Kassarie & Kayliray
30. 12. 2015

Hey readers, it’s Kayli.

I want to write a little about 2015, and about the new year.

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions.
I don’t think that changes should be made on only one day. I think that if you want to make a change, June 6th is just as good of a day to make changes as January 1st is. I also hate that so often, we make unrealistic resolutions only to end up disappointed in February because we’ve “failed.”

That said, I love New Year’s Day. I love starting fresh, and the idea that we can leave everything that has happened in the last 12 months behind us, where it really belongs. I love the idea of developing positive traits and progressing a little at a time.

So instead of resolutions, I pick a word for every year. I haven’t written about it much before because it was new for me, and I wanted to give it an honest go of my own.

I started this in 2013. My word then was faithful. I needed to develop a trust in my Heavenly Father. I needed to rely more on him and believe things would work out.

In 2014, my word was bloom. I wanted to really embrace the ways in which I was leaving childhood behind and settling into my twenties. I wanted to embrace the woman I was becoming and take risks.

And this year, for 2015, my word was shine.

I wanted my testimony to be my most defining feature. I wanted to let the happiness the gospel has given me, radiate. I wanted to accomplish things and share things and be happy.


With Klara after The Color Run

I completed the Color Run, where the theme, very fittingly, was “shine.”

With my best friend, Claire. (Gertie of Gertie and Bertie)

With my best friend, Claire. (Gertie of Gertie and Bertie)

I attended the temple and received my endowment.
I overcame heartbreak. I spent time with my girls. I started over in Safford and spent time with Kassi, her husband, and Klara. I moved in with “new” family and found another home.

I student taught and fell madly in love with my “job.”
I went to football games, and basketball games, and I even attended a ballet.

Glitter letters. Glitter's my favorite.

Glitter letters. Glitter’s my favorite.

Then I graduated at the top of my class in Secondary Education from New Mexico State University.

I grew. A lot.

And the entire time, I reminded myself that what I was trying to do, was shine.

Choosing a word instead of making resolutions has been really effective for me.

I can’t fail my word.

It’s something I’m trying to develop, not something I’m trying to achieve.

I work on it throughout the year. When given opportunities, I think about my word. When faced with choices, I think about my word. When in times of darkness and trial, or joy and celebration, I think about my word and what I need to do next in order to exemplify it.

Wanna join me? It’s an easy process, I promise.
I pick a word at the end of every December. I choose something I want to work on, a word that describes something I admire and feel like I need to develop. It doesn’t matter what part of speech it is. Faithful is an adjective while bloom and shine are verbs. It can be anything you want to be more of, or do more of.

Then, (and this stuff is totally optional) I pin to my “Words of the Year” Pinterest board. I search my word and save quotes. You can see that board here. (I started the board over the last year. Before that I was just saving quotes to my “Things that Inspire Me” board, here.) I make my phone wallpaper something that reminds me of my word for the first couple of weeks of January. Then, I do my best to look for it, and remind myself of it, throughout the year.

So, what’s my word for 2016?

I’ve chosen “gentle”.



This is something I want to work on, being more gentle. Initially I thought about “strong”. I certainly want to be a stronger person, but before I develop that strength, I want to make sure that in my heart, in my actions, I’m soft. I want to be more kind, and more tender, and more loving.

I want to be more like my savior, and he was the most gentle person to ever walk this earth.

I want to be teachable, and moldable, and willing to change and love what comes, whatever that is. I want to be GENTLE.

So what’s your word going to be? I’d love to know. Share in the comments!




It’s here… time to get those holiday cards on order so they’ll be ready to send out this holiday season!!! I already have mine. Don’t be jealous of my crazy preparation skills… Christmas cards are literally the ONLY holiday thing I’ve taken care of yet this year. No gifts, no new decor, just the cards. But it’s a biggie! And really, an easy one for me. I just use my go to holiday card website, problem solved. For real, this is maybe the fifth year in a row I think that I’ve order our holiday cards from Shutterfly. Favorite hands down!

Because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for those receiving our holiday cards this year, here’s last year’s Shutterfly Christmas Card instead… ;)


Then, here’s a few of my favorite designs for this year!! First, I am loving the pretty foil stamped designs and this year there’s even more colors to choose from to customize your cards!

Foil StampedOR instead of sending your loved ones an ordinary holiday card, you can now send them an ornament for their Christmas tree!!!! There’s a whole selection of fun ornament cards to choose from as well!

Shutterfly Ornament Christmas Card

I love that you can also purchase matching address labels and gift stickers to go with your holiday cards. Really complete the ensemble!

Shutterfly Address Labels

Gift Stickers from Shutterfly While you’re on the Shutterfly site choosing your holiday stationary, you might as well get some holiday gift shopping done! I personally LOVE their Personalized iPhone Photo Cases. SO much so I got one for myself with my favorite photo of my daughter holding a sonogram of our little man on the way!

Shutterfly iPhone Case

Other fun photo gifts include Christmas stockings, candles, gift wrap, and so much more! They also have fun home decor items you can personalize with your own photos!

To wrap it up holiday style, Shutterfly is my favorite site for my Christmas stationary, personalized gifts and cute home decor items. Nothing beats a thoughtful personalized present with a family photo!

Your turn: Do you send holiday cards every year? Why or why not?

Disclosure: I received my holiday stationary for this year in exchange for a sponsored post for Shutterfly. As always though, opinions shared here are 100% my own. I would never share something I don’t truly love!


We’re still here!!! *Cue excuses… It’s just that it’s my busiest season as a photographer… Senior sessions, family sessions for Christmas cards, etc. Then there’s all the editing that goes with it. No time to sit and write a blog post. BUT… I have a bit of news to share that you may or may not have seen on Facebook, or Instagram… But if you haven’t yet….

Klara Gets a Brother

Klara’s going to be a BIG sister!!!! Her little brother is due in Mach 2016! We are thrilled to be adding a little mister to our family!

It's a boy!

Anyone have any tips on life with two kids?! Not going to lie, I’m freaking out a little about going from one to two… Working from home and all the other things that go on in life… Help a momma out! ;)


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Manwich for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s been a long weekend, you’re ready to kick off the week with a great dinner but you’re at a loss. You’ve been busy, the kids are always busy… What to do? Enter Manwich Monday! #ManwichMonday









Manwich is a tangy, sweet, meat less sauce that can be used in numerous Manwich Monday Recipes. Today I have one of my very own to share with you. A recipe that is sure to please the family, get everyone to sit together at the table and it’s super easy, so that makes life easier on YOU!

7 Can Soup with Manwich Sauce

Ingredients Needed:

Step 1: Open your cans. It will feel like your running the can opener forever, but it really doesn’t take that long. ;)

Step 2: Pour each of the cans into a large soup sized pot. Heat over Medium Low Heat.

Manwich Monday Recipe (1)


Step 3: Cut up the cheese into cubes and add it to the soup mixture.

Manwich Monday Recipe (2)


Step 4: Continue heating and stirring until cheese is completely melted and combined with soup and soup is bubbling.

Step 5: Serve with a side of corn bread for a fun fall Manwich Monday favorite!

Manwich Monday Recipe (4)


Make Mondays the best day of the week with fun Manwich Monday Recipes. There are three delicious flavors of Manwich sauce that you can use to make a traditional Manwich.

Manwich Monday Recipe (3)


You have to use BOTH hands to enjoy a Manwich dinner, so your entire family will be focused on dinner and the company of each other instead of those pesky cell phones. ;) Or get creative and try something new like this 7 Can Soup recipe! For more ideas be sure to Sign-up for ReadySetEat eNewsletter and Follow Manwich on Twitter.

Visit Sponsors Site

Hello there lovelies!!! It’s been awhile. This renovation stuff, painting at the new house and then just life on top of that has kept me away from the blog. But I have a cute little Baby Girl Bow Holder to share with you today that I made for my new little niece on the way!

Materials needed:

*Burlap frame from Wal-Mart’s craft section (I originally had planned to make some exactly like the ones I made for Klara but then I found that cute frame and thought it was too cute to pass up!)
*Glue gun and glue sticks
*Craft Paint
*Paint Brush
*Cardboard Letter from Wal-Mart’s craft section

Step 1: Paint the board letter in your choice of color. Pink for a baby girl. ;)

Baby Girl Bow Holder (2)

Step 2: Hot glue the letter to the frame. If you don’t go the burlap frame route like I did, you could still do a cute little frame and put fabric as the background.

Baby Girl Bow Holder (3)

Step 3: Cut your ribbon in the lengths desired to hang from the frame and hot glue those to the back of the frame. I used thumbtacks to reinforce the hot glue.

Baby Girl Bow Holder (4)

Step 4: Clip on your cute little bows to the ribbon and hang on the wall! Or in my case wrap and give as a baby shower gift! ;)

Baby Girl Bow Holder (1)

Your turn: What’s your favorite gift to give at a baby shower?


Just as the back to school rush is starting to settle down, or maybe even just getting started depending on where you live, it’s a great time to think about education around the world. We as Americans really tend to take things for granted that other countries and cultures are not as easily privy to. One of those things is being able to send our children to school once the summer is over. My daughter isn’t school age yet, but I know 100% without a doubt that when the time comes I can and will send her to school. She is guaranteed an education in this country no matter her race, gender or class. Other girls around the world aren’t so lucky.


Another of those things we take for granted is clean, drinkable water running right out of a tap in our kitchen. Jennifer Osei Boakye of Ghana, only 10 years old, spends the majority of her day traveling a long distance to fetch several buckets of water for her family. She cooks and she cleans, but because of the CARE organization she is also able to go to school.

CARE is a global humanitarian organization that fights poverty by empowering girls and women. One of those ways is through encouraging education.

Girls Education Awareness CARE.org

Every little girl deserves an education. She deserves a chance at a better life. Without education, the future for girls is haunting….

– Keeping girls out of school sentences them to a life of poverty and poor health

– Women earn 10-20% more for every year of school completed

– Children of educated mothers are 2x as likely to go to school

– Children born to literate moms are 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5

Learn more about Jennifer and her community in the video below.

So how do we who are more fortunate help those that are so hungry for an education? #hungrytolearn

Visit CARE’s Gifts of Lasting Change Catalog where you can find back-to-school gifts for friends and family that support girls’ education around the world. Get a gift for those you love AND help a young girl be able to go to school. Win-win if you ask me!


Hello there friends!!! It’s been awhile. We’ve moved. We’ve been renovating and painting and packing and unpacking. BUT for the most part we are now settled into our new home, Casa de Mortensen. Read more about it hear if you’re interested. I have SO many things to share and catch you up on but since I left you hanging with our vacation, I thought I’d share that first…

Our Luna Summer Vacation Part 1 can be found here in case you missed it. We spent our Saturday doing fun activities for the Luna Pioneer Days. We went to the parade in the morning with Nana, Papa, Great Papa, Aunt Kayli and Kase and Klara got to get candy and watch her cousin Taylor, the fair princess, ride in the parade.

Luna Rodeo Parade 2015 Taylor Luna Rodeo 2015
Later that day we watched Taylor carry the New Mexico flag in the rodeo, watched my brother participate in the wild cow ride. Klara got to watch her daddy and uncles team rope. Even with a little rain and a big nap for Klara right in the middle it was a fun day!

Grady and Klara Luna Summer 2015 Luna Rodeo Dance 2015
That evening Klara got to go to her very first Luna Rodeo Dance! The same dance where her daddy and I met almost twenty years ago! She had the best time dancing with her cousins!

The rest of our weekend was spent spending time with family, eating some yummy food, and watching fireworks. Definitely a weekend to remember.

Your turn: What was your favorite vacation as a kiddo?


Every year, the weekend closest to July 24th my little family heads to Luna, NM to celebrate the Luna Pioneer Days. Both sides of our family congregate in Luna for camping, the parade, rodeo and other fun activities. This was Klara’s third year! Fun fact, my husband and I actually met at the Luna Rodeo Dance when we were just kids so the whole weekend is a special event for all of us!

This year our pre-rodeo activities included fishing at Luna Lake in Alpine, AZ, golfing at the Alpine Country Club and taking the kids to swim at the Head of the Ditch Campground in Luna, NM.

Fishing at Alpine Kase's Fish at Alpine  Klara and Nana Fishing Klara Fishing at Alpine

My nephew, Kase, caught the biggest and one of only three fish at Luna Lake. But the kids had a great time… There was lots of casting out and reeling in, some sprinkles of rain and then Klara took a dive into the water where she was wading and since I forgot extra dry clothes we made her a dress out of her daddy’s work shirt… ;)


First Tee in Alpine Golfing at Alpine

One afternoon Nana kept Klara so I could go with Nate and the guys to golf at the Alpine Country Club. Nate and I were married there at that exact hole just over four years ago! It still all looks exactly the same! I don’t really golf but it was fun to have an afternoon away riding in the golf cart and laughing at the guys try to golf… haha.


Swimming in Luna 2 Swimming in Luna 3 Swimming in Luna 4 Swimming in Luna

There’s a creek that runs through the Head of the Ditch Campground in Luna and the kids, Klara and her cousins, had the best time playing in the water and mud. My mom used to take my brother, sister and I there to play when we were little so it was so fun to be able to share that with my daughter and nieces and nephews.

Seriously, the most fun, laid back weekend ever. And everything we did with the kids created amazing memories at a low cost.

Your Turn: What is your favorite vacation activity with your family?


It’s an amazing thing becoming a mother. One day you wake up and it’s just you and your spouse and literally hours later there are now three of you! Where there wasn’t this extra amazing little person before, there’s now a bouncing, crying, cooing little bundle of awesomeness. Getting to know and bonding with your baby can be just as difficult, or more so, as getting to know a new friend. It takes time to learn your baby’s personality, their likes and dislikes, how they’ll respond to you and those others around them. Here are a few of my tips for creating the time to bond with baby in those first few weeks and a #FormulaForHappiness for the whole family!

Klara and Mommy

Room in with baby if you can. Some hospitals, like the one where I delivered Klara, allowed us to keep her with us in my hospital room. They took her to the nursery for check ups, getting weighed, things like that but the rest of the time she was in a bassinet in my room with me and my husband. You’re going to get to take that bundle home soon and it will just be you and baby from then on, so getting used to it right away can make the transition to home easier and baby happier!

Help daddy bond with baby. This new little person you both created is going to greatly change the dynamic of your relationship, in a good way. But that change, regardless of the positive can be hard on everyone, so help daddy feel close to baby as much as you can. The nurses had my husband do the first several diaper changes and help with her first bath. He stayed with me in the hospital room overnight so he could help me get Klara to feed her, or change her. Plus, mommy needs a break from time to time, so the go to number one helper can be daddy! Even after Klara was several weeks old Nate would take her and rock or play with her so I could just get some sleep.

Klara and Daddy

Accept the help you’re offered, or ask for help if you need it! This one is SO important. I had several family members and friends offer to stop by and help with things, or bring meals, etc. I was embarrassed at first to have someone else throwing my laundry in the washer, or doing my dishes. But you have to relinquish that control so that you can spend time cuddling baby and resting. Plus, they offer because they love you and your little one. Let them show it.
If you are looking for help with more specific issues Gerber® has certified baby sleep consultants, certified lactation consultants or nutritionists that you can schedule a FREE Appointment with to help you get the advice you need. These services are provided thanks to Gerber® Good Start® Gentle.

Ignore the things that don’t matter. Back to those dirty dishes… They can wait. Snuggling with your new little one when she’s just a few days old won’t. It goes so fast. Take the time to enjoy everything you can and to get all the extra sleep you can. You can always ask daddy to help with the dishes. ;)

Popsicles, playing outside, fun with mom and dad are Klara’s #formulaforhappiness these days! But in the first few weeks of her life those things were very different… My tips for bonding with baby are on the blog today! Link in my profile.

A photo posted by Kassi Mortensen (@kassarie) on

Your turn: What are your tips for finding the time to bond with baby in those first few weeks? Be sure to share your tips for baby and mommy’s #FormulaForHappiness with the hashtag on social media!


Well friends, we’ve decided the Avalon Bay AirFryer is one of the coolest kitchen gadgets both Kayli and I have ever seen! Seriously. It’s like a cute little oven for your counter top. Hello coolest graduation gift for a kid heading to live in a dorm room. OK, gushing over, for a second anyway.

Avalon Bay Air Fryer Review (6)

So, what is an “airfryer”? According to their website, “AirFryers work the same way as convection ovens, but better. The fan technology removes the fats & oils from the food, by allowing it to drip through the drip basket. It then AirFrys the food by lifting the oil and making your food airborne by coating it. It does this continuously throughout the cooking process.” In short, you leave out the oil but still get all your favorite foods!

Here’s a short video review from Kayli explaining how the airfryer works and a little bit about the recipe we’re going to share with you.

Strawberry Cream Crescent Rolls in the Avalon Bay AirFryer

Ingredients needed:

Avalon Bay Air Fryer Review (1)

Step 1: Lay out the crescent roll dough and spread a thin layer of the preserves across the top.

Avalon Bay Air Fryer Review (3)

Step 2: Top the preserves with small slices of cream cheese. {I know the photo shows one big chunk, but we discovered it works better if you spread it out a bit.}

Step 3: Roll up the crescents.

Avalon Bay Air Fryer Review (4)

Step 4: Bake in the Avalon Bay AirFryer at 250 degrees for 25-30 minutes. We lined the basket in the fryer with foil since I didn’t have a baking pan that would fit inside. But the foil worked just fine.

Avalon Bay Air Fryer Review (5)

Step 5: Enjoy!!

Avalon Bay Air Fryer Review (7)

Overall thoughts on the Avalon Bay Airfryer: Impressed. Really, there are so many yummy dishes you can make with the airfryer! Everything from frozen foods to desserts like the crescent rolls we made. And all with less calories thanks to the whole no oil required thing. ;) I seriously think this would make a great gift for your high school graduate headed to their dorm room this fall. It’s like a little counter top oven! You can make dinner and dessert all in this one pretty red gadget!

Avalon Bay Air Fryer Review (8)

To purchase your own Avalon Bay AirFryer check out their site here. And to learn more about their other products, be sure to like Avalon Bay on Facebook.

Disclosure: I received the Avalon Bay AirFryer in exchange for my honest opinion and review. As always opinions expressed here are 100% the real thoughts from Kayli and myself.