I’d like to share a tradition I started 6 years ago when I met my husband. I thought it would be a nice gift to give a photo book of everything we did in 2008. We did a lot! One of the things I wish I had from my childhood was some of the memories that I have forgotten. I remember a few things here and there and have a few photos of those times, but I dont remember much before the age of 5 with the exception of a couple stories. My little sister is worse than me!
When I had children I wanted to make sure they had the photographs to look back and see the times they spent at daycare with thier little friends, or the places they got to visit like the Zoo or Museum, which they will probably completely forget later. Having these photographs in these books not only helps me get them off of my computer and seen by the world, it also is such a fun way to look back at your family yearbook each year and see how much people have changed or how much the kids have grown. I LOVE sharing these with my family on Christmas morning when they open the book and see everything we did that year. It so fun listening to everyone say  “look at your hair!” or look how much weight you lost or Look at that old car!

Here is how I do these books:

  • I use Shutterfly! I know I’m a photographer and I should be using a Professional program, but hey, its somewhat user friendly and it gets the job done.

  • I almost NEVER pay for the book! yep! You heard that right… Shutterfly always has super sales and they give away free photo books ALL the time. Ive gotten some free photo book codes in my email and Ive gotten some from register reciepts at Safeway and this year, I saved all of my pamper diaper rewards and turned 1,000 points in for a free book. I use the 8 x 8 book in hard cover * You stil have to pay shipping, which I think is $13 or so. If you cant find a code, I think the book is around $30, which is still cheep considering you will have it forever.

  • Each month throughout the year I save my photos on an external hard drive under the month is was taken ( Pope January, Pope Fabruary etc.)

  • Each Page in the book is usually one month. Sometimes I’ll have no activities for that month so I will just extend an event like October usually has 3 pages due to Halloween and all the birthdays in that month.

  • I always put December in the following year.. because I give the book as a Christmas gift, it goes in the following year.

  • Good Luck and I hope all the new moms that had babies this year are taking lots of pictures and starting their own albums!



Here are some photos from my personal collection that are going into our 2013 album:
This is when we made a cake for our Pug Dog June’s Birthday!
baking a cakePinthisdec2012-1Pinthis

This is when we had a easter egg hunt!

Easter Egg HUntingPinthis

This is when we went to the Zoo in June. It was super foggy in San Francisco!
SF ZooPinthis

This is when we took the kids to the Ardenwood Train Show in September!

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Roasted Salsa
by Jen Pope
Approx 60 Roma Tomatoes, large
Approx 20 tomatillo tomatoes, dehusked
2-3 Medium White Onions
1 bunch of scallions
1 bunch of cilantro ( less if you want it to store for longer ) I often leave this out.
2-3 Whole Garlic bunches
Approx 10 Serrano chili’s (more or less for taste & spiceness)
Approx 10-15 Chili’s (more of less for taste & spiciness)
1 TBS salt
1 TBS sugar

Cut and wash Large Roma Tomatoes
De-husk and wash tomatillo tomatoes

Roast the tomatoes on foil on a skillet on high.
Wash and cut tops off of chili’s. Cut large ones in half to roast face down.

Roast all the veggies face down on high so they burn the foil, creating a roast effect.

Put roasted veggies into large bowl on the side so you can prepare to blend them

Roast more veggies. When they are crispy like this, they are ready to set aside in a bowl. Be sure to save the foils so you can rub off the burnt particles and use as the roast.

Cut the white onions into large cubes. These do not need to be roasted. Put them in the bowl that you have set aside.

Use only a small amount of cilantro, maybe 1/2 cup and cut the scallions and also set aside in the bowl. These do not need to be roasted either.

All of the ingredients will not be blended in a strong food blender. I usually add the onions through the top so they don’t get stuck in the blender. Do not over blend into a puree. 

when you are done roasting the veggies, you are going to use a soft spatula and some water to cook off the roasted burnt veggie particles. Add those to the blender and then mix with the salsa.
Add the salsa to a crock pot to keep hot. If you plan on canning, you will need to do this. If you don’t plan on canning the salsa, then you can put into a storage container.
Canning is easy. Use Mason jars that you can pick up from OSH, Lowe’s, or online. You just need to boil the jars to remove any bacteria.

You boil the bands of the jars too.
Add the salsa to the hot jars with 1/4″ headspace, then re-boil the canned jars with the salsa in them for 20 minutes to process them. Go to freshpreserving.com for more information on canning.

Now they are ready to be wrapped with bows and gifted to friends and family! 

Follow up your hard work with an ice cold brew!

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A few day ago my sister called me sounding a little unmotivated. She’d been at that point of the day where she’d been working her normal day job and was frustrated with the fact that she wasn’t acomplishing what she really wanted to do. She was, like most of us, spending time doing what she had to do in order to make ends meet. When in reality she felt like she wanted to spend more time on the things she really enjoyed and making a better impact toward her life. She said she really wanted to spend time writing or blogging. She wanted to take her world traveling experiences and write that novel and those short stories that have been swirling around in her head for months.

That day she reminded me of myself, about 3 weeks earlier. She said her fear was standing in the way. Fear of the unknown. That kind of fear that your mind starts to bend and twist and make excuses for yourself and you start to believe them. Things like someone has already“done” that or I dont know “how”. I dont know where to “learn” from. She sounded like me in my efforts to become a photographer. I also spend my job doing thing to make ends meet. Feeling unmotivated because at the end of the day I dont feel like I’ve accomplished anything and I’m not satisfied. My brain has also made those excuses { someone has already“done”  that. I dont know “how”. I dont know where to “learn”}  I spent months making excuses for myself as to why I can’t be a photographer.  

When she spoke to me on the phone I told her about a revelation I had a few weeks back. I told her that I followed Ketti Phillips of “Ketti Handbags”  and came across a blog post of hers. If you are in the photography world than you might have seen some of her awesome photo gear bags. She’s got those chic one of a kind bags that you have to wait every monday at 9am to get one, and to find out that you weren’t fast enough to click to pay. She also does Photography. Lets just face it, shes freaking awesome. In any case, she posted a sign that said “MAKE SHIT HAPPEN” so of course it caught my attention. What shit? 

Like me, she was working on 5 bazillion things at once, while running a household, taking care of 2 kids. Spending time with her husband. Sounds familiar. She needed to get her “shit” together in order to grow her business but her fear of the unknown was standing in the way. I felt connected to her. I was also in that situation. Fear of the unknown, more questions, more costs. Will this return results? Will I feel satisfied? Will I feel accomlished? 

I pinned her story to my Pinterest wall. I feel like this is something most of us stuble upon throughout our life journey. Fear of the unknown.

Well… I am DONE with letting that fear control my life. I am done with letting those doubts and questions make excuses for myself. I never used to be so afraid when I was younger. WHAT happened? Time to make a change.

I am so thankful my sister came up with a plan and a daily reminder. She decided to create our own posters for Ketti’s moto. We are Makin SHIT happen folks! Get ready!  Please join us! Make a poster and post it in your house. People will ask, what shit? and you can tell them your goals 🙂 Great daily reminder! Thank you Ketti!!!!


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