Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summertime Pantry Challenge

Well, I'm joining up with Life As Mom over at Good Cheap Eats for Summertime Pantry Challenge. Basically, I'm going to try to spend as little as possible and look through my freezer and pantry as well as food from the garden to make my meals. So I'll be posting a few things that we've had for food. Looks like fun!

In the Aerie of the Wolf by Leonora Pruner Book Review/Giveaway

In the Aerie of the Wolf
In the Aerie of the Wolf by Leonora Pruner, Anne Crofton is plunged into a world of love, deception and fierce battles.  Her reason for taking the journey led by a faithful servant, Samson, to the Aerie was to be wed to the master, Lord Wolverton also known as Andrew Lupus.  However, her heart is secretly pining for the Reverend Micheal Pennywaithe from her village.  Anne dreads marrying an unknown master of the castle until she meets him in a dark garden one night.  She finds him very charming except he would not allow her to look at him because he had been scarred as a young child and his face was so ugly.  Anne was a bit taken aback by that, but nevertheless vowed to love this man who demeanor she respected.  Trouble mounts as the chaplain who was to officiate the marriage is murdered.  Wedding plans are stalled until Sir Andrew hires Reverend Pennywaithe as the new chaplain.  Anne's heart becomes divided but she still marries Sir Andrew.  As tension increases in the castle, Anne finds out that Andrew's brother wishes to take over and will go to extreme measures to capture what he wants.  Meanwhile, Anne's affections are torn between her husband and the reverend and only God could change her heart and help her to be the wife she was intended to be.

This story was romantic, exciting and mysterious.  I was swept away with the ere of castles with secret passageways and beautiful gowns.  This novel was not at all predictable, but full of surprises, twists and turns.  I love how Anne was willing to marry someone she didn't know and even though he was ugly as he said, she still loved and accepted him anyway.  There were many ups and downs for the young girl, but through it all she learned to trust God and be true to her husband.

*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.*

Win it:  I am having a giveaway for this book.  Open to US only and giveaway ends Sunday, July 10.

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

1. Be a follower on my blog
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) 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kitchen Stewardship- Healthy Snacks to Go Ebook

This week I decided to start making some healthy snacks that I can take on the go with my children. What's easy to pop out of the freezer or cupboard that not only tastes good, but is healthy? Hmmm, well, my eyes quickly went to Kitchen Stewardship's Healthy Snacks to Go Ebook. I chose a recipe for granola bars and whipped them up.  I cut them up and put 2 per baggie and placed all the baggies in a bigger bag and popped that in the freezer.  In the morning I take a baggie out and put in the diaper bag ready to go when we are!

My husband came home the night I made them and started digging in. A few days later we were driving in the car for a weekend trip and I brought these granola bars out and he asked to have one. He said that they were "really good." I think so too. With ingredients like oats, honey, peanut butter, chocolate chips, raisins, dried apricots, coconut and other nuts---YUM!

So if you want to find some yummy treats to take on the go, check out Healthy Snacks to Go Ebook.

I have several more recipes that I'm going to try, so be on the lookout! You can get the recipes by downloading the book for only $6.95: Click here to view more details.

Next I'm going to try Power Bars and Whole Wheat Banana Flax Muffins.  Power up!!

Educating the Whole Hearted Child Book Giveaway

Educating the WholeHearted Child

Clay and Sally Clarkson are giving away this book! I would love to win it! Go HERE if you would like to win too!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Good Morning Girls: Giving Your Children the Gift of Inspiration Discussion Questions

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children

1. For each child in your household, write out a list of characteristics (personality traits, skills, interests, etc.) that you believe God can use for his purposes.

Shrade's traits (as of age 2)- helpfulness, praise and worship, attention to detail, loving, joyful, polite, friendly.

2. Referring to your lists you just made, write a letter to each child expressing what you see in him or her and affirming that God has a special place for that child in his kingdom purposes. Whether you share the letter with your child now or save it for a future time depends on your circumstances. Don't forget to commit this list to the Lord in prayer and specifically ask him for help in inspiring that child to use his or her gifts to help bring about God's kingdom.

Dear Shrade, I know you are young, but I can already see things that God has given you that I hope will become stronger as you grow older.  You have a very joyful and loving attitude.  You are very friendly and say hi to everyone you meet.  You accept people and everyone enjoys being around you.  You are also very helpful and you have very good manners like saying please and thank you.  You are very concerned about details and you always see things that we don't catch.  Best of all, I love that you sing praise and worship songs to God.  I pray that your heart will be drawn more and more to him.

3. Read Matthew 6:33. This passage is clear about what our priorities should be, but priorities easily become skewed in the course of daily life. Consider the way you spend your time and money. What does this say to your children about what is most important to you and is this the message you want to send? In light of this verse, should a mother's children be her first priority?

I admit that I'm a pretty selfish person and I don't daily take the time to make God or my children a top priority. Recently I've changed my morning schedule. I used to spend a lot of time on the computer, but now I'm trying to get things done before my son gets up (my shower!). I'm finding it hard to juggle an infant and toddler. But as I daily seek God I am changing my schedule more to reflect my priorities. I think in seeking God's kingdom and righteousness, my children are my first priority during the day.

4. Read Matthew 6:25-30 and Psalm 19:1. Then think of a time and place where you really felt the power and magnificence of God as displayed in the work of his creation. In the coming few weeks, be alert for opportunities to look, observe, ponder--and point out God's wonders to your children. Set a goal of saying, "Come, look!" at least once a day.

Every time I think of Mt. Rainier I feel the power and magnificence of God.  One time I was coming home from college (TN) on an evening flight.  I was sad not to be able to see the mountain.  I really missed it.  But circumstances on the flight changed and I ended up having to stay overnight in San Francisco.  The next morning as I flew home I got to see all of God's beautiful mountains and lakes.  God had answered my prayer and I will never forget that flight where I could see his creation.  Right now I'm looking for those opportunities to expose my children to God's majesty in nature.  Also,  I married a nature lover and he's taught me many things about appreciating the little things God has made. I've learned so much about plants and animals. I try to share these with my son too!

5. Read Matthew 9:36. Can you think of some fears or prejudices in your life or your particular culture that might keep you or your children from seeing people as Jesus did? (What kinds of people do you tend to shy away from or find hard to care about?) What might help you overcome these attitudes?

I think I fear criminals in our society. I think it is a healthy fear for the safety of myself and family. Other than that, I have learned to reach out and give to people regardless of who they are by watching the example of my generous and friendly husband.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Family Camping Cookbook- Kitchen Stewardship Sale

If you have wanted to have an extra special camp cookbook that addresses families with young children and not your typical hot dogs and smores, then this is the cookbook for you.  I haven't been camping in a while and I'm a little hesitant to take 2 little kids, but after reading through this book and getting great recipe ideas as well as camping tips, I'm ready to try it out! 

This book is on sale for $4.95 until Tuesday, 6/28.  Get this deal now before the price goes up $2.  Use the code 2NDEDITION.  Don't miss out!

Click here to view more details

Handmade Fun 4 Children Giveaway Week on Milk N Honey Learn and Grow!

If you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, you will want to check out my fun review/giveaway week over at my other blog Milk N Honey Learn and Grow.  I found 5 fabulous Etsy shops with great handmade items exclusively for children.  So head on over and enter today.  This event lasts all week!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Four Generations

This weekend I finally got to go home and have my mom and grandma meet Jessna who is already 7 weeks!  Here is our 4 generation picture!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Introducing: Book Depository!

Recently I was looking to order books online for the cheapest deal. I've used, Amazon and some others. Somehow I found Book Depository which offers books up to 50% off and FREE shipping. Yes, FREE shipping worldwide. I quickly ordered the book I wanted and I was so glad for the free shipping. They really ding you on that with other sites. I encourage you to check out this site if you are looking to order books. It will be well worth it.

I'm thinking of ordering Reshaping It All and The Mission of Motherhood soon. Without the shipping costs I will save lots of money. Click on the banner above to check it out. Bookmark it and get shopping!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Pistachio Pudding Salad

*12 oz Cool Whip
*20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
*1 cup sour cream
*2 cups marshmallows
*small package pistachio instant pudding

Mix all ingredients.  Sprinkle some marshmallows on top.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Great no baking recipe to do with kids!

Ready to stir!

Adding marshmallows

Licking- the best part!

All done!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer Book Review/Giveaway

To Win Her Heart
Eden Spencer has resigned herself to be a spinster after being jilted by her father's business associate.  She is happy to run the town library in the town of Spencer and much to her surprise begins to entertain feelings for a young blacksmith who is new in town in To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer.  Levi Grant hopes to make a new start where no one will know about his past as a former convict who served prison time.  Unfortunately e falls in love with the town's sweetheart and attempts to keep his secret under wraps.  Levi begins corresponding with Eden by letters transported through books from the library.  Levi's kind heart and brawny strength allow him to "rescue" a few townspeople in crisis, but when Eden discovers Levi's past she feels shattered and can't begin to comprehend the gentle character that Levi shows is really what he is like.  Levi intends to marry Eden and finds a way to make up to her, but not before the sheriff tries to prove Levi's former life.

I really liked the way the author used interesting and great analogies with her words to tell the story.  For most of the book, my image of Levi was of an overgrown blunderer based on an early description and not the strong handsome man Eden was falling for.  I thought that the fact that he had a lisp and was trying to avoid certain words made him appear more boyish and immature than manly.  I did like the sweet way he courted Eden.  I felt the story had some drama, but nothing that really held my attention.  But if you want a precious love story, this is  good one.

*This book was provided to me free of charge by Bethany House Publishers for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this book and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*
Win it:  I am having a giveaway for this book.  Open to US only and giveaway ends Sunday, July 3.

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

1. Be a follower on my blog
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) 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate Review/Giveaway

Mmmm, Tropical Traditions 1-Quart (32 oz) - Coconut Cream Concentrate!  Tastes good right out of the jar!  But first you need to get it soft and there is a great tutorial video for that.  Coconut Cream Concentrate is organic whole coconut meat.  There are NO additives (like water) and it's very creamy!  It is not an oil but a food although it does have coconut oil in it.  It can become hard in colder weather and needs to be warmed to liquify so it can be used.  "Coconut Cream Concentrate contains NO additives and NO preservatives at all: it is 100% natural coconut made from certified organic Philippine coconuts grown without pesticides or fertilizers."
Quick Chocolate Pudding
The favorite goodie I made was this Quick Chocolate Pudding. Was it ever yummy! I added marshmallows and nuts to make a rocky road pudding.  I really love the creamy smooth texture of the Coconut Cream Concentrate and the light coconut taste.  I also made Coconut Cream Hot Chocolate which had a great flavor!

This product is also good to add to smoothies, soups, drinks (as a creamer) and can be used in baking.  I made Gluten-Free Coconut Brownies and they turned out pretty good. I have never made anything gluten free before. I actually think that adding flour would have made these more fudgey which is how I like brownies.

There are many wonderful recipes for using Coconut Cream Concentrate.  Hmm, which one will I try next?  :)

Buy it: Right now 1-Quart (32 oz) - Coconut Cream Concentrate is $19.50.

When you place your order please use my ID # to get your FREE book: 6015262 in the "Referred by a Friend".  (Thank you!) You can also obtain your own complimentary copy of Virgin Coconut Oil book through the Referral program if you are ordering for the first time.  Please click: for more info. The book will be automatically be added to your order.  I encourage you to look through the website for some great products.  I have already tried the Lavender Natural Deodorant (aluminum free), the Organic Shredded Coconut, the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, Coconut Peanut Butter, Raw Honey, Unscented Coconut Soap, Powdered Laundry Detergent, Skin Exfoliator, Liquid Dish soap, Oxygen Bleach and Anti oxidant natural greens.  Be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get updated information on products and sales.

If you need any help in placing your order please click here:

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

Win it:  One reader will receive 1 32 oz jar of Coconut Cream Concentrate.  Giveaway ends Sunday, July 3.

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

1. Be a follower on my blog 
2. Visit Tropical Traditions and tell me another product you would like to try.
3. Subscribe to my blog by email. 
4."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog). 
5. "Like" Tropical Traditions on Facebook
6. Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter
7. Sign up for the Tropical Traditions Newsletter.
8. Make a purchase at Tropical Traditions using my referral code: 6015262 (+5)
9. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site) 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

God's Nuggets: David...Seeking a Heart Like His Week #10

David: Seeking a Heart Like His

This was my last week to attend the lecture on David and alas, my kids kept me up all night and I just couldn't get it together to go.  Thankfully I can listen to the audio version online at my leisure.  Well, here are my last thoughts:

*God wants to be with me in every high and low.
*I am God's choice!
*Give me an undivided heart.
*Examine my heart daily so I may be whole heartedly devoted to God.
*I want my heart to be like His just as David's was.

I highly recommend this Bible study.  If it's not going on in your area, you can order the book and also listen or watch the lectures online at LifeWay Christian.

Happy Father's Day and Happy Birthday to my husband, Jeremy!

8 years ago today we met!
It was Jeremy's birthday.
Read our Love Story post. 
Happy Birthday!

Never could I have imagined what my life would have been like without this wonderful guy!
He not only is my loving husband, but he's a father to our two beautiful children.

Laughing with Shrade

Holding newborn Jessna

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann Book Review/Giveaway

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

WaterBrook Press (May 3, 2011)
***Special thanks to Lynette Kittle, Senior Publicist, WaterBrook Multnomah, a Division of Random House for sending me a review copy.***


Kristen Heitzmann’s gift of crafting stories has ranked her as the award-winning and best-selling author of two historical series and twelve contemporary, psychological and romantic suspense novels including Indivisible. As an artist and musician, Kristen lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and a continuous stream of extended family, various pets, and wildlife.

Visit the author's website.


Award-wining and best-selling author Kristen Heitzmann brings another suspense story to life in Indelible (WaterBrook, May 3, 2011).

Follow Trevor MacDaniel, a high country outfitter, as he rescues a toddler from the jaws of a mountain lion. Discover how he can’t foresee the far-reaching consequences of his action, how it will entwine his life with gifted sculptor, Natalie Reeve—and attract a grim admirer.

Find out how Trevor’s need to guard and protect is born of tragedy, prompting his decision to become a search and rescue volunteer. And how Natalie’s gift of sculpting comes from an unusual disability that seeks release through her creative hands.

See how in each other they learn strength and courage as they face an incomprehensible foe…a twisted soul, who is drawn by the heroic story of the child’s rescue. One who sees Trevor as archangel and adversary, and threatens their peaceful mountain community—testing Trevor’s limits by targeting their most helpless and innocent.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400073103
ISBN-13: 978-1400073108


A veined bolt of lightning sliced the ozone-scented sky as Trevor plunged down the craggy slope, dodging evergreen spires like slalom poles. Rocks and gravel spewed from his boots and caromed off the vertical pitch.

      “Trevor.” Whit skidded behind him. “We’re not prepared for this.”

      No. But he hurled himself after the tawny streak. He was not losing that kid.

      “He’s suffocated,” Whit shouted. “His neck’s broken.”

      Trevor leaped past a man—probably the dad—gripping his snapped shinbone. Whit could help there. Digging his heels into the shifting pine needles, Trevor gave chase, outmatched and unwavering. His heart pumped hard as he neared the base of the gulch, jumping from a lichen-crusted stone to a fallen trunk. The cougar jumped the creek, lost its grip, and dropped the toddler. Yes.

      He splashed into the icy flow, dispersing scattered leaves like startled goldfish. After driving his hand into the water, he gripped a stone and raised it. Not heavy, not nearly heavy enough.

      Lowering its head over the helpless prey, the mountain lion snarled a spine-chilling warning. There was no contest, but the cat, an immature male, might not realize its advantage, might not know its fear of man was mere illusion. Thunder crackled. Trevor tasted blood where he’d bitten his tongue.

      Advancing, he engaged the cat’s eyes, taunting it to charge or run. The cat backed up, hissing. A yearling cub, able to snatch a tot from the trail, but unprepared for this fearless challenge. Too much adrenaline for fear. Too much blood on the ground.

      With a shout, he heaved the rock. As the cat streaked up the mountainside, he charged across the creek to the victim. He’d steeled himself for carnage, but even so, the nearly severed arm, the battered, bloody feet… His nose filled with the musky lion scent, the rusty smell of blood. He reached out. No pulse.

      He dropped to his knees as Whit joined him from behind, on guard. He returned the boy’s arm to the socket, and holding it there with one trembling hand, Trevor began CPR with his other. On a victim so small, it took hardly any force, his fingers alone performing the compressions. The lion had failed to trap the victim’s face in its mouth. By grabbing the back of the head, neck, and shoulder, it had actually protected those vulnerable parts. But blood streamed over the toddler’s face from a deep cut high on the scalp, and he still wasn’t breathing.

      Trevor bent to puff air into the tiny lungs, compressed again with his fingers, and puffed as lightly as he would to put out a match. Come on. He puffed and compressed while Whit watched for the cat’s return. Predators fought for their kills—even startled ones.

      A whine escaped the child’s mouth. He jerked his legs, emitting a highpitched moan. Trevor shucked his jacket and tugged his T-shirt off over his head. He tied the sleeves around the toddler’s arm and shoulder, pulled the rest around, and swaddled the damaged feet—shoes and socks long gone. Thunder reverberated. The first hard drops smacked his skin. Tenderly, he pulled the child into his chest and draped the jacket over as a different rumble chopped the air. They had started up the mountain to find two elderly hikers who’d been separated from their party. Whit must have radioed the helicopter. He looked up. This baby might live because two old guys had gotten lost.

In the melee at the trailhead, Natalie clutched her sister-in-law’s hands, the horror of the ordeal still rocking them. As Aaron and little Cody were airlifted from the mountain, she breathed, “They’re going to be all right.”

      “You don’t know that.” Face splotched and pale, Paige swung her head. Though her hair hung in wet blond strands, her makeup was weatherproof, her cologne still detectable. Even dazed, her brother’s wife looked and smelled expensive.

      “The lion’s grip protected Cody’s head and neck,” one of the paramedics had told them. “It could have been so much worse.”

      Paige started to sob. “His poor arm. What if he loses his arm?”

      “Don’t go there.” What good was there in thinking it?

      “How will he do the stuff boys do? I thought he’d be like Aaron, the best kid on the team.”

      “He’ll be the best kid no matter what.”

      “In the Special Olympics?”

      Natalie recoiled at the droplets of spit that punctuated the bitter words.

      “He’s alive, Paige. What were the odds those men from search and rescue would be right there with a helicopter already on standby?”

      “We shouldn’t have needed it.” Paige clenched her teeth. “Aaron’s supposed to be recovering. He would have been if you weren’t such a freak.”

      “What?” She’d endured Paige’s unsubtle resentment, but “ freak” ?

      “Let me go.” Paige jerked away, careening toward the SUV.

      Natalie heard the engine roar, the gravel flung by the spinning tires, but all she saw was the hate in Paige’s eyes, the pain twisting her brother’s face as he held his fractured leg, little Cody in the lion’s maw, the man leaping after…

      She needed to clear the images, but it wouldn’t happen here. Around her, press vans and emergency vehicles drained from the lot, leaving the scent of exhaust and tire scars in the rusty mud. Paige had stranded her.

      “Freak.” Heart aching, she took a shaky step toward the road. It hadn’t been that long a drive from the studio. A few miles. Maybe five. She hadn’t really watched—because Aaron was watching for her. Off the roster for a pulled oblique, he had seen an opportunity to finalize her venture and help her move, help her settle in, and see if she could do it. She’d been so thankful. How could any of them have known it would come to this?  Trevor’s spent muscles shook with dumped adrenaline. He breathed the moist air in through his nose, willing his nerves to relax. Having gotten all they were going to get from him, most of the media had left the trailhead, following the story to the hospital. Unfortunately, Jaz remained.

      She said, “You live for this, don’t you?” Pulling her fiery red hair into a messy ponytail didn’t disguise her incendiary nature or the smoldering coals reserved for him. He accepted the towel Whit handed him and wiped the rain from his head and neck, hoping she wouldn’t see the shakes. The late-summer storm had lowered the temperature enough she might think he was shivering.

      “Whose idea was it to chase?”

      “It’s not like you think about it. You just act.” Typing into her BlackBerry, she said, “Acted without thinking.”

      “Come on, Jaz.” She couldn’t still be on his case.

      “Interesting your being in place for the dramatic rescue of a pro athlete’s kid. Not enough limelight lately?”

      “We were on another search.” She cocked her eyebrow. “You had no idea the victim’s dad plays center field for the Rockies?”

      “Yeah, I got his autograph on the way down.” He squinted at the nearly empty parking lot. “Aren’t you following the story?”

      “What do you think this is?”

      “You got the same as everyone. That’s all I have to say.”

      “You told us what happened. I want the guts. How did it feel? What were you thinking?” She planted a hand on her hip. “Buy me a drink?” He’d rather go claw to claw with another mountain lion. But considering the ways she could distort this, he relented. “The Summit?”

      “I’d love to.” She pocketed her BlackBerry and headed for her car. Whit raised his brows at her retreat. “Still feeling reckless?”

      “Sometimes it’s better to take her head on.”

      “Like the cat?” Whit braced his hips.

      “The cat was young, inexperienced.”

      “You didn’t know that.”

      “There was a chance the child wasn’t dead.”

      “What if it hadn’t run?”

      “If it attacked, you’d have been free to grab the kid.”

      “Nice for you, getting mauled.”

      “If it got ugly, I’d have shot it.”


      He showed him the Magnum holstered against the small of his back.

      Whit stared at him, stone-faced. “You had your gun and you used a rock?”

      “I was pretty sure it would run.”

      “Pretty sure,” Whit said. “So, what? It wouldn’t be fair to use your weapon?”

      It had been the cat against him on some primal level the gun hadn’t entered into. He said, “I could have hit the boy, or the cat could have dropped him down the gulch. When it did let go, I realized its inexperience and knew we had a chance to scare it off. Department of Wildlife can decide its fate. I was after the child.”

      “Okay, fine.” With a hard exhale, Whit rubbed his face. “This was bad.”

      Trevor nodded. Until today, the worst he’d seen over four years of rescues was a hiker welded to a tree by lightning and an ice climber’s impalement on a jagged rock spear. There’d been no death today, but Whit looked sick. “You’re a new dad. Seeing that little guy had to hit you right in the gut.” Whit canted his head.

      “I’m just saying.” Trevor stuffed his shaking hands into his jacket pockets. The storm passed, though the air still smelled of wet earth and rain. He drove Whit back, then went home to shower before meeting Jazmyn Dufoe at the Summit. Maybe he’d just start drinking now.  Arms aching, Natalie drove her hands into the clay. On the huge, square Corian table, two busts looked back at her: Aaron in pain, and Paige, her fairy-tale life rent by a primal terror that sprang without warning. She had pushed and drawn and formed the images locked in her mind, even though her hands burned with the strain.

      No word had come from the Children’s Hospital in Denver, where the police chief said they’d taken Cody, or from the hospital that had Aaron. Waiting to hear anything at all made a hollow in her stomach. She heaved a new block of clay to the table, wedged and added it to the mound already softened. Just as she started to climb the stepstool, her phone rang. She plunged her hands into the water bucket and swabbed
them with a towel, silently begging for good news. “Aaron?”

      Not her brother, but a nurse calling. “Mr. Reeve asked me to let you know he came through surgery just fine. He’s stable, and the prognosis is optimistic. He doesn’t want you to worry.”

      Natalie pressed her palm to her chest with relief. “Did he say anything about Cody? Is there any news?”

      “No, he didn’t say. I’m sure he’ll let you know as soon as he hears something.”

      “Of course. Thank you so much for calling.”

      Natalie climbed back onto the stool, weary but unable to stop. Normally, the face was enough, but this required more. She molded clay over stiff wire-mesh, drawing it up, up, proportionately taller than an average man, shoulders that bore the weight of other people’s fear, one arm wielding a stone, the other enfolding the little one. The rescuer hadn’t held both at once, but she combined the actions to release both images.

      She had stared hard at his face for only a moment before he plunged over the ridge, yet retained every line and plane of it. Determination and fortitude in the cut of his mouth, selfless courage in the eyes. There’d been fear for Cody. And himself ? Not of the situation, but something…

      It came through her hands in the twist of his brow. A heroic face, aware of the danger, capable of failing, unwilling to hold back. Using fingers and tools, she moved the powerful images trapped by her eidetic memory through her hands to the clay, creating an exterior storage that freed her mind, and immortalizing him—whoever he was. The Summit bar was packed and buzzing, the rescue already playing on televisions visible from every corner. With the whole crowd toasting and congratulating him, Jaz played nice—until he accepted her ride home and infuriated her all over again by not inviting her in.

      He’d believed that dating women whose self-esteem reached egotistical meant parting ways wouldn’t faze them. Jaz destroyed that theory. She was not only embittered but vindictive. After turning on the jets, Trevor sank into his spa, letting the water beat his lower- and mid-lumbar muscles.

      He pressed the remote to open the horizontal blinds and to look out through the loft windows.

      Wincing, he reached in and rubbed the side of his knee. That plunge down the slope had cost him, but, given the outcome, he didn’t consider it a judgment error. That honor went to putting himself once more at the top of Jaz’s hate list. He maneuvered his knee into the pressure of a jet. When he got out, he’d ice it. If he got out.

      He closed his eyes and pictured the battered toddler. The crowd’s attention had kept the thoughts at bay, easy to talk about the cat, how mountain lions rarely attacked people, how he and Whit had scared it off, how DOW would euthanize if they caught it, how his only priority had been to get the child. He had segued into the business he and Whit had opened the previous spring, rock and ice climbing, land and water excursions, cross-country ski and snowshoe when the season turned.

      That was his business, but rescuing was in his blood, had been since his dad made him the man of the house by not coming home one night or any thereafter. At first, the nightmares had been bad—all the things that could go wrong: fire, snakes, tarantulas, tornadoes. They had populated  his dreams until he woke drenched in sweat, cursing his father for trusting him to do what a grown man couldn’t.

      The phone rang. He sloshed his arm up, dried his hand on the towel lying beside it, and answered. “Hey, Whit.”

      “You doing okay?”

      “Knee hurts. You?”

      “Oh sure. You know—”

      “Hold on. There’s someone at the door.”

      “Yeah. Me and Sara.”

      Trevor said, “Cute. Where’s your key?”

      “Forgot it.”

      Gingerly, he climbed over the side, then wrapped a towel around his hips, and let them in.

      “You mind?” Whit frowned at the towel, although Sara hadn’t batted an eye.

      She came in and made herself at home. Whit carried their twomonth- old asleep in his car seat to a resting place. Trevor threw on Under Armour shorts and a clean T-shirt, then rejoined them.  “So what’s up?”

      “Nice try, Trevor.” Sara fixed him with a look. “I especially like the practiced nonchalance.”

      He grinned. “Hey, I’ve got it down.”

      “With Jaz, maybe. No claw marks?”

      “Too public.”

      Whit rubbed his wife’s shoulder. “We knew you’d worry this thing, so Sara brought the remedy.”

      She drew the Monopoly box out of her oversize bag with a grin that said she intended to win and would, wearing them down with her wheeling and dealing. “I’ll take that silly railroad off your hands. It’s no good to you when I have the other three.”

      He rubbed his hands, looking into her bold blue eyes. “Bring it.”

      The mindless activity and their chatter lightened his mood as Sara had intended. She knew him as well as Whit, maybe better. Each time he caught the concern, he reassured her with a smile. He’d be fine.

      Whit played his get-out-of-jail card and freed his cannon. “Hear what’s going in next door to us?”


      “An art gallery.”

      “Yeah?” Trevor adjusted the ice pack on his knee.

      “Place called Nature Waits.”

      “Waits for what?”

      Whit shrugged. “Have to ask the lady sculptor.”

      “Won’t exactly draw for our kind of customer.”

      “At least it won’t compete.” Sara rolled the dice and moved her pewter shoe. “Another outfitter could have gone in. I’ll buy Park Place.”

      Both men mouthed, “I’ll buy Park Place.”

      She shot them a smile.

      Two hours later, she had bankrupted them with her thoughtful loans and exorbitant use of hotels on prime properties. He closed the door behind them, and it hit. He raised the toilet seat and threw up, then pressed his back to the wall and rested his head, breathing deeply. The shaking returned, and this time he couldn’t blame adrenaline. He had literally puffed the life back into that tiny body. If that child had died in his arms…

Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed
Alone th’ antagonist of Heaven, nor less
Than Hell’s dread Emperor, with pomp supreme,
And god-like imitated state.

Child snatched from lion’s jaws. Two-year-old spared in deadly attack. Rescuer Trevor MacDaniel, champion of innocents, protector of life. Cameras rolling, flashes flashing, earnest newscasters recounted the tale. “On this mountain, a miracle. What could have been a tragedy became a triumph through the courage of this man who challenged a mountain lion to save a toddler attacked while hiking with his father, center-fielder…”

      He consumed the story in drunken drafts. Eyes swimming, he gazed upon the noble face, the commanding figure on the TV screen. In that chest beat valiance. In those hands lay salvation. His heart made a slow drum in his ears. A spark ignited, purpose quickening.

      Years he’d waited. He spread his own marred hands, instruments of instruction, of destruction. With slow deliberation, he closed them into fists. What use was darkness if not to try the light?

My Review:

Trevor MacDaniel, a search and rescue worker saves Natalie Reeve's nephew from the mouth of a lion.  Trevor and Natalie, who were strangers to each other become connected as they try to process the tragedy of the loss of the little boy's arm.  Natalie is a sculptor and has an eidetic memory.  Her therapy for any situation is to sculpt what she sees.  It is almost an obsessive behavior that eventually paralyzes her when she tries to remember the face of the man who later attacked her.  Trevor is intrigued with Natalie's unusual skill and begins to seek moments to spend time with her.  After Natalie is asked to care for her nephew, Trevor steps in to help.  Trevor continues to work at his search and rescue job, but begins to get disturbing anonymous pictures in the mail depicting children in need of rescue.  What brought Trevor and Natalie together begins to be stretched beyond what they can bear.  Not until a deranged man is found will there be peace.

At first I was intrigued by Natalie's unusual memory, but after many times of her needing to get her hands on clay, I thought it was a bit obnoxious.  However, I felt that it was vital to the story line.  I also wasn't drawn into the love story between Trevor and Natalie which I thought was rather shallow and full of doubt.  And there was also the relationship between Trevor and his partner's wife, Sarah, who happened to be a former girlfriend.  Not to mention the fact that between each chapter there was the ramblings of a madman which never really connected to the main character like I thought it should.  Needless to say, I was rather disappointed in this book which appeared to be somewhat of a sequel to Indivisible: A Novel because it had many of the same characters.  Despite all of that, I do feel that this was a well written novel even if I wasn't into the story.

Win it:  I am having a giveaway for this book.  Open to US only and giveaway ends Sunday, June 26.

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

1. Be a follower on my blog
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) 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chicken and Rice Bake

This is simple and very delicious!  Prep this in the morning to be put in the oven later.  Rice needs to soak.

For 8x8 pan

Mix together 1 cup milk with 1/2 cup rice and one can cream of mushroom soup.
Add 1 cup cut up green beans and 1/2 cup mushrooms (I didn't add these because I don't like mushrooms).
Sprinkle in rosemary and garlic powder.

Put 3-4 pieces of boneless skinless chicken in the bottom of an 8x8 pan.
Pour rice mixture over top.
Let sit in refrigerator for the day.

Sprinkle sage and paprika on top right before cooking.
Cover in foil or uncover for a crisp look (that's what I did).
Bake 350 for 1 hour or until done.

I also sprinkled some sage and paprika on top

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond Book Review/Giveaway

Spring for Susannah
A mail order bride and a Dakota homesteader discover love in Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond.  When Susannah's parents die and leave her with nothing she is forced to find someone to provide for her.  She is introduced through letters to her pastor's brother, Jesse Mason.  Her arrival at Fourth Siding, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, begins Susannah's journey of opening herself to the harsh realities of life that she never anticipated.  Her first step into the dirt floor soddy was not the cozy home she expected.  Susannah holds back much of herself as Jesse gently tries to help her relax.  Many differences in their personalities and how they were raised caused concern and friction for the couple.  It wasn't until they experienced a tragedy that Jesse and Susannah begin to knit their hearts together.  As financial circumstances force the couple to make difficult choices for separation, the love they share with God and each other warms the distance.  Susannah discovers who she is and as God blesses them, she is certain that Jesse is the provider that she knew was always waiting for her.

I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet novel, a debut by Catherine Richmond.  Her rich descriptions and colorful characters make this story come alive.  At first, I was wondering how she could make such a plain setting where few people lived be an interesting story.  The relationships of the characters are special and entertaining.  Jesse is a model husband and almost too good to be true and Susannah reminds me so much of myself.  When she cast off her city bred ways and took on tasks of a homesteader I was simply amazed.  You will enjoy this novel, but beware that the ending is somewhat unfinished.

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

Win it:  I am having a giveaway for this book.  Open to US only and giveaway ends Sunday, June 26.

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

1. Be a follower on my blog
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)

To celebrate her debut novel, Catherine and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away a Spring For Susannah Prize Package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond (for KINDLE)

To enter just click one of the icons below and then tell your friends! But hurry, giveaway ends on June 27th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 28th at 5 PM (6PM MST, 7PM CST, & 8PM EST) during Catherine's Spring for Susannah Book Club Party on Facebook! Catherine is rustling up some fun for the party - she'll be chatting about the story behind her novel, hosting a book club chat,  testing your mail-order bride trivia skills, and giving away some GREAT prizes! Don't miss the fun and tell your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good Morning Girls: Give the Gift of Grace Discussion Questions

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children

1. Read Romans 2:4.  According to this verse, what leads us to repent?  How specifically does God want you to extend his grace to your children so that his kindness through you will lead them to repentance?

I can extend his grace to my kids through kindness in my words and actions. As I model these, I also want to point them to God by referring to him often.

2. Read Mark 14:66-72 and 1 Peter 4:8.  Knowing that Christ gave Peter grace after he failed so miserably, how would he have you extend this kind of grace to your own children?  What would this look like in your daily interactions?

I need to cover mistakes in love and use these as teaching opportunities. My main goal is to develop relationship so I can reach the heart of my children.

3.  The last night Jesus had with his disciples, he called them "little children"  (John 13:33).  Does this tell you anything about his attitude toward these grown men who were his most devoted followers?  Read John 14:1 and see what his continued response was to Peter after he had confronted him with the fact that he would deny Christ.  How does this show the loving grace that Jesus extended to his disciples?  How does he want you to extend it to your children?

I want to be mom that my kids can trust when they are troubled and afraid. I do this by spending time with them and listening to them.

4. The Bible makes it clear that we are to discipline and correct our children when they do wrong.  How do you do this faithfully while still giving them the gift of grace?

I can discipline with grace by being calm, setting boundaries, enforcing boundaries, modeling acceptable behavior, teaching in times of non-conflict and explaining why. This is not easy to do and it is a learning process for for me.

5. Write down what tends to irritate you about each of your children and sometimes keeps you from showing God's gracious love.  Pray for each child he has given into your hands and make a plan for how you will respond more graciously to him or her, especially in that irritating situation.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

God's Nuggets: David...Seeking a Heart Like His Week #9

David: Seeking a Heart Like His

Whew! This was quite a week. There was a lot of reading, but 2 Samuel 22 was my favorite so I will go back and meditate on it!

Here's what I learned:
*Restore relationships so there will not be loss and regret.
*God wants me to recommit to vows I have made.
*"God will always lead us to victory, but He will lead His way."
*The Lord in my shield, my deliverer and my refuge.
*I may not know why God does what he does, but I know who God is!

Only one more week!