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February 2009
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Ellie’s Valentine-No Expiration Date

February 13, 2009   

Submitted by: Chris Crandall

What to do for Valentine’s Day? The thought raced through my mind over and over again. My kids have storybooks from Valentines past. This year, I wanted to do something different.
What’s that you say? The Valentine’s Day publishing deadline has past? That’s okay! Ellie’s Valentine doesn’t come in a box or even on the pages of a storybook. (I know, I just heard many of you gasp! “What?! But I thought YOU were a heritage maker!”)

But it’s true.

This year, Ellie’s Valentine comes with love, interest and time. Whether you are reading this before February 14th or after doesn’t matter, because this gift idea is priceless.

Ellie has been asking me for weeks to make a book. Now, she has several books about her or books with her stories and photos in them. But Ellie is my very independent 6-year-old and she wanted to make the book by herself-her drawings, her stories, HER book. And she wanted to do the work all by herself!

The result… one of our best memories together ever! We don’t even have the published book yet… it was all in the PROCESS of Storybooking!

Ellie’s Storybooking Steps:

1. Draw your pictures. Use bright colors so they show up well. I like to use markers.



2. Scan them in so that they can go on the computer and into your book.


3. Go to

4. Choose what kind of book you want. I wanted mine big! (We chose the 7×5 size, because that’s what Mommy had a credit for).

5. Drag your pictures onto the pages on the computer. It’s really fun and easy; plus, a little check goes in the corner of the picture, so you know which picture you already used! (Ellie really thought that part was very cool!)


6. Tell your mommy (or daddy, or big brother) to type in what you want the story to be for each picture. If you are a big kid, you can type in the story yourself.

7. Look at all of the pages and see your book on the computer! That is so fun!


Ellie doesn’t even have her hardbound book yet. I still don’t think she realizes that is the next step because she (we) had so much fun in the process.

I love the time that we spent together-talking about her creative drawing and the stories of her pictures. I am amazed at her imagination, and I learned even more about her and her dreams.

So whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, the gift that I would always recommend to give is the gift of your time, and using that time to really talk with and listen to your loved one. And a great way to do that is in the PROCESS of putting together a Heritage Makers project.

Thank you Heritage Makers for this wonderful memory!