Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy One Year Birthday, Shrade!

November 27, 2009

Dear Shrade,

I can’t believe you are one year old today! I have to tell you that I was quite nervous about being a mommy for the first time. But when you took your first breath, I knew that God would give me the strength to take care of you. This year was so special for me because God allowed me to stay home and take care of you. Many mornings I would wake up to your smiling face and thank Him for this wonderful gift.

When we started to train you, these two things seemed really hard: sleeping through the night and eating solid food. I remember how when we thought you were ready to sleep through the night you decided to wake up EVERY night at midnight no matter how much I fed you. I think it took about a month to get through that time. You would NOT give up! In fact, I remember that one night you cried for 2 straight hours! And as for eating, well, you really loved formula and you did OK eating purees that I spent making. But when we wanted to have you eat more solid food you started to choke, gag, spit and sometimes throw up. It was another battle that took about 2 months before you thought solids were OK. I think we spent quite a few meal times crying. Both of us!

But the best of all was the new things you learned to do and the excitement in achieving them. Your laughter and squeals were priceless and I hope you keep that up. I remember the first time you rolled over and we clapped and cheered. Then you started making sounds like da, da. When you tried to say kitty you let out a high pitched squeal. When Abby came into the room we heard that sound loud and clear.

One thing I really liked was your interest in books: looking at them, touching them, turning pages and sometimes eating them! And it was so fun to see you move from sitting to spinning on your tummy and then crawling. Boy, you were fast! We had to babyproof quick. A few times you crawled up the stairs so quietly and you laughed and giggled when we discovered you. Every new thing you did we would clap and cheer and you started clapping too. Especially when you started eating, you would clap after every bite.

We were really pleased at how well you would go in the nursery. And we found that getting you on a good schedule for eating and sleeping really helped our family. You were usually so happy and content. You especially loved our nightly walks in the summer.

Well, Shrade, I hope to write many more letters to you on every birthday. But I do want to tell you as I do every night- Daddy loves you, Mommy loves you and Jesus loves you most of all!

You are special, love Mama

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Sneaky Chef Chocolate Cupcakes

Actually these cupcakes are called: Choc-ful Cupcakes with Incredibly Improved Icing

4 T butter
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. PURPLE PUREE (see below)
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. FLOUR BLEND (see below)
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper lines (12).
Melt the butter and chocolate chips in the microwave and cool a bit. In another bowl stir egg, vanilla, Purple Puree and sugar. Combine with melted chocolate mixture.
In a mixing bowl stir Flour Blend, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Fill muffin cups to the top.
Bake 23-25 min and frost with Incredibly Improved Icing. (Even tastes good without)

1 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix dry milk and powdered sugar in a bowl and add boiling water and vanilla. Mix very well. Add a little more water until desired consistency.

PURPLE PUREE: (may also use Beech Nut baby food apples and blueberries)
I triple this and freeze in muffin tins (1/4 c. portions) and then put in freezer bags. Best to make in the summer with fresh blueberries.

Makes about 1 cup of puree
- 3 cups raw baby spinach leaves*
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no syrup or sugar added)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons water

*note: I prefer raw baby spinach to frozen spinach for this recipe (more mild flavor); if you must use frozen spinach, only use 1 cup of it.

> Thoroughly wash the spinach, even if the package says “prewashed.” If using frozen blueberries, quickly rinse them under cold water to thaw a little, and then drain.

> Fill the bowl of your food processor with the spinach, blueberries, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of water; puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push the contents to the bottom. If necessary, use another tablespoon of water to smooth-out the puree.

> This recipe makes about 1 cup of puree; double it if you want to store another cup. It will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1⁄4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.


Makes 3 cups of flour blend

- 1 cup all-purpose, unbleached white flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup wheat germ, unsweetened

> Combine the flours and wheat germ in a large bowl.

> This blend can be stored in a sealed, labeled plastic bag or container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

For more great recipes from the Sneaky Chef:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Gratituesday!

What I am most thankful for is My Savior and Lord! He gave his life as a sacrifice for my sins and forgives over and over. He is with me all the time in good and bad. I can trust him for everything and someday I get to live with him in heaven. Thank you, Lord, for making it possible for me to spend eternity with You! Nothing in this life is more important to me than living for God. Matthew 6:33 "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recipe of the Week! Whole Wheat Carrot Biscuits for babies

So I decided to find some baby food recipes to experiment with since Shrade has now decided to eat! I found this Homemade Baby Food blog that posted this easy and yummy treat. I made this for Shrade and he loves them. This is good for babies under a year because it does not have eggs.

Here's the recipe:

2 oz (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
2 oz (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
6 oz (3/4 cup) cooked, mashed carrots
2 to 4 fl oz (1/4 to 1/2 cup) milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375 deg F (180 deg C).
Mix the flour, baking powder and brown sugar together in a bowl.
Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
Mix in the mashed carrots, then add enough of the milk to form a soft dough.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/2 inch, then cut with a cookie cutter into circles (I used hearts).
Grease a baking sheet and place the biscuits on it, at least one inch apart.
Bake until golden (around 10-15 mins).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Gratituesday!

I HAVE to share this story because it is the amazing way how God has worked in our life. I call it the Reversal of Destiny:

On Thursday, my last Bible study on Esther, we had a sharing session. I didn't think anything of it and was not planning to share at all. But as I got to thinking about the amazing story of Esther and what I had learned through it, God prompted me to share my "Reversal of Destiny" story. So here it is... (This may not be new to some):

In April 2006, my husband had a back injury that put him out of work for 2 years. We had been married almost 2 years and in that time he had been looking for a full time job that would allow me to stay home when we had children. I was currently working as a Kindergarten teacher at Cascade Christian School. After Jeremy's injury, he was unable to work and stayed home for a year taking care of his back. During this time we started getting compensation from L&I. It wasn't much, but enough. We kept praying and praying for his back to heal. In June 2007, Jeremy started a work retraining program at Clover Park Technical College for Environmental Science. He was an awesome student. Halfway through the program he started again to look for work. His back was better- PTL! He still has to be careful, but he felt he could find a job with his limitations. He had several interviews, but God wasn't ready to give him a job. In March 2008 we found out that we were pregnant. A flood of fears entered my heart as I thought, "If my husband does not have a job, I will have to leave my baby in daycare and work." We always wanted for me stay home if we had children. Meanwhile, the compensation that we were receiving from L&I would come to an end in June 2008 when Jeremy finished school (which by the way, was paid for through the worker retraining- PTL!). Jeremy continued to pursue job leads. We focused on God and the plans he had for us. We trusted Him to help us through our seemingly declining circumstances. One afternoon, Jeremy was waiting to hear back about a job he had interviewed for. The phone call came and he was hired by McFarland Cascade Lumber Co. THAT SAME DAY we received our last check from L&I. The LORD IS GOOD! I was let out of my contract with Cascade, and we had our beautiful baby boy on THANKSGIVING!!! Not only that, in our declining economy, Jeremy was recently given a 10% raise, a potential for bonuses and 2 days off a week. I cannot believe the way God "reversed our destiny." I am now at home with our precious baby boy. I remarked to Jeremy last night that it feels strange not to get paid for doing a job anymore. He told me that I am making an investment by being home with our son. So, the Lord can reverse your destiny, He did for us.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recipe of the Week- Sloppy Cornbread!

So I found this easy and yummy recipe on Laura's Heavenly Homemakers blog. I suggest you look at her site. It is amazing! She makes this Sloppy Cornbread with sloppy joe mix and cornbread on top. (I actually only made half a recipe for just the two of us and I put it in a pie plate).

Sloppy Joes

2 lbs ground meat (beef, turkey, venison and lamb)
2 T. minced onion
1 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon worchestershire sauce
sea salt to taste

Brown meat and onion together. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well. Allow mixture to simmer in the skillet for a few minutes.

Double this recipe for cornbread:

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs
2 T. honey
¼ cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk (I used milk)

Spread sloppy joe mix in 9x13 pan and pour cornbread mix on top. Cook at 400 for 20-30 min until cornbread is done.

Have a Happy Friday! Only 2 weeks until my son turns one year old. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Gratituesday! Thank you, God, for family.

Every Tuesday this month I am going to post something I am grateful for in honor of Thanksgiving. Last week I said that I was thankful for my son. If you know the story of the birth of our baby you will know what a life changing experience that was. So this week I want to say thanks to God for my family. I have a mom, dad, grandma, and sister who I have grown up with all my life. My dad was in the Navy and we moved around quite a bit, but I always knew that we were together no matter what. We grew close to each other in all those years. When my dad finally retired, my grandma moved up to where we lived. It was so exciting to finally have her close. Now, I have so much extended family that I love- my husband (been through thick and thin in our 5 short years together), his parents, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. I am so thankful for all of these people who have made my life special!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Recipes of the week- Garlic Lime Chicken and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread

Dinner, dessert and a movie!

It's time for dinner! Today it's Garlic Lime Chicken (sorry, I'm not much for presentation). I got this from the FlyLady website. Leanne Ely has a column called Food for Thought. She's the Dinner Diva and has lots of fabulous recipes.
Garlic Lime Chicken
Serves 6
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (can eliminate if too spicy for you)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons lime juice
In a bowl, mix together first 7 ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts. (Do this lightly!)

In a skillet heat butter and olive oil together over medium high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and add lime juice and chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the pan to thoroughly coat and serve with remaining sauce drizzled over the top.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Steamed broccoli, baked potatoes and steamed baby carrots.
VEGETARIANS: This recipe works very well with Boca Chikin patties. Cooking time is less.

How about dessert? Here's a healthy one- Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread. I got this one off my favorite website: Finding Joy in My Kitchen.
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread

1/4 C butter, softened
3/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C water
1 3/4 C applesauce
1 C flour
1/2 C wheat flour
1 1/2 C oats (I used Old Fashioned)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp.baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1-2 T brown sugar (for sprinkling on the top)

Cream together the butter and sugar. Then, add the applesauce. To the creamed mixture, add the oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Pour into a greased bundt pan (or 2 loaf pans). Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of the dough. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for ~5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a wire cooling rack.

Let's relax with a movie! So this week, the moon has been so bright and beautiful. I thought a perfect movie to watch after eating this meal is Apollo 13. I love this movie because it is a true story and has one of my favorite actors in it: Tom Hanks.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I'm linked to Laura's Heavenly Homemaker's website where every Tuesday is Gratituesday. This month I am going to post something I'm thankful for right here at the Knowlton Nest. What I'm grateful for is my son. Last year at this time we were eagerly anticipating the birth of our first child. We chose not find out the gender so we nicknamed our baby- Baby Blessing. When Shrade Joseph Knowlton arrived on Thanksgiving day we were thrilled with this blessing from God born on my favorite holiday. I choose to be thankful everyday for blessings in my life. Thank you, Lord, for Shrade! We love him so much!