Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Unique Halloween Party Themes

Author: Amber Brubaker

Many adults have the mindset that Halloween is just for kids. However, Halloween becomes a holiday for all ages if it involves a great party.

Halloween parties are often very unoriginal, with the same old snacks, orange and black decorations, drinks, and music you see at every other Halloween bash. This year, spice up your Halloween party by coming up with a theme. A theme brings any party together, since the costumes, decor, food, and games will all match. Consider using one of the five themes below:

1. The Wild West

You can go several haunting or playful directions with this party theme. If you like spooky, turn your venue into a ghost town. If possible, rent out an old barn and fill it with spider webs, broken down carriages, and a skeleton in a stockade.

For kids, fashion your party around the cowboys and Indians era. Make a “wanted” poster with the middle cut out so that guests can stand behind it and have their photo taken.

And of course everyone will need cowboy hats like these and boots, which will keep the theme unified and make for some great memories!

2. Crime Lab

For a mysterious theme, turn your home into a crime scene. Invite guests to put their investigative caps on for this party and dress up as cadavers, coroners, lab technicians, or even test tubes.

Create a made-up murder scenario and invite guests to help solve the case using various forensic clues. Create four or five profiles of possible suspects as well as a background of the victim and include the information in the invitation along with a picture of the “dead body” and a forensic clue (different for each invitation), such as a fingerprint, a strand of hair, or a drop of blood (fake of course).

Then, leave clues throughout the party (perhaps a scrap of cloth snagged on the staircase or a fake suicide note on the coffee table) that will eventually lead your guests to the killer. Your guests can “interrogate” others to learn which clues they had in their invitation. All the while, serve them blood-red drinks and lady fingers. Offer a prize for the first person to both guess the culprit and produce enough evidence to convict him or her.

3. Hollywood

Only the rich and famous are invited to this party—though no one needs to actually be rich or famous; they just have to look like someone who is! Everyone gets a chance to be the star they’ve always dreamed of at this family-friendly party. Invite Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, and Elvis to sip some sparkling cider at the drink table, and have every star stop on the red carpet for a photo-opp.

For games, consider pinning a celebrity’s name to the back of each guest’s costume. Each guest will then guess which star they have on their back by asking other guests yes or no questions regarding his/her assigned celebrity. Or tape pictures of celebrities to the wall and invite guests to match up the correct star with his/her romantic partner.

4. Carnival

If you love a party with plenty of games, this one is the theme for you. With lots of helpers, you can have a cake walk, darts, bean bag toss, and bobbing for apples, all with great prizes! Your treat table can be filled with cotton candy, popcorn, corn dogs, fried oreos, funnel cakes, and all the delicious snacks you find only at carnivals.

For a haunted approach, fill your venue with distorted mirrors and have a spook alley with skeletons, a graveyard, and a ghost or two. 

5. Monster Bash

Only monsters may step foot in this party, and your definition of a monster is entirely up to you. Your guests can throw a monster spin on traditional costumes by having cheerleaders and football players grow fangs and fur. Or they can dress up as traditional Halloween monsters like vampires, werewolves, and giant spiders.

For kids, don’t make it a scary party. Have them dress up as friendly monsters such as the ones on Sesame Street or Monsters Inc. Your kids will love seeing their favorite friendly monsters everywhere they look, and be delighted to sample the furry, fanged cupcakes you made.

Now that you have a few ideas, go out there and pull off the best Halloween party yet! Use these ideas, or come up with your own, but remember that a great theme is the secret recipe for a great Halloween party.

The Miracles of Jesus Book Review

I was really excited to read the book The Miracles of Jesus by Eric D. Huntsman.  We talk of Christ often, but I really wanted to dive into the miracles that he performed while living on the earth. 

It seems that Huntsman's goal is to help you see more than just the individual miracles, but to also see how they all connect to Christ as the person He is and all the things that He did from the beginning of time.  For example, Hunstman talks about the miracle of changing water to wine and calming the winds and seas all as being able to manipulate the elements of the earth.  Being the creator of the earth, He had already manipulated the elements, changed, and created.  As a man on the earth, He continued to do this which refers back to His role as creator.  I love how Hunstman helps us see how things are connected and that the miracles help demonstrate the roles that Christ has.

Hunstman also dives into the meaning of the words used in the Bible from their original Greek which is a little too deep for me.  I think some root words and meanings are interesting, but he really goes into it and often.  Which is great if you love words!  

I do really like that there are sidebars with addition information to give you more insight on symbolism, word meaning, and even culture. This book is also full of great pictures, paintings, and diagrams to go with each miracle to better illustrate what is happening and the emotions that we can feel with each miracle.

I've been using this book as a part of my scripture study.  There are tons of scripture references to take you to where the miracle takes place in the Bible.  It also helps you get to know the Savior better and understand some of the reasons He did what He did on the earth.

I think this is a great book to help you learn more about Christ and understand His earthly life even better.  You can find this book at Deseret Book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Cutest Christmas Cards!

I know it's still October and we haven't even had Halloween yet, but you know most of you are already thinking about Christmas right?  There are so many fun things to do during the Christmas holidays that we have to prepare a little in advance - like deciding what gifts to buy for family and friends and...


You have to design them, order them, decide who you're going to send them to, and then get them in the mail and hopefully everyone gets it a little before Christmas.  I love hanging all the Christmas cards we receive in my home, so the earlier people send them, the longer they're featured!  :-)

I recently came across and they have the cutest Christmas cards.  Seriously.  Designs I haven't seen anywhere else.  They have classic and modern, Christmas and general holiday greetings.  One of my favorite things is that you can change their designs!  They have different color options and you can move the text so that it fits your picture.  So you can make the card yours and something that you love rather than just having to choose what they give you.

Here are some of my favorite cards.

I love these conversation bubbles where you can tell something fun about the year or something each person is enjoying right now.

 They have some cards that are foil-pressed!  So they're nice and shiny!  So cute!

Isn't this adorable?!  I thought it was super clever.  :-)

I just love how modern this is.  I think the text directly on the picture is really fun.

There are so many cards to choose from that it's hard to go through every one and see which you like best.  So they have this awesome feature called Find It Fast.  They take the picture you were using and put it on a bunch of different cards for you so you can quickly go through and see how it looks.  I love that!  Saves you a bunch of time.

And of course they have a bunch of different options to make your Christmas cards how you like it.  You can make your card a flat card, a folded card, or even a mini book!  They also have postcard styles if you don't want to get envelopes.

Ok now here's where I need your help.  I couldn't choose which of their cute cards to use.  And I couldn't decide which pictures to use.  We had family pictures taken this summer that I wanted to use for the card and there were some really cute ones.  It was just one of those miracle photography sessions where all your kids are good.  I know, once in a life time right?  It probably helps that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were in charge of photography, it was outside, and some of Alan's siblings were there to help make everyone smile.  So it was a team effort.  :-)

Anyway, I need you to help me which one to pick for our Christmas cards this year!

1. Tanner Luggage Tag
2. Tanner Family

or 3. Tanner kids

I would love to know which one you like best!  And make sure you head over to
to check out their super cute Christmas cards!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Meet This Mormon

We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints otherwise known as "The Mormons". We are proud of this part of who we are! We are excited to team up with over 65+ of us strong... to extend an invitation to see a film. A film entitled "Meet The Mormons". This film is not meant to be an "in your face" - you must join our church film. It is simply designed and produced to uplift and inspire you through six stories of those of our faith who have followed promptings to follow Christ more fully in their lives. We hope you take the opportunity to enjoy this film. We hope your hearts are made light as you feel the goodness that comes from following our Christ and Savior. All proceeds from the film will be donated to The American Red Cross. So not only will you be uplifted and inspired, your money will be going to an amazing charity!!

We also would like to take a moment and share our personal testimonies, stories of our own personal conversions, and our own stories of how following our Savior, Jesus Christ has changed our lives. The light of the gospel of Jesus Christ offers a joy and hope that only following him can provide. We hope as you click through and read our stories and testimonies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you will feel uplifted and encouraged. We are by you! We love connecting with our readers, that is why many of us do what we do! Please be kind and considerate in your comments. It takes great bravery for us to open our hearts and our mouths to share with you such a tender and personal part of who we are. We share because we feel strongly the need to share the peace and the hope that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Anita | Live Like You Are Rich, Landee | Landee Lu , Tara & Devin | Salt & Pepper Moms , Mallory & Savannah | Classy Clutter Kelli & Kristi| Lolly Jane
McKenzie | Girl Loves Glam , Pam & Lisa | Over The Big Moon , Melanie | Forty Eighteen , Sky | Capital B Adell | Baked in Arizona

Andie | Maybe I Will , Shatzi | Love and Laundry , Robyn | Create it Go , Rachel | R & R Workshop
Tiffany | Feel Great In 8 , Katelyn | What Up Fagens? , Brittany | BrittanyBullen , Ginger | Ginger Snap Crafts , Stephanie | Crafting In The Rain
Chelsey | Cee Me Be , Amber | Crazy Little Projects , Kallie | Smitten By, Elyse, Kristen, Lauren, Steph, Kendra & Camille | Six Sisters Stuff Annette | Tips From A Typical Mom
Kierste | Simply Kierste , Tayler | The Morrell Tale, Jennifer | My Daylights , Cambria | Live To Be Inspired, Danielle | Today's The Best Day

Nat & Holly | My Sister's Suitcase, Britni| Play.Party.Pin , Montserrat | Cranial Hiccups , Heidi | A Lively Hope , Ashley & Meegan | Flats to Flip Flops

My thoughts:

I hope most of you know already that I am a Mormon.  I mention things about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from time to time.  I just wanted to share with you briefly why I'm a member.

I was born into a Mormon family.  My mom converted to the church at 19 years old and my dad has been a member his whole life.  I have always loved the Church and felt it was true.  As a teenager I read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it.  I really asked God if it was true and I felt that peace to confirm it.  And there have been countless times where I have felt that Spirit of peace confirming it again and again throughout my life in many different situations.

I wanted to share with you two of my favorite things about the Church: a prophet today and personal revelation.

A Prophet: There were prophets in the Bible and there's a prophet today!  His name is Thomas S. Monson.  We know many things from the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but what about all of the modern things that are going on?  How do we respond to pornography?  Dressing Modestly?  Natural Disasters?  Our prophet.  He helps us know what the Lord wants us to do today.  He guides the Church and warns us of things that are coming in the future to help us prepare spiritually and physically.  He even has a Facebook Page if you want to check it out.  :-)

Personal Revelation: I believe that God cares about what we do.  He cares about how we live our lives and the choices we make.  I love that I can pray to Him and He will help me know what to do.  He helped me know I should marry Alan (after dating only 3 months), that we should have children when we did, and when I'm making other right choices.  I love that I can turn to Him for anything and that I'll be reassured that I'm making the right choice or doing the right thing.

I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.  That He knows who I am by name.  He cares about me and my family.  He cares about what I do and what I will become.

I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true with all my heart.  It brings me so much peace and happiness in good times and trying times.  I try to live it as best as I can.
And I love it.

If you have a profile or want to share a story from your blog, please link up below!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How Do I Know if I Know? Book Review

How Do I Know if I Know? is a book by John Bytheway (so you already know it's going to be good, right?) about how we know when we have a testimony.

I know I definitely felt this way as a teenager - how do I know when I have my own testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  Is there a moment?  Is it gradual?  How do I know when I'm no longer relying on what my parents believe and when I know for myself?

This is a very common question that John Bytheway addresses in his book. Often we don't realize that we actually know the Church is true and may doubt that we don't know.  John Bytheway gives us four different things that fuel our testimony.  Using an example of a light dimmer, he uses feelings, experiences, evidences, and logic as sources that make our light shine bright.  As we don't all feel the spirit and inspiration the same way, he explores lots of different examples to help you know if you know.  I love that he says that his book is to help us remember experiences and not trying to convince us that we have a testimony.

I love that in the second chapter about feelings, Bytheway answers the question if the Spirit makes you cry.  I wish I had read this book as a teenager.  I am not a very emotional person and NEVER cried when I felt the Spirit (I do more now - I think it's from having children...). I was the one girl who wasn't bawling her eyes out during our Girls Camp testimony meeting.  I always felt embarrassed because I knew I was feeling the Spirit, but just didn't express it the same way as everyone else so I didn't think I felt it as deeply as everyone else.  Bytheway explains that The Spirit and strong emotion are not the same thing.  "Sometimes they accompany one another, and sometimes they do not." I love that.

This is a great book for those who don't know if they have a testimony yet and even for those who know they do.  It's a good reminder to recognize when we feel the Spirit and all the different ways that the Spirit touches us.  And John Bytheway writes in a way that it feels like he's chatting with you.  It's great!  You want to read what he has to say because it feels sincere and that he really wants you to know what he knows.  I definitely recommend this book!

You can find How Do I Know if I Know? at Deseret Book

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Soft Pumpkin Pretzels

I love pumpkin treats.  So when I came across these pumpkin pretzels, I knew I needed to try them!  Turns out they're delicious!  Even my kids gobbled them up!  Definitely a winner and weren't too complicated to make - because I am all about that.

Make sure to head to the end of the post for more great pretzel recipes!

Soft Pumpkin Pretzels

Pumpkin Pretzels
Slightly adapted from: creme de la crumb


1 1/3 cups warm water
1 TBSP active dry yeast
2 TBSP honey
4 cups flour
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup baking soda

1/4 cup butter melted
1/4 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp cinnamon

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.
2.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and honey.  Let mixture rest for 5 minutes.
3.  Add flour, salt, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin spice to the yeast mixture and mix together with a dough hook until it makes one big ball of dough and mix for a minute or two.
4. Place the dough on a floured surface and let it rest for 10 minutes.
5. Roll out the dough into a long log and divide it into 12 equal pieces (using a pastry cutter really helps!).  Then take each piece and roll out by hand to make individual logs about 16-18 inches long.
6. Twist the pretzel dough into a pretzel shape and set aside.
7.  Boil a pot of water about 2-3 inches deep.  Slowly sprinkle in the baking soda as it will bubble!
8. Carefully drop one pretzel into the water and let it boil for 30 seconds and then remove it with a slotted spoon.  Place the pretzel on a paper towel.  Repeat with all the pretzels.
9. Then place the pretzels on the baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the pretzels or lightly browned.  
10. While the pretzels cool, melt the butter and mix the sugar and cinnamon together.  Then brush the pretzels with butter and dip them into the cinnamon and sugar.  I sprinkled it on too to make sure it was completely covered with the cinnamon sugar.  Do this to each pretzel.
11.  Then make the frosting by mixing all the ingredients until smooth.  You want this to be a little thinner to dip the pretzels into so add as much milk as you need to make it thin.  Start by adding a few tablespoons at a time.  Serve with the warm pretzels!

And here are 14 other great pretzel recipes!

Welcome to the Foodie Extravaganza!  

We are a group of bloggers who love to blog about food!  Each month we will decide on an all-famous National Monthly Food Holiday in which we will base our recipes around. This month the ingredient is pretzels with an optional ingredient of caramel.  Yes, October is National Pretzel Month along with a whole array of other delightful things!! Get excited!! We hope you all enjoy our delicious pretzel treats this month and come back to see what we bring for you next month.  If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza.  We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE

15 Pretzel Recipes via Foodie Extravaganza 600x600.jpg
Apple Cinnamon Pretzels with Creamy Caramel Dip  from Rebekah at Making Miracles
Apple Pie Stuffed Pretzel Bites with Caramel Dipping Sauce from Lauren at From Gate to Plate
Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pretzels from Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writing
Caramel Apple Pretzels from  Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
Cheese Stuffed Soft Pretzels from Stacy at Food Lust People Love
Chili Cheese Pretzel Bites from Ashley at The Recipe Rebel
Cinnamon Raisin Soft Pretzels from Heather at girlichef
Hopped Up Pretzel Bites with Beer-Gouda Dip from Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Marble Chocolate Dipped Pretzels  from Marissa at Rae Gun Ramblings
Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Bites from Emily at It Bakes Me Happy
Pretzel Rolls with Caramel Dipping Sauce from Lauren at Sew You Think You Can Cook
Soft Pumpkin Pretzels from Alexis at We Like to Learn as We Go
Soft Pretzel Cinnamon and Sugar Sticks from Ashlee at Ashlee Marie
Sourdough Pretzels from Kelly at Passion Kneaded
Spicy Cheddar and JalapeƱo Pretzel Bites from Kimberly at Rhubarb and Honey
Sun Dried Tomatoes and Cheese Soft Pretzels from Rachael from Eazy Peazy Mealz

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

National Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month

Guest Post by Lindsey Caldwell

The month of September is National Gynecological Cancer Awareness month. The women’s cancer community has been in debate over a controversial device called a power morcellator, so this month's awareness focus couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time!

Over the years, minimally invasive procedures have become more and more common. Before making the decision to move forward with any procedure, specifically a hysterectomy or myomectomy, weighing risks and benefits is an important step to take in making the right decision for oneself. Power morcellators may be responsible for spreading undetected cancer throughout the pelvis and abdomen of female patients, and prior to having the procedure, there is no clear way to determine if a woman with fibroids has uterine sarcoma.

According to the latest statistics available, approximately one patient in every 350 has previously undetected uterine fibroids that contain the malignant sarcoma cells. While this figure may seem quite low, it is important to remember how many women undergo a hysterectomy or similar procedure during their lives.

For some great information surrounding the ongoing issue, visit American Recall Center’s power morcellator page, as well as taking a look below at the following alarming statistics about the device in question.

·     What is a Power Morcellator? A device used in hysterectomies to cut tissue into small pieces to be removed from the body. However, uterine cancers sometimes go undetected prior to the procedure. In these cases, the morcellator dices up and spreads unsuspected cancer inside the woman's body.
·     Hysterectomy is the 2nd most common surgery among women in the United States
·     By age 70, one out of three American women will have had a hysterectomy
·     90% of these surgeries are done to remove Fibroids (non-cancerous tumors found in the uterus)
·     The average life span following accidental morcellation of sarcoma is only 24-36 months
·     Only 15% of women who have leiomyosarcoma (LMS) that has spread (stage 4) will be alive after 5 years
·     Women with sarcoma who are morcellated are about 4 times more likely to die from sarcoma than if they had not been morcellated

Check out the diagram above put together by the American Recall Center to see how power morcellation works.