How to Create a Mother-Daughter Journal

How was your weekend? Good, I hope. Well, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and if you find yourself scrambling to come up with something at the last minute and you’re on a budget, I have an idea for you. When I was in graduate school what seems like ages ago, my finances were really tight. I was nearing the end of a course that required a 2000-hour clinical internship and mine was unpaid. I did my best to hold down a part time job during that time and my parents were extremely generous helping me with the all the basics I needed but I didn’t want to ask them for anything extra. I know they would have helped me in a heartbeat but I just had way too much pride to ask them for anything else.

Anyway, Mother’s Day was literally right around the corner and I had I nothing to give my mom. I really didn’t even have an idea of what to give her because I was eating frozen pizzas and fish sticks. I wandered around the store for what seemed like an hour hoping I would feel inspired to make her something and nothing sparked my creativity. I finally bought her a simple leather journal because I figured if nothing else, she could keep track of her goals.

All the way home from the store, you guys, I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t believe that journal was all I had to give my mom but at the time that was my reality. Down but not defeated I was determined to make that journal the most thoughtful journal I could create. So, I called my sisters and asked them to help me make a traveling journal. Here’s a look at how you can make a traveling journal too…

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If you’ve never heard of a traveling journal before, let me explain how we use ours. I bought the journal and filled out the very first page. On the page was an entry I wanted to share with my mom and sisters about how much they meant to me. At the end of my entry, I left a question for the next recipient, my middle sister, to answer and I passed the journal on to her. She wrote on the second page much like I did on the first, asked a question and passed it on to my baby sister. My baby sister also wrote a note to all of us, asked a completely different question and passed it on to my mom.

By the time my mom opened her traveling journal on Mother’s Day she had three entries to read. All of the entries were love letter style recounting how much we appreciated how hard she worked to raise us while my dad was away on deployments throughout the years. To say she was touched was an understatement, I think we were all crying that day. Since then, we’ve kept the journal going with funny stories, prayers, words of encouragement and a bond I know will never be broken all outlined on the pages of our traveling journal.

Obviously, you can save a lot of time and buy a journal like we did.

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But if you want to customize a journal and make it more of your own, you can do it with these easy supplies and steps. You’ll need to decide in advance how you want the journal to look so you can choose papers, stickers, stamps or stencils that reflect your vision.

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You’ll also need glue or adhesive spray and a foam brush.

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In addition, you’ll also want to have some scissors on hand to cut the papers to size. As always, scissors are sharp so use caution and care when using them.

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Attach the paper of your choice to the cover with glue or spray adhesive and allow to dry completely. I used basic brown kraft paper as a back drop.

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Then I cut a heart from white paper and used stamps to mark the heart with the recipient’s initials.

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Once the “new” cover is in place, decorate the outside with embellishments to completely customize the traveling journal.

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This is another place where you can get really creative and make it as fancy or as simple as you want. I added a simple bow made from bakers twine.

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Allow to dry (if needed) then turn to the first page of the journal and write the recipient a special note. I’m giving this journal to my sister and her daughter so I wanted to write a special note to my niece on the first page.

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I know it sounds really simple but you can exchange notes each day/week with your kids, your niece or nephew, your spouse, your grandparents, your best friend, your sisters or your parents. Sure, this journal started as a Mother-Daughter journal but you can use this same idea to give a similar journal to anyone you want. It will be like a time capsule of the funny, sweet or maybe even frustrating moments you’ve created together all in one place!

Even now, my mom tells me the journal we created for her all those years ago is one of her favorite gifts which is really sweet to hear. I tell you guys this a lot, I know I do, but it’s worth saying again – telling someone what you like, love or appreciate about them no matter what the occasion or the size of your budget will always be a welcomed gift.

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See you guys back here tomorrow. I’ll had an interesting experience at the top of the lighthouse a few weekends ago and I’ll tell you all about it. Until then, I’ll see you on Facebook, on Instagram on Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. This post makes me miss my mom, CoCo. There are a lot of things I wish I could still say to her and a journal like this would have been fun to read through on the days I miss her most. Great idea.

    1. Thanks so much, Bonnie, I appreciate your kind words. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to lose a parent. I’m sending you big hugs and lots of love. I know your mom’s spirit is all around you. Hugs, CoCo

  2. Hey CoCo – we want you to know how much this mother/daughter team loves this idea. We are big fans of journaling already – this just takes it to the next level. Thanks so very much for sharing!

    1. I thought about you guys the whole time I was making this journal because I know you have so many letters and beautiful photographs from your mom. They are such treasures. Hugs, CoCo

  3. This is such a cool idea! My girls are little now and chat me up all the time but I know they’ll be teenagers soon and I’ll need a cooler way to communicate ha ha

    1. Oh my gosh, the teenage years! I can’t even imagine! I don’t know how my mom made it with all of us girls. She’s a saint, Sarah, that’s all I can say and you seem to be headed that way too. Hugs, CoCo

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