Monday, December 31, 2012

Copy Cat Bajio Green Chili Quesadillas

When I lived in Rexburg, Bajio was one of my favorite places to eat. I would get the same thing every time...the Green Chili Quesadilla. It is so so good!! Our brother is the star at making these delicious quesadillas . He had a friend that worked a Bajio that filled him in on how to make this little gem. These are SO good!! I forget about them for a while, and once I make them I wonder why I don't make them all the time. My husband loves them!....and I do too.

You will need:
Flour Tortillas
Chicken ( I've used left over Rotisserie and it is really good...and easy)
1 can of Green Chili's
Ranch
BBQ Sauce
Cheese
1 tsp Sugar


Directions:
1. Cut up chicken in the small pieces and cook in skillet. Set aside.
2. In a small frying pan heat up green chili's and add 1 tsp sugar until warm.
3. In a separate bowl mix 3 tablespoons of ranch and 3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce. (makes enough for about 2 quesadillas)
4. Butter your tortillas, add a layer of cheese, chicken, spread as much ranch/BBQ sauce mixture as you'd like on,  spread on a couple spoonfuls of green chili's then add another layer of cheese, top off with your tortilla and cook until heated all the way through. 
5. Enjoy!!


--Michelle--

Friday, December 28, 2012

Buttermilk Syrup


A couple of weeks ago we had a Personal Progress "IHOP" night, Important Hour of Progress.  (our PP leaders are THE most creative ladies I know!) We served the girls pancakes that they could load with toppings like sliced strawberries or bananas, whipped topping, maple syrup, or the delicious Buttermilk Syrup!  One of the girls commented that the buttermilk syrup tasted like a little bit of Heaven, and I quite agree.  I liked it so much I went back for seconds. I would have only taken the syrup if others weren't in the room, but because they were I also took a pancake.  :)  Seriously... so good! 
I have made this for my family a couple times since, and they love it.  I have never seen them eat so many pancakes at one time.  This syrup is HEAVENLY!!!

Buttermilk Syrup

1 cube butter
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. buttermilk
1 Tbsp. Kero syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda

Melt the butter over a medium heat.  Add sugar, buttermilk, Kero syrup, and vanilla.  Bring to a boil then turn off the heat.  Whisk the baking soda in.  Be careful, the baking soda causes the syrup to boil up fast, but if you have it off the heat and are whisking fast it will not flow over.  
Serve over hot pancakes and enjoy!!

~Rachel~

Thursday, December 27, 2012

10 New Year's Eve Ideas


Ten things to do/make on New Year's Eve
The list-

1.Chips && Dips
2. Drinks
3. Lil' Smokies
4. Chocolate covered everything
5.Fruits & Veggies
6. Popcorn
7. Confetti/Hats
8. Television
9. Music
And last but not the very least...
10. Games, games, && more games

Here are the details to 
the list...
or as I call them
the deets-

1. Chips && Dips
Every good party needs some chips
and dips.  Some of my favorites
are Chili dips (a can of 
Chili and velveeta cheese mixed),
Ranch dips-for chips and 
veggies, and I looove
Spinach Artichoke Dip!!!
Here is Rachel's recipe that is 
to die for...

Spinach Artichoke Dip

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. sour cream
1 C. shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 C. or small jar, artichokes, finely chopped
1 box frozen spinach
2 T. Olive oil
1/3 pkg. Ranch dip mix
1 tsp. finely chopped marjoram (can substitute oregano)
1 tsp. finely minced green onions
½ tsp. garlic
1 C. shredded mozzarella
paprika

Mix all ingredients except ½ C. Mozzarella and paprika.  pour into pie pan or 9x9.  Top with remaining mozzarella and sprinkle with paprika.  Heat at 350 for 25 minutes or until it starts to brown.

Moving on with
2. Drinks
Some drinks I think are great
are Hot Chocolate,
Italian Sodas(Which all you do
is put ice in a glass,
add syrup of your
choice, half & half cream, and Sprite.
Sooo delicious!!! You just add
each of them to your taste.
Super easy!, and I will also add 
list.  Super yummy,
and the recipe is just down
a couple posts.

3. Lil' Smokies

Three different ideas for these 
little beauties are
wrap them in bacon and top with
brown sugar,bake, and devour. 
Reeeeal healthy, right? 
Next option, wrap them in a cressant
roll and bake.  Next thing you
know, you have pigs
in a blanket.
And lastly, engulf them 
in barbeque sauce
and cook them in a slow cooker,
or even just the 
microwave.
Delish!

4.Chocolate Covered Everything


Need I say more?
Really, just dip anything in chocolate
and it is bound to be good.
Right? Right.

6. Popcorn
I love popcorn. I would say I am 
quite the popcorn 
expert because I eat it so 
often.
Here are a few of the favs..
Take butter popcorn and pour the cheese packet
from Maccoroni & Cheese over the 
popcorn, and you have cheesy
popcorn like they sell
at Christmas time in the big tins.
Also, we posted a good caramel
popcorn recipe here, if 
you like caramel popcorn.  If you don't,
try it anyways, and you
may soon find 
out that you actually do! 
And then there is my new favorite-
I think it is called 
Cinnamon Roll Caramel Popcorn
from Our Best Bites cookbook.  The recipe is


12 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 c un-popped)
1 cup roughly chopped pecans(I didn't add these)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c butter
1/4 c light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp soda
3 squares almond bark
Preheat oven to 250
Place popcorn and nuts in a bowl and set aside.
Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2-quart capacity microwave safe bowl. Mix well. Chop the butter into chunks and place ontop of the sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for two minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for two minutes more.
Remove from microwave and add vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. The mixture will foam and rise. Pour the Carmel mixture over the popcorn and stir until everything is well coated.
Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil lines cookie sheet. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and spread mixture out on a large piece of parchment, waxes paper, or foil sprayed with non stick cooking spray
Melt the almond bark according to package instructions. Drizzle over the popcorn. When the almond bark is hardened and popcorn is cooled, break into chunks and enjoy!


7. Confetti / Hats
What is a New Year's Party without something
to throw and silly hats to 
wear? That's right,
not much of one.  So run to the 
Dollar store and get some!  :) 

8. Television
My siblings will all say, it is not
New Year's Eve without 
the SciFi Twilight series going on 
in the background.  Haha.
I can guarantee that Twilight is 
probably not everyone's 
choice of show, but find a good movie or show
to watch, and start a tradition.
Also another suggestion,
we always turned on 
the ball dropping at 12:00 
and celebrated with
the rest of the world.  Maybe give that 
a shot, if you haven't already.

9. Music
This one is simple, but very effective.
Music always livens up
a party.  Get on pandora
and find a station you enjoy, or find an old cd and 
jam out.

10. GAMES, GAMES, && MORE GAMES
This, I believe, is a must have!
I love playing games, all 
of them from board
games, to cards, to Charades.
Some of my favorites include, Monopoly
(I used to play this game
every New Year's Even when I was 
younger because it lasts
forever, so it 
forced me to stay awake).
Also I love card games, like speed, California
speed, scum, and many more.
Then there is a game known as the 
COUCH GAME-it is a fun one!
In this game, 
you have a large group of 
people, and everyone writes down their name
on a piece of paper, which goes 
into a hat.  The hat is then passed
around and everyone draws
a name, which
is of course someone's name in
the room.  There are two
teams, and you sit
every other team (ex. team a,
team b, team a, team b).  Have chairs
in a circle, including 
the couch being part of the circle.  
The goal is to get four teammates on the couch.  
So, you start with the person
on the right side of the couch.  They call
out a name, and whoever
drew that name, switches with the person 
who called the name.
Then go around in a circle, calling 
out names and switching 
seats, until four people in one team are on the 
couch.  This may sound confusing,
but it is soo much fun!!


Happy New Year's everyone!!!
-Melanie

Christmas Decorations for Cheap!

So as I mentioned in my last post,
I love to decorate for Christmas!! I actually
just love everything about 
Christmas, but really-let's be 
honest, who doesn't?
I am going to show you some pictures
of things I have done in my 
house, and then tell you what you
all want to hear-what it cost
to do it all.

First, I will start out with little nooks
I have close to my front door.


In this picture, it looks kind of plain and
boring, but I actually really like it.
I got the trees from hobby lobby.
The big one was $2.50 and 
the other two were $1.50.  I already
had the two clear vases, so free of charge
for me.  Score! In the vases, I added Epsom salt
and cranberries on top, which
I also already had.  
So for this little nook, I spent
a total of $5.50.

The other nook-



I have my chevron frame that I made.  I already
had the wood, paint, and glitter
from previous crafts I had been working on.
Again, the clear vase, salt, and cranberries I already
had, so free again.  The tall
red vase I got at DI for $2, and the white
twigs sticking out of it were from
Joanns for %1.50.
Total for this nook was $3.50.

Tomorrow I will do another post on my walls
and table decorations.
Hope youare

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry CHRIST-mas!!

  Merry Christ-mas to all and I hope everyone can remember the true meaning for the Christmas celebration today.  Here is a little video to share the special birth of our Savior which makes this day much more than the presents and decorations.  I hope you will all have a great Christmas spirit wherever you are!

~Stacy~


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Part II

Our family has a few fun Christmas Eve traditions too.  We also lived far away from family for many years and had to come up with our own traditions.  
If we have snow, which unfortunately we do not this year, we make a big pot of hot chocolate (using Stacy's recipe) then hit the sledding hill.  We sled until we are all so tired we cannot climb back up the hill.  After the sledding we come back home to have a snack dinner (crackers, cheese ball, summer sausage, neighbor goodies, popcorn, and more hot chocolate) and build our gingerbread house.  I cheat and buy a kit at Walmart, but we still have a blast putting it together and listening to Christmas Carols.
Our FAVORITE part of Christmas Eve takes place after it gets dark.  Throughout the year we have a jar sitting on our counter.  All of our change from shopping or finding it in the parking lot, or wherever we find change, goes in this jar for an entire year.  At first it seems like we will never fill the jar, but by Thanksgiving time we are searching for a bigger jar because the one we have is almost overflowing.  Around Halloween I start paying for everything in cash, never giving any of my precious change to the cashier, just so that I can go home and empty my purse into the coin jar.  
During Thanksgiving is when we start to think of a family who may be in need of a little help, or Christmas Spirit.  Last year my sweet 9 year old told us that she had really been thinking about who we could give it to, and she knew the perfect family.  She told us how there was a girl in her school class that only had 4 shirts and a light jacket.  We live in Rexburg aka...Iceburg, Idaho.  It is freezing here 6 months out of the year(like 0* in the mornings)!!  A light jacket would not keep anyone warm.  When we talked with the school teacher and found out that this was true we knew we had found our family.  We went out and bought the two kids coats and long sleeves shirts, gloves, hats, and a few extra treats.  The kids had so much fun doing this!  Then on Christmas Eve we wrote our little card, attached it to the jar of change and headed off to deliver our bag of goodies.  The kids were so excited they couldn't stop giggling and chatting the whole way over. Dad went up with the bag of gifts and the jar, handed them over with a wish of Merry Christmas and hurried back out to the car.  As we drove home we talked about how we felt and how we thought they felt.  Even though it is not much, I do think that every little bit can help, and that they know there are people out there that care for them.  I still get teared up when I think of last year, and how my children were really thinking and searching for someone we could help.  
When we get home from our delivery we talk about the true meaning of Christmas, and what our Savior did for us.  Before we go to bed we find a new jar to set on our counter.

~Rachel~

Christmas Eve Ideas

  This will be our 4th Christmas Eve we will live VERY far away from any of our family members.  We have been able to make our own traditions, while incorporating traditions from both my husbands and my families traditions too.  It has been really fun. 
   Our Christmas Eve has evolved into something like this: dinner with our friends, who have become very much like our family here.  They come over around 4:30-5:00 p.m.  (We may play a game or something first depending on the mood).  My husbands family also had the tradition to ask all of the Elders (missionaries) in their ward (church) to come and spend the evening with them so we have tried to do this as well.  Our dinner menu is something like this:
Ham- spiral cut, honey glazed--my favorite!!!  No other will do!  It is also as simple as throwing it in the  
     crockpot all day then following the instructions on the packet for the honey glaze, 30 minutes prior to
     serving.
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Rolls
Jello Salad
Sweet Potato Casserole
Cornbread Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
   Yes, I know it sounds very much like Thanksgiving but we still love it for Christmas Eve.  All of the recipes will be linked below.

   After dinner, we will go in and have a little nativity play with the kids.  Right now, we just have 2 and our friends have 3, so it is really small, but it is still great.  Of course the kids costumes will be nothing fancy.  Towels can be worn on the heads of Shepard's and a bathrobe for their coat and maybe a curtain rod dowel for their staff.  Mary can wear a clean white sheet wrapped around her and her head like a shawl.  Joseph can be dressed like the Shepard's.  You can try to get fancy with the wise men- have them carry a jewelry box or wear an aluminum foil crown.  If you have enough kids (or if the adults want to play too) someone can pretend to be the donkey Mary rides in on.  One of the adults can play the inn keepers at different locations in the room.  You can have an angel dressed in white with an aluminum foil halo on their head and maybe foil covered star of David to hold up above their head as they tell the Shepard's to follow the star.  The scripture passages we usually use are as follows:



  This year after the Nativity, because that is the true meaning of Christmas and I really want my kids to celebrate that part and know it is more important than Santa, we are going to play 'Dirty Santa' as they call it in the South, or 'White Elephant' as we used to call it in Idaho!  I think we will do 2 versions of it, one for the kids and one for the adults. 

   I would also like to include little gifts for all of the kids like the lifesaver books, but also 'Polar Express' or 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'.  After we play our little game, we are going to make Hot Chocolate and popcorn to watch one of the movies they open up.  One final tradition we have had is to let the kids open one gift Christmas Eve, and for some reason, it usually ends up being pajamas (wink, wink).   I don't know why, but they insist on wearing them that night too!  Maybe if I can find a Santa costume, I will have my skinny husband come as Santa and bring those gifts for them!  We will see if that one works out or not. 


Polar Express

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

 
Hot Chocolate

1/2 C. Sugar                                                          1/4 C. Cocoa                                                     
1/3 C. Hot Water                                                   Dash of Salt (I don't ever add)

3/4 tsp Vanilla                                                        4 Cups Milk

 Combine all of these in a large cooking pot and bring to a boil.  Stir and keep boiling for 2 minutes.  Add 4 C. Milk and 3/4 tsp. Vanilla.  Heat it through and serve when hot.  Spice it up by adding marshmallows, whipping cream, or a candy cane.  If you are serving more than 4 people, you will want to double or triple this and add more like a gallon of milk.  That is what I plan on doing for this Christmas Eve.

  So that is a few of the ideas I have to share for a fun Christmas Eve.  Hopefully it will be full of Christmas spirit and memories.  Mine always were and I hope I am doing the same for my kids!


Rolls

  Ha ha!  No recipe here, just something like Hawaiian Sweet rolls or Rhodes rolls.  Easy and delicious because I can't bake bread!

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 Cups Cooked mashed Sweet Potatoes               1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla                                                          1/3 Cup Milk
3 C. Miniature Marshmallows                                 2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Cinnamon                                                  1/2 Cup Butter, melted

1/3 Cup Flour                                                       1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/3 Cup Butter                                                      1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, vanilla, milk, eggs, cinnamon and butter, beat until smooth.  Spoon into a 2-quart casserole dish and sprinkle with marshmallows.  ( I usually omit the marshmallows because it already has enough sugar and I have never been a fan of marshmallows on sweet potatoes).

Next combine the brown sugar, 1/3 cup butter, flour and pecans (again I omit because of allergies).  This will make a choppy crumble.  Sprinkle on top.  Bake at 350 for 30 min.

 
Cornbread Stuffing

8X8 or 9X13 pan worth of Corn Bread (recipe below)
8 Slices of Bread (lay out to dry night before on plate, uncovered)
2 Sticks of butter, melt
6 Eggs
Celery- about 2 stocks, diced
2 Medium Onions
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Sage
Poultry Seasoning (optional)
Chicken Broth (also optional if more liquid is needed)

  After butter is melted, allow it to cool and then whip the eggs into it.  Add the salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning.  Crumble and mix the cornbread and bread into a large baking bowl.  I use my large stainless steel bowl.  Add celery and onions to the top and begin to add the egg/butter mixture.  As you are stirring, the celery and onions will get mixed in.  Cook at 325 for 1 hour. 

**If you are using this to stuff a turkey, you will bake it for longer because the juices from the turkey will keep it very moist.  Cook whatever is remaining after stuffing the turkey for 1 hour.
 




Cornbread

2 Cups Flour                                                             2 Cups Corn Meal
2 Tbsp Baking Powder                                              1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs                                                                       1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Oil                                                               2 Cups Milk

Combine the dry ingredients until sifted well.  Add milk, oil, and eggs.  Beat until slightly lumpy.  Pour into greased 9X13 dish and cook at 400 for 25 minutes.  You can easily half this recipe and cook in an 8X8 dish and still get roughly 9 pieces of cornbread.



Green Bean Casserole

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Cream of Mushroom Soup        Dash ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk                                                                4 cups cooked cut green beans 
1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions                  1 teaspoon soy sauce

Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.

Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling.  Stir the bean mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining onions.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

(Campbell's Green Bean Casserole Recipe)

 ~Stacy~

Friday, December 21, 2012

Caramel apple cider

I love apple cider around the holidays.  Last year, Heather made a caramel apple cider for our Christmas party, and it has changed my life!!! Holy cow! MmM!!! I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it is! So I won't.  I will just give you the recipe.  Try it. Love it! 


It is from the cookbook, Our Best Bites (my favorite cookbook ever!)

1-64 ounce bottle apple juice or cider
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed or a high quality brand such as Simply Orange
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 orange
8 cloves
1/3 cup bottled caramel sauce (plus more to taste if desired)
Sweetened whipped cream 
Ground cinnamon

Directions
*Pour the apple cider into a large stockpot on the stove.  Set heat to medium-high.  Add orange juice, cinnamon sticks, and allspice.
*Thoroughly wash your orange and then gently stab the whole cloves into it.  If you find it hard to do that without destroying the cloves, use a toothpick to poke little holes first and then insert the cloves.
*Gently drop the whole orange into the pot.  Bring the cider to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer.  Simmer on low for 60 minutes or longer if you wish.  If at any time the orange splits open, remove it from the pot.  
*After the cider has simmered for an hour, add caramel sauce and stir to combine and dissolve.  Add more caramel to taste if needed.
* When ready to serve, ladle the cider into mugs, top with whipped cream, and give it a drizzle of caramel and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Hope you enjoy it!! I am positive you will!!
-Melanie

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book of Mormon Read-a-Thon

    My stake did this last spring with our Laurels and Priests.  They loved it and so did I and I have been meaning to share this with everyone since then, but had misplaced my schedule.  I found it last night in my tax folder!!  Ha ha!  Anyhow, now I can share what we did so maybe you can do this with your youth.  I know another group did it with the New Testament this past fall and invited youth from any church to come join for the reading, food, and company.  (You will want to make sure you have plenty of snacks and good meals planned because it is a long day and a half!) 
   
    Our set up was a couch at one end of the gym with a couple of the singled comfy chairs most of the Churches have in their foyers.  Those would be for the readers.  You will have at least 2 microphones set up at this end also.  Then we had more of the chairs and couches set around in a big circle, plus large bean bag chairs or any other kind of reclining chair people had available that would be comfortable for hours on end.  Behind that toward the opposite end of the gym was where the snacks and drinks were set up, plus we had mini-trampolines, pogo sticks, jump ropes, tennis balls and a few things like this the kids could go do and still listen as they did, if they were getting tired. 

   So the basic idea is that you start reading Friday evening after school and go until about 11:00 pm, the kids go sleep at host houses (or their own if you live in a super small stake boundary area), and then meet back at 7:00 am to start reading again.  The host families were responsible for getting the youth to and from their homes.  Someone is always reading, even when breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served.  You read one full page at a time, then pass the microphone on to the next person.  The 2 single chairs up front are the reader and the next in line.  The ones on the couch move up in line and anyone else who wants to take their place takes the first empty seat whenever a page is finished.  We did invite guest readers so the youth didn't have to read out loud the whole time but limited them to 1-2 per hour.  They would stay for that hour and then could go home.

The schedule went like this:

Friday
5:00- Arrive and start (guest readers)                                Pages Title-25
6:00- (Guest readers)                                                         Pages 26-50
6:30- Dinner
7:00- (Guest readers)                                                         Pages 51-75
8:00- (Guest readers)                                                         Pages 76-100
9:00- (Guest readers)                                                         Pages 101-125
10:00- (Guest readers)                                                       Pages 126-150
11:00- Leave for night.

Saturday- (Eat breakfast at host homes)
7:00- Arrive (Guest readers)                                             Pages 151-175
8:00-  (Guest readers)                                                       Pages 176-200
8:30- Mid Morning Snack
9:00- (Guest readers)                                                        Pages 201-225
10:00-  (Guest readers)                                                     Pages 226-250
11:00- (Guest readers)                                                      Pages 251-275
12:00-  Lunch                                                                   Pages 276-300
1:00-  (Guest readers)                                                       Pages 301-325
2:00- (Guest readers)                                                        Pages 326-350
3:00-  (Guest readers)                                                       Pages 351-375
4:00-  (Guest readers)                                                       Pages 376-400
5:00-  Dinner                                                                     Pages 401-425
6:00-  (Guest readers)                                                       Pages 426-450
7:00-  (Guest readers)                                                       Pages 451-475
8:00-  (Guest readers)                                                       Pages 476-500
9:00- Guest readers)                                                         Pages 501-525
10:00-  (Guest readers)                                                    Pages 526-531
The End!
Collapse in Exhaustion (after cleaning up!)
 
This really was fun and an awesome spiritual experience for all who participated.
~Stacy~

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Present From Me To You

Do you need a good laugh today?? You've got to watch this...you'll thank me later. You might want to watch it 5 or 6...or 10 times, it never gets old. Happy Wednesday!



--Michelle--

P.S. Don't you just love a good you tube video!? If you know of any good ones you've seen let us know!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Favorites

We celebrated Christmas early this year this we don't have to haul presents around with us. I'm really glad that we did, because we got the commercialized Christmas out of the way, and it's great that the rest of the time we can really focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Since we since we are T minus 8 days away I thought I would add a few of my favorite Christmas things today.

We usually watch Joy to the World on Christmas eve...but this is a new video that was just put out that is really good.

I LOVE Pandora! I feel like I'm listening to it all the time! Right now here are my absolute favorite stations:

 This one I just put in Kids Christmas...


 My absolute favorite is Josh Groban!

--Michelle--

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Vampire Diaries

I have started reading another series of books that I have really enjoyed called, "The Vampire Diaries". You may have heard of it from the TV series on the CW. If you have, whether you liked it or not, you need not worry, they seem to be so far different from each other, I would still recommend reading the series!   It has several different branches of series off of the original group. I will also say, if you are a die-hard 'Twiglight' fan, it may be hard for you to really get into this series, at first, because their "vampire" traits, do and don't, can's and cant's are very different from one another. In my opinion, if you read 'Twiglight' first and liked it, you will probably like Stephanie Meyer's description of what a vampire is better. If you read 'The Vampire Diaries' first, you will like L.J. Smith's definition better. So far, I have read the first 7 of the books, and I will tell you I have fallen in love with the characters so much I was sobbing for like 45 minutes at the end of book 7. It was very sad! Please give it a chance thought!   Here is the order of the books:



Click image to view full coverClick image to view full cover
Click image to view full coverClick image to view full cover



1.  The Awakening; 2.  The Struggle;  3.  The Fury;  4.  Dark Reunion 
 
 
 
Click image to view full coverClick image to view full cover    Click image to view full cover

The second set/series is "The Return" series.  The order for them is:  1.  Nightfall;  2.  Shadow Souls, 3.  Midnight


Product Details
The Hunters: Phantom











The Hunters series is the next in line.  They are: 1.  The Hunters, Vol. 1: Phantom;  2.  The Hunters, Vol. 2, Moonsong;  3.  The Hunters, Vol. 3, Destiny Rising. 

Click image to view full coverClick image to view full cover
Stefan's Diaries, Vol.4: The RipperClick image to view full cover











To wrap the series up are: 1.  Stephen's Diaries, Vol. 1, Origins;  2.  Stephen's Diaries, Vol. 2, Bloodlust;  3.  Stephen's Diaries, Vol.3, The Craving; and finally 4.  Stephen's Diaries, Vol. 3, The Ripper.

   One more thing I will say about the books vs the series is, as mentioned above, they are VERY different.  The names of the 3 main characters and how they came about are the same and the rest is not!  It kind of bothers me HOW different they are, but I am neither the author or creator of either so, whatever!  They add main characters to replace important ones in the books and remove vital characters from the books.  Hardly anything that happened in the books has happened in the series, that I have seen.  I haven't watched as much of the series as Michelle yet, but she will call and tell me all about the episodes and we will compare notes to the books.  Once she reads the books, she will have to say which one she liked better and why.  In my opinion, the books by far out do the series!  Check it out though and see for yourself!

~Stacy~

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Twilight Obsession

    Anyone who has followed the 'Twilight' series know the 5th and final movie just came out. I was among those crazy fans who went on opening weekend to watch it, and IT WAS AWESOME!!!! I absolutely loved it! I do not want to ruin the movie for anyone who is still planning on watching it and haven't been able to yet but will say, BE PREPARED!! It will bring some unexpected twists, but hopefully you will love it as much as I did. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and I cheered at the end. It brought an array of emotions for me and the group of women and teenage young women who went with us, but unanimously, we would see it again.
   As soon as I got home, I went to watch this video because honestly, I had never seen it. It is "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri.



    She wrote the song just for Bella and Edward after falling in love with the first movie and books. In the final movie, she has a 2nd version with Steve Kazee. It is just as beautiful. I was hoping they would have another video with clips from 'Breaking Dawn, Part 2', but I haven't found one yet.

 
    Another obsession I have from 'Breaking Dawn, Part 1' is the piano music for 'Turning Page' by Sleeping at Last. It is also wonderful. I have literally been listening to these two songs everyday since the movie. They are so sweet and calming.  Here is the best video I could find for "Turning Page". 


    If you are interested in the piano music for either of them, here is where I found the cheapest print-at-home versions of these two songs:
"A Thousand Years" ($5.25)
"Turning Page"- ($3.50)

I hope you will enjoy them too!
~Stacy~

Monday, December 10, 2012

Baby Toy Tutorial

This Christmas our family is on a bit of a budget, who isn't, right?  Because of this, and the fact that I love to sew/craft, most of our gifts are going to be homemade.  I have been crocheting beanies, sewing neck pillows and pj pants for everyone.  I decided that although I have a brand new tiny little baby that cares nothing about Christmas right now, I probably better do something for her (besides the stinkin' cute pj pants!!) or the other kids will think I don't like her.  :)  When we moved this last time I gave away ALL my baby things, and since I no longer have any toys I thought that would be something fun.  My babies have always loved those squishy balls with ribbons coming out of them that make noise, or the little books that sound like there plastic in them when you crinkle the pages.  I combined these two ideas and made one crunchy sounding blankie with ribbons sticking out all over.

Materials I used:
Flannel (Scraps I had leftover from baby blanket)
Ribbon, lots of colors, widths, and textures
Packaging for wipes (or maybe even diapers)

Now to get to work.  Because my scraps were on the small side I cut my fabric and wipes packaging to 
6" x 6".  You can adjust this to any size you would like.  Then cut as many ribbons as you prefer, I cut 13, but you can have as many as you would like.  The ribbon needs to be 5" long.  

Now, place one piece of fabric right side up.  Fold each ribbon in half and pin this to the fabric in the order you would like.  Keep them at least a 1/2" away from the corners.  Once all the ribbons are pinned in place, take your other piece of fabric and lay it right side down.  Both of the right sides (or patterned sides) should be touching the ribbon.  

Now you will need to pin the plastic to the wrong side of the material on one side.  I carefully took the pins off the ribbon and pinned it through all four layers.  
You will  need to sew all around the outside of the fabric, leaving a 2-3" opening to turn the blankie right side out.  After you sew all around turn it the right way, using a dowel or chopsticks or something like that to push the corners out. In order to make it so there is not a big opening in the blankie you will sew a finishing stitch all around the edge.  I always start on the side that I have the opening.  Sew about 1/4" from the edge.


You are done!  I hope that this was a helpful tutorial, and if there is ever something that does not make sense please leave a comment or shoot me an email.    


~Rachel~
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