Alert, alert! This is my first ever sponsored post. Probably my last ever, too, because I am way too lazy to follow through on sponsorships in general, and I get pitched now like, 20 times a day, and that’s too much. I used to painstakingly reply to each pitch and ask to be removed from their distribution list, but no one ever removed me, so now I just delete them all without reading. Sorry, pitchers!

But! This one arrived last week, and I actually read it, and actually said yes, due to a very long story which, of course I am going to share with you below. And if you survive the telling of this Very Long Story, you can get a discount code to make your own book at Blurb!

(Or you can just skip to the end and get the code. But then you will miss out on an epic story of gripping proportions. Do you really want to do that? DO YOU?)

So! Back in the fall of 2010 I started thinking that my blog was turning into a significant body of work, in that I loved reading the old stories about the kids, and wanted to preserve that for generations to come. So I got the idea to turn some of my favourite blog posts into a book. I did a bunch of research and even tried out a few make-your-own-book websites, but eventually through my own experiments and other people’s recommendations, settled on Blurb.

Blurb has three book-making pieces of software that you download to your PC, then you make your book, then you upload your finished book and order it. You can either have them automatically generate your book for you from your blog or from a bunch of photos; or you can choose a middle level where they give you text-and-photo layout pages and you fill in the blanks; or you can go totally custom and design each page individually. I didn’t want to keep every blog post ever (um, don’t wan’t generations to come to know just how many hours I wasted thinking and writing about Dance Show), so I chose the middle level.

Then I poured hours and hours of work into making the book. I re-read every post I’d ever made and made a list of the ones to include. I went through thousands of photos from the same period and matched each post with one or two pictures of the kids from the same time period, because even though I don’t put their pictures on the blog, the idea of having a picture of the Captain making a silly face next to a post where I talk about the fact that he is silly was so serendipitous.

Then I gathered all this stuff together on my computer and started copying and pasting the blog posts into the book, then putting the photos into the layout, and it was looking good but…oh, so long.

I started to get really worried about how big the book was getting. I originally envisioned a 50 page coffee table book with the creme de la creme of posts. But the more I read the old stuff, the more I wanted to include – because even posts about mundane things like someone’s tooth falling out, or us having a rough night last night, or someone learning to skate, seemed so charming and perfect and memorable. I was happy I’d recorded our everyday life and I wanted to keep it all.

(Also: newly resolved to make more mundane posts about day-to-day life, YOU’RE WELCOME.)

So I’d already formatted and set up years 2004 through 2008 when I just abandoned the project.


Which brings us to the current time, when Blurb wrote and offered me a discount on books for the holiday season, and I was all, HAVE I GOT A BOOK FOR YOU.

I cracked open the software and lo, the book was still there! So I brought it up to date to 2010 (because that was all the data and photos I had sitting around on hand, ready to go) and ordered the book, AND got a discount. It was FATE.

I’d love to be able to show you a few pages from the finished book, but it’s not here yet, and I can’t wait for it because (sadly) the code is only good until December 12. That is not a lot of time to pull together a blog book, but if you really buckle down, and limit it to the best of the best of your blog, and you have digital photos ready to go, then it’s quite possible. You can even use their automatic level just to get something on paper and see how it looks.

Then you can nudge your spouse and say, “Honey, don’t worry about shopping for me for Christmas, I’ve got you covered,” and then you can be all surprised to find such a personal, meaningful book written by yourself under the tree! What a thoughtful gift!

Now here’s the important part: if you make a book, and upload it, then at checkout, you need to enter the code GIFTIDEA to save 25% off the total price. You can only use this offer once, and it’s for a maximum savings of $150 (if you’re making a hardcover book with, say, around 100 pages in it, you’re looking at close to $100 for the base price when you order just one copy).

And then sit back and enjoy those memories for years to come.

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