Monday, January 31, 2011

CSN stores Review

Household Essential Paper Rope Baskets
Recently I was offered to review some great products from CSN stores.  I absolutely love their selection of products and since I'm into organizing right now I chose these Household Essential Paper Rope Baskets.  These little baskets are lightweight, but strong to hold both heavy and light items.  I used the smallest one for sorting my bills and mail.  The medium one is for books that I'm reading that I want to keep handy and the largest one is for all my blogging and teaching ideas.  This has really cut down on the clutter that I had with piles all over my kitchen and dining room.  These little baskets are very esthetically pleasing and they take up very little room.  I would recommend these for anyone who wants to get rid of some paper clutter and free up space on their counter!
Kidz Delight Silly Sam Broom & Dustpan

I also chose the Kidz Delight Silly Sam Broom & Dustpan because my 2 year old son is really into wanting to help mama clean. This little broom set is extra special because the Silly Sam broom speaks when it is being used!  It sings, laughs and has funny sayings.  My son was so fascinated with the broom that he forgot that he was actually sweeping!  The broom comes with an adjustable handle and the cute faces on the broom and dustpan are sure to get any kid excited about sweeping.

What I really love about CSN is the great customer service and fast shipping.  They send an email when they have shipped the product and when to expect it.  Also, if there is a backorder, they let you know right away.  CSN stores also has excellent prices and many of their products are on sale too.

Check out CSN stores today!

Friday, January 28, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing with Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie

As many of you know I've decided to organize my home in preparation for our baby coming in May.  I love to clean and because of this challenge I have made some great progress in getting this house back into shape!

Questions for the comments:
1. Were you able to tackle one of your piles last week?
     So I tackled a few piles that were not on my list.  I have a few boxes under my coffee table that collect stuff.  Cleaned those out!  Yesterday I tackled a one day project- my dining room hutch.  I felt so accomplished getting a job done quickly.

2. Did you have to make some tough choices?
     I still have a lot to do in some areas of my house and finding new places to store things.  I am not really following my schedule as I planned, but I am making progress. 

So here are some before and after pictures:
Laundry room area- BEFORE (yikes!)

Guest room closet- BEFORE (ugh!)
I took it all out!

What a mess!

This room will actually become my son's new room so I have to take everything out of that closet eventually, but now it's way less and better organized.  I can just move my knitting instead of all the other stuff!
AFTER- ah, much better!

Dining Room Hutch- BEFORE (clutter city!)

AFTER- great improvement
OK, so I'm so happy with my progress.  I have a few more areas that I started on and haven't finished so I'll work on them this week so I can "catch up" for the 52 weeks!  Have a great day cleaning!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Banana Split Bread

MMMM, Banana Split Bread!

I've been making this bread for many years because it's yummy and easy.  
I found this recipe in an old Home Cooking magazine and have tweaked it to add some healthy ingredients.

Cream wet ingredients: 
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c applesauce
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c mashed banana
3 T milk

Stir dry ingredients in separate bowl:
2 c flour
2 T flax meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c chopped pecans

1 c. choc chips

Mix wet and dry ingredients.  Fold in pecans and choc chips.  Bake in greased loaf pan @ 350 for 60-70 min.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Women Living Well Wednesday: Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge

Wow, has it already been a week.  So many good things have been happening in my marriage.  We had a really nice "at home" date night last week and we went to a wonderful marriage seminar on the weekend called Sexy Christians which really helped us talk about some important things.  This week my husband and I also read a devotional that encouraged us to write a note of 3 things that we are thankful for about each other.  Yesterday I got mine by email and it just made my day!

This week our challenge is find 10 ways to praise our husbands.  Courtney on Women Living Well has listed several great ideas.  Click on the first picture above to go to her website.  Be sure to "like" her blog on FB as well!

A few different ideas I have: write a note and put in his truck, leave a note in his Bible, whisper in his ear, send a text (I rarely do that), tape one to the TV and put one in his toothbrush bag.  Those are my ideas of what I can do this week, plus I'll take some of Courtney's ideas too.  :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gratituesday: Unexpected Blessing

Here's just a quick Gratituesday post:  Yesterday my husband emailed me a the end of the day and said he had something to tell me.  I couldn't wait to find out what it was.  So he came home and said that he got his annual evaluation and he was given a 3.5% raise and a 10% bonus!  It seems that earlier in 2010 that with cut backs and such at his work that nobody was going to get a raise, least of all a bonus.  I was prepared to live on what he has been making even though we need a bit more money as we are due to have our second baby soon.  So, it was an unexpected blessing from God! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

unPlanned by Abby Johnson Book Review

Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line
UnPlanned by Abby Johnson is the powerful true story of a young woman's journey from pro-choice to pro-life.  In September 2009 when Abby, director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas helped perform an ultrasound guided abortion, her world shattered.  Abby had been a naive college junior when she was recruited to volunteer for Planned Parenthood.  She was taught to believe that she was helping women and making abortions rare.  Little did she know the full agenda as she sank deeper into the pro-choice world.  Meanwhile, she was befriended by many of the pro-life people people who were praying outside the fence at her clinic.  God was continually working in her heart and through many heartbreaking situations on her own, she realized that she wanted to follow God's will.  Abby's story is one of hope, courage and making tough decisions in the face of adversity.

I was absolutely riveted to this story and could not put this book down.  From the first opening pages to the last, I was in awe of the way God revealed truth to Abby.  She endured much conflict within her soul and bravely told her deepest secrets within this book.  She felt her life was very carefully planned until she was shaken to the depths of her core about her role in the pro-choice movement.  I am thrilled about this book and would definitely put it on a "must-read" list this year!

*This book was provided to me free of charge by Tyndale House Publishers for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Please consider adding this book to your personal library: Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line.  It will change your life!

Friday, January 21, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing with Laura The Organizing Junkie!

Questions to ponder:
1.  What areas did you organize this week?
      Well, I started organizing the guest room closet.  I have stuffed all my knitting in there and various other things.  I have to get it basically cleaned out since we will be transforming that room for my 2 year old son before little baby brother/sister gets here.  

2.  Where you happy with what you accomplished or disappointed?  Explain.
      The project of cleaning out that closet has made a much bigger mess than I anticipated.  Literally, I have to find someplace else to put all that stuff.  My husband started making another room, but I don't think it will be done for when I need it.  So I feel a bit stuck right now.
3.  What types of piles would you like to get under control?
      I have a lot of paper piles around that house that I'm trying to get under control.  I actually have put them in (ugly) boxes that are in various places.  I spent last night going through 2 boxes and got rid of pretty much everything.  I tend to "keep" so much stuff!  I'm trying really hard to recycle and throw away/give away things right away.

Next week I will post some before and after pictures of what I have accomplished.  Some of these tasks are taking me more than a week to do, but I'm plugging away!

I'm hooked up with The Organizing Junkie!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Search Book Review/Giveaway

Search, The: A Novel (Lancaster County Secrets)

Search, The: A Novel (Lancaster County Secrets) by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the story of two very different worlds that collide: Amish and English.  Bess comes to stay with her very eccentric grandma Bertha in the quiet Amish community of Stoney Ridge one summer.  Twenty five year old Lainey O'Toole's car breaks down in Stoney Ridge where 15 years earlier, she had to make a life and death decision.  Bertha's shunned Amish brother, Simon, needs a bone marrow transplant, but only one person is a perfect match.  Jonah, Bertha's son and Bess's father is torn between protecting his daughter and falling in love with Lainey.  And then there is the secret Lainey has been holding for 15 years.  Love, forgiveness and a chance at a new beginning are all part of The Search.

I found it very interesting how Suzanne weaves all the relationships together in this book.  Also, her characters are very well developed and gives very accurate glimpses of Amish life.  I was reluctant to like Bertha at first, but the more I got to know her, the more I grew fond of her.  I also loved the sweet relationship between Jonah and Lainey.  This book had many wonderful spiritual truths that were not overbearing, but helped the characters through the tough moments.  There were many loose ends at the conclusion of the book so I hope there is a sequel!

*This book was provided to me free of charge  for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Be sure to check out the Litfuse website for information on The Search!

Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest installment of the Lancaster County Secrets, The Search,  is just out and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter
Facebook Party:
Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page

Win it:  I am having a giveaway for this book.  Open to US only and giveaway ends Monday, Jan 31.

To enter: Be sure to click on all the links before filling out the entry form.

1. Mandatory: Be a follower on my blog (2 entries)
2. Subscribe to my blog by email (link on blog)
3."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog). 
4. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site) 

Recipe of the Week: Baked Potato Soup

I found this recipe at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  I did everything but put onions and cream in it.  It turned out fabulous!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Women Living Well Wednesday: Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge

Well, I am once again being challenged by Courtney at Women Living Well.  I feel so blessed to have this spiritual online mentor to encourage me to pursue God in passionate ways by reading His Word and applying it to my life.  One very practical area is marriage!

Courtney has a 25 Day Praise Plan in preparation for Valentine's Day.  Today starts Week 1: Look for ways to praise your husband verbally. Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on facebook, tweet it - get praise out anyway you can!

Tonight I'm planning an "at home" date for my husband.  Being a busy mom of a 2 year old and pregnant with #2, I feel like our dating life is a little on hold.  But it doesn't have to be.  I'm also going to be conscious of praising my husband every chance I get.  How about you?  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Books by Tara Giveaway

If you haven't yet visited my other blog which is mostly about teaching little ones- Milk N' Honey Learn and Grow, I have a great giveaway going on that has super LOW entries!  I have reviewed books before for Books by Tara and they are high quality and very interactive.  If you have little ones at home or grandchildren, this would be a great giveaway to enter.  So bop on over and enter TODAY!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pear Tree Greetings Valentine Cards Giveaway

Pear Tree Greetings

Pear Tree Greetings Valentine Photo Cards

Pear Tree Greetings Valentine stickers

Pear Tree Greetings Valentine Variety pack

Oh, one of my favorite holidays is coming up: Valentine's Day!
One year I wrote a Valentine story to my husband (then fiance) using Sweet Hearts conversation hearts.  It was the most creative thing I think I have ever done since!

But Pear Tree Greetings makes it fun for you and your kids to send special Valentine cards to friends and family.  They have stickers, photo cards, magnets and variety packs.

Here is a sampling of what I received in the mail to review:

This month's giveaway will be 24 FREE Valentine cards!
What better way for your kids to tell friends and family "Happy Valentine's Day" with personalized Valentine's cards from Pear Tree Greetings!

Buy it: 10% off new Valentine's Day Cards Collections with purchase of $30 or more.  Coupon code: HEART10.  Ends 2/28/11.  Shop Pear Tree Greetings today!

Win it: Winner will be able to have their choice of 24 FREE Valentine cards.  Giveaway ends Monday, Jan 31.

To enter: Be sure to click on all the links before filling out the entry form.  Thanks!

1. Mandatory: Be a follower on my blog (2 entries)
2.  What Valentine product do you like best from Pear Tree Greetings
3. Name a special Valentine memory.  
4. Subscribe to my blog by email (link on my blog)
5."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog). 
6. "Like" Pear Tree Greetings on Facebook
7. Make a purchase at Pear Tree Greetings (5 extra entries!) (Stock up on personalized birthday gifts for someone special.)
8. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site) 


Friday, January 14, 2011

52 Weeks of organizing 2011 with Organizing Junkie

So, I'm still working on organizing bit by bit.

Some questions to consider:
1.  What did you organize this past week?

       Last week I worked on one of my 5 hotspots that I am going to organize this month.  I completely finished cleaning the Laundry room/back entrance.  Now I feel I can move on to the next area!

2.  Did you have any difficulties with it?  Stumbling blocks?  Major breakthroughs?

       Well, my difficulty was trying to do something everyday.  I realized that when I break it down and only do one shelf for 15 minutes, I feel much more accomplished than wearing myself out trying to get it all done in one day.  I'm also 5 months pregnant with a 2 year old so I have to pace myself!

3.  If you are reading my book, Clutter Rehab, were you able to put any of the organizing tips into practice this past week?

          I have not read this book, but it looks like something I should get so that I don't clutter again after I have finished this project.

Laura at The Organizing Junkie has given some steps for a PROCESS!  Check it out!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Dutch Pancakes

Because I am pregnant, this is my favorite: breakfast for dinner.  So I decided to make a recipe passed on from my growing up days: Dutch Pancakes.  You may call it something different, but I got this from a friend who was Dutch.

2.5 cups milk
2 eggs
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 c flour
Blend all together until well mixed.  Melt butter in a hot frying pan.  Add small amount of batter and cook both sides.

When finished fill with whatever you want.  I like peanut butter and bananas.  My husband tried his golden plum jam.
Then roll it up.  I also put our homemade strawberry rhubarb sauce on top and inside.  Such a yummy breakfast for dinner.  Totally satisfied my pregnancy craving!