Friday, May 13, 2011

Free Education

Whenever I check out at my local grocery store (the cheap one, not Whole Foods), the cashier usually hands me the receipt and tells me how much I saved. "You saved 28 dollars. Good for you!" I often respond with a quick reality check, "Yes, but I spent 150."

A couple of weeks ago, for reasons I cannot explain (except that Google is in fact taking over the planet), along with my regular receipt, the cashier handed me a coupon--for a free book at Shutterfly. Let me repeat that for emphasis: I was given a coupon for a free hardcover book of my own making, presumably just for buying the groceries my family relies on to stay alive. While I assumed this gift was some sort of monkey's paw which I would later be required to repay in unnameable ways, I was kind of tickled by the offer and went ahead and made the free book.

I have created a couple of similar books over the years to commemorate birthdays or to remember a family vacation. At this time, I didn't feel we had anything that needed memorializing, so instead, I invited the kids to make a book of numbers with me. We then spent a few days exploring our house and neighborhood with the camera looking for large numerals and counting flowers and steps and wrought-iron window bars.

The kids gave input on what should be photographed, they also counted, posed, helped write copy ("Ten toes," or "Two doors") and waited patiently while the book traveled through the mail to us. All in all, a pretty good project education-wise. And totally free* to boot!

*Except for shipping and handling, of course.


  1. OK, I'm totally stealing this idea. Even if I have to pay for the book. Brilliant!


  2. wonderful idea! this will be a Christmas gift for my sister's new baby... it will probably take us that long to finish it.... so, perfect timing!

    Melissa Van Varick

  3. would love to see the whole book - looks really cool!