Thursday, May 31, 2012

After All by Deborah Raney Book Review

After All: A Hanover Falls Novel (Hanover Falls Novels) by Deborah Raney tells the story behind the tragic fire that claimed Susan Marlowe's firefighting husband and 4 others at the shelter she ran 18 months prior.  Susan is finally beginning to heal from the loss of her husband, and has put her full attention to running the rebuilt shelter which the community is not overly fond of.  Meanwhile, she begins to interact with the fire chief, Pete Brennan who is divorced and  ready to look for attention from any female.  He and Susan do not hit it off at first, but eventually get each other laughing and start a comfortable friendship.  But strange things begin happening when Susan meets the fire inspector, Andrea Morley, who also was at David's funeral.  Susan is confused as to why Andrea is constantly at the fire station and also trying to get Pete's attention.  Things get even more fuzzy when a former shelter resident comes looking for Susan and a fire is discovered in her own backyard.  Secrets are revealed and the county finally is made aware of the true circumstances surrounding the original shelter fire.  Will Susan be able to trust Pete with her heart and will she be able to forgive the past?

This was my first novel from Deborah Raney and I really enjoyed the mystery and romance.  I was somewhat confused at the beginning when Pete was vacillating between two women and I didn't truly get into the romance between him and Susan until the very end.  There was a very fine line between the professional relationship between Pete and Andrea and their "friendship"  that was hard to distinguish.  But I thought that Susan was very level-headed and made wise choices in how she handled herself.  I also enjoyed the little teaser sentence at the beginning of every chapter that I looked for within the chapter.  If you like romance and mystery, this is a great book to read.

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

Recipe: Whole Chicken in a Crockpot

A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted that her mom made this amazing bean recipe. So I messaged her mom and she sent me a whole bunch of crockpot recipes. She even included this one for a whole chicken. I have never done a whole chicken and when I tried this recipe, I almost couldn't stop eating it because it was SO good! So, here is the recipe for a whole chicken from my friend Lue.   I also included her chicken stock recipe too.

Whole chicken in the Crock Pot

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 onion
1 whole chicken

Thick slice the onion and put in crock pot.
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Rub the mixed dry ingredients under chicken skin, in cavity and on top of skin.
Put in crock pot with about ¼ cup of water or broth/stock. The chicken will make it’s own juices. Cook on high 4-5 hours (for a 3-4 pound chicken).

Sometimes I skip the dried thyme and have added fresh thyme and rosemary. Just stick it wherever under the skin, in the cavity etc. You can do the same with garlic. You can’t screw this recipe up. The 1st time I did it, I had only an onion and salt and pepper. It was still good. Whatever you have on hand is great. Oh yeah--I cook the neck etc in the same pot as the chicken because it adds flavor.

After picking all the delish meat off the bones, throw the whole carcass back into the crock, skin, previous juices, old onion etc. and make some:

Overnight Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot

leftover chicken bones or carcass roughly equivalent to one small or medium sized chicken
1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
1-3 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
1-2 carrots, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
1-2 bay leaf
1-3 sprig fresh parsley
1-3 sprig fresh thyme
1-3 sprig fresh rosemary
Salt, to taste
Note: If you are missing any of these ingredients I wouldn’t let that stop you from making it anyway. Throw whatever you have on hand into the crock. It's going to taste delish! I also add 1-2 Tablespoons of apple cidar vinegar (the taste and smell will cook out) because it helps draw the calcium out of the bones, making your stock more nutritious.

• Add the onion, celery, carrot and spices on top of the bones and fill the crock pot almost to the top with tap water (leaving about 1/2” at the top).
• Turn the slow cooker onto “low” after dinner and cook all night long or alternatively you could start it in the morning and cook on “low” for 8 – 10 hours during the day.
• After the stock is done cooking turn off the heat and, using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all herbs/bones/etc. Either refrigerate or freeze the stock for future use. I usually freeze some in both 1 and 2-cup portions, and I also sometimes freeze stock in ice cube trays just in case I just “need a little” for making sauce or rice.
• This stock is great in soups like chicken noodle soup and also in rice like risotto. Enjoy!

I also made some tortillas and put the chicken on top of some spinach to make a yummy wrap for lunches.
What do recipes do you use cooked, shredded chicken in? Please share!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

100 Days of Summertime 2012 Ebook by Jennifer Tankersley Book Review

100 Days of Summertime from List Plan It

A Daily Dose of Inspiration & Motivation for a Summer filled with Family, Food, and Fun! An off shoot of the popular blog series, 100 Days to Christmas, this eBook is a journey that begins around Memorial Day, and leads you step-by-step through the best parts of summertime. Included are links to 31 lists from for end-of-school planning, summer camp, family vacations, party planning/entertaining, back to school and more!

You will absolutely love Jennifer's new book for summer!  She has given you 100 days of fun stuff do during May, June, July and August.  From at-home day camps to family camping, from staycations to traveling to far destinations, from backyard bbq to fun summer parties, and much much more.  The list is endless.  On top off all this, she has links to her website with TONS of ideas listed and also links to printable lists where you can write them down and have them in your handy notebook.  Jennifer has made it real easy to enjoy your summer and try some new things, but most of all, make memories and maybe even start some new traditions.  So check out this new ebook which is only $5.

Only $5

And don't forget to join the Facebook page for more interaction during the 100 days of summer!

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

Visit with Grandma and Grandpa!

Last weekend my parents came down for a visit. They live about 2.5 hours away and we don't get to see them often, but it was such a fun day! We had a yummy lunch and then Grandpa made an airplane with Shrade and Grandma read some books to Jessna. Oh, and the funniest thing was that Shrade had his kitty talk to my mom! I wish I had recorded it, it was so priceless. Well, it was just great. We hope to spend some more time with them this summer!

A Place to Belong CD Review

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 artist is:

and the cd:

℗ 2012 LifeWay Worship

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***


 Radio personality, recording artist, speaker and author Lisa Troyer finds herself heart-deep in ministries that are changing lives forever. Her incredibly successful Circle of Friends women's ministry, formed over a decade ago, is growing in all directions. With ministry and songwriting partner Dawn Yoder, Lisa and her Circle of Friends offer women's conferences, leadership training, counseling services, worship music, life skills classes and marriage/family resources. No matter the outlet or the venue, Lisa uses her gift of encouragement, her influence and her resources to open doors for women everywhere to discover their significance and belonging through Christ.

Visit the author's website.


Every woman needs acceptance, love and a place to belong. That's the underlying theme of the new music CD, A Place to Belong (Lifeway Worship), from singer/songwriter Lisa Troyer, president of Circle of Friends Ministries. Refreshingly authentic and dynamic, the companion worship CD to Troyer's recently released book, A Place to Belong: Out of Our Comfort Zone and into God's Adventure (Barbour Publishing), tenderly draws women into a place of true freedom and belonging in the very heart of God.

To order go HERE.

Product Details:

$7.92 or $0.99 per song

Genres: Christian & Gospel, Music

Released: Mar 23, 2012

℗ 2012 LifeWay Worship


My review:
This CD was so soothing and gave me great peace and hope in God.  This is wonderful praise music that is very low key, but with powerful lyrics.  Each song spoke of intimacy with God who ultimately longs for our hearts to come to him for everything in our lives.  This is definitely a CD to put on for purposeful worship.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kitchen Stewardship Camping Ebook Sale and More!

Family Camping Ebook from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship
SALE: May 18-21
42% off
Coupon Code: 42DEGREES

If you’ve always wanted to try camping as a frugal family vacation but are nervous because you have little ones, whether they’re babies, toddlers, or preschoolers, The newly UPDATED second edition of the Family Camping Handbook will show you how to survive and even thrive out in the woods with young children. You can bring your babes and your real food, too!
Think you need to pack lots of toys? Try a kid’s shovel. Wondering how to organize your campsite? Give everything a place, and you’ll wish you were camping once you get home to your real house.
Kitchen Stewardship in the Big Woods: A Family Camping Handbook with Real Food Options gives an overview of how to get started camping, what to bring, the proper campin’ attitude, and of course, real food adaptations to standard camping fare. No need to compromise with hot dogs and white buns just because you’re out in the woods with a campfire!

I love this book because it is organized with lists of things to use on a camping trip with approximate prices.  There are menu plans, recipes, camping tips, ideas for what to do with little ones and my favorite is the packing and supply list. Katie has done all the work for us!  I feel read to camp with my two little ones with some great food.  So get your copy today!  Great price!


Healthy Snacks to Go Ebook


Smart Sweets
Are 15% off for a short time (May 18-21)
Coupon Code: TROOPER15
This is the time to get all 3 at really good prices! 
I have each one and love them

Natural House - MOPPY Review and Giveaway!

I honestly don't like mopping because it seems like my floor never gets clean.  I'm also not sure about the products that I usually use and if they really do clean my floor.  I have a 12 month old who crawls everywhere and I feel like I need to be more diligent to clean my kitchen floor.  But with Moppy from Natural House, I feel very assured that not only will my floor get clean, but that the probiotics will create a safe surface free of germs where my baby can crawl.  Moppy has a sweet orange mint scent and I love the foaming packet that instantly activates in the water.  This natural household cleaning product is a great addition to my cleaning routine!  Thanks, Natural House!   

Information about Moppy:
Moppy Probiotic Cleaning packet is a concentrated, professional-strength, all-natural floor cleaner. Powerful, plant derived scrubbing agents cut through dirt and lift grime from the floor. Moppy’s probiotics remain on the surface to help maintain a germ-free and odor-free household. Moppy is safe to use on multiple surfaces including high-gloss surfaces, terrazzo, marble, slate, vinyl, tile, and finished hardwood surfaces. Use weekly to promote a healthy and safe home!

Benefits of using Moppy:

  • Industry-First, Cutting-Edge Probiotic Cleaning Products
  • Convenient foaming water soluble pouch application
  • Cuts through dirt and lifts grime from the floor
  • Active ingredients keep working to maintain germ and odor free surface
  • 1 bag lasts 30 DAYS
  • Safe to use on multiple surfaces including high-gloss surfaces, terrazzo, marble, slate, vinyl, tile, and finished hardwood surfaces
  • Use weekly to promote a healthy and safe home
  • Leaves no Dulling Residue
  • Scrubbing action scours dirt and lifts germs and grime, while driving out odors at their source
  • Eco-Friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable
You can purchase Moppy at Amazon or through Natural House Products.

Find Natural House at Facebook and Twitter.
*This product was provided to me free of charge for purpose of this review. This is my honest opinion of this product and no monetary compensation was received for my opinion.*

Win it:  I am giving away a month supply of Moppy to one lucky reader!  Open to US ONLY!  Giveaway ends Thursday, May 24 .

To enter: Please click on all the links before filling out the form.

1. Leave a comment on this post about why you would want to use this product. (required)
NOTE- After commenting, please fill out the entry form at the bottom.  Thanks.
2. Be a follower on my blog
3. "Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook
4. Visit Natural House and tell me one thing you learned.
5. "Like" Natural House on Facebook
6. Follow Natural House on Twitter
7. Post about this giveaway on another site (blog, facebook, twitter, etc.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012- 20 Reasons Why I Love Being a Mother

I got this idea from Mom Life Today to write 20 things I love about being a mom!
  1.  When my son said "I love you" for the first time he said "I you."  Now he yells, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, I love you!"
  2. Looking into my child's eyes.
  3. Watching the faces of my children light up when I do something silly.
  4. Tickle time
  5. Hearing my little son praying
  6. Watching my daughter learn new skills to keep up with her brother.
  7. Cuddle time
  8. Being the one my kids rely on for comfort
  9. Hugging time
  10. Watching my son make his sister giggle
  11. Relaxing in the reading rocking chair with both my kids on my lap
  12. Being asked to play by my son, "Mommy, will you play with me?"
  13. When my son remembers to say "May I please..."
  14. Playing hide and seek with a my little guy who doesn't know how to hide!
  15. Listening to my little son talking about his daddy.
  16. Hearing my son sing Scripture songs
  17. Watching my children learn to be independent.
  18. Having the privilege to PRAY for my children everyday with Warrior Prayers and the MOD Squad.
  19. Cooking with my son
  20. Playing peekaboo with my daughter

My two precious babies!
Jessna is 1 year old
Shrade is 3.5 years old

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Booking It 2012: May

Books I read this month:

These 3 books were great!  I haven't been reading as much.  I'm trying to spend more time on doing things with my son and daughter.  I only have these few short years to enjoy them!

Beyond Hope's Valley by Tricia Goyer Book Review + Giveaway!!

Enter Today - 5/2-5/20!
Win a Custom Amish Prize Pack from @TriciaGoyer in her Beyond Hope's Valley Giveaway! RSVP for All Things Amish Party {5/21}! Celebrate with Tricia and enter to win a custom-made Amish Wall hanging in the colors of your choice ... and much more!

One fortunate winner will receive: 
  •  Custom Amish Wall Hanging {You choose the colors!} 
  • An Amish Doll {Sweet.} 
  • Amish-made basket {It’s picnic season!} 
  • Doilies, potholder and an Amish cookbook {All items form Bird-in-Hand, PA!} 
  • Three book Big Sky Amish series {Be swept away by this captivating series.} 

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 20th. Winner will be announced at "All Things Amish" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/21. Tricia will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and more! 

So grab your copy of Beyond Hope's Valley and join Tricia on the evening of the May 21st for a fun chat, trivia contest (How much do you know about the Amish?) and lots of giveaways. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)
Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 21st!

Here's my review:
The last book of the Big Sky Novel's, Beyond Hope's Valley by Tricia Goyer, brings a surprising end about holding true to beliefs, but embracing God's best.  Marianna travels back to Indiana with her fiance' Aaron to help her brother's soon to be wife deliver her baby.  Little does she know the secrets that are soon to be revealed.  Marianna tries to fit back into her community after being gone for a year to Montana.  She can't help but feel that the changes she's made in her spiritual life make her seem different and unwanted.  Meanwhile, her English friend, Ben from Montana, writes an amazing song about her and it ends up being played on the radio.  Marianna overhears that song one day in a store and wonders why her heart still skips a beat when she thinks about Ben even though she is planning to marry her Amish sweetheart Aaron.  Marianna dutifully helps her brother and sister in law, but becomes confused when a secret is revealed about the coming baby.  Can Marianna truly trust God to give her His best and lead her down the right path to life and love?

I am so glad this series had an ending that was pleasing to me.  I really enjoyed each of these novels and I learned so much about really trusting God for future plans.  This would make a great movie!  This was unlike any other Amish novel I have ever read.  It not only showed Amish traditions, but how Amish also learn to live with "outsiders" in a friendly way.  Three cheers for Tricia!

Check out my reviews for her first two books: Beside Still Waters and Along Wooded Paths.

*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 have the last 2 books of this series (Along Wooded Paths and Beyond Hope's Valley) to give away.  I will be giving BOTH books to one winner!  Open to US and giveaway ends Saturday, May 19.

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

1.(NEW)  Make a comment about my review in the comments below (you must then fill out the entry form for your entry to be counted!)
2. EXTRA- Make a comment on Along Wooded Paths review.
3. Be a follower on my blog
4. Subscribe to my blog by email (link on blog)
5."Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog). 
6. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site- see share buttons below) 

DON'T FORGET- fill out the entry form after making a comment!  Comments only count if you have filled out the entry form.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Jessna's Year- Watch Me Grow

Baby Surprise, I'm waiting for you!
May 6, 2011- Jessna Josine Knowlton
1 month
2 months
3 months
4 months
5 months
6 months
7 months
8 months
9 months
10 months
11 months
12 months
And now that Jessna is one year old, I will no longer be posting monthly, but every 3 months until she turns 2. I hope you have enjoyed watching Jessna grow this year. I sure have. I'm so thankful every day that God gave me a little girl. Be sure to stick around to see more of Jessna and Shrade.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jessna is ONE year old!

I can't believe it's already been ONE year since I had my little girl! Time sure does fly, but I do remember the first months very vividly and they were a little rough.  If you read my blog last summer you would know my heartache. But we moved past that and these last several months have been fantastic.

Jessna's new milestones:
*pulling up on everything
*cruising on furniture
*crawling FAST
*looking at books for a period of time
*putting everything in her mouth- she has eaten stickers, cat food, cat litter, paper (yuck!)
*she signs "more" when she wants more food
*throwing food and milk bottle on the floor- means "I'm done!"

Jessna's first bike ride
Reading a book
My pretty girl
Finding crackers
Me and my little girl!
Dear Jessna,
Happy one year old today, sweet girl!  When I found out I was pregnant, deep down in my heart I wished for a girl.  I couldn't believe that God granted my wish and you were born!  I regret to say that the first few months of your life were very hard for me and you.  We both cried a lot because you didn't want to nurse.  It's ok, because we made it through and we are still bonded together.  I look into your eyes and hear you say "mama" and my heart just melts.  You are so precious to me and I'm glad that God chose to put you in my arms.  You are completely different than your brother and it was fun to watch you grow and do things in your own time.  I love your sweet smile and adorable giggle.  I love watching you imitate your daddy and laugh with your brother.  You have brought so much joy to our lives and I have to say that you are the cutest baby girl ever!  I look forward to all the fun we can have together as mommy and daughter.  For now, I will still hold you close as I give you your night-night bottle and relish the way you touch my face and bump your forehead to mine.  Sweet dreams, little one.  God loves you and so do I!

Love, Mommy

Read Shrade's one year birthday letter.