Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Review Extravaganza Week 3

We are halfway done with the Review Extravaganza! (#2014RE)

 It has been so fun reading everyone's recaps and getting to know a lot of new bloggers.  I will be honest, I am yet to make the rounds for last week yet, but I am going to!  I had a photo shoot this weekend which I also finished this weekend (Christmas present) so that has taken all of my time.

You still can join in if you haven't yet.  This week we are recapping, July, August and September.  Make sure to head over to this post and see all of the awesome prizes you could win when recapping with us.  Grab the button for your post!

Read all of the rules and see the prizes here.


July began with us on vacation (which started in June).  We first went to Utah for a few days, then went to Yellowstone for a family reunion with my side of the family.
My side of the family-- all 27 of us!
The worst part- I never really blogged about it!  I kept meaning to do a Throw back Thursday all last month and catch up (as I get my blog printed every year), but I never did.  It may have been the 1200 pictures I had from the trip to go through that overwhelmed me in the end.

I did share this fun video though I made from our vacation, definitely worth watching.

While I was gone on vacation, I told about my first kiss with my husband.

We spent our 4th of July in Utah, where Eric put on a firework show for us (with fireworks we purchased in Montana).

After our trip we mostly enjoyed what was left of our summer, lots of pajama days, made some cookies, toured model homes and I did a few photo shoots.

Then it was time to share my Back to School Check-list, as school was about to begin again.

Pictures from the month


We had our annual YES Day right before the kids went back to school.

My Kids started school- like right away.. August 4th to be precise.

Ryder started preschool and I was home alone for the first time in many years!
We had a few beach days- on the weekend since school was back in.

   I told why my kids are colorblind, had two gets get sick during the month, I found an awesome thrift store that is just books, Alex started soccer again, we went to Knotts Berry Farm for my husband's work party and I photographed more newborns.

Some Pictures from the month


I lamented about the fact that kids sometimes cry for no reason.  I got a little more serious and told why you need to teach your kids when they are young, and I told you about my son's humility

Football season was in full swing, had some great date nights, we got passes to the aquarium and saw this scary guy
I also told why we won't ever allow our kids to have sleepovers.
We took our yearly trip to Big Bear
And I told why you shouldn't give up on your dreams.

Pictures from the month

Super good hair day

Can't wait to see your recap!  Add your link below, then don't forget to keep getting all of your entries for the giveaway!
2014 Review Extravaganza

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday 5: Bacon and Christmas

Friday 5! (#Friday5)  Join me with an easy way to end the week by sharing 5 thoughts and 5 pictures from the week.  A great way to share those little things that don't need a whole post of their own.

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5 Thoughts

1. This weekend my church put on a Living Nativity pageant. This is the 5th year they have done it and by far the best attendance.  I go every night and take pictures at it, for my church calling or service as the Public Affairs Social Media Specialist.  Even though I end up seeing it many many times, I still get the chills every time I watch it and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

2. I am getting ready to update my photography website and realized there are a ton of sessions from this year that I never blogged about!  I really plan to get more on top of the whole business side of things this next year.

3. Alex's class had a pancake breakfast for their last day before Christmas break.  I signed up to bring bacon, two pounds of it. I thought it was an easy assignment, until I realized they didn't want me just dropping off the bacon- but wanted cooked and ready to eat bacon.  Thursday morning before school my stove.. well just see the picture below.

4. This week as we were driving to school and observed the snow on the mountains (yes real snow); Alex commented saying how it never snowed here in the Valley just in the mountains.  Ryder replied, "it is going to snow on Christmas, there is snow on Christmas."   That boy has never had a white Christmas in his life, not sure why he thinks we will get snow on Christmas; it is forecasted to rain though.

5. Ryder had his preschool Christmas performance.  They said a couple of poems and played a few songs on bells, it was cute.  Eric and I both noted how dramatically Ryder was doing the hand motions during the song, we both commented that he was channeling his inner Alex.

5 Pictures
All of the bacon I had to cook- only got burned from the grease twice
Eric taught Ryder how to arm wrestle 
At the end of the Nativity when the cast and audience are singing together 
One of the pictures from the photo shoot I did this weekend
Ryder's preschool Christmas show
What is your 5 this week?   Don't forget today is the last day to link up with week 2 of the Review Extravaganza!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teaching Teens Money Management

Disclaimer: Thank you to RichDad for Sponsoring this post and giving me a way to teach my kids to be financially savvy. 

Mortgages, investments, loans all things that are part of the real world that no one really wants to think about; but how do you learn and teach finances?   CASHFLOW is a new board game designed to help you teach your teens about investing and being financially smart.

Eric and I opened up the game last night to play it.  When we saw that there was a free App that you could get to help keep track of your money and assets, we both quickly downloaded the App.  When we play with our kids when they are a little older, the game is recommended for 14+, we will probably go back to the paper and pencil method, as it will be good practice adding and subtracting.
Getting the game all set up
The game initially seems very new but the instructions aren't too complex and we quickly got going.

CASHFLOW helps you learn how to deal with real life financial situations, without risking your own money.  The CASHFLOW board games teaches you how to invest and acquire assets, it is more than just keeping a budget.  CASHFLOW was created by Robert Klyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, the best selling personal finance book of all time and Kim Klyoaki, author of Rising Time.

To me it seems like a game that would be awesome for even a high school or college class to help teach the lessons beyond budgeting that many don't know.  We are already trying to teach our kids the importance of money and money management skills, but how in life do you learn how to move above just keeping a budget but learn how to be financially stable and successful with sound investments?

The game is a little slow going at the start, as you are just starting off in the 'rat-race' and have to make only little investments as you are able. The first time Eric and I played it, me being totally unsure of how it works and probably showing my lack of knowledge in investments, acquired a large investment that could have been profitable but I wasn't really financially ready to make.  When I landed on "Downsized" twice on my trips around the board, combined with my unwise investment, topped off with an expensive family vacation- well that put me into bankruptcy pretty early on in the game.
The App and the Game work great together
It really was a teaching and ah-ha kind of moment.

I am happy to report, the second time we played I was a lot more wise with my money and ended up winning the game.

The game is recommended for 14+, but I think with our help that my 10-year-old could even play it.  I think we will let him use the App at this point, as the App really does work flawlessly with the game and makes it faster to play.  I feel we would have to do a lot of instructing and strategy help, but isn't that the whole purpose, helping us as parents to do our  job teaching our kids how to make sound financial decisions.
Scree shot of the App
We really did enjoy the game in the end and Eric even said we would have to play it again tonight, I think he wants to win this time.  I enjoyed this game as it is very unique in strategy and play and I feel like I am a little wiser for playing it.

**Right now you can get 10% off your purchase of CASHFLOW by using the code: CASHFLOW at checkout. ***

If you purchase the game, I would love to know what you think of it.  Do you have any tips for teaching finances to your kids?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Christmas Past

I remember the anticipation, lying in bed looking at my miniature Christmas tree in my room.  I didn't ever feel like I was going to be able to fall asleep.  The excitement... I wondered if I would hear Santa's sleigh.

Before I knew it it was morning, still dark in my room.  What time was it?  I didn't have a clock in my room so had no way of knowing.  Could I get up yet?  Was it still night?  What if Santa was still there?  If he was and I saw him would he take away my presents?

That fear kept me in bed a little longer, my eyes tightly shut as I dare not see a peak of him, I couldn't risk him taking away my presents.

In one week my children will be going to bed, similar excitement, maybe even similar thoughts going through their heads.

Eric and I will put on a cheesy Christmas movie and wrap presents all night long, always wondering why we don't just wrap them sooner, but it's tradition.

That excitement, that joy, it is all so wonderful and almost intoxicating... but it doesn't last.

In a little over a week it will all be over for another year.  The presents unwrapped, piles of paper and boxes to be thrown away, Christmas decorations that need to be put away.

But there is something about the season that can last.. the true meaning, what it is all really about.

A gift so great that it has changed everything.  A gift that we don't just get and shouldn't just think about at Christmas.

I present to you, the true Gift of Christmas.   #SharetheGift

Learn more about Sharing the Gift Here.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Linking up with Shell's PYHO

P.S. Don't forget, it's not too late to join in the Review Extravaganza

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pierced by Love- Book Review

What would you do if your boyfriend left you, only to be with your sister?  This is what Noelle must ask herself and deal with in Pierced By Love by Laura L. Walker.  I received a copy of this book to review.
My Review:

After being left the day before the wedding, Noelle has had to learn to love and trust again. Things are now better for Noelle and she is hoping for a ring from her long time boyfriend.  She is shocked and stunned when not only does he not propose but breaks up with Noelle only to be with her sister.  Noelle wonders and struggles with the idea of ever being able to forgive, trust and love again.  Pierce an old friend and someone infamous for being a player takes it upon himself to help Noelle though this hard time, but how can someone who has trust issues of his own help her heal?

This book has a very predominant LDS fiction theme.  The book while dealing with issues of forgiveness, trust and love, brings in a lot of LDS culture and beliefs; it does so much so that someone not of the LDS faith might not be able to really connect with the characters at times.

When I first began reading the book, the religious and cultural aspects of it were so prevalent that I found it hard to get into; but as the story continued I really did enjoy the book and began rooting for the characters.

This book is a clean book, free of language and graphic content.

If you are a fan of LDS fiction I definitely recommend this.

About the author:
Laura Walker grew up in southern Arizona. She met her husband, Rob, at Northern Arizona University where she earned her bachelor degree in Elementary Education. She and Rob are raising their six children. Her hobbies include water aerobics and sewing. At the end of the day, Laura loves to curl up with a good book or write one of her own. Pierced by Love is her first published novel.  (Find Laura's blog here)
You can purchase Pierced by Love at;
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.