Firstly, I left the top page free of photos and made sure to have a little "tab" or overhang to grip and pull the pages out. On the tab, I hand stamped "a year of zoe/ezra" in a shabby/distressed feel. I'm no good at stamping, actually, so when I stamp ANYTHING it's a shabby, distressed feel, regardless.
From there I just added photos and embellishments in order of the year. As you pull the photos out, the kids get older.
I hand stamped the month next to one of the photos for that month. Most months had two or three photos and I just picked one with the most space around it. I had a lot of fun looking at how much the kids had changed.
I left the back page empty of photos but did use a bit of pattern/color embellishment. I actually glued the photos on opposite sides of the accordion for Zoe and Ezra's books - on Ezra's you can see the the page that folds down onto the bottom has the photos on it, while Zoe's is actually on the other side. They both looked fine, but I think I liked how Zoe's turned out better.
Then I just decorated the inside of the lid and then the outside of the box. At the last moment, I had to attach something to keep the lid shut because all the embellishments made the darn photo accordions too thick... So I just put a loop of ribbon on the lid and glued a hair elastic around a brad on the bottom.
You can slip the elastic through the loop of ribbon and then back over the brads.
I used hot glue for EVERYTHING that adheres to the actual plastic box. That's some kind of scrapbooking blasphemy, I know, and I will probably be struck down for it, but it was quick and easy - though very, very hot. Ouch.
I used double sided tape for all of the photos - archival quality and photo safe. Take that scrapbooking police.
Other embellishments include brads (duh), ric rac - I love that stuff, small safety pins in a variety of colors, paper clips in a variety of colors, and the usual. My favorite items to use to embellish a page? Paper clips, safety pins, and small strips of contrasting paper layered, woven and glued in unique ways. Cheap, I tell you, cheap.
Be careful not to overdo it on the embellishments, or you - like me - will not be able to close the boxes. When you get to that point, think fast.
Did you notice I let their names slip? Yeah. I realized you'd probably all figured it out after this post anyway, so the cat's out of the bag now. I'll probably still use their nicknames out of habit. But no more blurred out names in the photos, so that's cool.
What, you think this is a lame Christmas present? Are you telling me you'd rather get socks??