunch at Nordstrom’s Cafe.

and, we enjoyed a Mocha Blast at B&R.
all this, I was home by 5:30 pm.

super. fun. day.
doing LOTS of things we LOVE to do together.

Happy Birthday Mom!


  1. Renee J. says:

    This is such a beautiful post, Stacy! I love the pics. of your wonderful day with your Mom. The album is awesome! Your philosophy on scrapbooking is always an inspiration to me! Happy Birthday to your Mom. You are so lucky to have each other!!

  2. Glad you had such a nice day with your mom! You and she look so much alike. My mom’s birthday is coming up at the end of the month, I might have to steal your idea.

  3. TracyBzz says:

    Awesome!! What an awesome day! What an awesome gift – the scrapbook and the visit with her! What an awesome daughter you are!

  4. Melissa says:

    Heard about your surprise visit, FUN! So glad you were here to share her special day:)

  5. The album is lovely – and you are right about getting it together instead of leaving the pictures in a box for another year! There’s a message in that for me :) Spending time together is the most precious gift – I love that you went up to see her. Happy Day to You!

  6. Mercedes says:

    How sweet! I actually made something similar for my mom the year she turned fifty-five, unfortunately I couldn’t give it to her in person (we live across the country from each other) but I did tell her not to open it until I called. I miss having days like that with her. LOL or maybe I’m just sentimental since today is my birthday! You did great Stacy, I’m sure that she thinks so too!

  7. Hi Stacy – I really enjoyed reading what you wrote and the pictures of you and your mom. I’m glad you had an awesome time with her. I’m sure she had a great time and loved that you took the time to be with her.

    I think as I grow older, I begin to appreciate my mom more, and the different roles she had to assume being a mother. Never easy and yet filled with lots of sacrifices for her kids and husband. ;) I am beginning to wish I ought to start scrapbooking ;-)

  8. Carol S. says:

    Love the simplicity and do-ability of this simple album. I love that her photos could be added throughout and still completed in record time! I have all of these grand scrapbooks floating around in my head, with very few actually complete. Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your idea and finished product.

  9. A loving daughter in so many ways! Great idea to tuck away for future reference….so easy, yet heartfelt! I don’t recognize the album u used…love that binding! *smile*

  10. Cyndy Recker says:

    Love the scrapboook Stacy but was wondering how you added another 14 pages to a spiral bound book. Did you bind it yourself at your mom’s?

    • Good question Cyndy — This spiral bound book has 28 pages. I completed 14 and I had a different plan for the last 14 pages. I was going to help her document each decade of her life with a few photos and list journaling, but we decided to leave that for another album and just get MORE random pictures in this album.

  11. sharolyn says:

    Happy Birthday to you mom! What a fun day and such a special album! I signed up for you Photo Freedom class last week after listening to you on Paperclipping Roundtable and I can’t wait for June to get started! I was one of those you talked about who had asked how much time this system would take~ after following your blog for awhile and listening to you, I now believe it will take TIME…but time well spent! Thanks for encougaring me..see you in June!

  12. Katie Scott says:

    1. Cute album.
    2. Cute mom!
    3. Did you get the email from story people about graduation & how it’s not just for the grad?! It was so well written & touched on the bigger meaning of graduation & life etc. Anyway, it was good & I thought you would really enjoy it because you have a grad this year.
    :) Katie Scott

  13. Maureen says:

    great book, what an awesome day, love all the pictures you guys had taken.

  14. I feel even more special knowing that I share a birthday with your Mom!!!
    Just wondering who you got to take all of those great pictures of the 2 of you while you were out and about?

  15. Karen G says:

    1st a question…where do you get your cardigans that you wear. I have a hard time finding, thin, solid cardigans.

    2nd, you and your Mom look so happy, what a wonderful thing to do together. Happy Birthday to your Mom.

  16. Maureen says:

    I am not sure if this fits with your new eating plan, but thought you might want to check out this healthy brownie recipe:

  17. {vicki} says:

    Happy Birthday to your Mom!
    WOW! Looking Good at 70!

  18. Have you noticed how you and your mom have the exact expression in the last photo? You look so much alike in that one.

  19. Sherri Stone says:

    You are truly an inspiration! I know your Mom enjoyed her birthday with you! Loved that even though you “slapped it together” it looked GREAT. It was so very thoughtful and she will enjoy it so much.

  20. that was great! I see that for a milestone wedding anniversary (or any anniversary)
    Thanks for the great idea!

  21. Stacy! That is so awesome. I love that you are teaching me to step out of my “perfectionist” zone and just DO IT. My mom died in 2009 at the age of 68. I miss those mother/daughter moments. We had fun dates together like this, but I wasn’t into photos in my teens. The only really sporadic thing we did once was step into one of those photo booths and take our pics!!! Now you’ve got me wanting to dig into my sentimental box and find them. My kids (8 & 12) complain (well, half-heartedly really I think!) that I take too many photos, but I know they will be so grateful for them later in life. My oldest daughter (12) keeps asking me if I’m writing down who is in the pictures, b/c she has seen my husband and I going through old pictures and not knowing who some of the people are. I’m looking forward to downloading Picassa soon and digging into your FPF class! :)

  22. Great project! And what a lovely gift to your mother to spend a day with her. I love the last picture of you two, so fun!

  23. Happy Birthday to your mom. I’m sure her greatest gift was the day spent with you. And I love that you have all those photos of the two of you together doing each thing! So cute. Another fantastic album by you.

  24. Aw what sweet photos, so glad your Mum had a lovely birthday and you were able to spend the day together. Adorable album too!

  25. Waht a blessing it is to have a Mom that’s also your friend. Think of the fun you and Addie will have on your 70th Birthday!!

  26. CarrieH says:

    So Fun! You are so lucky to have a mom so close by (relatively speaking). I love the idea of doing this type of scrapbook for my kids–every so often I like to do a list of “20 things I love about you”–add pictures and its a little take-away album. Thanks for sharing–have a good day!

  27. What a special day for both of you! MY mom’s favorite store is Coldwater Creek, too! :)

  28. Happy Belated Bday to your Mom! Another inspiring SIMPLE album! It’s motivating me to finish a project I started a while back for my parents. Thanks Stacy! Have a great day!

  29. Stacey what a wonderful album and an awesome gift for your mother. I am sure the fact that you visit was a surprise was the best gift for her. Sadly, my Mother passed way to early at the age of 55 but I will always remember the wonderful look of surprise on her face when I would make an unplanned visit. A belated Happy birthday to your mother.

  30. That looks like so much fun with your mom! She is beautiful. Great scrapbook as well, love the word strip idea. Since I live in Seattle I wish I could have run into you (ha ha) it would be great to meet you. Have a great week!

  31. Sounds like the best kind of birthday!

  32. Such a blessing! I miss my mom.

  33. Jacenda G. says:

    What a fun day – you are inspiring to fit so much more into my days!! Such a fun and adorable album. Thanks for sharing it and inspiring me to get going on my projects I’ve started and can’t seem to get back to. I love mini-albums that capture a year in the life or a tribute to someone. Perfect gifts and so meaningful. Take care and Happy Birthday to your mom! :)

  34. Julie Ann says:

    I am confused, aren’t you mormon? And I thought they don’t drink coffee. I don’t like coffee myself, so I always stay away from anything mocha.
    Any way, you have a cute mom and how nice you got to be with her on her birthday. I hope you add all the days pictures to her album.

    • Julie Ann,
      Great question– I am Mormon, and you’re right I don’t drink coffee, but my mom and I both love the flavor of Mocha. We sometimes indulge with Jamaica Almond Fudge ice cream, or a Mocha Blast. we both like those coffee flavored Nibs candy too– weird, huh?

  35. What an awesome day for you! I’m sure your mom appreciated every second of it. I’m glad you took the time to have pictures taken throughtout the day.

    On a side note, you looked great in that dress. It was simple, yet very flattering. Do you mind me asking where you found it?


  36. Virginia says:

    What a wonderful album idea! I am already thinking of all the ones I could do. Thanks so much for your ideas.

  37. I love, love, love this idea. One year for my Mom’s b-day I had my brother and sisters in law, write down little memories about our lives with Mom. Things like “Remember when you made all our Halloween costumes and they were the best in the whole school?” I think it was her 75th birthday. I typed them all out, cut them in strips, folded them, and put them all in a jar for her. She can pull them out and read them when she is feeling down or just wants a good memory. Mom is 86 now and this book would be a great idea for her birthday. I need to get my family thinking, 87 words is a lot of words. Thanks for this inspiration!

  38. lynne moore says:

    I love the mini album. I may have to do this for my parents 50th wedding celebration. Awesome.

  39. Danielle_nl says:

    Happy birthday to your mom! Nice to see you where having a wonderful day together. Those photos really show the fun of the day.

  40. I love that album….came together quickly and I bet you can use up some stash by doing it. Love that photo by Trader Joes(Love TJ)!

  41. I had to share this. Scrapbooking does NOT have to be complicated or time consuming. I wish there was a way to help people realize this!!

  42. bea medwecky says:

    Stacy, it is very freaky how you happen to post something that fits exactly into my life at exactly the right moment. I don’t have a mom, but I have been contemplating how to create an album for my wonderful sister-in-law. Everything I thought of was so complicated! And so today, as I was driving home I thought “I really need to make this simple or I will never finish this album for her. But how?” And then I come home and read your blog and there is the answer! FREAKY!! :-)

    Thanks again for an easy, fun, beautiful idea. You and your mom look adorable by the way.

  43. What a blessing to be able to spend time with your mother! I love the scrapbook; thanks for reminding us to KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetie!).

  44. Barb in AK says:

    Stacy, how wonderful to be able to spend time with your mom. I am so glad my mom (88 yr.) only live 10 minutes from me.
    Your mom looks so youthful and energetic :-) She is a beautiful woman—and has a beautiful daughter! Congrats on completing the album and having it ready for your mom’s very special birthday.

  45. I loved this post!! My mom lives on the other side if the US..I miss her so much and hope one day we can be closer!!

  46. I am so inspired by the album you made for your Mom. i lost my Mom last November and I have been “thinking” about an album, but haven’t been able to get going. Thank you for giving me the permission to be random and focus on what Mom meant to me rather than making a “perfect” album.

  47. Stacy, your mom doesn’t look 70, wow, she’s adorable and your scrapbook is wonderful. What a great idea!

  48. LOVE THIS!

  49. Angie F says:

    LOVE the album for your Mom!! Thanks for sharing!

    This has nothing to do with your post, but just wanted to thank you for sharing “Story People” and their Story of the Day!
    LOVE it and today’s was wonderful…”Laughter & Noise”
    “There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same laughter & noise.”

    Just needed to say THANK YOU!! Their “Story of the Day” mean so much to me so often!! :)

  50. karen Hobbs says:

    So very lovely! Glad you had a not too rainy day here! ;)
    LOVE the album idea, think I will do something similar for my mom in July for her 75th!!
    Wish I could fly to NC for the day…sigh…

  51. Nicky from Canada says:

    Seems like a perfect day!!

  52. Stacy,

    What a great daughter you are. I’m sure your mom absolutely loved the album, but even more special, to have a surprise day with just the two of you doing favorite things together!…and with your busy schedule. I’m sure that was priceless to her.

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  53. Damiane Lucas says:


    Your mom is BEAUTIFUL, and the scrapbook you made for her is amazing! You are a loving daughter, and your mom is blessed to have you!

    Tell me, what size is your scrapbook? Is an 8×8? May I ask where you purchased it? I love your style. I wish we could see more of this scrapbook!

    Happy birthday to you and your mom!

  54. Bernadette says:

    You look like your mother and no way she is 70! It looks like y’all had some great time together!

  55. WHEW! Whirlwind visit! SO FUN!

  56. cristalfab says:

    Your Mom looks awesome for 70! I had to go back up to the beginning of the post, to verify that you said “70″, because looking at her photos, I would’ve thought she was an older sister! In her 50′s. Wow. I hope that I look that great!

  57. Thanks for sharing this part of your life. It’s always nice to see family that actually loves one another.

  58. Your mom andi share a bday. We r 30 Years apart lol

  59. Wow you don’t look ANYTHING like your mother. mmmm Are you sure you weren’t adopted :) . Glad you had a great day with her. I’m sure she will treasure your album forever.

  60. Sounds like a great day – your Mom has wonderful taste in fun day plans and clothes stores :) Glad you got to have fun together.

  61. Okay, this looks like the Issaquah Trader Joe’s, Bellevue Square and Newcastle Baskin Robbins. You were in my territory, Missy! BTW, fabulous album, too. So glad you had a fun day with your mom.

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