Storing Memories: Smart Ideas to Organize Your Kid's Keepsakes

Here's a little confession: I'm a teeny-weeny bit of a hoarder. I hoard lovely wrapping papers, used boxes, recyclable ribbons and even craft-worthy empty wine bottles. It drives my "toss this away" husband crazy, but I've always felt a little guilty about throwing things I feel I can either recycle or transform on a good craft day. 

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This slight hoarding problem has exacerbated now that I'm a mom. Each time the little one comes home from school with a new artwork or a card she created, I feel the urge to stash it away in an album of keepsakes. But after a while, the keepsakes could quickly pile up! So what's the best way to organize your kid's photos and artworks? Here are at least three smart organizing ideas I've learned along the way:

1. Organize and store keepsakes online.

This is probably my most valuable tip! Finding an online tool that helps organize kid's artworks and photos has been a game-changer in my quest to streamline the organization process at home. It has allowed me to save the little one's creative drawings without being buried in a pile of paperwork that's likely to just gather dust in boxes that take up storage space. 

I had my "aha!" moment when I first discovered Keepy, an app that smartly stores, organizes and shares kid's photos, artworks, videos and voice recordings to family members. The app's basic package includes five free photo and video uploads every month. For an unlimited access to all its features for a year, there's an investment of $9.99, which, in this hoarding mama's opinion, is a small price to pay for the promise of a more organized home life!

The app is simple and intuitive to use, something I love since the little one's Mamaw and Papaw whom we share photos and artworks with usually steer clear from complicated technology. The voice, video and text comment feature is a nice touch as family members are able to interact, record videos and give encouragement to the little one even when miles away. It's a feature I value the most because, with family members living either a state or continent away, it's a great way to keep everyone privately up-to-date on the little one's mischiefs and adventures.  

The little one channeled her inner wizard and drew Harry Potter.

The little one channeled her inner wizard and drew Harry Potter.

2. Label, categorize and put things in buckets.

When organizing, there has to be some kind of order. To do this, I put labels and categorize things in their own little buckets. Yes, I still sometimes do the old-fashion folders and envelopes to store the little one's drawings because, despite having the app, I still keep a few original copies of my personal favorites, like her adorable Harry Potter drawing.

With the app though, it's super easy to sort out things into categories like Art, Award, Birthday, Field Trip or Family Outing, to name a few. Putting them into categories makes it easier to search and ensures that your feed is clutter-free.

The app makes for a great long-term storage and backs up all photos and videos in its original quality. It also syncs to Dropbox, a feature we like as we personally use Dropbox to free our smartphone or laptop of valuable storage space as we tend to run out when we get trigger-happy when taking photos of the little one. 

Keepy, an app that smartly organizes, stores and shares kids artworks and photos, is a life-saver to moms who need to simplify and organize.

Keepy, an app that smartly organizes, stores and shares kids artworks and photos, is a life-saver to moms who need to simplify and organize.

3. Turn them into a scrapbook or photo album.

Storing kid's artworks shouldn't be a boring process of stashing them away in albums or boxes. Instead, add a creative touch to the concept of storage by creating a scrapbook that combines all your favorites from among your kid's photos and keepsakes.

Not exactly the crafty mommy? Thankfully, when storing on Keepy, the app allows you to turn photos and artworks into a photo book so you are able to customize and print all your favorites easily in a single custom album—no extra artsy skills needed. If you subscribe to its unlimited plan, you also get to avail of 50 percent discount on all orders via the Keepy store. The store offers other products like custom-made beach towels, canvas, ottomans and phone cases, making it a great Mother's Day gift option which is fast approaching! Goodness, where did April go?

In addition, it syncs up with Facebook, allowing you to easily pull archived images so you can either store them all in one place or include other images when ordering a customized product.

Do you have other smart ideas to organize your kid's drawings, school work, photos and mementos? I'd love to exchange mommy notes if you comment down below.

Disclosure: *This post is sponsored by Keepy. Follow them on Facebook to keep up-to-date on the latest about the app. All opinions are my own.*

 

 

5 Ways to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader

Oh, the joy of reading! For any kid learning to read, there is magic in the written words. There's the adventure of being onboard a pirate ship sailing in unknown seas, the magic of riding a rainbow unicorn or the delight of meeting new friends in enchanted forests. But for some kids still learning to read, it can sometimes feel like being asked to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider backwards—ridiculously difficult!

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Now that the little one is in pre-school, she's learning a new appreciation for books as she's able to read her favorite bedtime stories mostly on her own. It's exciting to see her lit up with joy after conquering a new or big word. Today, for instance, while reading I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney (published by zonderkidz), a new book we received in the mail, the little one discovered the words "beyond compare." These are big words for any six-year-old, so there was imaginary confetti and much jumping for joy after she sounded it out and successfully read them.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are days when she gets frustrated or when I find myself running out of patience. But there are ways to help support your child so they may become better at reading, and here are five mommy-tested tips to try: 

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Mommy-Tested Tip #1: Find age-appropriate books.

There's nothing more frustrating than to be told to read a book that is too challenging. Letting your child read a book that does not match his or her reading level is setting your child up to feelings of failure and discouragement. As parents, it is our responsibility to support our kids in this learning process, and that starts with guiding them in finding the right books to read. To do this, use the 5 Finger Test

Mommy-Tested Tip #2: Let your kid choose his or her own books.

When you have identified the right books for your kids, encourage them to choose the ones they really love to read. Before we received I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug, the little one has first seen this book at a local bookstore and completely fell in love with the beautiful illustrations by Tim Warnes. She loves the whimsical rhyme which helps her pay closer attention to letters as she discovers that similar spellings tend to have similar sounds. "Tight looks like night, except it starts with T!" she was quick to point out.  

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The book has also helped her spot the "sight words" she has learned in school. "We just learned the word 'that' in school today!" she reported to me, after spotting it in the book. Several times while reading, she giggled at the pig with curly tail giving her a big, big, BIG hug or gasped in awe at the thought of a giant whale hug! 

The book is a delight to read and the idea of fun animals giving her a snuggly hug makes for a great bedtime reading.

Mommy-Tested Tip #3: Create an awesome reading nook.

Creating a cozy reading nook inspires the little one to go on a corner and get lost in her books. Set the mood for fun by throwing in a lovely rug (we got our polka dot rug at IKEA), pillows and stuffed toy friends. On this particular day, the little one enjoyed reading a story to Peanut, her Lalaloopsy friend.

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Mommy-Tested Tip #4: Make it a habit to visit a local library.

The library is one of my happy places as a child. I love the idea of being surrounded by books and being able to freely pick any story I want. To share this childhood memory with the little one, we make it a point to bring her to a local library at least once a month and let her read books or check out the ones she wants to bring with her home.

Mommy-Tested Tip #5:  Have a reading routine.

Although most parents prefer to read before bedtime, I find it more helpful to read with the little one early, such as while doing her school assignment. It helps her to easily recall her "sight words" as they are still fresh on her mind and ensures we don't rush at night as she needs to get to bed early to get her full night's sleep.

What has been some of your mommy-tested ways to help and support your little reader? Let's exchange ideas in the comment box below.

GIVEAWAY! When you comment below, you will be automatically entered in a giveaway drawing to win a copy of I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney. It will make a lovely surprise for your little one!

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Disclosure: I received the book I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney from The Blythe Daniel Agency to review. All opinions are my own.