Monday, May 31, 2010

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Review

A few weeks ago I received this 32 oz jar of Tropical Tradition's Virgin Coconut Oil to review.  I was first introduced to this company through another blog that gives healthy recipe ideas (Heavenly Homemakers).  I noticed that Laura used several recipes with coconut oil in it.  I was really anxious to try it after I looked at the Tropical Traditions website.  I had never heard of coconut oil being used in cooking before.

After I watched this video I learned that Brian and his wife first made this coconut oil  by hand in the Phillipines.  In the last 7 years, Tropical Traditions still makes the oil by hand.  Only the best coconuts are picked and each jar that is produced is USDA certified organic.  Brian and his wife were the first to bring their coconut oil to America and it is the number one best selling brand today.  The antioxidant levels in the Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil is twice as high than in other brands.  It is the best cooking oil and is healthy for the body as it supports the immune system.

I really enjoyed using this coconut oil in my recent cooking experiences.  I thought it was easy to scoop out of the jar, melt in the microwave and pour into my recipes.  I have replaced some other oils and butter with the coconut oil because I know it is healthier.  I made a yummy Almond Joy Coconut bread (recipe to come) and Heavenly Homemakers granola bars to test out this coconut oil.  It was perfect.

You can 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.  When you place your order please use my ID # to get your FREE book: 6015262 in the "Referred by a Friend".  (Thank you!) 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 Lavendar Natural Deodorant (aluminum free), the Organic Shredded Coconut and of course the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.  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.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Craft Barn Review and Giveaway link

The Craft Barn

A week ago, I found The Craft Barn through a blog hop.  Jennifer had a wonderful selection of goodies in her Etsy shop. She featured an adorable personalized canvas tote.  I instantly thought of one of my nieces and how much she would love to have a special bag with her name on it.  Since it was Jennifer's Saturday Blog Shopper day, she gave a discount on shipping for her featured item.  I received my bag yesterday and I fell in love. 
The bag is about 9 inches high that is custom embroidered with butterflies and dots with an initial and name of your loved one.  You can choose natural or black canvas with blue (natural) or pink (black) embroidery.  Jennifer made this quickly and I received my product in about 1 week.  She allows up to 2 weeks for shipping.  This is a perfect bag for toting around books or other fun items and can also be used as a purse.  I know my niece, Reagan, will love to use it to carry her dolls, books, jewelry, lotions and other trinkets with her wherever she goes.  I know she will also be really proud of her bag because HER name is on it!

You can order this bag and see many other wonderful creations that Jennifer has in her Craft Barn shop.

Also, be sure to visit The Craft Barn blog to enter the giveaway that ends on Monday, May 31.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Review: Luv-Pons by Doug and Jackie Christie

Luv-Pons by Doug and Jackie Christie is subtitled "A Fun Variety Love and Romance Guide for Couples."  Each word actually embraced the content of this book with sincere passion.  The "fun" is actually in the back of the book which has 42 different date ideas in the form of coupons or Luv-Pons.  There were several recipes, choice wines, helpful websites, games to play, a list of love songs and books to read which showed the variety of choices for couples to use to enhance their love life.  Many love and romance stories along with classic poems would cause any couple to get into the mood.  Doug and Jackie also had a brief Q and A section to guide couples in answering relationship questions.

When I first saw the cover of Luv-Pons with its eye catching red heart surrounded by a menagerie of other colors I knew this would be a fun book.  Right away I felt that Doug and Jackie have a heart for couples to ignite that passion that seems to fade so quickly.  This book is very positive and upbeat and encourages the reader to take small steps toward bringing fun romance back into their lives.

You can visit Doug and Jackie's website for more fun: Luv-Pons.

*I received this book as part of a blog review program through Pump Up Your Book and I was not compensated for my review.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shrade is 18 months old today!

This is our Shrade at 18 months old!  He is the joy of our lives!  I started blogging about Shrade from right before birth for every month until one year old.  After that I update every 3 months since my blog has grown into so many other things, but Shrade is still our #1 love!
Shrade and I do lots of activities together.  We go to library story time, playdates, MOPS, parks and the zoo.  We find lots of free and fun things to do.
Shrade has recently discovered the garden and loves the rocks. 
Cheesy grin!
Shrade is helping with laundry.
Shrade is saying new words every week and love to go outside in the garden.  He runs to pick up his shoes.  He has learned to climb up on to his rocking chair.  He really likes to walk up and down the stairs holding our hands.  Shrade and I are staring "Tot School."  You can read more about our adventures on Milk N' Honey.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SKOY cloth Review and Giveaway!!!

I was so excited when Michelle offered me the opportunity to review the SKOY cloth.  I have been searching for a way to replace my sponges and paper towels with a product that is much more earth friendly.  Well, I have found it!

The other night I started replacing all of my "regular cleaning tools" with the SKOY cloth.  Wow, what a great experience.  The SKOY cloth works when it is wet.  In this way it can easily absorb what you have to clean up.  I swished it across my kitchen counter and I loved how clean my counter looked after one swipe.  I also used it to clean my bathroom sink, outside of toilet, mirror and floor.  It was so easy to use just one product instead of juggling paper towels and sponges.

What is unique about SKOY?
*100% Biodegradeable and Compostable
*Absorbs up to 15 times it's own weight!
*Save 15 rolls of paper towels
*Can be cleaned in dishwasher, washer and microwave
*Works well with just water
*Fun to use

Also, I checked my recent issue of Woman's Day magazine and found an ad for the SKOY cloth in the Live Well section!  I definitely will be changing over to SKOY for my "green" cleaning.  These also would make great gifts for family and friends.

SKOY cloths can be purchased for $6.99 per 4-pack.  Visit SKOY for more information.

2 winners will receive a 4-pack of SKOY cloths!

**Please provide your email address!  USA only!

To enter:
1. MANDATORY: Visit SKOY and tell me something that you learned.
2. Follow my blog (+2)
3. "Like" SKOY on Facebook
4. Follow Skoycloth on Twitter
5. "Like" Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on blog)
6. Post about this giveaway on another site (blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for each)

Giveaway ends Wednesday, June 9 @ 11:59pm.  TWO winners will be chosen!

*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*

Works for Me Wednesday: Window Cleaner

I love cleaning and especially when I find good products that I know are healthy for the environment.  So I tried the window/glass/surface cleaner provided in the free recipe section of Green Clean Chic.  It's great!  I no longer will use the "blue" stuff!  Here's the recipe:

Window/Glass/Surface Cleaner (it's not natural to be blue!)-from Green Clean Chic
3 oz. distilled water
1 oz. distilled white vinegar
1/2 tsp. Biodegradable Cleanser
20 - 25 drops Lemon essential oil or Pink Grapefruit (citrus oils are astringent and
grease cutting) Shake Gently. Citrus oils and vinegar are not recommended for
use on Granite or Marble.

I'm hooked up to Real Clean Wednesdays at IDreamofClean.  Have fun cleaning!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giveaway at the Craft Barn!

The Craft Barn

My friend Jennifer, over at The Craft Barn (click to enter giveaway site) , is having a giveaway for a Fresh Farm Recipes cookbook.  Enter today!  Also click on the barn above to take a look around her shop.  I just bought a fabulous bag for my niece that I will be sharing when I receive it.

And Whoo Hoo!  I won the current giveaway from the Craft Barn when they reached 100 followers!  I have a $5 gift certificate to use at their store.  I can't wait.  There is a really cute Crayon Tote I've been looking at.  Go check it out (click on the barn).  Have fun!

Gratituesday: MOPS

Last year I had the privilege of being part of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  I was a new mom and I was just learning all about being a parent.  I had so much fun getting to know the girls at my table, eating great food, hearing awesome and inspiring speakers and growing as a mom.  I encourage every mom to get involved in a group where you can learn and grow!  Thanks LCC Day MOPS! 

For more Gratituesday, go to Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Giveaway! Purse from Twisted Orchid ends 6/14

I just entered this giveaway for a purse from Twisted Orchid over at Growing a Baby in Seattle.  Check it out!

Giveaway! Nutrimeal- Vanilla

How do I lose weight and keep it off?   Well, last year I wanted to lose my baby weight so I did this RESET program.  I was able to lose my weight and now I daily drink my Nutrimeal shake and exercise to keep the weight off in a healthy way.  It's fun and yummy and makes me feel good.  I would love to share this with you.

"Fast food or no food. Too often this is a choice we’re forced to make. We know you want exceptional nutrition in everything you eat. We also know that you are incredibly busy. Between work, exercise, and a list of errands a mile long, the last thing you want to do in the morning before you run out the door is cook breakfast! But breakfast is where a healthy lifestyle begins! That’s why USANA developed tasty and convenient Nutrimeal shakes.

They are low glycemic, meaning that the ingredients are formulated to produce only small fluctuations in blood glucose levels for sustained energy to keep you satisfied longer. Each serving of Nutrimeal contains 8 grams of dietary fiber, which can help maintain a healthy heart and circulatory system. Each serving also provides 15 grams of soy protein. Soy helps maintain cardiovascular health, diastolic blood pressure, and HDL-cholesterol levels, provided they are healthy to begin with. Soy protein is a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids in optimal ratios and in a highly digestible form. Try the smooth flavor of French Vanilla for breakfast, or any time you want a healthy meal you shake!"  (Source-

If you would like to WIN this Nutrimeal and a recipe card please enter today!  Please provide email address.

To enter: 
1. (Mandatory)Visit and tell me another product you would like to try.
2. Follow my blog (2 entries)
3.  "Like" Knowlton Nest on Facebook (link on my blog)
4.  "Like" on Facebook (link on my blog) (updates on products, health ideas and giveaways)
5. Put my button on your blog and provide the link
6. Post about this giveaway on another site (blog, facebook, twitter) (1 entry for every site)
7. Join the 5-Day RESET group on Facebook and email me (  for info on getting started losing weight.

Giveaway ends Friday, June 4 @ 11:59pm.  Good luck! US & Canada only.

Friday, May 21, 2010

God's Nuggets: Prayer for Marriage


Several weeks ago I was part of a blog party and I found this wonderful blog by Cindy called Seeds to Sunflowers.  She made a post asking for people to join her in praying for marriages on Friday, May 21.  I was so thrilled since I am passionate about prayer and having a good marriage.
She recently made another heartbreaking post and it shows that we really need to pray for our marriages against evil.

In the meantime I found a few other posts that specifically had some great marriage ideas.  Please check these out and make praying for your marriage a priority not only today, but every day!
*Angela- Praying for my Husband
*A Proverbs Wife- Treating your husband good and not evil
*Lindsay (Passionate Homemaking) - Letting Go of expectations (in this post there is also a download of 31 days to pray for your husband and a link to a husband encouragement challenge- I have both!)
And of course, this book The Power of a Praying® Wife is next to my Bible.  I'm reading and praying through it again and again and again.  You can never pray too much!

I hope that you can make it a goal to pray for your marriage every day and pray with your husband as often as you can too! Blessings, Shonda

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Giveaway!!!! Plan B by Pete Wilson

I just reviewed Plan B by Pete Wilson and now I'm having a giveaway!

You can win this book by....
1. Leave a comment.
2. Become a follower on my blog (2 entries)
3. Put my button on your blog and provide the link.
4. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site)
5. "Like" The Knowlton Nest on Facebook.

Be sure to provide your email address so I can contact you.

Giveaway is open until Friday, June 4 @ 11:59pm.  Winner will be announced and emailed on Monday, June 7.  US entries only, thanks!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review: God's Promises for Boys

God's Promises for Boys by Jack Countryman and Amy Parker is a short gift book full of treasures for boys.  Each two page layout has a promise from God, a short poem to think about the promise and 3-4 related Bible verses from the International Children's Bible as well as illustrations to accompany each assurance.  The different promises address the feelings and needs of boys, behavior and developing Christian character and why God created boys.  The book ends with the most important promise of all-salvation!

I think this little book would be an ideal teaching tool for boys to ponder and reflect on what God gives to them.  I liked the focus of the content that was chosen and I felt the Bible verse translation was relevant to children.  This would make a nice gift for a young boy who is eager to learn about God.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Gratituesday: Friends and Games

A few weeks ago my husband and I invited some friends over for dinner and games.  My friend brought over these lovely irises.  So we had Ginger Peanut Chicken with Perfect Brown Rice and Jeremy made yummy fruit shakes for dessert.  We also played The Farming Game!  Have you ever heard of it?  It's native to WA state.  It was very fun.  It's a bit like Monopoly, but it takes you through a year of farming.  Let me tell you, I did not want to be a farmer after playing that.  Also, I lost and owed money to the bank at the end.  Oh, well, we had fun!  Take time for fun and games with friends when you can.

For more Gratituesday, go to Heavenly Homemakers!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bonus Book Review: Mommy Power (A MUST read!)

I won this book at the Ultimate Blog Party in April and I liked it so much I'm going to write a bonus review!

Mommy Power is a book that immediately engages you since the writer is a mom herself.  Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman is the daughter of Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral in California and the mother of four sons.  Despite all of her educational background she relates to ordinary moms in everyday situations.  Her stories are short and sometimes funny ending with a catchy saying, Bible verse and heartfelt prayer.  All of the mom struggles that we face can be given to the loving God who cares not only for our precious children, but also for us as moms.

I laughed and I cried, but most of all I was inspired not to attain perfection as a mom, but to rely on the One who is the source of my strength.  I would definitely share this book with all of my mom friends.  Sheila's writing style is engaging and real.  I was able to read through this book in one weekend.  It would make a great gift for any mom.  I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

Hey, it's Blog Hop Friday!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Sweet Raisin Bread

I don't know if this has ever been published so I won't exactly claim it as all my own, but try it out and let me know!  My husband actually made this recipe and I used some of my own version of ingredients.  He took another bread recipe and tweaked it to make this one.

In a separate bowl mix:
*1 cup raisins
*2 T brown sugar
*1 tsp cinnamon
*2 T honey

Mix in another bowl: (dry ingredients)
*2.5 c flour
*1 T sugar
*1 tsp baking powder
*3/4 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix in another bowl: (wet ingredients)
*2 eggs
*1 c yogurt
*1/2 coconut oil (can use olive oil)
*1/4 c milk

Mix dry and wet ingredients.  Fold in raisins.  Pour into greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 50 min.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Spring "Green" Cleaning part 3

A few years ago Jeremy went to this Sustainability Fair here at the University of Washington in Tacoma. He brought home some samples and the laundry sample from Charlie's Soap caught my eye. It said- Certified Non-Toxic, Hypo-Allergenic and Biodegradeable. It also only uses a small Tablespoon of product for a large load of wash. It is good for babies and people with allergies or sensitive skin. So I bought some right before my son was born and that is the only thing I wash all of my loads of laundry with.  I have only had to buy maybe 2-4 bags for the entire year.  It's about $15 for a bag to wash 80 loads!  Be sure to say Shonda Knowlton sent you when you order.  Thanks!

Just recently I discovered Green Clean Chic which has some great cleaning products. There is a recipe for laundry detergent that I will try, but right now I'm just adding a few drops of essential oil (Rosemary and Eucalyptus) to my load along with another great "green" product for cleaning- Borax.

Here is the recipe from Green Clean Chic:
Laundry Detergent Cleaner than Clean!
3 c. Washing Soda
3 c. Borax
30 drops Lavender (antibacterial)
20 drops Eucalyptus (antiviral, gets rid of dust mites too!)
Add 1/4 cup to your load of laundry. This recipe is also safe for HE front loader
washing machines. Rosemary works in place of Eucalyptus if so desired.

I'm hooked up with Real Clean Wednesdays at I Dream of Clean.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Givaway! Mayfair Lane gift pack

The B Keeps Us Honest is hosting a giveaway for a gift pack from Mayfair Lane worth $75 in products!

Gratituesday: Strawberry Rhubarb

You cannot imagine what my husband has time to do!  This is just a small bit of his canning, but I really like this strawberry rhubarb mix that we put on our toast, ice cream and also in other recipes.  We grow our own rhubarb and Jeremy is so great at picking strawberries and packing them up for the freezer to be used in canning.  Yum!!

I also made another recipe that used this strawberry rhubarb mix. It's called Coffee Cake.  I actually got this recipe from my friend Alison @ Hospitality Haven and I tweaked it to what I liked/had.  So instead of using maple extract I used coconut extract and I used Jeremy's strawberry rhubarb sauce instead of cherries.  Yum!!

For more Gratituesday go to Heavenly Homemakers!
Also hooked up to Tasty Tuesday!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Giveaway! O Splash Cosmetics Cherry Delicious Soap

Once again, I have found another great giveaway that ends TODAY, MAY 10 over at My Four Monkeys.  Win this bar of soap called Cherry Delicious and a cosmetic bag.  Fun stuff!

Marriage Monday: Tips to make a stronger family

Here's some ideas I picked up from a brochure at church: The Seven List

1. Eat dinner as a family four nights a week at least. (We are developing this habit right now)
2. Develop family hobbies. (We walk every night)
3. Engage with your children online- teach healthy internet habits
4. Focus- give undivided attention (We play, read and cuddle with our son)
5. Serve together. (My husband and I serve at the church in many capacities, we also are hospitable in our home)
6. Parent time- model marriage (We read the Bible and pray together in front of our son, hold hands, hug and kiss)
7. Take the TV out of the kids bedroom- nuff said! (No problem!)


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Last year was my first mother's day.  We had Shrade dedicated at church that weekend.

This year my husband got up early and made a breakfast of yummy quiche, fried potatoes and strawberry rhubarb crumble. 
Then we went on a bike ride on the Iron Horse Trail which used to be a railroad track in the North Cascades (so it's very gradual- my kind of biking).  It was a gorgeous day!  Just so I didn't feel too much like I had to be a perfect mom...I forgot Shrade's water bottle for our ride and I also fell over on my bike when I stopped and I sliced my finger with a Swiss Army Knife trying to core an apple for my husband!

Despite these mishaps, it was a very special day for me.  My husband bought me a digital picture frame that I get to pick all the pictures to put in it.  Hmm, I wonder who will be featured!!!  My saying of the day is "I should be a mother every day!"  Well, I am.  Thank you Jesus for allowing me the privilege.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day!

Here are four generation pictures.  This is me, my mom (Lynette) and my grandma (Elayne) with Shrade at 13 months (top) and also at 4 months (bottom).  You can see that Shrade was a lot more active at 13 months!

There are so many wonderful things that I could write about my mom and grandma, but I just want to mention something that is very important that they are doing for me right now.  My mom and grandma are spending hours researching their heritage and documenting in books with pictures and other memorabilia.  It's so exciting to see these memories being preserved for our family so I can share them with Shrade.

I love my mom and grandma so much!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Giveaway: Pouchee Purse Organizer

OK, I would totally want to win one of these, how about you?  Go over to My Life as  Married Girl to enter.

Book Giveaway!!! Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go by Lucille O'Neal

Hi, this is my very first giveaway!  I just reviewed this book by Lucille O'Neal and I would like to give it away to one of my lucky readers. 

You can win this book by....
1. Leave a comment.
2. Become a follower on my blog.
3. Put my button on your blog and provide the link.
4. Post about this giveaway on another site (your blog, facebook, twitter, etc) (1 entry for every site)

Be sure to provide your email address so I can contact you.

Giveaway open until Friday, May 14.  Winner will be announced and emailed on Monday, May 17.  US entries only.  Thanks.

If you would like to buy this book you can do it here:Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go .

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Book Review: Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

I just finished reading Captivating co-authored by John and Stasi Eldredge.  This book used very descriptive language and immediately had my attention to find out why we as women have a desire to be captivating.  This book was about discovering who you are as a woman and explored this by diving into many deep and sometimes disturbing stories.  They also used many excerpts from well know movies, books, poems, quotes and Bible passages to help the reader understand certain concepts related to discovering the beauty within.  They kept going back to the questions- Am I captivating?  Do I have a beauty on my own?  These were not shallow questions and were answered humbly and thoroughly.

I really liked most of the content of this book and I think it has a message for all women to embrace their femininity as God planned.  However, since both John and Stasi wrote this book, I was confused at times who was actually writing in parts of the book.  I was also confused whether they were emphasizing being captivated by a man or God.  Overall, I think it has a timely message for every woman and many would benefit from the healing prayers included.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wordless Wednesday: What is this?

Future Botanist

This picture is linked to Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Booking It 2010 (May)

Here's what I read in April-
*So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore
*Plan B by Pete Wilson (Book Review)
*Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go by Lucille O'Neal (Book Review- giveaway coming this week)
*True Colors by Kristin Hannah
*Finished reading up through 2 Kings in the Bible

Reading for May:
*Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge (Book Review)
*Every Woman's Marriage by Shannon Ethridge
*A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George
*Luv-Pons by Doug and Jackie Christie (Book Review)
*Honor's Disguise by Kristen Heitzmann
*Kaleidoscope by Patsy Clairmont (won this from a giveaway by my friend Holly)
*I have several more book review books coming in the mail soon too!