Kassarie & Kayliray

Recently I realized I have to loosen my tight mama grip on my daughter just a little bit… Her daddy took her to ride horses. He’s taken her once before when I couldn’t go so this was technically her second time riding all by herself. She’s been riding with her daddy or myself since she was only three months old. But now it was time for her to ride on her own!

Klara and Dad on Lady

Let me preface this entire story with the fact that we are horse people. Both my husband and myself grew up riding horses and now want to share that love with our little girl. It’s something we, especially my husband, is completely experienced at and well versed in. My daughter is always completely, 100% safe under his watch for sure.

Back to the story…

Daddy saddled up Klara’s horse with her very own little saddle. Old mister Ichabod has been in the family for a very long time. He belonged to Nate’s granddad and served as his team roping horse for many years. He’s big and sturdy but completely gentle. Daddy got Klara situated on Ichabod’s back, he’d already shown her how to hold on, and off they went. Nate leading Klara and Ichabod around the arena.

Klara Riding Ichabod

I wanted to walk beside her, hold onto her a little longer, but smart daddy that he is, Nate assured me she would be completely fine. And she was. You guys, she held on like a champ! She even waved at mama standing on the sidelines like a little rodeo princess. Killed me! haha.

This is ‘My Little Cowgirl Rides Off Into the Sunset” now one of my favorite videos ever of my daughter. ;) She already loves to ride! She tells me every day now, “I ride Ichabod TODAY!”

My little girl is growing up. And that’s ok. As fast as she’s growing she’s still my baby girl, but I will learn to let go when I should and hold on when I should. Just have to let go a little at a time…

YOUR TURN: When did you realize your kiddo was really growing up? How do you handle letting go when it’s time?


Getting into family history can be hard. Like real talk. And there are amazing people who get up in sacrament/Sunday school/Relief Society and they talk about how fun family history is and we all think, “someday.”

Someday, when I have more time.

when I’m not in school.

when my kids are older.

when I get x, y, or z done….

And I get that. I’m guilty of it in my own way.

But then, one Sunday in Relief Society, our Bishop’s amazing wife tipped us off to a talk that was given by Wendy Watson Nelson at the BYU Women’s Conference in the spring, and how amazing it was.

So I hunted it down.

You can watch it here.


Or if you don’t have time to watch the entire talk, you can read the “highlights” here.

Sister Nelson (wife of Elder Russell M. Nelson) talked about what it means for us to be “covenant women” and how our covenants can help guide and shape our lives for the better. During her talk, Sister Nelson talked about a challenge she gave in response to a group of women who were struggling with anxiety, depression, and various other heavy burdens that caused stress. Sister Nelson suggested a sacrifice, each day, for 21 days, to increase time spent in family history work and temple attendance. She admits this might seem counterintuitive, but then she told of the results.

She reported that the women who accepted the challenge were not more stressed or more strapped for time. They felt better. They were happier. Then she extended the challenge to those listening.

And it hit me. I want to do this.

I started May 30th, because it was as good a day as any, and every day, for 21 days, I either logged into Family Search (a free genealogy site sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with connections to other renowned sites) and worked on my family tree, or I attended the Gila Valley Temple.

At first, it was kind of difficult. Mostly because I really didn’t know what I was doing.

Some days were more involved than others. I had days where I really got in there and was ready to learn and did live-chats with support specialists. I even had one day where a sweet sister in the support center called me to give me extra help. I had some days where I found and reserved names for temple ordinances, and I had days where all I did was review a record hint and attach it to a person. I had days where I was desperate to get to the temple and feel the peace of being inside, and I had days where I had to force myself off of the couch and into a dress.

So, the big question. Did it work?

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is yes, but it didn’t come all at once. In fact, it took sitting down last night and reflecting to really see just how much of an impact this little 3 week journey has had.

Day to day, I didn’t really notice anything particularly different. But I look back at the girl I was just 21 days ago, and the girl I am now, and it’s very clear that they are not the same person. I AM happier. I AM less stressed. And I think this is why: family history and temple work teach me who I am, they change my perspective.

I have taken anywhere from 5 minutes to three hours everyday, depending, to do work that means something in the long term. REALLY long term. Like, eternity.

Looking at that bigger picture daily made my temporal worries shrink in size.

Peace. That’s the feeling.

On top of that, I noticed a few other things:

I know my genealogy better than I ever have, and I’ve been able to find and reserve family names for temple ordinances.

I have a better understanding of my own temple covenants.

Time I might have spent worrying or overthinking was taken up with something simple but productive, and being productive makes me feel good.

Sister Nelson called it a sacrifice, and I’ll be real and tell you that at first, that’s exactly what it felt like. But as the 21 days drew to an end, and I caught myself singing in my car again, and smiling more, and wanting to paint again, it didn’t feel like a sacrifice at all.

It felt like a gift.

And isn’t that what sacrifice is anyway? Trading something good for something better?

If you accept the challenge, let me know. I’d love to hear about your journey too.


What do you do to center yourself?







My baby girl is turning two years old next month… It seems like I barely finished planning her one year birthday party and now we are on to two!!! This year her theme choice was easy. When I ask Klara what she wants to watch on TV her instant reply is “CAKE!!” Meaning Strawberry Shortcake of course. Did you know Etsy is a plethora for amazing Strawberry Shortcake party supplies?! Well, any kind of party you could ever think of really.

I have some awesome shops and awesome goodies for Klara’s party that I can’t wait to share with all of you! The first ones being those for her birthday outfit! I took some cute photos of her in her outfit to use on her invitations and of course feature her Strawberry Shortcake goods! If you’d like you can check out my other photography work on my Facebook page at Kassi Mortensen Photography.

Gila Valley Toddler Photographer

So amazed at how big and cute and sweet my little girl is. Plus, girl really knows how to rock some piggy tails! ;)

Klara’s Strawberry Shortcake birthday outfit came from Get Stitched by Anna on Etsy. Anna was great to work with! Originally I had my eye on a slightly different Strawberry Shortcake outfit that she used to have in her shop.. But it was sold out! When I contacted her about making another she said she was changing the design and used Klara’s outfit for her shop photos! Very cool!

Safford AZ Birthday Photos

Both the shirt and the fabric on the little shorts is high quality. I was very pleased with the entire outfit! The stitching on the shirt is easy to read and love that it comes personalized with Klara’s name and age!

Toddler Birthday Party Tip: I think a fun personalized birthday outfit makes a great gift for your kiddo if it’s something they truly enjoy. It’s also a fun prop for taking birthday photos to remember the year and your child’s favorite character or thing.

Kassi Mortensen Photography

Klara’s fun Strawberry Shortcake Chunky Beaded Necklace is C/O Shannon Psencick Design on Etsy. She has the cutest chunky bead necklaces for just about any character!!! Klara loves hers and likes to touch and look at the bright chunky beads.

Thatcher AZ Toddler Photographer

You can also check out Shannon P Designs on Facebook.

Stay tuned for more Strawberry Shortcake Birthday goodness as we get closer to celebrating Klara’s birthday! Thanks to all those that have helped with the awesomeness thus far! We appreciate you all!

Disclosure: I received a discounted rate or items for free in exchange for my honest opinion. But always the thoughts shared here are 100% my own!


17. 06. 2015

I was SO, SO excited to get my first Stitch Fix in the mail this last weekend. Made my whole weekend more fun trying on the clothes and showing my family and friends what I had received. So here is a break down of what I received, what I kept and what is going back. If you’d like to join me in trying out Stitch Fix, here is my referral link! ;)

Please pardon the bad cell phone shots, we took these in a hurry one afternoon. Next time I’ll try to do better. ;)

Stitch Fix #1 
Top left:
Messi Lattice Neckline Top {RETURNED} – I LOVED this shirt. I loved the style, the fit. It was the perfect compliment to the coral shorts. BUT I found a teeny, tiny tear in the fabric on the one side and for this price I wasn’t going to buy a damaged item. So I sent it back. Seriously so disappointed and I hope that my stylist sends me a replacement or something similar in my next fix. I did contact Customer Support and they offered me a discount if it could be repaired because they didn’t have any others on hand, but I’m afraid it wasn’t repairable. :(

Karla Textured Shorts {KEPT} – Another LOVE! These shorts fit perfectly, they are a bright pop of fun color for summer and the textured front makes them even more eye catching! Keeping them in hopes my stylist will send another awesome shirt to wear with them or that I’ll find a good one in the meantime somewhere.

Top right:
Reyna Printed Maxi Dress {KEPT} – The print of this dress was so pretty and the fabric soft. Seriously SO comfortable! Honestly, I was unsure about keeping this one but my sister, Kayli and friend, Claire, talked me into it. It’s cute paired with a cardigan for special functions or cute by itself for a summer dinner out.

Bottom left:
Lilla Crochet Detail Top {RETURNED} – I really like the print and the fabric of this shirt, the crochet detail made it even more pretty. But I just didn’t like the shape. With the spaghetti straps I felt like I needed to wear something under or over it to be put together. Back it went.

Bottom right:
Daisy Distressed Denim Overall {RETURNED} – So I am not afraid to admit that I have always been a country girl… haha! But overall shorts are not something I feel like I can pull off. I tried them on, of course, but the shorts themselves didn’t fit well and my husband would have disowned me if I were to wear them in public. But cute distressed denim shorts are hopefully in my future!

OVERALL Review of Stitch Fix #1 – Really, I feel like my stylist, Jamie, did a great job for my first fix. She’s still getting to know me and my style, but she has already made a great effort to help me out of my t-shirt rut! So thanks Jamie! Can’t wait to see my next Fix! And friends, for you real, you should check out Stitch Fix, cause if you do I get credit. Just saying. ;)


Remember a few weeks ago I shared the Huggies Spread the Love Selfie #UltraHug $2k Grant Contest?? Well there is still time to nominate a local project in your community to win that grant money!


Sometimes you’ve just gotta forget the laundry and sit and blow kisses with your girl…. Hers are wetter than mine. ;) – While I’m #UltraHug selfie posting, I want to nominate the Mt. Graham Safe House for a $2k grant from @Huggies. It’s a domestic violence shelter and advocacy group in our town. Good things for everyone if they win!!! #sp for more details check this link -> https://ooh.li/72eec39.

A photo posted by Kassi Mortensen (@kassarie) on

I chose to nominate a second community project for the contest after learning about it recently. I was looking for a place to donate some old clothes that Klara had grown out of and I was having trouble finding a place to share those in our small community. Then I discovered Mt. Graham Safe House, Inc. Turns out we have a domestic violence shelter and advocacy group that I didn’t even know about! So I figured if I didn’t know about it there must be others that don’t know about it. Think about how much awareness $2k in grant money could generate for a much needed community project!

I have been lucky or call it blessed to not have needed such a service in my lifetime, but I do know friends that have. Any woman, mother, girl, or person that has experienced domestic violence and did not have a place to go for help deserved so, so much more. Mt. Graham Safe House, Inc. is that safe place for those people who deserve a better life. They accept donations of clothing, toys, etc. to have items to provide to those escaping domestic violence that left without basic life essentials.

I really hope just nominating them will increase the awareness of such a great project, but it would be even more amazing if they were to win that grant money!

So friends, have you nominated a worthy project yet?? It’s probably the easiest nomination process I have ever seen…

1) Take a selfie with you and your little one! Share it to Instagram and Twitter nominating the project of your choice in the description. Make sure to include the hashtag #UltraHug

2) Voting will begin on July 6th on the top 20 nominations.

3) Spread the love. Share, share, share with your friends! The top 10 vote getters will receive a
$2,000 grant from Huggies!

HuggiesHuggies Ultra Hug ContestHuggies2

But hurry! Nominations end June 25th!


I have always loved July 4th! Red, white and blue, fireworks, cookouts and parades. You’d really think my decor for this patriotic holiday would be a little more robust. But it’s not… I only had a few items prior to this post.

I read an article from Kimra Bettasso DIY recently on changing crafting perspective. If the aim is to craft for financial gain, you should know that in most cases that isn’t going to happen. According to Kimra you should craft to express your creativity and to make something truly your own. So with these July 4th Porch Decorations I changed my perspective and made something just for myself to enjoy the crafting process.


I went to the craft section of Wal-Mart looking for inspiration and came across the perfect burlap! When I saw it I knew that the blue with stars and the red stripes would make a perfect patriotic combo on a wreath! I made a burlap wreath for St. Patrick’s day awhile back and knew I could whip up another for the fourth!

July Fourth Burlap Wreath

I’ve kind of come up with my own method for creating a burlap wreath. I started by searching Pinterest, but true to Kimra’s mantra of make it your own, I just took the burlap, some hot glue and figured it out. With the metal wreath form I started by gluing the burlap down on the end then wrapping and pulling it through to make big loops.


I love it! I’m really into the look of burlap wreaths lately, so to have my very own, handmade by me Flag Burlap Wreath… That makes me happy!

Burlap Flag Wreath

The flowers and blue starred crate were another awesome find I happened upon at Wal-Mart! I found the cute crate, already painted, WIN! And then went in search of some cute flowers to fill it. Add a little dry foam to hold the flowers and BAM! Patriotic flowers for the porch!


Patriotic Porch Decor

Do you decorate for the Fourth of July? I’d love to see your decorations if you’ve blogged them – share your posts in the comments below. Oh, and we link to these fun parties. Hope you’ll join us!

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Kimra Bettasso DIY. As always opinions expressed here are 100% my own.


Strawberries. One of my most favorite fruits. Summer time to me means strawberry shortcake, strawberry punch… All things strawberry. SO I decided to gather a few fun Strawberry Dessert Recipes for the other strawberry lovers out there. I don’t know about you but when I look at those round ups of 500 such and such recipes I get WAY overwhelmed, so we’ll just start with ten of my favorite Pinterest finds. ;) Hope you enjoy!

Strawberry Desserts Round Up

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes with Amaretto Cream from Snappy Gourmet

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Cupcakes from Behind Blue Eyes


Vanilla Bean Strawberry Shortcake from The Kittchen

Vanilla Bean Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Poke Cake from Swanky Recipes


Skinny Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie from Amy’s Healthy Baking


Rustic Strawberry and Peach Tart from Sally’s Baking Addiction


Vanilla Glazed Strawberry Rolls from Baker By Nature

Strawberry Rolls with Vanilla Glaze

Sweet Strawberry Cobbler from Mostly Homemade Mom

Sweet Strawberry Cobbler 2

Strawberry Shortcake Bars from Deliciously Sprinkled


Frozen Strawberry Squares from She Wears Many Hats


Tell me, what is YOUR favorite strawberry dessert??