Friday, March 30, 2012

My Sister is the Best Mom...

17 Go Team Pancakes!

I am not quite back yet from my vacation
 BUT i just wanted to say watching my sister with my niece has moved my heart to the core.

She is nurturing, warm and just a natural mom.
I always knew she would be but seeing her in action completely moved me.

My sister looks at her daughter with such love and affection.
She has songs that will soothe my niece at the drop of a hat.
She is a protector but allows my niece to explore.
My sister has become the most amazing mother!
And i couldn't be any more proud.

I hope someday to be that kind of mother.

My niece is just the most precious little bumblebee ever! 
I mean i wanted to pack her up in my suitcase and bring her home with me. 
She melts my heart with her adorable smile.
And she has the most amazing spirit in the world.
The most brightest eyes.
I am NOT biased BUT my niece is the most beautiful baby girl in the world!

 I couldn't help but kiss, hug and squeeze her cheeks all day.
And we bonded as soon as we saw each other 
and she had me wrapped around her fingers forever!

And i cannot wait to have my niece close to me again.

Sis, if you read this...i couldn't be any more prouder of you!

You are the best mother ever to the best daughter!!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

52 Weeks of Love: Jordy

6 Go Team Pancakes!

My name is Jordy and I write about my life as a newlywed over at my blog, Jordy Liz Blogs.

If I'm being honest (and I've learned to be honest) about our first year of married bliss, 
it was pretty non-blissful. 
Nearing the end of our second year of marriage (celebrating two years in March),
 I have been doing a lot of reflecting on how far we've come and where we are going.
 As I reflect, the first year and a half make me twinge. It was hard, revealing and sometimes painful. 
Yes, there were wonderful moments and days, but it seemed that we just couldn't get our act together.

I expected it to be easy, fun, exciting and spontaneously romantic - all the time
I talked to friends who were also married and they gave me no reason to think that it shouldn't be,
 so what was wrong with our marriage? Why was it kind of hard some days and next to impossible the next? Why was it easy mid-afternoon and then World War III by dinner? There were Saturday afternoons of slammed doors. There were nights where I got in my car and made the loop around Phoenix, not wanting to go back. There was the doubt, regret and worry about what the heck I had gotten myself into.

Four months in, I wrote this post. I was crying out, seeking for affirmation that I wasn't going crazy. 
The encouragement I received from this post still rings in my ears today.

The thing I've learned about marriage is that it's hard work. We have to take it moment by moment, and if there's one bad moment, it doesn't mean the entire marriage has to be sacked. I've learned to pick my battles and let things go. I've learned to treat my husband with the same respect I expect in return. I've learned to let the dishes sit in the sink if it means sitting by my husband on the couch for ten extra minutes. I've learned that sometimes we just need to get out of the house. I've learned that we are two very different people, but if we were the same, we'd be in trouble.

Through blogging our story, I've learned to be honest. And if I'm being honest, there is no one I'd rather go to sleep with at night and wake up to in the morning. If I'm being honest, my husband has way too much patience with me. If I'm being honest, the really great moments tend to overshadow the sticky ones, regardless. I never want to paint a picture of pure bliss, because I never want a newly married couple to feel like they're doing something wrong. I felt like I was doing something wrong for four months. That's a lot of wasted time. These days, I'm not wasting time. I'm enjoying it.

And you know what? It's good. It's a one-of-a-kind experience if you're willing to fight for it. It's the greatest life lesson if you're willing to learn from it. It's the most clear picture of what selflessness and pure love looks like if you're willing to let it shine through you.

Make sure to read our unique story over at my blog and be encouraged in your own story. It's worth it.


Thank you Jordy for sharing how you celebrated 52 Weeks of Love!
It looks like you've learned a lot over the last two years of marriage.
Many more years to you!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Living Our Vows: Nicole & Mr. P

6 Go Team Pancakes!

When looking at the vow, I can honestly say that we've been through all of these situations...for better-for worse, for richer-for poorer, in sickness and in health, and to love and to cherish. It's hard to pick any one over the other, but for me I would have to say to love and to cherish is the one that I'd like to focus on some that are applicable to our marriage.

First off, my husband P. and I have been married for over 3 years. 
We were married on August 30, 2008 in Hamilton, Montana 
and currently reside on his family's farm and ranch near Culbertson, Montana.
To love and to cherish...I find this probably the most important vow of all of them 
(not saying that the others are less important, but this is the one that speaks most to me).
 Let me start at the beginning...Two months after we were married, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer; a month after that, my grandpa with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. 
We lived in Idaho when we got married, and the opportunity came for us to move back to Montana the February after we were married. Problem is, we didn't have a place to live right away, so we lived with my in-laws. We were only supposed to be there for about a month and a half...
that turned into FIVE months. FIVE. AS NEWLYWEDS. Boy, was that ever hard. 
Talk about for better or for worse...these were some of the hardest times, 
but oddly enough, found that it was easier to go through these things as a couple.

 Now, focusing on to love and to cherish...
I can honestly say that this is the most important part for me to remember in my marriage. 
I always love my husband-always.
 Do I like him sometimes? Nope! I make sure he knows that difference. 
If I'm upset, I always tell him, "Honey, I always love you, but I may not like you right at this moment."
 That might seem a bit harsh to some of you, and you possibly might not be able to imagine ever saying those things yourself, and that's ok. If there's one thing I've learned about marriage, is that everyone's is different.

To me, even in the hardest of times, you made these vows to this person and you have to uphold them. Remembering that helps me be the best wife that I can be.
You LOVE this person...why would you yell at them and treat them disrespectfully?
 As your spouse, they deserve to be treated with love and respect.
 Do I always want to pick his dirty underwear off of the bathroom floor?
No way! Is it worth it to get in a fight over? Absolutely not.
To me, carrying on daily conversations with a man who my husband doesn't know is inappropriate.
I respect my husband enough to not do that. You cherish this person, you love them.

Don't let your temper get the best of you-wait a little while,
calm down and have an adult conversation about it.
Just because you're in a long-term relationship with them
 doesn't mean you can treat them however you want.
You always need to keep in your mind that you both need
to respect your marriage-cherish it and each other.
No matter how hard things get (and believe me, if they haven't been hard yet, they will eventually!),
 just keep this in mind "to love and to cherish." Your marriage is a sacred, beautiful thing.
Treat it like such, and you will get the same back from it.
I hope you all enjoyed a little glimpse into my world, and thanks for listening! 

 Nicole Hackley, "Prairie Princess"


Thank you Nicole for your thoughtful and insighful post on Living Our Vows!
It is so important to respect our vows and hence our spouses!

Monday, March 26, 2012

March Money Madness: Save Your Pennies!

13 Go Team Pancakes!

Hope you are all enjoying your Monday.
While i am away, i will complete the March Money Madness series 
because that's what a good blogger would do:-)

I wanted to share something Team Pancakes does 
and i am sure many of you already do as well because it is a useful practice 
in terms of counting and saving your pennies!

Let me ask you a question: 
What do you do with all the pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters 
you accumulate at the end of your day?

Some people use it to buy gum or candy at the store.
Other's may go into your purse (most of it doesn't though because 
we hate our purses bulging out because of those dreaded coins)
Other's  may use their coins for parking meters (myself sometimes)
Other's loose their coins only to find them in between the couch cushions.

You get the idea...there are many things we can do with our coins at the end of the day.
What Team Pancakes does is put all the coins we have 
accumulated throughout the day into what we call:
Team Pancakes Family Fund!

Initially, the coins do not look like much however
 day after day and month after month of accumulation,we noticed the money adds up.  
One year, we were able to roll up over a $1000.00 of coins 
so Mr. Pancakes could get emergency dental work.

After that incident, i was hooked on saving my pennies in the Team Pancakes Family Fund.
Of course this jar DOESN'T replace your regular emergency/savings funds 
BUT it can act as a supplement.

Some couples/ families use their JAR as a way to save their pennies for vacations,
 toys like a big screen TV, laptop, iPad...however you use the money in the jar,
 the most important thing is that you made 
a conscience effort to save extra money that you might have otherwise used frivolously.

Lately, we have been adding some bills too because sometimes at the end of the month, 
we have extra money left over that could go to the family fund 
instead of purchasing lunch, magazines or something that i really don't need.  
The best part of adding the bills is that it increases the family fun rapidly.

As the jar gets fuller, Mr. Pancakes will remove most or all the pennies 
so that we only have silver coins.  
We then begin another jar with just the pennies.  
This is motivating in a way because it makes you only 
want to save more silver coins because they add up faster. 

The name of one of my favorite blogs is My Pretty Pennies 
and you know what our pennies are pretty, we work hard for our pennies 
and why wouldn't we want to save them?

I encourage you today to start Saving Your Pretty Pennies!

Question of the Day:
Do you have a money jar/family fund?
How do you use the money in your jar...for vacations, buying toys?

Friday, March 23, 2012

330 Days of Love

19 Go Team Pancakes!

Dear Mr. Pancakes,

It feels like just yesterday when we were
 counting down 30 days to our wedding day.   
And here we are 330 days, 11 months later
 celebrating love, 
and so much more.
Our adventure in love, 
and happiness
 continues to be the best thing ever invented by God.
And goodness I`m glad we are Team Pancakes 
because we work so well together.
I can`t wait to get to 52 Weeks of Love and 365 days of Marriage 
but i am pausing today to enjoy where we are because without now,
 there would be no tomorrow!
Thank you for the amazing anniversary dinner last night.
You treat me so well...all the time.
I LOVE you more than words can express 
but i try every single day to express it in some way.
Happy 330 days of love!!

Love Always,
To the Moon and Back,
Mrs. Pancakes!

You didn't think i would forget 
our anniversary celebrations because i am away huh?!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

All My Bags Are Packed...

24 Go Team Pancakes!
I`m Ready to Go!!

I am totally excited for the next week to pass by quickly
because i will be visiting family and friends!
I get a chance to see my nieces and nephews BUT
 the best thing ever is i get the see my newest niece.
I have seen pictures and spoken to her (well i've spoken, she's cooed)
 only on Skype so i cannot wait to
 hold, hug and give her a million and one kisses!!
in person.  Can you tell i am excited?!!

Of course i never like to be away from my Mr. Pancakes for too long but family
and bonding time is important and although i wish he could come with me,
economically it didn't make sense so while i go and have fun,
Mr. Pancakes will be here in our bed all by himself which i know he won't mind at all!

I aslo miss traveling...there is something magical about traveling,
and since i haven't done much all year, i was happy to puchase my ticket,
 pack my bags and ready to leave on a jet plane.

So to prevent me from singing the song,
Leaving on a Jet Plane by Chantal Kreviazuk,
 i will share the video with you!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Living Our Vows: Krysten of Why Girls Are Weird...

10 Go Team Pancakes!

I was totally glad Krysten agreed to participate in the Living Our Vows series!  
What happens when we are made to choose 
between living our vows and living our heart's happiness?
Krysten will share her experiences with us.  
She has one of the freshest and honest voices in blogland 
and if you haven't read any of her posts, why not?
Check out her blog as soon as you finish reading this post! 


Hi all!  My name is Krysten and I blog at Why Girls Are Weird
I thought long and hard about how I wanted to word today's post because it's going to be different from the ones you're used to reading.  Today I'll be talking about two different vows - for better and for worse as well as to love and to cherish.  And I'm going to tell you what happens when someone stops following through with their vows.

I met my ex-husband during the summer of 2004 and from the moment we met I was taken. 
 He was FUNNY and he made me laugh all the time.  
After a year of being friends we finally started dating.  
And 3 years after that in the fall of 2008 we were married.

On my blog and in a lot of my life I acted like my ex, Dustin, and I had a wonderful relationship.  
I had so many people say to me, "Wow, you two are just so perfect together.  
You're the perfect couple."  Everytime I heard that it stung because I knew it my heart that was so far from the truth.  Dustin and I hid it though, from everyone including ourselves.

In 2010 I lost my job and was without one for 6 months.  It was HARD.  
We had a lot of money problems and though we got through it I felt 
as though that was the beginning of the end. 
The "for worse" part slowly and quietly pulled us apart. 
I hate to say this because I don't want to place blame but Dustin lied to me, and he lied often. 
Our money problems would not have been nearly so bad had he been truthful with me and although he lied because he was scared I have always felt as if the "for worse" part got the best of him.

Although we got through the financial problems and I did find a new job there was then this huge elephant in the room.  Dustin broke my trust and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't 100% trust him again.  
And so I pulled away.  The love started to fade because the trust faded.  

We both knew something was wrong but neither of us would admit it. 
The love we once had just wasn't there anymore.  
And as the spring of 2011 wore on we both started to realize that something had changed in our relationship.  
We separated. And soon decided that there wasn't a way to fix things.

Marriage is a two way street.  If both partners aren't willing to put in the work there are going to be cracks. 
If both people aren't working all the vows the marriage can crumble.  
It isn't anyone's fault, just something that both people need to be conscious of.

My advice to all of you is this: when you're writing your vows (or deciding on traditional vows) and entering into a marriage, be sure you really know what they mean.  Falling in love and planning a wedding can be such a fairy tail but you have to understand that ANYTHING can happen in life, good and bad.  
Remember this as you're planning to spend the rest of your life with someone.

Thank you so much to Mrs. Pancakes for letting me share this.  
It's my hope that others can learn from my mistakes... and that I can as well.


Again, thank you Krysten for your honesty. 
I believe adding your voice to the Living Our Vows series will 
definitely enriched all of our experiences in how we view our relationships and marriages.
And thank you for reminding us to mean what we say when we are writing our vows.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March Money Madness: Rules for Lending Money!

17 Go Team Pancakes!
Good Monday Morning Friends!!

I hope you've been enjoying your March Madness basketball games...
i know there have been tons of game watching in my house.
But i wanted to keep the March Money Madness going!!


Suze Orman is another financial person that Team Pancakes listens to.
Every Saturday, we make it a date and watch Suze.
We are such nerds BUT we love her and her fiesty-ness when it comes to finances
 and we love her segment: Can I Afford This?
We've become really good at approving and denying people ourselves.
We saw an episode of Suze on 3/10/2012 which i thought was important to speak about during March Money Madness because it's been a topic of conversation in our marriage.
Suze's points are practical and helpful and i hope they help you too!


The Rules of Lending and Giving Money

Suze is NOT a big prominent of lending and giving money
with the expectation of getting money back because in the long run,
most people lend money but NEVER get it back!

According to Suze, you should NOT give money if:

1. If you have credit  card debt 
(if you have credit card then YOU NEED MONEY)
2. Have at least an 8 month emergency fund
(most people will ask for money when they don't have an emergency fund)
3. You must fully fund your retirement 
(It will generate money for you later in life so it's important to fund it)
4. You can easily make your mortgage or rent
5. Your job is secure
(if you are self-employed, generate enough money)
6. you must have insurance
 (car, home, medical, term life,)
7. You're funding children's 529 funds

The Biggest Mistake in loaning someone money is expecting the money back.   
If the person you are lending money to needs money today, they will need money tomorrow.
If they don't have money today, they will not have the money to give it you tomorrow
(The red light goes off for me....DING! DING! DING!).

According to Suze Orman, the best thing to do is:
Don't loan money,
Give money
 (only if you meet the 7 criteria)
(you don't feel bad if the person doesn't return it, there is no hard feelings)

Here are what she reminds us about loaning money:

1. If you loan money, loan an amount you can afford
 (especially if you are ok NOT getting the money back)
2. Create a promissory note (amount, interest, date to be repaid)
(If you use a promissory note and they don't pay you back, because it's a loan,
 you can write it off on your income tax and it can be taxable to them)


These are the keys to loaning and giving money!
I found this information very helpful because while in college, i lent a friend $100.00
and always wondered when i will get it back.
At this point, i don't hold any hard feelings but i alway wonder,
"did she ever plan to give it back to me?"
I guess the answer is "NO!"

Enjoy your Monday ladies!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

LongLazySunday: Week 10

8 Go Team Pancakes!

I just let out a huge sigh as i started this LongLazySunday Week 10 
because i just ran a half-marathon, a 13.1miles 
so this weekend i kicked butt and now the soreness of my muscles are kicking my butt.  
Therefore, i am being nothing but lazy! 
 Even if i tried to be anything but lazy i couldn't do it!
I am moving very very very slooooow!!
I can't speak about my time as of yet but let's just say i completed the task at hand!!
And it's feels like the best accomplishment ever.
Mr. Panackes has been looking at me like i am a rockstar!
He is totally proud of me and you know am i!!

I hope your Sunday is going great and that you are taking time to be nothing but lazy!
Go ahead, grab a button and share your longlazysunday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Funny Faces with the Little Man...

17 Go Team Pancakes!
Last week, my godson came to visit with me and we decided 
to have some fun with the iphone and make FUNNY FACES!

I mean Little Man is like 2 & quarter 
but he is so mature and just the cutest and smartest man ever!!
Let me brag a lot about Little Man:

He knows his alphabets, numbers (from 1-10 and working on 11-20).
He has the best football arm we`ve ever seen for a two-year-old.
He is a technological genius--seriously he can find numbers on his mom`s blackberry.
He dances and sings.
He is patient and kind with a few temper tantrums thrown in 
but overall he is just the easiest going little man ever!

Now onto some of our funniest faces!

 How could he NOT put a smile on my face!
My Little Man is adorable!!!

Enjoy your Friday Friends!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Money Madness: The Baby Steps

13 Go Team Pancakes!

Good day ladies...i thought i would continue the March Money Madness.

Since Dave Ramsey has been pretty influential in my financial peace walk, 
i wanted to share his Seven Baby Steps.  
The steps are basically a way to help you:
use your own money to build wealth,
 get out of debt, 
save money, 
and give back as much as you can.

I have only read the book but never taken his Financial Peace classes.  

All this information can be found at Dave Ramsey's book 
and website if you need more information.

Baby Step 1: $1,000 Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life that you can’t plan for: 
the loss of a job, an unexpected pregnancy, a faulty car transmission, and the list goes on. 
It’s not a matter of if these events will happen; it’s simply a matter of when they will happen. 
If a real emergency happens, you can handle it with your emergency fund. No more borrowing. It’s time to break the cycle of debt!

Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball

List your debts, excluding the house, in order. 
The smallest balance should be your number one priority. 
Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs.
 If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first. 
The point of the debt snowball is simply this: 
You need some quick wins in order to stay pumped up about getting out of debt!
 Paying off debt is not always about math. It’s about motivation. 
Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. 
When you start knocking off the easier debts, 
you will see results and you will stay motivated to dump your debt.
(Seriously, this can take FOREVER if there is no focus!!)

Baby Step 3: 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings.  

Ask yourself, "What would it take for to live for three to six months if i lost my income?"  Use this money for emergencies only: incidents that would have a major impact on you and your family.  Keep these savings in a money market account.  Remember, this stash of money is not an investment; it is insurance you're paying to yourself, a buffer between you and life. 

Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

When you reach this step, you’ll have no payments—except the house—and a fully funded emergency fund. Now it’s time to get serious about building wealth. 
Dave suggests investing 15% of your household income 
into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans. 
Don’t invest more than that because the extra money 
will help you complete the next two steps: 
college savings and paying off your home early. 
Why shouldn’t you invest less than 15%?  
Some people choose to invest a small amount, if anything, because they want to get a child through school or pay off the home in a hurry. 
But the kids’ degrees won’t feed you at retirement, and if you throw all your money into your mortgage at this point, you’ll end up having to sell the house.

Baby Step 5: College funding for children

By this point, you should have already started Baby Step 4
—investing 15% of your income—
before saving for college. 
Whether you are saving for you or your child to go to college, you need to start now.
In order to have enough money saved for college, you need to have a goal. 
Determine how much per month you should be 
saving at 12% interest in order to have enough for college. 
If you save at 12% and inflation is at 4%, 
then you are moving ahead of inflation at a net of 8% per year!
Never save for college using:
Savings bonds (only 5-6% growth)
Zero-coupon bonds. (only 6-8% growth)
Pre-paid college tuition (only 7% inflation rate)

Baby Step 6: Pay off your house early

Now it’s time to begin chunking all of your extra money toward the mortgage. 
You are getting closer to realizing the dream of a life with no house payments.
As you attack this last debt, you will gain momentum much 
like you did back in the second step of the debt snowball. 
Remember, having absolutely no payments is totally within your reach!

Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give!

It’s time to build wealth and give like never before. 
Leave an inheritance for future generations, and bless others now with your excess.
 It's really the only way to live!
Golda Meir says, “You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.” 
Vow to never hold your money so tightly that you never give any away. 
Hoarding money is not the way to wealth. Save for yourself, save for your family’s future, 
and be gracious enough to bless others. 


Honestly, the Baby Steps are long term money plans, 
so no worries if you are far away from the first baby step.  
Mr. Pancakes and i are in between Baby Steps 2 and 3 because he wants to pay his student loans on his own so hopefully by the end of the year, we will be at Baby Step 3.
I can't wait. 
 It's all about focus, 
and  remaining motivated to the goal!!

They Were Here Before Us...

13 Go Team Pancakes!
This title speaks to an incident which occurred recently 
while i was driving on a main road near my neighborhood.

I saw about four to six deer trying to cross the road.
I was completely taken aback because i have heard of this 
BUT never actually encountered them before.

In a lot of ways....i was a little sad because it made me realized...


I am no animal advocate by any means but it hit me 
when i saw the family of deer trying to cross the busy road...
(One of the deer didn't make it across because he was too late crossing the road)  
...It hit me that our current neighborhoods before were all of forestry 
and vegetation and animals roamed clear and free 
AND here we are invading their space and taking over their natural habitats.
They are roaming and wondering trying to figure what to do...

I am not even sure what we can do at this rate 
but seeing them crossing the road made me feel guilty in a big way.  
Another time while walking, i saw a group of deer walking in a neighborhood.  
I am not even sure where they live or get their food...
but it gave me pause because it made me think, 

"Which one of us doesn't belong, Me or Them?"

Courtesy of Brian

Monday, March 12, 2012

Will JLo Please Sit Down....

29 Go Team Pancakes!
Source: Justjared

Here is a disclaimer...i am not hating at all but i just have to ask Ms. JLo (Jennifer Lopez), 

Honestly, i know she is a celebrity and she needs to make money 
and in doing so she needs to continue to dress like she did when she was in her twenties 
BUT JLo is no longer in her twenties and needs to STOP wearing tops that show off her mid-riff 
(yes i actually said mid-riff)
 although TONED...
there is just something weird and a little creepy/awkward about the constant bombardment 
of JLo trying to maintain her youth through her music, clothes and commercials.  
I recently caught her shooting a new video and her outfit above just screamed NO to me.

I think it's awesome she continues to take care of herself and is maintaining her looks and body
 BUT i just don't think she needs to do what she did when she was in her twenties.  
None of us should really be doing ALL of the same things we did when we were in our twenties.
Maybe i am just hating because Mr. Pancakes continues to have a massive crush on her.
Or i am just in a bad mood but i don't think so...
i really want to say to JLo, 


Question of the DAy:
Am i just hating on JLo?
Or should we refrain from bearing our mid-riffs in our twenties when we are in our forties?

Check out Evidences 1 & 2

Video Sources: Youtube!

This commercial is actually NOT that bad in terms of clothes!!