Month: November 2017

Killer Recipes: Cheesy Garlic Swirls

Killer Recipes: Cheesy Garlic Swirls

My family and I love these rolls; and the best part is, they’re super easy! I whip them up whenever I want to impress people with my cooking skills, but don’t want to stress about it. Bread, butter, cheese, garlic—mmm. You cannot fail with this […]

A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Tradition

A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Tradition

When I was in high school, my parents went on a low-carb diet. It turned out to be great for them, but it was kind of disappointing for my sister and I because it meant my mom stopped cooking the delicious comfort foods we had […]

Is Mint by Intuit Right for You?

Is Mint by Intuit Right for You?

The word finances makes many newly-married couples cringe in fear. While everyone recommends budgeting, saving, watching credit scores, and tracking financial growth, these tasks bring with them extra time and energy demands that are often unrelenting. New and old families alike know they are supposed to do those things, but often do not know how to get started. And that is where the age of technology comes in! Over the past few months I have been using a very popular mobile app called Mint by Intuit to help me wrangle in those pesky tasks and hopefully plot a course of financial security. I will be going through some pros and cons of this service and hopefully allow those looking for a way to budget efficiently decide if this product is the right choice for them.

Pros:
  1. The user base is huge! To be honest, the reason that I am reviewing Mint is that it was one of the first apps that showed up when I searched for budgeting tools on the iOS app store. The good news is when an app has a large active user base, the company that manages that platform is more likely to keep the app up-to-date and to respond to suggestions and emerging technologies. This puts users in a good spot since they know that they are syncing their personal financial information with a widely used and respected service and not some shady back-alley app.
  2. It is free! This has to be on this list. An app gets put in many people’s good graces, including mine, when it can be downloaded for free. And the free train doesn’t stop there; the service does not have any premium or “pro” features that require a subscription service, meaning it is a truly free app—not one of those sneaky mostly-free ones.
  3. Automated! Using technology is supposed to make life easier, right? Well in this case, the answer is yes! Once you sync your bank account to this secure application, Mint does the rest! It creates charts and tracks spending patterns automatically and religiously. Before using this app I did not know to the exact percentage point what I was spending on entertainment, but now I do. With the information that is ready at your fingertips immediately after signing up, it is simple to start making plans and adjusting habits to align better with your financial goals. My wife and I were able to see that we were doing super well on some categories (food, clothes, and movies) but could use some work on others (eating out).
Cons:
  1. Ads. While the service is completely free, we do live in a world where money, unfortunately, does not grow on trees. As such, Intuit has decided to display banner style ads throughout the app and saturate the “Suggested Investment Products” feature of the app with its own systems. So while I revel in the app’s freeness, I do note that purchasing any other services strictly from the in-app recommendations without any third party advice is probably not the most recommended course of action.
  2. Automated. I know this appears on both lists, but for good reason. The automation does wonders on productivity, but I kept feeling like I was missing out on truly learning how to budget and plan the family’s finances. When the system was doing everything for me I realized that while I had great information now, I hadn’t learned anything. For those that want to learn budgeting, and not have it done for them, there may be better options explored in the future.


All in all Mint is a great product. It looks clean, it is easy to set up and use, and it has provided me with wonderful information that my wife and I have begun to use to our advantage. It truly is important for every family to budget and work toward financial security. With that being said, Mint just may be the right app for you to get on that road to financial success.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

BY JOSHUA HANSEN

Killer Recipes: Mississippi Pot Roast

Killer Recipes: Mississippi Pot Roast

I’ve never been to Mississippi, but I am oh so grateful for all of the amazing people that live there now, thanks to this pot roast. IT CHANGES LIVES. I was on Pinterest, looking for fast, easy meals and this blessing popped up on my […]

Killer Recipes: Waffles

Killer Recipes: Waffles

Every Saturday while I was growing up, my dad would make either pancakes, crepes, or waffles. The waffles were always my favorite. As I got older I began to pay more attention to how he made the waffles, and I asked him to teach me. […]

E: Extended Family

E: Extended Family

Fred and Rick were golfing. Fred says to Rick, “My mother-in-law is an angel.”
Rick replies, “You’re lucky. Mine is still alive.”

One of the trickiest parts of becoming united as a new couple is deciding how to handle in-law situations. While there are many jokes about in-laws, they don’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, most of the time they become a wonderful part of your life. It just takes a little bit of adjusting.

When I first got married—so long ago I can hardly remember—I found myself getting grumpy about how my in-laws did this or that. It wasn’t that they were doing anything bad, it was just different from what I was used to. I allowed myself to be disgruntled and even gripe a little about their habits and choices. One day it occurred to me that there was a different perspective available to me. I realized that my in-laws had raised my husband to be the wonderful person that I loved and wanted to be with forever. Therefore, they had done something right. Could it be there were other things they did right? Of course there were. From that day on, I chose to embrace all the good things my in-laws did and ignore the inconsequential things that had bugged me before. My relationship with my in-laws improved dramatically, and I am continually grateful to them for blessing my life.

As a new family unit, it’s important for newlywed couples to make decisions on their own in every aspect of life. These decisions include happenings such as family dinners and Christmas traditions. Parents, remember that while it’s easy and often fun to encourage your newlyweds to join you for various events, it’s critical that you do not put pressure on them to conform to YOUR traditions. It’s time to let them make their own.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow when it comes to your in-laws. Stick to these, and your family reunions could go from slightly uncomfortable to events you look forward to all year long!

For newlyweds:

  1. Be grateful. Your in-laws raised that wonderful spouse of yours. If you fell in love with him or her enough to agree to spend your life together, then you need to give your in-laws some credit. They obviously did many things right. Once you give them credit for the good, it’s easier to ignore the other inconsequential things. It’s ok that they do things differently than you do. Odds are, so do your own parents. So, cut them the same slack and spend your energy getting to know their personalities.
  2. Look for the good. If you want to moan and groan, you will be able to find plenty to moan and groan about. But if you look for the good, you’ll be amazed at how great those in-laws are. And never criticize your in-laws publicly. In fact, pass out compliments every opportunity that comes your way—trust me, they’ll hear about it.

For parents:

  1. Let them go. You raised your children with the idea that they would go out in the world and start their own family. LET THEM. Do not insist they come to Sunday dinner every week. Do not expect them to come for Christmas and participate in YOUR traditions. Allow them to come and go as they choose, and if they choose to join you, welcome them. Remember how fun it was for you to get to make your own way? Or remember how much you hated being forced to do things the way your parents wanted?
  2. Recognize how wonderful your in-laws are. This works both ways. Look at the talents they have. Notice how each in-law is perfect for his or her spouse. Allow them to be themselves, and compliment every great thing you observe. And tell them often how grateful you are that they married your son or daughter.

For both:

  1. Remember, there is more than enough love to go around. Don’t be stingy with your love. Allow the new in-laws a place in your heart and you will increase your joy and happiness more than you ever expected.

BY PHYLLIS ROSEN

Fitting Christ into Your Family

Fitting Christ into Your Family

My husband and I recently attended a Sunday school lesson that opened our eyes to how these doctrines of the gospel are truly one and the same. In the lesson, the teachers asked us to get in groups and discuss how two documents are related […]