Home » You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: Alphabet Journals

You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: Alphabet Journals

I KNOW!  It’s been a week and I show up with some crappy craft idea.

We’ve all been sick as dogs, the weather sucks, and I’m trying to use my indoor time to get a few things done around the house in between cleaning up snot. . .and baby barf. . .

Anyway, I’ve been ahem meaning to keep better track of these kids and their milestones.  I was gifted baby books.  And I take scads of photos.  And I keep bits and bobs from our adventures but I NEVER get around to actually compiling everything.  It always feels like an insurmountable task not easily accomplished in the little extra time I have.

Last January, after looking at all the “keepsake” crap littering a shelf in Mac’s room, I decided I should just keep a daily journal.  I could write very short entries about what we did each day or week.


No pressure.

No serious scrapbooking commitment.

Just scribble a few sentences, add some photos, etc.  Except I failed.  I failed miserably and only wrote in the damned thing for about 3 days.

There were so many days when the sky was the bluest you’ve ever imagined and Mac ran down the hill in the Park through green grass and scarlet leaves. . .And I huffed along behind him. . .Laughing. . .So pregnant. . .

Remember this.  This is the stuff that makes life amazing.  

I’d go home and scribble something on a scrap of paper or tap it into my iPhone.

But that’s no way to remember.

I had to do better.  

And I knew I pretty much sucked at daily journaling.

So I kinda’ gave up.  Mac won’t care about that stuff when he’s older anyway I told myself.

But what if he did?  

What if he asks me about what we did and I can’t remember the brilliantly sunny December day we ran up Federal Hill, hand in hand, in the freezing cold, wind howling, tears running down our cheeks?  What if I don’t remember that?

I’d been worrying about it even more with Teddy’s arrival.  How am I supposed to remember ANYTHING juggling two little monkeys, and mountains of laundry, and muddy boots, and sticky EVERYTHING?

But what if something horrible happens to you?  What if your kids can’t remember you?  

The thought kept haunting me.  Because that’s the sick sort of way I roll, I guess.

My own Father died a few years back and due to some pretty whacked out family circumstances, I have nothing of his.  There’s not one item I can pass along to his Grandsons.  It’s ok.  I’m okay with not having “stuff.”

I DO have cards he wrote me.  And those are probably the best thing of all.  They are his thoughts in his handwriting.

You have to do something, Deni!  

I was just paralyzed by the idea of a huge project.

Then, I was looking for ideas to keep kids busy indoors.  I read about letting kids create an alphabet journal.

An Alphabet Journal?

The idea was basically having kids locate pictures beginning with a certain letter in magazines and having them cut and paste them into a little homemade book.


Except with Mac’s attention span and appetite for destruction, that sort of project isn’t all that cute.

But I could make an alphabet journal for them.

We could do a different letter each week.  During the week we could visit places, do activities, eat food, do things beginning with that letter.  We’d be learning new things, trying new food, visiting new places AND I could document it all in a little book for each letter.

I decided to keep the books very simple so I didn’t need many materials.  I could keep everything handy and could work on the journals say while Mac ate lunch or while I was bouncing Teddy to sleep in the baby wrap.

So last Sunday evening just before sleep, I spent about 20 minutes in bed with my iPhone brainstorming what I’d do for our “A” week.  I made a list of places to visit, things to eat, exercises and games to try, and other “filler” stuff – occupations, animals, vocabulary, songs, and books beginning with A.

And Monday we were off to Fort McHenry to see a gigantic AMERICAN flag and learn about our National ANTHEM.

So far it’s been going well.  And it makes planning the week a bit more interesting for me.

Mac doesn’t totally get the theme concept yet.  And all he wanted to do at the AVIATION museum was “sit on couch with mommy.”

But SOMEDAY, he’ll thank me.


Here’s How I Do Mine:

1.  Take 6 or 8 pieces of heavier weight paper.  Fold in half and staple up the middle to form a book.

2.  Use some colorful tape on the outside “spine.”

3.  Stencil the letter on the front cover.  Add the date/week you worked on the journal.

4.  Fill the journal as you see fit.

As I mentioned, I opted for the easiest of materials:  a fine tip black Sharpie and crayons.  There might be some watercolors or something if I have time later but for now, crayons and Sharpie are all I’m holding myself to.

To make the books interesting, it’s good to have a variety of “stuff.”  So I print out photos and add them.  I draw little doodles.  I add brochures, stickers, etc from the places we visit.  A few lists I typed.  Some stuff I write.  Use different types of print, etc.


They don’t take up much room in storage either.

And if we have a busy week or travel, we can put the project on hold until the following week.  I’d like to have a journal for every week of the year but if I get through the entire alphabet this year, I’ll consider it a success.