It sounds to me like you've got some great ideas to start with. As with the others, I'd recommend a post bound book, this way you can move the pages around as you would like as well as add more pages. I've never worked with spiral bound, so I can't say. For journaling, you can use acid free cardstock, and run it through your printer with your journaling typed out. If you would rather hand write, you can get a marker that has disappearing ink. You can use the marker to make lines to write on then the lines will disappear and you'll just have your journaling. I personally have a Cricut Expression that I use to make text and embellishments. This does have a higher up front cost, but that longer term cost is a lot less because of the frequency I use it. All my scrapbook pages have used the Expression in one way or another. There's a program you can purchase from Craft Edge that's call Sure Cuts A Lot, this allows you to use any Cricut and cut True Type fonts, that way you're not stuck with just the cartridges. If this is something you're looking to do and continue with and if you have the funds, in my opinion, the Cricut (personal, create, expression) is the way to go. With the cricut there's also another piece of software called Design Studio. This allows you to use the cartridges and weld words/designs together so you'll have one long word instead of individual letters. I don't use my Expression without DS, it shows me what I'm going to cut before I cut. I've saved a lot of paper that way.
To answer your question on journaling boxes, that would be an area (or separate piece of paper adhered to the page) that has your journaling. I don't know if I helped or confused you more. Good luck!