The Queen By: Steven James

This book has been the best in the series. Just enough to think that you know where it's going but then it changes. Hope he writes more in the series.


While investigating a double homicide in an isolated northern Wisconsin town, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers uncovers a high-tech conspiriacy that twist through long-buried Cold War secrets and targets present-day tensions in the Middle East.


Fear By: Sammi Strasser

This short-story is not at all the kind of thing I read. I think that is probably the reason that I disliked it so much.

Fear (A short-story)

A girl and a demon. Will he claim her, or will she see the light of a new day?


Santa's Greatest Gift By: Rebecca Gittrich Whitecotton

This is a cute letter from Santa explaining the meaning of Christmas. It would be a great way to help little kids as they grow up and grow out of Santa. One of my favorite parts "You may wonder why this knowledge is my gift to give. Many people believe that I, Santa Claus, take away from the real meaning of Christmas. They say Santa is simply built on material things and greediness, which go against the teachings of Jesus. But Santa Claus is not really about toys as much as about the spirit of giving, in secret. It's about the giving for the simple reason of seeing joy and happiness on a child's face, with no expectation of something in return. In my purest form, Santa Claus is the perfect example of the Giving Spirit, just as Jesus was the perfect example of the Christ Spirit (pg 13, nook ebook edition).

Rumors are flying that Santa is not real, and that he takes away from the true meaning of Christmas. Santa responds to these accusations, revealing his true identity and shedding light on the Christ Spirit present in every soul on earth. It is Santa's hope that the peace of Christmas will be found through the recognition of the Giving Spirit and the Christ Spirit inside ourselves and others.


Every Girl Does It By: Rachel Van Dyken

This book was so funny!!!! I honestly couldn't stop laughing. I read the beginning to my family because my sister also turned down a guy to prom. She was happy that hers wasn't quiet dramatic. I don't like to read books twice but this one I definitely would. Could make a pretty funny movie too!! 

Every Girl Does It

Amanda turned down Preston's prom invitation in front of her entire high school, but that was eight years ago.

Somehow, her past mistakes always have a way of catching up with her, and making her pay. Amanda's sarcastic wit mixed with Preston's insufferable ego make sparks fly in more than one way.

Preston, against his better judgment can't fight the desire to get under Amanda's skin and mercilessly tease her, but when that teasing becomes flirting, and flirting becomes something dangerously more, neither of them are prepared for the adventure that follows.


Percy Jackson Book 1 By: Rick Riordan

This was a really good book. I have seen the movie and I compared them the whole way. I can’t wait to read the second one before the movie comes out. If you have any differences that I forgot let me know!
Differences between the movie and the book:
  •          Percy is a teenager / twelve-year-old.
  •          Mrs. Dodds attacks Percy with Chiron and Grover present / Grover and Chiron along with the rest of the school don’t remember Ms. Dodds.
  •          Percy’s father left when he was seven months old / Left before he was ever born.
  •          The archway leading into camp / Pine tree (Zeus daughter).
  •          Pearls gotten from three locations / Gets pearls when he visits the Santa Monica pier.
  •          Percy, Grover and Annabeth sneak out of camp / Percy is given a quest and they are chosen to go with him.
  •          Persephone hates the Underworld and helps them leave / Persephone is always for her allotted time.
  •          Grover stays behind in the Underworld so Sally can leave / Sally stays in the Underworld.
  •          No poodle / The take the poodle back to his owners to help pay for their passage
  •          Zeus lightning bolt has been stolen / The lightning bolt and Hades helm.
  •          Luke steals the bolt and gives it to Percy to take unknowingly to Hades / Luke gives it to Ares and he gives it to Percy to take to Kronos.
  •          No major mention of Kronos / He is trying to raise from the pit and take over Olympus again.
  •          No Gateway Arch / Percy falls out of the arch and is visited by a Nereid who gives him advice.
  •          After leaving camp the go to New Jersey, Nashville, Las Vegas, Underworld, Olympus, Camp / New Jersey, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Underworld, Olympus, Apartment, Camp Half-Blood.
  •          No zebra / Percy is able to talk to the Zebra on the way to Las Vegas.
  •          Sally kicks Gabe out / Sally turns him into a statue and sells him as “The Poker Player”.
  •          Gabe does a small interview / Gabe goes on tons of shows and convinces everyone that Percy is dangerous.
  •          Percy gets Grover back as a favor from Zeus / As soon as Hades helm is returned he frees Sally.
  •          No major mention of Ares / Ares appears several times and the have a major fight towards the end.
  •          Percy and Annabeth fight against each other in capture the flag / They fight on the same team.
  •          Mrs. Dobbs doesn’t come back / Mrs. Dobbs forgives Percy when she finds that he was telling the truth about the helm.
  •          Percy uses the flying shoes / Percy doesn’t use the shoes because the air is Zeus area.
  •          No old-lady-monsters at bus stop / Ladies knitting his fate.
  •           Medusas’ head is taken in case they need it later / Percy sends it to the Gods.
  •          No Chihuahua / Percy is attacked by a Chimera (assumed Chihuahua) and an old lady.
  •          No Procrustes / Fits people to his six-foot water beds. To long you get trimmed to short you get stretched.
  •    No monster at the entry to Hades house / Three headed dog that likes red balls.

After learning that he is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea, twelve-year-old Percy is sent to a summer camp for demigods like himself, and joins his new friends on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.

Crackle Paint

This is a cool and extremely easy to crackle paint. Thanks to Ann at makethebestofthings for the easy to follow tutorial.

It is three easy steps.
1. Paint the board with a base color. Let it dry for a few minutes.
2. Put on your glue layer. I just drizzle it all over and used my finger to smear it around. Let it dry until it is tacky.
3. I didn't thin my topcoat. I just drizzle paint all over and then spread it out. I used a cheap foam brush.

Final Product:


Terminal 9 By: Patricia Rushford and Harrison James

This was a really good book, when I actually sat down and started reading. It took me forever to decide to spend some time and just read. I can't wait to read the last book!

Mac McAllister has a new partner, Detective Dana Bennett, and a new puzzling murder investigation on his hands; an elderly retired railroader hit by a train. But was his death an accident? The strange investigation leads them on a trail of intrigue and possible terrorism. With twists and turns involving family members, lawyers and absolute strangers, Mac and Dana must did deep to find answers. While Mac and Dana seek justice they also seek answers in their personal struggles as they try to make sense of a world gone mad.


Tie Die Nails

Kenzie and I had tons of fun creating patterns for our nails. It was cool to watch it stick though clean up was kind of a pain. Kenzie used blue, green and white. I used pink, white and grey. If you know of an easy way to keep you fingers clean let me know!


Pumpkin Pie

 I love this pudding!!! It's the Pumpkin Spice Pudding but it's only seasonal.
It is so good!
I just mixed it up like the instructions say and then I dumped it into my crust and just refrigerated it.


Classic Crisco Pie Crust

This was a really good flaky crust!!!
Printable Recipe Download
Classic Crisco Pie Crust
·        1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
·        ½ tsp. salt
·        ½ Crisco stick or ½ cup Crisco all-vegetable shortening
·        3 tbsp. cold water
1.    BLEND flour and salt in medium mixing bowl.
2.   CUT chilled shortening into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.
3.   SPRINKLE half the maximum recommended amount of ice cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.
TIP: Test dough for proper moistness by squeezing a marble-sized ball of dough in your hand. If it holds together firmly, do not add any additional water. If the dough crumbles, add more water by the tablespoonful, until dough is moist enough to form a smooth ball when pressed together.
4.  SHAPE dough into a ball for single pie crust. Divide dough in two for double crust or double deep dish crust, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten ball(s) into 1/2-inch thick round disk(s).
TIP: For ease in rolling, wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
5.  ROLL dough (larger ball of dough for double crust pie) from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface (or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper) into a circle 2-inches wider than pie plate for the bottom crust. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.
6.  For a SINGLE pie crust, trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold edge under. Flute dough as desired. Bake according to specific recipe directions.
7.  For a DOUBLE pie crust, roll larger disk for bottom crust, trimming edges of dough even with outer edge of pie plate. Fill unbaked pie crust according to recipe directions. Roll out smaller dough disk. Transfer dough carefully onto filled pie. Trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold top edge under bottom crust. Press edges together to seal and flute as desired. Cut slits in top crust or prick with fork to vent steam. Bake according to specific recipe directions.
Two Methods for Pre-baking Pie Crusts (Cream Pies)
1.    Pre-baking without weights: Thoroughly prick bottom and sides of unbaked pie dough with fork (50 times) to prevent it from blistering or rising. Bake crust in lower third of oven, at 425°F, 10-12 minutes or until edges and bottom are golden brown.
2.   Pre-baking with weights: Thoroughly prick bottom and sides of unbaked pie dough with fork (50 times) to prevent it from blistering or rising. Chill or freeze for 30 minutes. Line pie dough snugly with foil or parchment paper. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Reduce oven to 350°F. Bake 5-10 minutes or until edges and bottom are golden brown.


Spicy Pork Chili

For Mom and Dad's anniversary I cooked dinner. It turned out really good!!! It's from the Best of Country Slow Cooker Recipes Vol. 2. 
Printable Recipe.

Spicy Pork Chili
2 lbs. boneless pork, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup beef broth
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Shredded cheddar cheese, optional

In a large skillet, cook pork in oil over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until browned. Transfer pork and drippings to a 5-qt. slow cooker.
Stir in the tomatoes, corn, beans, onion, broth, chilies, chili powder, garlic, salt. cayenne and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until pork is tender. Stir in cilantro. Serve with cheese if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Note: Instead of crushed tomatoes I used diced tomatoes. I season the meat with chili powder and also add the tablespoon to the base. I didn't use any of the cayenne pepper or the cilantro. The minced garlic is Gourmet Garden.


Hunted By: Clair M. Poulson

This book was amazing. We listened to it on a trip and hated having to stop since that meant the book had to be paused. The story line is very easy to follow but has just enough suspense to keep you going. It has room for you to make predictions that are conceivable.

Zach Barlow, a young returned missionary, didn’t want Caden Pendleton to join his group of friends on a hunting trip to the High Uintahs. But the newcomer’s offer to help pay expenses changed Zach’s mind, despite his misgivings. Yet when Caden’s temper stirs up trouble in camp, Zach’s misgivings turn to regrets. And when Caden is found dead in the woods, shot with a hunter’s rifle, those regrets turn to raw panic. Zach’s hunting camp has become a murder scene, and the murder weapon’s owner—a young woman named Bria—is nowhere to be found. 
As Sheriff Lee Rutger and his deputies confront the mystery of the dead man and the missing girl, more disappearances follow. Can the sheriff stop the relentless hunter before he himself becomes the hunted?

Too Much Fun!

I’ve decided that I have too much fun playing on the computer. I love to start with a bunch of stuff and have it all come together. They aren't all that good but I enjoy it!

Thanks to Blog Designs By Dani I found Pixlr. It's a great photo editor. You can create projects or you can give images a retro vintage look. I love it!!! Dani also has tons of cute backgrounds and matching banners. Plus great information/tutorials on how to do different things yourself.

There are lots of pictures so beware!!!

This was a picture that I edited using Pixlr's Retro Vintage Effects. 

The favicon for our family site.

My favicon. (Jessi's and mine are both from from google images.)

The favicon for Jessi's blog.

A spring background.

 My blue and green background, banner and post divider.

 Christmas banner and background for the family blog.

A fall background and it's banner for the family blog.

My Support the Troops guy!
This one was random. It's bright and still kind of pastel.

This one is meant to be patriotic.

The banner for Jessi's Blog!

One of my past banners. I love the colors in this one though I think 'My' is a little hard to read with the four color layers.

Cute black and green background. Could work for St. Patty's Day.

Banner for the family blog. It is the same paper and materials as the next one down.

One of my banners. It was different but I like it.

A St. Patrick's Day banner for the family blog.

A picture for the family blog.

A welcome message for the family blog.
A welcome sign for anybody.
Signature for Jessi's blog.
The family signature.
My signature.